Abstract

The orthodox Quinean view on ontology says that ontological questions are best understood as quantificational: to concern what there is. (Here are some potentially different views: thinking of ontology as concerning not what there is but what exists, or as concerning not what there is but what is real, or as concerning not what is real but what is fundamental.) In the first part of the talk I will discuss what is at issue between Quineans and various opponents of the Quinean view. In the second, I will critically discuss a contemporary version of the Quinean view, defended by for example Ted Sider, which insists that the existential quantifier used in stating ontological question shouldn’t be taken to be the ordinary one, but instead it should be taken as a special, ‘fundamental’ quantifier. A theme underlying both parts of the talk concerns how best to think of the Quinean view on ontology: what exactly does it say, and what motivates it?