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(2017) Logical empiricism and pragmatism, Dordrecht, Springer.

On rational restraints of ontology

Heikki J. Koskinen

pp. 103-123

In this paper, my aim is to construe a pragmatic and rationally responsible account of ontological theorizing. The account is pragmatic in the sense that it is compatible with philosophical naturalism and does not involve commitments to substantial and controversial doctrines like global realism or metaphysical essentialism. The account is rationally responsible in the sense that it incorporates a variety of rational restraints on ontological theorizing. I begin with a problematization of general metaphysics or ontology, and then suggest that by looking at different conceptions of rationality, we can build various types of rational restraints into our methodological picture of ontological theorizing. These restraints are based on (i) logical or argumentative rationality; (ii) trust in sense experience or scientific experiments; and (iii) the ability to organize our sensations by means of concepts. To put the three conceptions of rationality to actual work, and to demonstrate their structural roles, a specific context of ontological theorizing is needed. As an illustrative example of how the relevant conceptions of rationality can be seen to provide rational restraints of ontological theorizing, I use Quine's analysis of mass terms.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-50730-9_6

Full citation:

Koskinen, H. J. (2017)., On rational restraints of ontology, in F. Stadler, N. Weidtmann & S. Pihlström (eds.), Logical empiricism and pragmatism, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 103-123.

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