SOPhiA 2017

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Deflationism in Metaphysics. The Analysis of Carnap's, Ajdukiewicz's and Quine's Views
(History of Philosophy, English)

It is deemed that Ajdukiewicz anticipated some Quine's ideas and that there is a strong similarity between Ajdukiewicz's theory of meaning and Quine's views (Maciaszek 2007). The first of them formulated a directive theory, while the other a behavioral theory of meaning. A pragmatic approach is common to both theories. These comparative analyses apply mainly to the philosophy of language. However, in this paper I will focus only on the ontological disputes.

Ajdukiewicz's views on ontology should be associated with his belief that cognition is linguistic in its character. One of the consequences of this stance is that the ontological views should be relativized to the language in which they are evoked (Jedynak 2003). A similar view is shared by Quine who argued that questions about existence should be reduced to the ontological commitments of scientific theories (Quine 1960/2013).

Both Ajdukiewicz and Quine used a method of paraphrase and wanted to solve ontological disputes from a logical perspective. The American philosopher redefined the notion of existence to solve some difficulties with the use of names of non-existent objects (Quine 1948/2004). The Polish philosopher used a "logical" notion of existence to argue that idealism was intrinsically inconsistent (Ajdukiewicz 1949/1978). In this paper it will be indicated that a use of paraphrase leads to deflationism---a view that all the issues in ontology are either linguistic or trivial (Tahko 2015).

The purpose of this article is to point out that the method of paraphrase faces not only the methodological problems, such as the argument of symmetry or indication of the conditions of the correct paraphrase (Keller 2014; Keller 2016; Solodkoff 2014) but also on the basis of the analysis of Ajdukiewicz's and Quine's ontological views I will point out that we apply paraphrase as the method of analysis only to the existential statements of scientific theories. In their theories Ajdukiewicz and Quine do not respond to metaphysical problems and do not solve ontological dilemmas. Their views on ontology are the same as Carnap's (1950).

In addition, the paper provides a comparison between the views of Anglosphere philosophers and the Polish philosopher's stance as discussing similarities and differences in the methods used by the main representatives of both philosophical environments.


Chair: Lucas Battich
Time: 11:15-11:45, 14 September 2017 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.006

Artur Kosecki 
(University of Szczecin, Poland)

I am a candidate for a PhD degree. The fields of my research are history of analytic philosophy, ontology, philosophy of mind and philosophy of cognitive science. I received a grant to realize a project titled: ''The Paraphrase Method and Ontological Disputes. The Analysis of Carnap's, Ajdukiewicz's and Quine's Views''. Funds: The National Science Center (Poland). The aim of this project is to reconstruct the selected applications of paraphrases. Their usage will be analyzed on the basis of Carnap's, Ajdukiewic's and Quine's philosophy. I was also a member of the research group: ''Analytic Philosophy: History nad Problems of Contemporary Philosophy''. Grant director: Prof. T. Szubka. Funds: Foundation for Polish Science.

Testability and Meaning deco