SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

SOPhiA ToolsDE-pageEN-page

Programme - Talk

Inferentialist Framing of Metaontological Expressivism
(Metaphysics/Ontology, English)

In recent years the interest in metaontology has grown significantly but it seems that not all theoretical options were given the deserved recognition. I want to present and develop a little known account of metaontological expressivism which was first explicitly endorsed by Kraut (2016). According to this view, the function of ontological claims is not to describe reality but to express the commitment to the utility of some linguistic forms. For instance, according to metaontological expressivism, the function of a sentence "There are possible worlds" is not to represent objective reality but to express the commitment that the notion of possible words is useful. However Kraut gave only a general description of his account, so I will present a more developed version of metasemantically understood metaontological expressivism.

In my version of expressivism, I combine two ideas already present in the literature on metaethics. One of them is Williams's (2013) explanation of meaning in terms of use (EMU), the other is Simpson's (2020) subject matter explanationism. EMU is a tool formulated in the inferentialist framework that aims to explain the meaning of the term by its functional, epistemological and inferential aspects. Subject matter explanationism is a strategy for distinguishing representational theories from expressivist ones. According to this view, the theory counts as representational if in explaining facts about the meaning of a concept it mentions the subject matter.

I will also try to show that careful articulation of metaontological expressivism makes it immune to the potential problem of circularity dubbed by Kraut as the "No Exit" problem. Kraut's worry is that it is impossible to formulate an expressivist metaontological account without invoking non-expressive notion of existence. In my view the problem does not arise, because the correct way to treat metaontological expressivism is as an ontologically quietist view.

Chair: Youssef Aguisoul
Time: 16:00-16:30, 07 September 2022 (Wednesday)
Location: SR 1.006

Szymon Sapalski 
(Faculty of Philosophy Jagiellonian University, Poland)

Testability and Meaning deco