Nominalism and Ideological Parsimony

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Other Conference Paperpeer-review

Abstract

Nominalists hold that there are no abstract objects, such as properties, sets or numbers. Realists about abstract objects, on the other hand, hold that there are abstract objects. It is widely thought that, while nominalism has the theoretical virtue of being more ontologically parsimonious than realism, it has the theoretical vice of being less ideological parsimonious than realism, since nominalists must regard as primitive many notions realists can reductively analyse. An important class of alleged examples are modal comparitives. For example, while a realist can analyse 'x might have been more massive than y actually is' by (1), it is widely thought that nominalists must regard it as primitive.

(1) x might have been more massive than y actually is =df there are masses m1 and m2 such that i) m1 is less than m2, ii) y has m1, and ii) it is possible that x has m2.

This paper argues that this is not the case: nominalists can provide a reductive analysis of 'x might have been more massive than y actually is' that is just as good as the analysis realists provide and hence do not need to regard it, or other similar modal comparatives, as primitive. It also argues that the manner in which a nominalists can analyse modal comparatives suggest that nominalism isn't less ideologically parsimonious than realism after all. If this is correct in one major reason for rejecting nominalism fails.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2016
Event3rd Conference on Contemporary Philosophy in East Asia (CCPEA 2016) - Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 19 Aug 201620 Aug 2016
http://www.ccpea2016.kr/main/?load_popup=1

Conference

Conference3rd Conference on Contemporary Philosophy in East Asia (CCPEA 2016)
Abbreviated titleCCPEA 2016
CountryKorea, Republic of
CitySeoul
Period19/08/1620/08/16
Internet address

Fingerprint

Nominalist
Nominalism
Parsimony
Realist
Realism
Abstract Objects
Theoretical Virtues

Cite this

MARSHALL, D. (2016). Nominalism and Ideological Parsimony. Paper presented at 3rd Conference on Contemporary Philosophy in East Asia (CCPEA 2016), Seoul, Korea, Republic of.
MARSHALL, Dan. / Nominalism and Ideological Parsimony. Paper presented at 3rd Conference on Contemporary Philosophy in East Asia (CCPEA 2016), Seoul, Korea, Republic of.
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MARSHALL, D 2016, 'Nominalism and Ideological Parsimony' Paper presented at 3rd Conference on Contemporary Philosophy in East Asia (CCPEA 2016), Seoul, Korea, Republic of, 19/08/16 - 20/08/16, .

Nominalism and Ideological Parsimony. / MARSHALL, Dan.

2016. Paper presented at 3rd Conference on Contemporary Philosophy in East Asia (CCPEA 2016), Seoul, Korea, Republic of.

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Other Conference Paperpeer-review

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MARSHALL D. Nominalism and Ideological Parsimony. 2016. Paper presented at 3rd Conference on Contemporary Philosophy in East Asia (CCPEA 2016), Seoul, Korea, Republic of.