On What There Is Not In ‘On What There Is’

Filippo Casati


I argue that the rhetorical use of the two fictional philosophers McX and Wyman makes Quine’s paper ‘On what there is’ pragmatically inconsistent. This means that he needs to assume something is true which, according to his own theory, is actually false. I will show that, even though Quine’s theory claims that all propositions concerning non-existent objects must be false, he needs to assume something true about the two fictional characters. Moreover, even though Quine’s ontology theorizes the impossibility of having fictional entities which are distinct from one another, he distinguishes between McX and Wyman.


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