• numberjohnny5
    179
    There are three interconnected questions in this post, but if you'd prefer to answer less than three of them then I'd appreciate it.

    (I) It seems to me that there exist at least three types of claim in philosophy, two of which are epistemological (a priori and empirical), and one of which metaphysical (ontological commitments)*. Further, the latter type is necessarily supported by the former. In other words, ontology and its commitments is necessarily based upon epistemology.

    Are (any of) these statements true?

    *Are "ontological commitments" identical to "ontological claims"?

    (II) Are ontological commitments necessarily true?


    (III) Going further, if anyone wishes to do so, does it make sense to say, for example, that:

    (1) "Socrates is Socrates" is ontologically necessary.
    (2) That (1) presupposes a priori claims about existential identity (transferring the law of identity to external objects), and
    (3) that empirical claims about having observed existents phenomenally grounds the justification for (1) and (2).
    (4) Therefore, ontological necessity (re ontological commitment), in example (1), relies on both (2) a priori and (3) empirical claims.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.3k
    there exist at least three types of claim in philosophy, two of which are epistemological (a priori and empirical), and one of which metaphysical (ontological commitments)numberjohnny5

    Not that you'd disagree with this (hence your "at least"), but I think it's important to stress that there aren't just those three.

    Further, the latter type is necessarily supported by the former. In other words, ontology and its commitments is necessarily based upon epistemology.numberjohnny5

    I don't agree with that. In my view it depends on the philosopher in question. Different people start in different places, see different things--if anything--as foundational.

    *Are "ontological commitments" identical to "ontological claims"?numberjohnny5

    I wouldn't say they necessarily are. Ontological claims could just be from a logical perspective. That if x is the case, then y follows ontologically. That doesn't have to be a commitment to y.

    (II) Are ontological commitments necessarily true?numberjohnny5

    Definitely not, in my opinion, as something can be ontologically contingent.

    (1) "Socrates is Socrates" is ontologically necessary.numberjohnny5

    The only interpretation where I'd say that's ontologically necessary is when we're simply talking about logical identity: A=A. So as something about language, a la rigid designators, for example, which we just recently had a thread about, I wouldn't say that there's anything necessary about it.

    I wouldn't say that logical identity being ontologically necessary relies on empirical claims. It's strictly a logical matter in my view.
  • numberjohnny5
    179
    Not that you'd disagree with this (hence your "at least"), but I think it's important to stress that there aren't just those three.Terrapin Station

    Indeed, I'd also say there is such a thing as phenomenal certainty in the current/present moment, and faith.

    Further, the latter type is necessarily supported by the former. In other words, ontology and its commitments is necessarily based upon epistemology. — numberjohnny5


    I don't agree with that. In my view it depends on the philosopher in question. Different people start in different places, see different things--if anything--as foundational.
    Terrapin Station

    I see. Maybe it's because it's unclear to me what ontological commitments actually are relative to epistemological claims (or what they are at all, for that matter), but I assumed that in order to make ontological commitments about what there is, you'd necessarily need to have an epistemological "channel" in which to based them on.

    I wouldn't say they necessarily are. Ontological claims could just be from a logical perspective. That if x is the case, then y follows ontologically. That doesn't have to be a commitment to y.Terrapin Station

    So in your example, ontological claims can refer to how a particular logical statement obtains (in light of a particular logical system)? So ontological claims can refer to the reasoning that occurs in different systems/branches of philosophy without having to commit to the particular claims any of those systems/branches are making.

    The only interpretation where I'd say that's ontologically necessary is when we're simply talking about logical identity: A=A.Terrapin Station

    As an aside then, do you reject the first of Quine's "Two Dogmas" re analyticity? It seems to me that there are some necessary a priori truths that can't be modified or refuted, so the analytic-synthetic distinction obtains after all.

    I wouldn't say that logical identity being ontologically necessary relies on empirical claims. It's strictly a logical matter in my view.Terrapin Station

    So in other words, ontological necessity is a priori, in your view?
  • Terrapin Station
    13.3k
    I assumed that in order to make ontological commitments about what there is, you'd necessarily need to have an epistemological "channel" in which to based them on.numberjohnny5

    Folks focused on ontology as primary would say that in order to have an epistemic "channel," there needs to be existents in the first place, and one needs to have beliefs about those existents and their relations (or Kantian/transcendental ontological concepts such as space/time as preconditions). Usually people just focus on whatever they're more interested in as "primary."

    So in your example, ontological claims can refer to how a particular logical statement obtains (in light of a particular logical system)? So ontological claims can refer to the reasoning that occurs in different systems/branches of philosophy without having to commit to the particular claims any of those systems/branches are making.numberjohnny5

    What I was talking about was something like this. Let's take those Kantian conceptual preconditions again. We could say that if they're correct and time is merely an ideal precondition for experiencing the world, then it would be consistent with eternalism. That's an ontological claim, but it doesn't amount to making an ontological commitment.

    As an aside then, do you reject the first of Quine's "Two Dogmas" re analyticity?numberjohnny5

    The problem with discussing stuff like that with me is that I'm a subjectivist on meaning (as well as a subjectivist on truth for that matter), and whether something is analytically true, on my view, is simply a matter of how individuals think about the propositions in question. I don't buy any sort of objectivist analysis of how language works. I think that that whole approach is a huge gaffe that's led to a lot of effectively useless work.

    So in other words, ontological necessity is a priori, in your view?numberjohnny5

    Yes.
  • numberjohnny5
    179
    That's an ontological claim, but it doesn't amount to making an ontological commitment.Terrapin Station

    I see. So the difference between an ontological claim and ontological commitment is that the former just simply arrives at or states, for example, that P, without necessarily accepting or rejecting that P, whereas the latter would involve accepting, rejecting, or being neutral that P. Is that what you're saying?

    The problem with discussing stuff like that with me is that I'm a subjectivist on meaning (as well as a subjectivist on truth for that matter), and whether something is analytically true, on my view, is simply a matter of how individuals think about the propositions in question. I don't buy any sort of objectivist analysis of how language works. I think that that whole approach is a huge gaffe that's led to a lot of effectively useless work.Terrapin Station

    Well I'm an internalist on meaning, justification, truth etc. too (I was the one who recently initiated the "Rigid Designators" thread with the claim that RDs are based on linguistic convention, btw); so since there's no problem from my side re "meaning" and "language", would you feel more prepared to share your thoughts re Quine's "Two Dogmas"?
  • Terrapin Station
    13.3k
    I see. So the difference between an ontological claim and ontological commitment is that the former just simply arrives at or states, for example, that P, without necessarily accepting or rejecting that P, whereas the latter would involve accepting, rejecting, or being neutral that P. Is that what you're saying?numberjohnny5

    It's more that "claims" can include conditional implications, so that we're just talking about possibilities,. Also I wouldn't say that ontological commitments include being neutral.

    would you feel more prepared to share your thoughts re Quine's "Two Dogmas"?numberjohnny5

    I've posted so much today I don't really have the energy to write something more detailed about it at the moment. I might be inspired to do so later. Maybe we should start a thread on it, by the way.
  • numberjohnny5
    179
    I've posted so much today I don't really have the energy to write something more detailed about it at the moment. I might be inspired to do so later. Maybe we should start a thread on it, by the way.Terrapin Station

    No problemo. I was actually thinking about starting a thread on it anyway.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k

    Doesn't our experience of what is apparent, leads us, with the assistance of others, to normatively construct a coherent world for ourselves, the world we live in. We wonder why and how this world is so? Our awareness of the phenomenal leads us to epistemological analysis, which then may lead to ontological claims, which may or may not be resemble our phenomenal experience. Ontological commitment suggests necessity, but it is subject to continued empirical verification, every thing that is, is contingent . What is experienced is not necessarily circumscribed by our logical analysis.
  • numberjohnny5
    179
    Our awareness of the phenomenal leads us to epistemological analysis,Cavacava

    I think Terrapin Station is suggesting that that's only one way to initiate or arrive at ontological claims or commitments. Some philosophers might not use epistemology as a foundation to arrive at ontological commitments. Another way might be starting with what meaning is, for example, or starting with propositional/predicate logic, or science methodology, etc. Which would mean that these are all "channels" people can use to arrive at their ontological conclusions.

    Ontological commitment suggests necessity, but it is subject to continued empirical verification, every thing that is, is contingent . What is experienced is not necessarily circumscribed by our logical analysis.Cavacava

    Well then can't ontological commitments also be contingently true in lieu of empiricism? A priori ontological claims might be about contingent ontological commiments, e.g. law of identity with regards to entities.
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