The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 111, Issue 9/10, September/October 2014

Ontological Disagreement

Amie L. Thomasson
Pages 502-528

Quizzical Ontology and Easy Ontology

This paper examines what’s at stake in which form of metaontological deflationism we adopt. Stephen Yablo has argued for a ‘quizzicalist’ approach, holding that many ontological questions are ‘moot’ in the sense that there is simply nothing to settle them. Defenders of the ‘easy approach’ to ontology, by contrast, think not that these questions are unsettled, but that they are very easily settled by trivial inferences from uncontroversial premises—so obviously and easily settled that there is no point debating them. The views may differ in terms of how far the deflation extends—while easy ontology deflates debates about ordinary objects, Yablo doesn’t think his view does. But the crucial underlying difference lies in whether we think there are ontological presuppositions for introducing terminology.