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Title: Platonism, Nominalism, and Semantic Appearances
Author(s): CLARKE-DOANE, Justin
Journal: Logique et Analyse
Volume: 259    Date: 2022   
Pages: 233-251
DOI: 10.2143/LEA.259.0.3291804

Abstract :
It is widely assumed that platonism with respect to a discourse of metaphysical interest, such as fictional or mathematical discourse, affords a better account of the semantic appearances than nominalism, other things being equal. Of course, other things may not be equal. For example, platonism is supposed to come at the cost of a plausible epistemology and ontology. But the hedged claim is often treated as a background assumption. It is motivated by the intuitively stronger one that the platonist can take the semantic appearances at ‘face-value’ while the nominalist must resort to ad hoc and technically problematic machinery in order to explain those appearances away. In this article, I argue that, on any natural construal of ‘face-value’, the platonist, like the nominalist, is not able to take the semantic appearances at face-value. And insofar as the nominalist is forced to resort to ad hoc and technically awkward devices i n order to explain those appearances away, the platonist must resort to such devices as well. One moral of the story is that the thesis that platonism affords a better account of the semantic appearances than nominalism – even other things being equal – is not trivial. Another is that we should rethink a widespread methodology in metaphysics.

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