Single Idea 8856

[catalogued under 10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 3. A Posteriori Necessary]

Full Idea

Fifty years ago, Quine convinced everyone who cared that the argument for abstract objects, if there were going to be one, would have to be a posteriori in nature; an argument that numbers, for example, are indispensable entities for 'total science'.

Gist of Idea

Quine's indispensability argument said arguments for abstracta were a posteriori


report of Willard Quine (On What There Is [1948], 1) by Stephen Yablo - Apriority and Existence

Book Reference

'New Essays on the A Priori', ed/tr. Boghossian,P /Peacocke,C [OUP 2000], p.196

A Reaction

This sets the scene for the modern debate on the a priori. The claim that abstractions are indispensable for a factual account of the physical world strikes me as highly implausible.