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Benjamin Marschall

Benjamin Marschall

Department: Philosophy

Supervisor: Dr Tim Button

College: Darwin

AHRC subject area: Philosophy

Title of thesis: Domains and Ontology


Metaphysicians like to argue about ontological questions, for example: Are there abstract objects, such as numbers and properties? Are there composite objects like tables and chairs, or only simple particles? In reaction to these disputes, deflationary positions have emerged: According to deflationists, answering such questions is actually easy, and requires merely linguistic and conceptual considerations. This position sounds attractive, but I think it is not clear whether it can be upheld against objections from non-deflationary, serious metaphysicians. In my dissertation, I want to show that deflationists need a conception of the relationship between language and the world that differs from that of serious metaphysicans. Here the semantic notion of a domain of quantification will play a crucial role, since it is often given a metaphysical interpretation, which in turn is incompatible with deflationism. My project will hence be to develop a different way of looking at domains which suits deflationists – or, if that fails, to argue that deflationists are in trouble.

Before coming to Cambridge, I studied in Berlin and St Andrews, obtaining a BA Philosophy / Computer Science and an MA Philosophy from the Humboldt University, and an MLitt Philosophy from SASP.

Other academic interests

Philosophy of Language

Kant's Theoretical Philosophy