Amie Thomasson: Fictionalism vs. Deflationism

There seem to be 3 main views about abstract objects (objects like properties, numbers, propositions, etc.): Platonism/realism (such things really do exist); eliminativism (there are no such things, and we can explain away apparent reference to them); and fictionalism (it's ok to talk about such things, but that's like fiction, it's not really true). There is a 4th option: deflationism. This view holds that the true things we say about abstract objects ("there is a property Susanna's jacket has, being orange") are true in virtue of trivial transformations from unproblematic sentences ("Susanna's jacket is orange, therefore there is a property her jacket has, being orange").

Bob Hale: Properties and the interpretation of second-order logic

On a `thin' or `deflationary' account, a property is just what any meaningful predicate (a general word or expression) stands for. This paper discusses some consequences of this account, and shows how some objections may be countered.

Steve Yablo: Bandersnatches in Dubuque

How is it possible to say true things with names that do not refer, if the meaning of a name is the person to whom it refers? Given that Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character, the name `Sherlock Holmes' does not refer, and so the sentence `Sherlock Holmes does not exist' must be meaningless. Yet it is clearly true! How can we make sense of this?