To say that a philosophical dispute is ‘merely verbal’ seems to be an important diagnosis. If that diagnosis is correct for a particular dispute, then the right thing to do would be to declare that dispute to be over. The topic of what the disputing parties were fighting over was just a pseudo-problem (thus not really a problem), or at least – if there is a sense in which also merely verbal disputes indicate some problem, for example, insufficient clarity of terminology – this problem is not substantial, or not as substantial as the disputing parties believed their problem initially to be. In this paper I will try to clarify what it means if we diagnose that two arguing parties are having a merely verbal dispute.
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