Journal of Philosophical Logic 6 (1):239 - 267 (1977)
|Abstract||The following paper deals with the notion of existence, especially as concerns natural languages. In Section 1, starting from some quite obvious examples drawn from logic, I sketch the problem of the existential presupposition usually ascribed to noun phrases. My opinion is that the point of view frequently adopted in this case is unduly restrictive, for the existence which is believed to be presupposed here is actual existence. Accordingly, I emphasize the need for having a weaker notion of existential presupposition, such that the existence (if this word can still be used) here referred to is relevant only to linguistic goals. Section 2 sketches this notion, by assimilating existence (in the weak sense) to identification in a linguistic space. (I deal here only with intuitive considerations: a more formal account will be given, I hope, in another paper.) Finally, in Section 3, the notion of actual existence is examined by contrast with the linguistic (or weak) notion of existence: and this is a question which of course can't be tackled in terms of a purely linguistic analysis, for it needs a general, epistemo-logical approach.|
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