David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Ingo Reich (ed.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 15, Saarbruecken (2010)
The most common philosophical view about the notion of existence is that it is a second-order property or existential quantification. A less common view is that existence is a (first-order) property of 'existent' as opposed to 'nonexistent' (past or merely intentional) objects. An even less common view is that existence divides into different 'modes of being' for different sorts of entities. In this paper I will take a closer look at the semantic behavior of existence predicates in natural language, such as exist, occur, and obtain, arguing that existence predicates in natural language support the two less common philosophical views. I will develop explicit analyses of existence predicates in their time-relative and space-relative uses which will explain why they apply to some kinds of entities, but not others
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