Can negative existentials be referentially vindicated?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Lingua E Stile 29:397-419 (1994)
In The Theory of Objects, Alexius Meinong used true negative existentials to argue in favour of non-existent objects: in order to assert veridically that an object O does not exist, one has to refer to O itself1. From Bertrand Russell's "On Denoting" onwards, it has become a commonplace to say that this argument does not work. For every sentence apparently concerning non-existents one can provide a paraphrase which eliminates the singular term contained in it and therefore dispels the illusion of a reference to a non-existent item2. As is well known, this strategy implies that such a singular term is a camouflaged definite description. However, Saul Kripke and other supporters of the so-called new theory of reference have claimed that singular terms directly referring to their designation (ordinary proper names, indexicals, mass and substance terms: from now on, DR terms) are not at all synonymous with descriptions. In their opinion, true negative existentials represent no exception to this claim. In what follows I would like to stress that, though Kripke's critique of the Russellian treatment of negative existentials is convincing, his treatment of true negative existentials containing a DR term is flawed. Nor do other contemporary accounts that share Kripke's critique as far as these sentences are concerned fare any better. In fact, I think that Meinong's argument may be correct where true negative existentials containing DR terms are concerned. But I shall aim to demonstrate this elsewhere.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Alberto Voltolini (2004). Can There Be a Uniform Application of Direct Reference? Erkenntnis 61 (1):75-98.
Lenny Clapp (2009). The Problem of Negative Existentials Does Not Exist: A Case for Dynamic Semantics. Journal of Pragmatics 41 (7):1422-1434.
Anthony Everett (2007). Pretense, Existence, and Fictional Objects. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):56–80.
J. K. Swindler (1980). Parmenides' Paradox: Negative Reference and Negative Existentials. Review of Metaphysics 33 (4):727 - 744.
Itamar Francez (2010). Context Dependence and Implicit Arguments in Existentials. Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (1):11-30.
Samuel C. Rickless (2012). Why and How to Fill an Unfilled Proposition. Theoria 78 (1):6-25.
Christopher Hughes (1998). Negative Existentials, Omniscience, and Cosmic Luck. Religious Studies 34 (4):375-401.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads14 ( #160,457 of 1,696,258 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?