Review of Metaphysics 12 (3):352 - 360 (1959)

Of course it is necessary to distinguish clearly between statements which actually purport to be about non-existents and seemingly similar statements in which the question of non-existents is not in fact broached at all. These latter statements are to be distinguished from statements about non-existents, not in not being about non-existents and therefore being about existents, but in being distinct from the questions both of existence and nonexistence. They deal with another question altogether, namely that of the various predicative uses of the substantive verb. The statement "fairies have wings," for instance, is a statement falling within this latter category: it is not concerned with the existential status of the objects of reference designated by the subject term nor indeed with any designation whatever; merely with the signification and analysis of the concept "fairy"; whether having wings is a subsidary and implicit description within the signification "fairy."
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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Reprint years 1959
ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph19591236
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