Philosophers Index Abstract
- Problems arising from nonreferring names are addressed from the perspective of the direct reference theory. A solution consistent with Millianism is proposed to the problem of true negative existentials.
- A variety of theories of nonexistence are surveyed and a new theory of fictional objects is advanced.
- Distinctions are drawn among:
- existing general propositions involving empty concepts;
- once existing singular propositions;
- future singular propositions;
- merely possible singular propositions;
- singular propositions that could not exist (many of which are nonetheless true);
- singular propositions about fictional characters; and last but not least,
- "structurally challenged propositions," expressed by the most intransigent of negative existentials.
Oxford Scholarship On-Line Abstract
- It is argued that reference to the nonexistent, and belief of nonexistent propositions, are commonplace.
- True, singular, negative existentials vary by the semantic nature of the subject term or the ontological status of its designatum.
- The most common true negative existentials involve names that designate nonexistent things - actual past things, actual future, merely possible, or impossible.
- Fiction is not a case in point; fictional characters are real. Error is merely accidental fiction.
Nous; Sep98, Vol. 32 Issue 3, p277, 43p
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