Possible But Unactual Objects: The Classical Argument
Plantinga (Alvin)
Source: Plantinga - The Nature of Necessity, Chapter 7; pp. 121-149 (29)
Paper - Abstract

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    Chapter 7 explores the question: Are there or could there be, possible but non-existent objects? In the first half of the chapter, I critically assess the claim that an applied semantics for modal logic1 commits us to the claim that there are non-existent possible objects. I conclude that it does commit us to there being some possible world distinct from the actual world that contains some object distinct from anything that exists in the actual world; but it does not, however, commit us to the claim that there really are some things that do not exist. In the second half of the chapter, I develop a historically based argument for the conclusion that there are non-existent possible objects, which I call the Classical Argument. Importantly, the Classical Argument presupposes that singular negative existentials are possible. I end the chapter by showing that certain objections to the possibility of singular negative existentials fail, and that such existentials are indeed possible.
Contents
  1. The Question – 121
  2. Modal Logic2 and Possible Objects – 123
  3. How Shall we Take the Semantics? – 125
  4. Pure and Applied Semantics – 126
  5. Applied Semantics and Possible Objects – 128
  6. Are There Nonexistent Objects? – 131
  7. The Classical Argument – 133
  8. Proper Names and Negative Existentials: Russell – 137
  9. Proper Names and Negative Existentials: Searle – 139
  10. Proper Names and Negative Existentials: the Historical Chain View – 143
  11. Some Varieties of Singular Existentials – 144

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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