Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Unicorn example, philosophy: the problem is about linguistic expressions for non-existent objects and principles of using these expressions. In logic it comes to the question of whether sentences containing expressions for non-existent objects are true, false, or senseless. See also Pegasus, nonexistence, reference, truth value, truth conditions, assertibility, meaning, sense, truth value gap.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Arthur N. Prior on Unicorn Example - Dictionary of Arguments

I 119ff
Unicorn example/existence/Reid/Russell/Prior: that which exists in heraldry, is not an animal but a picture.
, >Pictures, >Presentation, >Objects, >Levels/order, >Description levels.
I 155ff
"About"/unicorn": that a sentence is really about something that exists, can not depend on the form, because the form is the same, if the object is fictitious.
>Non-existence, >Fictions.
I 166
Unicorn/ontology/existence/Prior: solution: instead of a complex term "is thought of as having wings" functor, "it is assumed that". - (Instead of Russell s name-predicate basis).
>Functors, >Singular terms, >Descriptions.
Then "of x is assumed that it has wings" and "it is assumed that x has wings" both have equal force.
>de re, >de dicto, >Assertive force.

We do not need any additional assumption about the existence of x, because both say nothing when there is nothing that x designates.
>Existence, >Existence statements, >Non-existence, >Designation, >Denotation.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Pri I
A. Prior
Objects of thought Oxford 1971

Pri II
Arthur N. Prior
Papers on Time and Tense 2nd Edition Oxford 2003

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