Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Existence statement, existence assertion, philosophy, logic: the simple assertion of the existence of an object is problematic because it cannot be empirically refuted. In contrast, quantification is the attribution of properties, not of "naked" existence. E.g. "Socrates exists" is considered by some authors as senseless. See also bare particulars, predication, existence, quantification, existence predicate, iota operator.

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 Item Summary Meta data
I 203
Existence statement/existence sentence/non-existence/existence/representation/Millikan: neither e.g. "x exists" nor e.g. "x does not exist" is a representation.
Solution: The attribute "to have a referent" is a protoreferent of "exists".
I 204
Existence statement/Existence sentence/Non-Existence/Existence/Millikan: E.g.: "Tigers without stripes exist", e.g. "Girls who like math but do not like history exist" e.g. "Red cows do not exist".
Real value: such phrases have a real value, or they have none.
Real value: E.g.: "Albino snakes exist" the embedded sentence "snakes are albino" has as a real value all world conditions, which consist in that an individual snake is albino.
"Albino snakes exist": is an intentional icon, which maps the fact that the term "albino snake", taken on its own, has a
Real value: the expression type "albino snake" is a protoreferent of the token of "albino snakes" (plural) that exists in "albino snakes exist".
But this protoreferent is not identified! It is not its stabilizing function to be translated into an inner term.
Inner sentence: ultimately, there is a corresponding inner sentence, roughly like "Some snakes are albino". This sentence is then representative.
Representation: if "albino snakes exist", understood representationally, "exists" is a dummy predicate.
I 205
The present King of France is bald/Millikan: E.g. "The present King of France exists" is not only a false intentional icon and not a representation.
It is wrong because, in order to exercise its eigenfunction, it would have to correspond to a state in which "The present King of France" would have to have a referent, and such a fact does not exist.
N.B.: but it does not say "The present King" would have a referent. Like "The Nicholas exists", does not say it. Instead, it has a function.

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.

Millk I
R. G. Millikan
Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories: New Foundations for Realism Cambridge 1987

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2018-06-18