Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

Non-existence, philosophy: non-existence is not simply expressible for the classical predicate logic which attributes properties through quantification in the form of (Ex)(Fx) "There is at least one x, with the property F" (in short "There is at least one F"), since existence is not a property. The form "There is at least one x that does not exist" is contradictory. See also existence predicate, "There is", existence, unicorn example, pegasus example, round square, proof of God's existence.

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 Excerpt Meta data

Books on Amazon
Hintikka I 37
Non-Existential Objects/Unrealized Possibilities/HintikkaVsQuine/Hintikka: Thesis: there are non-existent objects, namely in the actual world. (> Possibilia).
HintikkaVsQuine: the philosophers who reject them have thought too strongly in syntactic paths.
Hintikka: Thesis: one has to answer the question rather semantically (model-theoretically).
Fiction/Ryle: test: Does the paraphrase apply?
Terence ParsonsVsRyle: Ryle's test fails in cases like e.g. "Mr. Pickwick is a fiction".
HintikkaVsParsons: the relevance of the criterion is questionable at all.
I 38
Ontology/Language/Linguistic/HintikkaVsRyle: how should linguistic questions such as paraphrasability make decisions about ontological status?
Solution/Hintikka: for the question whether there are non-existent objects: model theory.
E.g. Puccini's Tosca: here, it is about whether the soldiers have bullets in their rifle barrels.
N.B.: even if they had some, these would be just fictional ones!
Model theory/Hintikka: model theory provides a serious answer. ((s) is "true in the model", means, it is true in the story that the bullets are there).
HintikkaVsParsons: one should not argue too strongly syntactically, i.e. not merely ask what conclusions can be drawn and which cannot.
Acceptance/Acceptability/Inferences/Hintikka: asking for the acceptability of inferences and of language and intuitions is syntactic.
Singular terms/ontological obligation/existence/Parsons: Parsons argues that the use of singular terms obliges us to an existential generalization. And so on a speaker. That is, it is a commitment to an inference.

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.

ParCh I
Ch. Parsons
Philosophy of Mathematics in the Twentieth Century: Selected Essays Cambridge 2014

ParTa I
T. Parsons
The Structure of Social Action, Vol. 1 1967

ParTe I
Ter. Parsons
Indeterminate Identity: Metaphysics and Semantics 2000

Hin I
Jaakko and Merrill B. Hintikka
The Logic of Epistemology and the Epistemology of Logic Dordrecht 1989

J. Hintikka/M. B. Hintikka
Untersuchungen zu Wittgenstein Frankfurt 1996

> Counter arguments against Parsons

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-07-23