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  • Cited by 2
  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: December 2011

Chapter 3 - Existence and quantification reconsidered


This chapter talks about understanding quantifiers in natural language, and the thoughts expressed by using these words. The first section states the standard view; the problem that intentionality poses for this view is given in the second section. In the third, this problem is distinguished from problems about whether 'existence is a predicate' and whether there is a distinction between being and existence. The fourth section describes the current state of play about quantification. In the fifth section, the chapter argues that representation of the non-existent should not give us reason to change the standard way of understanding the semantics of quantifiers. The last section sketches how this interpretation should fit with an understanding of so-called 'existential' sentences. The chapter indirectly challenges the Quinean revisionary view. If we aim to give a systematic account of our actual thought and language, we have to make room for quantification over the nonexistent.

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