“There is an ‘is’ in ‘there is”’: Meinongian quantification and existence

Francesco Berto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


Against the mainstream Quinean meta-ontology, Meinongians claim: “There are things that do not exist”. It is sometimes said that the “there are” in that sentence expresses “Meinongian quantification”. I consider two supposedly knock-down meta-ontological objections to Meinongianism from the literature: (1) an objection from equivocation, to the effect that the view displays a conceptual or semantic misunderstanding, probably of quantificational expressions; and (2) an objection from analyticity, to the effect that sentence is Frege-analytically false i.e., it is synonymous with a logical falsity. Objection (1) is countered via a development ofWilliamson’s argument against epistemic conceptions of analyticity.Objection (2), which points at alleged linguistic evidence, is countered by resorting to linguistic counter-evidence. The upshot is a set-up of the debate between Quineans and Meinongians, in which the two parties disagree on substantive matters concerning de re the property of existence, taken as a natural property in the Lewis-Sider sense; and in which quick alleged refutations, such as objections from meaning-variance or analytic falsehood, rarely achieve their expected results.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuantifiers, Quantifiers, and Quantifiers
Subtitle of host publicationThemes in Logic, Metaphysics, and Language
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319183626
ISBN (Print)9783319183619
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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