“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)

Abstract

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
PublisherSpringer
Pages221-240
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319183626
ISBN (Print)9783319183619
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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