A Fregean conception of singular existence
KeywordsFrege, Kant, Hume, Descartes, singular existence statements, names, free logic, classical logic
A perplexity about singular existence statements (for example, ‘Socrates exists’) is that for their negations to be true their subject terms do not name anything. For example, in ‘Pegasus does not exist’ ‘does not exist’ is not said in respect to the referent of ‘Pegasus’ since there is none. But, then, in respect to what is that said? The paper answers the question by proposing a metalinguistic interpretation of singular existence statements, according to which singular existence statements are about names. It is argued that this interpretation fits in well with Frege’s views on existence, presupposition, and his idea that names have senses.
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