States of Affairs as Structured Extensions in Free Logic

Hans-Peter Leeb



The search for the extensions of sentences can be guided by Frege’s “principle of compositionality of extension”, according to which the extension of a composed expression depends only on its logical form and the extensions of its parts capable of having extensions. By means of this principle, a strict criterion for the admissibility of objects as extensions of sentences can be derived: every object is admissible as the extension of a sentence that is preserved under the substitution of co-extensional expressions. The question is: what are the extensions of elementary sentences containing empty singular terms, like ‘Vulcan rotates’. It can be demonstrated that in such sentences, states of affairs as structured objects (but not truth-values) are preserved under the substitution of co-extensional expressions. Hence, such states of affairs are admissible (while truth-values are not) as extensions of elementary sentences containing empty singular terms.


states of affairs; structured objects; non-existence; extension; extensionality; free logic

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ISSN: 1425-3305 (print version)

ISSN: 2300-9802 (electronic version)

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