Quantified negative existentials

Dialectica 57 (2):149–164 (2003)
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This paper suggests that quantified negative existentials about fiction—statements of the form “There are some / many / etc. Fs in work W who don't exist”—offer a serious challenge to the theorist of fiction: more serious, in a number of ways, that singular negative existentials. I argue that the temptation to think that only a realist semantics of such statements is plausible should be resisted. There are numerous quantified negative existentials found in other areas that seem equally “true” but where a realist semantics imports ontological commitments that few would want to embrace. In the final part of the paper I sketch an alternative pretense account of one such quantified negative existential, and suggest that the account gives us some reason to believe that quantified negative existentials in general, including quantified negative existentials about fiction, can also be understood in pretense terms.



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Frederick Kroon
University of Auckland

Citations of this work

No Identity Without an Entity.Luke Manning - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (1):279-305.
Talking about nothing.Zoltán Vecsey - forthcoming - Logic and Logical Philosophy:1.

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References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
Reference and definite descriptions.Keith S. Donnellan - 1966 - Philosophical Review 75 (3):281-304.
The Varieties of Reference.Louise M. Antony - 1987 - Philosophical Review 96 (2):275.
Fiction and Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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