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The Nature of Necessity$
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Alvin Plantinga

Print publication date: 1978

Print ISBN-13: 9780198244141

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198244142.001.0001

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Possible But Unactual Objects: On What There Isn't

Possible But Unactual Objects: On What There Isn't

(p.149) VIII Possible But Unactual Objects: On What There Isn't
The Nature of Necessity

Alvin Plantinga (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 concluded with the claim that the Classical Argument for possible non‐existent objects depends on both the possibility of singular negative existentials and the Ontological Principle. The Ontological Principle is the principle that any world in which a singular proposition is true is one in which there is such a thing as its subject, or in which its subject has being if not existence. In this chapter, I show that the Ontological Principle is false and that whatever plausibility it enjoys is explained by the truth of a similar principle, namely, the Restricted Ontological Principle (which is the Ontological Principle applied only to predicative singular propositions). Thus, the Classical Argument fails. Moreover, I give an account of how fictional names function in order to show that statements about fictional subjects, for example, ‘Othello is a Moor’, do not express predicative singular propositions.

Keywords:   actual, being, existence, fiction, possible object, predicative singular proposition, proposition, singular existential

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