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Empty Representations$
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Manuel García-Carpintero and Martí Genoveva

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199647057

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199647057.001.0001

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What is Existence?

What is Existence?

(p.245) Chapter 9 What is Existence?
Empty Representations

Nathan Salmon

Oxford University Press

Four accounts, three of them Kantian, of true sentences of the form ‘ exists’ are contrasted. Russell’s theory that such sentences are meaningless is contrasted with two other Kantian theories that are analogous to one another: Frege’s semantic-ascent theory and the Frege-inspired ungerade (indirect, ‘oblique’) theory. Frege’s objection to the semantic-ascent account of identity is applied, ironically with equal force, against his account of existence. A second argument favouring the ungerade theory is offered. The argument is then refuted through an application of a general strategy suggested by Kripke. A fourth theory, the deeply anti-Kantian existence-as-predicate theory, fully accommodates these results.

Keywords:   existence, nonexistence, God, predicates, properties, semantic ascent

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