First-Order Logic and Some Existential Sentences

Disputatio 4 (31):255-270 (2011)
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Abstract

‘Quantified pure existentials’ are sentences (e.g., ‘Some things do not exist’) which meet these conditions: (i) the verb EXIST is contained in, and is, apart from quantificational BE, the only full (as against auxiliary) verb in the sentence; (ii) no (other) logical predicate features in the sentence; (iii) no name or other sub-sentential referring expression features in the sentence; (iv) the sentence contains a quantifier that is not an occurrence of EXIST. Colin McGinn and Rod Girle have alleged that standard first-order logic cannot adequately deal with some such existentials. The article defends the view that it can.

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Stephen K. McLeod
University of Liverpool

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