Modeling Unicorns and Dead Cats: Applying Bressan’s ML ν to the Necessary Properties of Non-existent Objects

Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (1):95–121 (2018)
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Should objects count as necessarily having certain properties, despite their not having those properties when they do not exist? For example, should a cat that passes out of existence, and so no longer is a cat, nonetheless count as necessarily being a cat? In this essay I examine different ways of adapting Aldo Bressan’s MLν so that it can accommodate an affirmative answer to these questions. Anil Gupta, in The Logic of Common Nouns, creates a number of languages that have a kinship with Bressan’s MLν , three of which are also tailored to affirmatively answering these questions. After comparing their languages, I argue that metaphysicians and philosophers of language should prefer MLν to Gupta’s languages in most applications because it can accommodate essential properties, like being a cat, while being more uniform and less cumbersome.
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Archival date: 2018-03-20
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