Formal Philosophy – 35
The seminar Formal Philosophy – 35 was held on March 15. Jorge Méndez Martínez gave a talk called "On what there is not, fictional objects and problems concerning logical models"
Rather than proposing a new account of logical models, here I want to address some of the problems concerning fictional objects and their relationship with logical models. There are many reasons for this: on the one hand, there is a broad discussion regarding the problem of existence, which is, actually, a crucial philosophical issue; on the other, the problem of nonexistence or nonexistent entities has been present from the beginnings of analytic philosophy. Indeed, one of the motives behind Bertrand Russell’s “On Denoting” was to criticize Alexis Meinong’s tolerance towards “subsisting entities”. According to Russell’s solution, the discussion related to existence and nonexistence had come to a closure. However, important authors such as Quine and Kripke did not abandon the problem of nonexistence when they addressed the problem of modalities, for example. But maybe the most important attempt at addressing nonexistent objects was that of Karel Lambert’s free logic, id est, logic freed of ontological commitments.
I think, however, that free-logic models face some problems that call for a review, mainly if we consider new accounts (Sainsbury and Thomasson): the difference concerning nonexisting objects (from merely fictional objects to unactualized objects); the problem of intransivity, namely, when real-world predicates cannot be applied to nonexisting objects; and, finally, if the existence predicate (E!) attaches, or not, properties that are probably not being fully considered by the free-logic models. These are the issues I intent to address here and that is, for sure, an attempt to explore the bounds of logic.
Slides: On what there is not.pptx