A Free Logic for Fictionalism (Mircea Dumitru)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on November 30th from 4:15-6:15 (NY time) via Zoom for a talk by Mircea Dumitru (Bucharest).

Title: A Free Logic for Fictionalism

Abstract: In Reference without Referents, Mark Sainsbury aims to provide an account of reference that honours the common-sense view that sentences containing empty names like “Sherlock Holmes”, “Vulcan”, and “Santa Claus” are entirely intelligible, and that many such sentences — “Vulcan doesn’t exist”, “Many children believe that Santa Claus will give them presents at Christmas”, etc.— are literally true. Sainsbury’s account endorses the Davidsonian program in the theory of meaning, and combines this with a commitment to Negative Free Logic, which holds that all simple sentences containing empty names are false. In my talk, I pose a number of problems for this account. In particular, I question the ability of Negative Free Logic to make appropriate sense of the truth of familiar sentences containing empty names, including negative existential claims like “Vulcan doesn’t exist”.

Note: this is based on joint work with Frederick Kroon (Auckland).

1 thought on “A Free Logic for Fictionalism (Mircea Dumitru)”

  1. I wonder what would the semantic value of a statement by a child, “I sat on Santa Claus’ lap.” I assume you know Peter Geach’s puzzle and the sequel “A New Puzzle about Intentional Identity”
    by Walter Edelberg?

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