Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

Vulcan revisited: is the F an F?

Date: 16 May 2018

Time: 15:00

Place: Seminari de Filosofia UB

Abstract

This paper shows how my broadly Fregean formal semantic theory, upon amendment, is able to solve three problem cases that are variations of the sentence “The F is an F”. The amendment is the novel notion of so-called hyperoffices. These are fine-grained modes of presentation of individuals-in-intension and serve to logically model ‘impossible individuals’, which are, naïvely speaking, individuals that could not possibly exist. Hyperoffices are required for the third of the problem cases, whereas standard individuals-in-intension (so-called offices) suffice for the first two cases. My theory is Tichý’s Transparent Intensional Logic (TIL). I compare my amended version of TIL against the two neo-Meinongian theories of Zalta’s object theory (OT) and Priest’s modal Meinongianism (MM), which are already able to treat either contingently or necessarily non-existing individuals. Furthermore, the sentence “The F is an F” arguably lends itself to two importantly different readings. On one reading, property F is predicated of the object, if any, that is the unique instance of F. On the other reading, a necessary relation obtains between F and the condition for being the unique F. OT and TIL have each their own way of capturing these two readings, whereas MM denies that “The F is an F” states a necessary truth. The main result of this paper is that there is a broadly Fregean theory that fares well on typically Meinongian territory, namely cases where the unique F is non-existent.