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

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Abstract

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.

Keywords

Intensional logic Non-existent objects Essential properties Sortals Logic of common nouns Aldo Bressan Anil Gupta MLv Richard Montague Absolute concept Sort Substance sort Principle of identity 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Washington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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