Symbolic Existence in Hugh MacColl: A Dialogical Approach

  • Juan Redmond
Part of the Studies in Universal Logic book series (SUL)


In this paper, we present a dynamic dialogical interpretation of the notion of symbolic existence proposed by Hugh MacColl in 1906 in his book Symbolic Logic and its Applications. We begin by analyzing how MacColl presented the notion in the framework of his symbolic logic, which includes nonexistent objects. Then, from the perspective of dialogical logic, we propose a logical interpretation of the notion of symbolic existence implementing a dynamic quantifier and a dependency predicate inspired by the artifactual theory of Amie Thomasson. This allows us to show how the ontologically symbolic character of an entity may be understood as it relates to its possible existence and in a pragmatic context.


MacColl Existence Dialogical logic 

Mathematics Subject Classification

03A05 01A60 03B99 


  1. 1.
    Bencivenga, E.: Free logics. In: Gabbay, D.M., Guenther, F. (eds.) Handbook of Philosophical Logic. Vol. 3: Alternatives to Classical Logic. Synthese Library, vol. 166, pp. 373–426. Reidel, Dordrecht (1983). Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Clerbout, N.: First-order dialogical games and tableaux. J. Philos. Log. 42(3) (2013) Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Husserl, E.: Logical Investigations. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London (1970) (J.N. Findlay, Trans.) 1900 Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ingarden, R.: The Literary Work of Art. Northwestern University Press, Evanston (1931) (George Grabowicz, Trans.) Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lambert, K.: Free Logics: Their Foundations, Character, and Some Application Thereof. ProPhil: Projekte zur Philosophie, vol. 1. Academia, Sankt Augustin (1997) Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    MacColl, H.: Mr. Stranger’s Sealed Packet. Chatto and Windus, London (1889) Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    MacColl, H.: Ednor Whitlock. Chatto and Windus, London (1891) Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    MacColl, H.: Symbolic reasoning (IV). Mind 11(43), 352–368 (1902) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    MacColl, H.: Symbolic reasoning (VI). Mind 14(53), 74–81 (1905) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    MacColl, H.: Symbolic Logic and Its Applications. Longman, Green & Co, London (1906) Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    MacColl, H.: Man’s Origin, Destiny and Duty. Williams and Norgate, London (1909) zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Rahman, S.: Some remarks on Hugh MacColl’s notion of symbolic existence. Philos. Sci. 15(1), 149–162 (2011) MathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rahman, S., Redmond, J.: Hugh MacColl: An Overview of His Logical Work with Anthology. College Publications, London (2007) Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Redmond, J.: Logique Dynamique de la Fiction: Pour une Approche Dialogique. College Publications, London (2010) Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Russell, B.: The Principles of Mathematics. Cambridge University, Cambridge (1903) zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Thomasson, A.: Fiction and Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1999) Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de FilosofíaUniversidad de Valparaíso and ConicytValparaísoChile

Personalised recommendations