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Thursday, February 25, 2016


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Thanks for this useful post. It seems clear that Inwagen's version of the numeration principle is different from Frege's. Frege only once mentions plural reference to my knowledge, but I have lost the reference.

I will take another look at the Grundlagen. However, none of this is germane to the issues in the previous post, IMO.

It might help to narrow our focus to 'Cats exist.' What is it about? All cats? Some cats? Does it make a plural reference to cats? Is it more like 'Cats are all over the bed' than like 'Cats are mammals'?

Or is 'Cats exist' about a non-cat: a concept, a property, a prop. function, a set, a mereological sum, the world? For example, does it say of the world that it contains cats?

What would you say, Ed?

My interest is inthe indefinite/definite distinction. ‘The cats’ is clearly definite: some particular cats. Thus ‘the cats are hungry’ is plural reference to those cats we are talking about. ‘Cats are hungry’ makes no sense. Or rather it does, but if we interpret it in the same way as ‘cats are animals’, it is false. Cats are not by nature always hungry, although by nature I imagine they get hungry when they haven’t had a nice snack (probably you know more about cats than I).

>> 'Cats are all over the bed'
If you mean ‘there are cats on the bed’, then it is clearly indefinite. If you go on to say ‘they are all black’, it is definite, and we have reference (i.e. back reference, but of course I admit no other kind).

>>Or is 'Cats exist' about a non-cat:
On my view, it means no more than ‘there are such things as cats’. Just as there are such things as people living outside the Phoenix metro area. I believe you are one of those, yes?

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