GE passages 09-10-7 d

GE passages 09-10-7 d - October 7, 2009 Grammar and...

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October 7, 2009 Grammar and Existence [1958] I. “straightforward abstract entities as Triangularity, Mankind, and the proposition that Tom is clever. [127] 'white' plays two roles, corresponding to triangular/triangularity. [129] III. Since the use of category words involves a prima facie commitment to abstract singular terms such as 'Triangularity'. .the question naturally arises, “Does the use of these singular terms [viz. 'Triangularity'] involve a commitment to Platonism?” [130] “[T]he widespread view that the introduction of predicate variables carries with it the use of such category words as 'quality', 'attribute', or 'property' is simply a mistake. [131] “'triangular' must be turned into 'triangularity' and 'f' to 'f-ness' as one moves from 'S is __' to '__ is a quality.” [131] IV. The issue of introducing classifying expressions: “I believe it is clarifying to read '(Ex) x is white' as ' Something is white', rather than 'There is an individual , x, such that x is white,' and '(Ef) S is f' as 'S is something' rather than 'There is a property , f-ness, such that S has f-ness,'. ..”[133-4] V. “It will be convenient to use the expresson 'that-p' as the variable which corresponds to 'p', as 'f- ness' to 'f' and 'K-kind' to 'K'.” [134] VI. “There is no general correspondence between existentially quantified formulae and existence statements. ” [135] “It is just as incorrect to read '(Ex) x is white' as 'There is a thing which. .' as to read '(Ef) S is f' as 'There is a property. ..' For unless one see that not even quantification over singular term variables of type 0 makes, as such , an existence commitment involving an ontological category, i.e. says ' There are particulars', one is likely to think that 'There are particulars' is unavoidable in a way in which 'There are qualities' might not be.” [135-6] “We can sum this up by saying that only where the so-called 'existential quantification' is a quantification over a context of the form 'i is an N' is a quantified statement the counterpart of a statement asserting the existence of objects of a certain sort—and this, after all, is analytic. Put this positively, the thesis seems to ring true. If, however, we make the same point negatively, by saying that to quantify over an adjective-, common noun-, or sentence variable is not to make the PMese equivalent of a statement asserting the existence of attributes, kinds, or propositions, it becomes clear that we have much more work to do.” [136] Now Geach's ' There is something which S is ' corresponds to our 'S is something '. And his insistence that the something which S is is white and not whiteness corresponds to our distinction between 'S is something' and 'S has (i.e. exemplifies) something'. Thus, in the terms of our analysis, Geach's 'There is something which S is ' (2 6 ) is the counterpart of '(Ef) S is f' (2) and he has correctly seen that the latter does not involve a commitment to the use of such abstract singular terms as 'whiteness' or 'tallness'. But while he is on the right track up to this point, he builds the above insight into a larger mistake. For
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GE passages 09-10-7 d - October 7, 2009 Grammar and...

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