This confuses the question of whether (A) a universal proposition like "all dragons are fire-breathing" implies what traditional logicians call the particular or I proposition "some dragons are fire-breathing ", and (B) whether the I proposition "some dragons are fire-breathing" implies the existential proposition "fire-breathing dragons exist". The first part of the definition 'the implications of a proposition as to what exists' is correct. But the second part (that the universal can be true although nothing is F) is too strong. Those of a realist disposition (such as Meinong and possibly the Phoenicians over at camp Vallicella) may hold that 'some things are F' may be true even when no F's exist.
Existential Import: The implications of a proposition as to what exists. If a proposition entails the existence of something, then it has existential import. It should be noticed that in the predicate calculus the universal quantification (∀x)(Fx → Gx) has no existential import, since it is true when nothing is F.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Existential import at Answers.com
Whenever I check the traffic for this blog, I always have a look at the Google queries that got people here. Some of them are quite eccentric, such as people asking whether it will rain tomorrow, and getting this post on future contingents, which they probably didn't want. However, those asking for Existential Import probably got what they wanted. Google ranks this blog #3. As for the second, at Answers.com, their answer illustrates perfectly the conflation that I discuss here. It says: