Monday, May 28, 2012

Brightly on meagre existence

David Brightly on singular existential statements here.  I liked this bit
[...]  there is an important asymmetry between singular existential assertions and denials. If the name 'Vulcan' has been properly introduced by a general existential assertion then 'Vulcan exists' tells us nothing new. In contrast, 'Vulcan doesn't exist' amounts to a denial of the general existential statement by which the name was introduced to us. On the other hand, if the name 'Vulcan' has not been properly introduced then 'Vulcan exists' is meaningless to us.
Although I'm sure I said the same thing myself somewhere :)

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4 Comments:

Blogger David Brightly said...

You did indeed! What I emphasise in a comment at Bill's here is how closely this fits with the rules of proof in FR logic.

I see that Bill says that this is question-begging. But it's the only logic I know :-(

2:12 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

This seems to conflate hypothesis with experimentation. If the research paper is entitled "The Higgs Boson Exists!", I'd expect to read more than just a set of general existential assertions.

2:31 pm  
Blogger Jason Hills said...

Ed,

I believe that I am firmly on Maverick's side, especially in point 6 of his post and again on point 10 where he calls you a "linguistic idealist." Our prior conversations lead me to think this, not reading Maverick's post. You act as if logical instantiation exhausts "existence" in both the terms logical and existential denotations, yet these are distinct, and the distinction is crucial when discussing, e.g., generals.

This disagreement is also why I haven't posted lately, as I have nothing to say once we are at that impasse, especially since I am not a logician.

Also, I concur with him that you feign incomprehension, though I would not add the cultural qualifiers that he does. I have heard of the tactic, but the preferred analogous tactic in the states would be besides-the-point reasoning in a counter-argument. At least you're being productive in your disagreement.

9:24 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>> You act as if logical instantiation exhausts "existence" in both the terms logical and existential denotations, yet these are distinct, and the distinction is crucial when discussing, e.g., generals.

As I said in my most recent post, it is Maverick's argument, rather than the claim itself, that I am challenging.

6:41 am  

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