Maverick finally replies to my circularity objections. I agree with his broad conclusion, as it happens. I just disagree with his way of getting there. He argues (I have numbered his sentences).
1. ‘Island volcanos exist’ is logically equivalent to ‘Some volcano is an island.’
Agree, of course.
2. This equivalence, however, rests on the assumption that the domain of quantification is a domain of existing individuals.
Disagree profoundly. The equivalence, being logical, cannot depend on any contingent assumption. From the logical equivalence of (1), it follows that ‘the domain of quantification is a domain of existing individuals’ is equivalent to ‘some individuals are in the domain’. But the equivalence is true whether or not any individuals are in the domain. E.g. suppose that no islands are volcanoes. Then ‘Some volcano is an island’ is false. And so is ‘island volcanos exist’, by reason of the equivalence. But the equivalence stands, because it is a definition. Thus the move from (1) to (2) is a blatant non sequitur.
3. If the domain were populated by Meinongian nonexistent objects, then the equivalence would fail.
This rests on the assumption that it is a contingent matter whether the description ‘Meinongian nonexistent objects’ is satisfied. But if the equivalence is logical, i.e. if ‘some objects are in the domain’ is logically equivalent to ‘some object in the domain exists’, then by definition there cannot be Meinongian nonexistent objects, any more than there can be bachelors who are married. Maverick takes an equivalence which is purportedly true by definition, then turns it into a contingent statement. But if it is contingent, the equivalence cannot be true by definition, he argues, and the rabbit is out of the hat.
4. The attempted reduction of existence to someness is therefore circular.
Wrong. The argument is fallacious, because the move from (1) to (2) is fallacious. We cannot agree that something is true by definition, i.e. subject and predicate are logically equivalent, to making its truth a contingent matter, as in (2).