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Quantified Negative Existentials

Frederick Kroon
Dialectica
Vol. 57, No. 2, Special Issue: Do Ficta Follow Fiction? (2003), pp. 149-164
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42971487
Page Count: 16
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Quantified Negative Existentials
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Abstract

This paper suggests that quantified negative existentials about fiction – statements of the form "There are some / many / etc. Fs in work W who don't exist" – offer a serious challenge to the theorist of fiction: more serious, in a number of ways, that singular negative existentials. I argue that the temptation to think that only a realist semantics of such statements is plausible should be resisted. There are numerous quantified negative existentials found in other areas that seem equally "true" but where a realist semantics imports ontological commitments that few would want to embrace. In the final part of the paper I sketch an alternative pretense account of one such quantified negative existential, and suggest that the account gives us some reason to believe that quantified negative existentials in general, including quantified negative existentials about fiction, can also be understood in pretense terms.

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