Title: A Free Logic for Fictionalism II
In Reference without Referents, Mark Sainsbury aims to provide an account of reference that honors the common-sense view that sentences containing empty names like “Vulcan” and “Santa Claus” are entirely intelligible, and that many such sentences — “Vulcan doesn’t exist”, “Many children believe that Santa Claus will give them presents at Christmas”, etc.— are literally true. Sainsbury’s account endorses the Davidsonian program in the theory of meaning and combines this with a commitment to Negative Free Logic, which holds that all simple sentences containing empty names are false. In this paper, I pose several problems for this account. In particular, I question the ability of Negative Free Logic to make appropriate sense of the truth of familiar sentences containing empty names, including negative existential claims like “Vulcan doesn’t exist”.
The talk will take place physically at FMI (Academiei 14), Hall 214 “Google”.