The Nature of Necessity, Chapter VIII

Alvin Plantinga

in Essays in the Metaphysics of Modality

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195103762
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833573 | DOI:
The Nature of Necessity, Chapter VIII

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The Classical Argument for possible nonexistent objects depends on both the possibility of singular negative existentials and the Ontological Principle. The Ontological Principle is the principle that any world in which a singular proposition is true, is one in which there is such a thing as its subject, or in which its subject has being if not existence. In this chapter, I show that the Ontological Principle is false and that whatever plausibility it enjoys is explained by the truth of a similar principle, namely, the Restricted Ontological Principle (which is the Ontological Principle applied only to predicative singular propositions). Thus, the Classical Argument fails. Moreover, I give an account of how fictional names function in order to show that statements about fictional subjects, for example, “Othello is a Moor”, do not express predicative singular propositions.

Keywords: being; existence; fiction; possible object; proposition; singular existential; singular proposition

Chapter.  5439 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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