[hist-analytic] Empty Names

jlsperanza at aol.com jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed Jun 16 23:06:48 EDT 2010

Bayne in clarification to Jones:

"On quantification that
is another story. Getting the facts straight on that without getting
the calculus straight might not be possible; a lot depends on what
work one thinks can really be achieved with 'Ex'. I'm not so sure
it is the alpha and omega of 'existence', another topic."

--- For the record. I have corresponded with the editors of this newish 
thing with Stanford -- which SHOULD connect with Grice´s Vacuous Names. 
It´s EMPTY names.

From the Stanford site:


"Empty names, fiction, and the puzzles of non-existence" contains 13 
new papers

concerning the semantic and metaphysical issues arising from empty 
names, non-existence,

and the nature of fiction. The contributors include some of the most 
important researchers

working in these fields."

--- When I suggested Grice they implicated that he´d been dead for a 
couple. That´s why I´m warmed by Bayne and his attempt at having 
"History of Analytic Philosophy" a good go!

"Some of the papers develop and defend new positions on

these matters, while other papers offer some important new perspectives

and criticisms of the existing approaches. The book contains a

comprehensive introductory essay by the editors which

provides a survey of the philosophical issues concerning empty names, 

various responses to these issues, and the literature to date. The book 

be of interest to philosophers of language and to those interested in

metaphysics and the nature of fiction."

--- and add: "And Grice".

-- Table of Contents of Everett/Hofweber:

1. S. R. Schiffer
Pleonastic fregeanism and empty names

----- Schiffer should study Grice´s "Vacuous Names" VERY seriously and 
forget about Frege! (Just kidding).

2 K. A. Taylor:

"Emptiness without compromise"
--- the irony on Quine´s "ontological commitment". Grice´s goal in 
writing his thing, "Pegasus may not exist, but he FLIES alright":

3 A. Everett: Referentialism and empty names
--- this may relate to Bayne´s point on what "x" refers, what "a" 
refers, and so on. I was warmed by his note that "Ex" is hardly the 
alpha or omega of "existence" -- or "Existenz" with capital E!

4 A. Faderman: A myth.
The myth of vacuity.

5 K. Walton: Existence as metaphor?
Or pleonasm? Consider "Marmaduke Bloggs doesn´t exist" --- to use 
Grice´s example. For the matter, Horn has unearthed a Carrollian 
passage that just SOUNDS like Grice! -- it´s in Horn´s essay on thetic 
categorial statements and stuff.

6 F. Kroon: Negative existentials —
--- This is a favourite of Popper and others. Feyerabend. There´s a 
NEGATION of an existential that also relates. As when Ayer speaks of 
"the Mt. Everest is the highest mountain on earth" as being equivalent 
to say that "there is NO higher mountain THAN the Everest."

7. E. N. Zalta: Pretense theory and abstract object theory
Very Zalta-ish! He has also written on St. Anselm. I love him!

8 H. Deutsch: Making up stories
Make-believe as Grice prefers!

9 S. Friend: Real people in unreal contexts
Such as Borges! Bringing in Fiction can only confuse!

10 M. Richard: Semantic pretense —
Oddly, "pretense" is a pragmatic concept, hence the need to 
underqualify! It means "irony" in Greek!

11 P. van Inwagen: Quantification and fictional discourse
As in "the number of books I read over the summer". Give me a break! I 
love Ingwagen!

12 T. Hofweber: Quantification and non-existent objects —
This SHOULD relate to Bayne´s point about "x" and "a".

13 S. Yablo: A paradox of existence
--- Yablo should read and re-read Grice´s Vacuous Names. He knew Grice 
well, since Yablo´s thesis advisor at Berkeley was Davidson.

On the other hand, the authors GRICE cites in "Vacuous Names" include: 
the brilliant George Myro -- who will later create System G in Grice´s 
honour, Benson Mates (as Grice relied on both his "Elementary Logic" 
and on "word of mouth" -- Grice would possibly have never stayed in 
Berkeley for too long had he not met there these two geniuses: Myro and 
Mates. Grice cares to mention a few logicians he corresponded with from 
his "East Coast" agenda: Harvard and environs: C. Parsons and G. 

J. L. Speranza

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