“There Is an ‘Is’ in ‘There Is”’: Meinongian Quantification and Existence

  • Francesco BertoEmail author
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 373)


Against the mainstream Quinean meta-ontology, Meinongians claim: “There are things that do not exist”. It is sometimes said that the “there are” in that sentence expresses “Meinongian quantification”. I consider two supposedly knock-down meta-ontological objections to Meinongianism from the literature: (1) an objection from equivocation, to the effect that the view displays a conceptual or semantic misunderstanding, probably of quantificational expressions; and (2) an objection from analyticity, to the effect that sentence is Frege-analytically false i.e., it is synonymous with a logical falsity. Objection (1) is countered via a development of Williamson’s argument against epistemic conceptions of analyticity. Objection (2), which points at alleged linguistic evidence, is countered by resorting to linguistic counter-evidence. The upshot is a set-up of the debate between Quineans and Meinongians, in which the two parties disagree on substantive matters concerning de re the property of existence, taken as a natural property in the Lewis-Sider sense; and in which quick alleged refutations, such as objections from meaning-variance or analytic falsehood, rarely achieve their expected results.


Logical Truth Competent Speaker Linguistic Community Logical Inconsistency Bare Plural 
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Parts of this paper were presented at the 2013 Tübingen Metaphysics Workshop: thanks to the organizers Thomas Sattig and Alessandro Torza for having me, and to Graham Priest, Jason Turner, Boris Hennig, Bjørn Jespersen, Friederike Moltmann, and especially to Tuomas Tahko as the discussant of my talk, for their useful comments and remarks.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC)University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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