Indeed, if we are to come to close quarters with any con cept, existence is the one that requires our attention. For we have here a concept that is particularly important in our judgments. In nearly everything we say we are implicitly saying something about existence. Except for a few classes of judgments, each judgment we make is an assertion Of the existence or of the non-existence of some entity; it is an assertion, that is to say, that can be turned into an exist ential proposition. It has sometimes been said that when ever we make a judgment we imply the existence of the subject of that judgment. But that this is not the case it has not been hard to Show. We need only think of an hypothetical proposition Of the form: If A is, B is. Here neither A nor B is said to exist, but the existence Of B is said to be contingent upon the existence of A. Exactly the same interpretation holds when the proposition is thrown into the categorical form: A implies B. And since per haps the most important judgments we have are judgments of this latter form, judgments in which the existence of the subject is not asserted, we cannot accept the thesis that in all judgments the existence Of the subject is assumed. But though it cannot be maintained that a judgment assumes the existence Of its subject, it does not follow that judgments as a rule have no existential import. Indeed, nearly all propositions, it seems to me, can be turned into propositions having a reference to existence. And it may be worth while to Show this in some detail in order that the importance of the concept existence may be realized.
Let us start with the proposition: Some men are bald. Here I am asserting the existence, not only Of men, but Of bald men. Bald men exist is exactly equivalent to Some men are bald. There is the same assertion Of existence when the particular proposition is negative. Some men are not patriotic means that some unpatriotic men exist.
In most particular propositions, consequently, we are making assertions that are equivalent to assertions of, existence. Singular judgments, on the other hand, are, if they are negative, equivalent to assertions of non-exist ence. George is not at home today means that a George who has the quality of being home today is a non-existent entity. When I think of such a George I am thinking of something that doesn't exist. And when I assert that George is not at home today I am asserting the non-exist ence Of this Object. In the case of affirmative singular propositions there is a two - fold reference to existence. Suppose, for example, I make the judgment: John Smith is now eating his dinner. I mean that a John Smith who is now eating his dinner is a real Object when I think Of such a John Smith I am thinking of an existing entity. And a John Smith who is not now eating his dinner is a myth, a non-existent entity. When I lay down the affirmative sin gular proposition: A is B, I am asserting that the A which is B is an existing entity, and that the A which is not B is a. Non-existing entity. And I am saying nothing more than this. It is in this way, then, that we find the existential import of most particular and singular propositions. Par ticular propositions are exactly equivalent to assertions of existence. Negative Singular propositions are exactly equivalent to assertions Of non-existence. And affirmative singular propositions are equivalent to propositions that attribute existence to one entity and non-existence to another.
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Publisher - Forgotten Books
Language - English
Author(s) - Alvin Thalheimer
Published Date - August 27 2019
ISBN - 9780331438178
Dimesions - 22.9 x 15.2 x 1 cm
Page Count - 118