The semantics of existence

Moltmann, Friederike
February 2013
Linguistics & Philosophy;Feb2013, Vol. 36 Issue 1, p31
Academic Journal
The notion of existence is a very puzzling one philosophically. Often philosophers have appealed to linguistic properties of sentences stating existence. However, the appeal to linguistic intuitions has generally not been systematic and without serious regard of relevant issues in linguistic semantics. This paper has two aims. On the one hand, it will look at statements of existence from a systematic linguistic point of view, in order to try to clarify what the actual semantics of such statements in fact is. On the other hand, it will explore what sort of ontology such statements reflect. The first aim is one of linguistic semantics; the second aim is one of descriptive metaphysics. Philosophically, existence statements appear to reflect the distinction between endurance and perdurance as well as particular notions of abstract states and of kinds. Linguistically, statements of existence involve a particular way of drawing the distinction between eventive and stative verbs and between individual-level and stage-level predicates as well as a particular approach to the semantics of bare plurals and mass nouns.


Related Articles

  • Semantics. Rynin, David // Western Speech;Winter1956, Vol. 20 Issue 1, p35 

    Focuses on the origin of semantics. Concerns with meaning and changes of meanings; Branch of linguistics; Problems of general semantics.

  • Logics of public communications. Jan Plaza // Synthese;Sep2007, Vol. 158 Issue 2, p165 

    Abstract  Multi-modal versions of propositional logics S5 or S4—commonly accepted as logics of knowledge—are capable of describing static states of knowledge but they do not reflect how the knowledge changes after communications among agents. In the...

  • Towards Japanese corpus-based semantic accessibility scale. Du Jia-li; Cai Jing-chun; Yu Ping-fang // Journal of Communication & Computer;Aug2009, Vol. 6 Issue 8, p76 

    A detailed analysis of semantic accessibility scale (SAS) based on Japanese corpus has been performed in this paper. Firstly, the method of systematic random sampling is devised for quicker comparison among six groups in ••••••••. Secondly,...


    This is the first part of the paper in which it is claimed that there is exactly one semantically relevant pragmatic process, namely saturation. Saturation ascribes content to an expression (or another suitable syntactic unit) with respect to the context of its use. Saturation is usually...

  • Verbal Integration: The Interaction of Participant Roles and Sentential Argument Structure. Ahrens, Kathleen // Journal of Psycholinguistic Research;Sep2003, Vol. 32 Issue 5, p497 

    This paper explores the interaction between sentence level syntactic information and the semantic information that is carried with the verb during sentence comprehension. A cross-modal integration task was employed to examine whether the number of participant roles (thematic roles associated...

  • SIGNIFICANCE OF GENERAL SEMANTICS IN SPEECH EDUCATION. Murray, Elwood // Western Speech;Jan1943, Vol. 7 Issue 1, p1 

    Discusses the importance of general semantics in the study and teaching of speech. Cases relating to problems frequently met by speech educators; Most striking factor from the standpoint of general semantics that relates to disordered evaluation; Implications on speech education.

  • The lexical typological profile of Swedish mental verbs. Viberg, Åke // Languages in Contrast;2004/2005, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p121 

    The lexical typological profile of a language is a crosslinguistically valid characterization of its lexical structure with particular focus on basic features which are language-specific. The paper deals with basic mental verbs in Swedish from this perspective based on data from translation...

  • On the Notion of Contrast in Information Structure and Discourse Structure. UMBACH, CARLA // Journal of Semantics;May2004, Vol. 21 Issue 2, p155 

    The idea of contrast plays an important role in the analysis of information structure and discourse structure. There is, however, some confusion as to what is meant by the notion of contrast. First, focus in general is held to establish a kind of contrast. Moreover, there is the notion of...

  • SEMANTICS OF DISTINGUISHING CRITERIA: FROM SUBJECTIVE TO INTERSUBJECTIVE. Takáč, Martin; Šefránek, Ján // Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems;2012, Vol. 10 Issue 3, p248 

    In this article we are aiming to build cognitive semantics over a first person perspective. Our goal is to specify meanings connected to cognitive agents, rooted in their experience and separable from language, covering a wide spectrum of cognitions ranging from living organisms (animals,...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics