Logic and Language

Emanuel Rutten (VU Amsterdam): There are No Positive Universally Held Contingent Properties

Speaker: Emanuel Rutten (VU Amsterdam)
Title: There are No Positive Universally Held Contingent Properties
Time: 16:00 - 17:30
Location: ILLC Seminar Room F1.15

In this paper I argue that positive universally held properties are necessarily universally held. This rules out that for some positive property, everything merely happens to have it. After having presented and defended the argument, I show that it has a wide range of corollaries, such as that there are mereologically simple and composite things, physical and non-physical things, caused and uncaused things, and contingent and necessarily existing things. The argument has three premises. The first premise is the Frege-Russell-Quine view of existence, according to which there are no things that do not exist. The second premise is a Fregean theory of linguistic meaning. According to the third premise, two meanings coincide if and only if their reference sets coincide. The notion of a reference set is defined in the paper.