Tuesday, December 04, 2007

6.44 The mystical is not how the world is, but rather that it is.

And this is beyond language, haven’t we seen above? Indeed, isn’t “There is a world” nonsense? Frege distinguishes between mere existence and actuality, between existence and existence in a spatio-temporal field, causal chains, etc. (See Sluga’s book on Frege, pp. 88-90.) In Frege’s terms, ‘is’ in ‘There is a world’ could only be used in the very thin sense, and it isn’t clear what this sense is. “Affirmation of existence is indeed nothing other than denial of the number zero. Since existence is a property of concepts, the ontological proof of the existence of God fails in its aim.” (Foundations of Arithmetic, §53.) Saying ‘A world exists’ is saying something about the concept world, namely that it is instantiated, while saying ‘The world exists’, if “the world” is meant to be the name of something specific, makes no sense. “With a concept the question is always whether anything, and if so what, falls under it. With a proper name such questions make no sense. We should not be deceived by the fact that language makes use of proper names, for instance Moon, as concept words, and vice versa; this does not affect the distinction between the two. As soon as a word is used with the indefinite article or in the plural without any article, it is a concept word.” (Foundations of Arithmetic, §51).

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