Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective,but that logically they are sentential operators, as in
Fictionally [or in fiction], Sherlock Holmes is a detective.As adjectives, they are thus powerfully alienating. In this piece I want to highlight the logical difficulties we get into if we take these terms seriously as concept words. By this I mean that it makes sense to talk about their extension---the set of things that instantiate the concept. If A and B are concept words with extensions A* and B* then AB is a concept term with extension A*⋂B*.
Here Bill responds to a comment of mine which presents the beginnings of this idea. He says,
Is a (purely) fictional man a man? You might be tempted to say yes: Hamlet is fictional and Hamlet is a man, so Hamlet is a fictional man. But the drift of what I have been arguing over the last few days is that a fictional man is not a man, and that therefore 'fictional' functions as an alienans adjective. But I am comfortable with the idea that a merely possible man is a man. What is the difference?If a [merely] possible man is a man then the extension of possible man is a subset of the extension of man. Conversely, by analogy with p ⊢ possibly p, presumably a man is a possible man, and the extension of man is a subset of the extension of possible man. Hence man and possible man are equal in extension. This would render 'possible' otiose, and surely cannot be what Bill intends.
There might have been a man distinct from every man that exists. (Think of the actual world with all the human beings in it, n human beings. There could have been n + 1.) God is contemplating this extra man, and indeed the possible world or maximal consistent state of affairs in which he figures, but hasn't and will not ever actualize him or it. What God has before his mind is a completely determinate merely possible individual man[*]. There is only one 'thing' this man lacks: actual existence. Property-wise, he is fully determinate in respect of essential properties, accidental properties, and relational properties. Property-wise the merely possible extra man and the actual extra man are exactly the same. Their quidditative content is identical. There is no difference in Sosein; the only difference is Sein, and Sosein is indifferent to Sein as Aquinas, Kant, and Meinong would all agree despite their differences. As Kant famously maintained, Sein is not a quidditative determination, or in his jargon 'reales Praedikat.'
For this reason a merely possible (complete) man is a man. They are identical in terms of essence or nature or quiddity or Sosein, these terms taken broadly. If God actualizes the extra man, his so doing does not alter the extra man in any quidditative respect. Otherwise, he ould not be the same man God had been contemplating.
* As an aside, for consistency with other statements Bill has made elsewhere involving 'having before the mind' this should read,
What God has before his mind is a completely determinate merely possible individual intentional man.But 'intentional' is another of this class of powerfully alienating terms.