It's quite interesting that Bill is persisting in this through

*argument*when it's clear (to me at least) that we are standing at the intersection of logic and language that lies at the

*foundation*of argument, if I can put it in that oblique way. He says

On the thin theory, 'An F exists' means the same as 'The concept *F* is instantiated.'He sees this as a thesis about the nature of

*existence*that thinists would want to defend, also by argument. I'm not sure this is the right way of looking at it at all. I see it as a recipe for the elimination of the verb

*to exist*. The general form 'An

*F*exists' can always be replaced by 'The concept

*F*is instantiated', or, better still, the plain old Anglo-Saxon, 'there is an

*F*'. But this form is harmless. The singular form, '

*a*exists', where '

*a'*is a proper name, is potentially harmful. But it can always be avoided because, at least in formal argument, every proper name must be introduced in the context of a general existential assertion. 'There is an

*F*' introduces a scope (a block of statements) in which we can say 'let this

*F*be denoted by '

*a*'', where

*'a'*is a new name that does not appear elsewhere in the development. Within this block the name

*'a'*can be used freely. There is no need to assert '

*a*exists'. Indeed, it's interesting to note that without the Latinate

*to exist*(from

*exsistere,*to step forth, literally

*ex+sistere,*out+to stand)

*English has no form for expressing this: '*

*a*is', perhaps, but this seems to invite '

*a*is what?' However, one can say, pointing simultaneously, 'there is

*a*', and, seeing for himself, one's listener can interpolate 'there is some object; it's to be called '

*a'*from now on'. This understanding is

*beneath*language, as it were. The general existential assertion that opens the scope becomes a premise of the argument. Alternatively, as in most mathematical arguments, it may be proved. Budding mathematicians are taught early on that you must first prove an existential assertion before introducing a name. 'Let

*n*be the least number that satisfies

*p*' has to be preceded by a proof that there is such a least number. This can go wrong in two ways: there may be no numbers that satisfy

*p*; or there may be some such numbers, but no least one. Failing to observe this rule of argument gets your proof into trouble and you into trouble with your tutor. I don't see why philosophical argument need be any different.

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