Tuesday, October 16, 2007


What can I refer to? This chair that I'm sitting on, perhaps... but then, whilst there's surely something there (some actual stuff, or else my bum would not be so comfortable) and whilst I'm certain that calling it "a chair" is adequate for ordinary purposes, I'm not quite sure what precisely I've thereby referred to (as I'm not even sure that "is a chair" is a definite predicate expression) or even, therefore, if I've actually referred to anything in particular (to some definite thing; rather than, rather fuzzily, to some adequately delineated stuff). I'm not even sure that I can refer unambiguously to myself, with that word "I" (even though, as a substantial dualist, I do believe that I've an individual essence), since I'm not entirely sure that that word isn't also, in this language, a bit vague... Still, there does seem to be something for which that problem (of such demonstratives being fuzzily specified) won't arise: It seems clear that Everything can be referred to unambiguously. (So it's quite interesting that many philosophers, having accepted that logic is set-theoretical, entertain serious doubts about that:)

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