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Names and quantifiers

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‘Socrates is a philosopher’ gets rendered into an appropriate formal language of predicate logic by the likes of ; ‘Someone is a philosopher’ gets rendered by . The syntactic difference between a formal name and a quantifier-tied-to-a-variable vividly marks a semantic difference between the rules for interpreting the two resulting formal wffs. And there isn’t the same sort of immediately striking syntactic difference between the vernacular name ‘Socrates’ and the quantifier ‘someone’. That’s agreed on all sides, I guess. But many have wanted to say more — namely that, in English, there is no syntactic difference between the name and the quantifier. Thus, Quine writes that ‘one of the misleading things about ordinary language is that the word “something” masquerades as a proper name’. Well, presumably there is no masquerade if you can easily tell them apart by their surface look. So, more. . .

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News source: Logic Matters

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