nothing can be said truly about that, which does not exist

Terms express concepts in their ordinary use. They denote concepts in the contexts of propositional attitudes. This analysis agrees with Frege and the Stoics, whereby, in the words of Alonzo Church, nothing can be said truly about that, which does not exist. As the Eleatic Stranger taunts Theaetetus, ὅτι μάλιστα δύνασαι συντείνας πειράθητι, μήτε οὐσίαν μήτε τὸ ἓν μήτε πλῆθος ἀριθμοῦ προστιθεὶς τῷ μὴ ὄντι, κατὰ τὸ ὀρθὸν φθέγξασθαί τι περὶ αὐτοῦ, try with might and main to say something correctly about not-being, without attributing to it either existence or unity or plurality. (Plato, Sophist, 239b)

2 thoughts on “nothing can be said truly about that, which does not exist”

  1. impermanent existence

    Is it only the problem in the doctrine of not-being, as now he does not even comprehend the nature of Being? When truth can be spoken, it is not real truth.

    1. Re: impermanent existence

      It is really true that nothing can be said truly about not-being, τὸ μὴ ὄν. I cannot recall Church ever citing or speaking of Plato. This meeting of minds is too good to be a mere coincidence, though.

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