The Forum for Philosophical Research at The School of Politics, IR & Philosophy (SPIRE) and the Research Centre for SPIRE, University of Keele, invites you all to the first 2012/13 Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture:


Kant on Existential Import

Dr Alberto Vanzo (University of Birmingham)

16 October 2012, 6-7.30 pm, CBA0.060, Chancellor’s Building, Keele University


All Welcome! Wine!



This talk reconstructs Kant’s view on the existential import of categorical sentences. Kant is widely taken to have endorsed the standard pre-Fregean view that affirmative sentences (the *A* and *I* sentences of the traditional square of opposition) have existential import, whereas negative sentences (*E* and *O*) lack existential import. I challenge this standard interpretation. I argue that Kant ascribes existential import only to affirmative /synthetic/ sentences. The discussion of Kant’s view on existential import yields support to two broader claims. First, since the reason why synthetic sentences have existential import does not fall within the remit of formal logic, Kant’s formal logic is a free logic, that is, a logic free from existential commitments. Second, contrary to common interpretation, Kant is a proto-Meinongian: he admits non-actual objects within his ontological inventory.


About the Speaker:

Alberto Vanzo is a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Birmingham. After receiving his PhD from the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice, he has held postdoctoral or research positions at the universities of Essex, Otago, and Padua. He works on Kant’s philosophy, early modern natural philosophy, and the history and methodology of philosophical historiography.


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