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What does Kant mean by "Existence is not a predicate"?


You can say that tall lawyers as a class “exist”, since you are simply saying of a class that it is non-empty.

But you cannot say of this or that specific lawyer that he does or does not exist.

If you put your arm around your tax attorney and say “this man does not exist”, you are not saying anything (unless what you mean is not what your words themselves—unless, for example, you are saying, in an oblique and figurative way, that you arm is encircling empty space).

Kant was right, granting that he did a wretched job of clarifying his own meaning.

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