Impossible individuals as necessarily empty individual concepts

B.T.F. Jespersen, Marie Duzi, Daniela Glavaničová

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


We talk about ‘impossible objects’ in many areas, ranging from empirical and non-empirical theories to the realm of fiction, myth and folklore: a mathematical pendulum, a perfect market, the set of all sets that are not members of themselves, Kafka’s Gregor Samsa, Pegasus, The Puss in the Boots, and so forth. This paper proposes a hyperintensional account of a special case of impossible objects, so-called ‘impossible individuals’. Our (broadly Fregean) proposal is to identify ‘impossible individuals’ with necessarily empty individual concepts. The main goal of the paper is to develop a method that enables us to discover inconsistencies in specifications of individual concepts and thus prove that such concepts could not possibly be matched by an extension (an individual). Furthermore, this approach allows for a fine-grained individuation of impossible individuals. Fine-graining will not be explored in the present paper, but its very possibility adds to the overall plausibility of the present account.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLogic in High Definition
Subtitle of host publicationTrends in Logical Semantics
EditorsAlessandro Giordani, Jacek Malinowski
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-53487-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-53486-8, 978-3-030-53489-9
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameTrends in Logic
ISSN (Print)1572-6126
ISSN (Electronic)2212-7313


Dive into the research topics of 'Impossible individuals as necessarily empty individual concepts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this