Stuart Brock on the problem of negative existentials, from “Fictionalism about Fictional Characters” (2002)
We do not want to commit ourselves to a realm of entities that have the property of being nothing merely because we can truly assert that there is nothing in the larder; we do not want to commit ourselves to an individual picked out by the description ‘the average basketball player’ merely because we can truly assert that the average basketball player is over four-foot tall. Semantic theories which treat such claims literally can, of course, be constructed. And as such, they have one advantage over the orthodox theories. Nonetheless, they are to be dismissed out of hand. Ordinary language claims such as these must be paraphrased away.