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A Paradigm Theory of Existence: Onto-Theology Vindicated by W.F. Vallicella

By W.F. Vallicella

The center of philosophy is metaphysics, and on the middle of the center lie questions on life. what's it for any contingent factor to exist? Why does any contingent factor exist? name those the character query and the floor query, respectively. the 1st issues the character of the lifestyles of the contingent existent; the second one issues the floor of the contingent existent. either questions are old, and but perennial of their attraction; either have presided over the burial of such a lot of in their would-be undertakers that it's a solid induction that they are going to proceed to take action. For it slow now, the popular type in addressing such questions has been deflationary while it has now not been eliminativist. Ask Willard Quine what life is, and you may listen that "Existence is what existential quantification expresses. "! Ask Bertrand Russell what it really is for someone to exist, and he'll let you know that anyone can not more exist than it may be various: there 2 simply is not any such factor because the lifestyles of people. and naturally Russell's eliminativist solution signifies that one can't even ask, on discomfort of succumbing to the fallacy of advanced query, why any contingent person exists: if no person exists, there may be absolute confidence why anybody exists. let alone Russell's modal corollary: 'contingent' and 'necessary' can merely be stated de dicto (of propositions) and never de re (of things).

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But to do thisjob, a truth-maker must be a structured entity the structure of which is language- and mindindependent. If it is our distinguishing that first imports structure into states of affairs, then it is clear that states of affairs cannot serve as ontological grounds of the truth of our utterances and judgments. An ontological ground of truth must be mind- and language-transcendent. But if our mental activity is what first imparts structure to a state of affairs, then it is our mental activity which creates that which constrains the truth of our thoughts and utterances - which is absurd.

Thus the issue whether existence is a property of individuals is far from dead. We should, however, be alert to the possibility that what Frege et al. were denying when they denied that existence is a first-level property is distinct from what Salmon et at. are affirming when they affirm that it is. The plan of this chapter is to present various arguments for the thesis that existence cannot be a property, and thus for the thesis that the existing of an individual cannot consist in its instantiating of existence.

Panayot Butchvarov, Skepticism about the External World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 122 ff. 4 5 Butchvarov, op. , p. 134. " 6 7 Butchvarov, op. , p. 125. 8 Hector-Neri Castaneda, 'Thinking and the Structure of the World," Critica IV (1972), p. 55. 9 Quentin Gibson, The Existence Principle (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1998). , p. 1. 11 Ibid. , pp. 5-8. , p. 1. , p. 6. , p. 7. 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid. 18 This ambiguity is explained in my articles cited above. , p. 146. , p. 150.

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