Crossroads of logic and ontology: A modal-combinatorial analysis of why there is something rather than nothing
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 91 (1):17-46 (2006)
Although it is frequently said that logic is a purely formal discipline lacking any content for special philosophical subdisciplines, I argue in this essay that the concepts of predication, and of the properties of objects presupposed by standard first-order logic are sufficient to address many of the traditional problems of ontology. The concept of an object's having a property is extended to provide an intensional definition of the existence of an object as the object's possessing a maximally consistent property combination, consisting, for any property or its complement. Nonexistent objects by the proposed definition are those that either lack both some property and its complement, or have both a property and its complement included in its corresponding property combination. The definition in turn makes it possible to offer solutions based on purely logical concepts of such longstanding metaphysical problems as why there is something rather than nothing, and why there exists exactly one logically contingent actual world, itself a maximally consistent combination of true predication instances or facts. Additionally, the ontology upholds an argument in support of modal actualism and against modal realism, treating all logically possible worlds other than the actual world as predicationally incomplete nonexistent objects or semantic fictions.
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