Actual existence, identity and ontological priority

Erkenntnis 48 (2-3):209-226 (1998)
Abstract
The paper first distinguishes ontological priority from epistemological priority and unilateral ontic dependence. Then explications of ontological priority are offered in terms of the reducibility of the actual existence or identity of entities in one ontological category to the actual existence or identity of entities in another. These explications lead to incompatible orders of ontological priority for individuals, properties of individuals and states of affairs. Common to those orders is, however, that the primacy of the category of individuals is abandoned. This primacy is challenged in the paper also by epistemological arguments, and an onto-anthropological explanation is offered for the very common but false idea that individuals are ontological prior to all other kinds of entities. Finally ontological priority is discussed with respect to a fully specified system of ontological categories.
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