How to Speak of Existence

In S. Lapointe (ed.), Themes from Ontology, Mind, and Logic: Essays in Honor of Peter Simons. Brill. pp. 81-106 (2015)

Abstract

To a first approximation, ontology is concerned with what exists, metaontology with what it means to say that something exists. So understood, metaontology has been dominated by three views: (i) existence as a substantive first-order property that some things have and some do not, (ii) existence as a formal first-order property that everything has, and (iii) existence as a second-order property of existents’ distinctive properties. Each of these faces well-documented difficulties. In this chapter, I want to expound a fourth theoretical option, which unfortunately has remained ‘under the radar.’ This is Franz Brentano’s view, according to which to say that X exists is not to attribute a property at all (first- or second-order), but to say that the correct attitude to take toward X is that of accepting or believing in it.

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References found in this work

Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Harvard University Press.
On What Grounds What.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.
Truth and Truthmakers.D. M. Armstrong - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work

Towards a Neo-Brentanian Theory of Existence.Mark Textor - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17:1-20.

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