Graham Priest presents a ground-breaking account of the semantics of intentional language--verbs such as "believes," "fears," "seeks," or "imagines." Towards Non-Being proceeds in terms of objects that may be either existent or non-existent, at worlds that may be either possible or impossible. The book will be of central interest to anyone who is concerned with intentionality in the philosophy of mind or philosophy of language, the metaphysics of existence and identity, the philosophy of fiction, the philosophy of mathematics, or (...) cognitive representation in AI. (shrink)
I develop ontological pluralism about non-being, the view that there are multiple ways, kinds, or modes of non-being. I suggest that the view is both more plausible and defensible than it first seems, and that it has many useful applications across a wide variety of metaphysical and explanatory problems. After drawing out the relationship between pluralism about being and pluralism about non-being, I discuss quantificational strategies for the pluralist about non-being. I examine historical precedent for (...) the view. Finally, I suggest that pluralism about non-being has explanatory power across a variety of domains, and that the view can account for differences between nonexistent past and future times, between omissions and absences, and between different kinds of fictional objects. (shrink)
How Non-being Haunts Being explores the many different modes of absence and non-being that pervade life, language, thought, and culture. A highly readable book of great interest to a wide audience, it ensures that readers will never think of life, death, or themselves, the same way again.
In Volume i of his Systematic Theology , Paul Tillich says, ‘Being precedes nonbeing in ontological validity, as the word “nonbeing” itself indicates’ . He also says elsewhere, ‘Being “embraces” itself and nonbeing’, and ‘Nonbeing is dependent on the being it negates. “Dependent”—points first of all to the ontological priority of being over nonbeing’ . Tillich makes these statements in connection with a tendency among some Christian thinkers to take God as Being itself. The same (...) understanding of the relation of being and non-being can be discerned in major strands of Greek philosophy through the ideas of to on and me on . Although Greek philosophy and the Christian movement have different starting points in time, in geographical locale, in conceptual orientation, Tillich's statements demonstrate the manner in which the two strands have, to a significant degree, merged, and his comments reflect a basic under standing of being and nonbeing in the West. (shrink)
This essay in the comparative metaphysic of nothingness begins by pondering why Leibniz thought of the converse question as the preeminent one. In Eastern philosophical thought, like the numeral 'zero' (śūnya) that Indian mathematicians first discovered, nothingness as non-being looms large and serves as the first quiver on the imponderables they seem to have encountered (e.g., 'In the beginning was neither non-being nor being: what was there, bottomless deep?' RgVeda X.129). The concept of non-being and its (...) permutations of nothing, negation, nullity, etc., receive more sophisticated treatment in the works of grammarians, ritual hermeneuticians, logicians, and their dialectical adversaries variously across Jaina and Buddhist schools. The present analysis follows the function of negation/the negative copula, nãn, and dialetheia in grammar and logic, then moves onto ontologies of non-existence and extinction and further suggestive tropes that tend to arrest rather than affirm the inexorable being-there of something. After a discussion of interests in being (existence), non-being and nothingness in contemporary metaphysics, the article examines Heidegger’s extensive treatment of nothingness in his 1929 inaugural Freiburg lecture, 'Was ist Metaphysik?', published later as 'What is Metaphysics?' The essay however distances itself from any pretensions toward a doctrine of Metaphysical Nihilism. (shrink)
This essay questions the meaning of be-ing and non-be-ing in the DDJ with regard to the root-source meaning of dao. I first explore the meaning of dao as the dark non-be-ing, revealing the connotations of the distinction between dao and things by comparison with some forms of Western metaphysics. The meaning of non-be-ing is elaborated in terms of the dynamic meanings of xu 虚 and chong 沖; The play between be-ing and non-be-ing is explored through the lens of yin and (...) yang qi thinking. Qi thinking determines the mutually manifest and mutually interpretive characteristic of be-ing and non-be-ing. Be-ing and non-be-ing thus understood is an ever-flowing and mutually transforming process that penetrates the different levels of dao, things and humans. In the last part I investigate the meaning of “Be-ing comes from non-be-ing”. (shrink)
This essay argues two main points by analyzing Sengzhao’s contentions regarding several basic Buddhist concepts such as emptiness, being, and nonbeing. First, Sengzhao synthesizes Daoist methods of argumentation into his description of the middle path and other Buddhist concepts. Second, he revives Daoist concepts, giving them Buddhist meaning and expressing them in Buddhist terms. In the process, he consciously differentiates Madhyamika Buddhism from earlier Buddhism as understood from a Daoist perspective, such as the teachings of the School of Original (...) Non-Being and the School of No-Mind. However, because his understanding of the middle path is not sufficiently deep, he wavers between Buddhist and Daoist understandings of terms such as prajñā and nirvāṇa, rest and movement, and name and reality. Despite these inconsistencies, his discourse, as the first attempt to differentiate Madhyamika from Daoism, is still a milestone in the development of Chinese Buddhism and has exerted a far-reaching influence on later generations. (shrink)
There are genuine references to non?existent objects, as can be seen through elucidating reference in common language and applying the criteria enumerated to expressions used in writing and speaking about fiction. The concept of a fictitious entity is simply accepted in the adoption of the ?language?game? of fiction and has no undesirable ontological consequences. To think otherwise is to fail to attend to the conceptual status of such talk. Accounts of fictional discourse by Russell, Ryle, and Chisholm are found objectionable. (...) The concept of existence is touched on, and consequences concerning reference to abstract and other objects and also concerning method in ontology mentioned. (shrink)
[PHILPEOPLE DOESN'T ALLOW PARAGRAPH BREAKS IN ABSTRACTS...] My [Frank Scalambrino's] dissertation first traces the development of a philosophical theory of ontological negation from Plato’s Parmenides and Sophist through Aristotle’s Metaphysics to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, especially his “Table of Nothing” (A 292). Whereas Plato’s “puzzle of non-being” sets the stage for the subsequent discussion of ontological negation, Kant’s Table of Nothing provides a formalization of the possible solutions to the puzzle. According to Kant, there are four (4) different (...) ways in which “ontological negation” could be meant. By way of this formalization two major trends for interpreting ontological negation may be seen in the history of Western philosophy. The Aristotelian trend may be seen as a reduction of ontological negation to logical negation such that the fourth possibility in Kant’s Table of Nothing is eliminated. This Aristotelian trend was later adopted by both Hegel and Heidegger. [NEW PARAGRAPH........................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .......]The Platonic trend, exemplified by the “puzzle of non-being” from the Sophist, affirms what is later formalized as the fourth possibility in Kant’s Table of Nothing. How exactly to characterize such ontological negation is precisely “the puzzle of non-being.” The idea being that if it is not even possible to characterize this type of ontological negation, then it should be eliminated, that is, by following Aristotle’s trend and reducing ontological negation to logical negation. It was as a reaction against Hegel, and thereby the Aristotelian trend regarding ontological negation, then, which prompted Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida to take up the puzzle of non-being and pursue the Platonic trend. [NEW PARAGRAPH........................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .......]Both of their solutions to the puzzle of non-being follow the Platonic trend in two (2) ways: first, they affirm the fourth possibility in Kant’s Table of Nothing, and, second, they take an approach already initiated in the Sophist; that is, they attempt to characterize ontological negation in terms of one of Plato’s “Great Kinds” – Difference. Of course, both Deleuze and Derrida take a post-Kantian approach to characterizing ontological negation in terms of difference. In fact, given the internal criteria of the puzzle of non-being, in terms of historical hindsight, Kant’s critical turn seems a necessary condition for solving the puzzle. Therefore, both Deleuze and Derrida characterize ontological negation in terms of “pure difference.” When we interrogate the idea of “pure difference” we find that it refers to Différance in Derrida and what Deleuze refers to as “?-being.” [NEW PARAGRAPH........................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .......]Next, my dissertation provides a critical reading of “pure difference” in Deleuze and Derrida by criticizing the ability of “pure difference” to characterize the fourth possibility in Kant’s Table of Nothing. The criticism culminates in my advancing a different characterization of the fourth possibility in Kant’s Table of Nothing. Whereas Deleuze and Derrida provide solutions from the standpoint of a post-Kantian general ontology, I provide a solution from the standpoint of a philosophical psychology, understood in terms of Kant’s theoretical philosophy. That is to say, I provide a characterization of the fourth possibility in Kant’s Table of Nothing in terms of the relation between the Critique of Pure Reason’s Transcendental Aesthetic and the Transcendental Unity of Apperception. By juxtaposing a Kantian ontology in terms of philosophical psychology and general ontology, I examine the difference between the transcendental structure of internal time-consciousness and the register in general ontology conforming to the transcendental structure of time-consciousness, specifically what may be understood as the transcendental structure conditioning the human experience of the duration of a moment. Given that this structure is both “transcendental” and the condition for experiencing “duration,” I refer to it as “transcendental memory.” [NEW PARAGRAPH........................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .......]Thus, the limits constituting the experience of the duration of a moment for humans may be used to characterize the fourth possibility in Kant’s Table of Nothing. On the one hand, this provides a solution to the puzzle of non-being along the lines of the Platonic trend. On the other hand, this provides a solid basis for criticizing attempts to solve the puzzle along the Aristotelian trend. Further, the solution to the puzzle of non-being found in my dissertation provides a way to extend Kant’s theoretical philosophy and a pathway for future metaphysics. (Frank Scalambrino, Ph.D. Duquesne University, 2011). (shrink)
There is a common belief that non-being and nothingness are identical, a widespread, even general delusion the wrongness of which I will try to demonstrate in this work. And which I consider even more important, that is to define nothingness for further determination of “its” place and role in the reality and especially in human life.
Graham Priest's new book is about things being about things—about what it is for things which are about things, such as beliefs, hopes and fears, and the like, and sentences which express them, to be about the things they are about, and about the range of things about which things which are about are about—in a word, intentionality. It has two principal objectives—to develop a formal semantics for intentionality, and to promote and defend a philosophical thesis about what exists (...) and what does not. The semantics proposed is an extension of the familiar ‘world’1 semantics for modal logic. The philosophical thesis asserts that while some things exist, not everything does, or equivalently that while some things exist, some others do not. Priest, following Richard Routley , calls this Noneism to mark the divergence from Meinong's view, with which, nevertheless, it has a good deal in common. Meinong likewise denies that everything exists, and asserts that some things exist and some do not, but further holds that some things which, according to him, do not exist do have another ‘form of being’—they ‘subsist’ rather than exist—while other things which, according to him, do not exist do not exist simpliciter . Noneism avoids this complication, at least, and—or so Priest claims—avoids proliferating kinds of being altogether, requiring only a single kind of being and a distinction between two kinds of quantifier. In the noneist view, the basic universal and particular quantifiers are to be understood in an ontologically unloaded way, as ranging over a single all-inclusive domain of objects, some of which exist and some of which do not. The usual—existentially loaded—quantifiers are construed as a type of restricted quantifier, definable using an existence predicate: ‘GraphicxAx’ as ‘For some x, …. (shrink)
In Plato’s Statesman, the Eleatic Stranger explains that the division of all human beings into Greek and barbarian is mistaken in that it fails to divide reality into genuine classes or forms (eidē). The division fails because “barbarian” names a privative form, that is, a form properly indicated via negation: non-Greek. This paper examines how the Stranger characterizes privative forms in the Sophist. I argue that although the Stranger is careful to define privative forms as fully determinate, he nevertheless characterizes (...) them as having a structure unlike that of their non-privative counterparts. A privative form, in contrast to a non-privative form, is indifferent to the specificity of its members. (shrink)
Meinong’s object theory suggests the possibility of making progress in a third alternative with respect to the long-standing apparently intractable collision in the metaphysics of Platonic realism versus nominalism. Meinong’s own views on the existence of such abstract mathematical entities as numbers and geometrical figures are considered, and the possibility of treating relations in particular as nonexistent Meinongian intended objects is developed at length. Russell’s argument that relations must exist as universals, even if qualities at first are not assumed to (...) be existent, in order to do justice to the truth conditions of our predications of ordinarily properties to multiple ordinary objects, is also considered in this context as potentially undermining the Meinongian interpretation of relations as nonexistent. The effect of making relations nonexistent despite Russell’s argument is to achieve a considerable ontic reduction in a logic’s referential semantic domain, in accord with the methodological principle of Ockham’s razor not to multiply entities beyond explanatory necessity. (shrink)
Resumo: No fragmento DK 28 B 2 de seu poema, Parmênides apresenta seu método para distinguir a persuasão verdadeira da falta de persuasão verdadeira. As famosas duas vias para o pensar que ele propõe são o enunciado complexo de um sistema que quer garantir a veracidade das afirmações para obter, afinal, um discurso confiável, o único capaz de persuasão verdadeira. O presente artigo mostra que o papel central da argumentação parmenidiana é atribuído ao não-ser, uma noção derivada certamente de uma (...) reflexão sobre a impossibilidade da negação do ser. Assim, o inteiro fragmento é interpretado a partir dessa noção central, evidenciando que Parmênides descobre aquela impossibilidade de negação, que hoje nós chamamos de "contradição", e enuncia qual é a maneira de evitar a contradição no pensamento e no discurso, uma regra que atualmente nós chamamos princípio de não-contradição. O estudo aqui apresentado faz uma investigação detalhada da noção de não-ser, no fragmento DK 28 B 2, oferecendo finalmente uma nova tradução.: In fragment DK 28 B 2 of his poem, Parmenides presents his method for distinguishing true persuasion from the lack of true persuasion. His famous proposal of these two ways of thinking form a complex statement of a system that intends to guarantee the veracity of statements in order to obtain reliable discourse, the only discourse capable of true persuasion. The present paper shows that the central role in Parmenidian argumentation is attributed to non-being, a notion derived from a reflection on the impossibility of the negation of being. Thus the whole fragment is interpreted in terms of this central notion. We show that Parmenides discovered the impossibility of negation, which we now call 'contradiction', and that he articulated the means for avoiding contradiction in thought and discourse, a rule which today we call the principle of non-contradiction. The study presented here is a detailed investigation of the notion of non-being in the DK 28 B 2 fragment, and includes a new translation of it. (shrink)
Maybe there is something rather than nothing because the nothingness force acted on itself, and when the nothing nothings itself it produces something. Robert Nozick suggested this as a candidate explanation of the fact that there is something rather than nothing. If he is right that it is a candidate explanation, we should pay attention: there are not many candidates out there. But his "explanation" looks, instead, like a paradigm case of philosophical nonsense. In this paper I describe a "metaphysical (...) dynamics" that makes sense out of Nozick's apparent nonsense. (shrink)
In Metaphysics III, Chapter 4, Aristotle sets out and defends the Law of Non-Contradiction. The arguments are, however, rather less satisfactory than one might have expected, given the enormous historical influence the text has had. His major argument is a particularly tangled one, and the others are often little more than throw-away remarks. This essay is a commentary on the chapter, but its aim is less to interpret the text , than to see whether there is anything that Aristotle could (...) have meant that would have served his purpose. Whilst other commentators have sometimes attempted this, they have always taken his conclusion to be correct, even if his arguments were not; I do not. The commentary is therefore a confrontation between Aristotle and modern dialetheism. (shrink)
This article presents and evaluates arguments supporting that an approval procedure for genome-edited organisms for food or feed should include a broad assessment of societal, ethical and environmental concerns; so-called non-safety assessment. The core of analysis is the requirement of the Norwegian Gene Technology Act that the sustainability, ethical and societal impacts of a genetically modified organism should be assessed prior to regulatory approval of the novel products. The article gives an overview how this requirement has been implemented in the (...) regulatory practice, demonstrating that such assessment is feasible and justified. Even in situations where genome-edited organisms are considered comparable to non-modified organisms in terms of risk, the technology may have—in addition to social benefits—negative impacts that warrant assessments of the kind required in the Act. The main reason is the disruptive character of the genome editing technologies due to their potential for novel, ground-breaking solutions in agriculture and aquaculture combined with the economic framework shaped by the patent system. Food is fundamental for a good life, biologically and culturally, which warrants stricter assessment procedures than what is required for other industries, at least in countries like Norway with a strong tradition for national control over agricultural markets and breeding programs. (shrink)
Can physicalism (or materialism) be non-reductive? I provide an opinionated survey of the debate on this question. I suggest that attempts to formulate non-reductive physicalism by appeal to claims of event identity, supervenience, or realization have produced doctrines that fail either to be physicalist or to be non-reductive. Then I treat in more detail a recent attempt to formulate non-reductive physicalism by Derk Pereboom, but argue that it fares no better.
The aim of this work is to show that the reality is not only the world of being, it is equally the world of non-being. Such an approach, as I think, is not nihilism, on the contrary - it helps to resolve many problems and contradictions confusing the philosophical mind. The reader will not find any citations or references in this work because I tried to bring it closer to Philosophy as it used to be in its early (...) stages and from which it has departed so far nowadays. (shrink)
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