Single Idea 18917

[catalogued under 7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 6. Criterion for Existence]

Full Idea

Existence and nonexistence are not primarily properties of individual objects (dogs, unicorns), but of totalities. To say that some object exists is just to say that it is a constituent of the world, which is a characteristic of the world, not the object.

Gist of Idea

Existence and nonexistence are characteristics of the world, not of objects


George Engelbretsen (Trees, Terms and Truth [2005], 4)

Book Reference

'The Old New Logic', ed/tr. Oderberg,David S. [MIT 2005], p.43

A Reaction

This has important implications for the problem of truthmakers for negative existential statements (like 'there are no unicorns'). It is obviously a relative of Armstrong's totality facts that do the job. Not sure about 'a characteristic of'.

Related Ideas

Idea 18916 Facts are not in the world - they are properties of the world [Engelbretsen]

Idea 14394 It is implausible that claims about non-existence are about existing things [Merricks]

Idea 18377 Negative truths have as truthmakers all states of affairs relevant to the truth [Armstrong]