more from Peter van Inwagen

Single Idea 14228

[catalogued under 9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 6. Nihilism about Objects]

Full Idea

Van Inwagen says 'there are no tables', and 'there are tables' means 'there are some things arranged tablewise'. Presumably 'there are no tables' negates the latter claim, saying no things are arranged tablewise. But he should think that is false.

Gist of Idea

If there are no tables, but tables are things arranged tablewise, the denial of tables is a contradiction


comment on Peter van Inwagen (Material Beings [1990], 10) by David Liggins - Nihilism without Self-Contradiction 3

Book Reference

'Being: Developments in Contemporary Metaphysics', ed/tr. Le Poidevin,R [CUP 2008], p.182

A Reaction

Liggins's nice paper shows that Van Inwagen is in a potential state of contradiction when he starts saying that there are no tables, but that there are things arranged tablewise, and that they amount to tables. Liggins offers him an escape.

Related Idea

Idea 14227 We could refer to tables as 'xs that are arranged tablewise' [Inwagen]