Some of my Philosophy Writings


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Addendum to Foundational Frames: Descartes and Rand

Kant argued against Descartes’ view that the existence of one’s mind is more immediately and more certainly known than the existence of one’s body.[1] Kant cast out Descartes’ view that the mind is a thinking substance.[2] Because Kant rejected also Descartes’ ontological proof for the existence of God,[3] Descartes’ first philosophy collapses. Metaphysical arguments to rational necessity of the existence of God or immortality of the soul are all cases of reason flapping its wings in a vacuum, by the lights of Kant. The THE CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON (KrV) contains Kant’s case for a more limited scope for effective theoretical reason: stay within the bounds of possible sensory experience.

Kant accepted, as had Descartes and Aquinas before him, some notion that ‘I think’ entails ‘I am’. Then again, with Rand’s mature philosophy, acknowledgment that ‘Existence exists’ entails existence of one who acknowledges. For Kant, contra Descartes, ‘I think’ does not mean I think with a mental substance,[4] radically distinct from body; and thinking of my body and of bodies outside me is as certain as the circumstance that I think and that I exist as a thinking thing.[5] Kant had a role for ‘I think’ basic to his transcendental idealism, and such is not the role it had in the first philosophy of Descartes. Let me call Kant’s the “company-role” of ‘I think’.

“The ‘I think’ must be capable of accompanying all my presentations; for otherwise something would be presented to me that could not be thought at all—which is equivalent to saying that the presentation either would be impossible, or at least would be nothing to me.”[6] (B131–32)

Kant’s ‘I think’ is utterly dependent on there being rational judgments it attends. ‘I think’ is not premier of knowing, contra Descartes. Neither it nor the ‘cogito sum’ containing it nor join of the ‘cogito sum’ to the premise of divine, absolute perfection amount to an adequate foundation of all human cognition.[7] 

We might object, however, to Kant’s reasoning in the quoted passage. In early development we each had been perceiving and investigating and coordinating without any ability to reflect and realize of those episodes ‘I am having’ or ‘I am doing’, let alone ‘I am thinking’. It might be countered for Kant, in our current context of cognitive developmental psychology, that to each such episode adults around the infant or toddler can attach ‘He is having’ or ‘She is doing’ and that grown older the former little one could say of filmed early episodes ‘I was seeing’, ‘I was searching’, and so forth. The objection remains, for those remarks would be merely as from outside and pronounced on the little person, not by that person as he or she perceived, investigated, and coordinated. That such episodes occur without first-person capability to reflect and realize ‘I am having’ or ‘I am doing’ means that, notwithstanding the important fact of the company-role of ‘I think’ for all mature, discursive human cognition, it is not a necessary condition for the possibility of all human cognition in the apriori way Kant argued at B131–32. Kant’s argument there ignores the existential fact that discursive thought has a genesis from and an alliance with prelinguistic thought in early development. When Kant does discuss the pertinent infant development, in his anthropology lectures,[8] he foists the necessity argued in B131–32 off on all that development.

The company-role of ‘I think’ (as well as ‘I am having’ and ‘I am doing’) is a necessity for adult human cognition, though not for the ultimate reason and not with the type of ultimate necessity given it by Kant. And self-reflection is not a necessity for one’s earliest stage of cognition. The necessity of the company-role of ‘I think’ and its precursors ‘I am having’ and ‘I am doing’ is most basically biological, not transcendental. Without adult capability for some self-reflection, and its precursors in development, there will have been no capability for language, thence not yet human cognition in such a species. 

Conceptual necessities are from the life of mind situated in larger life situated in the world. Conceptual necessities do not require Kant’s conceit of generative mind as ultimate origin of temporal and spatial organization in sensory experience and objective world nor Kant’s conceit of generative mind as base origin of its own fundamental concepts as forms with which the world as known shall be. Necessary conditions on the possibility of experience and cognition are in my view rightly seen as situated within biological necessities, not within Kant’s supposed, wider transcendental necessities.[9] Organicism in human consciousness—with its unities, roles, interdependencies, and self-generations—is offspring of and sign of the biological nature of consciousness. Kant saw it rather the other way around.[10] As with any other body, the body of a physical organism is in his view an object standing in spatial, temporal, and causal connections whose source of necessity is the transcendental synthetic unity of apperception.[11] Organic unities of organisms, according to Kant, are to be seen as if they were designed by a cosmic intelligence, keeping in mind that those unities are projections of the unities of our own reason, which is to say organic unities of organisms are to be understood as if sourced (and as in fact divinely sourced) in organic unities of intelligence.[12]



[1] Kant 1781(A) and 1787(B): A366–80, B274–79.

[2] A343–47 B401–6, A348–51, B407–8, B416–22. Rand, and I with her, replace substance of Aristotle or of Descartes with entity, and we would count the mind and the self as an entity, notwithstanding the special ways in which one knows one’s own mind and self.

[3] A592–603, B620–31.

[4] But see Heidegger 1953, 318–21/304–7.

[5] Kant, KrV B270–79.

[6] Also B137–39, B157–-58n, A341–43, B399–401, A347 B405, A354–55, A397- 402, B422–23n, B428–32, A848 B876; 1798, 7:127–28.

[7] Kitcher 2011, 57–62, 116–17, 193–97.

[8] Kant 1798, 7:128-29.

[9] Cf. Criticism of Kant, on possible origins of necessity in synthetic apriori judgments, by Gottlob Ernst Schulze 1792, 142–45.

[10] Mensch 2013, 99–109, 113–24, 130–45, 153–54.

[11] Kant, KrV A22–36 B37–53, B131–69, B232–34, A189–211 B235–56.

[12] A317–18 B374, B425, A686–704 B714–32.


Allison, H. E. 2008. Custom and Reason in Hume – A Kantian Reading of the First Book of the Treatise. New York: Oxford University Press.

Heidegger, M. 1953 [1927]. Being and Time. 7th ed. J. Stambaugh and D. J. Schmidt, translators, 2010. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Kant, I. 1781, 1787. Critique of Pure Reason. W. S. Pluhar, translator. 1996. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.

——. 1798. Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View. In Immanuel Kant – Anthropology, History, and Education. G. Zöller and R. B. Louden, editors, 2007. G. Zöller, translator. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kitcher, P. 2011. Kant’s Thinker. New York. Oxford University Press.

Mensch, J. 2013. Kant’s Organicism – Epigenesis and the Development of Critical Philosophy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Schulze, G. E. 1792. Aenesidemus. In Between Kant and Hegel – Texts in the Development of Post-Kantian Idealism. G. di Giovanni and H. S. Harris, translators, 2000. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett.

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Addendum to Existence, We


Ayn Rand spoke of the primacy of existence, and by this she meant primacy of existence over consciousness, which meant (i) the universe exists independently of any consciousness and (ii) things have natures independently of consciousness.[1] Identity is primary over Identification, and concretes are primary over abstractions. My metaphysics is of the primacy-of-existence genre, but more generally than Rand’s. My primacy of existence means primacy of existence over of-existence. This entails that concretes with their formalities are primary over abstractions. Actualities and potentials are primary over recognitions and possibilities. Necessity-that of existence is primary over the necessity-for in consciousness.[2] Then too, existence being primary over the of-existence that is living existence and the latter being (I say with Rand) the residence of all value, existence is primary over value.

Rand’s primacy of existence to consciousness runs with Aristotle,[3] but for the countercurrent of his hierarchy of being in which formal structure is not only explanatory, but causal, and in which formal, teleological cause is ultimate being.[4] Primacy of existence runs against Descartes in first philosophy.[5] It runs against Descartes’ forebears Henry of Ghent and Bonaventure who took the first adequate object of the human intellect to be God. It runs with Aquinas, Scotus, and Suarez who took that first object to be being or whatness (quiddity).[6] Primacy of existence runs also against Kant when he writes that “apperception, and with it thought, precedes all possible determinate arrangement of presentations” (KrV A289 B345).[7] Against Kant also, and in step with Aristotle, Rand writes: “‘Things as they are’ are things as perceived by your mind” (AS 1036). She means in context not only things as perceived by your mind so far, but as perceivable by your mind at any stage, and she means not only your mind, but any sound human mind. Rand’s primacy of existence to consciousness runs against all idealism, of course. It runs also against Husserl in his bracketing of “things in themselves” and against Sartre’s starting point (subjectivity) in his archaeology of being and against the adequacy of Quine’s “to be is to be the value of a bound variable.”[8]

Rand spoke in that passage against Kant of “things as they are” and not of “things in themselves.” She was right to avoid the latter phrase because of the well-known shading of it. That latter phrase, down from Kant, intimates a systematic inaccessibility of mind-independent Existence with its Identities by our cognitive faculties. In the same vein, rightly she would reject talk of the transcendental object or talk of noumena and their comprehensive contrast to phenomena, the latter a foul concept when transplanted from its use in Newton—phenomena as physical patterns in observational data, where those specific patterns suit only a specific form in the character of their physical cause—to fundamental ontology and to subject-object relations.[9]

Talk of “things in themselves” meaning things free of any situation is talk of nothing. “Things in themselves,” meaning merely all that they are, is a sound sense of the phrase and not Kant’s sense when he is contrasting things in themselves with those same things as they are in their external relations such as in their relation to human consciousness. Things in all that they are are what we know part of and know that our known is only part of the all there to be known. Further, existence of a thing is nothing more than—indeed, it is identically the same as—existence of all that a thing is.[10]

Existence per se and in its totality is more fundamental than living existence or conscious existence. By experience and conception, we know that of-existents are not and cannot be the only type of existents. Primacy of existence in my philosophy departs from Rand’s primacy of existence in that I mean primacy of physical existence, which in our scientific comprehension is spacetime, mass-energy, angular momentum, molecules, heat, photosynthesis, synapses, and so forth all in play together. Further, it is in my system not only knowing physical existence as necessary requirement for consciousness of physical existents, but knowing we ourselves are physical existents and that that physical status is a necessary requirement for existence of our life and consciousness.

The focal sense of existence is existence actual and concrete (and mind-independent, though susceptible to actions such as human discernment and utilization).[11] Existence actual and concrete endures, and enduring existence is all of enduring.[12] Existence in the focal sense is not without time and number and some formalities, and these accompaniments are in no way prior to existence.[13] As I mentioned in EW, all potential existents are attached to actual, concrete existents. Existence actual and concrete, in whole and in every part is ever with potentials. That is not to say every part of existence has causal powers; no potentials, only actualities, have causal powers, and potentials are part of existence, concretely so. Future existents, unlike past ones, are not yet actual, only potential. Future existents without present discernment of alternatives concerning them have no present causal power. Abstractions include recognitions of formalities of concretes. As with the concrete existents that are potentials, formal existents themselves or abstractions themselves have no causal powers.[14]

Any concrete actual existent, with all its potentials and all its formalities, is actual by way of antecedent actualities and their potentials. The potential for a future actual concrete existent coming to be so is not a potential belonging to it, but to its antecedent actuals. Every concrete actual existent shy of the whole of existence is a contingent existent in its emergence from among potentials of prior actuals, but it is necessary in its possession of all its own potentials and formalities.

Potentials not only belong to present actuals, their potentiality consists only in their potential for future actualities from present ones.[15] Co-existing present potentials, furthermore, are often not jointly capable of future actualization. Potentials, I have said, are concretes, whether or not they become actuals. Moreover, I hold contra Avicenna, that potentials are not less existing than actualities.[16] Cognitive possibilities, I should reiterate, are subordinates of facts of existence, whether facts of actualities and their potentials, facts of concretes and their formalities, or facts of Entities and their passage, situation, and character.

The primacy of existence over of-existence does not entail that existents not also of-existence are more existing than existents that are also of-existence. Passage, situation, and character are not more existing (or less existing) than experience or recognition of them. Concretes and their formalities are not more existing than experience of them or conceptual grasp of them.

Now passage, situation, and character are no less reality than the Entities to which they belong. And formalities are no less reality of existence than the concretes to which they belong.

As I said in EW, there is nothing common between existence and nonexistence; the latter is only a lack of standing in the former, a mere lack noted by us, by us in and of existence.[17] Further, A is A in the application nonexistence is nonexistence is only item-keeping in thought and makes nothing but nothing of the item. Any thought of a priority of existence, metaphysically most fundamental, over nonexistence or thought that the former is in some metaphysical sense greater than the latter is derailed thinking. Only within Existence is priority and the greater.



[1] Rand 1973, 24; Kelley 1986, 7–43; Peikoff 1991, 17–23, 243–48, 419–20.

[2] Cf. Fine 1994.

[3] On Aristotle’s primacy of existence, see Owens 1978, 133–35n108, 138. Rand rightly did not accept Aristotle’s conception of the mind as “becoming all things” and the mind’s doing so by assimilation of the forms of existents extracted from a metaphysical composition of form and matter constituting any existent. On infirmities in the primacy of existence in Roger Bacon and his Arab forebears, see Tachau 1988, 11–16. But for doctrines of faith, Blasius of Parma in 1385 leaned towards primacy of existence in constitution of human mind by arguing all human intellectual and moral states to depend on the human body (via prime matter) for their existence; see Pasnau 2011, 108–9.

[4] Aristotle, Ph. 198a32–99b31; Metaph. 1041a25–b8, 1071b20–a21, 1074a35; Ferejohn 2013, 163–76.

[5] Rand 1961, 28; 1973, 24; Kelley 1981; Peikoff 1991, 17–23; Gotthelf 2000, 39; Boydstun 2019.

[6] Aertsen 2012.

[7] Kant is represented rather differently in the Jäsche Logic in declaring (i) that general logic, though independent of its use in concreto, could only be found by observation of such use and (ii) that logic in application to a particular science would be futile without acquaintance with objects of the science (1800, 17–18).

[8] Owens 1978, 133–35n108; Quine 1939; Armstrong 2004, 23–24; Crane 2012, 64–65; Koskinen 2012.

[9] Newton’s theological conception of space as the sensorium of God joined other Christian theological pictures in drawing Kant to his grand division of reality into the phenomenal and the noumenal. On Kant, see Bird 2006, 335–38. Cf. Heidegger in Han-Pile 2005. Cf. Sher 2016, 166, 172, 181, 259–60.

[10] See further, Baumgarten 1757, §§15, 37; Kant, KrV A324–27 B380–83. On Kant’s severance of “thing in itself” from its external relations to human consciousness, see B 69, A139 B178, A190 B235, B306–9.

[11] Cf. focal meaning in Owen 1960, applied to substance (ousia) as focal meaning of being in the metaphysics of Aristotle; Owens 1978, 38n126, 119; Ferejohn 1980; Kirwan 1992, 80; Barnes 1995, 76–77; Lewis 2013, 90–92.

[12] Descartes does not get that far, but he is correct when he writes: “Existence or duration in a thing which exists and endures—should be called not a quality or a mode, but an attribute” (1644, §56). A mode in his terminology here would be a modification of a substance, and a quality is at hand when a modification enables classification of a substance as a certain kind. With attribute he means our thinking of what is in a substance in a more general way. In fact Descartes thinks of duration as an attribute of all created substance, which are fundamentally two: thought and extension. (See further, Alice Sowaal’s entry ATTRIBUTE in Nolan 2016.)  Similarly, though with metaphysical substance expelled from our metaphysics, as well as the creation of all temporality and all existence, Rand with I could say enduring of an existent is not a modification of it or a quality of it.

[13] Cf. Aristotle, Metaph. 1017b17–21; Avicenna 1027, I.2.24–29.

[14] Contra Aristotle, essences or forms as causes or constraints not concrete is misconception. See Lewis 2013, 290.

[15] Aristotle, Metaph. 1049b13–17.

[16] Cf. Rand ITOE App. 284–86; 1968, 531, 534. Actualities have priorities over potentials on account of their patterns of dependency I have stated. Even were we to count these priories of actualities as amounting to actualities being “more existing” than potentials, I should not concur with Avicenna (1027, 4.2.34) that this priority is also a higher rank in metaphysical nobility or perfection. There are no such things applicable to general metaphysics; nobility and perfection can only pertain to existents that are living existents (include conscious existence) and only within that living mode of their existence.

[17] Contra Kant 1782/83, 29:811; 1790/91, 28:543; 1794/95, 29:960. Cf. ITOE 58, 60–61; Branden c. 1968, 28.


Aertsen, J. A. 2012. Medieval Philosophy as Transcendental Thought. Leiden: Brill.

Ameriks, K., and S. Naragon, translators, 1997. Immanuel Kant – Lectures on Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Aristotle c.348–322. B.C. The Complete Works of Aristotle. J. Barnes, editor (1984). Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Armstrong, D. 2004. Truth and Truthmakers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Avicenna 1027. The Metaphysics of The Healing. M. E. Marmura, translator (2005). Provo: Brigham Young University Press.

Barnes, J. 1995. Metaphysics. In The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle. J. Barnes, editor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Barnes, J., Schofield, M., and R. Sorabji, editors, 1979. Articles on Aristotle – 3. Metaphysics. London: Duckworth.

Baumgarten, A. 1757 [1739]. Metaphysics. 4th ed. In Fugate and Hymers 2013.

Bird, G. 2006. The Revolutionary Kant. Chicago: Open Court.

Boydstun, S. 2019. Foundational Frames – Descartes and Rand. The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 19(1):1–37.

Branden, N. c.1968. The Basic Principles of Objectivism. In The Vision of Ayn Rand 2009. Gilbert: Cobden Press.

Cottingham, J., Stoothoff, R., and D. Murdoch, translators, 1985. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. Vol. I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crane, T. 2012. Existence and Quantification Reconsidered. In Tahko 2012.

Descartes, R. 1644. Principles of Philosophy. In Cottingham, Stoothoff, and Murdoch 1985.

Dreyfus, H. L., and M. A. Wrathall, editors, 2005. A Companion to Heidegger. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Ferejohn, M. T. 1980. Aristotle on Focal Meaning and the Unity of Science. Phronesis 25(2):117–28.

Fine, K. 1994. Essence and Modality. Philosophical Perspectives 8:1–16.

Fugate, C. D., and J. Hymers 2013. Introduction to Metaphysics – A Critical Translation with Kant’s Elucidations, Selected Notes, and Related Materials. London: Bloomsbury.

Gotthelf, A. 2000. On Ayn Rand. Belmont: Wadsworth.

Haaparanta, L., and H. J. Koskinen, editors, 2012. Categories of Being – Essays on Metaphysics and Logic. New York: Oxford University Press.

Han-Pile, B. 2005. Early Heidegger’s Appropriation of Kant. In Dreyfus and Wrathall 2005.

Kant, I. 1781, 1787. Critique of Pure Reason. W. S. Pluhar, translator. 1996. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.

——. 1782/83. Metaphysik Mrongovius. In Ameriks and Naragon 1997 (AN).

——. 1790/91. Metaphysik L2. AN.

——. 1794/95. Metaphysik Vigilantius. AN.

——. 1800. The Jäsche Logic. J. M. Young, translator. 1992. In Immanuel Kant – Lectures on Logic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kelley, D. 1981. The Primacy of Existence. The Objectivist Forum 2(5):1–6, 2(6):1–6.

——. 1986. The Evidence of the Senses – A Realist Theory of Perception. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

Kirwan, C., translator, 1993. Aristotle’s Metaphysics – Books Gamma, Delta, Epsilon. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Koskinen, H. J. 2012. Quine, Predication, and the Categories of Being. In Haaparanta and Koskinen 2012.

Lewis, F. A., 2013. How Aristotle Gets By in Metaphysics Zeta. New York: Oxford.

Nolan, L., editor, 2016. Descartes’ Lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Owen, G. E. L. 1960. Logic and Metaphysics in Some Earlier Works of Aristotle. In Barnes, Schofield, and Sorabji 1979.

Owens, J. 1978 [1951]. The Doctrine of Being in the Aristotelian Metaphysics. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies.

Pasnau, R. 2011. Metaphysical Themes 1274–1671. New York: Oxford University Press.

Peikoff, L. 1991. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. New York: Dutton.

Quine, W. V. O. 1939. A Logistical Approach to the Ontological Problem. In The Ways of Paradox and Other Essays. 1976. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Rand, A. 1957. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House.

——. 1961. For the New Intellectual. New York: Signet.

——. 1966–67. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. In Rand 1990.

——. 1968. Of Living Death. The Objectivist. October.

——. 1969–71. Epistemology Seminar Transcripts. In Rand 1990.

——. 1973. The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made. In Rand 1982.

——. 1982. Philosophy: Who Needs It. New York: Signet.

——. 1990. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Expanded 2nd ed. H. Binswanger and L. Peikoff, editors. New York: Meridian.

Sher, G. 2016. Epistemic Friction – An Essay on Knowledge, Truth, and Logic. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Knowing Is Some Living

Knowledge presupposes knowing. Any and all knowing presupposes value, and all value presupposes life.

We can make non-living machines to expand our cognitions, physical labors, and leisure activities. But natural living intelligence is the parent of any such machines, and for that matter, parent of any artificial living things. Only living things can have authentic values and responsiveness and pursuits.

All set-membership relations and concept-membership relations and all mapping relations are generations from living intelligence. Those relations are not self-generators, a necessary trait of life. Knowledge that were its own end without the end-in-itself that is a living, concrete intelligence, such as we, is nonexistent. Likewise for reason or truth, notably when capitalized to reify and personify them.

Excerpt from EW (88):


Some sort of impossibility of mind without life is affirmed later in the speech when Rand writes of the alternative “your mind or your life” that “neither is possible to man without the other” (1957, 1022). Then too, when something she wrote in Galt’s speech “It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept ‘Value’ possible” (1013) is joined with something else in the speech “A rational process is a moral process” (1017), it could be inferred that at least in higher, rational consciousness its aliveness is implicit in its episodes and this fact is reflectively accessible within such consciousness. Also, in an oral exchange a dozen years later, Rand remarked concerning consciousness: “It’s a concept that could not enter your mind or your language unless in the form of a faculty of a living entity. That’s what the concept means” (Rand in Binswanger and Peikoff 1990, 252; cf. Binswanger 2014, 30–41).


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My Invalid Arguments

In my fundamental paper “Existence, We” (2021), I summarized the foundational frame at which I had arrived, after having set out its details and argumentation. That summary included three little paragraphs concerning three of my four broad categorial divisions of Existence: passage, situation, and character.




Existence is passage. Consciousness marks passage. Consciousness is passage and marker of passage.

Existence is situated. Consciousness sites. Consciousness is situation and cognizance of situation.

Existence is character. Consciousness is characterization. Consciousness is character and cognizance of character. (p. 91)


In my paper, I had made a fallacious argument concerning the first sentence in each of those paragraphs. My error was the same in each of those three arguments. Before spelling out that error, I should address another point that should be understood about these three propositions.

Why, one might wonder, is “is” rather than “has” the copula in those three propositions? Because, following the outlook of Rand in this respect, the existence of existence is nothing but the existence of these traits of existence: passage, situation, character, and any other fundamental category that I may have failed to notice, which when bundled together constitute the complete identity of an existent (preeminently any existent that is an Entity). So, one has Rand’s “Existence is Identity” rather than only “Existence has identity.” The latter is true, and is included within “Existence is identity.”

Here is my error, taking, for example, the category of character. One can look around and find plenty of existents that have this or that character, which supports the thesis “Existence is character.” That proposition is a universal one and includes that for any existent, the existent  will have a distinctive character. That is to say, if the existence of something is posited, yet it is claimed that the thing concieved has no distinctive character, then the posited item does not in fact exist; it is nothing. I had gone further than saying that there are examples all around us of existents having character. I had tried to prove that the generalization to “Every existent has character” is necessarily so. Similarly, for “Every existent (or anyway, every concrete existent and any mind-independent formalities belonging to it) has passage” and “Every existent has situation (i.e., is situated).”

One way of disproving a generalization is to come up with a counterexample. My argument for the necessity of the generalization “Every existent has character” said that it was not possible to set out any counterexample whatever without contradicting oneself in that very setting out. Similarly, for the other two propositions. This form of argument, I now realize, is a failure. Anyone setting out a counterexample to my general proposition “Existence is character” is not saying there are no instances of existents having character. Then he or she would not be contradicting themselves in setting forth any example whatever (which act of setting forth has a character) as a counterexample to “Every existent has character.” As long as the counterexample put forward is not itself some sort of speech act, there would be no contradiction between the counterexample and the utterance of it. No counter example of any sort has been found and put forward. But now that I have uncovered the mistake in my argument for the necessity of the generality of the proposition, which in turn had implied that searching for a self-consistent counterexample is hopeless, one may keep an eye out— with hope, slender as it may be—for counterexamples contradicting my three generalizations “Existence is passage, Existence is situated, and Existence is character.”




However, I've a somewhat different sort of proof, which I had composed back in 2007 (7 years before I began the project of “Existence, We.” At that time, the application of the method was for showing that entities are always of some exclusive kinds. A counterexample to that thesis would have to fall into contradiction:

Suppose an entity, other than existence as a whole, is offered as an entity that is not of any kind excluding it being other kinds. Then the supposed entity could be one with any other entities that are of exclusive kinds (just as a leaf that is a drain-clogger could be one with a leaf that is dead, maple, and wet). For it is not an entity of any kind excluding it being other kinds. But to say that an entity is not of any exclusive kind and that it is one and the same with another entity that is of some exclusive kind(s) is a contradiction. (Not-A is A.) Indeed if some entity were not of any exclusive kind, then it could be one with the person who supposes such an entity (the person who proposes such a counterexample). Then to suppose an entity that is not of any exclusive kind is to suppose that one’s own person could be an entity not of some exclusive kinds. But that supposition contradicts the presupposition that one is of the exclusive kind Person, a person who makes the (errant) supposition. (Cf. Aristotle’s Metaphysics 1007b19–1008a28.)

That is a method for proving that no counterexample to the thesis “Every entity is of some exclusive kind(s)" can arise. Let me now try to use this method to prove that no counterexample can be found to the thesis “Every existent has some definite character.” (I realize that the proof is somewhat circular by invoking the principle of contradiction, which, as noted by Leibniz, Kant, and Rand, rests on the principle of identity. That's not a circularity I'd worry about in the realm of such fundamental furniture of existence.)

The counterexample would have to have no definite character. Then it would be one with any existent having definite character. It would have to be one with the person proposing the counterexample as well as one with a stone. Then a person would be one with a stone, which as Quasimodo observed, they are not.*

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