Non-existence: Scarlet Leviathan

This page is unfinished. It may be a mere placeholder in the book outline. Or, the text below (if any) may be a summary, or a discussion of what the page will say, or a partial or rough draft.

The question of existence and non-existence is a colossal red herring.

John Nerst’s excellent essay “The Big List of Existing Things” covers much of what I mean to say here. If you are interested in the topic, you can read it in place of this unwritten Meaningness page.

Many metaphysicists have used sorites arguments to convince themselves that ordinary objects, such as pots and people, do not exist. This is a dire confusion.

Framing the problem as “whether and how objects exist” leaves the objects unchallenged and problematizes a property they may possess (viz. existence). But it is objectness that is problematic, not existence!

Part of the problem is a common pattern in metaphysics, of mistaking physical intuitions as metaphysical intuitions. Another problem is a consistent failure to ask what “exists” even means—if anything. I will give a sketch of an answer to that.

Then I’ll explain that the sorites arguments have nothing to do with existence; correctly understood, they problematize boundaries, and therefore the concept “object” instead.