An Implicit Definition of Existence

José Tomás Alvarado


This work explores an implicit definition of ‘existence’. It has been traditionally contended that ‘being’ and ‘existence’ cannot be defined because there is no proximate genus for ‘being’. But a predicate of existence could—in principle—be defined as a theoretical term by its role in a ‘total theory’ of the world in which all our empirical knowledge, our formal knowledge, and our best metaphysical theory is included. It is contended that there is no reason against the intelligibility of a first-order predicate of existence, and that, even further, this predicate has priority over the existential quantifier, because the truthmakers for first-order attributions of existence—whatever they are—have ontological priority to the truthmakers for second-order attributions made by quantifications—whatever they are. Finally, several objections against the implicit definition are considered.


Existence; Theoretical Terms; Implicit Definition


Copyright (c) 2015 Principia: an international journal of epistemology

Principia: an internationnal journal of epistemology
Published by NEL - Epistemology and Logic Research Group
Federal University of Santa Catarina - UFSC
Center of Philosophy and Human Sciences – CFH
Campus Reitor João David Ferreira Lima
Florianópolis, Santa Catarina - Brazil
CEP: 88040-900

 ISSN: 1414-4217
EISSN: 1808-171