Theory and History of Ontology ( Raul Corazzon | e-mail:

Selected bibliography on the History of Existence in Philosophy


Studies in English

  1. Adamson, Peter. 2002. "Before Essence and Existence: al-Kindi's Conception of Being." Journal of the History of Philosophy no. 40:297-312.

  2. Angelelli, Ignacio. 2004. "Predication Theory: Classical vs Modern." In Relations and Predicates, edited by Hochberg, Herbert and Mulligan, Kevin, 55-80. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag.

    "This essay aims, first, at describing the conflict between the theory of predication (classical, Aristotelian) prevailing in philosophy until the end of the 19th century, and the theory arisen with the new logic (modern, Fregean). Three features characterize the pre- Fregean period: 1) conflation of predication and subordination (extensionally: membership and class-inclusion), 2) conflation of identity and predication, 3) the view of quantificational phrases (e.g. "some men") as denoting phrases. A possible fourth feature is suggested by the consideration of the so-called Locke's "general triangle". Most of the paper is devoted to the first feature, also called the "principal" one, stated by Aristotle. Frege seems to be the first, in 1884, to reject the first feature; he also rejected, not less vehemently, the second and the third features. Fregean predication theory became standard, and just taken for granted in the subsequent developments of logic as well as in the mainstream of philosophy. The second aim of this paper is to evaluate - relative to the notion of predication submitted in section I - the conflict between the two traditions, and to determine if both are somehow right, or one is right and the other wrong. The main result is that the Fregean revolution in predication theory is, at least with regard to the first and second features of the classical view, a clarification that would probably be welcomed by the classical authors themselves (pace Hintikka's "Logic of Being")."

  3. Bäck, Allan. 1987. "Avicenna on Existence." Journal of History of Philosophy no. 25:351-367.

    "In Islamic philosophy, in particular, with Ibn Sina (Avicenna), there appears, in quite explicit form, a view of predication at odds with many current interpretations of Aristotle and views of predication. That view is that the simple affirmative categorical proposition 'S is p' is to be read as 'S is (existent) as a p', and that for its truth it is required both that S be existent and that S be p. This paper sketches out the development of that view. It then shows how this view resolves such vexing problems in interpreting Aristotle's logic and ontology as the existential import assumption and his view of First philosophy."

  4. Bennekom, R.van. 1984. "Existential and Other Sentences in Ancient Greek." Mnemosyne no. 37:257-263.

  5. Bonevac, Daniel. 1982. "Kant on Existence and Modality." Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie no. 64:289-300.

  6. Burnyeat, Myles. 2003. "Apology 30b 2-4: Socrates, Money, and the Grammar of "gígnesthai"." Journal of Hellenic Studies no. 123:1-25.

    Abstract: "The framework of this paper is a defense of Burnet's construal of Apology 30b 2-4. Socrates does not claim, as he is standardly translated, that virtue makes you rich, but that virtue makes money and everything el se good for you. This view of the relation between virtue and wealth is paralleled in dialogues of every period, and a sophisticated development of it appears in Aristotle. My philological defense of the philosophically preferable translation extends recent scholarly work on eínai in Plato and Aristotle to gígnesthai, which is the main verb in the disputed sentence. When attached to a subject, both verbs make a complete statement on their own, but a statement that is further completable by adding a complement. The important point is that the addition of a complement does not change the meaning of the verb from existence to the copula. Proving this is a lengthy task which takes me into some of the deeper reaches of Platonic and Aristotelian ontology, and into discussion of whether Greek ever acquired a verb that corresponds to modem verbs of existence. I conclude that even when later authors such as Philo Judaeus, Sextus Empiricus and Plotinus debate what we naturally translate as issues of existence, none of the verbs they use (eínai, úpárkhein, úphestekénai) can be said to have existential meaning."

  7. Burrell, David. 1986. Knowing the Unknowable God: Ibn-Sina, Maimonides, Aquinas. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

    Chapter 2: A Central Distinction: Essence/Existence.

  8. Chiaradonna, Riccardo. 2019. ""Existence" in Greek Neoplatonism: Remarks on a Historiographical Issue." In La philosophie arabe à l’étude / Studying Arabic Philosophy. Sens, limites et défis d’une discipline moderne / Meaning, Limits and Challenges of a Modern Discipline, edited by Brenet, Jean-Baptiste and Lizzini, Olga L. , 299-313. Paris: Vrin.

  9. Cresswell, M. J. 1971. "Essence and Existence in Plato and Aristotle." Theoria no. 37:91-113.

  10. Cross, Richard. 2013. "Duns Scouts on Essence and Existence." Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy no. 1:172-204.

  11. Dancy, Russell M. 1983. "Aristotle and Existence." Synthese no. 54:409-442.

    Reprinted in: S. Knuuttila, J. Hintikka (eds.), The Logic of Being, Dordrecht: Reidel, 1986, pp. 49-80.

  12. Daniel, Stephen. 2000. "Berkeley, Suarez and the 'esse-existere' Distinction." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 74 (4):621-636.

  13. Dejnozka, Jan. 1996. The Ontology of the Analytic Tradition and Its Origins. Realism and Identity in Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, and Quine. Lanham: Littlefiels Adams Books.

    Paperback edition reprinted with corrections, 2002; reprinted with further corrections, 2003.

    See Chapter 6.3: The Meanings of "Is": Aristotle. Frege, Russell pp. 227-231.

  14. Dewan, Lawrence. 1982. "St. Thomas, Joseph Owens, and Existence." The New Scholasticism no. 56:399-441.

  15. Fakhry, Majid. 1963. "Notes on Existence and Essence in Averroes and Avicenna." In Die Metaphysik im Mittelalter: ihr Ursprung und ihre Bedeutung. Vorträge des 2. Internationalen Kongresses für mittelalterliche Philosophie, Köln, 31. August-6. September 1961, edited by Wilpert, Paul, 414-417. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    Miscellanea Medievalia - Vol. 2.

  16. Forgie, William. 1975. "Kant and the Question: "Is Existence a Predicate?"." Canadian Journal of Philosophy no. 5:563-582.

    "Kant gave a two-fold answer to the question, ‘Is existence a predicate?'. His view that existence is not a first-level predicate, i.e., a predicate of objects like horses, stones, and you and me, is widely known. What is not so well-known, however, is his claim that existence is a second-level predicate, a predicate of concepts or of a collection of predicates. In this paper I hope to show why his arguments for both claims are unsuccessful." (p. 563)

  17. ———. 2000. "Kant and Frege: Existence as a Second Level Property." Kant Studien no. 91:165-177.

    Abstract: "Both Kant and Frege maintained that existence is a second-level predicate or property. And, broadly speaking, each tried to establish this conclusion in the same way. However, their arguments differ at crucial places. I believe that a close look at these differences will uncover major obstacles to the success of the project itself."

  18. ———. 2007. "Gassendi and Kant on Existence." Journal of the History of Philosophy no. 45:511-523.

    Abstract: "In rejecting Descartes's ontological proof for the existence of God, Gassendi maintained that existence is not a property and Kant said that it is not a "real predicate". It is commonly supposed that both are making the same claim. Some have even thought that they advance essentially the same argument for that same claim. I believe none of this is correct. Gassendi and Kant offer different arguments. And they are arguing for different conclusions. These differences stem from a more fundamental one: they mean different things by existence."

  19. Frege, Gottlob. 1979. "Dialogue with Pünjer on Existence." In Posthumous Writings, edited by Hermes, Hans, Kambartel, Friedrich and Kaulbach, Friedrich, 53-67. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Written before 1884.

  20. Geach, Peter Thomas. 1955. "Form and Existence." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society no. 55:251-272.

    Reprinted in P. T. Geach, God and the Soul, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1969, pp. 42-64.

    "In this paper I shall discuss what Aquinas meant by his term esse, or actus essendi, “ act of existing ”. Another synonym that he uses — quo aliquid est, “ that by which a thing is (or: exists) ”—suggests a convenient division of the subject: we can first discuss Aquinas’s philosophical use of quo, “ that by which ”, and then consider which sense of est, which sort of existential statements, may be relevant to Aquinas’s doctrine of esse. But we shall see that, having got thus far, we cannot arrive at the meaning of the whole phrase quo aliquid est, or the reasons for the way Aquinas uses it, simply by combining our separate considerations about quo and est." (p. 251)

  21. Haaparanta, Leila. 1986. "Frege Synthesized: Essays on the Philosophical and Foundational Work of Gottlob Frege." In Frege Synthesized, edited by Haaparanta, Leila and Hintikka, Jaakko, 155-174. Dordrecht: Reidel.

    From the General Introduction by Leila Haaparanta and Jaakko Hintikka: "In her article 'Frege on Existence' Leila Haaparanta emphasizes that Frege's greatest insight was the idea of first-order language, which, to a large extent, motivated the rest of his innovations. Haaparanta focuses her attention on Frege's concept of existence, which receives special attention in Frege's thought in connection with the thesis concerning the ambiguity of such words for being as the English 'is'. The ambiguity thesis was an important part of the Fregean paradigm of first-order logic. Haaparanta argues that Frege does not only assume the word 'is' to be ambiguous but that he considers 'exists', or the 'is' of existence, to be an equivocal word. She suggests that the equivocity view has a metaphysical and epistemological background in Frege's thought. Her paper thus pushes a great deal further the suggestions of Jaakko Hintikka mentioned earlier in this Introduction." (p. 6)

  22. Harari, Orna. 2003. "The Concept of Existence and the Role of Constructions in Euclid's Elements." Archive for History of Exact Sciences no. 57:1-23.

    "This paper examines the widely accepted contention that geometrical constructions serve in Greek mathematics as proofs of the existence of the constructed figures. In particular, I consider the following two questions: first, whether the evidence taken from Aristotle's philosophy does support the modern existential interpretation of geometrical constructions; and second, whether Euclid's Elements presupposes Aristotle's concept of being. With regard to the first question, I argue that Aristotle's ontology cannot serve as evidence to support the existential interpretation, since Aristotle's ontological discussions address the question of the relation between the whole and its parts, while the modern discussions of mathematical existence consider the question of the validity of a concept. In considering the second question, I analyze two syllogistic reformulations of Euclidean proofs. This analysis leads to two conclusions: first, it discloses the discrepancy between Aristotle's view of mathematical objects and Euclid's practice, whereby it will cast doubt on the historical and theoretical adequacy of the existential interpretation. Second, it sets the conceptual background for an alternative interpretation of geometrical constructions. I argue, on the basis of this analysis that geometrical constructions do not serve in the Elements as a means of ascertaining the existence of geometrical objects, but rather as a means of exhibiting spatial relations between geometrical figures." (p. 1)

  23. Henry, Desmond Paul. 1964. "Being, Essence, and Existence." Logique et Analyse no. 25-26:104-110.

  24. Herrera, Alejandro Ibanez. 1988. Leibniz on Existence, Indiana University.

    Available at UMI Dissertation Express order number: 8617781.

  25. Hintikka, Jaakko. 1981. "Kant on Existence, Predication, and the Ontological Argument." Dialectica no. 35:128-146.

    Reprinted in: Simo Knuuttila and J. Hintikka (eds.), The Logic of Being, Dordrecht: Reidel 1986 pp. 249-268.

    "The ontological argument fails because of an operator order switch between (1) "necessarily there is an (existentially) perfect being" and (2) "there is a being which necessarily is (existentially) perfect". Here (1) is trivially true logically but (2) is problematic. Since Kant's criticisms were directed at the notion of existence, not at the step from (1) to (2), they are misplaced. They are also wrong, because existence can be a predicate. Moreover, Kant did not anticipate Frege's claim that "is" ("ist") is ambiguous between existence, predication, identity, and class-inclusion. To restore the ontological argument, an extra premise is needed to the effect (roughly) that it is known who the existentially perfect being is. The question is raised whether Kant could have meant the failure of this extra premise by his thesis that existence is not a "real" predicate."

  26. ———. 1999. "On Aristotle's Notion of Existence." The Review of Metaphysics no. 52:779-805.

    Reprinted in: J. Hintikka, Analyses of Aristotle, Drodrecht: Springer, 2004, pp. 1-22.

  27. ———. 2005. "On the Different Identities of Identity: A Historical and Critical Essay." In Philosophical Problems Today. Vol. 2: Language, Meaning, Interpretation, edited by Fløistad, Guttorm, 117-140. Dordrecht: Springer.

  28. Hintikka, Jaakko, and Halonen, Ilpo. 2000. "Aristotelian Explanations." Studies in History and Philosophy of Science no. 31:125-136.

    Reprinted in: J. Hinitkka, Analyses of Aristotle, Dordrecht: Springer 2004 pp. 127-138.

    "Aristotle did not consider the Frege-Russell distinction between the "is"ses of identity, existence and predication as an ambiguity. On each occasion, any of these component senses of "einai" might or might not be present. The existential sense (existential force) was in a Barbara-type syllogism conveyed from the major term to the minor term by the middle term. For this reason the middle term was the proximate cause of the minor one: it is what lent the minor one its existence. Likewise Aristotle had to assume existential force only for the widest (generic) term of each science."

  29. Hourani, George. 1972. "Ibn Sina on Necessary and Possible Existence." Philosophical Forum no. 4:74-86.

  30. Kahn, Charles H. 1972. "On the Terminology for Copula and Existence." In Islamic Philosophy and the Classical Tradition. Essays Presented by His Friends and Pupils to Richard Walzer on His Seventieth Birthday, edited by Stern, S.M., Hourani, Albert and Brown, Vivian, 141-158. London: Bruno Cassirer.

    Reprinted in C. H. Kahn, Essays on Being, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 41-61.

  31. ———. 1976. "Why Existence Does Not Emerge as a Distinct Concept in Greek Philosophy." Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie no. 58:324-334.

    Reprinted in: P. Morewedge (ed.), Philosophies of Existence. Ancient and Medieval, New York: Fordham University Press, 1982, pp. 7-17 and in C. H. Kahn, Essays on Being, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009 pp. 62-74.

  32. Kannisto, Toni. 2016. "Positio contra complementum possibilitatis – Kant and Baumgarten on Existence." Kant-Studien no. 107:291-313.

    Abstract: "In the course of his philosophy, in various contexts, Kant comes to reject three theses about existence: (i) that the thoroughgoing determination of a thing implies its existence, (ii) that existence is a real predicate or determination of a thing, and (iii) that existence is the complement of inner possibility or essence.

    Kant’s target here is Baumgarten, who advocates these theses as the criterion, classification, and definition of existence. In this article I seek to clarify Kant’s elusive theory of existence through its opposition to Baumgarten. I will show that Kant’s refutation of (i)–(iii) does not stand alone but is grounded on his own definition of existence as (absolute) positing. Thus contrary to common practice, Kant’s negative claims about what existence is not cannot be understood in isolation but must be taken as jointly dependent on Kant’s positive claim about what existence is. I will show that theses (i)–(iii) fail because they presuppose that existence contributes to the intension or content of a concept, whereas according to Kant existence in fact posits a (non-empty) extension of the concept."

  33. Kennedy, Leonard. 1968. "Peter of Ledesma and the Distinction Between Essence and Existence." The Modern Schoolman no. 46:25-38.

  34. Klima, Gyula. 2013. "Aquinas vs. Buridan on Essence and Existence." In Later Medieval Metaphysics. Ontology, Language, and Logic, edited by Bolyard, Charles and Keele, Rondo, 30-46. New York: Fordham University Press.

  35. Klubertanz, George. 1946. "Esse and existere in St. Bonaventure." Mediaeval Studies no. 8:169-188.

  36. Lenzen, Wolfgang. 1991. "Leibniz on Ens and Existence." In Existence and Explanation. Essays Presented in Honor of Karel Lambert, edited by Spohn, Wolfgang, Fraassen, Bas C.van and Skyrms, Brian, 59-75. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  37. Lewis, Frank A. 1975. "Did Plato Discover the Estin of Identity?" California Studies in Classical Antiquity no. 8:113-143.

    Summary. "(I) The notion of an is of identity in English. Some passages from Plato suggesting the existence of the comparable notion of a special estin of identity in Greek. (II) What in particular would lead Plato to recognize such a special sense of estin? Forms, participation, and predication. In the account of ordinary singular predications, a predicate 'Y' is true of a subject X just in case X participates in the form the Y associated with. (III) Self-participation. If nothing can participate in itself, then for any forms X and Y, X participates in Y and so is Y only if X is not Y. Even if self-participation is allowed, still in the majority of cases a subject is not what it participates in. The difficulty for all theories of predication which wish to explain how a thing can be something which it also is not. (IV) The is of identity re-examined. Some fallacies which might support the notion, and some arguments against it. (V) Sophist 255e11-256d10. Plato does not explicitly recognize an estin of identity. Four competing, "equally best" accounts of the grammatical theory he may implicitly be invoking: (i) the estin of identity; (ii) relational terms; (iii) the definite article; (iv) the not of nonidentity. (VI) Conclusion. The notion of a special estin of identity has little basis in Plato's text."

  38. Lizzini, Olga L. 2003. "Wugud-Mawgud/Existence-Existent in Avicenna. A key ontological notion of Arabic philosophy " Quaestio.Yearbook of the History of Metaphysics no. 3:111-138.

  39. Malcolm, John. 2006. "Some Cautionary Remarks on the 'Is'/'Teaches' Analogy." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy no. 31:281-296.

    "Lesley Brown suggests that Parmenides and Plato were not guilty of an oft-alleged existence/predication confusion since the relevant Greek verb, when used as a copula, had a built-in existential connotation, just as the same use of "teaches" can be understood both completely and incompletely. I challenge this approach on the grounds that it implies that the ancient Greeks were in the impossible position of not being able unproblematically to attribute properties to subjects recognized not to exist. I attempt to show that the evidence Brown presents for her thesis from Parmenides, Plato and Aristotle is inconclusive."

  40. Mates, Benson. 1979. "Identity and Predication in Plato." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy:211-229.

    Reprinted in: S. Knuuttila and J. Hintikka, The Logic of Being, Dordrecht: Reidel 1986 pp. 29-47.

    "In coming to terms with the well-known difficulties concerning such Platonic assertions as "beauty is beautiful," "justice is just," "beauty is more beautiful than anything else," etc., modern commentators have frequently invoked the received notion that the verb "to be" has two or more senses, including in particular the so-called identity and predicative senses. The present paper argues in detail that this verb can be consistently understood as having a single sense throughout Plato's texts, and that such an interpretation does less violence to his doctrines than do the more usual accounts."

  41. Matthen, Mohan. 1983. "Greek Ontology and the 'Is' of Truth." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 28:113-135.

    "This is an essay about the ontological presuppositions of a certain use of 'is' in Greek philosophy -- I shall describe it in the first part and present a hypothesis about its semantics in the second.

    I believe that my study has more than esoteric interest. First, it provides an alternative semantic account of what Charles Kahn has called the 'is' of truth, thereby shedding light on a number of issues in Greek ontology, including an Eleatic paradox of change and Aristotle's response to it. Second, it finds in the semantics of Greek a basis for admitting what have been called 'non-substantial individuals' or 'immanent characters' into accounts of Greek ontology. Third, it yields an interpretation of Aristotle's talk of 'unities' which is crucial to his treatment of substance in the central books of the Metaphysics."

  42. Maurer, Armand. 1946. "Esse and essentia in the Metaphysics of Siger of Brabant." Mediaeval Studies no. 8:68-86.

  43. Mendelsohn, Richard L. 1987. "Frege's Two Senses of 'Is'." Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic no. 28:139-160.

    "It is widely believed that there are two senses of 'is', the 'is' of identity and the 'is' of predication, and that this distinction was clearly drawn by Frege in On Concept and Object, although it was anticipated by others, perhaps, e.g., by Plato in the Sophist. As opposed to this received view, I will argue that Frege had not successfully distinguished two senses of 'is', indeed that his argument leads to precisely the opposite conclusion; on the other hand, the distinction Plato had supposedly drawn in the Sophist, which seems to rest on a semantics Frege was explicitly rejecting, is, given that semantic framework, viable.

    Frege had introduced this distinction in order to buttress his view that proper names could not serve as genuine predicates: a proper name occupying ostensible predicate position could not be functioning as a predicate because the 'is' in such a statement would have to be the 'is' of identity, not the 'is' of predication.

    I will argue that Frege had been mistaken on this point as well. More generally, I will argue that Frege's theoretical analysis of language is not, as he had thought, incompatible with proper names being allowed to play a genuinely predicative role.

    My remarks are prompted by Michael Lockwood's stimulating article, On Predicating Proper Names (1975), which contains an extensive and detailed criticism of Frege's position."

  44. Morewedge, Parviz, ed. 1982. Philosophies of Existence: Ancient and Medieval. New York: Fordham University Press.

    Contents: Parviz Morewedge: Introduction 1; [First Part] Ancient. 1. Charles H. Kahn: Why Existence Does Not Emerge as a Distinct Concept in Greek Philosophy 7; 2. Paul Seligman: Being and Forms in Plato 18; 3. Joseph Owens, C.Ss.R.: The Doctrine of Being in the Aristotelian Metaphysics -- Revisited 33; 4. John P. Anton: Aspects of Ancient Ontologies 60; [Second Part] Medieval. 5. Christopher J. Brunner: The Ontological Relation Between Evil and Existents in Manichaean Texts and in Augustine's Interpretation of Manichaeism 78; 6. Bimal Krishna Matilal: Ontological Problems in Nyãya, Buddhism, and Jainism: A Comparative Analysis 96; 7. Allan B. Wolter: A Scotistic Approach to the Ultimate Why-Question 109; 8. John F. Wippel: The Relationship Between Essence and Existence in Late-Thirteenth-Century Thought: Giles of Rome, Henry of Ghent, Godfrey of Fontaines, and James of Viterbo 131; 9. Edward P. Mahoney: Metaphysical Foundations of the Hierarchy of Being According to Some Late-Medieval and Renaissance Philosophers 165; 10. Richard M. Frank: Attribute, Attribution, and Being: Three Islamic Views 258; 11. Majid Fakhry: Al-Suhrawardi's Critique of the Muslim Peripatetics (al-Mashsha' un) 279; 12. Parviz Morewedge: Greek Sources of Some Near Eastern Philosophies of Being and Existence 285; 13. Seyyed Hossein Nasr: Post-Avicennan Islamic Philosophy and the Study of Being 337-344.

  45. Morscher, Edgar. 1986. "Was existence ever a predicate?" Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 25/26:269-284.

    "The question "Was 'existence' ever a predicate?" in a way already suggests its own answer, that this is really the wrong question to ask, because 'existence' has always been a predicate. Even those, such as Kant, who supposedly opposed this view, in fact held it. They merely denied that 'existence' is a "normal" first-order predicate. Not only Kant, but also Bolzano, Frege and Russell claimed that it is a second-order predicate. There is substantive disagreement between Kant and Bolzano on the one hand and Frege and Russell on the other over two issues: the former claim that this second-order predicate applies to no concept analytically and that it can be properly ascribed to a singular concept, whereas the latter deny both of these claims."

  46. Nash, Peter. 1950. "Giles of Rome on Boethius' 'Diversum est esse et id quod est'." Mediaeval Studies no. 12:57-91.

  47. Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. 1989. "Existence (wujud) and Quiddity (mahiyyah) in Islamic Philosophy." International Philosophical Quarterly no. 29:409-428.

  48. Nijenhuis, John. 1994. "'Ens' described as 'Being or Existent'." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 68:1-14.

    "A recent article in this quarterly about 'Aquinas on 'Exists',' opens with the statement, 'At the outset of On Being and Essence Aquinas distinguishes two senses of 'ens' (being or existent).' (1) Here, this reader stops 'At the outset' and reflects: is it justifiable-speaking linguistically and metaphysically -- to offer two seemingly alternative if not even synonymous renderings of the one Latin word 'ens,' viz., 'being' or (and/or) 'existent'?

    The present writer belongs to the small chorus of language-sensitive medievalists who feel pressed to sing extra chorum because they have conclusive evidence that the translation of the Latin esse (as also of the Greek einai) by the usual existence-terminology leads to a flawed interpretation of the 'onto-logical' thought world where use is made of the 'being'-term ens (and its Greek equivalent).


    The basic issue is simple enough, but precisely because it is so simple and obvious it runs the risk of being overlooked. All I can do here is present a series of brief pointers toward the fateful bifurcation of the Latin esse (and the Greek einai) into 'be(ing)' and 'exist(ence).' In doing this, I hope that an objective listing of the pertinent facts which, in their roots, are of an unambiguous linguistic nature, will constitute an instance of that philosophical rhetoric which in the same issue of American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly was called a 'technique of persuasion.' (2) " (pp. 89-90)

    (1) Russell Panier and Thomas D. Sullivan, "Aquinas on 'Exists'," in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 67, (1993), 247.

    (2) id. p. 257.

  49. ———. 1995. "Existence vs. Being: an all-important matter of terminology." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 69:89-95.

    "In classical Latin, the verb esse, incompletely rendered by today's 'to be,' was the word expressing what today is divided over the verbs 'be' and 'exist.' As I quoted Vlastos in reference to the similar situation in Greek ('Ens' described as 'Being or existent' 13), 'This kind of knowledge ... even a Greek child would have had. I invited our contemporary philosophers 'to crawl under the linguistic thought-skin of adult Greek and Latin philosophers,' not perhaps in order to agree but at least to understand what they were saying (and then, if they see fit, to disagree). When, by some mysterious process, the verb existere began to be used as the participle of esse, the inevitable apparently happened: the fuller meaning of esse, was gradually-and uncritically-transferred to existere. The etymology of ex(s)istere yields a simple sense, namely, 'come out of,' 'appear' and 'be there,' indicating yes-or-no situations; consequently, the richer meaning of Aquinas's esse (the verb) was fated to become flattened to indicate (rather than 'signify') the plain fact of 'exist(ence)' (often referred to by the new late-Latin noun existentia, see n. 4). The mountainous landscape where Aquinas saw a rich variety of interconnected 'beings' was leveled to the flatland of isolated, barren existents; the various depths of the existing beings came to be viewed as a conglomerate of unrelated, juxtaposed existents."

  50. O'Brien, Andrew Joseph. 1964. "Duns Scotus' Teaching on the Distinction between Essence and Existence." The New Scholasticism no. 38:61-77.

  51. O'Shaughnessy, Thomas. 1959. "St. Thomas's Changing Estimate of Avicenna's Teaching on Existence as an Accident." The Modern Schoolman no. 36:245-260.

  52. Owens, Joseph. 1968. An Interpretation of Existence: Bruce.

    Reprint: Houston, Center for Thomistic Studies, 1985.

  53. ———. 1972. "'Ignorare' and Existence." The New Scholasticism no. 46:210-219.

  54. ———. 1979. "Existence as Predicated." The New Scholasticism no. 53:480-485.

    Reply to B. Miller, 'Exists' and Other Predicates, (1979).

  55. ———. 1982. "Nature and Conceptualization." The New Scholasticism no. 56:376-380.

  56. ———. 1982. "Material Substance -- Temporal or Eviternal?" The New Scholasticism no. 56:442-461.

    Reply to L. Dewan, St. Thomas, Joseph Owens, and Existence (1982).

  57. Pannier, Russell, and Sullivan, Thomas D. 1993. "Aquinas on "Exists"." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 67:157-166.

  58. ———. 1995. "Being, Existence and the Future of Thomistic Studies: a Reply to Professor Nijenhuis." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 69:83-88.

    "Our aim is to explain as briefly as we can (1) why there is good reason to use 'existence-terminology,' and (2) why some considerations against it, including what we take to be Professor Nijenhuis's main reasons, should not deter us. In the course of discussing these points we also will indicate why any of this matters for the future of Thomistic studies.

    The first reason to permit oneself to use 'existent' or 'existing thing' for 'ens' is that fine dictionaries such as The New Shorter Oxford and The American Heritage (to take a couple at hand) give 'existence' as the first entry under 'being.' That, no doubt, is why translators commonly use 'existence-terminology.' Professor Nijenhuis acknowledges that dictionaries inter-define being and existence and that translators follow suit, but he thinks that both err. Maybe so, but it seems quite clear who bears the onus probandi.

    The second reason, often neglected by proponents of 'being-terminology,' is that if we refuse to allow that when Aquinas talks in terms of 'ens' and 'esse' he is talking in one way or another about existing things and about existence, we have no way of comparing Aquinas on existence with anyone who talks about existence. To insist that Aquinas is not talking about the same topic as Frege, Russell, Quine and others because 'ens,' 'esse' and the like are to be translated only in terms of 'being' is to beg some pretty big questions and to seal off Aquinas's thought from the contemporary world of ideas. No doubt some feel that it is more important to understand Aquinas in light of predecessors such as Clarenbald of Arras than Frege, but it seems to us that unless at some point we are willing to consider how Aquinas's thought holds up when examined with the best contemporary work in mind, we will certainly not have served Aquinas or philosophy well." (pp. 83-84)

  59. Patt, Walter. 1988. "Aquinas's Real Distinction and Some Interpretations." The New Scholasticism no. 62:1-29.

  60. Peña, Lorenzo. 1997. "Essence and Existence in Leibniz's Ontology." Synthesis Philosophica no. 12:415-431.

  61. Pietersma, Henri. 1986. "Husserl's Concept of Existence." Synthese no. 66:311-328.

  62. Prior, Arthur Norman. 1965. "Existence in Lesniewski and in Russell." In Formal Systems and Recursive Functions. Proceedings of the Eighth Logic Colloquium. Oxford, July 1963, edited by Crossley, John N. and Dummett, Michael, 149-155. Amsterdam: North Holland.

  63. Stack, George. 1976. "Berkeley's Concept of Existence." The Modern Schoolman no. 53:281-289.

  64. Sweeney, Leo. 1963. "Existence/Essence in Thomas Aquinas’ Early Writings." Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association no. 37:97-131.

  65. Toner, Patrick. 2011. "Reading « is » Existentially in Republic 476-80." British Journal for the History of Philosophy no. 19:171-183.

  66. Traylor, A.D. 2001. "Reassessing Heidegger on Existentia." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 75:523-545.

    Abstract: "This paper presents an immanent critique of Heidegger's consignment of "existensia" to the "metaphysical" category of "Vorhandenheit". Past scholarship has been by and large uncritical of this tenet of Heidegger, thereby thwarting a potentially fruitful dialogue between continental thinkers and those sympathetic to medieval ontology. The paper (1) argues that the account in "Basic Problems of Phenomenology" is marred by essentialism and thus overlooks a depth-dimension in "existentia"; (2) examines key passages in the 1941 Nietzsche lectures where Heidegger appears to flirt with the possibility of a more primordial sense of "existensia"; and (3) reads the 1936 text "The Origin of the Work of Art" as providing further evidence for reading Heidegger's ontology as a phenomenological recovery of the existential contingency of beings."

  67. Upton, Thomas V. 1988. "Aristotle on Existence: Escaping the Snares of Ontology?" The New Scholasticism no. 62:373-399.

  68. Vallicella, William. 2001. "Brentano on Existence." History of Philosophy Quarterly no. 18:311-327.

  69. Vick, George Robert. 1968. Kant's Doctrine of Existence as a Predicate, University of Southern California.

    Available at UMI Dissertation Express order number: 6905074.

  70. ———. 1970. "Existence Was a Predicate for Kant." Kant Studien no. 61:357-371.

  71. Wells, Norman J. 1960. "Capreolus on Essence and Existence." The Modern Schoolman no. 38:1-24.

  72. ———. 1966. "Existence: History and Problematic." The Monist no. 60:34-43.

    "An initial consideration is given of the tensions involved in the perspective of the historian of philosophy. Thereafter, Greek, medieval and early modern positions on being or existence are discussed. Beginning with Parmenides and terminating with Plotinus, the dominant refrain of Greek philosophy is that being is form. With Avicenna, an aspect of being beyond form is isolated -- the existential dimension. However, metaphysics still focuses on the formal; existence remains untapped. In a singular departure from tradition, existence for Thomas Aquinas is no longer a "topping off" of an autonomous essence. It is the primordial, most basic dimension of anything that is "really other than and different from essence". However, this has always been interpreted with Avicennian or Aristotelian spectacles on. This has led to the position of Suarez affirming the identity of essence and existence. The stage is set for appreciating the concept of existence as completely empty and vacuous."

  73. Wiggins, David. 1994. "The Kant-Frege-Russell View of Existence: Towards a Rehabilitation of the Second-Level View." In Modality, Morality, and Belief: Essays in Honor of Ruth Barcan Marcus, edited by Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter, 93-116. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  74. Wilhelmsen, Frederick. 1976. "Existence and Esse." The New Scholasticism no. 50:20-45.

  75. Wippel, John F. 1982. "Essence and existence." In The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy: From the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Disintegration of Scholasticism 1100-1600, edited by Kretzmann, Norman, Kenny, Antony and Pinborg, Jan, 385-410. Cambridge: Cambridge University Pree.

  76. ———. 2010. "Essence and Existence." In The Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy: Vol. 2, edited by Pasnau, Robert, 622-634. Cambridge: Cambridge University Pree.

Études en Français

  1. "L'esistenza. L'existence. Die Existenz. Existence." 2003. Quaestio.Yearbook of the History of Metaphysics no. 3.

    Contents: Costantino Esposito & Vincent Carraud Premessa IX-XIII; Vincent Carraud: L'invention de l'existence. Note sur la christologie de Marius Victorinus 3; Jean-François Courtine: Essenza, sostanza, sussistenza, esistenza 27; Jerôme Laurent: Sur des modalités d'existence du non-être. Du vide démocritéen à la matière plotinienne 61; Isabelle Olivo-Poindron: Ousia os energheia, ou de l'existence chez Aristote 71; Olga Lizzini: Wugud-Mawgud/Existence-Existent in Avicenna. A key ontological notion of Arabic philosophy 111; Costantino Esposito: Existence, relation, efficience. Le noeud suarézien entre métaphysique et théologie 139; Jean-Christophe Bardout: Causalité ou subiectivité: le développement du sentiment d'existence, de Descartes à l' "Encyclopedie" 163; Jocelyn Benoist: Jugement et existence chez Kant. Comment des jugements d'existence sont-ils possibles? 207; Giusi Strummiello: "Das, was das Seyende Ist". L'esistenza e l'essente nel tardo Schelling 229; Philippe Grosos: L'existence impossible 265; Pierre Carrique: L'exigence d'exister. L'éveil éthique selon Kierkegaard et Heidegger 281; Emmanuel Housset: Existenz und existentia im Denken Heideggers 299; Mienneté et existence selon Heidegger. Le § 64 d' "Être et Temps" 327; Claude Romano: Existent et néant. Autour de la controverse Carnap-Heidegger 351; Óscar Barroso Fernández: La existencia en la filosofía española del siglo XX: Unamuno y Zubiri 371; Pascal Ludwig: Référence et existence: une défense de Frege 391; Stéphane Chauvier: Existence et ilyance 413; Jean-Yves Lacoste: Plus qu'existence et être-en-danger 433; Jean-Luc Marion: Le phénomène et l'événement 449; Varia. Note Cronache Recensioni 463-555; Indice dei nomi 557-566.

  2. Bardout, Jean Christophe. 2003. "Causalité ou subjectivité : le développement du sentiment d’existence, de Descartes à l’« Encyclopédie »." Quaestio. Journal of the History of Metaphysics no. 3:163-205.

  3. ———. 2013. Penser l’existence. I. L’existence exposée. Époque médiévale. Paris: Vrin.

  4. Carnoy, A.. 1957. "L'idée d'existence en Indo-Éuropéen." Tijdschrift voor Philosophie no. 19:294-300.

  5. Carraud, Vincent. 2003. "L’invention de l’existence. Note sur la christologie de Marius Victorinus." Quaestio. Journal of the History of Metaphysics no. 3:3-25.

  6. Gilson, Étienne. 1946. "La notion d'existence chez Guillaume d'Auvergne." Archives d'Histoire Doctrinale et Littéraire du Moyen Âge no. 21:55-91.

  7. Libera, Alain de. 1980. "Logique et existence selon Saint Albert le Grand." Archives de Philosophie no. 43:529-558.

  8. Paulus, Jean. 1940-1942. "Les Disputes d'Henri de Gand et Gilles de Rome sur la distinction de l'essence et de l'existence." Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Age no. 13:323-358.

  9. Schmutz, Jacob. 2007. "L'invention jésuite du "sentiment d'existence", ou comment la philosophie sort des collèges." XVII Siècle no. 237:615-631.

Studien in Deutsch

  1. Dörrie, Heinrich. 1955. "Hypostasis. Wort- und Bedeutungsgeschichte." Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaft zu Göttingen, phil--hist.Klasse no. 3:35-92.

    Nachdruck: H. Dörrie, Platonica minora, München: Wilhelm Fing Verlag 1976, pp. 13-69.

  2. Graeser, Andreas. 1971. "Á propos hyparkein bei den Stoikern." Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte no. 15:299-305.

  3. Hadot, Pierre. 1969. "Zur Vorgeschichte des Begriffs 'Existenz'. Hyparchein bei den Stoikern." Archiv für Bregiffsgeschichte no. 13:115-127.

    "Das Wort exsistentia erscheint erstmalig im Lateinischen-in den theologischen Werken des Marius Victorinus, in denen es fast immer zur Übersetzung von hyparxis; dient, im Gegensatz zu dem Wort substantia das ousia übersetzt, und zu subsistentia, das hypostasis wiedergibt. (1) Exsistentia ist abgeleitet von exsistere, das in der philosophischen Sprache oft für esse eintrat, zumal in der Form des Partizips.(2) Exsistere seinerseits wurde auch zur Übersetzung von hyparkein verwendet, wie aus der Timaios-Übersetzung des Calcidius ersichtlich.(3)

    Für das Verständnis der Vorgeschichte des Begriffes Existenz ist es daher unerläßlich, sorgfältig die Bedeutung zu präzisieren, die das Wort hyparkein innerhalb des technischen Wortschatzes der griechischen Philosophie aufweist, und die vorliegende Studie möchte einen Beitrag zu einer derartigen Untersuchung liefern. Zunächst soll zu zeigen versucht werden, daß das Wort hyparkein innerhalb der Stoa eine Seinsweise bezeichnet, die dem Geschehen, dem Akzidenz, dem Prädikat zukommt und der Seinsweise des Subjektes gegenübergestellt wird. Danach soll diese Bedeutung des hyparkein einerseits mit dem aristotelischen, andererseits mit dem neuplatonischen, Gebrauch dieses Wortes verglichen werden." (p. 115)

    (1) Marius Victorinus Adversus Arium, III, 7, 9, Henry-Hadot (Sources Chrétiennes, Paris, 1960); deutsche Übersetzung, Bibliothek der alten Welt, Artemis Verlag, S. 244-245, Hadot-Brenke); Adversus Arium, II, 4, 48-57 (S. 221, Hadot-Brenke); Candidi Arriani (= Marii Victorini) ad Marium Victorinum rhetorem, I, 2, 18 (S. 74, Hadot-Brenke).

    (2) CICERO, De officiis, I, 30, 107: "Ut in corporibus magnae diaim;litudines suns, sic in animis exsistunt maiores etiam uarietates " Marius Victorinus, Adversus Arium, I, 33, 7: "In potentia exsistens ad id quod est esse."

    (3) Calcidius, Timaeus, 50, 23, Wasznik: "In reputatione quidem et consideratlone, uere existentis uereque peruigilis naturae." Cf. Plato, Tim. 52 B.

Studi in Italiano

  1. Mignucci, Mario. 1975. "In margine al concetto aristotelico di esistenza." In Scritti in onore di Carlo Diano, 227-261. Bologna: Pàtron.

  2. Romano, Francesco, and Taormina, Daniela Patrizia, eds. 2002. Hyparxis e Hypostasis nel Neoplatonismo. Firenze: Olschki.

    Atti del I Colloquio Internazionale del Centro di Ricerca sul neoplatonismo (Catania, 1-3 Ottobre 1992).

  3. Serra, Giuseppe. 1983. "Due studi arabo-latini: I. Note in margine a 'Anniyya-Anitas'." Medioevo no. 19:27-51.

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