Philosophy Notes: On what there is

The Platonic riddle of nonbeing (nicknamed plato’s beard). “Nonbeing must in some sense be, other-wise what is it that there is not?”

Pegasus is. But Pegasus is not actualized. Pegasus is an unactualized possible.. The Parthenon is actualized. It is an idea AND an actualized existing thing.

So is actualization an attribute, like red?

Problem. The ‘actual’ Parthenon, what is that exactly? I only have the idea of the Parthenon. If I go there and see a dog running around it the dog doesn’t understand that it’s the Parthenon with all the history, it’s just more man-rock. The Parthenon-ness of it is mental.

Wyman has a universe of possibles (Quine criticises him). Wyman’s possibles could allow for contradictions (square circles), but instead he says they are meaningless, i.e. the doctrine of the meaninglessness of contradictions.

Quine says this is problematic because it makes it impossible to devise a way to test what is meaningful and what is not. There can be no generally applicable test of contradictoriness. (I agree, but that’s because a lot of things can be seen to be contradictions).


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