Aristotle on being: an Aristotelian critique of Russell’s theory of existence
Couvalis, Spyridon George
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Aristotle explains existence through postulating essences that are intrinsic and perception independent. I argue that his theory is more plausible than Hume’s and Russell’s theories of existence. Russell modifies Hume’s theory because he wants to allow for the existence of mathematical objects. However, Russell’s theory facilitates a problematic collapse of ontology into epistemology, which has become a feature of much analytic philosophy. This collapse obscures the nature of truth. Aristotle is to be praised for starting with a clear account of ordinary objects rather than immediately reifying mathematical objects. He thus allows us to have a coherent account of existence and truth, and to easily resist collapsing ontology into epistemology.