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Humphreys, Rebekah . The Argument from Existence, Blood-Sports, and ‘Sport-Slaves’
2014, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 27 (2): 331-345
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: The argument from existence is often used as an attempted justification for our use of animals in commercial practices, and is often put forward by lay-persons and philosophers alike. This paper provides an analysis of the argument from existence primarily within the context of blood-sports (applying the argument to the example of game-birding), and in doing so addresses interesting and related issues concerning the distinction between having a life and living, or worthwhile life and mere existence, as well as issues surrounding our responsibilities to prospective and actual beings. However, my analysis of the argument will go beyond the animal ethics context; it is important that it does so in order to reveal the troublesome implications of the argument and to highlight the sorts of unethical practices it supports. In particular, in applying the argument to a relevant example concerning human beings, I will discuss how the argument from existence could be used to justify the ownership of slaves who were reared for slavery. My objective is to show just how problematic the argument from existence is, with the aim of laying the argument to rest once and for all.

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Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli. The Philosophy of the Upanishads
1924, Unwin Brothers Limited.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Peter Jones

Overview: Not focused on any one Upanishad in particular, it conveys the spirit in which the Upanishads were written and provides a short overview of their Metaphysics, Ethics and Epistemology.

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Thomasson, Amie L.. The controversy over the existence of ordinary objects
2010, Philosophy Compass 5 (7):591-601.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Naomi Osorio-Kupferblum

Abstract: The basic philosophical controversy regarding ordinary objects is: Do tables and chairs, sticks and stones, exist? This paper aims to do two things: first, to explain why how this can be a controversy at all, and second, to explain why this controversy has arisen so late in the history of philosophy. Section 1 begins by discussing why the ‘obvious’ sensory evidence in favor of ordinary objects is not taken to be decisive. It goes on to review the standard arguments against the existence of ordinary objects – including those based on problems with causal redundancy, parsimony, co-location, sorites arguments, and the special composition question. Section 2 goes on to address what it is about the contemporary approach to metaphysics that invites and sustains this kind of controversy, and helps make evident why debates about ordinary objects lead so readily to debates in metametaphysics about the nature of metaphysics itself.

Comment: This is an excellent overview of arguments for and against the existence of ordinary objects.

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Yagisawa, Takashi. A New Argument Against the Existence Requirement
2005, Analysis 65 (285): 39-42.
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Added by: Nick Novelli

Abstract: It may appear that in order to be any way at all, a thing must exist. A possible – worlds version of this claim goes as follows: (E) For every x, for every possible world w, Fx at w only if x exists at w. Here and later in (R), the letter ‘F’ is used as a schematic letter to be replaced with a one – place predicate. There are two arguments against (E). The first is by analogy. Socrates is widely admired now but he does not exist now. So, it is not the case that for every x, for every time t, Fx at t only if x exists at t. Possible worlds are analogous to times. Therefore, (E) is false (cf., Kaplan 1973: 503 – 05 and Salmon 1981: 36 – 40). For the second argument, replace ‘F’ with ‘does not exist’. (E) then says that for every x, for every possible world w, x does not exist at w only if x exists at w. This is obviously false. Therefore (E) is false (cf., Kaplan 1977: 498). Despite their considerable appeal, these arguments are not unassailable. The first argument suffers from the weakness inherent in any argument from analogy; the analogy it rests on may not.

Comment: A very concise argument against the claim that existence is a prerequisite for having properties. This is a familiar claim, and this paper would be useful when it comes up to show that there is controversy about it. It does presuppose a basic understanding of possible world semantics, so should be reserved for courses where students already have a grasp of such semantics or the instructor wants to teach it beforehand.

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