E-LOGOS - University of Economics, Prague
Faculty of Economics, University of Economics, Prague

NONEXISTENCE - A comparative-historical analysis of the problem of nonbeing (2014)

Author: M. D. Bakaoukas

Email: bakaoukas@mail.com

Affiliation: School of Pedagogical and Technological Education, Aspete, Athens, Greece

14121 Heraklion,

Article type: Standard scientific article

Section: History of Philosophy

Language: language

Abstract (english):

The philosophical issue of nonbeing has stayed alive down the centuries. Ancient Greek philosophers used to treat nonbeing as chimera. The chimera is philosophers' choice of example when they need a composite nonexistent mythological animal (Iliad 6.181). As a matter of fact, Aristotle prefers the goat-stag (tragelaphos) and the centaur. In the Hellenistic period, the centaur, the scylla and the chimera are the standard examples. In medieval texts the chimera is more popular than any of the other composite animals. For centuries philosophers have used nonbeing and chimera as experimental BEINGS, keeping them on a minimum of being. In a way nonbeing and chimera owe them their "life". Do Centaur, Goat-Stag and Pegasus, who are nonbeing’s kin, exist? They do certainly have a place in man's memory. The first philosophical analysis of "nonbeing" found in the treatise On What is Not, was written by Gorgias the sophist in the 5th c. BC. Gorgias' treatise is the origin and the beginning of the philosophical debate upon nonbeing, which continues to take place up to the present day. Also, what is the analysis of the problem of nonbeing in contemporary philosophers, that is, Brentano, Meinong, Russell, and Quine? In this paper I analyse comparatively the ancient and contemporary treatment of (the problem of) nonbeing; the problem whether there are nonexistent objects. This paper in general belongs to the species of loosely ruminative and comparative-historical. My primary concern is to understand the (differences and similarities of the) ancient and contemporary analysis of nonbeing and nonexistence. The new argument I propound is that among other elements what connects the ancient analysis of nonbeing with the contemporary one is psychologism which forced Plato and Meinong as well to find a way out of it in their attempt to distinguish (non)being from (non)existence.

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