Aristotle on being: an Aristotelian critique of Russell’s theory of existence

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Date
2015
Authors
Couvalis, Spyridon George
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Publisher
Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand
Rights
© 2015, Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand All rights reserved. No part of this publication may reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher.
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Copyright in each contribution to this journal belongs to its author.
Abstract
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.
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Keywords
Greek studies, Aristotle, Philosophy
Citation
Couvalis, G., 2015. Aristotle on being: an Aristotelian critique of Russell's theory of existence. In: M. Tsianikas, G. Couvalis and M. Palaktsoglou (eds.) "Reading, interpreting, experiencing: an inter-cultural journey into Greek letters". Modern Greek Studies Association of New Zealand, 41-50.