Saturday, March 12, 2011

Why ontology matters

For all x, x should be loved if x exists (eternally or at some time or other) and x should not be loved if x does not exist. Thus fundamental ontology matters for life.


kazim said...

let x be 'love of p'. Then by your principle, 'love of p' should be loved.
Now let x be 'the love of the love of p'. This love of the love of p should be loved.
And so on.

is this a problem for the principle you mention?

Alexander R Pruss said...

I don't know that love of p is something that exists. But if it is, I am untroubled by the regress. It's not more problematic than the fact that if there were infinitely many people in the world, then we would need to love infinitely many people.

Mike Almeida said...

what about the state of affairs of there being vast amounts of suffering in the world or of there being 6 million people murdered in WWII? Those states of affairs exist. Should our attitude toward those states of affairs be a loving one? isn't the proper attitude to those states of affairs something closer to deep regret?

Jonathan D. Jacobs said...

What should we say of the distinction (defended, in one way or another, by Fine, Schaffer, Cameron, et all) between existence and fundamentally existence, according to which some things exists but do not fundamentally exist? If trees exists but do not exist fundamentally, ought we to love them?

Jonathan D. Jacobs said...

@Mike: Is deep regret inconsistent with love? (The attitude a father should have toward his son who is a moral failure seems to be just this.)

Alexander R Pruss said...


I don't believe in states of affairs.


I think non-fundamental existence is existence in an analogical sense. Maybe then, when the analogy is good, one should have some attitude analogous to love.

Alexander R Pruss said...

This is a nice tool for ontology. If there are states of affairs that should not be loved, then those states of affairs don't exist simpliciter. If all states of affairs are in the same boat ontologically (which is not obvious--maybe negative ones differ from positive ones), then no states of affairs exist simpliciter.

J said...

Start by defining "loved"

Or "exists"

Alexander R Pruss said...

I don't know any important concepts I can define.

After all, if I had a definition of a concept, it wouldn't be all that important, because instead of making use of the definiendum, I could make use of the concepts in the definiens. :-)