||[Jan. 13th, 2007|06:38 am]
There is no universally accepted definition of existence. The philosophical branch of metaphysics further devotes the subfield of ontology to discussing existence. Existence is perhaps beyond linguistic definitions. The term being (or thing) in-itself [Ding-an-Sich], alternately being, is conventionally used such that existence is presupposed before (and after?) all other qualities and attributes of a thing.|
The dominant (though by no means universal) view in twentieth-century and contemporary Anglo-American philosophy is that existence is what is asserted by statements of first-order logic of the form "for some x Fx". This agrees with the simple and common sense view that, in uttering "There is a bridge across the Thames at Hammersmith", or "A bridge crosses the Thames at Hammersmith", one asserts the existence of a bridge across the Thames at Hammersmith. In this view, the word "existence" is simply a way of describing the logical form of ordinary subject-predicate sentence. The question of a thing's existence is not to be confused with statements of fact, although the two are closely related topics. Hence, it is often the case that while facts may be merely asserted and corroborated, a thing merely "is (self-)evident."