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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-N004-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 21, 2024, from

Article Summary

Although ‘being’ has frequently been treated as a name for a property or special sort of entity, it is generally recognized that it is neither. Therefore, questions concerning being should not be understood as asking about the nature of some object or the character of some property. Rather, such questions raise a variety of problems concerning which sorts of entities there are, what one is saying when one says that some entity is, and the necessary conditions on thinking of an entity as something which is.

At least four distinct questions concerning being have emerged in the history of philosophy: (1) Which things are there? (2) What is it to be? (3) Is it ever appropriate to treat ‘is’ as a predicate, and, if not, how should it be understood? (alternatively, is existence a property?) (4) How is it possible to intend that something is? Twentieth-century discussions of being in the analytic tradition have focused on the first and third questions. Work in the German tradition, especially that of Martin Heidegger, has emphasized the fourth.

Citing this article:
Okrent, Mark. Being, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-N004-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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