The return of the non-existent

Suppose some x comes into existence at t, persists for a while, and then ceases to exist. Question is: can x ‘return’ (yu’ād) to existence, say at t’? Assume that sort of thing can happen. If so, then would also have to return to existence alongside x, insofar as it is a part of what individuates x as x. But in that case, t and t’ would be identical; and therefore, x’s return to existence would be the same thing as its beginning of existence. But that’s clearly a contradiction. And thus, the initial assumption is necessarily false.


Ismaili apophaticism

In his Masari’ al-musari’ (Qum: 1984, ed. H. al-Mu’izzi), a work devoted in part to a refutation of Ismaili theology as represented by Abd al-Karim Shahrastani, the Avicennian philosopher Nasir al-Din Tusi sums up in my view the best way to deal with their characteristic brand of tanzih. In criticizing Shahrastani’s account, Tusi writes (pp. 87-8, tr. Mayer, modified): Continue reading “Ismaili apophaticism”

A muta’alih argument against ‘existence’ as instantiation

A ‘quiddity’ is simply that which makes something the kind of thing that it is – excluding anything that isn’t constitutive of its identity as that thing. Example: equinity, whatever its content, is a quiddity by virtue of which a horse is a horse and not, say, a cow. In its meaning, equinity or horseness excludes any property that isn’t essential to horses qua horses, like e.g., being white, swift, a particular size, etc. Continue reading “A muta’alih argument against ‘existence’ as instantiation”