Tag Archives: critique of the metaphysics of existence

Why Metaphysics Cannot Get Away From Ability as Metaphysical Primary

Let’s use “chair” as an example for this explication of the metaphysics of Ability vs. Existence.

We don’t say that the chair IS existence, we say that the chair HAS existence.

But “having” implies action, which implies the ABILITY to act. In this case, the chair’s ability to have existence is the root WHY of itself. That is, existence is not why the chair HAS (action) existence, the chair’s ABILITY (to exist you could even say) is why the chair HAS (action) existence .

Now, I understand that the chair cannot have ability unless it IS, in fact, the chair. I get it, chair implies ability and ability implies chair…you don’t get ability without someTHING having it; and you don’t get an it without the ABILITY to BE . But that’s precisely my point. When dealing in metaphysics it is all about corollaries.  The trick is finding the REAL and rationally perfect corollary, not a contradiction masquerading as one.

What this shows us is that not only is the chair, itself (or specifically its ability), why it “has existence”, or why it is (being) the chair, but that the chair is entirely DISTINCT from existence. Meaning that “existence” is NOT a natural corollary to “chair” at all. The chair and existence, though they may have some conceptual relationship, are not in essence one and the same. Chair and the existence of the chair are not essential corollaries. The chair must be able to be the chair BEFORE it can possess existence…its singular (to itself qua itself) ABILITY TO BE the chair is why it is also ABLE TO HAVE existence. The CHAIR is; and the CHAIR has. Existence here really has nothing to do with it. Existence only enters the picture (at the epistemological level) AFTER the chair has already been made manifest by its ABILITY to be (its ability to be and its being are of course corollary, as I explained above). This seems quite a contradiction to the commonly understood notion of “existence”…that is, existence at the metaphysical level.

It is the chair and its ABILITY which are metaphysical corollaries, not the chair and its existence. Existence, however, we are told is supposed to be the metaphysical synonym for “chair”…the general primary of “existence” supposedly implying the specific ( in this case chair). But as I have explained it actually does not because we don’t say the chair IS existence, we say the chair HAS existence. Which again, contrary to existence, implies ABILITY at root…of the chair to act…to be…to have. Ability is the root essence which implies chair, not existence. Ability = action = a specific thing which acts.

The metaphysical corollary is like this: Ability implies chair (in this case), and chair implies Ability. “Chair has Ability and Ability has chair” is also a logical way to render it; chair does Ability and Ability does chair. Ability manifests chair, manifests ability. It’s a perfect corollary.

In summary:

We cannot say that the chair has existence WITHOUT IMPLYING ABILITY, thus undercutting existence as the metaphysical primary. However we CAN say that the chair has ability—is able to act as (be)—without implying existence. For “being” is an act, not an is. DOING/ACTION cannot be divorced from chair. AT ALL. Metaphysics is active, not passive. Ability, not existence, implies a PLURALITY of objects which all share the same exact, absolute root. Ability ALONE reconciles the paradox of a metaphysical singularity which not only allows for but NECESSITATES a rational, efficacious plurality.