By Joseph Owens
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Additional resources for An Interpretation of Existence
The existence has to be proven in the conclusion, according to the structure of the argmnent, and therefore cannot be granted in the premises. For the same reason any inversions of the ontological argu ment in the direction of nonexistence tum out to be invalid. It has been claimed that an agnostic attitude toward God involves an outright denial of his existence, since "God must be 'One Whose existence . . " This way of reasoning fails in the same way as the regular ontological argument. In themselves, concepts just do not reach the existential order.
This is the priority of existence to the thing it actuates. Although existence is an accidental perfection of the thing, it does not follow upon the thing as do the predicamental accidents. Rather, it precedes the thing; it is prior to the thing. Unless the existence is presupposed, the thing would not be there at all. Existence may be an accident, but it has to be an accident that is prior to the thing itself, prior to its substance, prior to its nature. The priority, of course, is a priority of metaphysical order, and in no way a priority of time.
Delusion is very a man, the subject who did the losing and who though bed- easy here. One is accustomed to regard a subject as losing its 76 AN INTERPRETATION OF EXISTENCE attributes and possessions once they cease to be present for it. Why not regard existence in the same way when it ceases to actuate the subject? The difference between the two cases, however, should be clear enough upon reflection. In the one case the subject could be there without the attribute in ques ,tion, and accordingly could be conceived as losing it But Without existence, there is just no subject there to be con ceived as having or as losing anything.