Existence and Wisdom

Keywords: existence, philosophical diversity, method, wisdom


In this paper, I examine the debate about existence between deflationist analytic accounts and the ‘thicker’ conception used by Aquinas when speaking of esse. I argue that the way one evaluates the debate will depend on background philosophical assumptions and that reflection on those assumptions could constitute an account of theoretical wisdom

Author Biography

Paul O’Grady, University of Dublin

Prof. Paul O’Grady — Trinity College Dublin, Department of Philosophy, University of Dublin


Aquinas. 1950. Aquinas Sententia Super Metaphysicam, edited by M.-R. Cathala and Raimondo Maria Spiazzi. Turin: Marietti 1950.

Aquinas. 1955. Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Translated by John P. Rowan. Notre Dame: Dumb Ox, 1995.

Dennett, Daniel C. 2006. Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, London: Allen Lane.

Frege, Gottlob. 1959. The Foundations of Arithmetic. Translated by J.L. Austin. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Gutting, Gary. 2017. Talking God: Philosophers on Belief. New York: Norton.

Hylton, Peter. 1990. Russell, Idealism and the Emergence of Analytic Philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Kerr, Gaven. 2014. Aquinas’s Way to God. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Klima, Gyula. 2012. “Theory of Language.” In The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas, edited by Brian Davies and Eleonore Stump, 371–89. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Vallicella, William E. 2002. A Paradigm Theory of Existence: Onto-Theology Vindicated. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Vallicella, William E. 2014. “Existence: Two Dogmas of Analysis.” In Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives in Metaphysics, edited by Daniel D. Novotný and Lukáš Novák, 45–75. London: Routledge.

Weidemann, Hermann. 1986. “The Logic of Being in Thomas Aquinas.” In The Logic of Being, edited by Simo Knuuttila and Jaakko Hintikka, 181–200. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Wettstein, Howard. 2012. The Significance of Religious Experience. Oxford: Oxford University Press.