Abstract: Jody Azzouni argues that whilst it is indeterminate what the criteria for existence are, there is a criterion that has been collectively adopted to use ‘exist’ that we can employ to argue for positions in ontology. I raise and defend a novel objection to Azzouni: his view has the counterintuitive consequence that the facts regarding what exists can and will change when users of the word ‘exist’ change what criteria they associate with its usage. Considering three responses, I argue Azzouni has best reason to take one that ultimately renders unsuccessful his arguments against mathematical abstracta.
My primary research interests are in (meta-)metaphysics, moral philosophy, and their intersections. My DPhil thesis concerns a range of issues at their intersections. In particular, it addresses questions about how to understand and engage in metaphysical disputes in meta-ethics, questions which I take to be raised by a recent form of moral non-naturalism some call relaxed/quietist moral realism. I have other research interests in meta-philosophy, practical/applied ethics, political philosophy, epistemology, and the philosophy of the classical Islamic period (especially Avicenna and his reception).
I have written a brief biography for the Oriel College website on the life and work of the great philosopher and former Provost of Oriel Sir William David Ross. You can find it here.