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.
I have a broad range of philosophical research interests. My primary research interests are in:
i) Metaphysics and Meta-Metaphysics/Meta-Ontology (existence, methodology in metaphysics, and the implications of meta-metaphysical and meta-ontological disputes to first-order metaphysics and ontology)
ii) Moral Philosophy and the Philosophy of Normativity (meta-normativity and the metaphysics of normativity, meta-ethics, and normative ethics)
Some of my primary research interests – including my DPhil thesis research – fall in the intersections between i) and ii).
My other philosophical research interests lie in: iii) Meta-Philosophy (philosophical methodology, philosophical progress, philosophical success), iv) Practical/Applied Ethics (defensive harm and war, personal relationships, voting), Political Philosophy (legitimacy of political authority, use of coercive force by states), and vi) Epistemology (epistemic normativity, reasons for belief, epistemic rationality).