Being as a philosophical category has been always used by philosophers who study ontology but what does make it a legit philosophical category ?

What argument is there to prove that there's such a thing as "Being " ?

Isn't "Being" some category we've defined to be so ? So why do we try to study ontology from a self-defined concept which isn't proved a priori ? Don't we take it for granted as only because we think that thinking is being ? But what proof is there of the last claim ?

  • 1
    Ontology isn't so much the study of a definition but to what the definition refers to. Although the definition is a human construction, the referents of the definition behave in a manner independent of our classification. Those things that full under the category can be characterized by certain properties, and ontology tries to discover what we can know about them. In general, it can be said that we usually form categories as we recognize similar properties in things, and thus the properties suggest the classification without being the product of it.
    – user3017
    May 16 '17 at 20:50
  • What argument is there to "prove" anything? A "proof" would have to use some other categories, at least some of them would have to remain "unproven". Why not being? And didn't we "define" every category to be so? Otherwise, we wouldn't even understand what they mean. But the meaning of being does not necessarily tie it to thinking, indeed it is easy to comprehend non-thinking being.
    – Conifold
    May 16 '17 at 22:11
  • apparently, hebrew and chinese have the same word for being and having! couldn't a lot of being and time be thought about in terms of the legitimacy of the question. the 1st few chapters, explicitly so.
    – user25714
    May 18 '17 at 2:13

A reasonable definition of ontology is : "the study of what there is".

Its origin is from Aristotle's Mataphysics:

Aristotle himself described his subject matter in a variety of ways: as ‘first philosophy’, or ‘the study of being qua being’, or ‘wisdom’, or ‘theology’.

[...] his description involves three things: (1) a study, (2) a subject matter (being), and (3) a manner in which the subject matter is studied (qua being).

Of course, first philosophy is not the only field of inquiry to study beings. Natural science and mathematics also study beings, but in different ways, under different aspects. [...] The metaphysician, on the other hand, studies them in a more general and abstract way—qua beings. So first philosophy studies the causes and principles of beings qua beings.

In this context, we have to address the question:

what does make [being] a legit philosophical category ?

Regarding the question:

What argument is there to prove that there's such a thing as "being" ?,

we can mimick A's approach: there are [exist] "objects" in the world (not only in the physical one); different disciplines study them: from natural sciences to mathematics.

In addition to this, we may assume the legitimacy of studying what exists per se, trying to identify "general principles" common to any kind of existent (in the broad sense): the being qua being.


What argument is there to prove that there's such a thing as "Being " ?

The simplest is the question whether one really sees a house, or say a library or human being. So, do you actually see a house, or do you only see shapes and colors? The claim is that one sees something more than the so-called sense data. Or, that one can not even know the place where the sense-data is to be separated from the object as the subject matter of a causal science. So that instead of saying that there is what one sees as a subjective matter, a house, and what one sees as a causal matter, psychical stuff, one posits being as such.

One can by further referred to Brentano's work: On the Several Senses of Being in Aristotle. One of the works that was essential to Heidegger’s early research into the question of being as such.


What makes Being a legit philosophical category is the fact that what is known as the transition from myth to logos was a radical failure cause the keenest logic tool, Anaximander's ápeiron, was not given the crown I defend it deserved.

It is easy to consent that the real issue is not Being but Perception, yet, how many philosophers and non-ones drew and are drawing the right sequel from that, beginning with George Berkeley who, on one hand, correctly stated “Esse est percipi” but, on the other, kept His grip on the idea of God ?

So, there cannot be any ground argument for Being like for any other Common Sense born concept allegedly fit for helping with the Inclusive Explanation Human Thought is bound to stalk.

The insufficiency of what I called ALT, the Abstractest Layer of Thought, is why --since the wreck of Milesian Logic on the rocks of Anaximenes' Air-- we lost our abstractest marbles and generated philosophies à gogo.

Thank so much for your very intelligent suspect and question, Jean !

I hope my answer might help with or without more stuff from my keyboard as sparse on the Web under one or the other of my two identities: this one, mik palos (mainly on Yahoo Answers) and the eldest, MilValos, on Facebook Presocratici Fan Club. One sample to finish with: https://beta.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20140914134612AA3g51g .

[mkp th18my17 02a45]

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