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Saturday, August 21, 2021

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Bill thanks again for sharing yet another thought stimulating piece.
This principle
3. Nothing is a subject of a harm at a time at which it does not exist

is quite problematic. For suppose a bad guy beats a woman so hard that parts of her anatomy involved in birth giving get damaged prior to her pregnancy. And then, say a year later, she gives birth to a child who has serious health issues as a result of the damage to her reproductive organs. Denying that the child, who did not exist at the time, was harmed by the beating does not feel right.

A side consideration from the example above calls for considering, with a more attentive attitude, the distinctions between different ways of existence. This point is certainly no news to you, but the quantifier driven exist/does not exist dichotomy is just not fine grained enough; and no amount of predicates that one can attach to the logical object seems to do justice to the actual different modes of existence we are routinely distinguishing in language, thought and attributions of responsibility in life affairs in general.

Good comments, Dmitri.

You are suggesting that if a wholly past individual can be the subject of harms, then so can a wholly future individual. But that there will be future INDIVIDUALS is far less clear than that there were past individuals. See here: https://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2020/08/a-most-remarkable-prophecy.html

As for your second point, I address it briefly near the end of my piece. It is one of the dogmas of analysis that there no different modes of being. There is just existence and "Existence is what existential quantification expresses. " (Quine). Some argue that while wholly past individuals do not EXIST, they yet ARE and are therefore possible subjects of harm.

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