On the Question of Being

Christofer B. Koch


The question of Being is one of the oldest questions in all of philosophy. It is one of the foundations of metaphysics and is the central question of ontology and was even considered by Martin Heidegger to be the fundamental question in philosophy in his major work Being and Time. This paper calls into question, not just the primacy of the question of Being, but the very existence of Being. Using the analytical methods of Gottlob Frege, outlined in his works on logic, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, outlined in his book Philosophical Investigations, this paper will argue that the question of Being is nonsense. Through an ordinary language analysis of the use of the verb “to be” by philosophers and using formal logic to analyze arguments made about the existence and aspects of Being, this paper will prove that the term “Being” is nonsense. More specifically, after defending the methods used, this paper will examine how the nominalized forms of the verb “to be” were misused by Greek philosophers as nouns and continue to be misused today. It will then examine more contemporaneous arguments made about Being, especially those of Martin Heidegger, using formal logic to show that their arguments lack validity. Because of this misuse and poor reasoning, this paper will show that “Being” has no definable meaning and, thus, traditional questions about Being are nonsensical questions that have no answers.


Being, Ordinary Language, Logic

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