Nihilism without Self-Contradiction

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in Robin Le Poidevin (ed.) Being: Developments in Contemporary Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Peter van Inwagen claims that there are no tables or chairs. He also claims that sentences such as ‘There are chairs here’, which seem to imply their existence, are often true. This combination of views opens van Inwagen to a charge of self-contradiction. I explain the charge, and van Inwagen’s response to it, which involves the claim that sentences like ‘There are tables’ shift their truth-conditions between different contexts of utterance. I present an alternative response which involves the negation of that claim, and argue that it is preferable to van Inwagen’s.
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Archival date: 2010-12-01
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