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Talk:Being

WikiProject Philosophy (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
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MineralsEdit

From the opening paragraph of the article:

there is currently no conclusive scientific evidence as to whether or not plants, minerals or viruses are conscious

What the? Minerals? Yes there is, under any realistic interpretation of "conclusive". That sentence has been around for almost two years [1]. Well, no longer. dbenbenn | talk 04:23, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

You let me be for these two long years--and now you revoke my being? Well, same to you partner! 8)) ---TheMineralBeing

The Power of NowEdit

I cut the following text from this article, as it is seemingly unrelated to the ontological concept of being:

Eckhart Tolle in his best-selling book, The Power of Now, uses the word "Being" as a substitute and more accurate word for "God".

If that use of "Being" is important, perhaps it belongs in the Supreme Being article or in the Eckhart Tolle article or, if The Power of Now is an important enough book, in an article about that book. The Rod 05:22, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Film: Being ThereEdit

Continuing to make this article more about a single topic (ontological being), I cut the following content from the article, as it seems unrelated to the ontological concept of being:

The film "Being There" starring Peter Sellers was influenced by existentialism and the works of Martin Heidegger.

If the existentialist aspect of the film is important enough, perhaps it belongs in Existentialism or perhaps the film merits its own article. The Rod 05:29, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Request: The characteristics of a beingEdit

I need the qualities or characteristics that differentiate a being from a not-being -Daëmon 02:13, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Please sign your contributions to talk pages by adding -~~~~ at the end. -Unsigned
That would depend entirely on which philosopher you asked. -Smahoney 00:45, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Surely it would be impossible to discuss the characteristics of a not-being, as having any characteristics at all would suggest beinghood, as would being the subject of a discussion.Riversider (talk) 15:57, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't think you folks were too much help to poor Mr. Daemon, as he went and got off of Wikipedia. He probably had in mind the "properties of being" as defined in metaphysics. We have enough articles now on WP for all of you folks to see that the concept of being has a history. It isn't just a free-for-all. I think maybe it is time to start think of writing these articles in terms of that history rather than just what any philosopher, including any of you, thinks it might be.Dave (talk) 00:32, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

SuggestionEdit

There is an inappropriate mixture of definitions in this article. We start out by talking about the subjective meaning, how it is the inner self and all that. Then we start talking abouth the universal meaning of being, which is essentially objective. Which is it? The article goes on blithely speaking as if they were one and the same thing. The key to the problem is the lack of references. They seem to help clarify everything. Since the article clearly intends to cover the universal, or objective, status of being, I propose that is where we start. As this is a long-standing tagged article and everyone interested has had an ample shot at it I hope you do not mind if I turn my hand to organizing and referencing the article. There are a whole lot of articles on the same topic but they are all equally tagged and equally problematic. But, let's try to do it right and then see what we really have before we make any final decisions (if there is any such thing on WP).00:44, 30 December 2009 (UTC)


What is the relationship between Awareness and Being? There is no mention of it in the article? AgentSmith 21:22, 18 March 2012 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 111.69.197.103 (talk)

Name droppingEdit

Actually the writing here as far as it goes is very good, nor have I yet found evidence of plagiarism. The name-dropping, however - well, that is something else. I know the walls of institutions, such as the Boston Public Library, have the names of great thinkers inscribed in them as a monument. This isn't a monument, however, it is an article. Nothing is said about the names, no information given, no refs, the articles do not mention this article, we are left to guess the relevance. I think what we want are the refs. The first ref I put in contains those names and gives more detail. So, I'm removing name lists, or shall we say monumental names, which are being dropped, shall we say, like names of battles invoked by people who never fought in them.Dave (talk) 04:19, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Etienne GilsonEdit

"French Academy member Étienne Gilson wrote once that if a notion had to be universally recognized as the first of all principles of philosophy that would be being."

Try as I might I cannot find the source of this statement. Maybe he did say it, maybe not. Whatever the case may be, it appears to be out of context. However, it is signal that the editor should have chosen for this article probably the most notable Thomist of modern times, a metaphysician's metaphysician, an ontologist's ontologist. What he says is easily taken out of context because he often likes to develop the subject by going along with a given hypothesis to the point where it can't be gone along with any further, as a device for getting you to make the leap into an otherwise extraordinary realization. This method appears to imitate St. Thomas' method. The latter makes statements that have an ordinary and an extraordinary sense. He brings you along the ordinary path until you suddenly realize he cannot possibly be talking about the ordinary. Other metaphysicians abd ontologists do that also, although some prefer straight exposition. Now, I cannnot follow down any misunderstandings or statements out of context the editor may have had. I think for purpose of what he is trying to say he may dropped one name too many. However I will respect his wishes and start using Gilson as the main basis for this article! What is missing of course is about 2000 years of the philosophy of being; I presume the editor ommitted that as of no value, as he says. Well, there might be some small value. Might. There are so many articles around this topic one has to be careful to stick right to the topic, which is being and beings, as opposed to entities, ousia, existents, essences, and all the rest.Dave (talk) 11:27, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Being in Islamic philosophyEdit

Unless differences between Islamic and non-Islamic philosophies are going to be discussed, I see no purpose on keeping that there.Glorthac (talk) 02:50, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I was intrigued to hear that being is discussed in Islamic philosophy, but frustrated by the lack of any quote or discussion of what Islamic philosophy has to say about being. Rather than deletion of this section, I'd like to see more detail. Riversider (talk) 15:54, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

merging is not the answerEdit

Merging is not the answer...Any language is called a rich language, because it is rich in terms of trminology. It is noticeable clearly that the English language is shrinking lately by folloewing the method of merging (and other reasons which does not concern our subject, now)not specificaly, just an example, i.e; SOUL (Area = LIFE)while MIND (Area = THOUGHT). And now 'Existance' and 'Being'. though might be very close in SOME meanings, but never carries the same specs. Existence versus nothingness , while Being versus nonpresence. Actually what disturbes me most is the use of definitions derived from the brain understandings of the universe, especially when they don't exists as such, i.e; Time= is a sequence of moments,etc...past,present,future. Well excuse me but there is no such thing in oneness time...this is simply an understanding IN ACCORDANCE TO THE BRAIN, and not a definition of time, to be fair it might be a good understanding to the verb time, but what about time the noun? Michel Nakouzi (talk) 22:14, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Improvement/MergeEdit

I highly recommend looking at the German wikipedia article on Being (Sein): http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sein

It's much better than the English wiki one. --Caute AF (talk) 16:42, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

There's a duplication of effort here, a redundant English article. Placed merge tag on it pointing here but I'm unlikely to have the time to perform it. 72.228.177.92 (talk) 18:50, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Im not sure if merging is a good idea. "Existence" Refers to a very specific thing, and does so clearly. "Being" however, has many definitions; "I am a human being" "I'm being robbed!" and the like. Perhaps the "being" article could be merged into the Existence article? 74.132.249.206 (talk) 03:44, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Well this supports an Existence article [2], while there is no entry there for being. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 03:10, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Current LedeEdit

The lede should introduce the philosophical term "being" in much the same way that the term might be introduced to a freshman philosophy class. The current version strays too far from the all ways the term is used. The definitions given have almost no connection with the traditional understanding of the term as used in classical philosophy, i.e. existence and essence, metaphysics, etc.

There is a little continental philosophy there, which is fine, but an introduction should be more even handed between Heidegger's understanding of the term and it's traditional usage. There are also several statements which are obviously false. I'm thinking of the discussion of personal experience, sentience, etc. I don't think these would be part of a traditional account of being.

I've asked over at Wikiproject philosophy if anyone else wants to take a crack at it. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 08:58, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

OK, being a signed-up editor at that Wikiproject, I am responding to the request. I am first of all removing this "synecdoche" thing. Whose idea was that? Where is it discussed, above? Where is the edit summary that explains its inclusion? Completely alienating to practically every reader.
I have now done it. What an embarrassing mess that was! Get familiar with WP styling for a start, gang. Read through WP:MOS. And then, think of the hapless reader. And then, ask yourself – really ask yourself! – have I truly got the ability and the knowledge to make this work as a useful Wikipedia article?
The rest of the article seems to be in a similar condition. But just now, I can't bear to look closely. I need a cup of tea and some quiet time alone.
☺♥♫♪! NoeticaTea? 10:21, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 15:43, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Why is "Dasein" singled out as Heidegger's term for "being" whereas clearly "Sein" is the general term, as the title of his book suggests? Tkuvho (talk) 13:31, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
See Heideggerian terminology. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 15:45, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I retained the example of Dasein as a concession to something in the long substandard text that had been in place. It is explicitly presented as an example, so that we get away from reiterating mere translations or paraphrases of being such as Sein. No big deal. NoeticaTea? 23:44, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I restored the older version before the good-faith hatchet job by Noetica. I appreciate attempts by Wikiproject people to come in and be WP:BOLD, but some restraint is needed. I agree the synecdoche thing needs changing. -Stevertigo (t | c) 22:45, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm reverting, once again to replace that embarrassing spiel, Stevertigo. Show here how it makes any sort of sense as a lead section, was ever discussed, was ever well signalled in edit summaries, or in any way deserves any respect whatsoever as a part of Wikipedia's philosophical offerings. ☺♫♥ NoeticaTea? 22:52, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Agree that Noetica's version is better than Stevertigo's. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 23:05, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
How am I supposed to argue with someone who calls the previous version an "embarrassing spiel"? That "spiel" has been in place for over two years, until Charles' recent edits, and AFAIK Noetica had never even browsed this article until his self-appointed hatchet job.
The first issue with the term "being" is that it has some different but straightforward and related definitions. We can find some of those here for example. We should start with the dicdefs first, as per the version I support. Being as an abstract and "a being" as a literal.
The current wording contains caveat language such as "extremely broad concept encompassing subjective and objective features" and "so broad a notion has inevitably been elusive and controversial in the history of philosophy." These aren't definitions, they are cop-outs. Regards, -Stevertigo (t | c) 00:20, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
I think your criticisms here are actually right on target. (Although, as you know, I didn't like the old lede.) I don't know if I would go with the dictionary definitions because I think this article should deal with "being" as it has been used in Western philosophy. (Eastern philosophy has its own article, sentient beings (Buddhism).)
What do you think about this organization, which I think captures the historical development of the term. Four paragraphs:
  1. Classical definition (in terms of existence, i.e. "something which exists"), with a statement that "being" has been re-evaluated by modern philosophy. Starting with the words "In western philosophy, being is ... " to identify this as an article about Western philosophy.
  2. A few classical approaches to the "problem of being" (mention metaphysics and the major issues here)
  3. Twentieth century re-interpretation by Heidegger and others, redefining "being" as subjective and critiquing classical metaphysics.
  4. Analytical and postmodern reactions and arguments against mid-century continental philosophy's approach.
I think a "scholarly" approach like this is appropriate for Wikipedia, and this organization avoids the caveat you complained about above, by directly describing the ways that philosophy has disagreed about the term.
Whaddya think? ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 20:25, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────OK Charles. Go ahead and put something together along these lines and we'll see how it flows, and give you pointers - anything missing, suggested re-wording etc. -Stevertigo (t | c) 22:32, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Heh. Good luck! The lead should not be an anguished and opaque survey of the whole domain: it has to be a meaningful entrée to the topic, that can then be given a full articulation in all that follows. Nothing in the present lead is a "cop-out", as you allege above. Compare this:

Like many philosophically interesting notions, existence is at once familiar and rather elusive. Although we have no more trouble with using the verb ‘exists’ than with the two-times table, there is more than a little difficulty in saying just what existence is. Existing seems to be at least as mundane as walking or being hungry. Yet, when we say ‘Tom is hungry’ or ‘Tom is walking’, it may be news to those not in Tom's vicinity, whereas ‘Tom exists’ would be news to no one who knew Tom, and merely puzzling to anyone who did not. Again, we know what it is like to be hungry or to walk, but what is it like to exist, what kind of experience is that? Is it perhaps the experience of being oneself, of being identical with oneself? Yet again, we can readily indicate what is meant by Tom's walking, but surely Tom's existing is not something we can indicate to anyone. On the face of it, there would seem to be no way at all in which we can explain what existing is.

A cop-out also? Well, that is the first paragraph of the nearest comparable article ("Existence") at the professional and superb Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Take your critique of that article to its author, Barry Miller: a well-published authority on the topic.
NoeticaTea? 00:28, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. Note that the structure I laid out is basically the structure of the paragraph you wrote, with a maybe a little more emphasis on classical philosophy, just because I think this could set up the issue in a way that is (almost) comprehensible to (at least some) people. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 00:54, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
There's simply no need for any of that in a lead, Charles. It has to be tight. It has to give the essence, and set the scene. Frankly, it would be better to put effort into the rest of the article now. The weakest links are now to be found here. NoeticaTea? 01:33, 4 May 2012 (UTC) ¿
Do I detect on Noetica's part an excess of zeal for terse language? Yet he defends using excessive caveats and 'there is no clear definition' style language. Noetica, good ledes are not uberterse, such that leaves all definition and meaning to "be given a full articulation in all that follows." This may not be what you prefer or are accustomed to, but good ledes get to the point. -Stevertigo (t | c) 04:05, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Detect what you like; whether it's there or not is another matter. Good leads get to the point? O yes. Couldn't agree more. As I say, good luck! Read carefully that paragraph I quote from the Stanford Encyclopedia, and perhaps the ones immediately after it. Then think long and hard about our readers' needs before "getting to the point" on one of the most general and contested topics imaginable. ☺♪ NoeticaTea? 04:29, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Don't get me wrong, your continued input is welcome. I just may disagree with certain things you suggest and will point these out specifically. In any case, I will never do a hatchet job on anyone's work on the basis of a few generic nitpicks. Regards, -Stevertigo (t | c) 05:45, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree Noetica's version is a vast improvement, but IMHO it doesn't go far enough. The article is about the philosophical concept of "being"; digressions into other meanings are not appropriate here. But why start naming philosophers in the opening paragraph, and why only the modern ones, since the piece as it stands now is a historical survey, beginning in antiquity. And Heidegger? My understanding is that there is a bit of controversy about him — many finding his ideas opaque, in spite of his ability to write zippy titles — and question whether he belongs in the pantheon at all. Can't y'all make do with Nietzsche and Sartre and existentialism? But perhaps any further changes should be made after the final shape of the article itself is evident. One nitpick: the word "deploy", when used for anything except military divisions and opening parachutes, is to me like fingernails on a blackboard, and clichéd besides. I first started noticing the casual use of this word in 1991, a few weeks after the deployment of U.S. troops in Iraq. IMHO the everyday use of the word attempts to make something look positive by comparing it with a military operation, which many find anything but positive. Neotarf (talk) 07:08, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── had to check if I started this thread, sounds so much like me (user:lycurgus) but apparently not. I'm retired here but have to chime in with others how risible the use of 'deploy" is in the lede. Apparently someone tried without success to wipe it. 198.255.198.157 (talk) 21:00, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Write an encyclopedia article, not a paper for a philosophy classEdit

The current version of the article is filled with pretentious, unclear writing. For example, the first sentence of the lead is:

Being is what one who is sentient is in the way of mind, body, spirit, and their union, and what one knows about these things and those of similar life forms.

The first sentence of the body is:

The deficit of such a bridge was first encountered in history by the Pre-Socratic philosophers during the process of evolving a classification of all beings (noun).

The section titled "The transcendental being" begins:

Some of Thomas Aquinas' propositions were reputedly condemned by the local Bishop of Paris (not the Papal Magisterium itself) in 1270 and 1277, but his dedication to the use of philosophy to elucidate theology was so thorough that he was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1568. Those who adopt it are called Thomists.

I haven't read the whole article, but most of what I've sampled is similarly unclear, irrelevant, and pretentiously worded. To future editors: Please don't hesitate to delete large portions of text, even the entire article, and write from scratch. Much writing in philosophy, and especially in philosophy classes, is pretentious, unclear, and incoherent. An encyclopedia article should not follow that precedent. An encyclopedia article should summarize the main facts about the topic, in a form understandable to a nonspecialist reader.

For some guidance on writing appropriate for Wikipedia, please see WP:BETTER. WP:TONE is a good place to start. For guidance specifically about the lead, please see MOS:INTRO. The place to start editing to fix the article is probably the body, not the lead, as explained at WP:LEADFOLLOWSBODY. To get content to put into the article, start with leading secondary sources such as textbooks, not with the philosophers' writings, and certainly not with your own philosophical ideas (see WP:NOR, WP:NPOV). Just summarize the main facts, accompanied by references to the sources. That's all there is to it. (It's much harder than it sounds, though, especially with a topic like "being".)

When all the pretentious writing is replaced with straightforward, factual writing, then it will be time to remove the {{tone}} tag.

Ben Kovitz (talk) 16:53, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

Shoukd there be a disambiguation page?Edit

Being and OntologyEdit

I transpose the initial paragraph in Ontology article.

"Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence or reality as well as the basic categories of being and their relations."

Surprisingly the entire lead of the present article on Being contains no mention to Ontology. If there is no serious objection to it, I will proceed to introduce this missing connection.--Auró (talk) 12:23, 15 January 2017 (UTC)

Joke article?Edit

This sounds like a joke article — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lotofnot (talkcontribs) 04:45, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Return to "Being" page.