>S. Morris Engel, Angelika Soldan, Kevin Durand


If we consider a hole and ask, “Does a hole exist?” it would certainly seem clear that it does. For example, Kenny could step in a hole and twist his ankle. If we asked Kenny if the hole exists, he might well think we had become addled to ask such a silly and obvious question. “Of course it exists,” he might say, “after all, I just stepped in it, and I couldn’t very well have stepped in something that doesn’t exist!” However, if we consider the matter a bit further, an oddity within the reality of holes becomes apparent. A hole, it seems, exists differently from, say, a tree. The tree defines its own boundaries, it exists independently of other entities, and it has physical extension. A hole, on the other hand, does not exist independently. While we might say, “I stepped in a hole,” it is clear that what is meant there is that “I stepped in a hole in the ground.” A hole is always a hole in something else. Thus, it does not establish its own boundaries, it does not exist independently of the entity within which it is, and it does not have physical extension. A hole does not take up space; rather, it is an absence or a privation. Thus, a hole is not a something:, it is a nothing.

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