We use the word existing in such a way that at least some predicative expressions of the language we communicate in here do designate an 'existing' or 'real' attribute or relation. Hence, attributes and relations, or --to be precise-- proper attributes and relations, do exist. (In other words, there are attributes and relations, namely proper attributes and relations.) Moreover, given the special function of existence, the existence of these predicates is language-independent. It does not matter whether the language we use has a name for the predicate in question or not, and it does not matter whether it has a name for the predicate itself or for the (privative) 'fact' of not having the predicate in question. It is not important either whether the predicate is mentioned in the first or any higher-order domain of discourse: existence per se is existence in the universe, and if mentioned, being mentioned in the universe of discourse. We may only say that a certain thing or predicate which exists, that is, exists in the universe (of discourse) does not exist in a particular domain (of discourse).

Unlike existence, thingness is inherently domain-dependent in that there is no thingness per se. For example, a primary relation is no thing in the first or third domain of discourse, whereas it is a thing in the second domain. Of course, one will be tempted to say that a relation is always something, that is, a thing, if it is existing, but this is only because by focusing attention on the relation itself it is automatically located in the second (or a higher-order) domain of discourse, where it is indeed a thing. It is difficult, then, to transcend this secondary (or higher-order) position and to look at the role of primary relations in the first domain of discourse (or of any kind of relation in the domain where it does relate things to each other).

Where a relation relates it is nothing, that is, no thing itself. In such a domain there is a relation between things or not, but --again-- this relation itself, altho existing, is not a thing. Only when the relation is derelativized does its existence turn into thingness in the same domain of discourse, but then it has become a kind of attribute. And when we subsequently talk about the attributes and relations of relations themselves, it is also in a derelativized form that they become things in the next higher-order domain. Primary relations are therefore things in the domain of which the basic things are secondary attributes, that is, in the domain where they themselves are related to other things by secondary relations.

In the first domain of discourse a nonbasic, primary thing exists, is a thing ('something') and has a thing ('something': at least an attribute and perhaps a component part). A proper, primary attribute in this domain exists, and is also something, but has no thing ('nothing': no part or attribute). A proper, primary (nonderelativized) relation in this domain exists, but is no()thing and has no()thing. A secondary or higher-order predicate does not even exist in this domain, but as existence is language- and discourse-independent, it does exist nevertheless. The concepts of 'existing', 'being a thing' and 'having a thing' are schematically represented in figure I. with respect to their employment in the first domain of discourse.

In the second domain proper, primary attributes and relations are nonbasic, secondary things which exist, which are something and which have something, namely secondary attributes, and also secondary relations with other secondary things. It is this domain of discourse which bespeaks our special attention now.

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Model of Neutral-Inclusivity
Book of Instruments
Having and Thingness
Existence and Thingness