17
   

How do you determine something exists?

 
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 12:32 pm
@Francis,
Francis wrote:

I'm no sensible person. As so, how should I take what you are saying?


Try your best. That is all I can expect from anyone.
north
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Dec, 2010 09:05 pm
@Huxley,
Huxley wrote:

I'm mostly asking what the process you follow is. However, if you have a proscriptive outline, then by all means feel free to share.


by the consequences of that something not existing
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Dec, 2010 09:10 pm
@kennethamy,
...oh, but do you try your best ken ?
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2010 12:11 pm
@Huxley,
Huxley wrote:

fresco wrote:

Anybody here go around checking on "existence" ?



So what our language (and our cultural use of that language) states exists is what exists? Is this how you determine whether something does or does not exist?


No, but if the properties which something has to have to exist are exemplified, then that thing exists.

So, for example, if something has the properties of being omniscient, omnipotent, all-just, creator of the universe, then God exists. Those properties are exemplified. On the other hand, if nothing exemplifies those properties, then God does not exist.
ughaibu
 
  2  
Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2010 09:37 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
if the properties which something has to have to exist are exemplified, then that thing exists.
The properties of being able to fly and being a horse are exemplified, aren't they?
north
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2010 10:04 pm

eliminate space , room

what something exists without space ?

kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Dec, 2010 02:09 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
if the properties which something has to have to exist are exemplified, then that thing exists.
The properties of being able to fly and being a horse are exemplified, aren't they?


Not in unison they are not. There are flying things, and there are horsey things, but there are no flying horsey things.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Dec, 2010 02:10 pm
@north,
north wrote:


eliminate space , room

what something exists without space ?




Thoughts. The number seven.
mickalos
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Dec, 2010 03:32 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

Huxley wrote:

fresco wrote:

Anybody here go around checking on "existence" ?



So what our language (and our cultural use of that language) states exists is what exists? Is this how you determine whether something does or does not exist?


No, but if the properties which something has to have to exist are exemplified, then that thing exists.

So, for example, if something has the properties of being omniscient, omnipotent, all-just, creator of the universe, then God exists. Those properties are exemplified. On the other hand, if nothing exemplifies those properties, then God does not exist.

Must anything have a particular set of unique properties? Maybe in the case of natural kinds (although, perhaps cats might have had three legs and been bald, or through some cruel twist of evolution, perhaps they could have had scales and slithered around on the ground), but not in the case of particular people. For example, it seems to me that Saul Kripke could not have been a walnut, being human (or at least humanoid), at least, seems to be an essential property of Kripke, but not much else. He might have studied literature instead of philosophy and never become a philosopher, he may even have died as a child. It seems to me that he might have existed without exemplifying almost all of the properties he currently exemplifies.

Quote:
Thoughts. The number seven.

Are thoughts and numbers 'somethings'?

That is, it seems to me that the only things that exist, in a metaphysical sense, are objects, and thoughts and numbers aren't objects. Clearly, people have thoughts, but when I have a thought, it's not as if there is something that suddenly exists that could be pointed to.
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2010 10:17 am
@mickalos,
mickalos wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

Huxley wrote:

fresco wrote:

Anybody here go around checking on "existence" ?



So what our language (and our cultural use of that language) states exists is what exists? Is this how you determine whether something does or does not exist?


No, but if the properties which something has to have to exist are exemplified, then that thing exists.

So, for example, if something has the properties of being omniscient, omnipotent, all-just, creator of the universe, then God exists. Those properties are exemplified. On the other hand, if nothing exemplifies those properties, then God does not exist.

Must anything have a particular set of unique properties? Maybe in the case of natural kinds (although, perhaps cats might have had three legs and been bald, or through some cruel twist of evolution, perhaps they could have had scales and slithered around on the ground), but not in the case of particular people. For example, it seems to me that Saul Kripke could not have been a walnut, being human (or at least humanoid), at least, seems to be an essential property of Kripke, but not much else. He might have studied literature instead of philosophy and never become a philosopher, he may even have died as a child. It seems to me that he might have existed without exemplifying almost all of the properties he currently exemplifies.

Quote:
Thoughts. The number seven.

Are thoughts and numbers 'somethings'?

That is, it seems to me that the only things that exist, in a metaphysical sense, are objects, and thoughts and numbers aren't objects. Clearly, people have thoughts, but when I have a thought, it's not as if there is something that suddenly exists that could be pointed to.


Why would you ever suppose that you can point to whatever exists? Electrons and quarks exist. But they cannot be pointed to.

I did not say that everything must have a unique set of properties. That is a metaphysical claim, and I have no idea whether it is true, or even how to determine whether it is true. But it is clear, is it not, that when we ask whether X exists, we are asking whether the properties we normally associate with X are instantiated (exemplified, or, in plain English, whether anything has them). Or, and Quine liked to put it: whether there is anything that "Xes". So, in case you do not know what the properties of a tapir are, you do still know that to ask whether tapirs exist is to ask whether there is anything that "tapirizes".
mickalos
 
  2  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2010 02:24 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

mickalos wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

Huxley wrote:

fresco wrote:

Anybody here go around checking on "existence" ?



So what our language (and our cultural use of that language) states exists is what exists? Is this how you determine whether something does or does not exist?


No, but if the properties which something has to have to exist are exemplified, then that thing exists.

So, for example, if something has the properties of being omniscient, omnipotent, all-just, creator of the universe, then God exists. Those properties are exemplified. On the other hand, if nothing exemplifies those properties, then God does not exist.

Must anything have a particular set of unique properties? Maybe in the case of natural kinds (although, perhaps cats might have had three legs and been bald, or through some cruel twist of evolution, perhaps they could have had scales and slithered around on the ground), but not in the case of particular people. For example, it seems to me that Saul Kripke could not have been a walnut, being human (or at least humanoid), at least, seems to be an essential property of Kripke, but not much else. He might have studied literature instead of philosophy and never become a philosopher, he may even have died as a child. It seems to me that he might have existed without exemplifying almost all of the properties he currently exemplifies.

Quote:
Thoughts. The number seven.

Are thoughts and numbers 'somethings'?

That is, it seems to me that the only things that exist, in a metaphysical sense, are objects, and thoughts and numbers aren't objects. Clearly, people have thoughts, but when I have a thought, it's not as if there is something that suddenly exists that could be pointed to.


Why would you ever suppose that you can point to whatever exists? Electrons and quarks exist. But they cannot be pointed to.


Surely pointing at any object, a table, a can of cola, a person, is a matter of pointing at electrons and quarks. That I can't point to a single quark or electron, or a small number of them, or even a large number of them if they are arranged in a certain manner, is an epistemic matter rather than a metaphysical one. It's a matter of not knowing where to point rather than there being nowhere to point to.

I don't think it is intelligible to say something exists unless it exists somewhere (and somewhen); it seems to me to make the purported things that exist utterly mysterious.

Quote:
I did not say that everything must have a unique set of properties. That is a metaphysical claim, and I have no idea whether it is true, or even how to determine whether it is true. But it is clear, is it not, that when we ask whether X exists, we are asking whether the properties we normally associate with X are instantiated (exemplified, or, in plain English, whether anything has them). Or, and Quine liked to put it: whether there is anything that "Xes". So, in case you do not know what the properties of a tapir are, you do still know that to ask whether tapirs exist is to ask whether there is anything that "tapirizes".

My point was that the metaphysical claim is implied by your semantic claim (that when we ask "does X exist?" we really mean "Does there exist an x such that ( blah x & blah x & blah x)?") if we are to retain common sense notions about how bits of language like names work. According to your view, "when we ask whether X exists, we are asking whether the properties we normally associate with X are instantiated". To use a completely unoriginal counterexample, one of the properties we "normally associate" with Godel is that he proved the incompleteness theorems, to be a Quinean Godelizer would be (in part) to be the prover of the incompleteness theorems. Now what if, in actual fact, Godel did not prove the incompleteness theorems, he stole it from a 'mathematical proof collective'? On your view we would seem to be committed to saying that Godel doesn't exist, or even more absurdly, that Godel does exist... as a 'mathematical proof collective'.

Of course, I'm not suggesting that something that exists need not have any properties. Anything that exists must have a set of properties, and moreover, if it is to be individuated from the other things that exist (i.e. if it is to be a thing at all) it must have a unique set of properties. However, I see no reason why something cannot exist while at the same time exemplifying none of the properties people normally associate with it (with my above reservations about natural kinds).
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2010 03:56 pm
@mickalos,
mickalos wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

mickalos wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

Huxley wrote:

fresco wrote:

Anybody here go around checking on "existence" ?



So what our language (and our cultural use of that language) states exists is what exists? Is this how you determine whether something does or does not exist?


No, but if the properties which something has to have to exist are exemplified, then that thing exists.

So, for example, if something has the properties of being omniscient, omnipotent, all-just, creator of the universe, then God exists. Those properties are exemplified. On the other hand, if nothing exemplifies those properties, then God does not exist.

Must anything have a particular set of unique properties? Maybe in the case of natural kinds (although, perhaps cats might have had three legs and been bald, or through some cruel twist of evolution, perhaps they could have had scales and slithered around on the ground), but not in the case of particular people. For example, it seems to me that Saul Kripke could not have been a walnut, being human (or at least humanoid), at least, seems to be an essential property of Kripke, but not much else. He might have studied literature instead of philosophy and never become a philosopher, he may even have died as a child. It seems to me that he might have existed without exemplifying almost all of the properties he currently exemplifies.

Quote:
Thoughts. The number seven.

Are thoughts and numbers 'somethings'?

That is, it seems to me that the only things that exist, in a metaphysical sense, are objects, and thoughts and numbers aren't objects. Clearly, people have thoughts, but when I have a thought, it's not as if there is something that suddenly exists that could be pointed to.


Why would you ever suppose that you can point to whatever exists? Electrons and quarks exist. But they cannot be pointed to.


Surely pointing at any object, a table, a can of cola, a person, is a matter of pointing at electrons and quarks. That I can't point to a single quark or electron, or a small number of them, or even a large number of them if they are arranged in a certain manner, is an epistemic matter rather than a metaphysical one. It's a matter of not knowing where to point rather than there being nowhere to point to.

I don't think it is intelligible to say something exists unless it exists somewhere (and somewhen); it seems to me to make the purported things that exist utterly mysterious.

Quote:
I did not say that everything must have a unique set of properties. That is a metaphysical claim, and I have no idea whether it is true, or even how to determine whether it is true. But it is clear, is it not, that when we ask whether X exists, we are asking whether the properties we normally associate with X are instantiated (exemplified, or, in plain English, whether anything has them). Or, and Quine liked to put it: whether there is anything that "Xes". So, in case you do not know what the properties of a tapir are, you do still know that to ask whether tapirs exist is to ask whether there is anything that "tapirizes".

My point was that the metaphysical claim is implied by your semantic claim (that when we ask "does X exist?" we really mean "Does there exist an x such that ( blah x & blah x & blah x)?") if we are to retain common sense notions about how bits of language like names work. According to your view, "when we ask whether X exists, we are asking whether the properties we normally associate with X are instantiated". To use a completely unoriginal counterexample, one of the properties we "normally associate" with Godel is that he proved the incompleteness theorems, to be a Quinean Godelizer would be (in part) to be the prover of the incompleteness theorems. Now what if, in actual fact, Godel did not prove the incompleteness theorems, he stole it from a 'mathematical proof collective'? On your view we would seem to be committed to saying that Godel doesn't exist, or even more absurdly, that Godel does exist... as a 'mathematical proof collective'.

Of course, I'm not suggesting that something that exists need not have any properties. Anything that exists must have a set of properties, and moreover, if it is to be individuated from the other things that exist (i.e. if it is to be a thing at all) it must have a unique set of properties. However, I see no reason why something cannot exist while at the same time exemplifying none of the properties people normally associate with it (with my above reservations about natural kinds).


Yes, yes. I have read Kripke, and his outre' cases (which he presents as revelations of his intuition). But those cases are outre', and do not reflect how we ordinarily talk or think. No one who speaks English thinks that when he is asked whether tapirs exist, he is being asked whether anything that "tapirizes" exists. He would ask, first and foremost, "what is a tapir?" which is to ask, what are the properties of tapirs?

As you said, we cannot point at individual electrons, but individual electrons exist. Therefore, what we cannot point to exists.
mickalos
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2010 05:58 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

Yes, yes. I have read Kripke, and his outre' cases (which he presents as revelations of his intuition). But those cases are outre', and do not reflect how we ordinarily talk or think. No one who speaks English thinks that when he is asked whether tapirs exist, he is being asked whether anything that "tapirizes" exists. He would ask, first and foremost, "what is a tapir?" which is to ask, what are the properties of tapirs?

Speaking of the outré - tapirs?

Surely the issue here is what if some of the most salient properties we "normally associate" with tapirs, are not satisfied by the things we call tapirs? To shamelessly help myself to another set of other people's examples, what if it turned out that they were actually very sophisticated robots? Or what if, all of a sudden, one day all of the tapirs just exploded? Perhaps, they might begin to endlessly quote Virginia Woolf, despite having passed off as tapirs under all previous inspections?

It seems to me that you are committed in such cases to saying that tapirs never existed. I would say that at the very least there is a choice as to whether to revise our beliefs, or revise how we apply the word 'tapir'.

Quote:
As you said, we cannot point at individual electrons, but individual electrons exist. Therefore, what we cannot point to exists.

Yes, but the force of the 'cannot' is epistemic, and thus doesn't tell us a great deal about metaphysics. Indeed, it doesn't even seem to be the case that, given our current state of knowledge, nobody can point at an electron or quark. If I were at the large hadron collider, I could no doubt find somebody (or some instrument) that could point me in the direction of some subatomic particles. However, I don't think any instrument could be inventat that gave the location of the team spirit in a cricket team.
0 Replies
 
north
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2010 08:20 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

north wrote:


eliminate space , room

what something exists without space ?




Thoughts. The number seven.



without space , room

YOU don't exist , you or anybody else and nor anything else
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2010 08:51 pm
@north,
north wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

north wrote:


eliminate space , room

what something exists without space ?




Thoughts. The number seven.



without space , room

YOU don't exist , you or anybody else and nor anything else


So your argument is that since nothing can exists without space, thoughts don't exist without space, because nothing exists without space. Is that it? Fine argument. The only trouble is that is is circular. But never mind that. It is a fine circular argument. Publish it.
north
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2010 09:05 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

north wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

north wrote:


eliminate space , room

what something exists without space ?




Thoughts. The number seven.



without space , room

YOU don't exist , you or anybody else and nor anything else


Quote:
So your argument is that since nothing can exist without space
thoughts don't exist without space, because nothing exists without space. Is that it?


exactly








kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2010 10:32 pm
@north,
north wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

north wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

north wrote:


eliminate space , room

what something exists without space ?




Thoughts. The number seven.



without space , room

YOU don't exist , you or anybody else and nor anything else


Quote:
So your argument is that since nothing can exist without space
thoughts don't exist without space, because nothing exists without space. Is that it?


exactly











Right. That argument is circular. One of the premises is identical with the conclusion.
0 Replies
 
north
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Dec, 2010 10:40 pm
kennethamy

sometimes a circular argument is true nonetheless

again

to determine that something exists , is to do without its existence and understand the consequences

for us , Humans , it is about air and water
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Dec, 2010 03:37 pm
@north,
north wrote:

kennethamy

sometimes a circular argument is true nonetheless

again

to determine that something exists , is to do without its existence and understand the consequences

for us , Humans , it is about air and water


No. Because no arguments are either true or false. The question about argument is whether of not they prove their conclusions. Now, consider the following argument: 1. The world is round. Therefore, 2. the world is round. Now the conclusion is clearly true. Would you consider that the argument proved the conclusion true. Circular arguments may very well have true conclusions. But so what. That does not mean that the circular argument proved its conclusion true. There is a reason why to say that an argument is circular is a criticism of the argument. It is because a circular argument does not make its conclusion believable.

I have no idea what the rest of your post is all about.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Dec, 2010 07:26 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

north wrote:

kennethamy

sometimes a circular argument is true nonetheless

again

to determine that something exists , is to do without its existence and understand the consequences

for us , Humans , it is about air and water


No. Because no arguments are either true or false. The question about argument is whether of not they prove their conclusions. Now, consider the following argument: 1. The world is round. Therefore, 2. the world is round. Now the conclusion is clearly true. Would you consider that the argument proved the conclusion true. Circular arguments may very well have true conclusions. But so what. That does not mean that the circular argument proved its conclusion true. There is a reason why to say that an argument is circular is a criticism of the argument. It is because a circular argument does not make its conclusion believable.

I have no idea what the rest of your post is all about.
If you could only get people to buy into your premise you could prove anything... The world is spherical which is like a sphere, and is more like saying something is roundish... In fact, nothing can be proved conclusively true or false, but believable and unbelievable... The fact that an argument is in some senses circular does not disallow its relative truth... It just does not make a very logical argument... I have two books going on logic though it is far from my favorite subject... And I do not think you have stated a circular argument correctly... It is as if we say that in a syllogism that we must take for granted the very point we expect to prove, and when we are done we are still only a little more certain of the point we take for granted... Does that make sense to you???
 

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