Is existence a property?

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Jitro
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04 Feb 2013, 7:14 pm

Do you think that existence is a property?

ruveyn
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04 Feb 2013, 9:43 pm

Jitro wrote:
Do you think that existence is a property?

You mean a predicate. If existence were a predicate we get into trouble very fast Let E be the-quantifier- for existence and let the predicate B be the -property- of existence. Then we should certainly assume -Ex [-B(x)]. In plain English, there does not exist an x such that it is false that x does not have the property B. Then by a well know counterpart to DeMorgan theorem this is equivalent in first order logic to Ax[B(x)]. In english for all x B(x is true which is to say for all x x has the property of existence. In short, everything exists including unicorns and the flying spaghetti monster.

And that is a good reason for not having existence as a property.

ruveyn

MCalavera
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04 Feb 2013, 9:50 pm

Jitro wrote:
Do you think that existence is a property?

This is a trick question.

The thing is that as soon as you imagine something, that something automatically exists, even if it doesn't exist physically in this physical world.

Depending on how one defines "property", in order for a property to be meaningful, it should be something that should only apply to some (and not all) entities in existence. Since in order for an entity to be an entity, it first has to be imagined/perceived in some way, and therefore it has to exist, then all entities exist, and therefore, existence isn't really much of a special property as it applies to all entities.

So, if existence is a property, it's a meaningless to categorize as property.

I'm all mind-f*cked now, so don't mind me.

ruveyn
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04 Feb 2013, 9:53 pm

MCalavera wrote:
Jitro wrote:
Do you think that existence is a property?

This is a trick question.

The thing is that as soon as you imagine something, that something automatically exists, even if it doesn't exist physically in this physical world.

l:

I can imagine a 4 sided triangle. But it is logically impossible for it to exist. To be able to imagine X in no way implies X exists.

ruveyn

MCalavera
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04 Feb 2013, 10:05 pm

Wouldn't it exist in your imagination, though. Isn't it enough that the concept was imagined into existence?

mds_02
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04 Feb 2013, 10:34 pm

MCalavera wrote:
Wouldn't it exist in your imagination, though. Isn't it enough that the concept was imagined into existence?

In that case I would say that the concept of the thing has the property of existence, which is not the same as the thing itself having existence.

This applies as well to things which actually can physically exist.

Say I were to imagine a cheeseburger. Is the thought itself a cheeseburger? Of course not, it does not have any of the qualities that define a cheeseburger; I cannot pick it up, it is not delicious, it provides no nutrients with which I can sustain my life. My thoughts, though they are of a cheeseburger, are not a cheeseburger.

I would posit that, while the thought process itself clearly exists, the objects of that process do not. That the existence of the concept of a thing should not be confused with the existence of the thing itself.

MCalavera
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04 Feb 2013, 10:51 pm

I used to think that way myself not too long ago, except that from a philosophical point of view, it can be argued there isn't really much difference between existing in one's head and existing elsewhere. It's hard to fully put into writing, but it's a lot of mental mumbo jumbo, so I'll spare you that.

visagrunt
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05 Feb 2013, 12:49 pm

Unless you can define existence, you cannot expect a meaningful answer to the question.

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Thom_Fuleri
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05 Feb 2013, 6:12 pm

Jitro wrote:
Do you think that existence is a property?

Weeeell... it depends on what counts as existence. If we consider "existence" as a binary (true/false) property relating to whether an object is in the set of things that currently exist, then yes, it's a valid property. The main problem is that this set is of unknown size. We know some things are members of the set (they exist), but for any given x we cannot say whether it exists in the set unless we already know about it. As the set of all real things we know about is a subset of the entire set of real things, we can only say that x is/is not a member of the subset. Not being a member of the subset does not conclusively show that x is not a member of the set.

Imagining something does not give it existence. It gives existence to the *concept* of that thing, and we can conceptualise things that have a property of existence, but they do not gain existence from being imagined as existing. This is where the Ontological Argument for the existence of God falls down - it states that a necessary condition for a perfect God would be existence, but this doesn't mean God *actually* exists, just that the concept of God includes existence. (It's also not a true premise - a perfect circle does not exist, for instance.)

MCalavera
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05 Feb 2013, 7:44 pm

But from a philosophical point of view, I can argue with you and challenge you to demonstrate what actual existence really is. What makes something actually exist? And why can't something that conceptually exist actually exist as well?

By the way, the argument for God using the Ontological Argument is flawed in that it argues for anything to exist. Which renders it moot.

techstepgenr8tion
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05 Feb 2013, 11:35 pm

Yes but, evidence would convey that its a derivative of consciousness.

MCalavera wrote:
The thing is that as soon as you imagine something, that something automatically exists, even if it doesn't exist physically in this physical world.

Right! Because anything you can think of exists as a neurochemical image!

ruveyn wrote:
I can imagine a 4 sided triangle. But it is logically impossible for it to exist.

You're goooood....! ! (me tries that and gets a stroke instead)

mds_02 wrote:
Say I were to imagine a cheeseburger. Is the thought itself a cheeseburger? Of course not, it does not have any of the qualities that define a cheeseburger; I cannot pick it up, it is not delicious, it provides no nutrients with which I can sustain my life. My thoughts, though they are of a cheeseburger, are not a cheeseburger.

Ye of little faith, psychosomatic medicine would beg to differ.

Thom_Fuleri
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06 Feb 2013, 12:31 pm

MCalavera wrote:
But from a philosophical point of view, I can argue with you and challenge you to demonstrate what actual existence really is. What makes something actually exist? And why can't something that conceptually exist actually exist as well?

That's a good point, but I'm not sure it's relevant to the original question. If we start arguing about definitions, we'll never get anywhere. I'm sticking with the common concept of existence as "stuff that's real", and I'm happy for this to include more than just physical things if they demonstrably do exist. Ideas, for instance, definitely exist. So does Oxford University, even though there is no such building anywhere in Oxford (because the University is the entire set of the various colleges).

Ruveyn's four-sided triangle, however, does not exist within standard Euclidean geometry.

Quote:
By the way, the argument for God using the Ontological Argument is flawed in that it argues for anything to exist. Which renders it moot.

Oh yes. My favourite refutation replaces God with "Jellybean Island", the most perfect place to live there could ever be. Well, with a name like that, how could it not be?

naturalplastic
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06 Feb 2013, 12:44 pm

No one can even "imagine a four sided triangle". You cant picture it in your mind. And its contradiction in terms anyway. If it has four sides than its quadrangle.

You can imagine a world in which the British Isles dont exist. But you cant even imagine a four sided triangle.