What is the nature of existence

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James Markham
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What is the nature of existence

Post by James Markham »

So what is the distinction that characterises existence. People and animals exist, thoughts and feelings exist, even intentions and probabilities exist, but can they all be said to have existence in the same way? I think this is perhaps a problem of semantics, because when we simply say a thing exists, it makes no distinction in the manner or nature of what that existence entails or the potentials it presents, and yet it's obvious that real things such as intentions, exist in a vastly different way to real things such as the people who harbour those intentions.

So I feel it necessary to first distinguish between the different ways in which we can have existence, before we can define the nature of each.

When we think about subjects such as mathematics and geometry, beyond any physical representations of numbers and shapes there is their existence as a possible influence, which could be seen as fundamental constants, and that although they emerge as knowledge through the virtue of conscious contemplation, they have an innate permanent existence of their own as potential influence.

So to me, this equates to one form of existence, the next form would be actual influence, and this would include all of the things that energy actual exists as, particles, atoms, stars and planets, are all things that are actually influencing one another in terms of their potential to cause an event. So it doesn't matter whether these things that have actual influence are acknowledge as events, but what characterises them is that they have an existence beyond that of a purely potential existence, and also that when acknowledged they have the ability to produce an actual event.

An actual event is what I would classify as the third form of existence, and it's in this class I would put consciousness, and all sentient life. We as individuals are aware of our being by virtue of the fact it is an event, without the process of meaning being extrapolated from what is potentially informative, then all that we classify as life is absent. Even in the most basic forms of single cel led life forms, there exists a feedback loop of information, and in the higher forms of life that information is feed upwards through a chain of communication. This chain of actual events, in that each takes place and has a registered effect, is what we call being, or what I'm referring to as existence as an actual event.

So I'm suggesting there are three classes of existence, potential influence, actual influence, and actual event. And a thing such as consciousness can be possessed of all three, or something such as the abstract concept of mathematics has only the first, until it becomes the focus of consciousness when it can acquire the attributes of the second, by becoming

These are just my thoughts, the main purpose of this thread is to hear opinions on the nature of existence, so your welcome to ignore anything beyond the title, and simply give your own thoughts.
wleg
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Re: What is the nature of existence

Post by wleg »

The “nature of existence” refers to the abstract concept “existence”. Philosophers have not been able to understand the nature of the concept “existence” because understanding it is only possible if it has a comprehensive definition. Thus, without a comprehensive definition philosophers have been unable to understand the “nature of existence” for over twenty-five centuries.

The solution to the problem is to recognize: if things did not exist, the abstract concept “existence” would not exist. Thus the easy way to understand the nature of the concept “existence” is to understand the nature of how “things” exist:

If a thing is itself and not some other thing, it must have different attributes else all that exist would be the same thing. Thus, the “existence” of a thing is a construct of its’ unique attributes, which explains the nature of the “existence” of all things, and explains the nature of the abstract concept “existence”.

EXISTENCE: An abstract concept symbolizing the state of being of things and conditions as a construct of their attributes.

Wayne Kelly Leggette Sr.
Impenitent
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Re: What is the nature of existence

Post by Impenitent »

thus spake the brain in the vat

-Imp
James Markham
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Re: What is the nature of existence

Post by James Markham »

Wleg, well first of all I'd like to clarify in what way existence is an abstract concept, because it seems to me that existence is very much an actual event, and as far as my understanding goes, an abstract concept refer to ideas that are formed in the mind. When we ask about the nature of a thing, we're not asking about our mental reconstruction of that thing, but the thing in itself. Now obviously it is beneficial to have concise definitions of terms, but with a word such as existence, there needs to be some idea of its use in context, which is why I suggest that the term cannot be used in isolation, it always requires an additional verb by which to define it.

I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself very well, but to illustrate what I mean, I will ask you if my intention to take my children to the park Tommorow, exists in the same way as the park exists, or would you say ideas and thoughts do not exist?
wleg
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Re: What is the nature of existence

Post by wleg »

James,
"An abstract concept is an idea that is not related to any specific instance or object. It can be potentially applied to many different situations or objects. Some examples of abstract concepts are love, freedom, crime, happiness, sadness, anger, work, hope, home, existence and help." Abstract concepts exist only in the form of their definitions we know. Therefore the concept “existence” merely symbolizes the “state of being” of anything, including its’ own definition.

You say: “When we ask about the nature of a thing, we're not asking about our mental reconstruction of that thing, but the thing in itself. “

I say: You are asking me to illustrate with words my knowledge of the thing itself. Our knowledge/consciousness creates our perception, of physical things outside the mind, and definitions of abstract concepts that only exist in the mind. When we discuss “existence” itself, we are discussing a concept that only exist in the mind of the person who knows its’ definition. The “mind body problem” is the result of not understanding this. In other words, we can have knowledge of physical things and conditions that only exist outside our mind and abstract concepts that only exist in our mind as definitions we know.

EXISTENCE: An abstract concept symbolizing the state of being of things and conditions as a construct of their attributes.

This is a tentative definition.

Wayne Kelly Leggette Sr.
James Markham
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Re: What is the nature of existence

Post by James Markham »

Wleg, I can accept your tentative definition of the word existence, but when we ask about the nature of existence, as I said before, we are asking about the nature of the phenomena. So by saying existence is an abstract concept, strait away we have moved from trying to understand the nature of a subjects condition, to stating that it's being is simple the ideas, and differentiation we impose upon it.

Existence is an abstract concept symbolising the state of being of things and conditions as a construct of their attributes.

I exist, therefore I have an existence.

So I have an abstract concept that symbolises the state of being of things and conditions as a construct of their attributes.

I'm not sure if this statement is intended as a explanation of the process involved in determining whether a thing exists or not, but I think it still requires a definition of degree, a fairy tale winged horse exists as an abstract concept, but its existence is not like my own. So what does this definition really tell us?
wleg
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Re: What is the nature of existence

Post by wleg »

James,
When we discuss the concept of “existence” itself, we are discussing an invented abstract concept we call “existence”. This concept relates to the way all things “exist” and not to any specific thing and condition. The tentative definition of “existence” merely states that the existence of all things and conditions is a “construct of their unique attributes”. The definition reveals how the existence of all things is constructed. It is not saying: “I exist, therefore I have an existence.”, it is saying, I have an existence because I have unique attributes that are different from the attributes of any other existing thing.

Not clear enough? Let me know, I can use the practice.

Wayne Kelly Leggette Sr.
marjoramblues
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Re: What is the nature of existence

Post by marjoramblues »

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
James Markham
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Re: What is the nature of existence

Post by James Markham »

Wleg, I can't say I really follow what your saying, when I talk about existence, I'm trying to understand certain things about the way things can be said to be real. So rather than us going round in circles, I suggest you give an example of how your definition can be implicit in understanding the nature of existence, because as far as my limited understanding allows, existence is not a property of a thing, but a condition, and is therefore not revealed by stating the differences between one object and the next, but only by examining what a condition of existence entails.

So for instance, a pine tree doesn't exist because we can differentiate its attributes from an apple tree, it exists regardless.
wleg
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Re: What is the nature of existence

Post by wleg »

James,

You say: “a pine tree doesn't exist because we can differentiate its attributes from an apple tree, it exists regardless.

I say: The object exist regardless, as you say, but, once we agree to call the object a pine tree, then the object which we agree is now a pine tree exists because we agree which attributes relate to the existence of this object we call a pine tree. Thus, because the other object has different attributes we agree to call it an apple tree. Therefore, when we discuss the existence of a pine and apple tree we are discussing which attributes relate to which.

EXISTENCE: An abstract concept symbolizing the state of being of things and conditions as a construct of their attributes.

EXISTENCE: Things in a state of being. This definition is not comprehensive enough to reveal the relationship that attributes have to the existence of things and does not reveal how knowledge is constructed.

I’m open to any definition comprehensive enough that reveals how knowledge is constructed.

Wayne Kelly Leggette Sr.
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THoR
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Re: What is the nature of existence

Post by THoR »

From http://www.theory-of-reciprocity.com

Like Newton, Einstein originally believed the cosmos was static, eternal, isotropic and homogeneous (not so sure about infinite), and he accounted for the misbehavior of observed phenomena with a reverse engineered factor, a cosmological constant. When Hubble's cosmological redshift implied an expanding Universe, Einstein initially contested the assertion because the effect of gravity on light was sufficient to explain the observation. Photons passing through a gravitational field lose some energy, and since light velocity is constant, the loss has to come from a redshift of the wavelength. Forget stars, moons and planets, how many mass-laden ambient particles would a photon encounter in a multi-billion light year trek?

Gravitational redshift was confirmed by the Pound-Rebka experiment and cosmological expansion was and still is theoretical. Unfortunately, Big Bang provided so much more fodder for academia's publish-or-perish scholars Einstein ultimately relented and suddenly the cosmos became perceived as a finite creation of the ancient past.

Einstein lamented his cosmological constant was his biggest mistake. It wasn't. Discarding it was. I suspect that factor is the product of infinite quantities of energy and mass disbursed throughout the endless volume of space.

Either the phenomenon of existence is the result of a process (cause and effect) or it is not.

"It is" implies Creation ex Nihilo

Conventional wisdom has concluded the Universe must have come from somewhere, and the premise it was ushered into being by some primordial nascent event appeals seductively to human intuition. Many secular models suggest it all began about fourteen billion years ago while most religious scholars depict a much more recent event. Both versions are demonstrably contrary to logic.

To create something is to cause it to exist, so creation is simply another term for the process of cause and effect. If we require everything that exists to be the result of creation and stipulate nothing existed prior to that process, then space, itself, must once have been absent until some ancient incipient event precipitated the manifestation of the cosmos and its sea of inhabitants. Any causative progenitor must be ruled out as it would either violate the second requisite of the premise or require such a creator to be a descendant of an even earlier predecessor similarly predated by an eternal procession of ancestry. This never ending chicken-and-the-egg redundancy which inevitably results from any causative approach to the enigma of existence either implies no logical beginning or the involvement of some inexplicably spontaneous source not derived from causation. Such a source would not only violate the first requisite but would also render the entire premise of cosmic genesis totally moot, for if anything can exist without creation, why couldn't everything else?

Whenever the tenets of logic invalidate your argument, you should avoid them entirely, so there are those who would suggest whatever created the cosmos wasn't subject to logic or the laws of nature. Theologians profess an omnipotent deity created the Universe in some miraculous act of divine inspiration, while contemporary cosmologists tout the progressive red-shift of light from distant galaxies as proof that a Big Bang Universe is still spewing from the bowels of a spontaneously spawned singularity in a process not governed by the canons of physics as we know them today. Both hypotheses are equally specious. Once logic and the laws of nature are repealed anything is possible, even the absurd; and if we permit even one exception to those laws, why should we expect the rest of the cosmos to abide by them? You may freely choose to suspend rationality in favor of whichever belief system you might wish to embrace, but thereafter and forevermore don't try to profess your argument is derived from critical thinking.

So, why does something exist rather than nothing?

AXIOM: Before something can change, before something can act or be acted upon, it must exist.

It's a rather simple axiom, intrinsically self-evident since any who might dissent must believe in things that don't exist (they now have medications for that). At first you might consider the premise to be rather obvious and inconsequential, but its deeper significance categorically refutes both the ancient mythology of Genesis and the contemporary mathology of those cosmologists who tout Big Bang as the absolute beginning of all space and time.

Existence is not a condition or a state of being, it is the phenomenon of being, itself. Something must exist in order to have a state of being and if being is necessary in order for change to occur, then cause and effect is derived from and thus subordinate to the more fundamental phenomenon of existence. No phenomenon can be the product of its own subordinate derivative. so it can't also be the result of it. Simple logic dictates existence is the source of cause and effect, not the result of it.

It certainly doesn't take an Einstein or a Hawking to recognize the obvious, all it takes is an unbiased perspective; thinking neither outside the box nor inside the box, but eliminating the box entirely. This isn't exactly rocket science; it requires no esoteric equations, no orbiting telescopes or expensive particle accelerators; you don't need a degree in mathematics, physics or cosmology, or even a high school education to understand it, but in the publish-or-perish ivory tower of academia, hypotheses featuring multiverses, extra dimensions and cosmic expansion into entropy death are where the real money is (with some strings attached). Beautiful equations can describe fantasy as easily as fact, but without the capacity to parse differentials with any degree of integrity, no lowly layman would dare debate the sanity of such sophisticated scholarly branes.

"It is not" implies Existence ex Nihilo

All forms of change are governed by fundamental laws of nature called principles, so wouldn't it logically follow that the key which unlocks the enigma of existence must be a principle instead of a process? If we examine the nature of change, one simple prevailing dynamic emerges; a ubiquitous paradigm found at the heart and soul of every equation, a familiar axiom universally known and accepted. Sadly, the significance of this basic principle has been ignored since the inception of scientific inquiry and, ironically, it remains concealed, hidden in plain sight.
osgart
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Re: What is the nature of existence

Post by osgart »

what is the maker and taker of exist? Space! Time! Nothing!
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