Do I exist?

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billa
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Do I exist?

Post by billa » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:48 pm

There are some philosophies which state I don't exist.

One philosophy is mereological nihilism. This philosophy states that since everything can be divided in fundamental particles nothing exists. When I say fundamental particles I mean particles that cannot be divided further. Similar to how the atom use to thought to be unable to divided. These wholes never compose any whole. After that part I am confused by the philosophy.

For more info look at this article look under Eliminativism on this site http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mater ... itution/#4

There also another article on mereology here http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mereology/

My next question is what is mereological universalism? I think it might be a way to argue against mereological nihilism but I can't understand the article. In the articles is there any other way to argue against mereological nihilism?

Can someone very simply explain my questions because I a having trouble understanding mereological universalism?

Another philosophy which states I don't exist is existence monism. Here is an article http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/monism/

I think it is the philosophy that everything is one thing and it cannot be divided. Is there any way to prove existence monism is wrong? Also what is priority monism?

Again can you keep your answers simple because I am having trouble understanding that article. Please keep your answer simple and don't use the concept of gunk or the soul in any of your answers.

Thanks

Toadny
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Re: Do I exist?

Post by Toadny » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:17 am

billa wrote:There are some philosophies which state I don't exist.
I hadn't heard of it before but from what I read, mereological nihilism says that strictly speaking there are no things made up from parts, there are only the parts. The "strictly speaking" bit is quite significant, I think.

I have also had the idea that individual "things" don't exist, but my personal theory goes on to say that conscious experience brings individuation into the universe. So things like "the sun" or "a rock" are not (strictly speaking) individual things. Notice that it is impossible to precisely define what is part of the sun and what isn't. The light and all the particles it has given off are spread across the universe, while light and other particles from other suns are passing through our sun. The same is true of a rock or anything else you care to mention. So far this may be compatible with mereological nihilism.

But I think you can define who you are, billa, as an individual: you are the individual having your experiences. I believe simpler animals also have (simpler) experiences, and so they can also be individuated in this way. But I don't think this applies to plants or algal colonies for example (although it is still an interesting biological question what causes the algal colonies to form out of individual cells. And there I'm using "individual" less strictly!).
My next question is what is mereological universalism?
I think the idea here is that anything you care to mention forms part of larger things. So while MN said there are no individual things, MU is saying there are individual things everywhere.

I disagree with that. I think experiencing entities are the only individual things (strictly speaking), and advanced experiencing entities like ourselves can make fictional individuations. That's what we do when we are not "strictly speaking": when we talk about individual rocks, suns, cobwebs, etc etc, as we do throughout our lives.

Finally you asked us not to mention gunk or the soul in our responses but instructions like that bring out the infantile rebel in me so:

Right about now, the gunk soul brother check it out now
The gunk soul brother, right about now
The gunk soul brother, check it out now
The gunk soul brother, right about now

And so on.

billa
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Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:30 am

Re: Do I exist?

Post by billa » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:13 am

Can someone explain mereological universalism in a little more detail?

Thanks

duszek
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Re: Do I exist?

Post by duszek » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:00 pm

Nothing (no thing and no person) exists (ex-sists) because they can be divided into non-dividable particles.

An interesting view of things.

The word "existence" would be superfluous in this context. We would not need it any more.

But if a thing does not exist what does it "do" ?

It simply is (sists). Without ex-sisting.

Strong illusions of one´s own existence would not exist either, they would only "be".

What do we gain from removing the "ex" ?
Would we just huggle together in a magma of sistance ? :mrgreen:

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hammock
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Re: Do I exist?

Post by hammock » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:06 pm

billa wrote:There are some philosophies which state I don't exist. One philosophy is mereological nihilism.

A traditional television screen certainly isn't conceiving or interpreting its isolated pixels as a dynamic world of Earthly entities, humans, events, and stories. A lizard (one with with colored vision) watching it doesn't have capacity for that kind of understanding, either -- just a bunch of meaningless colored dots to it, despite their arguable adherence to an underlying order that only a human could fully piece together and "decode".

Thus, a realm of primary elements minus any integrating relations for them ("things serving as parts for other things is not the case here!") equals "wholes" only arising in conscious / intelligent observers, with the latter not falling out of the former but simply tacked-on as arbitrary intruders. Another system affected by what seems an utter non-system apart from any meaningful patterns construed in the non-system's randomness (equivalent to "cloud-watching" activity for the invading cognitive system).

[Not to mention that since the elements of the nihilist realm lack connections and influences, a conscious "observer" would actually only have access to perceiving them the same way that Leibniz's windowless monads did. This fictional scenario is necessarily warped purely to get the above across at all.]

Al Graham
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Re: Do I exist?

Post by Al Graham » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:18 pm

billa wrote: "There are some philosophies which state I don't exist.

One philosophy is mereological nihilism. This philosophy states that since everything can be divided in fundamental particles nothing exists."
But mereological nihilism, being a metaphysical construct, is itself immune from its own explanation. The claim of this philosophy presupposes that reason itself is valid, and therefore possesses some kind of existence. Otherwise, on what basis is mereological nihilism formulated? Is this concept itself reducible to a collection of 'simples'? I don't think so. Or is the concept merely a subjective construct of the human mind? If so, why should we give it any credence?

This is a fundamental problem of naive empiricism, reductionism, eliminativism and mereological nihilism: they are all self-refuting, in that they fail to account for their own validity as concepts. In short, they have no explanation for reason, or mind.

We don't need to resort to the concept of 'gunk' to offer an alternative to mereological nihilism. We just need to consider that the indivisible reality behind matter and energy is not necessarily material. Could it not be informational? After all, the 'whole' which is greater than its parts is defined in terms of its information, because its inherent informational content determines the way the parts are conjoined. The nihilist would probably respond to this by claiming that the structure which the 'simples' take is merely a pattern discerned by a subjective observer, but which has no objective reality in itself. Unfortunately for the nihilist, that viewpoint is itself merely a judgment, and why shouldn't it be subject to its own epistemological assumption, namely scepticism and subjectivism? If so, it becomes self-refuting.

We see illusory patterns - such as faces in clouds - precisely because real patterns exist, against which chaotic and changeable phenomena are compared.

So the theory of mereological nihilism cannot be divorced from the concept of 'mind'. If this means that I have introduced the 'forbidden' concept of 'soul' into the discussion, then so be it. If such a concept makes logical sense, then why dismiss it?

Lakin
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Re: Do I exist?

Post by Lakin » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:07 pm

The issue of existence is only one put by humanity.
Other animals do not ask this question.
Humans exist as chemicals in a very expressive form .
This expression is just a figment of the life which has a self reflecting nature.
Do I exist ; do I not exist is essentially a tautology of human reflection.

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