RCSaunders wrote: ↑Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:29 pm
Peter Holmes wrote: ↑Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:08 am
What and where are non-physical things, and in what way do they exist? Answers, please, without equivocation on 'thing' and 'exist' - and without an appeal to mysticism.
I wonder if you'd mind answering a question. What do you mean by, "exist?"
It seems like you mean, "to exist is physical," or, "nothing but the physical exists," but that may not be what you mean, so I don't want to address it unless it is.
That leads to another question, what do you regard as, "physical?" Are only entities and substances physical (rocks, planets, coal, iron, sulfur, and hydrogen, for example), or are physical properties also physical, (mass, force, momentum, size, shape, and velocity, for example)?
We use nouns to name things: rocks, planets, coal, and so on. But the meaning of a noun is not the thing it names, but rather the way we use it, which can be to name and talk about things. Meaning is use, and can be nothing else.
But this 'naming' idea easily confuses us. For example we talk about the size of things, and how x is taller than y - then ask misfiring questions: ah, but what is 'size', and what is 'being taller than'? They must be something, because nouns and relational terms are names of things, so they must have referents. Hence Socrates' stupid questions; hence the ridiculous Platonist-nominalist debate; and hence the invention of concepts, and other supposed abstract things - mysteries invented to explain mystseries of our own invention.
Suppose for now we use the word 'exist' in the spatio-temporal sense it often has, so that it applies, at least, to physical things and their properties - and the expression 'rocks, planets and coal exist' has a clear meaning.
Given that use of 'exist', what and where are abstract things - such as concepts, propositions, size, shape, meaning, truth, knowledge, identity, and so on (insert the abstract noun of choice) - and in what way do they exist, if it's not physically and spatio-temporally?
Cards on the table: I think belief in the existence of abstract things is a metaphysical delusion arising from an ancient nomenclaturist and mentalist mistake - a form of mysticism. So that so-called abstract things aren't things that do or don't exist anywhere, inside or outside the mind - which is itself an abstract fiction anyway. It's all been one huge category error.