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PostPosted: April 2nd, 2008 12:20:17 pm 
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I'm curious... what is the representation of the reportresses cape made from? At first I thought it looked like a piece of pasta, but I can see it's been torn to shape, so it can't be dried paste and cooked pasta is I think too fragile.

Also, that applies not just in philosophy but also in the sciences too. Like this whole fiasco with the Higgs Bosun particle, after millions has been spent in an effort to find it, the guys involved are all like "yeah, we're looking for a thing which might not exist by doing an experiment which might not work. If it doesn't work though, the thing might still exist, we just don't know..."

I like science :)


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PostPosted: April 2nd, 2008 13:12:32 pm 
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Lewis, are you referring to the paradox of how something can be nonexistent yet still be conceptualized?

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

It's not a Devil May Cry game unless Dante gets pinned to a wall and/or the ground by his own sword.
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PostPosted: April 2nd, 2008 13:54:22 pm 
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"Pegasus does not exist", to be true, requires that we meaningfully refer to Pegasus, in order to deny its existence.

But, if there is something referred to by the name 'Pegasus' then Pegasus exists.

So, on the hypothesis that "Pegasus doesn't exist" is true, we can show that Pegasus exists.

Some people view this problem as a reason to believe that there are things which don't exist.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nonex ... gSinExiSta

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PostPosted: April 2nd, 2008 18:12:34 pm 
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Spider wrote:
I'm curious... what is the representation of the reportresses cape made from? At first I thought it looked like a piece of pasta, but I can see it's been torn to shape, so it can't be dried paste and cooked pasta is I think too fragile.


I think it's just a piece of cloth. The reason it looks the same in both comics is that Ben didn't move the pieces at all as he took pictures of them.

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PostPosted: April 2nd, 2008 21:31:38 pm 
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Lewis Powell wrote:
"Pegasus does not exist", to be true, requires that we meaningfully refer to Pegasus, in order to deny its existence.

But, if there is something referred to by the name 'Pegasus' then Pegasus exists.

So, on the hypothesis that "Pegasus doesn't exist" is true, we can show that Pegasus exists.

Some people view this problem as a reason to believe that there are things which don't exist.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nonex ... gSinExiSta


So, in other words, "yes"?

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

It's not a Devil May Cry game unless Dante gets pinned to a wall and/or the ground by his own sword.
Preferably multiple times.


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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2008 04:55:10 am 
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I want somebody to use that argument with God to Dawkins.

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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2008 05:56:03 am 
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That only works if you use the God-extension of the argument, which is that the definition of God is "a perfect being," and you can't have a perfect being that exists only imperfectly, and therefore, if it exists at all, it must exist to the fullest extent of the meaning of the word "existence." And I'm sure Dawkins has already heard the argument. The problem is that without the extension of the argument, God may exist in one sense of the word "exist" but not in the sense that he actually created the universe (the physical universe that we live in) and so on. Even with the extension, it's pretty weak, I think.

Lewis: When you say
Lewis wrote:
reason to believe that there are things which don't exist

do you mean "reason to believe that some things are impossible to conceptualize, and do not exist in any other sense of the word, and therefore do not exist"? Even then, the statement still doesn't make sense, because then the statement "there are things which don't exist" is illogical because the things simply are not (since "to be" roughly equals "to exist" in this instance).

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

It's not a Devil May Cry game unless Dante gets pinned to a wall and/or the ground by his own sword.
Preferably multiple times.


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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2008 06:21:30 am 
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I think Dawkins believes names are definite descriptions, so he's immune to this attack. That belief opens him up to a lot of other problems, though.

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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2008 07:51:34 am 
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There are a lot of problems with Dawkins arguments. Even my atheist friends tend to make fun of him for being a pretty terrible thinker.


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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2008 12:52:38 pm 
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I've been meaning to watch this for quite a while now:

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/98

Judging from the name and the sub-headings, I'd guess that it's pretty relevant here.

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

It's not a Devil May Cry game unless Dante gets pinned to a wall and/or the ground by his own sword.
Preferably multiple times.


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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2008 13:55:50 pm 
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BatmanAoD wrote:
That only works if you use the God-extension of the argument, which is that the definition of God is "a perfect being," and you can't have a perfect being that exists only imperfectly, and therefore, if it exists at all, it must exist to the fullest extent of the meaning of the word "existence." And I'm sure Dawkins has already heard the argument. The problem is that without the extension of the argument, God may exist in one sense of the word "exist" but not in the sense that he actually created the universe (the physical universe that we live in) and so on. Even with the extension, it's pretty weak, I think.

Lewis: When you say
Lewis wrote:
reason to believe that there are things which don't exist

do you mean "reason to believe that some things are impossible to conceptualize, and do not exist in any other sense of the word, and therefore do not exist"? Even then, the statement still doesn't make sense, because then the statement "there are things which don't exist" is illogical because the things simply are not (since "to be" roughly equals "to exist" in this instance).


1) It works without assuming that "god" means "most perfect being".
Here's how the argument goes.
"God doesn't exist" is meaningful.
If "God doesn't exist" is meaningful, then "God" refers to something.
If "God" refers to something, then there is a God.
If there is a God, then it isn't true that God doesn't exist.
So, God exists.

2) One thing that people do, to try and make sense of some things not existing is to postulate that there is a difference between being and existence. i.e., some things have being without having existence, or in other words, there are some things that don't exist. Here is an example of why you might think that:

1) If something is dead, then it used to exist (and be alive) but no longer exists.
2) Socrates is dead.
3) So, socrates used to exist (and was alive) but no longer exists.
4) If Socrates no longer exists, then Socrates doesn't exist.
5) So, Socrates doesn't exist.
6) If Socrates doesn't exist, then there is something (namely Socrates) that doesn't exist.
7) So, there are things that don't exist.

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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2008 13:56:52 pm 
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Ben Heaton wrote:
I think Dawkins believes names are definite descriptions, so he's immune to this attack. That belief opens him up to a lot of other problems, though.


actually, you can raise the problem for the people who think names are definite descriptions as well, using the 'socrates is dead' style-case.

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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2008 21:29:11 pm 
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Lewis Powell wrote:
1) It works without assuming that "god" means "most perfect being".
Here's how the argument goes.
"God doesn't exist" is meaningful.
If "God doesn't exist" is meaningful, then "God" refers to something.
If "God" refers to something, then there is a God.
If there is a God, then it isn't true that God doesn't exist.
So, God exists.


True, but that argument is defeated by the "Socrates is dead" argument. The "perfect being" argument seems slightly stronger to me.

Also, what exactly is the "names are definite descriptions" belief? I don't think I'm familiar with that terminology.

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

It's not a Devil May Cry game unless Dante gets pinned to a wall and/or the ground by his own sword.
Preferably multiple times.


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PostPosted: April 4th, 2008 03:44:22 am 
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The drawback to the Meinongian solution to this (the one from the "Socrates is dead" example) is that it commits you to believing that there are things that don't exist. And then all the other philosophers laugh at you for believing in things that don't exist.

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PostPosted: April 4th, 2008 04:21:57 am 
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It has always seemed self-evident to me that there are things that don't exist, as I'm sure it does to most people who are not scholars of philosophy. Could someone please explain exactly what is meant by the alternative?

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

It's not a Devil May Cry game unless Dante gets pinned to a wall and/or the ground by his own sword.
Preferably multiple times.


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PostPosted: April 4th, 2008 04:40:16 am 
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Can you name something that doesn't exist?

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PostPosted: April 4th, 2008 04:40:35 am 
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Chenjesu wrote:
Can you name something that doesn't exist?


antimatter

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PostPosted: April 4th, 2008 04:42:58 am 
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What?? That exists.

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

It's not a Devil May Cry game unless Dante gets pinned to a wall and/or the ground by his own sword.
Preferably multiple times.


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PostPosted: April 4th, 2008 04:47:24 am 
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no it doesn't

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PostPosted: April 4th, 2008 04:47:39 am 
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<< >>

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PostPosted: April 4th, 2008 04:48:24 am 
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Chenjesu wrote:
Can you name something that doesn't exist?


Evidence of phlogiston?

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PostPosted: April 4th, 2008 04:50:04 am 
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Chenjesu wrote:
no it doesn't
We've made it, chenjesu.

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PostPosted: April 4th, 2008 04:51:13 am 
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Chenjesu wrote:
no it doesn't


But...we've MADE antimatter...the bubble chamber experiments...it's basically a proven thing that antimatter exists...

EDIT: Ninja'd (good job william)

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

It's not a Devil May Cry game unless Dante gets pinned to a wall and/or the ground by his own sword.
Preferably multiple times.


Last edited by BatmanAoD on April 4th, 2008 04:52:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: April 4th, 2008 04:51:32 am 
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william wrote:
Chenjesu wrote:
Can you name something that doesn't exist?


Evidence of phlogiston?


Phlogiston is basically another word for chemical potential energy, according to my understanding.

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PostPosted: April 4th, 2008 04:58:18 am 
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BatmanAoD wrote:
It has always seemed self-evident to me that there are things that don't exist, as I'm sure it does to most people who are not scholars of philosophy. Could someone please explain exactly what is meant by the alternative?

Here's why the view doesn't seem as self-evident as it might appear at first. Say we're using evidence for phlogiston as our example of a thing that doesn't exist. Then on the Meinongian view, we would agree that "evidence for phlogiston does not exist" is true, but we'd also have "there is evidence for phlogiston." It's a bit unintuitive that those would both be true, which is what it means for there to be things that don't exist.

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PostPosted: April 8th, 2008 20:04:29 pm 
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Is saying, for example, "Pegasus is fictional", less problematic? This seems to recognize that there is a Pegasus, but one of its qualities is that it is not present in what is traditionally thought of as the real world. It also seems like this is usually what is meant when someone says "Pegasus does not exist".

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PostPosted: April 8th, 2008 21:08:22 pm 
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The second half of Death Note(manga--in the anime it's everything after ep 26, and less than half) does not exist.

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PostPosted: April 9th, 2008 06:56:01 am 
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Ben Heaton wrote:
BatmanAoD wrote:
It has always seemed self-evident to me that there are things that don't exist, as I'm sure it does to most people who are not scholars of philosophy. Could someone please explain exactly what is meant by the alternative?

Here's why the view doesn't seem as self-evident as it might appear at first. Say we're using evidence for phlogiston as our example of a thing that doesn't exist. Then on the Meinongian view, we would agree that "evidence for phlogiston does not exist" is true, but we'd also have "there is evidence for phlogiston." It's a bit unintuitive that those would both be true, which is what it means for there to be things that don't exist.


Wait, so phlogiston is something that exists and is useful in that it can be used to prove that there isn't anything that doesn't exist?

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PostPosted: April 23rd, 2008 18:25:54 pm 
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This trouble with existence looks to me like it only arises because you haven't defined existence.

The competing definitions here seem to be:
1. "X exists." = "'X' is a meaningful noun (or noun phrase)."
2. "X exists." = "The universe to which this statement is addressed contains X."

Personally, I would favour number 2.
Of course, I haven't defined meaningful, noun or universe, but I think this gives some idea of the issue. Either way, I'm pretty sure that the problem is just an ambiguous mapping from words to ideas.


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