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PeacefulChaos
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5/19/2014 6:36:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Is it a contradiction to say that nonexistence does not exist? I do not believe this to be so. I'd like to hear other people's opinions on this matter. Here is my reasoning.

If we look at the surface, it seems like an immediate contradiction. If we say that nonexistence does not exist, then that means we're saying that there's something that doesn't exist, producing a kind of a paradox.

But we when we think that, we need to really think about the consequences of the statement and the reasoning as to why it would be a contradiction. For example, by saying nonexistence does not exist, that does not mean we're saying there's something that does not exist. This is because "something" refers to "some thing," or "some stuff that's in existence." Nonexistence is not within existence, and we thus cannot call it something. Now that would be a contradiction. Nevertheless, by stating that nonexistence does not exist, we are essentially stating that there only exists that which exists, which is a true statement.

You could argue the point that "something" could be loosely defined to encompass nonexistence, or even argue that nonexistence is something, but then it becomes a game of semantics. We aren't answering the question, because we're so limited by our abilities to communicate with one another.

What do you think?
Bannanawamajama
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5/19/2014 6:44:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Im not sure if this is a valid statement to begin with. "Nonexistence" seems to be a quality, as does existance. So if you're saying nonexistence doesn't exist, you are ascribing a quality which usually is held by an object to another quality. If you're trying to give a quality to another quality, you're giving that first quality to the entire abstract idea of the second, since thats the closest you can get to a real thing that you can qualify. I think that the statement would be a contradiction then, if anything, because even thinking the idea of nonexistence doesn't exist is only possible if the idea exists in the first place for you to think.
Stephen_Hawkins
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5/19/2014 6:49:30 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I believe the first response is on to something.

Existence or non-existence, like maleness or baldness, are properties. To say "baldness exists" is to say "there exists an object which has the property of being bald", in formal terms.

When this is expressed for non-existence, though, we are saying "there exists an object which has the property of non-existence". In which case, we're getting ourselves confused. Perhaps we are equivocating existence somewhere (say, there conceptually exists an object which physically does not exist) but if we are not, then the claim is nonsensical and contradictory.
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dylancatlow
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5/19/2014 8:06:00 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/19/2014 6:36:10 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
Is it a contradiction to say that nonexistence does not exist? I do not believe this to be so. I'd like to hear other people's opinions on this matter. Here is my reasoning.


"Non-existence" and "does not exist" are really equivalent concepts. We can thus reduce it to "non-existence." In order for the word non-existence to be contradictory, it must be defined. Therefore, it is contradictory to claim that the concept of non-existence is contradictory.
PeacefulChaos
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5/19/2014 8:22:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/19/2014 6:49:30 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
I believe the first response is on to something.

Existence or non-existence, like maleness or baldness, are properties. To say "baldness exists" is to say "there exists an object which has the property of being bald", in formal terms.

When this is expressed for non-existence, though, we are saying "there exists an object which has the property of non-existence".

In other words, if an "object" (I use the term loosely here) has the property of non-existence, it does not exist and is consequentially termed "nothing."

So my original point stands.


In which case, we're getting ourselves confused. Perhaps we are equivocating existence somewhere (say, there conceptually exists an object which physically does not exist) but if we are not, then the claim is nonsensical and contradictory.
PeacefulChaos
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5/19/2014 8:25:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/19/2014 8:06:00 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/19/2014 6:36:10 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
Is it a contradiction to say that nonexistence does not exist? I do not believe this to be so. I'd like to hear other people's opinions on this matter. Here is my reasoning.


"Non-existence" and "does not exist" are really equivalent concepts. We can thus reduce it to "non-existence." In order for the word non-existence to be contradictory, it must be defined. Therefore, it is contradictory to claim that the concept of non-existence is contradictory.

Yes, I agree that non-existence and that which does not exist are the similar (if not the same), as is the term "nothing." I have essentially stated:

Nothing does not exist.

This can be stated in a variety of ways (one of them being what I stated in my very first post).

I don't see how it's contradictory to say "X" is contradictory. You're simply proving a contradiction, but you are not necessarily contradicting yourself in the process.
Questionner
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5/20/2014 2:46:21 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/19/2014 6:36:10 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:

For example, by saying nonexistence does not exist, that does not mean we're saying there's something that does not exist. This is because "something" refers to "some thing," or "some stuff that's in existence." Nonexistence is not within existence

Yes, it is.

Nonexistence is the property of not existing, so "nonexistence does not exist" equals saying "the property of not existing has the property of not existing", it equals giving to something a property that you just said you could not give (because it's nonexistent), which is a contradiction.

Nonexistence does exist, it is a "something", that's why we're able to talk about it.

Nevertheless, by stating that nonexistence does not exist, we are essentially stating that there only exists that which exists, which is a true statement.

No, that's what you say when you say: "Something that is nonexistent does not exist". That sentence is not a contradiction.

You could argue the point that "something" could be loosely defined to encompass nonexistence, or even argue that nonexistence is something, but then it becomes a game of semantics.

Why does it only become a game of semantics when "something" is defined to encompass non-existence, but not when it's defined to not encompass it? It's the same principle. The answer to a question always depends on how you define the words that are used in it, so "something" needs to be defined in some way. That's not a "game" it's the logical procedure of interpreting and answering a question that we all follow.
Stephen_Hawkins
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5/20/2014 5:39:47 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/19/2014 8:22:12 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 5/19/2014 6:49:30 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
I believe the first response is on to something.

Existence or non-existence, like maleness or baldness, are properties. To say "baldness exists" is to say "there exists an object which has the property of being bald", in formal terms.

When this is expressed for non-existence, though, we are saying "there exists an object which has the property of non-existence".

In other words, if an "object" (I use the term loosely here) has the property of non-existence, it does not exist and is consequentially termed "nothing."

So my original point stands.

Why not the object has the property of non-existence, it does not exist and so the property of non-existence is not there?

The two ideas are mutually exclusive. You cannot say "This object exists, and this object has the property of non-existence" without stretching the use of the word existence. What your claim does is it just falls down arbitrarily on one side of the argument. Why can it not be the other way around, ask yourself, and think of arguments that would run counter to your own. What do you think of these counter arguments?
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

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Graincruncher
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5/20/2014 6:36:15 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/19/2014 6:49:30 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
I believe the first response is on to something.

Existence or non-existence, like maleness or baldness, are properties. To say "baldness exists" is to say "there exists an object which has the property of being bald", in formal terms.

When this is expressed for non-existence, though, we are saying "there exists an object which has the property of non-existence". In which case, we're getting ourselves confused. Perhaps we are equivocating existence somewhere (say, there conceptually exists an object which physically does not exist) but if we are not, then the claim is nonsensical and contradictory.

I'm not sure about this. I would say that classing non-existence as a property is a category error, because it is the state of not having any properties, while existence is the state of having at lesat one property. What kind of existence a concept has is a more coherent question.
PeacefulChaos
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5/20/2014 9:23:35 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 2:46:21 AM, Questionner wrote:

Nonexistence does exist, it is a "something", that's why we're able to talk about it.

You are referring to the word or concept of nonexistence, which certainly exist. We can talk about the concept of nonexistence and define it so that it may be in reality, but "nothingness" or "nonexistence" is not something that exists; thus, it cannot be in existence, for it is the exact opposite.


No, that's what you say when you say: "Something that is nonexistent does not exist". That sentence is not a contradiction.

It is not required to say "something", and it is indeed redundant. Take away the "something," and it becomes the same statement that I made.


Why does it only become a game of semantics when "something" is defined to encompass non-existence, but not when it's defined to not encompass it? It's the same principle. The answer to a question always depends on how you define the words that are used in it, so "something" needs to be defined in some way. That's not a "game" it's the logical procedure of interpreting and answering a question that we all follow.

As I explained above, if you use something to encompass non-existence, then that means you're including the concept or definition of non-existence.

We are limited by our inability to describe certain "things," and this topic is one of those examples. Should we debate something tangible, then semantics would be more suitable, but "non-existence" beyond its own concept is something difficult to describe.
PeacefulChaos
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5/20/2014 9:28:47 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 5:39:47 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/19/2014 8:22:12 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 5/19/2014 6:49:30 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
I believe the first response is on to something.

Existence or non-existence, like maleness or baldness, are properties. To say "baldness exists" is to say "there exists an object which has the property of being bald", in formal terms.

When this is expressed for non-existence, though, we are saying "there exists an object which has the property of non-existence".

In other words, if an "object" (I use the term loosely here) has the property of non-existence, it does not exist and is consequentially termed "nothing."

So my original point stands.

Why not the object has the property of non-existence, it does not exist and so the property of non-existence is not there?

I fail to see how this is different from what I proposed. You have essentially stated that non-existence "is not there," (i.e. non-existence does not exist), which is what I was initially proposing to be a logically valid statement and not a contradiction.


The two ideas are mutually exclusive. You cannot say "This object exists, and this object has the property of non-existence" without stretching the use of the word existence.

I'm not sure where I stated that. In fact, I believe that you stated that ...

Regardless, I agree that if an "object" has the property of non-existence, then it does not exist (and it shouldn't really be called an object); thus, a better way of stating this would be to simply say "nothing."


What your claim does is it just falls down arbitrarily on one side of the argument. Why can it not be the other way around, ask yourself, and think of arguments that would run counter to your own. What do you think of these counter arguments?
Questionner
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5/20/2014 10:09:24 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 9:23:35 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 5/20/2014 2:46:21 AM, Questionner wrote:

Nonexistence does exist, it is a "something", that's why we're able to talk about it.

You are referring to the word or concept of nonexistence, which certainly exist. We can talk about the concept of nonexistence and define it so that it may be in reality, but "nothingness" or "nonexistence" is not something that exists; thus, it cannot be in existence, for it is the exact opposite.

No, that's what you say when you say: "Something that is nonexistent does not exist". That sentence is not a contradiction.

It is not required to say "something", and it is indeed redundant. Take away the "something," and it becomes the same statement that I made.

Writing "something" is not redundant in that it helps clarify whether you're speaking about the concept of nonexistence or something nonexistent. If you're speaking about something nonexistent, then saying "does not exist" is just as redundant, isn't it? You can just say "nonexistence" and the statement is the same.

Why does it only become a game of semantics when "something" is defined to encompass non-existence, but not when it's defined to not encompass it? It's the same principle. The answer to a question always depends on how you define the words that are used in it, so "something" needs to be defined in some way. That's not a "game" it's the logical procedure of interpreting and answering a question that we all follow.

As I explained above, if you use something to encompass non-existence, then that means you're including the concept or definition of non-existence.

By "including" you mean "talking about" right? If you do, I still don't see how it's any more of a semantic game than if you're talking about non-existence on itself. In both cases it's a matter of defining the word; naming its defining property.

We are limited by our inability to describe certain "things," and this topic is one of those examples. Should we debate something tangible, then semantics would be more suitable, but "non-existence" beyond its own concept is something difficult to describe.

Something that doesn't exist is something that isn't real; something that can't be found anywhere in the universe. What is so difficult about that description?
Stephen_Hawkins
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5/20/2014 10:29:26 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 9:28:47 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:

I apologise, I think I have been unclear with what I said.

1) If you're describing something as having a property, it either has the universal quantifier (For All cases of x...) or the existential quantifier (There exists x, and for all x...)

2) If we are using the existential quantifier, then there is a necessary contradiction in saying "There exists x, and for all x, x has the property of non-existence." If we do not equivocate on the use of the word 'exists'.

3) If we are using the universal quantifier, then there is room for such a sentence to be - but it does not mean that inexistence exists, but instead is a strange sentence to utter.

My quotation marks before was to expand on what the phrase "x has the property of non-existence" means, not to quote you. I am sorry if I gave that impression.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

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Stephen_Hawkins
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5/20/2014 10:31:45 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 6:36:15 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/19/2014 6:49:30 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
I believe the first response is on to something.

Existence or non-existence, like maleness or baldness, are properties. To say "baldness exists" is to say "there exists an object which has the property of being bald", in formal terms.

When this is expressed for non-existence, though, we are saying "there exists an object which has the property of non-existence". In which case, we're getting ourselves confused. Perhaps we are equivocating existence somewhere (say, there conceptually exists an object which physically does not exist) but if we are not, then the claim is nonsensical and contradictory.

I'm not sure about this. I would say that classing non-existence as a property is a category error, because it is the state of not having any properties, while existence is the state of having at lesat one property. What kind of existence a concept has is a more coherent question.

I think it depends on what we mean by existence. If we mean physical existence, we can make sense of the phrase "two does not exist". Or, if we mean a substantive/meaningful existence, the phrases "God does not exist" or "Free will does not exist" make sense.

Perhaps it is the fact that 'nothing' is a logically confusing concept. Indeed, the philosophy of nothing is an interesting subject with a lot of rigorous debate.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
dylancatlow
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5/20/2014 10:35:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
If something has no complement, then it is indistinguishable from its complement. Non-existence must be defined within existence, or "existence" wouldn't mean anything.
Graincruncher
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5/20/2014 10:43:12 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 10:31:45 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
I think it depends on what we mean by existence. If we mean physical existence, we can make sense of the phrase "two does not exist". Or, if we mean a substantive/meaningful existence, the phrases "God does not exist" or "Free will does not exist" make sense.

Perhaps it is the fact that 'nothing' is a logically confusing concept. Indeed, the philosophy of nothing is an interesting subject with a lot of rigorous debate.

Which is why I think it's a matter of semantic confusion; "physicality" or "imaginary" are properties, "existence" is not. Existence is just what you have if you have at least one property, not a property in itself. Non-existence isn't a thing because it is the term we use as a negation of "all the things that have properties". It's not a property because it's not a property of anything.

Extent, density etc. are properties. Possessing properties is not a property in any meaningful sense because it's just farting about with tautologies: properties are properties/things that have properties have properties. Lacking properties is not a property because that would be a contradiction. Ergo the status of having or not having properties is not itself a property, but a semantic expression of the law of non-contradiction; those things that have properties cannot lack properties.

If the word 'property' means anything at all to you after reading through that then my congratulations. Essentially, people are making a category error (by treating existence/non-existence as properties) and equivocating between the general senses of them and more specific uses such as "physical existence", "conceptual existence" and so on.
Stephen_Hawkins
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5/20/2014 10:48:09 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 10:43:12 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/20/2014 10:31:45 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
I think it depends on what we mean by existence. If we mean physical existence, we can make sense of the phrase "two does not exist". Or, if we mean a substantive/meaningful existence, the phrases "God does not exist" or "Free will does not exist" make sense.

Perhaps it is the fact that 'nothing' is a logically confusing concept. Indeed, the philosophy of nothing is an interesting subject with a lot of rigorous debate.

Which is why I think it's a matter of semantic confusion; "physicality" or "imaginary" are properties, "existence" is not. Existence is just what you have if you have at least one property, not a property in itself. Non-existence isn't a thing because it is the term we use as a negation of "all the things that have properties". It's not a property because it's not a property of anything.

Extent, density etc. are properties. Possessing properties is not a property in any meaningful sense because it's just farting about with tautologies: properties are properties/things that have properties have properties. Lacking properties is not a property because that would be a contradiction. Ergo the status of having or not having properties is not itself a property, but a semantic expression of the law of non-contradiction; those things that have properties cannot lack properties.

If the word 'property' means anything at all to you after reading through that then my congratulations. Essentially, people are making a category error (by treating existence/non-existence as properties) and equivocating between the general senses of them and more specific uses such as "physical existence", "conceptual existence" and so on.

Well then this all comes down to how we use existence, property, and whether existence is a property. Does a square circle have the property of existence, for example?
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

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Graincruncher
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5/20/2014 10:48:38 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 10:35:00 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
If something has no complement, then it is indistinguishable from its complement. Non-existence must be defined within existence, or "existence" wouldn't mean anything.

If you mean it in the sense that "good" requires "evil" as a definitional criteria then yes. Equally, if you mean that as soon as you can say "X" you can also say "not X" out of logical necessity, that's also a given. Positive and negative definition are doing the same things, but in some circumstances one is more useful than the other. If you want to be able to make sense of something - that is, if there is any meaning that can in principle be derived from it - then it must be definable in both ways, not merely one.
Graincruncher
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5/20/2014 10:53:18 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 10:48:09 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/20/2014 10:43:12 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/20/2014 10:31:45 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
I think it depends on what we mean by existence. If we mean physical existence, we can make sense of the phrase "two does not exist". Or, if we mean a substantive/meaningful existence, the phrases "God does not exist" or "Free will does not exist" make sense.

Perhaps it is the fact that 'nothing' is a logically confusing concept. Indeed, the philosophy of nothing is an interesting subject with a lot of rigorous debate.

Which is why I think it's a matter of semantic confusion; "physicality" or "imaginary" are properties, "existence" is not. Existence is just what you have if you have at least one property, not a property in itself. Non-existence isn't a thing because it is the term we use as a negation of "all the things that have properties". It's not a property because it's not a property of anything.

Extent, density etc. are properties. Possessing properties is not a property in any meaningful sense because it's just farting about with tautologies: properties are properties/things that have properties have properties. Lacking properties is not a property because that would be a contradiction. Ergo the status of having or not having properties is not itself a property, but a semantic expression of the law of non-contradiction; those things that have properties cannot lack properties.

If the word 'property' means anything at all to you after reading through that then my congratulations. Essentially, people are making a category error (by treating existence/non-existence as properties) and equivocating between the general senses of them and more specific uses such as "physical existence", "conceptual existence" and so on.

Well then this all comes down to how we use existence, property, and whether existence is a property. Does a square circle have the property of existence, for example?

"Square circle" is actually a place-holder for "nonsense" or "non-existence" because it lies beyond the boundaries of meaning. It might look otherwise, but it lacks any meaning; we cannot discuss anything other than the rules it violates, not 'the thing itself'. It would be very much running against the boundaries of sense to even try, indicating a failure to understand the rules of the language within which it is supposedly being expressed.
Graincruncher
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5/20/2014 10:54:47 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
And, to refer back to my previous and spectacularly confusing post, it is equally a mistake to ask whether something has the property of existence. Does something have properties? If yes then it exists. If no then it does not. Existence and non-existence are not themselves properties as otherwise you do start running into contradictions.
dylancatlow
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5/20/2014 10:54:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 10:48:38 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/20/2014 10:35:00 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
If something has no complement, then it is indistinguishable from its complement. Non-existence must be defined within existence, or "existence" wouldn't mean anything.

If you mean it in the sense that "good" requires "evil" as a definitional criteria then yes. Equally, if you mean that as soon as you can say "X" you can also say "not X" out of logical necessity, that's also a given. Positive and negative definition are doing the same things, but in some circumstances one is more useful than the other. If you want to be able to make sense of something - that is, if there is any meaning that can in principle be derived from it - then it must be definable in both ways, not merely one.

Yes, that is what I mean. In order to be meaningful, a term must have a complement (or at least something that it is not). This is because "meaning" is precisely something's distinction from other things.
dylancatlow
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5/20/2014 10:56:55 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 10:48:09 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/20/2014 10:43:12 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/20/2014 10:31:45 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
I think it depends on what we mean by existence. If we mean physical existence, we can make sense of the phrase "two does not exist". Or, if we mean a substantive/meaningful existence, the phrases "God does not exist" or "Free will does not exist" make sense.

Perhaps it is the fact that 'nothing' is a logically confusing concept. Indeed, the philosophy of nothing is an interesting subject with a lot of rigorous debate.

Which is why I think it's a matter of semantic confusion; "physicality" or "imaginary" are properties, "existence" is not. Existence is just what you have if you have at least one property, not a property in itself. Non-existence isn't a thing because it is the term we use as a negation of "all the things that have properties". It's not a property because it's not a property of anything.

Extent, density etc. are properties. Possessing properties is not a property in any meaningful sense because it's just farting about with tautologies: properties are properties/things that have properties have properties. Lacking properties is not a property because that would be a contradiction. Ergo the status of having or not having properties is not itself a property, but a semantic expression of the law of non-contradiction; those things that have properties cannot lack properties.

If the word 'property' means anything at all to you after reading through that then my congratulations. Essentially, people are making a category error (by treating existence/non-existence as properties) and equivocating between the general senses of them and more specific uses such as "physical existence", "conceptual existence" and so on.

Well then this all comes down to how we use existence, property, and whether existence is a property. Does a square circle have the property of existence, for example?

A square circle is defined as something which exists and doesn't exist at the same time. It doesn't mean anything.
dylancatlow
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5/20/2014 11:01:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
For instance, a square has four straight sides. The definition of a circle precludes straight sides. It is defined as something that it is not, and is therefore meaningless.
Graincruncher
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5/20/2014 11:03:26 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 10:54:54 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Yes, that is what I mean. In order to be meaningful, a term must have a complement (or at least something that it is not). This is because "meaning" is precisely something's distinction from other things.

Then yes, that's correct. It's why the Problem of Evil makes me cringe when people use it as an argument against god. At least the basic form of it, at any rate.
tBoonePickens
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5/20/2014 4:13:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/19/2014 6:36:10 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
Is it a contradiction to say that nonexistence does not exist?
No, obviously not.

I do not believe this to be so. I'd like to hear other people's opinions on this matter. Here is my reasoning.

If we look at the surface, it seems like an immediate contradiction.
Not at all.

If we say that nonexistence does not exist, then that means we're saying that there's something that doesn't exist, producing a kind of a paradox.
No, we already know that there are things that do not exist. One does not need to equivocate between existing things and non-existing things.

But we when we think that, we need to really think about the consequences of the statement and the reasoning as to why it would be a contradiction.
There's no dilemma.

For example, by saying nonexistence does not exist, that does not mean we're saying there's something that does not exist. This is because "something" refers to "some thing," or "some stuff that's in existence." Nonexistence is not within existence, and we thus cannot call it something. Now that would be a contradiction.
Precisely why I mentioned that one should not equivocate between "things" existent and not.

Nevertheless, by stating that nonexistence does not exist, we are essentially stating that there only exists that which exists, which is a true statement.
All you are doing is repeating the definition: Non-existence does not exist and existence exists. At first glance it might appear to be two tautologies but in fact there is only one: A = A.

You could argue the point that "something" could be loosely defined to encompass nonexistence, or even argue that nonexistence is something, but then it becomes a game of semantics. We aren't answering the question, because we're so limited by our abilities to communicate with one another.
Oui.

What do you think?
I think that this is all quite obvious.
WOS
: At 10/3/2012 4:28:52 AM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
: Without nothing existing, you couldn't have something.
tBoonePickens
Posts: 3,266
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5/20/2014 5:25:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 10:56:55 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/20/2014 10:48:09 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/20/2014 10:43:12 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/20/2014 10:31:45 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
I think it depends on what we mean by existence. If we mean physical existence, we can make sense of the phrase "two does not exist". Or, if we mean a substantive/meaningful existence, the phrases "God does not exist" or "Free will does not exist" make sense.

Perhaps it is the fact that 'nothing' is a logically confusing concept. Indeed, the philosophy of nothing is an interesting subject with a lot of rigorous debate.

Which is why I think it's a matter of semantic confusion; "physicality" or "imaginary" are properties, "existence" is not. Existence is just what you have if you have at least one property, not a property in itself. Non-existence isn't a thing because it is the term we use as a negation of "all the things that have properties". It's not a property because it's not a property of anything.

Extent, density etc. are properties. Possessing properties is not a property in any meaningful sense because it's just farting about with tautologies: properties are properties/things that have properties have properties. Lacking properties is not a property because that would be a contradiction. Ergo the status of having or not having properties is not itself a property, but a semantic expression of the law of non-contradiction; those things that have properties cannot lack properties.

If the word 'property' means anything at all to you after reading through that then my congratulations. Essentially, people are making a category error (by treating existence/non-existence as properties) and equivocating between the general senses of them and more specific uses such as "physical existence", "conceptual existence" and so on.

Well then this all comes down to how we use existence, property, and whether existence is a property. Does a square circle have the property of existence, for example?

A square circle is defined as something which exists and doesn't exist at the same time. It doesn't mean anything.
It means just as much as nothingness means.
WOS
: At 10/3/2012 4:28:52 AM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
: Without nothing existing, you couldn't have something.
PeacefulChaos
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5/20/2014 7:05:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 10:09:24 AM, Questionner wrote:

Writing "something" is not redundant in that it helps clarify whether you're speaking about the concept of nonexistence or something nonexistent. If you're speaking about something nonexistent, then saying "does not exist" is just as redundant, isn't it? You can just say "nonexistence" and the statement is the same.

But we want to know if nonexistence exists or does not exist, we don't want to know "nonexistence."

The term something connotes a thing in existence, hence why I avoided using the term.


By "including" you mean "talking about" right? If you do, I still don't see how it's any more of a semantic game than if you're talking about non-existence on itself. In both cases it's a matter of defining the word; naming its defining property.

The thread was originally created to see if the statement "nonexistence ('itself') does not exist" is a contradiction.

That is why I stated it would just go into a meaningless argument of semantics if we tried to talk about the concept of nonexistence, since obviously the concept of it exists.


We are limited by our inability to describe certain "things," and this topic is one of those examples. Should we debate something tangible, then semantics would be more suitable, but "non-existence" beyond its own concept is something difficult to describe.

Something that doesn't exist is something that isn't real; something that can't be found anywhere in the universe. What is so difficult about that description?

As I previously stated, "something" connotes an object within existence. I don't really feel that the word is suitable for the situation.
PeacefulChaos
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5/20/2014 7:13:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 10:29:26 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/20/2014 9:28:47 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:

I apologise, I think I have been unclear with what I said.

1) If you're describing something as having a property, it either has the universal quantifier (For All cases of x...) or the existential quantifier (There exists x, and for all x...)

Hmm, I'm not sure I 100% understand what you mean here. By "universal quantifier" do you mean the concept of "X," and by existential quantifier do you mean the actual thing "X"? As I don't really understand the first point, I don't think I can effectively respond to anything below. Sorry.


2) If we are using the existential quantifier, then there is a necessary contradiction in saying "There exists x, and for all x, x has the property of non-existence." If we do not equivocate on the use of the word 'exists'.

3) If we are using the universal quantifier, then there is room for such a sentence to be - but it does not mean that inexistence exists, but instead is a strange sentence to utter.

My quotation marks before was to expand on what the phrase "x has the property of non-existence" means, not to quote you. I am sorry if I gave that impression.
PeacefulChaos
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5/20/2014 7:17:37 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 4:13:52 PM, tBoonePickens wrote:

I think that this is all quite obvious.

Thank you for agreeing with me.

Some would disagree, however.
Questionner
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5/20/2014 8:18:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 7:05:59 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 5/20/2014 10:09:24 AM, Questionner wrote:

Writing "something" is not redundant in that it helps clarify whether you're speaking about the concept of nonexistence or something nonexistent. If you're speaking about something nonexistent, then saying "does not exist" is just as redundant, isn't it? You can just say "nonexistence" and the statement is the same.

But we want to know if nonexistence exists or does not exist, we don't want to know "nonexistence."

But the answer to the question "does nonexistence exist" is in the word "nonexistence" itself. "nonexistence" literally means "the state of not existing", so of course it does not exist (as in "it has the property of not existing"). When you say "nonexistence" you inevitably say that it doesn't exist, it's the meaning of that word, hence why saying "does not exist" is redundant.

We are limited by our inability to describe certain "things," and this topic is one of those examples. Should we debate something tangible, then semantics would be more suitable, but "non-existence" beyond its own concept is something difficult to describe.

Something that doesn't exist is something that isn't real; something that can't be found anywhere in the universe. What is so difficult about that description?

As I previously stated, "something" connotes an object within existence.

No, it doesn't. "Something" refers to the concept of an object that could as well not be within existence. I think you're creating a difficulty with regards to description yourself by not deeming the word "something" as suitable although it's a very necessary word for the definition.

The definition I gave in this quote described the meaning of "not existing", "something" was only used to help describe it.