Peter Jones writes:

> Matter is a bare substrate with no properties of its own. The question
> may well be asked at this point: what roles does it perform ? Why not
> dispense with matter and just have bundles of properties -- what does
> matter add to a merely abstract set of properties? The answer is that
> not all bundles of posible properties are instantiated, that they
> exist.
> What does it mean to say something exists ? "..exists" is a meaningful
> predicate of concepts rather than things. The thing must exist in some
> sense to be talked about. But if it existed full, a statement like
> "Nessie doesn't exist" would be a contradiction ...it would amout to
> "the existing thign Nessie doesnt exist". However, if we take that the
> "some sense" in which the subject of an "...exists" predicate exists is
> only initially as a concept, we can then say whether or not the concept
> has something to refer to. Thus "Bigfoot exists" would mean "the
> concept 'Bigfoot' has a referent".
> 
> What matter adds to a bundle of properties is existence. A non-existent
> bundle of properties is a mere concept, a mere possibility. Thus the
> concept of matter is very much tied to the idea of contingency or
> "somethingism" -- the idea that only certain possible things exist.

But even existence can be defined as a bundle of properties. If I am 
wondering whether the pencil on my desk exists I can look at it, pick it up, 
tap it and so on. If my hand passes through it when I try to pick it up 
then maybe it is just an illusion. If it passes all the tests I put it through 
then by definition it exists. If I want to claim that some other object exists, 
like Nessie, what I actually mean is that it exists *in the same way as this 
pencil exists*. The pencil is the gold standard: there is no other, more 
profound standard of existence against which it can be measured. 

Stathis Papaioannou
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