Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> 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. 

Maybe it's a holographic projection - in which case the projection (a certain 
state 
of photons) does exist, and other people can see it.  Even an illusion must 
exist as 
some brain process.  I understand Peters objection to regarding a "mere bundle" 
of 
properties as existent.  But I don't understand why one needs a propertyless 
substrate.  Why not just say that some bundles of properties are instantiated 
and 
some aren't.   Anyway, current physical theory is that there is a material 
"substrate" which has properties, e.g. energy, spin, momentum,...

>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. 

I agree.  But the gold standard is not just that you see and touch that pencil 
- you 
might be hallucinating.  And you can't see an electron, or even a microbe.  So 
what 
exists or not is a matter of adopting a model of the world; and the best models 
take 
account of a consistent theory of instruments as well as direct perception.

Brent Meeker

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