Brent meeker writes:

> > 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,...

Saying that there is a material substrate which has certain properties is just 
a working 
assumption to facilitate thinking about the real world. It may turn out that if 
we dig into 
quarks very deeply there is nothing "substantial" there at all, but solid 
matter will still be 
solid matter, because it is defined by its properties, not by some mysterious 
raw physical 
substrate.
 
> >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.

By "gold standard" I did not mean just direct sensory experience, but every 
possible 
empirical test or measurement. A hallucination is a hallucination because other 
people 
don't see it, it does not register on a photograph, and so on. A hallucination 
which 
passed every possible reality test would not be a hallucination.

Stathis Papaioannou
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