Brent Meeker-2 wrote:
> On 2/19/2011 3:39 PM, benjayk wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>>> Isn't it enough to say everything that we *could* describe
>>>> in mathematics exists "in platonia"?
>>> The problem is that we can describe much more things than the one we
>>> are able to show consistent, so if you allow what we could describe
>>> you take too much. If you define Platonia by all consistent things,
>>> you get something inconsistent due to paradox similar to Russell
>>> paradox or St-Thomas paradox with omniscience and omnipotence.
>> Why can inconsistent descriptions not refer to an existing object?
> Because an inconsistent description implies everything, whether the 
> object described exists or not.  From "Sherlock Holmes is a detective 
> and is not a detective." anything at all follows.
I think it is perfectly fine when something implies everything. For me it
makes very much sense to think of everything as everything existing.
The distinction something existant / something non-existant is a relative
one, in the absolute sense existence is all there is - and it includes
relative non-existence (for example Santa Claus exists, but has relative
non-existence in the set of things that manifests in a consistent and
predictable way to many observers).

Aso, it emerges naturally from seemingly consistent logic that everything
exists (see Curry's paradox).

Brent Meeker-2 wrote:
>> The easy way is to assume inconsistent descriptions are merely an
>> arbitrary
>> combination of symbols that fail to describe something in particular and
>> thus have only the "content" that every utterance has by virtue of being
>> uttered: There exists ... (something).
> But we need utterances that *don't* entail existence.

If we find something that doesn't entail existence, it still entails
existence because every utterance is proof that existence IS.
We need only utterances that entail relative non-existence or that don't
entail existence in a particular way in a particular context.

Brent Meeker-2 wrote:
>   So we can say 
> things like, "Sherlock Holmes lived at 10 Baker Street" are true, even 
> though Sherlock Holmes never existed.
Whether Sherlock Holmes existed is not a trivial question. He didn't exist
like me and you, but he did exist as an idea.

Brent Meeker-2 wrote:
>> So they don't add anything to platonia because they merely assert the
>> existence of existence, which leaves platonia as described by consistent
>> theories.
>> I think the paradox is a linguistic paradox and it poses really no
>> problem.
>> Ultimately all descriptions refer to an existing object, but some are too
>> broad or "explosive" or vague to be of any (formal) use.
>> I may describe a system that is equal to standard arithmetics but also
>> has
>> 1=2 as an axiom. This makes it useless practically (or so I guess...) but
>> it
>> may still be interpreted in a way that it makes sense. 1=2 may mean that
>> there is 1 object that is 2 two objects, so it simply asserts the
>> existence
>> of the one number "two". 3=7 may mean that there are 3 objects that are 7
>> objects which might be interpreted as aserting the existence of (for
>> example) 7*1, 7*2 and 7*3.
> The problem is not that there is no possible true interpretation of 1=2; 
> the problem is that in standard logic a falsity allows you to prove 
> anything.
Yes, so we can prove anything. This simply begs the question what the
anything is. All sentences we derive from the inconsistency would mean the
same (even though we don't know what exactly it is).
We could just write "1=1" instead and we would have expressed the same, but
in a way that is easier to make sense of.

This is not problematic, it only makes the proofs in the inconsisten system
worthless (at least in a formal context were we assume classical logic).
View this message in context:
Sent from the Everything List mailing list archive at

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at

Reply via email to