Topic: existence

topics > Group: philosophy

abstraction by name
metaphysics and epistemology
discrete vs. continuous
existence of database entities
necessary truth


The nature of existence is an ancient question of epistemology. Is existence an idea, a consequence of perception, or do objects exist as is? What about abstractions such as concepts, religion, and mathematics? Do they exist in their own right?

If something exists, it acts independently. It may be perceived or described as an object. An extreme example is a Bongard problem. A Bongard problem presents two sets of images and asks what distinguishes one set from the other. Each set has a simple description that makes the distinction obvious, but the description depends on the problem. Existence is tied to our understanding of the world. (cbb 6/06)

Subtopic: existence as idea or form up

Quote: for Plato, beings are ideas, sensible objects are defined via ideas, and sensible objects participate in the ideas that designate them [»aris_322a]
Quote: since things change, they are perceived by mind alone; self perception is the clearest of all [»descR_1641]
Quote: a religious person has no doubt of the significance and loftiness of those supernatural objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation; they exist with the same necessity and matter-of-factness as he himself [»einsA_1941]
Quote: an object is correlative with a proper name, singular term, or definite description [»dummM_1967]
Quote: the ideas of movements and figures are innate in us [»chomN_1965]
Quote: each idea is unique
Quote: science deals with forms, not sensible primary beings nor mathematical entities

Subtopic: existence is not an idea up

Quote: ideas and numbers can not produce a continuum nor explain movement [»aris_322a]
Quote: Plato's forms explain visible things by inventing an equal number of other things [»aris_322a]
Quote: objects are what is sensed and not ideas; things come and go; e.g., combining two bodies and the present time [»aris_322a]

Subtopic: existence as mathematics up

Quote: mathematical entities are eternal, unchanging, and many alike; intermediate between changeable objects and unique ideas [»aris_322a]
Quote: if material things are objects of pure mathematics, they must exist because mathematical objects are clearly perceived [»descR_1641]
Quote: geometric proofs discovered by construction; knowing is an act [»aris_322a]
Quote: mathematical entities have no independent being; they are neither ideas nor sensible primary beings [»aris_322a]
Quote: the most irrational accounts of the soul is that the soul is a number that moves itself [»aris_322b]
Quote: mathematics is independent of the existence of material objects; mathematical existence means free from contradiction [»poinH_1908, OK]

Subtopic: existence as independence up

Quote: every soul is a world apart; contains all predicates past and future; by principle of sufficient reason
Quote: every individual substance contains traces of all of its history and marks of all of its future [»leibGW_1679]
Quote: there are no atoms; in every particle there is a world of innumerable creatures [»leibGW_1679]
Quote: all bodies act on all bodies and are acted on by all
Quote: in nature, individuals must differ; there must be a reason why they are diverse; two perfectly similar eggs or blades of grass, will never be found [»leibGW_1679]
Quote: an individual substance can not be predicated of any other subject [»russB_1937]
Quote: elements can not be analyzed further; e.g., a syllable of speech; if divided, its parts are the same as in water [»aris_322a]

Subtopic: existence as perception up

Quote: corporeal things exist because sensing is real, it happens against my will, and it can't be from a deceptive God [»descR_1641]
Quote: even though we distinctly perceive bodies, they are changeable in all aspects except our perception of their existence; e.g., a piece of wax [»descR_1641]

Subtopic: existence as description up

Quote: metaphysical realism--there is only one way to divide reality into objects; does not work for Bongard problems
Quote: with Bongard problems, context determines the objects; objects do not exist independent of their understanding [»linhA8_2000]
Quote: need multiple, distinct descriptions to solve Bongard problems; a unique description for each element does not work [»linhA8_2000]
Quote: definition arises from stating what we mean; i.e., the statement of which the word is a sign becomes a definition [»aris_322a]

Related Topics up

Topic: abstraction by name (29 items)
Topic: metaphysics and epistemology (99 items)
Topic: discrete vs. continuous (47 items)
Topic: elements (22 items)
Topic: existence of database entities (19 items)
Topic: entities (20 items)
Topic: necessary truth
(25 items)

Updated barberCB 7/05
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