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you would still have to account for our experience of change 

It seems very hard to maintain that the law of identity holds in a physico-temporal context. Which was precisely the debate between Heraclitus and Parmenides. The question of the 'one-and-the-many', being somewhat resolved by Aristotle by making a distinction between two different worlds, the world of essence, and the world of existence. Existing entities are always changing, that is, they are coming out of essence (ex- istence), and becoming something else. But just as it becomes something else, it is already becoming something else again. Although I use the word 'essential', I am not an essentialist in the common use of the term. By it I mean that if p is p, then p satisfies the definition for p. But of course, p may become q, and in that case it would not satisfy the definition of p, but of q. Even so, this is looseness of language on my part. 'It' either refers to p, or q. If 'it' refers to both p and q, then p and q are equivalent, but this is not the case. Rather than to say that p becomes q, it is better to say that p is replaced by q. In the same way, it is very hard for me to maintain that this thread changed, yet remained the same thread. But then, how can things begin to exist, if all things necessarily exist?

Modality such as necessary existence, I hold to be ontological attributes of entities. If an entity began to exist, then it necessarily began to exist, which is also to say that it necessarily exists. The difficulty is when we try to make meaning of a state of affairs in which an object named or described, does not exist. I think it is a misuse of language to speak of possible worlds not containing an object referred to. It is like asking what there was before the big bang. A proposition containing the word 'before' is only meaningful given that it speaks about something constrained by time -- likewise, in order to speak of an entity not existing or existing, or possibly not existing is only meaningful if the onject named or described is 'there' to refer to. Where it gets interesting, atleast for me, is how we can speak of history and the future.

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  I can think of a purple dragon, but the term "purple dragon" has no instantiation on Earth, the universe, or anywhere else in non-mental reality (as far as we know).  In this case, the term has meaning, but no instantiation. 

I disagree. If by 'purple dragon' you are referring to an idea, then it does in fact have instantiation. You could only refer to a physical purple dragon, if there were a physical purple dragon to refer to. Even if you were to explicitly call it a 'physical purple dragon' it would be only an idea of a physical purple dragon, which is equivalent to the idea of a purple dragon.

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Matter did not always exist; the Big Bang confirms this.  And I see no reason why we can't say that there are possible worlds where the only existing things are spirits and abstract entities. 

I would not refer to a pre-bigbang universe as a universe in which matter does not exist, but rather a universe with no relations to matter. As for abstract entities existing, I am sort of an idealist as far as epstemology goes, so I have no qualms with you there. I apologise for my concluding remark on my previous post, and I didn't mean any offense to you by it. If someone could once and for all refute Quine's arguments against synthetic necessary propositions, then I would come a long way in affirming the validity of some sort of OA.

kind regards


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