Gathering perspectives
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02-04-2014, 05:51 PM
RE: Gathering perspectives
Hi morondog! This is a great second step in our mutual understanding.

(02-04-2014 08:12 AM)morondog Wrote:  But this is the problem. I must explain my understanding to you with words... which we don't necessarily agree on the meanings of.
But I do agree with your view.

Despite all the dictionaries in the world, it is unlikely that we will attach exactly the same contextual meanings to every one of the words we use. And that is the reason behind this thread. If I want to understand other people's perspectives, I first need to know how other people use their vocabulary; my vocabulary is useful only in order to understand my view. Sure, it will be an iterative process, two words hardly make a comprehensive list of English terms, but they are good for a start. The more effort we put into describing our views in terms that others can understand, the easier it will be that others can understand our views.

(02-04-2014 08:12 AM)morondog Wrote:  To exist... to have reality independent of myself. To not be a figment of my imagination...
Let me see if I have understood your terms so far (and please correct me if I have not). Would you say that the things that have reality independent of yourself, that are not figments of your imagination, are those that can be found outside your mind? And I don't mean "outside your brain", because you've got plenty of real structures inside your brain (your whole brain is outside your mind, except for when you think about your brain). I'm talking about things one can bump into, not just ideas.

(02-04-2014 08:12 AM)morondog Wrote:  But in that definition I have already used a word which we still need a definition of, "reality"... all I can really do to explain to you my understanding is play with rearranging words and hope that eventually you catch on to what I'm saying... Which is quite likely to happen as we're pretty sharp as a species anyway.
Do I get a hint of optimism in your words? That's the spirit! :-) Don't worry about rearranging words. Information appears from the arrangement of things in space and time, and rearranging words until they make sense can be a helpful exercise in order to clarify ideas; at least, that is how I view it.

I see how, unless you define reality in terms that do not include existence, you will run into circular logic. I don't know your definition of reality, but I think of reality as the set of all things that exist, therefore I cannot provide any help on that side of the endless loop. But I don't think of existence in terms of reality, so I can think of reality in terms of existence and not run into the same logical trouble. I'm not saying you should do the same, I am simply describing why I choose to use those words the way I do.

I really appreciate your thoughts and I invite you to add as much detail as you wish. Have a good one.
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02-04-2014, 05:57 PM
RE: Gathering perspectives
Hello Dom, welcome to the conversation and thanks for your valuable opinion.

(02-04-2014 10:30 AM)Dom Wrote:  Exist is just a general concept and needs to be defined further.
That's a good point. I don't know if it needs to be defined further, but it certainly helps when it is defined further.

(02-04-2014 10:30 AM)Dom Wrote:  I can't perceive a god with my senses, I can't see, smell etc. a god. I also cannot detect any god with my tools. So, on a strict, human reality level, he does not exist.
With all my due respect, isn't that view slightly anthropocentric? Human beings are a tiny proportion of reality; how strict a reality are you describing if you call it human?

There was a time, very long ago, when no living beings existed yet on this planet. Didn't rocks, or lava flows, or whatever, exist before there was anything able to detect them with some kind of sensory tool? The problem I find with the... "perceptionist" view of existence, if you don't mind me calling it that way, is that I don't know how to apply it to situations where no living beings are involved. And the evidence does suggest that there was a time when no living beings existed yet on this planet.

To put it in a different perspective, I don't know if there are other planets on which some form of life has flourished. I find it feasible, because I live on a planet on which many forms of life have flourished, so regardless of how difficult it may be, I know it is possible for life to develop on a planet. But the truth is I don't know; I have never encountered anything suggesting that such other planets exist. However, if there are such planets, can they be said to exist? According to the premise, I'd say yes. If they are somewhere, then they exist. Do we know of such existence? Not at all.

Let us imagine for a second that, tomorrow, some astronomer discovers unequivocal signs of life coming from a tiny spot in the nightsky; some mathematical sequence encoded in a radio signal. From then on, we would know that at least one more planet with some form of life exists, we would have evidence for it. Should we conclude that the planet has suddenly popped into existence, with radio communications and all? Or would it more accurate to say that the planet exists today, before we learn about it, but we just don't know about it?

(02-04-2014 10:30 AM)Dom Wrote:  If s/he does not exist on that level, but I think s/he is there anyway, then I assume or believe s/he is there. Then s/he exists, but only in my imagination.

Of course, anything can exist in the imagination, so that is rather pointless.
I think so too. That's why I choose not to apply the term to abstract notions like ideas. If ideas can exist, then everything exists. Gods, unicorns, smurfs, crab-people...

Thanks again for your time. Take care.
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02-04-2014, 05:58 PM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(01-04-2014 09:14 AM)living thing Wrote:  Hello DLJ, thanks for contributing to this thread with such a good question (at least in my opinion).
Can nothing exist in a place where there used to be something?
...

The location of things is meaningless unless it is specified in relation to something else.
...

OK, so...

Can nothing exist in a location, relative to another location, where there used to be something that existed in that same location that was relative to that other same location?

... or something like that Huh

ps, no need to reply... I was just being glib.

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03-04-2014, 02:03 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
Hello again, DLJ. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough with my answer.

(02-04-2014 05:58 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Can nothing exist in a location, relative to another location, where there used to be something that existed in that same location that was relative to that other same location?

Does nothing occupy a specific volume located at a specific distance in a specific direction from a specific reference point? I would say it doesn't, the lack of any thing does not occupy any specific volume. And if we consider "finding nothing" the same notion as "not finding anything", you can find nothing at most distances in most directions from most things; I don't think it can be said that the entity we might call nothing is located specifically anywhere; thus, in my view, it cannot be said that nothing exists in a location, regardless of whether there has been something there in the past or not.

But I did say that there could be nothing where something once was. Why? Because I don't use the verbs "to exist" and "to be" as synonyms; I use the latter in reference to any kind of information, whereas I generally reserve the former in reference to real information. Although I haven't really explained what I mean by "real information".

However, you seem to have missed the whole point to this thread. I already know how I use terms like "existence" or "reality", what I am interested in learning is how other people use those terms. So would you please care to answer your question from your perspective? I would like to know your view on the subject.

Thanks for your interest, and for any answers that you may provide.
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03-04-2014, 05:02 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(03-04-2014 02:03 AM)living thing Wrote:  ...
So would you please care to answer your question from your perspective? I would like to know your view on the subject.

What was the question again?

To be or not to be?

Better than: To exist or not to exist?

In truth, the question was: To continue to exist or not to continue to exist?

Poetic licence distorts meaning. But that's just semantics.

I, in my path through the universe have evolved from we know not what along a continuum of astrophysics, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, biology and then to chemistry again.

I'm nearing that final stage of existence.

The concept of me will last a little longer than the biology of me.

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03-04-2014, 05:12 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(03-04-2014 05:02 AM)DLJ Wrote:  I, in my path through the universe have evolved from we know not what along a continuum of astrophysics, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, biology and then to chemistry again.

I'm nearing that final stage of existence.

The concept of me will last a little longer than the biology of me.
It will surely do. But I hope we'll get to enjoy your biological existence for a long while.

Thanks for your valuable opinion.
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03-04-2014, 05:48 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
Does God exist?

This question by itself is insufficient. We need to define our terms.

For example, if one were to ask me "have gods ever existed?", I would have to answer, yes. Julius Caesar, Augustus, Hadrian etc were all deified and had temples built in their memory. People prayed to them and offered gifts.

Many people consider movie stars as gods. There are gods of the guitar, drums and all manner of things.

As for supernatural gods existing outside of time and space, how could we know? We exist within time and space.

If a god were to interfere with this planet that god would them be a part of time and space. As such we could reasonably expect to find evidence of this. That we cannot shows no god has done so.

So to believe in something for which no evidence exists is to rely on pure fancy and imagination. To demand others follow suit is unreasonable.

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03-04-2014, 08:40 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(03-04-2014 05:48 AM)Banjo Wrote:  Does God exist?

This question by itself is insufficient. We need to define our terms.
Yeah, that is the point to this thread. I often find people who make assertions about the existence or non-existence of things, and I wonder what they actually mean.

But please don't get me wrong, I haven't asked whether god exists or not. I have asked for the definitions other people give the terms "existence" and "reality".

(03-04-2014 05:48 AM)Banjo Wrote:  For example, if one were to ask me "have gods ever existed?", I would have to answer, yes. Julius Caesar, Augustus, Hadrian etc were all deified and had temples built in their memory. People prayed to them and offered gifts.

Many people consider movie stars as gods. There are gods of the guitar, drums and all manner of things.

As for supernatural gods existing outside of time and space, how could we know? We exist within time and space.

If a god were to interfere with this planet that god would them be a part of time and space. As such we could reasonably expect to find evidence of this. That we cannot shows no god has done so.

So to believe in something for which no evidence exists is to rely on pure fancy and imagination. To demand others follow suit is unreasonable.
And I agree. But you haven't really told me how you define the verb "to exist", despite claiming that we exist in time and space.

Would you mind defining your terms, please? Thanks!
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03-04-2014, 10:11 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(02-04-2014 05:57 PM)living thing Wrote:  Hello Dom, welcome to the conversation and thanks for your valuable opinion.

(02-04-2014 10:30 AM)Dom Wrote:  Exist is just a general concept and needs to be defined further.
That's a good point. I don't know if it needs to be defined further, but it certainly helps when it is defined further.

(02-04-2014 10:30 AM)Dom Wrote:  I can't perceive a god with my senses, I can't see, smell etc. a god. I also cannot detect any god with my tools. So, on a strict, human reality level, he does not exist.
With all my due respect, isn't that view slightly anthropocentric? Human beings are a tiny proportion of reality; how strict a reality are you describing if you call it human?

There was a time, very long ago, when no living beings existed yet on this planet. Didn't rocks, or lava flows, or whatever, exist before there was anything able to detect them with some kind of sensory tool? The problem I find with the... "perceptionist" view of existence, if you don't mind me calling it that way, is that I don't know how to apply it to situations where no living beings are involved. And the evidence does suggest that there was a time when no living beings existed yet on this planet.

To put it in a different perspective, I don't know if there are other planets on which some form of life has flourished. I find it feasible, because I live on a planet on which many forms of life have flourished, so regardless of how difficult it may be, I know it is possible for life to develop on a planet. But the truth is I don't know; I have never encountered anything suggesting that such other planets exist. However, if there are such planets, can they be said to exist? According to the premise, I'd say yes. If they are somewhere, then they exist. Do we know of such existence? Not at all.

Let us imagine for a second that, tomorrow, some astronomer discovers unequivocal signs of life coming from a tiny spot in the nightsky; some mathematical sequence encoded in a radio signal. From then on, we would know that at least one more planet with some form of life exists, we would have evidence for it. Should we conclude that the planet has suddenly popped into existence, with radio communications and all? Or would it more accurate to say that the planet exists today, before we learn about it, but we just don't know about it?

(02-04-2014 10:30 AM)Dom Wrote:  If s/he does not exist on that level, but I think s/he is there anyway, then I assume or believe s/he is there. Then s/he exists, but only in my imagination.

Of course, anything can exist in the imagination, so that is rather pointless.
I think so too. That's why I choose not to apply the term to abstract notions like ideas. If ideas can exist, then everything exists. Gods, unicorns, smurfs, crab-people...

Thanks again for your time. Take care.

Of course it's anthropocentric. I am human, I do not know what exists for my dog or an alien or a fly or whatever. That is precisely why I pointed out it was a human view point.

As far as rocks existing before there was anyone to perceive them - does a tree make a sound when it falls in the woods and there is no one there to hear it?

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03-04-2014, 10:35 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(02-04-2014 05:51 PM)living thing Wrote:  I see how, unless you define reality in terms that do not include existence, you will run into circular logic. I don't know your definition of reality, but I think of reality as the set of all things that exist, therefore I cannot provide any help on that side of the endless loop. But I don't think of existence in terms of reality, so I can think of reality in terms of existence and not run into the same logical trouble. I'm not saying you should do the same, I am simply describing why I choose to use those words the way I do.

I really appreciate your thoughts and I invite you to add as much detail as you wish. Have a good one.

Reality = all things that exist
But now you don't think of existence in terms of reality? Does something that is real exist? By your definition it must surely?

I dunno man. Words (and numbers and other human thought-constructs) are... kinda like an engineer's approach to a problem. We can communicate with them up to a point and they're useful for that reason. But their usefulness sharply decreases if *you* want to know *precisely* what *I* am thinking.

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If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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