• Banno
    15.1k
    Purpose or context choose the domain - therefore purpose and context choose what exists?fdrake

    Yes, I think that's roughly correct.

    That falls in line with the injunction to look at use rather than meaning.

    Do you see a problem with that?
  • fdrake
    4.9k
    Do you see a problem with that?Banno

    I see a problem with the implied claim that people choose what exists, yes!
  • Banno
    15.1k
    I see a problem with the implied claim that people choose what exists, yes!fdrake

    :grin:

    When you put it like that...

    But our thinking doesn't make it so. Things don't appear because we so choose. All that is happening here is the choice of topic.

    So consider the section on simples in Philosophical Investigations, and the argument that what is to count as a simple is what is of use in the context.We choose what we treat as existing and what we don't.

    It's that the world is divided up as we intend it to be.
  • fdrake
    4.9k
    Things don't appear because we so choose.Banno

    But our thinking doesn't make it so. Things don't appear because we so choose. All that is happening here is the choice of topic.Banno

    Which we? Particular speakers or the linguistic activity in which they are embedded?

    Can you spell out the distinction between these two claims:
    ( 1 ) People determine what exists.
    ( 2 ) The linguistic community determines what exists.

    Purpose or context choose the domain - therefore purpose and context choose what exists?fdrake

    Preferably within the confines of the assumption that people determine the linguistic community. If you decide to go down the avenue that the linguistic community's language items (speech acts, utterances, writing...) are created "in contact with" reality ("always-already" interpretation), how does that contact place constraints on what exists? What stops Santa Claus existing if people talk that way?
  • Shawn
    12k
    The difficulty I see with epistemic logic is that belief is a relation between a statement and an individual. But it's not just Tolkien who believes Frodo walked into Mordor. Hence my argument that statements about Frodo continue despite the demise of the author.Banno

    Surely, Tolkien didn't believe in Frodo the same way we believe the cup is still on the counter after we walk out of the room, no?

    I mean by this that Tolkien most probably imagined Frodo, and then all the rest followed on with his quest to destroy the ring of power.

    Anyhow, epistemic logic seemingly has no issues with free logic as long as fiction logic is at play? This is my only point, and don't see how you can argue otherwise? However, if you insist, there's quite a lot of logicizing that took place during the venture of Frodo with Sam.

    I'm just confused in general with these topics about Pegasus or Santa denoting nothing of epistemic import, that we rely so heavily on epistemology; yet, it goes unacknowledged when solving these linguistic dilemmas.
  • Banno
    15.1k
    Which we?fdrake

    Roughly, the linguistic community are those participating in the language game under consideration.

    So breakfast need not include Paris.
  • Banno
    15.1k
    Surely, Tolkien didn't believe in Frodo the same way we believe the cup is still on the counter after we walk out of the room, no?Shawn

    Of course not, and so far as I can see this is outside of the considerations of free logic. Whatever your point is concerning epistemic logic, it remains opaque to me.
  • fdrake
    4.9k
    So breakfast need not include Paris.Banno

    What stops Santa Claus existing if people talk that way?fdrake

    Quite happy with "Santa Claus exists in Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer", seems a stretch to go from that to "Santa Claus exists", no? Former has a context, latter doesn't*. If that's the only sense of exist which matters, context decides what exists.

    It's been a while since you brought out the Snark. Maybe you were conjuring them into existence. :grin:

    *Edit: Well, I imagine it must have a context, but it's fuzzy and broad. If I'm thinking about whether Santa really exists as a kid, I'm thinking toward that context. And we all know what context it is. Just hard to spell it out.
  • Banno
    15.1k
    It's been a while since you brought out the Snark. Maybe you were conjuring them into existence. :grin:fdrake

    Far too risky, for obvious reasons. But take care, since this is just the place for a Snark... We don't want you softly and suddenly vanishing away—
  • bongo fury
    1.2k
    In {eggs, bacon}

    Paris = London = porridge

    use and mention, as everbongo fury
  • Banno
    15.1k
    What was used, what mentioned?

    Porridge is porridge, but not "porridge", to be sure, but how would this be relevant?
  • jorndoe
    1.6k
    Strictly speaking, the proper expression for existential quantification in mathematics is:

    p = ∃x∈S φx

    So, x is bound to set S.

    (G) Gollum is more famous than Gödel.Free Logic » 5.4 Logics of Fiction

    Neat example. The statement is perfectly parsable and easy enough to understand, but not quite logical. I guess Anselmian ontology relies on such logic, just optimize/maximize x by a well-chosen φ, and even fictions come to life, "therefore Gollum exists".
  • Banno
    15.1k
    "therefore Gollum exists".jorndoe

    Quite fun, isn't it?

    But see Inexpressibility of Existence Conditions. It seems we can't conclude that Gollum exists.
  • bongo fury
    1.2k
    What was used, what mentioned?Banno

    In

    In {eggs, bacon}

    Paris = London = porridge
    bongo fury

    "Paris", "London" and "porridge" were used, in order to mention*, in this case, nothing.

    The relevance is

    obvious baloney such as

    the domain of non-existents.
    — Snakes Alive
    bongo fury

    There's only one nothing, if any.

    * Edit if it helps @Banno, or anyone: to mention something is to refer to it. To use a word to mention something is to use the word to refer to the thing.
  • Banno
    15.1k
    "Paris", "London" and "porridge" were used, in order to mention, in this case, nothing.bongo fury

    I don't follow that. It's use, not mention. As for use in order to mention... I've no idea what your point might be.
  • Sam26
    1.9k
    existence is not treated as a predicate in logic. That is, there is no simple way to parse. "Xtrix exists".Olivier5

    I think it's correct to say that existence is not a predicate or a property to be ascribed to individuals such as God, unicorns, Abraham Lincoln, or any other individual (fictional or not). When we say that X exists, we're saying something about the concept, i.e., either the concept has an instance in reality or it doesn't. This would seem to be the case in order to make sense of the statement, "Hobbits do not exist." In other words, for a claim to have meaning it must be about something, but since Hobbits don't exist, what could the statement be about? Simply put, it's about the concept, Hobbits. Thus, existence is not something individuals possess, but is rather, a way of expressing something about concepts.
  • Banno
    15.1k
    Simply put, it's about the concept, Hobbits.Sam26

    This bothers me. Not you, but others, will quickly decide that the concept "hobbit" is some sort of mental creature, and so exists in minds, and conclude that their concept of hobbit is different to your concept of hobbit, that concepts-of-hobbits are private, and all the nonsense that ensues.

    But hobbits are part of a shared game, the rules of which, although set by Tolkien, are subject to modification; Hobbits are a communal exercise.
  • john27
    89
    But hobbits are part of a shared game, the rules of which, although set by Tolkien, are subject to modification; Hobbits are a communal exercise.Banno

    I find it hard to deny the privatization of individualistic, thought generated imagery.
  • Banno
    15.1k
    Communal meaning generally similar privations of the concept, amalgamated in the general physical and mental outline of the hobbit.john27

    Needs an edit.
  • john27
    89


    My bad. One second.
  • Banno
    15.1k
    I find it hard to deny the privatization of individualistic, thought generated imagery.john27

    Sure. You can play chess by yourself, but it is in essence a game for two players.

    Hobbits are for telling other folk stories.
  • john27
    89


    I agree. I don't particularly find the definition of concepts as individual things any bit useful either; I guess I just wouldn't know how to deny it.

    In a practical sense, you're pretty correct.
  • Sam26
    1.9k
    But hobbits are part of a shared game, the rules of which, although set by Tolkien, are subject to modification; Hobbits are a communal exercise.Banno

    Well, people so all sorts of strange things, maybe hobbits are running around in people's minds. :wink:
  • Olivier5
    3.6k
    This would seem to be the case in order to make sense of the statement, "Hobbits do not exist." In other words, for a claim to have meaning it must be about something, but since Hobbits don't exist, what could the statement be about? Simply put, it's about the concept, Hobbits. Thus, existence is not something individuals possess, but is rather, a way of expressing something about concepts.Sam26

    I guess you're right: it's all about concepts. Hobbits do not exist in our present reality, if by "Hobbit" you mean:

    a member of an imaginary race similar to humans, of small size and with hairy feet, in stories by J. R. R. Tolkien.

    Note that this definition (from Oxford Languages) of the concept is explicit about the imaginary nature of the beast, and its inventor.

    If on the other hand you mean figuratively something like "a very small adult man or woman", they do exist. If you mean instead "another species similar to modern man, but smaller", they did exist way back: various Australopithecus sp., and closer to us Homo floresiensis ("Flores Man"), actually nicknamed "the Hobbit" among paleontologists. We don't really know if he had hairy feet but the odds look good enough to me.
  • Banno
    15.1k
    Yep. Kripke would say that Homo Floresiensis was not a hobbit, because the chain linking our use of "hobbit" to it's original use leads specifically to the imaginary race. But we might better think of this as a new use.
  • Olivier5
    3.6k
    Why, the reference is evidently to Tolkien, made humorously by paleontologists, who are all geeks, and all geeks love Tolkien. This said as a geek myself. :nerd: I confess that I never heard of Kriple but to me, calling H. floresiensis "the Hobbit" is just a figurative use of a word to mean something else than its original meaning (but related somehow), a time-honored practice.
  • Banno
    15.1k
    Yep. figurative. Not literal.
  • Olivier5
    3.6k
    Exactly. A figurative use is born every second, but the literal meaning is usually one.
  • TheMadFool
    13.7k
    Also as mentioned previously, that something exists cannot be the conclusion of an argument in free logic. Free Logic does not permit the expression of existence conditions.

    So here we have the best attempt to formalise existence as a predicate for individuals. And it cannot be used to infer that some particular individual exists.

    In particular, the logic shows that such arguments rely on question-begging.

    Of the arguments of this type, two are of particular interest:

    Any necessary being exists (argument for God)
    I think therefore I am (Descartes)

    Hence, another change of title for this thread.
    Banno

    From the title of the thread: Whatever thinks exists.

    An excerpt from a book, to be precise a thought the fictional character Smith entertains:

    "This looks like a lovely spot for a family picnic," thought Smith.

    I think, therefore I am — René Descartes

    Smith thinks, therefore Smith is (exists).

    :chin:
  • Banno
    15.1k
    To be sure, the point in Free Logic is that arguments of the form I think, therefore I exist" cannot be parsed.
    That is and argument that concludes that some individual - such as the "I" in Descartes, or God in the argument from necessity - when set out in free logic finds itself presuposing what it seeks to prove.

    Consider, for example, the obviously valid inference:
    I think.
    Whatever thinks exists.
    ∴ I exist.
    Its natural formalization in free logic is Ti, U(x)(Tx⊃E!x). But this form is invalid. To obtain the conclusion, we must first deduce Ti⊃E!i by specification from the second premise and then use modus ponens with the first. But since the logic is free, specification requires the question-begging premise E!x.

    Think of free logic as an attempt to make explicit the logical structure of such existential arguments by making explicit the first order existential predicate E!a - "a exists", where a is a proper name; so an example would be "MadFool Exists".

    And what this explication found is that it cannot deduce that MadFool exists. All it can do is presuppose it, by assuming that MadFool is a part of the domain of E!x.

    Put anther way, in trying to show the validity of "I think therefore I exist" it instead shows that it is circular, that "I think" already supposes that "I exist".

    Descartes' argument is valid, but circular.

    Now consider this in relation to your question in the "being" forum:
    It's as if Being is tied up with the structure of and ideas in lingua itself. We can't talk about the former without going into the intricacies (those pertinent) of the other.TheMadFool

    The existence of things to talk about is supposed by language.

    Of course, it's not just language that does this, but anything we do - hammering a nail supposes both hammer and nail; asking a question supposes someone to ask; and so on.
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