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Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@Hahiha @Doombreed
Of our Knowledge of the Existence of a God
(John Locke, Concerning Human Understanding: Chapter X, pages 349 – 351)
(Articles I – VI, VIII)

I. We are capable of knowing certainly that there is a God. Though God has given us no innate ideas of Himself,; though He has stamped no original characters on our minds, wherein we may read His being; yet having furnished us with those faculties our minds are endowed with, He hath not left Himself without witness: since we have sense, perception, and reason, and cannot want a clear proof of Him, as long as we carry ourselves about us...

II. For man knows that he himself exists. I think it is beyond question, that man has a clear idea of his own being; he knows certainly that he exists, and that he is something. He that can doubt whether he be anything or no, I speak not to; no more than I would argue with pure nothing, or endeavor to convince a nonentity that it were something. If any one pretends to be so skeptical as to deny his own existence, (for really to doubt of it is manifestly impossible,) let him for me enjoy his beloved happiness of being nothing, until hunger or some other pain convince him of the contrary. This, then, I think I may take for a truth, which every one’s certain knowledge assures him of, beyond the liberty of doubting, viz. That he is something that actually exists. [Note well the meaning of “actually,” that is, something that is actual vs. that which does not exist.]

III. He knows also that nothing cannot produce a being; therefore something must have existed from eternity. In the next place, man knows, by an intuitive certainty, that bare nothing can no more produce any real being, than it can be equal to two right angles. If a man knows not that nonentity, or the absence of all being, cannot be equal to two right angles, it is impossible he should know any demonstration in Euclid. If, therefore, we know there is some real being, and that nonentity cannot produce any real being, it is an evident demonstration, that from eternity there has been something; since what was not from eternity had a beginning; and what had a beginning must be produced by something else.

IV. And that eternal Being must be most powerful. Next, it is evident, that what had its being and beginning from another, must also have all that which is in and belongs to its being from another too. All the powers it has must be owing to and received from the same source. This eternal source, then, of all being must also be the source and origin of all power; and so this eternal Being must also be the most powerful.

V. And most knowing. Again, a man finds in himself perception and knowledge. We have then got one step further; and we are certain now that there is not only some being, but some knowing, intelligent being in the world. There was a time, then, where was no knowing being and when knowledge began to be; or else there has been also a knowing being from eternity.

If it be said, there was a time when no being had any knowledge, when that eternal being was void of understanding; I reply, that then it was impossible there should ever have been any knowledge: it being as impossible that things wholly void of knowledge, and operating blindly, and without any perception, should produce a knowing being, as it is impossible that a triangle should make itself three angles bigger than two right ones. For it is as repugnant to the idea of senseless matter, that it should put into itself sense, perception, and knowledge, as it is repugnant to the idea of a triangle, that it should put into itself greater angles than two right ones.

VI. And therefore God. Thus, from the consideration of ourselves, and what we infallibly find in our own constitutions, our reason leads us to the knowledge of this certain and evident truth, – That there is an eternal, most powerful, and most knowing Being; which whether any one will please to call God, it matters not. The thing is evident; and from this idea duly considered, will easily be deduced all those other attributes, which we ought to ascribe to this eternal Being.

If, nevertheless, any one should be found so senselessly arrogant, as to suppose man alone knowing and wise, but yet the product of mere ignorance and chance; and that all the rest of the universe acted only by that blind haphazard; I shall leave him that very rational and emphatical rebuke of Tully (1. ii. De Leg.), to be considered at his leisure: “What can be more sillily arrogant and mis-becoming, than for a man to think that he has a mind and understanding in him, but yet in all the universe beside there is no such thing? Or that those things, which with the utmost stretch of his reason he can scarce comprehend, should be moved and managed without any reason at all?” Quid est enim verius, quam neminem esse oportere tam stulte arrogantem, ut in se mentem et rationem putet inesse, in caelo mundoque non putet? Aut ea quae vic summa ingenii [ingenī] ratione comprehendat, nulla ratione moveri puter?

From what has been said, it is plain to me we have a more certain knowledge of the existence of a God, than of anything our senses have not immediately discovered to us. Nay, I presume I may say, that we more certainly know that there is a God, than that there is anything else without us. When I say we know, I mean there is such a knowledge within our reach which we cannot miss, if we will but apply our minds to that…

VIII. Recapitulation – something from eternity. There is no truth more evident than that something must be from eternity. I never yet heard of any one so unreasonable, or that could suppose so manifest a contradiction, as a time wherein there was perfectly nothing. This being of all absurdities the greatest, to imagine that pure nothing, the perfect negation and absence of all beings [Id est, the complete absence of actualities], should ever produce any real existence. [Id est, actualities have potential, where there is no actualities there is no potential, nor can there ever be.]

Of God – His Existence
(Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics, Part I)

DEFINITIONS

1. BY CAUSE of itself, I understand that, [a Being] whose essence involves existence; or that, [a Being] whose nature cannot be conceived unless existing.

2. That thing is called FINITE in its own kind (in suo genere) which can be limited by another thing of the same nature. For example, a body is called finite, because we [may] always conceive another which is greater. So a thought is limited by another thought; but a body is not limited by a thought, not a thought by a body.

3. BY SUBSTANCE, I understand that which is in itself and is conceived through itself; in other words, that, the conception of which does not need the conception of another thing from which it must be formed.

4. BY ATTRIBUTE, I understand that which the intellect perceives of substance, as if constituting its essence [constituting the essence of a substance, not the intellect].

5. BY MODE, I understand the affections of substance, or that which is in another thing through which also it is conceived.

6. BY GOD, I understand Being absolutely infinite, that is to say, [a] substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence.

Explanation. I say absolutely infinite but not infinite in its own kind (in suo genere); for of whatever is infinite only in its own kind (in suo genere), we can deny infinite attributes; but to the essence of that which is absolutely infinite pertains whatever expresses essence and involves no negation.

7. That thing is called FREE which exists from the necessity of its own nature alone, and is determined to action by itself alone. That thing, on the other hand, is called necessary, or rather compelled, which by another is determined to existence and action in a fixed and prescribed manner.

8. BY ETERNITY, I understand existence itself, so far as it is conceived necessarily to follow from the definition alone of the eternal thing.

Explanation. For such existence, like the essence of the thing, is conceived as an eternal truth. It cannot therefore be explained by duration or time, even if the duration be conceived without beginning or end.

AXIOMS

1. Everything which is, is either in itself or in another.

2. That which cannot be conceived through another must be conceived through itself.

3. From a given determinate cause an effect necessarily follows; and, on the other hand, if no determinate cause be given, it is impossible that an effect can follow.

4. The knowledge (cognitio) of an effect depends upon and involves the knowledge of the cause.

5. Those things which have nothing mutually in common with one another cannot through one another be mutually understood, that is to say, the conception of the other. [A blind man cannot understand the sense of sight merely through the sense of hearing; nor can a deaf man understand the sense of hearing merely through the sense of sight.]

6. A true idea must agree with that of which it is the idea (*** suo ideato).

7. The essence of that thing which can be conceived as not existing does not involve existence.

PROPOSITIONS

PROPOSITION 1. Substance is by its nature prior to its affections.
DEMONSTRATION. This is evident from Definitions 3 and 5. [That is to say, nothing can have no affections.]

PROPOSITION 2. Two substances having different attributes have nothing in common with one another.
DEMONSTRATION. This is also evident from Definition 3. For each substance must be in itself and must be conceived through itself, that is to say, the conception of one does not involve the conception of the other. [That is to say, if two substances – which are wholly independent of each other – have different attributes, it is self evident that they share nothing in common – the opposite of proper – with each other.] Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 3. If two things have nothing in common with one another, one cannot be the cause of the other.
DEMONSTRATION. If they have nothing mutually common with one another, they cannot (Axiom 5) through one another be mutually understood, and therefore (Axiom 4) one cannot be the cause of the other. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 4.Two or more distinct things are distinguished from one another, either by the difference of the attributes of the substances, or by the difference of their affections.
DEMONSTRATION. Everything which is, is either in itself or in another (Axiom 1), that is to say (Definitions 3 & 5), outside the intellect there is nothing but substances and their affections. There is nothing therefore outside the intellect by which a number of things can be distinguished one from another, but substances or (which is the same thing by Definition 4) their attributes and their affections. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 5. In nature there cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute.
DEMONSTRATION. If there were two or more distinct substances, they must be distinguished one from the other by difference of attributes or difference of affections (Proposition 4). If they are distinguished only by difference of attributes, it will be granted that there is but one substance of the same attribute. But if they are distinguished by difference of affections, since substance is prior by nature to its affections (Proposition 1), the affections therefore being placed on one side, and the substance being considered in itself, or, in other words, (Definition 3 and Axiom 6), truly considered, it cannot be conceived as distinguished from another substance, that is to say (Proposition 4), there cannot be two or more substances, but only one possessing the same nature or attribute. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 6.One substance cannot be produced by another substance.
DEMONSTRATION. There cannot in nature be two substances of the same attribute (Proposition 5), that is to say (Proposition 2), two which have anything in common with one another. And therefore (Proposition 3) one [substance] cannot be the cause of the other, that is to say, one [substance] cannot be produced by the other [substance]. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 7. It pertains to the nature of substance to exist.
DEMONSTRATION. There is nothing by which substance can be produced (Proposition 6). It will therefore be the cause of itself, that is to say (Definition 1), its essence necessarily involves existence, or in other words it pertains to its nature to exist. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 8. Every substance is necessarily infinite.
DEMONSTRATION. Substance which has only one attribute cannot exist except as one substance (Proposition 6), and to the nature of this one substance it pertains to exist (Proposition 7). It must therefore from its nature exist as finite or infinite. But it cannot exist as finite substance, for (Definition 2) it must (if finite) be limited by another substance of the same nature, which also must necessarily exist (Proposition 7), and therefore would be two substances of the same attribute, which is absurd (Proposition 5). It exists therefore as infinite substance. Q.E.D.

Scholium 1. Since finiteness is in truth partly negation, and infinitude absolute affirmation of existence of some kind, it follows from Proposition 7 alone that all substance must be infinite.

Scholium 2. I fully expect that those who judge things confusedly, and who have not been accustomed to cognise things through their first causes, will find it difficult to comprehend the demonstration of the 7th Proposition, since they do not distinguish between the modifications of substances and substances themselves, and are ignorant of the manner in which things are produced.
Hence it comes to pass that they erroneously ascribe to substances a beginning like that which they see belongs to natural things; for those who are ignorant of the true causes of things confound every thing, and without any mental repugnance represent trees speaking like men, or imagine that men are made out of stones as well as begotten from seed, and that all forms can be changed one into the other. So also those who confound human nature with the divine, readily attribute to God human affects, especially so long as they are ignorant of the manner in which affects are produced in the mind. But if men would attend to the nature of substance, they could not entertain a single doubt of the truth of Proposition 7; indeed this proposition would be considered by all to be axiomatic, and reckoned among common notions.
For by “substance” would be understood that which is in itself and is conceived through itself, or, in other words, that, the knowledge of which does not need the knowledge of another thing.
But by “modifications” would be understood those things which are in another thing – those things, the conception of which is formed from the conception of the thing in which they are. Hence we can have true ideas of non-existent modifications, since although they may not actually exist outside the intellect, their essence nevertheless is so comprehended in something else, that they may be conceived through it.
But the truth of substances is not outside the intellect unless in the substances themselves, because they are conceived through themselves.
If any one, therefore, were to say that he possessed a clear and distinct, that is to say, a true idea of substance, and that he nevertheless doubted whether such a substance exists, he would forsooth be in the same position as if he were to say that he had a true idea and nevertheless doubted whether or not it was false (as is evident to any one who pays a little attention).
Similarly, if any one were to affirm that substance is created, he would affirm at the same time that a false idea had become true, and this is a greater absurdity than can be conceived.
It is therefore necessary to admit that, the existence of substance, like its essence, is an eternal truth.
Hence a demonstration (which I have thought worth while to append) by a different method is possible, showing that there are not to substances possessing the same nature.
But in order to prove this methodically it is to be noted: 1. That the true definition of any one thing neither involves nor expresses anything except the nature of the thing defined. From which it follows, 2. That a definition does not involve or express any certain number of individuals, since it expresses nothing but the nature of the thing defined. For example, the definition of a triangle expresses nothing but the simple nature of a triangle, and not any certain number of triangles. 3. It is to be observed that of every existing thing there is some certain cause by reason of which it exists. 4. Finally, it is to be observed that this cause, by reason of which a thing exists, must either be contained in the nature itself and definition of the existing thing (simply because it pertains to the nature of the thing to exist), or it must exist outside the thing.
This being granted, it follows that if a certain number of individuals exist in nature, there must necessarily be a cause why those individuals, and neither more nor fewer, exist.
If, for example, there are twenty men in existence (whom, for the sake of greater clearness, I suppose existing at the same time, and that no others existed before them), it will not be sufficient, in order that we may give a reason why twenty men exist, to give a cause for human nature generally; but it will be necessary, in addition, to give a reason why neither more nor fewer than twenty exist, since, as we have already observed, under the third head, there must necessarily be a cause why each exists.
But this cause (as we have shown under the second and third heads) cannot be contained in human nature itself, since the true definition of a man does not involve the number twenty, and therefore (by the fourth head) the cause why these twenty men exist, and consequently the cause of why each exists, must necessarily lie outside each one; and therefore we must conclude generally that whenever it is possible for several individuals of the same nature to exist, there must necessarily be an external cause for their existence.
Since now it pertains to the nature of substance to exist (as we have shown in this Scholium), its definition must involve necessary existence, and consequently from its definition alone its existence must be concluded.
But from its definition (as we have already shown under the second and third heads) the existence of more substances than one cannot be deduced.
It follows, therefore, from this definition necessarily that there cannot be two substances possessing the same nature.

PROPOSITION 9. The more reality or being a thing possesses, the more attributes belong to it.
DEMONSTRATION. This is evident from Definition 4. [For as attributes constitute a thing’s essence to the intellect, the more “essence” a thing has, a corresponding number of attributes is perceived by the intellect.]

PROPOSITION 10. Each attribute of a substance must be conceived through itself.
DEMONSTRATION. For an attribute is that which the intellect perceives of substance, as if constituting its essence (Definition 4), and therefore (Definition 3) it must be conceived through itself. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 11. God, or substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists.
DEMONSTRATION. If this be denied, conceive, if it is possible that God does not exist. Then it follows (Axiom 7) that His essence does not involve existence. But this (Proposition 7) is absurd. Therefore God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another proof. For the existence or non-existence of everything there must be a reason or cause. For example, if a triangle exists, there must be a reason or cause why it exists; and if it does not exist, there must be a reason or cause which hinders its existence or which negates it.
But this reason or cause must either be contained in the nature of the thing or lie outside it. For example, the nature of the thing itself shows the reason why a square circle does not exist, the reason being that a square circle involves a contradiction. And the reason, on the other hand, why substance involves existence (see Proposition 7).
But the reason why a circle or triangle exists or does not exist is not drawn from their nature, but from the order of corporeal nature generally; for from that it must follow, either that a triangle necessarily exists, or that is impossible for it to exist. But this is self evident.
Therefore it follows that if there be no cause nor reason which hinders a thing from existing, it exists necessarily. If, therefore, there be no reason nor cause which hinders God from existence, or which negates His existence, we must conclude absolutely that He exists.
But if there be such a reason or cause, it must be either be in the nature itself of God or must lie outside it, that is to say, in another substance of another nature. For if the reason lay in a substance of the same nature, the existence of God would by this very fact admitted.
But substance possessing another nature could have nothing in common with God (Proposition 2), and therefore could not give Him existence nor negate it.
Since, therefore, the reason or cause which could negate the divine existence cannot be outside the divine nature, it will necessarily, supposing that the divine nature does not exist, be in His Nature itself, which would therefore involve a contradiction.
But to affirm this of the Being absolutely infinite and consummately perfect is absurd. Therefore neither in God nor outside God is there any cause or reason which can negate His existence, and therefore God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another proof. Inability to exist is impotence, and, on the other hand, ability to exist is power, as is self-evident. If, therefore, there is nothing which necessarily exists excepting things finite, it follows that things finite are more powerful than the absolutely infinite Being, and this (as is self evident) is absurd; therefore either nothing exists or Being absolutely infinite also necessarily exists.
But we ourselves exist, either in ourselves or in something else which necessarily exists (Axiom 1 & Proposition 7). Therefore the Being absolutely infinite, that is to say (Definition 6), God, necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Scholium. In this last demonstration I wished to prove the existence of God a posteriori, in order that the demonstration be the more easily understood, and not because the existence of God does not follow a priori from the same grounds.
For since ability to exist is power, it follows that the more reality belongs to the nature of anything, the greater is the power for existence it derives from itself; and it also follows, therefore, that the Being absolutely infinite, or God, has from Himself an absolutely infinite power of existence, and that He therefore necessarily exists.
Many persons, nevertheless, will perhaps not be able easily to see the force of this demonstration, because they have been accustomed to contemplate those things alone which flow from external causes, and they see also that those things which are quickly produced from these causes, that is to say, which easily exist, easily perish, whilst, on the other hand, they adjudge those things to be more difficult to produce, that is to say, not so easy to bring into existence, to which they conceive more properties pertain.
In order that these prejudices may be removed, I do not need here to show in what respect this saying, “What is quickly made perishes,” is true, nor to inquire whether, looking at the whole of nature, all things are or are not equally easy.
But this only it will be sufficient for me to observe, that I do not speak of things which are produced by external causes, but that I speak of substances alone which (Proposition 6) can be produced by no external cause.
For whatever perfection or reality those things may have which are produced by external causes, whether they consist of many parts or of few, they owe it all to the virtue of an external cause alone and not from their own.
On the other hand, whatever perfection substance has is due to no external cause.
Therefore its existence must follow from its nature alone, and is therefore nothing else than its essence.
Perfection consequently does not prevent the existence of a thing, but establishes it; imperfection, on the other hand, prevents existence, and so of no existence can we be more sure than of the existence of the Being absolutely infinite or perfect, that is to say, God.
For since His essence shuts out all imperfection and involves absolute perfection, for this very reason all cause of doubt concerning His existence is taken away, and the highest certainty concerning it is given, – a truth which I trust will be evident to any one who bestows only moderate attention.

  • 180 Replies
lozerfac3
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lozerfac3
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Farmer

I think at this point, what you need to do is look at the teachings and the knowledge that came after the things you keep repeating.
I think this is important, Boofuss. For example, we have laws of physics that explain how the universe works.

Then, I ask, what sustains that existence? What actualizes those things continually that they may continue in that existence?
Look at the first law of thermodynamics. It states that the total energy in a closed system doesn't change because energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed into another form of energy. And because we know that mass and energy are essentially equivalent by E = mc^2, the same law can be applied to mass. So FishPreferred was right when he said,

They're aggregates of things that already exist.
I would say that the universe is self-sustaining. Also, IIRC there was discussion about planets moving and what keeps them moving. I would point you to Newton's First Law of Motion that states that an object will stay at rest or in uniform motion (in a straight line with constant speed) unless an external force acts on it. Planets have a circular path because whatever star they are orbiting is exerting a gravitational force that pulls the planet toward it. It doesn't go directly toward the star because the planet is also trying to go in a straight line tangent to its path. It just so happens that its linear speed and its angular speed cancel out in a way that neither pulls the planet out of the circular path.
lozerfac3
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lozerfac3
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Farmer

Sorry for the double post, but @Ntech said,

Proof:
1. A thing potentially exists the next moment. By existence is meant its actualization.
2. A thing cannot actualize itself.
3. Therefore a Sustaining Principle necessarily exists, which actualizes everything's potential of continued actuality into actuality.
I'm not sure why a thing potentially exists the next moment if it already exists. It will still be in existence because of conservation laws.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Regent

Correct. What does this have to do with our debate?

Umm... everything? :/

You claim that something potentially exists in the future and that it supposedly "moves"/is "moved" between the different states, but as you agreed the future does not exist and neither does potential existence, so there are no two states to "move" between. An object continually exists throughout the present.
FishPreferred
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[...] and the possibility of their continued existence was potence only a second before he washed his hair, therefore something other than himself actualized him. The same for everything he sees after he washes his hair, they did not actualize the potence of their continued existence, yet they still exist, therefore, the Sustaining Principle exists.
No, nor does that relate to your assertion, as I understood it, that existing in another way would mean being a different thing altogether.

When you consider that their future existence is potential, and that a thing can not actualize itself, it is clear that if a thing continues in existence -- to be continuously actualized -- "indefinitely," then it is not because of itself but because of another.
No, it isn't; it's opaque as an ideal black body. Why are you still repeating this same groundless assertion?

Your observation about "reasons" to continue existing deal with motion as in the physical observable to us, [...]
It deals with causation: The reason is the causative agent.

Thus before you say that things sustain in their movement, you must acknowledge that the things are in movement, thus acknowledging the Sustaining Principle, which sustains those things in their continuous movement from potence to actuality each and every moment.
No, as a matter of fact, I don't have to acknowledge entirely superfluous elements of fiction in order to discuss the continuity of motion. Try again.

So you are saying that you already exist tomorrow, [...]
No, because tomorrow isn't consistent with already.

[...] and that your continued existence is not potential but actual?
Yes.

Therefore, if a thing exists (the movement from the potence of its existence to its actual existence), that thing did not cause (move) itself [...]
I still have no objection to that.

[...] therefore something else necessarily did for it to exist."
No, but I can see where you get that idea.

We have not established that you exist before you do; no, in fact, such a thing is illogical.
Correct. Are you mentioning this for any particular reason, or should I assume that you just wanted to flesh out that particular paragraph?

While our continued existence is plausible, as no things sustained (by the Sustaining Principle in existence) in motion may seem to deny us continued motion, our continued existence springs not from ourselves, but from another, for our continued existence is potential.
No, it doesn't "spring from" anything. We aren't talking about some kind of ch'i or caloric that flows through or between disparate objects or substances. Existence is just the state of things that exist.

Therefore, the Sustaining Principle must exist.
Well, that may be a perfectly sensical conclusion by your standards, but what I'm seeing is ...
Any thing that exists must be caused by something other than itself.
A Sustaining Principle causes everything that exists to exist.
Therefore a Sustaining Principle is a thing that exists.

So what is the set of all sets that do not contain themselves?

Observations about the tendencies of the Sustaining Principle do not refute it, nor do they negate the necessary need for its existence.
And nothing you've stated here supports it or demonstrates any such need.

Everything in existence might exist the next moment, and they might not. For their continued existence is not actual as of yet. And as a thing does not cause itself (that is, a thing does not actualize the potential of its own existence), another must cause (actualize) it the next moment, else it would not exist, nor appear to continue in existence.
So you've been saying. Unfortunately, saying it more doesn't make it true.

Proof:
1. A thing potentially exists the next moment. By existence is meant its actualization.
2. A thing cannot actualize itself.
3. Therefore a Sustaining Principle necessarily exists, which actualizes everything's potential of continued actuality into actuality.
See; you did it again. Your Sustaining Principle cannot exist without something to cause it, and that thing can't exist to cause the Sustaining Principle without something else to cause it. You've created a neverending chain of mailmen.
Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@lozerfac3, we are not concerned with physics of things that exist, nor the laws by which they are governed, but the metaphysics of causality and existence.

As to


I'm not sure why a thing potentially exists the next moment if it already exists. It will still be in existence because of conservation laws.

A thing potentially exists the next moment, because the potential of its continued existence (remember, it does not exist yet next second because it is not the next second yet) has not been actualized and remains potential.

@HahiHa


You claim that something potentially exists in the future and that it supposedly "moves"/is "moved" between the different states, but as you agreed the future does not exist and neither does potential existence, so there are no two states to "move" between. An object continually exists throughout the present.

You misunderstand me. Something &quototentially exists in the future" does not mean that it exists in the future already but in a potential way. No, by &quototentially exist" I mean that it could exist in the future.
When something was potential and now exists, it is clear that since it cannot actualize itself it was actualized by another. That actualization I deem "movement" -- the movement from potence to actuality. Nothing more. You move from potence to actuality every moment that you continue to exist, the potence of your continued existence is actualized by the Sustaining Principle.
You are correct in stating that an object "continuously exists" in the present, insofar as an object is actual when it is actualized, yet the next moment it has to be actualized again. Thus, were we to take a measure of time similar to a mathematical point, the "base" unit of time itself, everything actual in that snapshot is actual in that snapshot, but the next moment, they have to be actualized -- the potentials of their continued existence must be actualized.

@FishPreferred


No, nor does that relate to your assertion, as I understood it, that existing in another way would mean being a different thing altogether.

Matter must first be actualized before they can be classified into bodies/beings/things in terms such as size, weight, or any characteristic employed in metaphysics to understand the nature of a thing, and those characteristics common or proper to that thing. The matter that composes that being, whether it is arranged in the same way or different ways according to their properties and modified by the exterior actualities, must be actualized from potence every second.


No, it isn't; it's opaque as an ideal black body. Why are you still repeating this same groundless assertion?

What is not understandable about:
1. (A) cannot actualize itself,
2. (A) potentially exists the next second,
3. (A) potentially doesn't exist the next second,
4. Thus if (A) exists the next second then, following statement 1, another actualized it.


No, as a matter of fact, I don't have to acknowledge entirely superfluous elements of fiction in order to discuss the continuity of motion. Try again.

Firstly,

I: Things in motion from potence to actuality cannot actualize themselves, therefore another actualized them.
And as things potentially continue to exist every moment, as well as potentially not continue to exist, another necessarily continues to Sustain them in their motion by actualizing them each and every moment they exist.
YOU: Things in motion stay in motion.
I: Hold on, yes, "things in motion" -- things moved from potence to actuality -- do tend to stay in motion, but that statement is just an observation about things already in motion, not about the cause of their motion.
Even if you were to hold that once in motion they are always in motion, per observation, it must be remembered that a thing cannot actualize itself, therefore if it stays in motion, another actualized the potential of its continued motion -- for to say that it stays in motion without actualization is presuming that it actualizes itself (which is impossible and illogical) or that its continued existence is no longer potential (which is illogical in that it is said to exist in the future before the future).
But, if by "things in motion stay in motion" you refer to Sir Isaac Newton's statements, some of which were negated by Albert Einstein's proofs of relativity, those said statements/laws have nothing to do with causation nor existence, but with movement apparent to the senses, and have nothing to do with how those things exist.


No, because tomorrow isn't consistent with already.


Yes.

Well, to say that your continued existence is not potential is to say that it is actual, in which case you are saying that you already exist in the future.


No, but I can see where you get that idea.

Explain to me how a thing exists without being actual.


Correct. Are you mentioning this for any particular reason, or should I assume that you just wanted to flesh out that particular paragraph?

By stating that your continued existence (your existence next moment) is not potential, it then must be actual. And therefore that is equate to stating that "I exist tomorrow already," or that "I already exist in 2038."


No, it doesn't "spring from" anything. We aren't talking about some kind of ch'i or caloric that flows through or between disparate objects or substances. Existence is just the state of things that exist.

No. Our existence is actualized. While "Existence is ... the state of things that exist," things do not exist the next moment without being actualized then, because the do not exist yet in the next moment.


Well, that may be a perfectly sensical conclusion by your standards, but what I'm seeing is ...
Any thing that exists must be caused by something other than itself.
A Sustaining Principle causes everything that exists to exist.
Therefore a Sustaining Principle is a thing that exists.

No, quite far from that.

Any thing that is in motion from potence to actuality must be caused by something other than itself.
A Sustaining Principle causes everything that exists to exist.
The Sustaining Principle exists, but does not move from potency to actuality, it is not in motion.

I never claimed that everything that exists was caused by another, but everything in motion -- the world around us.


And nothing you've stated here supports it or demonstrates any such need.

That the Sustaining Principle tends to continuously actualize the same objects until those objects are interfered with by another is an observation about that Principle's tendencies.


See; you did it again. Your Sustaining Principle cannot exist without something to cause it, and that thing can't exist to cause the Sustaining Principle without something else to cause it. You've created a neverending chain of mailmen.

My mistake lies in my lack of clarity. Replace 1) with "A thing in motion..."

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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When something was potential and now exists, it is clear that since it cannot actualize itself it was actualized by another.

The problem is that this would only work if the object itself was entirely static and decoupled from reality, and some sort of force would have to constantly update it. Then yes. However, that's not the case. Whether an object gets to a point where, in the past, it would have been considered potential, is entirely dependent on its interactions with its natural environment, or in other words the normal chain of cause and effect; and not some sort of supernatural force. This "actualization" of which you speak is absolutely not needed.
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Duke

No, by " potentially exist" I mean that it could exist in the future.
What can exist in the future will exist in the future.

When something was potential and now exists, it is clear that since it cannot actualize itself it was actualized by another.
No, it isn't. Also, remember this quotation for the list of excerpts below.

[...] the potence of your continued existence is actualized by the Sustaining Principle.
No, it isn't. Again, I'll want you to refer back to this later on.

[...] yet the next moment it has to be actualized again.
No, it doesn't.

Matter must first be actualized before they can be classified into bodies/beings/things in terms such as size, weight, or any characteristic employed in metaphysics to understand the nature of a thing, and those characteristics common or proper to that thing.
In other words, it must exist. Well, yeah, matter does exist, and while the analogy is obviously fictional, it does concern actual things.

The matter that composes that being, whether it is arranged in the same way or different ways according to their properties and modified by the exterior actualities, must be actualized from potence every second.
No, it doesn't.

What is not understandable about:
1. (A) cannot actualize itself,
2. (A) potentially exists the next second,
3. (A) potentially doesn't exist the next second,
4. Thus if (A) exists the next second then, following statement 1, another actualized it.
Where you pulled 2 and 3 from, because you've never provided any explanation or shred of support for them.

I: Things in motion from potence to actuality cannot actualize themselves, therefore another actualized them.
No, but I can see where you get that idea.

And as things potentially continue to exist every moment, as well as potentially not continue to exist, another necessarily continues to Sustain them in their motion by actualizing them each and every moment they exist.
No, they don't.

YOU: Things in motion stay in motion.
Not even close.

I: Hold on, yes, "things in motion" -- things moved from potence to actuality -- do tend to stay in motion, but that statement is just an observation about things already in motion, not about the cause of their motion.
So?

[...] for to say that it stays in motion without actualization is presuming that it actualizes itself [...]
No, it isn't.

[...] (which is illogical in that it is said to exist in the future before the future).
No, it isn't.

But, if by "things in motion stay in motion" you refer to Sir Isaac Newton's statements, some of which were negated by Albert Einstein's proofs of relativity, [...]
No, they weren't.

[...] in which case you are saying that you already exist in the future.
No, I'm saying that my existence will continue. Where are you even getting this "already" from?

Explain to me how a thing exists without being actual.
What, like your Sustaining Principle? You tell me.

And therefore that is equate to stating that "I exist tomorrow already," or that "I already exist in 2038."
No, it isn't. Again, you're just inserting "already" into the statement in order to force it to contradict.

While "Existence is ... the state of things that exist," things do not exist the next moment without being actualized then, because the do not exist yet in the next moment.
Yeah, because you're now using "yet" as a crutch just as you were using "already". Also keep this quote in mind for the part right after this.

The Sustaining Principle exists, but does not move from potency to actuality, it is not in motion.
Uh, no. This "motion" nonsense has been integral to your definition of existence since you brought it up:
"Thus, an actuality can be the ground for actualities in existence, the reason why it continues to move."
"Being actual is the constant actualization of the potential of actuality. For if a thing possibly doesn't exist, as well as possibly exists, both are potentials actualized constantly."
"For everything to continue to exist -- to be sustained in motion [...]"
"Thus, our continued existence is potential, and for us to continue to exist requires us to be sustained in motion -- that is, sustained in actualization."
"Statement: a thing potentially not exists. Therefore: something actualizes its continued existence."
"Your continued existence, as is mine, is totally potential."
"While a thing's existence is "actual" the moment it is actualized, the next moment its existence is potential, no matter what you will."
"1. A thing potentially exists the next moment. By existence is meant its actualization."
"[...] subsequently calling hereforth what I called "motion" "existence," "continued actualization," "sustained existence.""
Therefore, what you are telling me now is that this thing both does and does not exist.

That the Sustaining Principle tends to continuously actualize the same objects until those objects are interfered with by another is an observation about that Principle's tendencies.
No, it isn't. It's a baseless assumption which provides no support whatsoever.
lozerfac3
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lozerfac3
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@Ntech

A thing potentially exists the next moment, because the potential of its continued existence (remember, it does not exist yet next second because it is not the next second yet) has not been actualized and remains potential.
Thus, were we to take a measure of time similar to a mathematical point, the "base" unit of time itself, everything actual in that snapshot is actual in that snapshot, but the next moment, they have to be actualized -- the potentials of their continued existence must be actualized.
It's hard for me to accept this because you can't prove or disprove it. You are just saying that it's a fact of the universe. At this point, it can be true or false, but no one can know for sure.

Even if it was true, wouldn't it be more logical to say that something that is actual will stay actual? Why is the default of every object of the universe in each "snapshot" of time potential?

Ntech
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Ntech
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@FishPreferred


What can exist in the future will exist in the future.

This is an unsubstantiated statement.


In other words, it must exist. Well, yeah, matter does exist, and while the analogy is obviously fictional, it does concern actual things.

My point is that before you can say that matter tends to stay in motion, you must first account for how matter remains in motion.


Where you pulled 2 and 3 from, because you've never provided any explanation or shred of support for them.

Firstly, continued existence is potential, because it is not actual: we do not exist tomorrow yet. And as it is possible (potential) that we do not exist tomorrow (as if, somebody nuked us), our continued existence is potential, as is our non-existence.
This goes not only for bodies of matter, but each and every atom which composes reality.


No, but I can see where you get that idea.

Then how does something become actual without being actualized?


No, it isn't.

Yes, it is; its continuous existence is potential.


No, it isn't.

Then you are saying that something exists in the future?


No, I'm saying that my existence will continue. Where are you even getting this "already" from?

If your continued existence is not potential, then it is actual. Hence, you claim to be actual in the future -- you claim that you already exist.


Therefore, what you are telling me now is that this thing both does and does not exist.

It does not move from potence to actuality, but is pure agent.

@lozerfac3


It's hard for me to accept this because you can't prove or disprove it.

PROOF:
a) You don't exist the next moment yet.
b) Therefore, your continued existence is potential, as is your non-existence.
c) If you continue to exist the next moment, that potential was actualized; similarly, if you don't exist the next moment, that potential was actualized.
d) As a thing cannot actualize itself, another actualized that potential.


Even if it was true, wouldn't it be more logical to say that something that is actual will stay actual?Even if it was true, wouldn't it be more logical to say that something that is actual will stay actual?

That is logical, yes, but it must be remembered that saying "something that is actual tends to stay actual" is an observation which does not prove or disprove facts about causality, but merely observations on tendencies of things actual.


Why is the default of every object of the universe in each "snapshot" of time potential?

Because it is not actual yet, and it can exist, as well as not exist. Thus, we have potence.

lozerfac3
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lozerfac3
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@Ntech

a) You don't exist the next moment yet.
No. You have to prove this statement first before you can go on. In other words,
This is an unsubstantiated statement.
FishPreferred
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Duke

This is an unsubstantiated statement.
Then it bears a similarity to nigh all of yours.

My point is that before you can say that matter tends to stay in motion, you must first account for how matter remains in motion.
In that case, I'm already ahead of the game:
"A thing in motion can't just suddenly not be in motion, because that would create a change out of nothing." - Me, 9 days ago

How do you account for matter spontaneously ceasing to exist without the involvement of any causative mechanism whatsoever?

we do not exist tomorrow yet.
1 Notice that you once again had to tag a "yet" onto the end in order for that statement to even hold up.
2 Unfortunately, questions of whether things 'have happened presently tomorrow in the future right now' are irrelevant to this discussion. There are things that will happen and there are things that won't happen. We both know that is not the same as saying that they already happened; stop pretending otherwise.

And as it is possible (potential) that we do not exist tomorrow (as if, somebody nuked us), our continued existence is potential, as is our non-existence.
No, it isn't. Whichever will happen is actual. Whichever won't happen isn't. Neither is potential.

Then how does something become actual without being actualized?
What, like your Sustaining Principle? Or does that only somewhat partly exist again?

Yes, it is; its continuous existence is potential.
No. Existence is actual. Things only " potentially exist" in the sense that we haven't found out whether they exist.

Then you are saying that something exists in the future?
No, although I wouldn't be wrong if I did. What I'm saying is that your conclusion is irrational, because when you aren't making magical exceptions for your Sustaining Principle, you attribute existence itself to being actual. Well, if I have a watch that exists today, that watch is actual, and if (for some reason) I said yesterday that my watch will exist tomorrow, then my statement was certainly correct in that my watch exists today.

Note that at no point do I declare my watch to fold time and be in the future while also being in the present; concluding that from "my watch will exist tomorrow" is like equating "I'm going to drive ten miles up the road from here" with "the car I'm in is here, but simultaneously ten miles up the road from its current location". The contradiction only occurs with your insistence on adding modifiers to force the statement into present tense. So could you maybe stop doing that?

If your continued existence is not potential, then it is actual. Hence, you claim to be actual in the future -- you claim that you already exist.
No, you're just inserting "already" into the statement in order to force it to contradict. Weird how this exact situation keeps coming up. It's almost like you haven't learned anything.

It does not move from potence to actuality, but is pure agent.
Okay, then. We're agreed that it does not exist. Good talk.

PROOF:
a) You don't exist the next moment yet.
No, that's just the present tense gimmick again.

b) Therefore, your continued existence is potential, as is your non-existence.
c) If you continue to exist the next moment, that potential was actualized; similarly, if you don't exist the next moment, that potential was actualized.
No, that's just your unsupportable assumption. It has no place in a logical proof.

That is logical, yes, but it must be remembered that saying "something that is actual tends to stay actual" is an observation which does not prove or disprove facts about causality, but merely observations on tendencies of things actual.
Then he's already done more to support his position than you have for yours.

Because it is not actual yet, and it can exist, as well as not exist. Thus, we have potence.
Which is just an elaborate way of saying it is because it is.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
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@Ntech Tried reading up a bit on Aristotle's actuality and potentiality thing, and I am lead to think that you completely misinterpret (intentionally or not) what this is all about.

Aristotle's actuality and potentiality concern the matter and form of something, and motion is the process of the actuality realizing one of its potential. The example given is a piece of wood, which has several potentialities, e.g. being carved into a table or a bowl. He links wood with potentiality (it is potentially a bowl or a table) and the table/bowl with actuality.

I think what he really tried to assess was a thing's identity over time, as in the wood and bowl/table example or even the acorn and oak example.

None of that has anything to do with actualized existence or a sustaining principle. My guess is that this was made up by later philosophers and/or theologians to somehow 'prove' supernatural stuff.

Tagging @Moegreche for obvious reasons. (edit: mostly to correct what I said, tbh )

lozerfac3
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lozerfac3
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@HahiHa If Aristotle's ideas were what he was referring to, then I think you're right that he completely missed the mark about actuality and potentiality.

Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
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@FishPreferred,


In that case, I'm already ahead of the game:
"A thing in motion can't just suddenly not be in motion, because that would create a change out of nothing." - Me, 9 days ago

No. For a thing in motion is in motion when it is sustained in motion by the Sustaining Principle, yet since it does not exist the next second yet, if it doesn't exist in the next second, it is not a change from existence to non-existence, in the sense that its existence was not sustained to that point in time.


1 Notice that you once again had to tag a "yet" onto the end in order for that statement to even hold up.

Well then I shall restate myself. We do not exist tomorrow, nor do we exist the next second.


No, it isn't. Whichever will happen is actual. Whichever won't happen isn't. Neither is potential.

You misunderstand actuality. If what will happen (or even if that which you don't will happens) is actual, that is impossible. For if I exist next year (for instance) why am I still in my present state of existence since next year's me is already actual?


Okay, then. We're agreed that it does not exist. Good talk.

Agency is existence, to be sustained is far from existing.


No, that's just the present tense gimmick again.

You don't exist the next moment.


No, that's just your unsupportable assumption. It has no place in a logical proof.

IF (A) is potential, and (B) causes it to exist, then if (A) exists then (B) must exist.
IF (A) potentially exists, then (A) cannot actualize itself, nor the potential of its continued existence.
THEREFORE IF (A) continues to exist (B) sustains it AND (B) exists.
BECAUSE (A) cannot exist the next moment without (NON-A) actualizing it.

@Doombreed


None of that has anything to do with actualized existence or a sustaining principle. My guess is that this was made up by later philosophers and/or theologians to somehow 'prove' supernatural stuff.

In the context of his argument, yes, nothing of it has to do with causality. However, it must be acknowledged that a thing's continued existence is (in his definition) potential, and that (from his proofs) a thing cannot actualize itself, therefore, if a thing continues to move from potence to actuality another actualized this movement.


@HahiHa If Aristotle's ideas were what he was referring to, then I think you're right that he completely missed the mark about actuality and potentiality.

Firstly, you may think what you may, but mere thought is not knowledge nor is it necessarily true.
Secondly, you're taking their explanations to be the correct definition of what Aristotle said and meant, you do not know Aristotle but merely their Aristotle.
Thirdly, such unsubstantiated statements with lack of evidencing ground-material is unacceptable in a metaphysical debate.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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@Ntech

In the context of his argument, yes, nothing of it has to do with causality. However, it must be acknowledged that a thing's continued existence is (in his definition) potential, and that (from his proofs) a thing cannot actualize itself, therefore, if a thing continues to move from potence to actuality another actualized this movement.

I disagree and repeat that, in my opinion, you misunderstand what those terms mean in Aristotle's argument and therefore faultily apply it to your own arguments. As I said, I believe Aristotle's argument revolves around the identity of a thing, and has nothing to do with the continuity or discontinuity of its existence (I never mentioned causality, why did you bring that up?).

Speaking of "lack of evidencing ground-material", you failed to explain how your arguments relate to Aristotle's terminology. You just said "it must be acknowledged that". No, it mustn't. Not as long as you haven't demonstrated to me that my criticism is unjustified.

edit: to be a bit more precise, you say that "a thing's continued existence is (in his definition) potential". What definition? According to Aristotle, a thing has potential to become something else; like wood is a potential table. This is what I mean by identity; he argues that wood is a potential table, not that wood's existence is potential. I believe this is where you misinterpret him.
Also, you say "from his proofs", but I haven't read anything about Aristotle proving that something cannot actualize itself, at least not in the potentiality/actuality debate. Can you please cite those proofs?
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