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Let's imagine a system that sequentially goes through three configurations. At time t1 the system is in configuration A, at time t2 in configuration B, and at time t3 in configuration C. That is, configurations A and B sequentially appear, exist for some time and disappear. But how is this even possible? How can a configuration exist and then cease to exist? If the configuration ceases to exist, it does not exist, then does this not mean that it did not exist at all? Where is the existence of the configuration left, was this existence? It seems completely unimaginable to me to talk about something that exists and then disappears. Something must either exist or not exist, but not one after the other. If something disappears, ceases to exist, doesn’t that mean that it never existed at all?

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  • What about human beings? Mar 28 at 13:22
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    And why disappear? Things change, transform, move, grow etc Mar 28 at 13:23
  • It based on why system A become system B and then system C. Mar 28 at 13:26
  • Because they didn't exist in the first place! Their "true" state is non-existence :)
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Apr 27 at 23:51

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Existence can very well be simply temporary. There is no reason for existence to be neither eternal nor immutable in order to be called existence.

Western metaphysics has long been obsessed with describing reality as an assembly of static individuals whose dynamic features are either taken to be mere appearances or ontologically secondary and derivative.

Process Philosophy

This attitude of static essentialist metaphysics derives some paradoxes when change and transformation is to be accounted.

Change is so pervasive in our lives that it almost defeats description and analysis. One can think of it in a very general way as alteration. But alteration in a thing raises subtle problems. One of the most perplexing is the problem of the consistency of change: how can one thing have incompatible properties and yet remain the same thing?

Change and Inconsistency

Process philosophy focuses on processes. So this identity during change paradox is not present.

Processes may have a start and termination time, need not be eternal, going on forever (ie they may have a finite "lifetime"). Furthermore, processes may exhibit stable features throughout their lifetime.

Nevertheless one can reason similarly without using processes, instead using usual physical concepts.

See my detailed answer on similar question

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Something must either exist or not exist, but not one after the other. If something disappears, ceases to exist, doesn’t that mean that it never existed at all?

No. The process of disassembly of an object into its component parts is an example. If a chair is disassembled, the chair ceases to exist. It becomes a collection of parts.

Conservation of mass gives proof that the chair existed since those parts can be reassembled to bring the chair back into existence

In physics, the natural radioactive decay of decay of uranium-235 to lead-207 is an example.

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