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How and in what manner is an object defined as "existing"? What principles are followed to deem some object as tangible or real, and not imaginative? Please answer.

closed as too broad by Swami Vishwananda, virmaior, Conifold, Geoffrey Thomas, Eliran Sep 19 '18 at 4:44

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Hi, welcome to Philosophy SE. Please visit our Help Center to see what questions we answer and how to ask. Broad questions such as yours are not suitable for our format. The response is an entire philosophical subject, and learning about it is best started by reading articles in online encyclopedias rather than asking here, e.g. SEP's Existence. We take more pointed questions that usually come up after reading such sources. – Conifold Sep 2 '18 at 23:37
  • The etymology of 'exist' is 'stand out'. Thus what stands out from a background we deem to exist. The background is another matter and in metaphysics this definition of 'exist' leads to intractable problems. Still it is what most people use. . . – PeterJ Sep 3 '18 at 15:22
  • See Nonexistent Objects and see Alexius Meinong. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Sep 4 '18 at 9:15
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Technically speaking, all objects are imaginative, because our mind constructs objects from a complex reality in order to aid cognition.

Think about a fist. Is it an object? Many people would say so, because it can punch and break things. But what happens to a fist when you open it? The object you thought was so real suddenly isn’t there - it morphed into something else.

This is the nature of all reality - everything is in constant flux, and things we perceive as physical objects are temporary arrangements of matter, arbitrarily named and categorized by our mind so we don’t get lost in complexity.

So to answer your question - all objects are indeed imaginative and as long as you can think of them, they exist. Whether they also exist on the physical observable reality is a question of scientific measurements of weight, volume, mass and / or other properties, but we’re entering the realm of physics here.

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    I like your answer. You could strengthen this answer by providing a reference or two to someone who holds the same view and perhaps quote that reference to confirm that it is a reference worth looking at. That would give the reader also a place to go for more information. – Frank Hubeny Sep 2 '18 at 14:33
  • I dislike this answer because it doesn't address what "real" means. You call eveything imaginative but people use the word real so what is the difference. Also I don't understand your fist example because I don't see any inconsistency with something "existing" and being able to transmute to something else. – Cell Sep 2 '18 at 15:06

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