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Thing: an idea, action, feeling, or fact that someone thinks, does, says, or talks about, or that happens

If I’m sad (feeling), and I’m crying (action), can I call a feeling and an action “two things”?

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  • Why would you think there is a problem with calling the feeling and the action "two things"? Aug 23, 2021 at 16:34

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Your definition of "thing" is wack.

Defining a "thing" has long been a problem in philosophy. The Ship of Theseus is the classic thought experiment that gets our brains going in the right way.

In addition, it depends on context. If you're trying to set "thing" for a philosophical argument, in the way you have, you'd probably be torn apart by anybody with a vague appreciation of epistemology.

In a casual conversation, it depends what you're trying to say.

For example, if you're trying to talk about "things that are happening", then yes, you crying and you being sad are two disparate, discrete things. While one may be causal of the other, it doesn't merge them into a singular "thing".

If you're trying to talk about "things that are bothering you", then it makes more sense to treat "crying" and "being sad" as a single entity, because separating the two doesn't give us much information; it's assumed due to the topic ("things that are bothering me") that the two are related, and one is not, for example, crying tears of joy while sad.

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We don't say "It could be anything" for nothing. The notion of thing is fundamental to the way we think about reality and as such cannot be defined. All that dictionaries really do is provide examples of the way the word "thing" is used. Conclusion: a thing could really be anything. Something is a thing as soon as you can talk about it meaningfully and there appears to be no limit to what things can be except our own limited imagination and our own limited power of abstraction.

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