Is it possible for something to exist and at the same time not exist?

Also, is it possible for something to neither exist and not exist?

Or am I simply asking the same question, but wording it differently?

  • 1
    If we want to talk about this, maybe we should try to define "existence" first. How would you define "existence"?
    – Frank
    Dec 31, 2022 at 17:12
  • 1
    Did none of the answers in the other three, almost identical questions already existing help you?
    – Philip Klöcking
    Dec 31, 2022 at 18:28
  • If something both does and does not exist, it falls under paraconsistent logic. If something neither does nor does not exist, it falls under paracomplete logic. These logic types can be duals of each other, so your questions are not necessarily the same, nor not necessarily not the same, perhaps. Dec 31, 2022 at 19:27

3 Answers 3


This is solved by Aristotle. Infact atleast in muslim world this is considered his greatest and may be only contribution.

Aristotle found through observation that never, ever a thing is found that both exist and not exist, or has a third possibility, although ofcourse he cannot be the first ever to observe that.

Infact if you look at it closely, it goes against concept of observation itself. Observation is looking for existence or non-existence.

Your theories should depend on your data. Data comes through observation.

Infact mentally insanes are recognized by not believing this. They put theories above data, therefore reject what they see or accept what they don't see. There theories are wrong therefore and thats why they are insane.


The state of being or occurring is referred to as existence, whereas non-existence is the absence of being or occurrence. Something cannot be both existing and non-existing at the same time because the two states are mutually exclusive.

Something cannot exist and not exist at the same time because this would involve a contradiction. Similarly, it is not possible for something to exist but also not exist, as this would be a contradiction.

However, our understanding or perception of something may change over time, such that we consider it to exist at one point but not at another. For example, a person who was once alive may be thought to exist, but after death, they are no longer thought to exist in the same way. Similarly, a concept or idea may be thought to exist in the abstract but have no concrete manifestation or embodiment.

To summarize, existence and non-existence are two distinct and mutually exclusive states, and something cannot be both or neither.


The Principle of Non-Contradiction would deny this; it is impossible for something to be and not be at the same time for it would be a contradiction, for example, you cannot be reading this and not be reading this at the same time or you can't be existing while reading this and existing... The PNC is self-evident to our mind.

Aristotle said that "although it can be denied in words, no one can deny it in thought". It is impossible to hold the same thing to be and not to be. Aristotle said the most plausible interpretation of what he means here is that no one actually and concurrently think a contradictory state of affairs, although obviously people can hold contradictions in habitude or dispositionally.

Some people misunderstand the principle to be a statement that no one can have opposing opinions, but that is not what the principal is trying to convey. Some individuals interpret it to mean that people cannot have opposing opinions on things, such as the quality of a film, however the principal does not mean that. The guiding principle has nothing to do with our arbitrary opinions, experiences, or worldviews. The underlying idea is that reality itself is about things, that is, reality in itself. It is stating that despite the fact that humans frequently contradict one another and themselves, reality is not contradictory. We may infer an essential truth about reality as a whole from the fact that the non-contradiction principle underpins all academic fields of study: Reality is self-consistent. 1


  1. Principle of Non-Contradiction

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