103 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

Your reasoning would be sound if you picked any random human who ever lived and checked whether they would be alive today. This chance would indeed be rather low. (Because today's world population is ...
Stephan Kolassa's user avatar
96 votes

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist?

If you shake the box, it rattles. If you measure its weight before you put in the pencil and after, it will have increased by exactly the weight of the pencil. That's how you know the pencil still ...
Michael Borgwardt's user avatar
68 votes

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist?

I’m having a tough time explaining why the pencil ceases to exist once you close the box. Because you're trying to explain something which is wrong physically and wrong philosophically. Your friends ...
Graham's user avatar
  • 2,174
53 votes

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist?

The assumption that the pencil continues to exist - even when the box is closed - is the most simple hypothesis which explains all relevant observations. E.g., the observation that the pencil exists ...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
  • 31.5k
41 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

Shuffle a standard deck of 52 playing cards and look at the arrangement you end up with. Assuming your sorting was completely random the probability of you getting that exact arrangement is about 1 in ...
user33828's user avatar
  • 511
27 votes

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist?

You are assuming that existence is a phenomenon that can undergo sudden state changes. Or in simpler words: That things can cease to exist and came (back) into existence instantly and without ...
Tom's user avatar
  • 2,131
26 votes

An argument that everything exists

You're apparently defining "thing" as "something that exists", which makes the statement "everything exists" a simple tautology and thus not very meaningful.
Barmar's user avatar
  • 1,710
24 votes

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist?

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist? This is a Metaphysical question to which we do not know the correct answer. But here are some philosophical views ...
SmootQ's user avatar
  • 2,409
23 votes

Does Dissociative ego disorder challenge Descartes‘ „cogito-argument“?

"I think, therefore I am" does not imply that the person thinking and being is eternal. It just says that one cannot doubt one's own existence, as and when one thinks about it. If and when ...
Olivier5's user avatar
  • 2,172
19 votes
Accepted

What does "everything" mean?

Just extend the painter analogy. There is a set of things that need a painter, and the painter is excluded from that set. Likewise there is a set of things that need an ultimate creator and the ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 21.4k
15 votes

How does a thought imply there is a thinker in "I think therefore I am"?

The "I" of the Cogito does not stand for Descartes, or for the subject, or for the subject's self. It stands for the thing thinking the Cogito when the subject thinks the Cogito. The ...
Speakpigeon's user avatar
  • 7,500
14 votes

What's the reason to live in this life?

If you want a reason to live, devote yourself to helping people less fortunate than you. To those people, your existence would then be an important, positive part of their lives, which should give ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 21.4k
13 votes

Should X, if there’s no evidence for X, be given a non zero probability?

You mention Bayesians, so I'll reply in that context. The Bayesian framework is (roughly) a way to take a "prior probability" of a statement, multiply it by a factor accounting for new ...
R.M.'s user avatar
  • 1,213
13 votes
Accepted

Looking for a specific joke about arguments for Meinongianism

From what I can tell, you appear to be recalling this discourse: This was a little bit of trouble to find (I tried Googling "joke about meinongianism" and it gave no results directly, but ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
12 votes

Can we know that something exists even if we can't explain or define it?

Gravity is a great example to illustrate that yes, we can be certain a thing exists without having the ability to adequately explain or define it. As with the case of gravity, we can observe it and ...
mkinson's user avatar
  • 495
11 votes

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist?

Simplicity is a criterion for theory or explanation selection. It can clash with other criteria such as explanatory reach. Also there is no agreement on the nature of simplicity. Intuitively, I ...
Geoffrey Thomas's user avatar
  • 35.7k
11 votes

Does Dissociative ego disorder challenge Descartes‘ „cogito-argument“?

It depends on which chapter of the Meditations we are focused on. What’s in the second meditation is merely that one cannot doubt their own existence, since the very doubting necessitates that one ...
Hokon's user avatar
  • 703
11 votes

Can we know that something exists even if we can't explain or define it?

You need at least some definition, but it doesn't have to be exact or detailed. You can't tell me whether "adfgiuadhfg" exists, because you don't know a definition of that word. A child can ...
HolyBlackCat's user avatar
10 votes

Is willful ignorance about one's own mortality escapism?

Actually the whole business of living other than the animalic part, is denying death. So the idealism you are seeking by not denying death is itself a denial of death. [I] The human animal is ...
Themobisback's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

If turtles see everything, and nothing seen can see, does it follow that non-turtles exist?

First, your premises are inconsistent: your second premise implies that turtles do not see other turtles, or themselves, yet, according to the first premise, they see everything. So, taking y=x, we ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.1k
10 votes
Accepted

An argument that everything exists

I recommend distinguishing between object and word (noun): on the one hand, objects exist; they are real. On the other hand, some words refer to objects while other words do not. Hence all objects ...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
  • 31.5k
10 votes

What's the reason to live in this life?

I would suggest talking to a professional counsellor if possible (are you a student? check your school). They will better understand your situation and be able to offer better advice. For some ...
BurnsBA's user avatar
  • 612
10 votes

Nothingness: What philosophical concept relates to how the empty set is a subset of every set?

In mathematics the empty set is defined as the set which has no element. A set A is a subset of a set B, if each element of A is also an element of B. If A is the empty set and B arbitrary, then there ...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
  • 31.5k
9 votes

What are the counterexamples to Kant's argument that existence is not a predicate?

There are no counterexamples to Kant's "argument" because it is not an argument. It is a view of predication under which being/existence is not a "real" predicate discussed in ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.1k
9 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

The first time I recall encountering this argument was in Alan Moore’s Watchmen, where the probability of what you describe is likened to “events with odds so astronomical they’re effectively ...
user137369's user avatar
8 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

The probability of an event X happening, GIVEN THAT IT HAS HAPPENED, is always 100%. I hear thinking like you give used in many flawed arguments. For example, I once got into a conversation with ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 269
8 votes

Can we logically prove that anything exists?

IMO, there are two related but different issues here. We prove statements : in math and logic we prove a theorem from axioms. There is no way of proving a statement "from scratch", i.e. without ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

How to disprove "I'm entitled to my opinion"

Welcome to this SE, Daniel. I think the problem with the argument is what you are trying to prove: how can I disprove that there exists an inherent privilege (an entitlement) to believe whatever ...
Frank Hubeny's user avatar
  • 19.4k
8 votes
Accepted

How to denote the idea of nothingness in formal terms?

There's some recent formal work by Graham Priest on this topic, which can be found in his monograph One. Oxford 2016, p.99ff. Priest works in a non-standard mereology, where parthood is a non-well-...
sequitur's user avatar
  • 1,388

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