Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I think Parmenides’ argument can be disproved because it leads to a contradiction:

1. If A can be spoken or thought of, then either A possibly exists or A exists.
2. If either A exists or A possibly exists, then A exists.
3. Therefore, if A is spoken or thought of, then A exists.
4. If A exists, then A is real.
4. I am thinking about Mickey Mouse.
5. Mickey Mouse isn’t real.
6. If I am thinking about Mickey Mouse then Mickey Mouse is a member of the set of possible A’s.
6. Therefore, Mickey Mouse both exists and doesn’t exist.

Is this argument valid? Furthermore, would Parmenides have agreed with the premises? If Parmenides wouldn't have agreed with the premises, then I think it would have to be because of some misunderstanding of what is it was that Parmenides meant by the idea that we have an inability to speak of or think about things that don't exist. Obviously, people can lie, in which case they would be saying something that isn't true, and necessarily doesn't exist. Also, if someone can think about or talk about the falsehood of Parmenides ideas, then that's also a contradiction. If Parmenides' ideas were true, it would be impossible to discuss their falsehood, since their falsehood wouldn't exist! I think, therefore, that it would be important to discuss what is meant by "existing" - that is, what is the definition of "existence." I think that only if a universal definition of "existence" can be reached can Parmenides ideas be viewed as either true or false (because, as I believe I have shown above, certain definitions of existence lead to contradictions, while others, presumably, do not.)


Blogger Chris Tillman said...

It's probably possible to argue that if A exist, A doesn't have to be real.

However, even if we assume that that statement is valid and true, Mickey Mouse most certainly IS real.

In order for the argument you presented to lead to a contradiction, Mickey mouse must not be real. It is true that he is not a real mouse, but he is real in the sense that his character exists in reality.

You are not thinking about a literal mouse that doesn't exist, you are thinking about a cartoon character that exists, and has been drawn and reproduced many times. If Mickey didn't exist, you couldn't think about him, we couldn't discuss him, and we most certainly would not all know what you are referring to when you say "Mickey Mouse"

(originally posted by Emblue; moved by admin)

12:26 PM  

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