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Let's try this a completely different way

EchoTestEchoTest Posts: 480 Senior Member

Truth is I've got lots of things constantly running through my mind which leads to lots of questions. This is not a criticism just a statement of reality that there's really not enough people here to inspire to do enough that would make a difference so I just tend to vent and try to force things on people. But I'll try to just pop in every now and then, bring up something, every once in a while, that we can have a discussion about, or a conversation about, either one....apparently that's what some of you want at least me to do.

So here goes....apparently from what I've always believed, and over the last 20 years I've constantly read its also the opinion or conclusion of many scientists and experts, is that the world have become over populated. So much so that in order to perpetually sustain a population of just its current size it would take several planet earths to provide the resources necessary and process the wastes that we create. Many scientists believe that unless there is some cataclysmic crash or 7.5 billion people change their head movies sooner or later that cataclysmic crash or the end will be inescapably forced on all species on this planet. It only gets worse from there as they see a completely inescapable path of constantly increasing and doubling of the number of people on this rock.

Do you agree? If you do then what if anything do you think can be done about it? If you agree and don't think that anything can be done about it, then I'm assuming you think the end is inevitable? If the answers are all yes up to this point, then what are we morally or ethically responsible to do now? What are you going to do now? Party like its the end of the world and everything is fine (not meaning that in a critical way, just as in like...What can you do anyway?)



  • MikeAMikeA Senior Member Posts: 6,220 Senior Member

    Or do we even exist.
    You can’t get a question more basic than: what is existence? Presumably existence isn’t a thing (an individual), so it must be a property of things. Surely indeed it must be a property of everything!

    The tulip is red

    But we can’t experience a thing’s existence (over and above the properties it has). Could we be being misled by the subject-predicate form of the existential statement ‘the tulip exists’ into thinking it is logically identical to ‘the tulip is red’?

    But surely we are right to think that ‘the tulip exists’ is true if the tulip exists, and false otherwise – i.e. that the sentence does have subject-predicate form?

    If we do think this we get these problems:

    the predicate ‘exists’ is redundant – that the words ‘the tulip’ have meaning tell us that there is (i.e. there exists) a referent.
    if a name gets meaning because of its referent then it seems nonsensical to say, of the referent of a name, that it doesn’t exist.

    But ‘Santa Claus doesn’t exist’ is surely true? If so it must have meaning.

    There are two ways to escape our problem:

    non-existing things do exist;
    existential statements are not ordinary subject-predicate statements
    1. Non-Existent Things

    Alexius Meinong

    Why, we might ask, can’t we allow two different senses of ‘exists’? So I exist, but Santa Claus merely is. Alexius Meinong (1853-1920) made such a claim, and it has also been made by contemporary philosophers such as Zalta.

    This deals well with fictional objects, and it allows us to make sense of attributing truth-values to sentences such as ‘Santa Claus has a white beard’. It also explains how we can fear or want something that doesn’t exist (mental states are about something, even if their putative object does not, in fact, exist) and it allows us to talk of future and past beings.

    So Meinong’s theory has explanatory force, and this is undoubtedly a reason for, as Meinong put it, overcoming our ‘prejudice for the actual’.

    Problems for Non-Existent Things

    Betrand Russell

    Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) insisted we should maintain a ‘robust sense of reality’. Meinong, Russell points out, insists that (a) every set of properties has being even if it doesn’t exist, and (b) existence is a property. Meinong is therefore committed to the existence of an object with the properties of being an existing golden mountain.

    But no such mountain exists. Saying it has being does not save Meinong. If existence is a property, and there is an object for every set of properties, then he is committed not just to the being of a golden mountain but to its existence.

    Willard van Orman Quine

    Quine also rejected Meinong’s theory because non-existent objects have no determinate conditions of identity. Is the (imaginary) fat man in the doorway, asked Quine, the same as the (imaginary) tall man in the doorway? How can this man/these men have any sort of being if there is no determinate answer to this question?

    Non-existent objects are also ‘gappy’. Does Sherlock Holme have three buttons on his overcoat? Given Conan-Doyle says nothing about this, the question has no answer.

    William of Ockham

    Finally William of Ockham (1285-1347) says that it is a virtue in a theory not to multiply entities unnecessarily: the ontological abundance of Meinong’s theory must be avoided.

    But is there a theory simpler than Meinong’s that explains everything that his theory can explain?

    1. Russell’s Theory of Descriptions

    Russell denies that existence is a property of individuals. Instead it is a property of other properties. Russell thereby assimilates singular existential statements to general existential statements which attribute existence only to properties.

    Do dragons exist?

    Consider ‘cats exist’. This does not say, redundantly, of an individual cat, that it exists. Rather it says, of the property being a cat, that it is instantiated. ‘Dragons don’t exist’ does not say, paradoxically, of an individual dragon that it doesn’t exist. It states that the property of being a dragon is not instantiated.

    But how can we assimilate singular existential statements to general ones?

    Russell says we should understand ordinary proper names as disguised definite descriptions. Definite descriptions are claims to the effect that there is something that uniquely satisfies some set of properties.

    On Russell’s story ‘Marianne’ has meaning not by referring to me, but in stating that there is something that uniquely satisfies the description ‘the DoS in Philosophy at OUDCE’. This denies that ‘Marianne exists’ is a subject-predicate statement and thereby avoids the problems listed above. Russell’s theory solves the problems generated by Meinong’s theory, but rejects non-existent objects.

    Problems for Russell’s Theory of Descriptions

    There are two problems for Russell’s theory:

    The Semantic Problem: if a sincere use of ‘Marianne’ means ‘the one and only Dos in philosophy at OUDCE’, then I cannot inform you that Marianne is the DoS in P at OUDCE.
    The Modal Problem: if ‘Marianne’ means ‘the one and only the DoS in P at OUDCE’, then how can it be true that I might not have got my job or that I might not have been called Marianne?

    The price of accepting Russell’s Theory of Descriptions is a theory of ordinary proper names that makes some information redundant, and that prohibits us from tracking individuals across possible worlds.

    So is existence a property of individuals? Or is it a property of properties? What do you think?
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  • EchoTestEchoTest Posts: 480 Senior Member

    I'm encouraged that as soon as I adopted methods of behavior suggested to me by others that I so quickly received a respectful and serious response. Thank you!

    As to your question, I've never much contemplated the opinions of any white philosophers. Being mixed race I accepted primitive theories originating from peoples of the south pacific and southern pacific rim instead, until I was introduced to psychoactive drugs in the early 70s by my wild one eyed Appalachian half uncle on my mom's side, and shortly after that started exploring other theories and opinions such as Don Juan, the Yaqui sorcerer and mentor to Carlos Castenada. So my mind was set long before I took 15 semesters of philosophy classes some 30 years later just for giggles and because my employer at the time was more than happy to pay for any courses I took as long as it meant I'd stick around. They were limited in how much they could offer as salary by DOD regulations so they only way they could hope to compete with private institutions and individuals was load you up on benefits and perks! Its okay....only one class out of five had anything to do with the theories and opinions of the most popular and well known philosophers on existence anyway. I got a 4.0....I've always got 4.0s....but...I wasn't really interested in what they had to say anyway.

    Simply put...I'm afraid the theories and opinions I like the most don't allow me to answer the question as it was posed! Sorry!

  • EchoTestEchoTest Posts: 480 Senior Member

    So...back to the original discussion...or is it a conversation...just like metaphor and simile I always get those two confused....I digress...

    Do you believe the world is overpopulated, that's its the most critical threat to the species and other species that exists, if so what if anything can we do about it, or is the end inescapably inevitable and what does that mean towards how we should behave now?

    In case anybody is wondering, I am being 100% sincere and trying to have a discu...conver...whatever it is on something that is very important to me.

  • StevenSteven Senior Member Posts: 5,072 Senior Member

    Short, sweet, and to the point gets an answer....

    The last time you were here, we were going to reach peak oil (or maybe already surpassed it). Yet the world is flooded with the stuff.

    The market is amoral, but through the pricing mechanism it solves problems just like you're talking about.

    No reason to get on that rocket to the new Mars colony yet.

  • EchoTestEchoTest Posts: 480 Senior Member

    How is the market going to fix (no tone of voice, a very sincere question) all the ills of the world that are due to, the size of the population currently riding it? Global warming; drought; polar ice cap and glacier melt; losses of vast amounts of land (including cities, towns, ports, wetlands, crop lands, etc ad infinitum) due to sea level rise; desalinization of the oceans; choking out of the oceans due to sewage dumping, agricultural runoff, dumping of plastics and other trash in the ocean creating several swirling eddies of life smothering trash; crumbling infrastructure nobody can afford to fix; depletion of groundwater it took eons to store; massive species extinction within this century as humans move into their space, convert and/or pollute their environment, or simply eat them when they're all there is left for the extra billions coming to eat; increasing conflict and war as everybody competes for the resources that are remaining and feels the ever constricting closeness and external influences and impacts on their daily lives? Pricing mechanism? Hey...I have a double BS in BA and BT and an MBA and I haven't used it in the ten years since...but I don't think I'd get it even then! Unless maybe...you're saying...those with the most money will bid up the price of everything to the point the majority of the global population can't afford to buy anything and will simply expire? But doesn't that assume that the structures of society where things are bought will remain around long enough to bring this about and we wouldn't have devolved down to more primitive existence of warrior clans roaming the earth grabbing up and hoarding everything they can....and really....who's going to survive the longest anyway....the people who know how to farm and hunt and can or the billions with all the money from jobs and industries that no longer matter who don't know how to do anything or acquire anything they can't buy......or will somebody just say 'You know what...if I'm going...everybody is going!' and flips the switches over inside the nuclear football long before that?

    Wait a minute....is it all the same thing? Isn't the eventual outcome the same thing due to the same cause no matter which way we go?

    I digress...I am sincerely interested in hearing how the pricing mechanism is going to solve everything!

  • StevenSteven Senior Member Posts: 5,072 Senior Member

    And then you effed it up by coming back with a freaking unreadable wall of text with enough ellipses to stun a Monkey.

  • EchoTestEchoTest Posts: 480 Senior Member

    Remember your rule from before...skip to the end!

    I am sincerely interested in hearing how the pricing mechanism is going to solve everything!

  • StevenSteven Senior Member Posts: 5,072 Senior Member

    Mark it tl;dr (too long didn't read) next time.

    The pricing mechanism works because people are greedy. As Ivan Boesky said, "Greed is good." (Oliver Stone stole that line from a commencement speech given by Boesky at my alma mater).

    As the price of oil rose, shale production became possible. Planes were retrofitted or were built with new designs. Hybrid vehicle sales took off.

    Fixes to potential crises don't occur out of the goodness of peoples' hearts. They occur because the potential crisis leads to profit opportunities as prices rise.

    If the cost of waste disposal goes up, because we have no place to put it, somebody will find a way to deal with it - profitably.

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