I know this has been discussed before, but I have read Sam Harris' book Free Will and Michael Shermer's book The Believing Brain, and I must say that I agree with both authors. Studies show that our brains make a decision on an unconscious level three tenths of a second and sometimes more before we even consciously know we're going to act. To take a short quote from Shermer's book: "The neural activity that precedes the intention to act is inaccessible to our conscious mind, so we experience a sense of free will. But it is an illusion, caused by the fact that we cannot identify the cause of the awareness of our intention to act".

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"Another syntactically defective sentence. Please explain what you mean."

How about:

I never said anything about "existence being a predicate in the negative".

If it's still syntactically defective then so is:

"Kant settled the question of whether existence can be a predicate in the negative a long time ago."

This isn't difficult as to what I'm referring to, which is your statement that refers to nothing I've stated or inferred. Stop being overtly and unnecessarily pedantic.

You have misread my sentence. The phrase in the negative modifies settled the question, not existence as a predicate.

If existence is a predicate, a genuine property of objects, then there must exist objects in which it is lacking, and that does not make sense.

You have misread my sentence. The phrase in the negative modifies settled the question, not existence as a predicate.

Ah, okay then (though I think commas may be needed) ;-)

If existence is a predicate, a genuine property of objects, then there must exist objects in which it is lacking, and that does not make sense.

Why must there exist objects in which a property is lacking for there to exist objects in which a property exists?  In other words, if all objects were round, why must there exist objects that are not round? What does one have to do with the other? To me that seems a non-sequitur. 

Predication is a means of describing or classifying objects of thought. To be of any descriptive use at all a predicate must distinguish, that is, be true of some objects under discussion and not true of others. A predicate which was true of everything under consideration could only be used in a tautology.

In a discussion devoted exclusively to dogs, the predicate is a dog would not be of much use.

To be of any descriptive use at all a predicate must distinguish, that is, be true of some objects under discussion and not true of others.

I don't see why it needs to be "not true of others". This doesn't seem to follow.

A predicate which was true of everything under consideration could only be used in a tautology.

I think what exists exists is tautological. It isn't tautological or even a reasonable axiom that what does not exist exists. In fact such goes against non-contradiction. 

In a discussion devoted exclusively to dogs, the predicate is a dog would not be of much use.

I have no qualm with that assessment. ;-)

Also keep in mind that I said some people even consider existence a property. To be honest I'm not sure if property appropriate (some say yes, others no), but it certainly isn't the object itself, but rather an extended understanding of the object.

Okay, then give an example of a predicate which is true of everything.

The only possible candidate I can think of is identical with itself.  For any individual A we can always say with utmost confidence that it is identical with itself.

Is identical with itself a genuine predicate then? Can it be used to identify, to classify, to distinguish one individual from another? No. Predication is used to attribute properties to an individual or to assign an individual to a class. When we assert that A = A, we have done nothing to describe A.

(There is another more formal reason for excluding identity from the list of predicates. Customarily an individual has been defined in classical logic as a term which cannot serve as a predicate, but only as a subject. In other words an individual is not an attribute.)

For this reason it is customary to make distinctions in the use of the verb to be: 1) to assert existence; 2) to predicate; and 3) to express identity.

Okay, then give an example of a predicate which is true of everything.

It does not follow from not being able to give an example of a predicate that is true of everything, that something must be that the predicate is not true of.

Regardless, If "existence" is a predicate, then it follows it's true of every "thing" and would be an example in itself.

Also, we can question many things that may:

Is everything composed of matter? Particles? Can it be said that all wholes are composed of parts? Does everything have motion? Does everything travel under or at the speed of light? Is everything relative to other objects. Does time slow down equally for all objects that have a higher velocity. Do all objects have gravity (bend space/time)? Did all objects stem from the big bang? Are all molecules made of atoms? Etc.

The only possible candidate I can think of is identical with itself.  For any individual A we can always say with utmost confidence that it is identical with itself.

Identity is tautological. We can say, however, that all objects are identical with itself. 

For this reason it is customary to make distinctions in the use of the verb to be: 1) to assert existence; 2) to predicate; and 3) to express identity.

Again, it doesn't follow that what is being predicated doesn't exist.It's a mis-categorization  - as one arguably falls under the umbrella of the other (semantics at play here).

It does not follow from not being able to give an example of a predicate that is true of everything, that something must be that the predicate is not true of.

It is the conventional and traditional mainstream philosophical use of the word predicate, which follows a long history going back to Aristotle's Categories.

Regardless, If "existence" is a predicate, then it follows it's true of every "thing" and would be an example in itself.

That merely displaces the problem from the questionable use of existence as a predicate to your "use" of the word thing. In the end, you would merely be asserting that anything which exists does exist.

Let me try to clarify the problem by introducing some new terms, but I will do it in a post outside these marginal restrictions, which have become annoying. Look at the bottom of the next page for a separate post.

It is the conventional and traditional mainstream philosophical use of the word predicate, which follows a long history going back to Aristotle's Categories.

I'd need you to cite this as, far as I'm aware, there is nothing showing that a predicate depends on it's non-being for "other objects"

That merely displaces the problem from the questionable use of existence as a predicate to your "use" of the word thing. In the end, you would merely be asserting that anything which exists does exist.

I'd be asserting that, if existence is a property, there is no no object that contains the property of non-existence (nor need there be logically). Regardless, as I said, under your conception... for an object to have gravity (curve space/time) there needs to exist objects that do not. You don't explain why this is the case (yet).

Let me try to clarify the problem by introducing some new terms, but I will do it in a post outside these marginal restrictions, which have become annoying. Look at the bottom of the next page for a separate post.

Sounds good, I'll keep an eye out.

 It addresses how energy (that exists) relates to mass (that exists)...and it's verified based by a posteriori knowledge.

The relation between energy and mass does not "exist". All knowledge and ideas might be a posteriori--after all, you can't dream of flying castles without first holding the conception of what flying is and what castles are, both of which require the experience of it first. But that does not make "flying castles" a posteriori in itself. In other words, the imagining of a flying castle does not require the observation of flying castles. Likewise, E=MC^2 does not require observations of actual energy or mass.

I never said anything about "must", but rather that it addresses what "exists".

Any claim about what exists is a claim about what must exist. There is no difference.

And yes, this is everything in physics (otherwise it's not physics - physics doesn't make claims about non-existence or non-physicalness).

There are plenty of concepts under physics which are non-physical, such as momentum, speed, gravity indeterminism, etc.

The claim "brains exist" is a claim on existence (and a correct claim at that). There doesn't need to be one object called "brains".

We (you) need to distinguish between different conceptions in similar grammar. "Brains exist" or "There is a chair somewhere" are different types of claims than "This is a chair". Likewise, when someone says "Numbers exist" or "Feelings exist" or "Logic exists", it is a different conception of being than "Molecules exist". These claims are not just separated by truthfulness--they are different in conception.

But we aren't talking about what exists, but rather what is addressing existence (e.g. if X is true, X exists) . If it happens that we are a brain in a jar, the sun might not exist...but the claim "the sun exists" is a claim on existence none-the-less. If how we perceive reality is true, then the sun exists.

This is non-sequitur. Some concept that addresses existence does not itself necessarily exist. That X is true, where X is any concept, is not synonymous to X exists. The truthfulness of X is irrelevant.

Also, you seem to think only "things" that are objects exist. This isn't the case. Configurations exist, properties exist, states exist, qualities exist, relationships exist, elements exist, quantities exist, motion exists, gravity exists, the universe exists, behavior exists, and so on. Our words and symbols (e.g. in physics) are used to describe all of these different things that exist...not just "objects".

It might surprise you that a single word often has different meanings. There are different conceptions of being in your list that you are unaware of--a fundamental semantic error.

And all of these things are physical manifestations.

Define "physical manifestation".

If every event in the universe has a cause, determinism "exists".

Non-sequitur again. This isn't even an argument.

Our very scientific method is based on this understanding. These aren't claims that transcend materialism or physicalism.

Science is not in the business of proving or disproving existence, unlike your transcendentalist claims.

The relation between energy and mass does not "exist".

So then there is no relation between energy and mass. If the relationship between energy and mass does not exist, it follows that there is no relation between energy and mass. Congrats, you just made physics void.

Likewise, E=MC^2 does not require observations of actual energy or mass.

Actually it does.

Any claim about what exists is a claim about what must exist. There is no difference.

No, epistemology must precede ontology. Must implies certainty. There is no absolute certainty of any claim. We can assess the likelihood of something "existing" given certain tautologies, axioms, and logical standards only. That doesn't mean they "must" exist.

There are plenty of concepts under physics which are non-physical, such as momentum, speed, gravity indeterminism, etc.

Those are all physical. Why you think any of these things are "non-physical" I have no idea.

We (you) need to distinguish between different conceptions in similar grammar. "Brains exist" or "There is a chair somewhere" are different types of claims than "This is a chair". Likewise, when someone says "Numbers exist" or "Feelings exist" or "Logic exists", it is a different conception of being than "Molecules exist". These claims are not just separated by truthfulness--they are different in conception.

I agree they are not the same thing. The qualia of "feelings" come about through a physical process playing through time for example. Does binding of atoms exist? If not, neither do molecules. 

This is non-sequitur. Some concept that addresses existence does not itself necessarily exist. That X is true, where X is any concept, is not synonymous to X exists. The truthfulness of X is irrelevant.

If X is an existence claim, and X is true, then yes, X exists. I'm not addressing non-existence claims here.

It might surprise you that a single word often has different meanings. There are different conceptions of being in your list that you are unaware of--a fundamental semantic error.

I'm saying that you are using an incorrect semantic, not me. Ontology is a huge field in philosophy and certainly doesn't just address "objects".

Define "physical manifestation".

A product of matter and energy playing through space/time.

Non-sequitur again. This isn't even an argument.

Considering that determinism means all events in the universe have a cause, it's not a non-sequitur. Unless, of course, we define "exist" in your limited way that no philosopher does. In that case it's a semantic problem and still not a non-sequitur.

Science is not in the business of proving or disproving existence, unlike your transcendentalist claims.

Umm...yes...it is. You can call my claims "transcendental" but that is simply a statement, not an argument backed up by anything. Per your assessment, all of physics is "transcendental" (e.g. special relativity, general relativity, quantum mechanics, momentum, speed, direction, fusion, gravity, time, space, etc.). It appears that only objects "exist" in your framework (and specifically only ones you can "see"), so everything else must be "non-existent". :-)

Peace. 

So then there is no relation between energy and mass. If the relationship between energy and mass does not exist, it follows that there is no relation between energy and mass. Congrats, you just made physics void.

No, it doesn't follow. You are making semantic fallacies left and right as if they mean nothing. Doesn't bode well for someone who is writing books. Haha. While it can be considered a fact that there is a relation between mass and energy, it is not a physical existence; it must be derived from the various behaviors of things which can be physically sensed to exist. The problem here is due to the difficulty in human language in differentiating an object noun from a property, causing people to confuse property nouns as "substances" (or whatever else you choose to call them) that "exist", rather than just descriptors of the object. When it is said that E=MC^2 exists as a relation, what is meant is that the various objects are related by their behaviors. Such that thickness also relates to objects, but does not exist in itself.

>>Likewise, E=MC^2 does not require observations of actual energy or mass.

Actually it does.

No, you misunderstand. A student who applies the formula E=MC^2 requires no observation of actual energy or mass, neither does the description of a fictional tree, despite that "trees" exist. While a person likely needs to observe discrete objects to understand the concept of numbers, he does not require corresponding numbers to do arithmetic. Geometry required empirical observation to demonstrate its effectiveness, although we can formally prove its concepts without even drawing the shapes themselves. We call these ideas a priori not because we accept rationalism, but because once derived, they could be used without any kind of empirical observation. By refusing to take note of this distinction, you will be forced to accept fiction as a posteriori, such that it is impossible to write descriptively about a Death Star without ever experiencing a star.

>>Any claim about what exists is a claim about what must exist. There is no difference.

    No, epistemology must precede ontology. Must implies certainty. There is no absolute certainty of any claim. We can assess the likelihood of something "existing" given certain tautologies, axioms, and logical standards only. That doesn't mean they "must" exist.

There is a difference between the assessment of a claim and the assessment of reality, which is a claim. A claim that asserts that X is true asserts that X must be true. Not X might be true, or that X is not likely to be true. When you make a claim that everything in physics physically exists, you are saying that they must exist. The truthfulness of your claim is irrelevant.

>>There are plenty of concepts under physics which are non-physical, such as momentum, speed, gravity indeterminism, etc.

    Those are all physical. Why you think any of these things are "non-physical" I have no idea.

Because they cannot be empirically observed as things. We note that a physical object moves over a certain distance over time, and we come up with a conceptual representation called "velocity". We do not actually observe a thing called velocity. If you are congruent with your belief that epistemology precedes ontology, then you should have no trouble admitting that much of what you think "exists" in reality actually exist in your mind.

Does binding of atoms exist? If not, neither do molecules.

No, the binding of atoms does not exist, but bound atoms do exist. The relation, binding, is not a thing, despite being a participle noun.

>>That X is true, where X is any concept, is not synonymous to X exists. The truthfulness of X is irrelevant.

If X is an existence claim, and X is true, then yes, X exists.

Why, of course, that is a tautology. But "Determinism is true" is not an existence claim in this sense. If the claim was "Determinism exists", it would simply be false. :-)

Ontology is a huge field in philosophy and certainly doesn't just address "objects".

Certainly, ontology doesn't only address objects. Philosophers shouldn't conflate different meanings of "existence" under such a huge field.

Considering that determinism means all events in the universe have a cause, it's not a non-sequitur. Unless, of course, we define "exist" in your limited way that no philosopher does. In that case it's a semantic problem and still not a non-sequitur.

If we do not distinguish between the various forms of "to be", then we are not really philosophers.

>>Science is not in the business of proving or disproving existence, unlike your transcendentalist claims.

 Umm...yes...it is. You can call my claims "transcendental" but that is simply a statement, not an argument backed up by anything. Per your assessment, all of physics is "transcendental" (e.g. special relativity, general relativity, quantum mechanics, momentum, speed, direction, fusion, gravity, time, space, etc.). It appears that only objects "exist" in your framework (and specifically only ones you can "see"), so everything else must be "non-existent". :-)

Per my assessment, there are physical things, and then there are relations which are conceived by the mind. Science doesn't purport to answer whether these things ontologically "exist", as per whatever metaphysical definition you come up with. If there is any existence under empiricism, it is the object; it is incoherent to assert that anything besides the object exists in physical space.

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