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New word

  1. Jun 29, 2009 #1
    I just had an idea. I'll throw it at you and see if it sticks.

    What do you think of splitting the word to exist and give it a companion maybe "to besist"? Besist would mean mathematical existence, and the existence of rules. So Numbers besist and Newtons Laws besist, but cake, elephants and electrons exist.

    Besistence only applies to the "world" of logic. Platos ideas would thus not be real but simply besisting.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2009 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    Staff: Mentor

    It's kinda like a hex string that's easily readable as English. Nobody except people in the trade know things like that.

    And English just passed it's one millionth word - (tongue in cheeck):
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31200218/ Do we need more?

    Maybe more fiber filler words are needed. Maybe we need an ininite supply. My fave fringe word is panchreston - a term that is used in so many contexts it becomes meaningless.
  4. Jun 29, 2009 #3
    So you disagree that this conceptual split is philosophically useful? There are infinitely many stupid words created each minute, like LOL, to fap, rickroll, lulz

    Let's make one that is useful for a change. Like "mu" from GEB I don't care if only people who read the book know it, and I wonder if there is a philosopher who didn't invent a new word (or twist the meaning of an old one to effectively make it a new one)
  5. Jun 29, 2009 #4
    I'm not sure it adds much, since "physical" and "metaphysical" are already-used adjectives that describe what I think you're attempting to convey. That is, "love" does not exist physically, but exists metaphysically as a concept. Hence, yes, the split is philosophically useful, but the creation of another word to further classify it seems redundant. There are other terms too, like "concept", "idea", "concrete", "tangible", "observable", "extrasensory", "material", etc. Actually, I think I like "to exist conceptually" to best match what I think you're describing.

    Of course, it's not really up to you or me or any of us individually as to whether it's a word or not. It's up to a sufficient group of people using the term, who may find it helpful. Hence, use it and see if it catches on-- that's how English grows as a language. I don't think I'll use it, and it sounds like Jim won't either, but that's not to say it can't or won't catch on.

  6. Jun 29, 2009 #5
    What do you gain from doing this?
    What is wrong with these words?
  7. Jun 30, 2009 #6
    That they don't exist :)

    Of course we can steer around the problem. We can also use "to exist conceptually" but here it sounds like we are admitting existence again, while I think existing and besisting are very different things.

    I hear in Turkish if you say JoeDawg has read the Bible, you have to use different forms, if you saw it yourself, or if you have inferred it from something else. The language forces you to do this. Doing this with existence would ease the discussion about reality imho.

    Well whatever, if you don't like the word:

    Always remember to forget it ;)
  8. Jun 30, 2009 #7
    Discussions of language are very important to philosophy. Many philosophers spend time creating elaborate lists of specifically defined words. But I'm not sure creating words helps any more than clearly stating how you are using existing words.
  9. Jun 30, 2009 #8


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    Gold Member

    All metaphysics is based on dichotomies - the taking of limits. To go in a direction, there must always be something you are managing to leave behind. So there is always a duality of terminology that arises when attempting to model the world. That is what oxdeadbeee is alluding to in finding a need to coin a new word like besist.

    There are other existing(!) dichotomies already.

    If you treat reality as dynamic process rather than static structure, you will talk about the contrast between existing and persisting. One just is, the other is a stable dissipative balance.

    An even more fundamental dichotomy in metaphysics is substance vs form. And in talking about the besistence of mathematical truths and natural laws, Oxdeadbeee is focused on the old puzzle of whether forms can be said to exist (as in some Platonic realm). Or whether they are merely immanent in substance (potential forms of organisation that inevitably emerge). See Aristotle on hylomorphic form for example.

    Personally, I believe the correct approach is to take the local substances and global forms as equally existence (or indeed, equally persistent). So it would be wrong to class one as properly existing, the other having some quasi-existence.

    However, if you believed differently, that forms only sort of exist, then you would want a term like besist to highlight this claim. Especially if you are offering some new technical wrinkle on this ancient discussion.
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