Vegetarian Discussion: Existence - Not "better" Than Never Existing

Existence - Not "better" Than Never Existing
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T. Howard Pines, Jr.
2011-01-21 13:18:50 EST
Coming into existence, or "getting to experience life", is not better
than never existing. It can't be, because no such comparison can be
made. Nor can existence be worse than never existing, for the same reason.

In order to say that anything is better or worse for an entity, one
necessarily is talking about two different states of welfare or
well-being for the entity. But an entity must exist in order to have a
welfare state of well-being. Thus, the comparison between existence and
non-existence, from the perspective of the entity, cannot be made. It
is absurd.

Steve O
2011-01-21 13:46:51 EST
On 21/01/2011 18:18, T. Howard Pines, Jr. wrote:
> Coming into existence, or "getting to experience life", is not better
> than never existing. It can't be, because no such comparison can be
> made. Nor can existence be worse than never existing, for the same reason.
>
> In order to say that anything is better or worse for an entity, one
> necessarily is talking about two different states of welfare or
> well-being for the entity. But an entity must exist in order to have a
> welfare state of well-being. Thus, the comparison between existence and
> non-existence, from the perspective of the entity, cannot be made. It is
> absurd.

I don't have any problem with non-existence at all.
I managed to do it for billions of years without any real problems.

--
Steve O
a.a.2240 BAAWA
Exempt from Purgatory by Papal Indulgence

John Baker
2011-01-21 15:45:35 EST
On Fri, 21 Jan 2011 10:18:50 -0800, "T. Howard Pines, Jr."
<*n@kfi.com> wrote:

>Coming into existence, or "getting to experience life", is not better
>than never existing. It can't be, because no such comparison can be
>made. Nor can existence be worse than never existing, for the same reason.
>
>In order to say that anything is better or worse for an entity, one
>necessarily is talking about two different states of welfare or
>well-being for the entity. But an entity must exist in order to have a
>welfare state of well-being. Thus, the comparison between existence and
>non-existence, from the perspective of the entity, cannot be made. It
>is absurd.


I didn't exist for billions of years before I was born, and was not
inconvenienced in the slightest by it.



Dutch
2011-01-21 15:50:24 EST
"Steve O" <nospam@here.thanks> wrote in message
news:8pu2ksFp2eU1@mid.individual.net...
> On 21/01/2011 18:18, T. Howard Pines, Jr. wrote:
>> Coming into existence, or "getting to experience life", is not better
>> than never existing. It can't be, because no such comparison can be
>> made. Nor can existence be worse than never existing, for the same
>> reason.
>>
>> In order to say that anything is better or worse for an entity, one
>> necessarily is talking about two different states of welfare or
>> well-being for the entity. But an entity must exist in order to have a
>> welfare state of well-being. Thus, the comparison between existence and
>> non-existence, from the perspective of the entity, cannot be made. It is
>> absurd.
>
> I don't have any problem with non-existence at all.
> I managed to do it for billions of years without any real problems.

No, *YOU* didn't.



Dutch
2011-01-21 15:53:19 EST

"John Baker" <nunya@bizniz.net> wrote in message
news:k2sjj6138056uqhjj29dnmg6trlte5f333@4ax.com...
> On Fri, 21 Jan 2011 10:18:50 -0800, "T. Howard Pines, Jr."
> <al.lohman@kfi.com> wrote:
>
>>Coming into existence, or "getting to experience life", is not better
>>than never existing. It can't be, because no such comparison can be
>>made. Nor can existence be worse than never existing, for the same
>>reason.
>>
>>In order to say that anything is better or worse for an entity, one
>>necessarily is talking about two different states of welfare or
>>well-being for the entity. But an entity must exist in order to have a
>>welfare state of well-being. Thus, the comparison between existence and
>>non-existence, from the perspective of the entity, cannot be made. It
>>is absurd.
>
>
> I didn't exist for billions of years before I was born, and was not
> inconvenienced in the slightest by it.

You existed before you were born, as a fetus.


John Baker
2011-01-21 16:49:53 EST
On Fri, 21 Jan 2011 12:53:19 -0800, "Dutch" <no@email.com> wrote:

>
>"John Baker" <nunya@bizniz.net> wrote in message
>news:k2sjj6138056uqhjj29dnmg6trlte5f333@4ax.com...
>> On Fri, 21 Jan 2011 10:18:50 -0800, "T. Howard Pines, Jr."
>> <al.lohman@kfi.com> wrote:
>>
>>>Coming into existence, or "getting to experience life", is not better
>>>than never existing. It can't be, because no such comparison can be
>>>made. Nor can existence be worse than never existing, for the same
>>>reason.
>>>
>>>In order to say that anything is better or worse for an entity, one
>>>necessarily is talking about two different states of welfare or
>>>well-being for the entity. But an entity must exist in order to have a
>>>welfare state of well-being. Thus, the comparison between existence and
>>>non-existence, from the perspective of the entity, cannot be made. It
>>>is absurd.
>>
>>
>> I didn't exist for billions of years before I was born, and was not
>> inconvenienced in the slightest by it.
>
>You existed before you were born, as a fetus.


A mere technicality, since I don't remember any of it. <G>



Dorayme
2011-01-21 18:56:35 EST
In article <cNednVSqn8yRU6TQnZ2dnUVZ_oqdnZ2d@earthlink.com>,
"T. Howard Pines, Jr." <al.lohman@kfi.com> wrote:

> Coming into existence, or "getting to experience life", is not better
> than never existing. It can't be, because no such comparison can be
> made. Nor can existence be worse than never existing, for the same reason.
>
> In order to say that anything is better or worse for an entity, one
> necessarily is talking about two different states of welfare or
> well-being for the entity. But an entity must exist in order to have a
> welfare state of well-being. Thus, the comparison between existence and
> non-existence, from the perspective of the entity, cannot be made. It
> is absurd.

Quite right, Howard, and this is the reason one can criticise A
famous form of an argument for the existence of God, propogated
first, or at least made famous, by St Anselm.

--
dorayme

Dorayme
2011-01-21 18:57:50 EST
In article <8pu2ksFp2eU1@mid.individual.net>,
Steve O <nospam@here.thanks> wrote:

> On 21/01/2011 18:18, T. Howard Pines, Jr. wrote:
> > Coming into existence, or "getting to experience life", is not better
> > than never existing. It can't be, because no such comparison can be
> > made. Nor can existence be worse than never existing, for the same reason.
> >
> > In order to say that anything is better or worse for an entity, one
> > necessarily is talking about two different states of welfare or
> > well-being for the entity. But an entity must exist in order to have a
> > welfare state of well-being. Thus, the comparison between existence and
> > non-existence, from the perspective of the entity, cannot be made. It is
> > absurd.
>
> I don't have any problem with non-existence at all.
> I managed to do it for billions of years without any real problems.

No you didn't. You are just trying to be funny and it is not
appreciated around here.

--
dorayme

T. Howard Pines, Jr.
2011-01-21 19:11:30 EST
On 1/21/2011 3:56 PM, dorayme wrote:
> In article<cNednVSqn8yRU6TQnZ2dnUVZ_oqdnZ2d@earthlink.com>,
> "T. Howard Pines, Jr."<al.lohman@kfi.com> wrote:
>
>> Coming into existence, or "getting to experience life", is not better
>> than never existing. It can't be, because no such comparison can be
>> made. Nor can existence be worse than never existing, for the same reason.
>>
>> In order to say that anything is better or worse for an entity, one
>> necessarily is talking about two different states of welfare or
>> well-being for the entity. But an entity must exist in order to have a
>> welfare state or well-being. Thus, the comparison between existence and
>> non-existence, from the perspective of the entity, cannot be made. It
>> is absurd.
>
> Quite right, Howard, and this is the reason one can criticise A
> famous form of an argument for the existence of God, propogated
> first, or at least made famous, by St Anselm.

Wasn't familiar with it, so had to do a quick look-up. It almost seems
as if there is an equivocation, or perhaps could be, on the idea of
"nothing" in the hypothetical statement, "Existence is better than
nothing." On the one hand, one could mean that existence is not better
than anything at all, meaning it's the worst possible outcome. On the
other hand, one might mean that if one at least has existence, it's
better than not having anything at all.

I'm reminded of LIAR, or the Lexicon of Inconspicuously Ambiguous
References. It's about a way for someone asked to write a letter of
recommendation might actually write a letter disparaging the candidate
instead, without being seen to do so. Several of the entries work on
exactly the sort of ambiguity I describe above:

* To describe a person who is totally inept:
I most enthusiastically recommend this candidate with no
qualifications whatsoever.

* To describe an ex-employee who had problems getting along with
fellow workers:
I am pleased to say that this candidate is a former colleague of
mine.

* To describe a candidate who is so unproductive that the job
would be better left unfilled:
I can assure you that no person would be better for the job.

* To describe a job applicant who is not worth further
consideration:
I would urge you to waste no time in making this candidate an
offer of employment.

* To describe a person with lackluster credentials:
All in all, I cannot say enough good things about this candidate
or recommend him too highly.

Dutch
2011-01-21 19:20:12 EST

"John Baker" <nunya@bizniz.net> wrote in message
news:5rvjj6pi72i73fali1u2ec3p752smuah3l@4ax.com...
> On Fri, 21 Jan 2011 12:53:19 -0800, "Dutch" <no@email.com> wrote:
>
>>
>>"John Baker" <nunya@bizniz.net> wrote in message
>>news:k2sjj6138056uqhjj29dnmg6trlte5f333@4ax.com...
>>> On Fri, 21 Jan 2011 10:18:50 -0800, "T. Howard Pines, Jr."
>>> <al.lohman@kfi.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>>Coming into existence, or "getting to experience life", is not better
>>>>than never existing. It can't be, because no such comparison can be
>>>>made. Nor can existence be worse than never existing, for the same
>>>>reason.
>>>>
>>>>In order to say that anything is better or worse for an entity, one
>>>>necessarily is talking about two different states of welfare or
>>>>well-being for the entity. But an entity must exist in order to have a
>>>>welfare state of well-being. Thus, the comparison between existence and
>>>>non-existence, from the perspective of the entity, cannot be made. It
>>>>is absurd.
>>>
>>>
>>> I didn't exist for billions of years before I was born, and was not
>>> inconvenienced in the slightest by it.
>>
>>You existed before you were born, as a fetus.
>
>
> A mere technicality, since I don't remember any of it. <G>

A technicality in this context indeed, not in others.

But the point is that non-existence does not apply *to you* at all, to say
it was not an inconvenience is flippant, which is fine, but it does not
address the real issue.



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