If something is not yet in existence, does it exist?

In an earlier thread Existence was described as: The state of all emerged essences. Aristotle is quoted as:the what it was to be. Essence was identified as : the nature that identifies a thing before it comes into existence.

I disagree with this, the dictionary defines essence: That which makes a thing what it is; necessary PART or PARTS. important feature or features,substance,entity; any concentrated substance that has charecteristics,flavor,fragerance,effect of a plant,fruit from which it is etc. obtained,a substance of alcohol,perfume.

existence is defined: Real or actual being,continued being, life, ALL that exists,thing that exists.

My conclusion is is that if essence does not exist(if it is not in existence than it is nothing. Nowhere). Where was essence before it came into existence? If it was nowhere, then it is nothing, until it can exist. so I am led to wonder how can anything, idea etc. exist with out first coming from some being’s idea,or thing. The essence of a rose needs a rose to be first.

Notice that essence is described as a PART.

Captilazion is mine

I agree, but for me it’s a definitional thing. By definition you cannot reify ideas, only informational phenomena.

Which is not to say that there is not a chance that we are just ideas in someone else’s mind, but at some point you just have make assumptions.

I believe essence arises simultaneously with existence. When a thing is, only then you can simultaneously say *what *that thing is.
Any previous speculation (or “ideal”) is not the thing itself, so is only that - speculation, and not the essence of a thing.

Note that: it’s always the essence of a thing. No thing, no essence.

What about the essense of a thought? Thoughts exist, no? If so, doesn’t the mere conceiving of a thing, in a way, bring a thing into existence?

I would say that your thoughts are patterns of associations. The pattern may exist, but the outcome of that pattern remains non-existing until physically realized.

I’m no existentialist philosopher, but this doesn’t feel right to me. By ‘physically realized’ do you mean constructed? If so, how do you explain time, or astronomical phenomena we haven’t actually witnessed, but have calculated? It seems more logical to me that anything that can be conceived comes into existence at that point, which means, yeah, everything exists.

Apologies at the outset. I’m very weak on this topic, but appreciate the engagement.

Just because thoughts exist, does not mean that thinking of a thing, brings that thing into existence. There is a difference between a thought of a thing and the thing itself. The thought of a thing can exist without the thing itself existing, just as a thing can exist even if nobody thinks of it.

BTW, “The state of all emerged essences.” sounds like little more than meaningless gibberish to me. I bet I can guess which thread this came from. :slight_smile:

It is true that a thought will exist, but first there needs to be an existent being to bring it to be, something, or being, must first be in existence, to bring forth the idea. Essesence cannot exist unless there is existence. As the dictonary defines it essesence is a part of existence. I do not see how it can be, before it exists.

With an education focused primarily on hard science with a smattering of philosophy, I’ll forward this: something exists if it has energy and/or mass (which are really the same thing, yadda yadda) and therefore makes a measurable impact on space-time.

If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t.

In reply to Grey and Onomatopoeia’s discussion I would side with what I think the former is trying to say. “The essence of thought” is nothing more than an intricate series electrochemical gradients through nerve cells. Contemplating a table means that the pattern of electricity that represents “contemplating table” exists. The concept of a table exists as another dispassionate set of electricity, hormones, neurotransmitters et al.

In short, you’ve got to demonstrably prove existence. Just because we can’t see nebula XYZ doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist - and when it’s discovered its existence changes not a whit. You simply get new “thought-storms” related to it.

I dunno. Maybe I’m missing the point. But it’s fun, ne?

No, that comes under the “mere speculation” clause of my post. An imagined unicorn, for instance, lacks several properties that would render it real (such as mass), hence has no essence, IMO. The essence of a real unicorn wouldn’t just be “a horse with a horn”, it would be “a horse with a horn that exists in the real world.”

These will exist or not independent of our observation. And time very much exists - we can measure it, it has real effects.

What definition of “exists” are you using here? I have the idea of pink unicorns that live on the moon. Does that mean they exist? Or just the idea of them exists physically, as ISoT says.

It’s easy to get hung up on general definitions about essences, existence and idealism, but I think one thing people lose focus on when they drag existentialism into things, is that people like Sartre weren’t really talking about abstract essence like Platonic ideals when they said “existence precedes essence”. Sartre was talking about something much more ephemeral - what is it that makes *me *me, and not you? Not what it is it that makes me this class of thing (human) but what makes me this individual (Neil)? In this sense, I agree with him that something, some substrate, has to exist before Neil arose as an emergent entity, and in that sense, I subscribe to a hard “existence precedes essence” view. It is only when we deal with general classes that my stance softens somewhat to simultaneity.

Oh, I’m Neil, BTW.

Think of “before” here as having a logical sense, not a temporal sense. Whether or not there are actually any unicorns, what it is to be a unicorn is quite clear. There is an “essence” of unicorniness even though no unicorns exist.

The claim that there is such an essence of unicornhood is controversial, of course. But I’m just articulating the view.

But I am arguing that “list of properties” is not the same as “essence”. One of the properties of a unicorn is that it is a mythological creature - IOW, part of the “essence” of a unicorn is that it does not exist.

I think this confuses the *idea *of the unicorn with the *essence *of the unicorn. I don’t think the two words mean exactly the same thing, which is basically what you’re arguing.

So essence encompasses the properties of a thing, but is not merely their sum? Is there something additional to the essence, or does it emerge from the sum of all properties of a thing?

Personally, it seems to me that essence is just a remnant of the confusion Quine dealt with: to even be able to say that ‘unicorns don’t exist’, there must be something called a unicorn, or else the sentence just wouldn’t make any sense. But if there’s a unicorn, then the sentence would appear to be wrong! Yet we know, intuitively, what we mean by it, and it’s clear that this is true. If we were to accept that we’re just talking about the ‘idea’ of the unicorn, we’re left in a rather curious position of being exclusively able to reason about ideas, since they and the things they’re meant to represent are two distinct things, then – the idea of ‘my fedora hat’ is something very different from my actual fedora hat, in that I can’t wear it on, but rather carry it in my head, for instance. If, on the other hand, we ascribe to the unicorn some non-actualized existence – which I take this essence business largely to be --, we implicitly create a strange class of things that have essence, but can’t have existence, because they’re self-contradictory – ‘my white black hat’, or somesuch.

However, what we can do, according to Quine, is essentially to appeal to Russel’s theory of descriptions, and to turn an expression like ‘my white black hat doesn’t exist’ into something like ‘there is either none or more than one thing that is my hat, white, and black’, which eliminates the reference to the individual entity denoted by ‘my white black hat’, and thus, in order to say ‘my white black hat doesn’t exist’, we no longer need for there to actually be something that could be called ‘my white black hat’ (or a unicorn). Thus, I’d say that there’s no need for any essence (beyond a list of properties, perhaps).

I see now you’re arguing over definitions.

On your definition, an essence is a part or parts that make(s) a thing what it is.

On others’ definition, an essence is that which identifies a thing before it comes into existence.

I’ll call the first “messence” and the second “schmessence.”

Unless you’re arguing for a conclusion something like, for example, “There is such a thing as messence, and no such thing as schmessence,” then I’m not sure what the value is of discussing the definition of “essence.”

On the view I was articulating, this is not a bug but a feature. It just goes to illustate yet another way in which essence can be said to “precede” existence. For indeed, something can have an essence without even possibly existing. (And yay for a discussion which intelligibly combines a famous trope from continental philosophy with a famous trope from analytic philosophy.)

What it would be for something to be X /= the idea of X. There could be that which it would be to be X even if no one ever has or ever will or ever could concieve (have an idea of) X.

I guess I have a slow mind, as I still cannot see how some thing can exist(truly be) If it is not yet in existence, To me it seems there would have to be a being or thing already existing that would bring forth essence. It is true the idea of many things were first not in existence, but some person first had to think of a unicorn etc., if a carpenter is going to build something, he first has the idea, so then the essesence of the product would first be in existence of his mind. So some existent thing would have to preceed its essence.

No, it is their sum - as long as that sum includes “exists” in it somewhere.

That’s what I’m saying.

Since the different applicable definitions of essence all still have reference to existence as an essential part of the definition of essence, I don’t think this is true.

I think all that is needed is the *possibility *for X to be conceived.

To be is to be the value of a bound variable.

Frylock: doesn’t that something precede essence? “Something” means it is in existence so in a way essence needs something to exist before it can.