Existence! What does it mean to you?
I always supposed that this was an easy one that we could all agree on. Turns out that there is a crucial difference between what we imagine is plainly obvious when we're talking about things such as tables and chairs, plants and animals, rocks and air and other 'stuff' that can be said to exist..
How about space though? And time?
Most folk will agree that existence is a state, as in the sixth definition of the word here:-
6. form: any form or quantifiable condition in which a physical substance can be, depending on its temperature and other circumstances.
Trust me the other definitions have to do with land boundaries and mental and physical messes.
But of course we'd be comparing things in a state of existence with things that used to exist which would make the existence of particular things a process, a process that ends.
And there's the other option of comparing things that exist to things that don't exist at all. Non-existent things still kind of exist as ideas, characters and objects in books and such.
That's where things take a sharp left into the Twilight Zone. That's where, if you are a Christian, you can go to a church meeting and swear that you saw Jesus, four hundred feet tall, standing in a field telling you that you must succeed in your effort to collect money for some project and the people listening to you HAVE TO believe you!(at least in their capacity as Christians they do.)
Common sense can fly right out the window at the drop of the proverbial hat. Their God exists through all time yet outside of all time, which is a special meaning of the word existence reserved for non-existent things.
Now, if you are a religious philosopher at heart you will no doubt have your special meaning of the word which CAN include the gods or the avatars ot 'the God' that you believe in. No doubt you'll be screaming 'red flag' and 'epistemological nightmare' and drivel like this even though you'd laugh with me at the idea of a four hundred foot Jesus!
Can we really know things? Can we be certain that we can't be certain of anything?
I think that we can be certain of quite a lot of things. Just right off the top of my head, I am certain that I am going to die, I will one day, in fact, cease to exist.
When I started following the arguments set out by Dinesh D'Souza's allies and other Christians using his blog for their own agenda I was sure that there were two words with two meanings. Existence, what we all know about things inside our Universe, and existance, everything including imaginary realms that we can never 'get to' at least while we're alive.
But no, it was just a misspelling, an alternate spelling.