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Abhiram Lohit


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What is the difference between "To be" and "To exist"?

I'm looking for a variety of views and opinions. No restrictions whatsoever.

Although I have my own view, I will not provide them here in fear of biasing others' views.

Come on all you philosophy (and non-philosophy) majors, wreak your havoc here :)


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  • Jul 27 2011: To be is to be a conscious being that is aware of its own existence. Some animals like primates (can't say all as not all animals have been studied to show self awareness) and children after 2yrs or so(according to certain Psychological studies on the self awareness of children) recognize their own existence.

    To exist, is merely just that--to exist. A rock can exist and things that lie in the "to be" category such as some living beings(beings that are not self aware), exist as a direct consequence of the premise "to be". "To be" logically presupposes "to exist". Can something be without it existing first***? Existence can be irrespective of any conscious beings. A realist (one who says that there is a physical world out there irrespective of our existence), would say that "to exist" means that everything can exist, irrespective of any conscious "observer".

    ***the counter question: can something exist, without it first "being"? You can't ask that question, as being has already been established as presupposing existence. You can't conclude that if A is a cause and B is an effect, that B comes before A, that's illogical. If anyone finds a flaw in my logic, please feel free to correct me as I am keen on improving and learning.

    This is however, based on our current knowledge of the world and reality. If tomorrow, it is proved that a conscious being, such as a human directly affects the Quantum behavior of matter, then we will be forced to conclude that conscious beings are the reason of existence as the way it is, and the universe exists because of this ethereal force of consciousness. So, then only conscious beings will be in the "to be" category and will be able to influence the "to exist" category.

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