Halc wrote:Agree, but I was speaking of the evidence of objective existence (the subject of this topic), not relative existence (what Felix seems to reference).
Ok, sorry, I should have seen your post more in the context of the post by Felix from which you quoted.
An empirical test can only demonstrate evidence of the latter, that the black swan say exists in relation to that which measured it, but that test works whether or not the measuring thing objectively exists or not.
I don't agree that empirical tests can only demonstrate evidence of relationships and cannot demonstrate evidence of objective existence. It's an issue that I discussed a lot with RJG quite recently. I would agree that empirical tests cannot provide conclusive, 100% certain logical proof
of objective existence. But they do provide evidence
. To me that means that they provide valid reasons to believe in the utility of the concept of objective existence.
If I see a black swan then that act of perception is indeed a function of both the black swan and me. So, as you've said, it is a function of a relationship. But it provides evidence
that the black swan is an object; that it exists objectively. If I see a black swan and, as a result of that relationship-based perception, I utter the objective proposition:
"A black swan exists."
I am not proposing something about relationships or individual perceptions. I am proposing that there exists an objective, relationship-independent world which (I propose in that statement) is the potential cause
of an arbitrarily large number of possible relationship-based perceptions, of which mine is but one example.
For example, 9 is a perfect square if there exists a whole number which when squared yields the 9. 3 satisfies this, therefore 3 exists. This is not a valid demonstration of the objective (platonic) existence of 3, just a demonstration that 3 exists in relation to 9, both being members of the set of whole numbers.
I don't see it as a demonstration of the existence
of the number 3 in any sense at all. I see it as a demonstration of one of the mathematical properties
of the number 3, which we have already decided exists. I don't see the phrase "3 satisfies this, therefore 3 exists" as valid at all. I see it as a begging the question fallacy. In order to state "3 satisfies this" we must have already decided that 3 exists.
Similarly, I am a member of the same set as the black swan (assuming I see one), and the empirical test is evidence of that, but not evidence that the set itself exists. To test for that, I'd have to be outside the set, and somehow be able to apply a test to it, and there is no empirical way to do either.
Interesting perspective. But, for reasons I gave above, I don't see it as a particularly useful one. I think that one member of that set perceiving another member of that set provides evidence (though not logically certain
proof) that the set exists.