An Argument for the Immaterial Reality of Existence Itself (A Refutation of Materialism)

I am going to present an argument in syllogistic form as to how an immaterial reality exists, making materialism defunct, implying that Atheists who subscribe to a materialistic philosophy are in error. I chose this subreddit, because there are many Atheists who are Materialists. Let's begin.

Please explain 10.
It sounds like you are saying that water and trees are immaterial?
Yeah this is the biggest flaw here. I mean, how are trees outside of matter? They are made up of matter. On top of that, they also exist.
No, water and trees are material, they don't exist "outside of matter", why would you premise this?
I tried "Iron Manning" OP's points, and got confused after like 4--but 10 just came from nowhere, and I don't get it, at all. I am not familiar with "immaterial trees and water."
This is the full premise, use it or you will confuse yourself. the argument logically leads to how water is outside of matter, matter that contains existence itself. It's not talking about any ole matter.
The purpose of this premise is to reach a contradiction by starting from assuming the negation of what I want to prove.
Existence is not an act, it is a state. THat is why we say "the state of being", not "the act of being". How does "act of a thing by which it is" even work?
An act is defined as "The process of doing or performing something". What is that something in this case? Existence. But then the definition becomes circular gibberish - "Existence is the process of doing or performing existence"
Nope. "Matter that contains the thing itself" is absolutely meaningless. A chair can contain the same matter as a table, but they are not one and the same thing. Youc an have multiple different things that are composed of matter that is indistinguishable, yet they are not one and the same.
Even if I take your definitions, this does not follow.
You see the problem? First you define existence as an act, then you treat it as a thing. By your own definitions, existence cannot be "composed of matter" becasue it is not a "thing".
The rest of your argument is therefore irrelevant because one of your premises is false.
I also have a sneaky suspicion, the entire point of this argument is a simple "Existence is not a material thing, but an abstract concept" which even if true, does in no way support your last comment that "there exists an immaterial reality". It only means that "existence", like "counting" or "Dumbledore" are not material things, but concepts in our mind.
I'm not following your argument. It is full of contradictions and an obvious false dichotomy fallacy. However, luckily for you, matter is ultimately composed of non-matter if we consider quantum waves in the very fabric of reality itself. This doesn't promote the existence of anything unnatural or physically impossible or "beyond" the cosmos. You are free to interpret the facts how you want, but do not point to the conclusion of magic. Supernatural is not a synonym of immaterial but for "physically impossible by our current understanding - beyond what is natural and real." Magic is the (apparent) power to control natural events using unnatural, mysterious, or impossible means such as the supernatural.
A gap in your understanding or mine does not promote magic. You haven't even demonstrated what seems to be entirely impossible. You haven't demonstrated that immaterial existence equates to magic. You haven't demonstrated god. You haven't demonstrated idealism.
Matter is everything composed of quarks and protons or which interactions in some physical way via the four fundamental forces of physics. The light coming from your screen is a wave, but these waves are the reason we ever see anything and they also bind molecules together. Zoom into the quantum scale and everything seems to be either waves, objects we can't see riding waves, or by some interpretations too strange for realism to hold true like particles literally switching between solid objects and waves at will or because someone happened to look at them. This last concept requiring conscious observation doesn't seem to hold up.
To explain it better, it is like the devices we use to take measurements alter the "particle" waves because they emit their own waves in the attempt to discover which way a particle went or whatever. It is the relationship between quantum interactions and it produces the visible results that seem strange. It is real and deterministic and the probability equations are based on several fundamental principles including but not limited to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and the Shroedinger wave equation. Like "the wave" in a crowd of people alternating between standing and sitting while swinging their arms out and up about their heads, the waves in a body of water, and so on, we have waves in the fabric of physical reality. Whether or not they were caused by something we can't see is unknown, but invisible to our eyes simply means that it doesn't interact in such a way to produce photon waves.
This is where we get several interpretations of quantum mechanics. We get the same results consistently whenever we take measurements so there are interpretations based on the act of measurement (all possible states are possible until we take a measure - at least based on probability) and there are some that attempt to explain what is fundamentally going on at the quantum scale so we can predict with better accuracy the results even without taking a measurement. Some take this act of measurement to the extreme suggesting it is responsible for our perceived reality which is true in the way that without it we wouldn't perceive anything but not in the way that reality is only imaginary and wouldn't exist without consciousness being involved. This is where it is important not to not be so dogmatic about a conclusion that has yet to be demonstrated, especially when it doesn't explain the observations and the reliable consistency necessary for attempting to make sense of it on any scale.
Also note, that a wave doesn't have to be continuous and none of them really are if we zoom in far enough. Not the wave produced by people in a crowd, not the waves in water, not sound waves, not light waves. Everything seems to be quantized and that's what it is called quantum mechanics. Not sure if there is a sufficient reason given for why quantum interactions can only be observed at Planck intervals but that would seem to suggest either something extra or the closest that the peaks can be before they cancel out in a wave. That would be a good topic for a different subreddit.
Quite a number of problems with your premises and issues with your logic, rendering this both not valid and not sound.
Vague and unclear.
You forgot your basic knowledge of physics and cosmology. You forgot energy. And, of course, your forgot that matter is merely a subset of this.
You see now how you're already off the rails. You just said that energy is immaterial. Yet I think we both agree that energy exists.
See above. You seem to be subscribing to a 19th century viewpoint of reality, and thus are completely forgetting about what we now know about reality, including quantum physics, etc.
See above.
wut? You are conflating the concept of existence now with an attribute something contains. Pretty difficult for something to contain an attribute unless that something exists in the first place...
Anyway, you get the gist. This is essentially nonsensical, ignores what we actually know about reality, makes an equivocation fallacy on 'exists' and 'existence', and forgets that all the arguments in the world don't help without good evidence. As Gödel showed so nicely.
No it isn't. Science deals in evidence, so the scope of phenomena which are covered by scientific analysis is anything that can be observed, anything for which evidence can be collected, either directly or indirectly via an effect. For example science can observe the emotion of fear via the effect it has on behaviour. The emotion of fear is not material, yet it certainly exists.
Exactly so. It is not necessary to go through a long winded proof of this, this is almost an axiom. We define
Science uses
So, once again, I point out that these definitions do not match. I would also point out that atheists in general would not make the claim that "god is immaterial and therefore does not exist". Rather their position would better be described as "according to evidence (or rather the lack of it) god appears to be purely imaginary, so therefore I am not convinced that god exists".
No it isn't.
It's a proof by contradiction. You assume the negation of what you're trying to prove to then conclude in a contradiction—which arises because of the faulty assumption. If you don't get that from the first premise, then I'm not sure what else I can do. I assumed 6 "existence is material" for the sake of argument, as I said.
Yes, and material depends on immaterial being, so it is not the fundamental substance of nature.
You're talking about science, but this is a metaphysical argument. Science studies material and efficient causes. It only discusses a subset of "being as such."
Obvious troll is obvious.
I thought I had read some strange stuff from some people before... but this is ... just off the charts.
This purpose of this premise is to reach a contradiction by starting from assuming the negation of what I want to prove. It is a basic proof by contradiction, used by mathematicians, philosophers, and logicians.
For clarity that will be important later, let's call these E-Trees.
That's a weird way to sneak in immaterial existence. If I'm reading the implication right, you're trying to say that existence may be contained outside of matter. If not, then that phrase is completely redundant and should be removed from the premise.
For clarity, lets call these trees specifically NE-Trees. Where can we find these NE-Trees that contain existence outside of matter? Is this presupposing existence outside of materialism violating premise 1? We can reject this premise.
Here you commit the fallacy of equivocation. You're substituting E-Trees to NE-Trees. You're saying E-Trees must be nonexistent. This is fallacious and this premise can be rejected. You then use this equivocation to finish the rest of your argument.
Not really. Existence is more of state, if anything. It's hard to categorize something so basic.
Not exactly. Processes are material too, though they are not defined in terms of matter, but in terms of actions of that matter. Another question is how you use "something" here, does it refer to noumenon or phenomenon?
I'm going to grant you that for now, unless you try to use those words with different connotations.
What do you mean by "outside of existence"? Outside is spatial category. And space is part of existence.
This is exactly what I'm talking about. Here you are clearly making a statement about phenomenon, but 2 is more likely to be true for noumenons.
That's really a very poor wording bordering on misinterpretation. The proper form would be:
Perhaps, you should try to restate your argument with this in mind.
Okay so clearly no one here nows basic logic.
Does anyone know what a proof by contradiction is? For a proof by CONTRADICTION, you first begin by assuming the negation of what you are trying to prove to then arrive at a contradiction of statements; this would then necessarily imply that the assumption is false and that the opposite must be true.
So let's look at my argument:
I first assume 6., "Existence is material." This is the negation of what I am trying to prove, which is "Existence is immaterial." In the argument, we arrived at a contradiction between 11. and 5. "Water is an existent and water is not an existent." Well this cannot be, therefore the assumption, "Existence is material" is false, therefore the opposite is true. So, "existence is immaterial" is true.
I'm glad everyone here has freaked out about the claim that "Water doesn't exist." That the whole purpose of a proof by contradiction! It's a contradiction! The contradiction—which for some reason you all think I believe to be true—is the necessary component of a proof by CONTRADICTION! IN the argument I arrived at the premises "10. Things like water or trees that are outside of matter that contains existence itself necessarily must be nonexistent.," "11. Things like water or trees necessarily must be nonexistent, called nonexistents." because of a faulty assumption! I used a faulty assumption because I intend to prove the opposite!
Not going to lie, I am speechless. You all think I believe water does not exist, but it is clear as day you know don't know basic logic—if you did, you would've understood that this is a proof by contradiction—, you didn't read all the way through—12, 13, and 14 clearly show that I understand there's a contradiction.
Except that is not a coherent statement.
Try starting with "Things that exist are material" and go from there.
If you want to do a proof by contradiction, maybe do not start with a strawman premise?
A lot of us missed 6 was assumed to disprove the argument.
A lot of us didn't, and asked you to explain 10, as 10 seems to come out of left field. I can't find support for 10, can you help me understand what you mean?
Heh, you are both demonstrably and egregiously wrong and putting your foot in it by starting a reply this way. Many here are very familiar with what you were attempting. However, your poor structure and language made it incoherent, and your fallacious use of 'exist' and 'existence' and unawareness of basic physics and of the concept of emergent properties made it wrong.
Maybe if everyone found your post incoherent, the problem isn't with us...
So how is it you show that water doesn't exist exactly?
update your OP to include this, please.
First, we would have to accept your premises before your argument. The problem I see is you didn’t define your words or ideas. You use “thing” five times without ever defining what a thing is. In college one of the first courses I took was business communication and they taught us to be clear and concise. Your definition of material is not even all that clear.
Give examples of things you classify as immaterial.
You can philosophically masturbate all day long. That doesn't prove anything.
What is a demonstration that anything you said is true?
How are water and trees outside of matter? This is why this kind of argument glazes my eyes over. What the fuck are you even talking about.
I challenge you to belly flop contest jumping from the 10m diving platform. You're first!
Premise one is confusing me. “Existence is the act of a thing by which it is.” What do you mean by “act”?
“Things exist”, or “there are things that exist”, is that a shorter way to put this?
Edit: this whole argument feels like immaterial == supernatural. Declaring something immaterial, an abstract concept as we know of nothing that isn’t material, is the same as using the term supernatural.
This is redundant. FTFY
Nonsensical. A thing outside of matter cannot contain existence, as “Existence is material”.
This whole argument falls apart here. You can’t have existence in nonexistence. It’s a logical impossibility.
The purpose of the premise "Things like water or trees that are outside of matter that contains existence itself necessarily must be nonexistent," is to reach a contradiction by starting from assuming the negation of what I want to prove. It is a basic proof by contradiction, used by mathematicians, philosophers, and logicians.
too, the "redundancy" is just an iff statement used to further clarify what I mean by "some thing is material."
Why go through all that gibberish, when you can just mention sunlight exists and isn't composed of matter. Checkmate, atheists! Or maybe you have a shitty definition of materialism, because most materialists I know accept gravity, light, sound, etc.
Sunlight is composed of photons, doesn't work.
"because most materialists I know accept gravity, light, sound, etc."
lol, yeah because materialism is totally inconsistent. I talk about existence, because it is the first thing we know through our intellect and the implications go way farther than the attempted "sunlight example"
Number 11 is false, trees and water are demonstrably comprised of matter, and despite significant time and resources searching for a missing component none have been found, so trees and water are comprised of matter only.
I mean this is quite basic, we know the molecule that makes water and we know what that molecule is comprised of.
Once again we are left with a reality that appears to have all natural parts and no non-natural components.
How can a thing contain itself? A thing is itself. How can it contain itself?
A container of an object is not the object. For example, a glass that contains water is not water. This premise is therefore self contradictory.
This premise is self contradictory as the thing that is outside of existence exists as it has a location (otherwise it would not be located in any position e.g. the outside of existence).
As this argument has not one, but two self contradictory premises ,it already falls down at this point.
This sounds like a deepity. It makes no sense, what are you trying to say? Also, here you are saying existence is an act, later you are saying it is material; can't be both.
I can spot issues with most, if not all, of your premises, however, since all premises must be true for a conclusion to be true I wll stop here.
This is a reminder to
relax champ, I was asleep, hence 8 hours...
You're trolling right?
This is a high effort troll, right?
How are water or trees "outside of matter?"
- 2. According to that definition, heat or a wave are not materials things. They are not composed of matter, they are a poperty of matter.
- 7. See the confusion around "2."
- 10. What? I'm not sure... Are you trying to argue that tree as a concept is not a tangible thing, therefore trees should not exist under materialism? I am honestly confused. Or what? Please clarify. It's like you're having a stroke.
Is this a fair simplification of your argument?
C: Therefore, materialism is false.
I used "property X" instead of "being composed of matter that contains existence itself", because I don't understand what it means. Could you help me understand?
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When you concluded that trees don't exist that should have tipped you off that you made a mistake somewhere. 1 and 5 are contradictory because 5 is false, not because 1 is false.
OP, This is a debate sub. You need to actively debate here, not just make a hit-and-run argument.
I'm waiting for the part where all this metaphysical gibberish leads to a god that just happens to hate all of the things you hate.
What does "trees are outside of matter that contains existence" even mean?
OP, maybe take a step back and make a new post explaining and defending Thomistic existence?
Seems like it's your foundation, but many of us had never heard of it, so we weren't even speaking the same language here.
You can't use "existance" as a property.
Read Kant.
Premise 5 is obviously invalid.
This is also obviously invalid.
#1 has problems. It's hard to work with a definition of existence as an act.
#10 makes no sense. What does it mean for trees to exist outside of matter?
Lol. Wut?
>Existence is the act of a thing by which it is.
Existence is an act? This implies a lot about existence, and as far as I can see, impossible to demonstrate. What action does a rock take to exist? Is it an ongoing process or a one time thing. How is the rock "acting" in any way?
>composed of matter that contains existence itself.
what does this mean?
what? How does this follow?
Ok, so, to translate everything OP has said in comments and provide a jargon-free summary, it appears that the current end state of their argument is that "a concept is a structure independent of the being or beings holding that concept, which contraindicates the core precept of materialism".
Edit: link to post I draw this conclusion from.
Existence itself would have to be independent of ...
Sloppy, motivated reasoning by an undergrad who desperately needs to feel like his superstition has some basis in reality.
This is blatant idiocy.
Premise 4 contradicts premise 1. If it’s an “anything” it must exist (as premise 1). So premise 4 could be read “something (that exists) .... must not exist”
Define "immaterial reality"? I'm not sure what it is you're trying to prove and I'd like to understand that before addressing the argument.
That's already pure bullshit. Perhaps you should read up on some newer philosophy and not just some that's been outdated for two thousand years.
In any case there is plenty of things that exist but are not composed of matter. Processes like driving and abstract stuff like friendship. It's really just a matter of how you are describing that world. But whether you are talking about particles or waves or phenomena doesn't change anything about the nonexistance of the gods and spirits our ancestors believed in.
Premise 5 and point 5 of your argument seem to have conflicting views on whether trees and water are composed of matter.
Otherwise, it's mostly word salad, but I think you're basically trying to argue that only sentient beings count as matter, and that disproves something in your mind?
I would love to see your data on any of this.
I reject premise #1.