The Contradicting Gorgias Philosophy On The Non Existent Philosophy Essay

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1st Jan 1970 Philosophy Reference this

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Existence, this word affects many primitive philosophers. One of these is Gorgias, he is a nihilist or a person who believes nothing exists, or that the world is incomprehensible, and that the concept of truth is fictitious. He said that “Nothing exists; Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and Even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others. Even if it can be communicated, it cannot be understood.”

Heidegger says that the fundamental problem of metaphysics is “why there are beings rather than nothing.” As it happens, and as Heidegger was certainly aware, there was an answer to this in the earliest days of Greek philosophy. Parmenides said, “For you could not know that which is not (that is impossible) nor utter it; for the same thing can be thought as can be [the same thing exists for thinking as for being]. That which can be spoken and thought must be; for it is possible for it, but not for nothing, to be; that is what I bid you ponder” [The Presocratic Philosophers, G.S. Kirk & J.E. Raven, Cambridge University Press, 1964, pp.269-270]. The short answer is thus that beings exist rather than nothing because there cannot be nothing.

1The argument that Parmenides offers is that for us to think about something or talk about something, there must be something but nothing by definition is not something. Therefore, we cannot think about it or talk about it, and should not. In other words, we cannot properly use the concept; and when we don’t, things like “coming into being” and “perishing.” which require non-existence, stop to exist.

B. Statement of the problem

This study sought to prove that the philosophy of Gorgias about the Non- existent is wrong. The researchers also sought the answers to the following questions:

1. What is existence?

2. How something can exist?

3. How can you sure that something is really existing?

C. Significance of the study

The researchers hope that the findings of this study helps and give new ideas to the readers. As long as the other philosophers that actually contradicted to Gorgias that this also has the point of view.

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D. Scope and limitation

This research contained the contradicting philosophy of the researchers towards to the philosophy of Gorgias about the Existence. This contains the different perspectives of various philosophers.

CHAPTER 2

OVERVIEW ABOUT THE EXISTENCE

A. The Existence

According to Wikipedia, The word “existence” comes from the Latin word existere meaning “to appear”, “to arise”, “to become”, or “to be”, but literally, it means “to stand out. It says that the existence can actually define when something is recognized. Some says that, it is the world we are aware or conscious of through our senses, and that persists independently without them. Others define it to be everything that most people believe in. When something is already existed in that kind of instance probably it would already knew by others. It is affirmative to the question of ‘whether it is’ then when we say existence it is always actual and opposed by its nature. And according to Schopenhauer claimed that “everything that exists for knowledge, and hence the whole of this world, is only object in relation to the subject, perception of the perceiver, in a word, representation. According to him there can be “No object without subject” because “everything objective is already conditioned as such in manifold ways by the knowing subject with the forms of its knowing, and presupposes these forms. Materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter that all things are composed of material, and all phenomena or consciousness are the result of material interactions.

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B. Being

The word being is a noun. According to Gilson’s theory, it signifies either a being (that is, the substance, nature, and essence of anything existent), or being itself, a property common to all that which can rightly be said to be. The same word is the present participle of the verb ‘to be.’ As a verb, it no longer signifies something that is, nor even existence in general, but rather the very act whereby any given reality actually is, or exists. Let us call this act a ‘to be,’ in contradistinction to what is commonly called ‘a being.’ It appears at once that, at least to the mind, the relation of ‘to be’ to ‘being’ is not a reciprocal one. ‘Being’ is conceivable; ‘to be’ is not. We cannot possibly conceive an ‘is’ except as belonging to some thing that is, or exists. But the reverse is not true. Being is quite conceivable apart from actual existence; so much so that the very first and the most universal of all the distinctions in the realm of being is that which divides it into two classes, that of the real and that of the possible. Whether or not an object is present in a set; that is, exists there as a being, is based on universal experience or evidence of it. Existing objects are present to the experience of anyone. It is a legitimate goal therefore for philosophers of being to try to find a principle or element a “something” accounting for the presence of the object over the other possibility, its non-presence. 

In Parmenides philosophy, he begins what he takes to a self-evident truth: “it is.” It is a truth of reason. It cannot be denied if you say, “it is not”, then you have proved that “it is;” for if nothing, it’s not nothing, rather it is something. Parmenides believed that being is rational; that only what can be thought can exist. Since “nothing” cannot be thought, there is no nothing, there is only being.

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C. Cogito Ergo Sum

Through reasoning there is a claim that cannot be doubted: when one contemplates one existence, it is not possible to have the slightest doubt that one does in fact exist (Cogito, Ergo Sum “I think therefore I am”); a philosophical Latin statement proposed by René Descartes.  The “I” in claim is not a physical person but an immaterial mind. The Cogito can only prove that “I think”. And he might just as well infer from it the existence of thought as the existence of I, one cannot be doubted that he thinks, therefore if you think, you are using your mind so your mind is existing.

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CHAPTER 3

ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION

Based on the data that the researchers gathered, the researchers cannot say that there is nothing because if there’s nothing, there will nothing to be explained or there’s nothing to be communicate. If a man thinks, there will be a something that can explain or can communicate with, in contradiction to the philosophy of Gorgias that “Nothing exists; Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others. Even if it can be communicated, it cannot be understood.” So if it’s true that it cannot be understood, therefore there’s no use for him to have a philosophy of nothing because he use to know that there will no knowledge to be understood. For this reason, there’s no sense of having a teacher, professor, philosopher, orator etc. if there will no way of understanding. In this case, he himself is having a non-sense philosophy of nothing because the value of a word, phrase, sentence or a paragraph is based on its knowledge that we can get from it.

By the justification of Being of Parmenides, even the things that come into your mind is existing, even if it’s not existing the present time, it is existing in your mind. We can say that the mind is place where those specific things you think exist. “It is” it is a truth of reason. It cannot be denied if you say, “it is not”, then you have proved that “it is;” for if nothing, it’s not nothing, rather it is something. Parmenides believed that being is rational; that only what can be thought can exist. Since “nothing” cannot be thought, there is no nothing, there is only being.

And based on the responses of the philosophers about Existence, few of them were actually believe that there can exist. One of them is Rene Descartes perspective. The cogito(mind) can exist through thinking. It more proves that a person is existing by knowing that his mind I existing because whenever you think, you are existing.

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