THE SPREAD MIND
Why our experience and the object we experience are one

Step 3: Existence is relative

An entity exists only if it is the actual cause of some further effect. This means that the conditions for the existence of something are not absolute but relative to some further physical system.

Example 1. A scrap of metal is a key only if it opens a lock. The existence of the key as a key is relative to the existence of the lock more exactly, it is relative to the process in which the key will actually unlock the lock. In short, its existence is contingent.

The above is not a functionalist view. According to functionalism, a key is function performed by the scrap of metal. In contrast, according to Spread Mind, the key is a key only when it opens a lock. The scrap of metal lying forgotten in a dusty drawer is just a scrap of metal.

Since all causal processes require time, everything exists only relatively to some future contingent event, place and time. Here, "contingent" means that it might or might not happen.

Everything is what it is only relatively to some further event.

Riccardo Manzotti, January 27, 2015 (revised November 6)