Instigator / Pro
10
1516
rating
9
debates
55.56%
won
Topic
#2709

# The statement "Santa Clause doesn't exist" is false.

Status
Finished

The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
0
9
Better sources
4
6
Better legibility
3
3
Better conduct
3
3

Death23
Tags
Parameters
Publication date
Last updated date
Type
Standard
Number of rounds
3
Time for argument
Two days
Max argument characters
10,000
Voting period
One month
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Open
Contender / Con
21
1553
rating
24
debates
56.25%
won
Description

-Resolution- The statement "Santa Clause doesn't exist" is false.

Wagyu's burden of proof = The statement "Santa Clause doesn't exist" is false.
Contender's burden of proof = The statement "Santa Clause doesn't exist" is true.

-General Rules-
1. No new arguments in the last round
2. Since this is a thought experiment, sources are not essential
3. Burden of Proof is shared

Round 1
Pro
#1
Wagyu's burden of proof = The statement "Santa Clause doesn't exist" is false.
Contender's burden of proof = The statement "Santa Clause doesn't exist" is true.

I thank my opponent, Death23 for accepting this debate. I will hop straight into my argument.

==

Vocabulary and it's purpose

The job of a name within a sentence is to pick out someone or something. For example, if I said "Wagyu is smart",  what I say is true when the person the name "wagyu" refers to has the property of being tall, and false otherwise.

When we return to the case of Santa, and hear claims such as "Santa Clause" does not exist, we can inwardly laugh. If Santa Clause doesn't exist, and this statement is true, we arise at a contradiction. As we have established prior, the purpose of a name in a sentence is to pick out an object so that one can then go on to say something about it. However, to say that "Santa Clause" isn't real is to say that the name doesn't pick out anyone. This leads us to conclude that "Santa Clause" cannot do its job within the sentence. In which case, the sentence "Santa Clause doesn't exist" cannot be true. Santa Clause must refer to something, after all. And this something, even if it's just an idea, exists.

How can "Santa Clause doesn't exist" be true if the job of the name "Santa Clause" within a sentence is to refer?

Pre-emptive rebuttal

If my opponent were to say that "Santa Clause doesn't refer to a person but does refer to something: it refers to our concept of Santa Clause", this won't suffice either. The reason is that our concept of Santa Clause does exist, so "Sant Claus does not exist" would be false.

Conclusion

This is a question which continues to confuse philosophers to this day, and I will be very surprised if you can debunk it.
Con
#2

Definition of exist in English:
intransitive verb
• 1 Have objective reality or being.
‘there existed no organization to cope with espionage’
Santa doesn't exist because Santa doesn't have objective reality or being. This is the first entry in the dictionary for "exist" and is the usual and ordinary meaning of the word.

Pro is confused because in philosophy and some other contexts there is a special meaning for "exist" that is more fundamental. This special meaning is a different sense of the word "exist" than the plain and ordinary meaning.

There are two competing definitions for exist at play here. The usual and ordinary meaning, which favors myself, and the special meaning from philosophy, which favors Pro.

You should vote on this debate using the usual and ordinary meaning for two reasons. First, the usual and ordinary meaning of a word is the default starting point. It is unfair to depart from the plain and ordinary meaning of words unless there is evidence that the parties intended to depart from it. No such evidence is present here. This principle is supported in contract law. See, for example, California Civil Jury Instruction No. 315:

You should assume that the parties intended the words in their contract to have their usual and ordinary meaning unless you decide that the parties intended the words to have a special meaning.

The second reason you should vote according to the usual and ordinary meaning is that it's implicated by the context. "Santa Clause" falls in to a category of popular fictions like the tooth fairy, the lochness monster, big foot, and aliens, etc. When the existence of any one of these fictions is discussed, it is whether or not the object has any objective reality or being that is of interest. The technical philosophical usage of "exist" is meaningless in such a discussion. Ergo, the usual and ordinary meaning is apt and implicated.
Round 2
Pro
#3
Well that was all very interesting.

==

Foreword

I am surprised to say that none of my claims have been rebutted. Nevertheless, I shall readdress my conclusion which I have drawn from my first argument at a later stage.

==

Rebuttal & Restating my argument

As most of your claims are a product of you misunderstanding what I am saying, I shall restate my argument whilst addressing your rebuttals on the go.

My claim is that the purpose of a name in sentence is to pick something out.  If Santa Clause doesn't exist, and this statement is true, we arise at a contradiction. As we have established , the purpose of a name in a sentence is to pick out an object so that one can then go on to say something about it. However, to say that "Santa Clause" isn't real is to say that the name doesn't pick out anyone. This leads us to conclude that "Santa Clause" cannot do its job within the sentence. In which case, the sentence "Santa Clause doesn't exist" cannot be true. Santa Clause must refer to something, after all. And this something, even if it's just an idea, exists.

To put it in points, consider the following.

P1. The job of a name is to pick something out
C1. This "something" exist, even if it is just in ones imagination

P2. The job of the name "Santa" is to pick something out.
C2. Santa exists, even if it is just in ones imagination.

The definition non-existent is as follows.

Something that is non-existent does not exist or is not present in a particular place:

Of course, even my opponent admits that "Santa Clause" falls in to a category of popular fictions. As this "popular fiction" exists, then surely Santa, being the main character of this particular fictional story, exists.

If it is not clear enough already, my belief is that "Santa Clause exists as an idea/thought", I do not believe in a physical Santa Clause delivering presents. But the later does not need to be proved in order for me to satisfy my BoP. If I can prove that "Santa Clause exists as an idea", then we can conclude that, since my ideas exist, Santa clause must therefore also exist.

If we revisit my opponents BoP, being The statement "Santa Clause doesn't exist" is true we can conclude that they have a very difficult job on their hand. If the statement was indeed true, then what does Santa Clause refer to? (This is not rhetorical)

Santa doesn't exist because Santa doesn't have objective reality or being.
Clearly, this is not true. As I have already demonstrated, the word "Santa" must address something in a sentence, or else it does not have a use. It is impossible to address something as "non-existent" as mentioning it in a sentence already brings it into existence. I think you are confusing the word "exist" and "real". The definition of exits is to, as you have said, "to have objective reality or being", while the definition of real is actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed. The key difference is that for something to be "real", it needs to be outside of ones imagination and thought. Something can exist without it being physically there.

There are two competing definitions for exist at play here. The usual and ordinary meaning, which favours myself, and the special meaning from philosophy, which favours Pro.
Please tell me what meaning I am using.

==

Conclusion

I have presented a case, of which went unrefuted by my opponent, which demonstrates how "Santa Clause" is real. Though the conclusion may sound absurd, the confusion mainly comes from those who don't acknowledge the difference between something being of existence and something  which is real. To exist is to simply be, in any form whether it be on a table or in someone's minds. To be real is to restrict anything which is a product of imagination.

I have shown how the word "Santa"  must refer to something, as that is the nature of the English language. Names are given to address things, whether these things be people or imaginative ideas. Nevertheless, even my opponent has admitted that Santa falls in a category of fiction, therefore demonstrating that it is a thought which has been conveyed to ink.

For instance, consider the Harry Potter series. One would hardly say that Harry "doesn't exist", because the fact is he does. He exists in our imaginations. He exists as a fictional character. He isn't just nothing. It would be more reasonable to say that the Harry Potter, as a human being of whom can wield a wand, is not real

Unless my opponent can somehow "Santa isn't in my imaginations", then

Vote Pro
Con
#4
Pro's argument is predicated entirely on using the word "exist" within the resolution in a manner that is substantially different from the usual and ordinary meaning of the word. Pro claims that imaginary Santa counts. That doesn't count as existing under the usual and ordinary meaning. The following text clearly illustrates Pro's thinking:

If it is not clear enough already, my belief is that "Santa Clause exists as an idea/thought", I do not believe in a physical Santa Clause delivering presents. But the later does not need to be proved in order for me to satisfy my BoP. If I can prove that "Santa Clause exists as an idea", then we can conclude that, since my ideas exist, Santa clause must therefore also exist.
It is obvious that Santa exists as an idea, but when you say that something exists - without any further qualification - then the objective, non-imaginary existence is implicated.

There is no evidence that the parties intended to use the special meaning of "exist" prior to debate acceptance. You should vote on this debate according to the usual and ordinary meaning of the word "exist" for the reasons I stated in round 1. There is no reason to use Pro's meaning of the word "exist".
Round 3
Pro
#5
Well that was all very interesting.

==

Rebuttals and recap

I have to say, I was disappointed by my opponents reply, as they failed to address my argument and also failed in addressing the questions I posed to them. They claim that

Pro's argument is predicated entirely on using the word "exist" within the resolution in a manner that is substantially different from the usual and ordinary meaning of the word.
and yet they cannot point to what definition I have used. I even stated in my last argument that

The definition of exits is to, as you have said, "to have objective reality or being", while the definition of real is actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed. The key difference is that for something to be "real", it needs to be outside of ones imagination and thought.

If I remember correctly, this is the definition that you provided, and I even stated that I agree with this definition and am willing to debate around it. Sadly, you chose to ignore this fact.

It's rather disappointing that
1. You accuse me of using the sketchy definition in my own favour
2. After being called out that I am in fact using your definition, ignore the point I have raised.
3. Left all my questions to you unrebutted.
4. Left my whole argument unrebutted.
I stated that

If the statement was indeed true, then what does Santa Clause refer to?

And this was dropped by my opponent.

I constructed the following

P1. The job of a name is to pick something out
C1. This "something" exist, even if it is just in ones imagination

P2. The job of the name "Santa" is to pick something out.
C2. Santa exists, even if it is just in ones imagination

And this too was dropped by my opponent.

I stated that

the purpose of a name in a sentence is to pick out an object so that one can then go on to say something about it. However, to say that "Santa Clause" isn't real is to say that the name doesn't pick out anyone. This leads us to conclude that "Santa Clause" cannot do its job within the sentence. In which case, the sentence "Santa Clause doesn't exist" cannot be true. Santa Clause must refer to something, after all. And this something, even if it's just an idea, exists.

And this went uncontested, thus dropped

==

Opponents concession

It is obvious that Santa exists as an idea
If Santa exists as an idea, and my idea exists, well then Santa exists in my mind then doesn't he. I urge voters to consider this concession from my opponent whilst casting a vote.

==

Conclusion

To those who may hesitate whilst deciding who to vote on this debate, I will clear up any hesitations.

My BoP was to prove that "The statement "Santa doesn't exist" is false. I have shown that the purpose of names in a sentence is to draw out a subject. If the statement is true, then a contradiction arises, being that the name doesn't pick anyone out. It is grammatically impossible to use a name without referring to someone or something. In the case of Santa, the name is assigned to a fictional character of whom exists in my mind and in stories.

It is clear that, as I have stated last round, my opponent has mixed up the word "exist" and "real". Everything exists. Absolutely everything. The tooth fairy exists as an idea, the lochness exists as an idea, big foot exists as an idea and God exists as both an idea and a physical being to some. But the challenging question is not if they exists in the mind of the deluded, but if these things are actually real

Unless my opponent can prove that Santa doesn't exists as an idea... oh wait

It is obvious that Santa exists as an idea
Death23
We can conclude that the most sensible vote would be to vote pro.

Sincerely,
Wagyu
2/01/2021
Con
#6
Pro has to show that Santa Clause exists. That'sthe resolution. That's what this debate is about. I can drop Pro's argumentsall day long and still win because Pro admits that Santa Clause does not exist.Pro's contention that Santa existing as an idea within his mind counts isfalse. That is not what it means to exist. When you say that aliens exist, youmean that they exist in the physical world, outside of your mind. In otherwords, that they have objective reality or being.

Pro admits that Santa Clause has no objective,physical existence. That is a concession. This debate is over.