I assume there are three separate
and different things: features of reality that are or were the case; what we believe and know about them; and what we say about them, which, in classical logic, may be true or false.
question is this: what and where are so-called abstract things, and in what way do they exist?
(Objects and entities are more up-market than things. But then – what
and where are abstract objects? In what way do abstract entities exist?)
Pending an answer that avoids equivocation or question-begging, here are some thoughts.
1 To define a thing is to describe it, which we may do in different ways. So, if there are abstract things, to define them is to describe them.
2 We cannot name or describe a thing into or out of existence. Outside language, the existence and nature of things have nothing to do with language.
3 Pending evidence
for the existence of abstract things, belief that they exist is irrational. (Abstract things are remarkably like supernatural things.)
4 Belief that abstract things exist may come from the ancient
and pervasive delusion that what we call abstract nouns are names of things which, therefore, do or may exist.
5 The claim that abstract things are concepts in minds explains nothing.
Concepts and minds are just more abstract things. A dog chasing its tail needs to re-think the premise.
6 Descriptions of abstract things – such as being, truth, knowledge, justice, beauty
and identity – in short, the stuff of philosophy – are fictions about fictions.
7 Like metaphors, fictions can both have their uses and lead us astray. Talk about minds, and mental
things and events, is an example.
8 Philosophy is talk about abstract things. But all we can do is explain the ways we do or could use signs in general, and certain abstract nouns and their cognates