This is an interesting question that caught my fancy after reading some material while doing a Google search. I am sure many of us have heard the concept that some opposites are really only absences while others are specific. But does any real opposite truly exist? The dictionary has a simple definition of opposites as the reverse of something. What do they mean by reverse? For me, true opposites would be things that share no properties with each other. They would also have to be the reverse of each other by nullifying themselves when added to each other. I would say that in reality no such things exist but that opposites are a aspect of language.
For something to exist, it has to do so either in the material world(aspects or matter) and, perhaps, in the mind(abstract concepts). Men and women are not really opposites. They are matter in the material world but they do share many properties together.
Temperature is an aspect of the material world without being matter but while some say cold is simply an absence of heat and cold does nullify heat and vice versa, both are just subjective ways of looking at the aspect of temperature or perhaps energy.
What of positive and negative numbers? This is questionable. Numbers exist only as a concept in the mind and negative numbers less so. You can imagine a 2 foot stick but can you imagine a -2 foot stick? Of course the positive and negative numbers themselves do nullify each other and are imaginable which is why I say this is questionable.
In the material world, so many things are called opposites but they share the same properties. What then, you may ask, prevents matter and antimatter from being opposites? I am less sure of this since I have little knowledge of science. The case for being opposites seems strong. Matter is made up of particles and antimatter is antiparticles. They also nullify each other. The only thing I can think of is that the particle and antiparticle share the same mass.
The ultimate problem is that I say true opposites must not share any properties but without at least one linking aspect how can it be correlated as the opposite of the other? This may simply be an issue of my idiotic way of defining what a true opposite is however. By that definition a rock and happiness could be opposites. However, those two don’t nullify each other. I would love to hear your ideas.