Something rather than Nothing.

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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Serpent on August 29th, 2018, 6:42 pm 

ronjanec » August 29th, 2018, 4:56 pm wrote:
Maybe in the next life Serpent...we’ll know the why, and the reason for existence beginning in the first place(I personally do not believe in the no beginning ever existence concept): But I have given up trying to answer the same question in this life.

Gives you more time for barbeque and other pursuits with identifiable end-points.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby ronjanec on August 29th, 2018, 7:49 pm 

Serpent » Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:42 pm wrote:
ronjanec » August 29th, 2018, 4:56 pm wrote:
Maybe in the next life Serpent...we’ll know the why, and the reason for existence beginning in the first place(I personally do not believe in the no beginning ever existence concept): But I have given up trying to answer the same question in this life.

Gives you more time for barbeque and other pursuits with identifiable end-points.


True. But I am a terrible cook Serpent...so I will have to leave the barbequeing to others. But I will still keep an eye on this thread, in case someone comes up with something really interesting.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby DragonFly on August 29th, 2018, 9:37 pm 

Impossible ’Nothing’ means Eternal Existence Bedrock (has no opposite)

means no input into the Eternal (no design point)

means random Bedrock outputs, as like the quantum fluctuations

—> tiny stuff —> simple atomic elements —> stars —> supernova —> the rest of the atomic elements

—> molecules —> cells —> life
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby ronjanec on August 29th, 2018, 11:06 pm 

The concept of ‘no before’, may have been possible versus a also possible concept of Eternal Always Existence DF. Yeah I know, we have debated this point a number of times before in the past. :)
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby DragonFly on August 29th, 2018, 11:46 pm 

ronjanec » August 29th, 2018, 10:06 pm wrote:The concept of ‘no before’, may have been possible versus a also possible concept of Eternal Always Existence DF. Yeah I know, we have debated this point a number of times in the past. :)


So, then, perhaps random is equivalent to spontaneous, but the important point would be that the ability is eternal.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby ronjanec on August 29th, 2018, 11:52 pm 

DragonFly » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:46 pm wrote:
ronjanec » August 29th, 2018, 10:06 pm wrote:The concept of ‘no before’, may have been possible versus a also possible concept of Eternal Always Existence DF. Yeah I know, we have debated this point a number of times in the past. :)


So, then, perhaps random is equivalent to spontaneous, but the important point would be that the ability is eternal.


You lost me. Please reword this.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby DragonFly on August 30th, 2018, 12:02 am 

'spontaneous' = 'no before' = 'random.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby ronjanec on August 30th, 2018, 12:11 am 

DragonFly » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:02 pm wrote:'spontaneous' = 'no before' = 'random.


Let’s talk about this tomorrow DF. Good night.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 30th, 2018, 2:58 am 

Slightly more germane to the topic, here's Thomas Nagel on the anthropic principle (or a version thereof):

"One doesn't show that something doesn't require explanation by pointing out that it is a condition of one's existence. If I ask for an explanation of the fact that the air pressure in the transcontinental jet is close to that at sea level, it is no answer to point out that if it weren't, I'd be dead".


-- Thomas Nagel, "Mind & Cosmos", p95
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Braininvat on August 30th, 2018, 9:25 am 

Reminder:

Topic is set by OP.

Evolution chat goes in either SCF, or Philosophy of Science threads.

Religion goes in....Religion forum.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby ronjanec on August 30th, 2018, 9:29 am 

DragonFly » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:02 pm wrote:'spontaneous' = 'no before' = 'random.


I of course understand and agree with the first part, but the ‘random’ and ‘eternal’ applications here are still going over my head?
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby davidm on August 30th, 2018, 9:50 am 

Having just read a bunch of posts that appear to have been scrubbed or moved, I wanted to address one point. My use of the term “counterfactual actualities” was challenged.

More precisely, I should have said “possible but non-actual worlds,” or simply “counterfactual worlds,” both of which have strict definitions in the possible-worlds heuristic of modal logic. But the term “counterfactual actualities” is germane to the work of David K. Lewis, who maintained that all counterfactual worlds are actual worlds, but only to their inhabitants; i.e., actuality, like here-ness and now-ness, is an indexical, a matter of perspective. If Lewis is right, all logically possible but counterfactual worlds exist, but are actual only to their inhabitants (and counterfactual to us, in this world). Further, if Lewis is right, it seems we have a philosophical proposal for why something exists, rather than nothing: In his ontology, all logically possible worlds necessarily exist. Since it is logically possible that something exists rather than nothing, something must exist (indeed, all logically possible states of affairs must exist, under this ontology).

This also means that at some possible world, it's true that I actually am (or, strictly, a modal counterpart of me is) a "lying hypocritical scum." It's just not true at this world. ;-)
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby davidm on August 30th, 2018, 10:21 am 

Braininvat » August 30th, 2018, 7:25 am wrote:Reminder:

Topic is set by OP.

Evolution chat goes in either SCF, or Philosophy of Science threads.

Religion goes in....Religion forum.


Not a complaint, mind, just an observation.

It’s not always easy to discretely compartmentalize these sorts of discussions. Questions of science, philosophy and religion are prone to inevitably overlap, particularly when the topic is as broad as “why is there something rather than nothing?” Philosophy is germane here, religions is germane, science is germane, even a particular kind of science, evolutionary biology, is germane, as one can ask, as a subset of the OP, “why are there species rather than no species?” (it is logically possible that there be only one species) or one can ask, “why is there life, rather than no life?” (as it is logically possible that no life at all should exist).

The discussion I read this morning, which now seems to have vanished, was really, to me, quite entertaining and illuminating (well, specifically, I found mitchellmckain’s posts to be so, but then that is to be expected, since I agree with him on pretty much everything). I even enjoyed the inventive invective hurled my way. :-)

Again, not complaining, merely suggesting that with a topic as broad as this one, perhaps a little more leeway should be given for the side roads that inevitably meander off the main highway.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby ronjanec on August 30th, 2018, 10:43 am 

“There must have been a ‘reason’ or ‘why’ in retrospect for all existence to have begun”. This was something very interesting that I came up with here before I finally gave up trying to answer this terrible question(I don’t want anyone to think that I am a quitter without putting up one heck of a fight!);

Almost always, the words ‘reason’ or ‘why’ require a pre-existing cause of some kind before the same. event that someone is talking about. I personally have come up with the only exception to this same rule, and can’t remember anyone else ever pointing this out.

Yes, part of the reason I am mentioning this is to ‘toot my own horn’(and so would you if you personally came up with something this original), but the other reason is this makes the ‘existence began with no pre-existing cause option’ a lot easier to stomach, instead of someone saying “any reason or why for an event happening always requires a pre-existing cause of some kind, so existence could not have had a beginning then”. ”Ergo, existence has always existed”.

Martin Heidegger is very famous for asking the same op question(or a slight variation), and despite rambling on about this for almost an entire book(‘An Introduction to Metaphysics’’), that stupid Nazi never really came up with anything worthwhile in his book to help us decide which option is true here(or again, existence having a beginning?, or existence having no beginning?) Sorry, I’ll try to stop bragging now. :)
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby ronjanec on August 30th, 2018, 11:12 am 

Sorry Biv: But I have to agree with some of what davidm just said here. This is a very unusual topic, and can rightly veer off into religion and some of the other subjects he mentioned.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 30th, 2018, 11:33 am 

davidm » August 30th, 2018, 10:50 pm wrote:
This also means that at some possible world, it's true that I actually am (or, strictly, a modal counterpart of me is) a "lying hypocritical scum." It's just not true at this world. ;-)


Hahahahahahaah!!!

See? You do have a sense of humor!

Oh, why can't we be like this all the time, chaps?
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Braininvat on August 30th, 2018, 11:36 am 

David:

Normally, I have been the mod who will encourage some meandering. The offtopic posts, in this case, were accompanied by personal attacks which (you read the guidelines when you joined, right?) are not allowed at SPCF. And, this may be the crux, quite a few were concerned with ANOTHER THREAD and the disputes and insults traded over there. Debate on evolutionary biology, and its critics, can certainly be resumed in those threads.

The OP here takes on a philosophic question of basic ontology. We have a wide variety of threads, and this permits a certain focus in particular topics. Since existence is an aspect of, well, everything, it would be of course incredibly easy to bend a thread on existence towards almost any question of how and what things are. We do have a forum where one could meander over many disciplines and toss in whatever intellectual hobbyhorse we wish to - it's called Odds and Ends. This is a forum that doesn't flag new posts, which indicates what the guy who built this place (BioWizard) considered the value of such threads.

Note that the author of this thread, Hyksos, has mostly disappeared. That's because his topic was largely drowned in all these sidebars. If it's okay with the current participants, I can just give up and move this to Odds and Ends. Or, seeing as the chat seems to be moving back to the basic ontological question of the OP, leave it here. With the understanding that you REVEAL to other readers, through sound exposition, that your interlocutor is a "lying hypocritical scum," but you can't call him/her that. We forbid name-calling, and there are good reasons for that.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby BadgerJelly on August 30th, 2018, 11:41 am 

Odds and Ends is synomymous with “metaphysics and epistemology” isn’t biv?

;)
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Braininvat on August 30th, 2018, 11:44 am 

Heh. Don't forget eschatology! (ends)
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby ronjanec on August 30th, 2018, 11:50 am 

“lying hypocritical scum”?! Wow, that’s really harsh! I’m sorry, but I can’t help laughing at this one Biv! :)
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 30th, 2018, 12:00 pm 

Hey, if the OP dies of a Creationist-induced heart attack or something, can we talk shite in his thread forever?
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Braininvat on August 30th, 2018, 12:00 pm 

Never said I was against humorous banter, or other forms of humorous insult. (that stuff isn't true ad hominem, so most mods ignore it) Carry on, you mangy motherfuckers!
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Braininvat on August 30th, 2018, 12:01 pm 

Reg_Prescott » August 30th, 2018, 9:00 am wrote:Hey, if the OP dies of a Creationist-induced heart attack or something, can we talk shite in his thread forever?


Isn't that what you do anyway?
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 30th, 2018, 12:02 pm 

Braininvat » August 31st, 2018, 1:00 am wrote:Never said I was against humorous banter, or other forms of humorous insult. (that stuff isn't true ad hominem, so most mods ignore it) Carry on, you mangy motherfuckers!


hahahahahaaahahahahaahah!!!!!

You're a lot more fun than the previous owner.

I'm in stitches here, BiV :)
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 30th, 2018, 12:03 pm 

Braininvat » August 31st, 2018, 1:01 am wrote:
Reg_Prescott » August 30th, 2018, 9:00 am wrote:Hey, if the OP dies of a Creationist-induced heart attack or something, can we talk shite in his thread forever?


Isn't that what you do anyway?



Tu quoque, motherfucker

:)
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby davidm on August 30th, 2018, 1:21 pm 

Is nothing metaphysically or even logically possible?

What follows are not intended as fully formed arguments, but thinking somewhat of the top of my head, and heavily involve linguistics. It may take someone expert in the linguistic turn of philosophy in the 20th century to explicate their strong or weak points.

It might be tempting to suppose we already have an example of nothing, co-existing with something: empty space. But of course space is not really empty — it’s an arena teeming with particles, virtual particles, forces and fields — and, per Einstein, it has topological and geometrical properties. All of this means that “empty” space is very far from “nothing.”

But suppose it really were empty — no forces, no fields, no particles, no geometric structure. We can imagine, without logical contradiction, such a state of affairs, while also imagining that structures, such as planets or stars, existed within this “nothingness” (although the actual physical realities in a universe in which space lacked all the properties enumerated above is difficult to imagine. Stars and planets may not be possible in such a revised ontology.)

But if we imagined a world in which space literally had no properties at all, yet within that space there still existed objects like stars or planets, we run into a contradiction. For in such a world, space still has at least one property: It constitutes the separation between objects.

Can nothing have at least one property? It is difficult to see how.

But suppose we now remove all the objects. Now “nothing” is no longer paradoxically defined as “the separation between objects” because the objects do not exist. So we observe this state of affairs, and say, “this is nothing.”

But if we observe this state of affairs, and describe it, there is still something — the observer.

Now we remove the observer. Have we truly achieved nothing at last? Well, if we have, it follows that no one can ever observe or experience nothing, for if they can, then there is something rather than nothing: an observer.

I suspect the concept of “nothing” is a relative, non-absolute, contextual and linguistic device. If I want to find out what is in a jar, I open it, and if I discover no object in the jar, I say, “there is nothing in the jar.”

But this “nothing” is contextual, not absolute. It depends on the existence of the jar, and the observer, and language that includes the concept of “nothing,” and a descriptive word for that concept.

I begin to suspect that the question “why is there something rather than nothing” cannot be answered because the question is invalid. It would be the same category error as asking what caused the universe to exist. As I mentioned earlier (which is nothing original with me), it may only be valid to ask what causes objects within the universe to exist, but not to ask what caused the universe as a whole to exist. If we were to have an explanation of what causes everything in the universe to exist, then we have answered all that requires asking.

It is still possible to conceive an absolute Nothing, while keeping in mind that such a condition could never be experienced, described or reported, because for that to happen there would have to be an observer, which is something and not nothing. But even without a describer, could Nothing be described in principle? Now here comes the linguistic muddle, for it seems to me that if we can describe some situation even in principle, then it’s something and not nothing. How would we describe, even in principe, Nothing? The property of having no properties? But that is still a property! Or maybe it is a meta-property, but that is still something rather than nothing.

It may be that every description of Nothing is logically self-refuting -- indeed, any attempt to describe nothing presupposes something to be described, and this could be a hint that Nothing is logically impossible. On the other hand, it could just attest to the limitations of language, and of our conceptual schemes. I am inclined to quote Daniil Kharms:

There was a red-haired man who had no eyes or ears.
Neither did he have any hair, so he was called red-haired theoretically.

He couldn't speak, since he didn't have a mouth. Neither did he have a nose.

He didn't even have any arms or legs. He had no stomach and he had no back and he had no spine and he had no innards whatsoever. He had nothing at all!

Therefore there's no knowing whom we are even talking about.

In fact it's better that we don't say any more about him.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 30th, 2018, 1:24 pm 

Thank God we cleared that up.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 30th, 2018, 1:28 pm 

"Whereof one cannot speak; thereof one must STFU"
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 30th, 2018, 1:29 pm 

FFS, ladies and gentlemen. Do we really expect an answer to "why is there something rather than nothing"?

Take my wife

Please
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby BadgerJelly on August 30th, 2018, 1:44 pm 

Davidm -

I’ve tried to start up a discussion before about the different forms of antonym. There is “something” because there is “nothing”. They are peculiar forms of antonym, or rather the concepts upon which the term “antonym” is derived.

The question of “Why is there something rather than nothing?” to me is only an opening into the machinations of language and how loose conceptions (abstract or otherwise) help develop ideas.

I was trying to put this to Hyksos. I mentioned Husserl because he, unlike Heidegger, stopped short of getting into hermeneutics and simply focused on phenomenon. In this sense the terms “something” and “nothing” have a felt experiential “weight” to them, yet they are not something we can articulate with much precision unless we’re to apply them abstractly to mathematical language.

If I am not mistaken Husserl goes in depth on this topic in “Logical Investigations,” but that is more of an assumption as I’ve not got round to reading it just yet - later in the year I hope. I’ll also be getting into Kripke too by then I hope, but his stuff isn’t top of my todo list.
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