Does "nothing" exist?

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Anthrobus
 
Reply Mon 1 Dec, 2008 03:30 pm
@The Dude phil,
this kind of existence (say in my mind) can stretch from the existence of unicorns to the "logical" existence of non-being...Did you just speak of CONSTRUCTIONS for non-existence: I should think that you mean the unthinkable notion of the possible, or conceivable idea that non-being could or would have construction, or even de-construction, and which could or would be its equal and exact opposite...
 
Whoever
 
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 09:56 am
@Anthrobus,
Quote:
we should not simply assume that naive realism is true, we have to prove it...could NOTHING ponder its own proof of itself?...

No. I am not suggesting that nothing exists. Even scepticism depends on nihilism being false. Nothing could ever ponder its own existence, not least because it wouldn't exist. I was suggesting that Buddhist doctrine is true, and that things do not exist in the way we usually think they do. I thought you were suggesting something along the same lines. The Something-Nothing dichotomy would be a category error, as it was for Kant, Hegel and Bradley

Anthrobus wrote:
we should not simply assume that naive realism is true, we have to prove it...could NOTHING ponder its own proof of itself?...

Of course we all know that we can ponder our own existence. I was pointing out, since it is often forgotten, that this is not something we can demonstrate in physics or philosophy. Consequently, if we want to investigate whether naive realism is true we must ponder our own existence.

In Three Roads to Quantum Gravity physicist Lee Smolin writes this.

"When we imagine we are seeing into an infinite three-dimensional space, we are falling for a fallacy in which we substitute what we actually see for an intellectual construct. This is not only a mystical vision, it is wrong."

In fact this vision of an infinite three-dimensional space would not only be fallacious and wrong, if it is, it would also be exactly the opposite of a mystical one.
 
Anthrobus
 
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 11:17 am
@The Dude phil,
"When we imagine we are seeing into an infinite three-dimensional space, we are falling for a fallacy in which we substitute what we actually see for an intellectual construct. This is not only a mystical vision, it is wrong...NOTHING WITH DIMENSIONS could or would ever be infinite...that's the first problem I conceive with this statement...LENGHT...BREADTH...HEIGHT..are these the dimensional constructs?...if they are then they indicate one thing only, and that's the location of an indivisible point; that is, and namely, wherein they transect, and that most certainly would not be three dimensional...and as to where the notion of a mystical vision comes from...I just don't know, except that it has been imposed on the potential conceiver...
 
danmac
 
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 08:03 am
@The Dude phil,
if you were to define nothing as a lack of something then nothing does not exist as how can you say that something does exist if that thing is the non existence of something.
although, a similar question, does shade exist? it is really just a lack of light. therefore, if shade does "exist", nothing must also "exist".
although again, the idea of nothing is a man made concept, like time, so really, as long as there is man, there is nothing
 
Whoever
 
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 10:20 am
@Anthrobus,
Anthrobus wrote:
"When we imagine we are seeing into an infinite three-dimensional space, we are falling for a fallacy in which we substitute what we actually see for an intellectual construct. This is not only a mystical vision, it is wrong...NOTHING WITH DIMENSIONS could or would ever be infinite...that's the first problem I conceive with this statement...LENGHT...BREADTH...HEIGHT..are these the dimensional constructs?...if they are then they indicate one thing only, and that's the location of an indivisible point; that is, and namely, wherein they transect, and that most certainly would not be three dimensional...and as to where the notion of a mystical vision comes from...I just don't know, except that it has been imposed on the potential conceiver...

I don't think a false vision can actually be imposed on us, but other than that I agree completely.
 
Anthrobus
 
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 06:01 pm
@danmac,
danmac wrote:
if you were to define nothing as a lack of something then nothing does not exist as how can you say that something does exist if that thing is the non existence of something.
although, a similar question, does shade exist? it is really just a lack of light. therefore, if shade does "exist", nothing must also "exist".
although again, the idea of nothing is a man made concept, like time, so really, as long as there is man, there is nothing



YOU'VE OPENED A DISCUSSION: on LIGHT here. The thing is though, SHADE is not NOTHING, because then LIGHT would have to be EVERYTHING, But LIGHT is not EVERYTHING...therefore SHADE must be a complement to LIGHT, the question is how such a complement could or would arise...also NOTHING could or would not ever be defined as a lack of something, because then it would be complementary, and nor could it be defined as a LACK of EVERYTHING, because then it would be defined by its own LACK. The LACK itself would then have to be something...open...
 
lakeshoredrive
 
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 06:39 pm
@The Dude phil,
Well, I don't think anyone has said anything about this, but I think that nothingness is only a contrast to somethingness. Like hot and cold. 'Hot' means nothing when it is not compared to 'cold', so for 'nothing' to have any meaning, it must be contrasted to 'something'.

Alan Watts explains it better here: NOTHINGNESS
 
Bonaventurian
 
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 09:01 pm
@The Dude phil,
The Dude wrote:
I've been debating this subject for some time with a lot of people and I've always taken the view that "nothing" does not exist. No matter where you are in the universe their is something.

One example that always gets asked is about space. If you take a small parcel of space in any given place in the universe their still is "something" because the way I see it their are gamma rays, light rays, etc. Even if "nothing" did exist you would have to witness it through something, which means that it is not nothing since the nothing would be in the presense of something.

Does this make sense? Any ideas? Is it a valid argument?


Read Parmenides' poem. See fragment 2 in particular:

Quote:
5 The other, how it is not and how it is necessary [for it] not to be,

6 This indeed I indicate to you to be an all-not-inquirable-into straight track:

7 For neither would you know what is not (not-being) - for that is not accomplished -

8 Nor would you indicate it.


Nothing neither is nor can be spoken of. It doesn't make sense to say "What-is-not is," does it? That's a blatant contradiction.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 04:45 pm
@Bonaventurian,
Bon has the right idea;

The mere construction of the question renders the question unanswerable.
 
Mykael Deschain
 
Reply Thu 25 Dec, 2008 04:27 pm
@Zetherin,
I apologize if this has already been covered but...

The way that I understood it is that the nothing is in place because it is needed for the something to exist. Therefore if nothing did not exist than there would be no need for something in the first place.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 05:31 pm
@xris,
I believe that all of this talk of nothing and something is a matter of human perception. For example, would you consider quantum particles to be nothing? You probably would, seeing that the particles are not material, but does that mean that the particles are nothing simply because they are not material particles? Not to mention the fact that all matter is built upon atoms and atoms are built upon quantum particles (or energy).

There are some things that simply cannot be explained, either because it is beyond our physical reach or the answer doesn't physically exist. No matter how many answers we get we will always have a new question for the answer, because we are abstract thinkers. It is likely that the ultimate mystery will forever be a mystery.
 
Kielicious
 
Reply Sun 28 Dec, 2008 03:49 am
@lakeshoredrive,
lakeshoredrive wrote:
Well, I don't think anyone has said anything about this, but I think that nothingness is only a contrast to somethingness. Like hot and cold. 'Hot' means nothing when it is not compared to 'cold', so for 'nothing' to have any meaning, it must be contrasted to 'something'.

Alan Watts explains it better here: NOTHINGNESS



Id have to agree with lakeshore. Nothingness is always in comparison to somethingness. Likewise, somethingness is always in comparison to nothingness. You cant have one without the other. A dichotomy if you will...
 
Anthrobus
 
Reply Mon 29 Dec, 2008 05:59 am
@Kielicious,
Kielicious wrote:
Id have to agree with lakeshore. Nothingness is always in comparison to somethingness. Likewise, somethingness is always in comparison to nothingness. You cant have one without the other. A dichotomy if you will...



NOTHINGNESS: is non-comparative. The problem here is that people cannot get their heads around the fact the BEING nee SOMETHING must define itself...
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 29 Dec, 2008 09:37 am
@Anthrobus,
Again, I want to stress that the mere conjuration of the thought of "Nothing" brings about an idea of something. Nothing IS non-comparative, and the mere question: "What is nothing" renders the question unanswerable; any answer would be something. Therefore, something and nothing is not a dichotomy at all - in an effort to categorize we construct this opposite, which is always something.

In lamen's terms, if you even ponder the idea of nothing, you're already wrong.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 29 Dec, 2008 10:02 am
@Anthrobus,
Anthrobus wrote:
.


Are you asking whether nothing exists? Obviously not. Some things exist. For example, there is a pair of old socks in my drawer. On the other hand, nothing exists in another drawer in the same chest of drawers. That drawer is empty, so nothing exists in that drawer. However, "nothing" does exist, since "nothing" is a word, and the word, "nothing" does exist. You can look it up in the dictionary.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 29 Dec, 2008 10:09 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
Are you asking whether nothing exists? Obviously not. Some things exist. For example, there is a pair of old socks in my drawer. On the other hand, nothing exists in another drawer in the same chest of drawers. That drawer is empty, so nothing exists in that drawer. However, "nothing" does exist, since "nothing" is a word, and the word, "nothing" does exist. You can look it up in the dictionary.


No, you're completely wrong, and this is the miconception. When you pictured your drawer with socks in it, you thought of something. When you pictured your drawer without socks in it, you thought of nothing. STOP.

The absence of your socks in the drawer does not mean there is NOTHING in the drawer. It would be an empty drawer, with space, which is still something. You are applying an idea to nothing, which is the problem. Nothing does not exist, but the word does exists because we've created it; words do not objectively exist. You are trying to apply a dichotomy where a dichotomy does not exist. You are attempting to categorize a world which we cannot even fully comprehend.

Here's the closest you can ever get to nothing: Not being conscious.
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 29 Dec, 2008 10:17 am
@Zetherin,
If nothing existed it would be something as i and others have tried to explain....it needs alot of thought nothing..Its not an empty box there is no box.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 29 Dec, 2008 03:43 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
No, you're completely wrong, and this is the miconception. When you pictured your drawer with socks in it, you thought of something. When you pictured your drawer without socks in it, you thought of nothing. STOP.

The absence of your socks in the drawer does not mean there is NOTHING in the drawer. It would be an empty drawer, with space, which is still something. You are applying an idea to nothing, which is the problem. Nothing does not exist, but the word does exists because we've created it; words do not objectively exist. You are trying to apply a dichotomy where a dichotomy does not exist. You are attempting to categorize a world which we cannot even fully comprehend.

Here's the closest you can ever get to nothing: Not being conscious.


I agree with you Zetherin. The word nothing is just a result of human thought. Words do not exist as physical phenomena, but they do exist as epiphenomena, because they are a result of thoughts, and thoughts are secondary to the neurological process.
 
Whoever
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 06:25 am
@The Dude phil,
If we have decided that Nothing is a category error perhaps we could move on to what we mean by Something. Could this also be a category error?
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 06:49 am
@Whoever,
Whoever wrote:
If we have decided that Nothing is a category error perhaps we could move on to what we mean by Something. Could this also be a category error?
My immediate thoughts are no its not but that does not make the word nothing defunct...there are degrees of nothing and something..I thought we were discussing nothing not the word nothing...It can be an abstract concept or something..nothing..
 
 

 
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