Does "nothing" exist?

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Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 07:14 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?


Personally, I don't think it just could be, I think it is! We know so little about what substance truly is, what 'being' truly is - we have no consistent, precise definition, as the word is ambiguous to us to begin with. Each consciousness constructs it's own time internally, creating it's own reality - a culmination of events. We have no objective stance from which to view! There's no third party we can observe transcending our consciousness. It's very apparent that what we perceive through any of our senses, including thought, is 'something' to us, however, it seems pretentious to just throw 'something' in a corner with a little categorical sign and call it a day, no? It's very possible that 'something' is not the 'everything' that we conclude, just as 'nothing' is equally as difficult for our minds to wrap around.
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 07:37 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
Personally, I don't think it just could be, I think it is! We know so little about what substance truly is, what 'being' truly is - we have no consistent, precise definition, as the word is ambiguous to us to begin with. Each consciousness constructs it's own time internally, creating it's own reality - a culmination of events. We have no objective stance from which to view! There's no third party we can observe transcending our consciousness. It's very apparent that what we perceive through any of our senses, including thought, is 'something' to us, however, it seems pretentious to just throw 'something' in a corner with a little categorical sign and call it a day, no? It's very possible that 'something' is not the 'everything' that we conclude, just as 'nothing' is equally as difficult for our minds to wrap around.
Ive got to disagree.We have plenty of something to comprehend whether it is real or not is not the problem of something..
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 07:41 am
@xris,
xris wrote:
Ive got to disagree.We have plenty of something to comprehend whether it is real or not is not the problem of something..


Yes, we do have plenty of "something" to comprehend, but the fact that each consciousness can perceive one thing in an entirely different manner, begs the question. We call it "something" as we can't define it... "something" has been a proverbial holding cell for that which we don't understand since the conception of the word! What we define as "something", is "something" to us, it is our personal truth, however, we can't then use this word "something" as part of a dichotomy, or even a categorization. Again, we have no objective stance from which to view! "Something" is too broad and ambiguous a term to just throw a categorical hat on and call it a day. "Being" varies wildly in interpretation, and yet we think we can so easily categorize "something" - how does that work?
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 08:02 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
Yes, we do have plenty of "something" to comprehend, but the fact that each consciousness can perceive one thing in an entirely different manner, begs the question. We call it "something" as we can't define it... "something" has been a proverbial holding cell for that which we don't understand since the conception of the word! What we define as "something", is "something" to us, it is our personal truth, however, we can't then use this word "something" as part of a dichotomy, or even a categorization. Again, we have no objective stance from which to view! "Something" is too broad and ambiguous a term to just throw a categorical hat on and call it a day. "Being" varies wildly in interpretation, and yet we think we can so easily categorize "something" - how does that work?
I thought this was a comparison to nothing not a philosophical something but a recognised something as opposed to a nothing..The universe can be explained as being something, undefined if you wish, but it is something whereas before the universe or beyond it, it could be said that nothing does not exist not even nothing.. Something may be too broad but it is something..
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 08:08 am
@xris,
xris wrote:
I thought this was a comparison to nothing not a philosophical something but a recognised something as opposed to a nothing..The universe can be explained as being something, undefined if you wish, but it is something whereas before the universe or beyond it, it could be said that nothing does not exist not even nothing.. Something may be too broad but it is something..


Again, you are warping and twisting the definition as you see fit, and that's the point. What is a recognized something? It's recognized by YOU! The point is we can't just apply an objective definition to an idea that is inherently subjective. And now you're applying a definition to "nothing" again, by saying it's opposite. We already went over this, there is no dichotomy.

We can dance around semantics with "something" and "nothing" all day long, but in the end we don't truly understand either.
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 08:17 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
Again, you are warping and twisting the definition as you see fit, and that's the point. What is a recognized something? It's recognized by YOU! The point is we can't just apply an objective definition to an idea that is inherently subjective. And now you're applying a definition to "nothing" again, by saying it's opposite. We already went over this, there is no dichotomy.

We can dance around semantics with "something" and "nothing" all day long, but in the end we don't truly understand either.
You can oppose the notion all day but i will insist for me there is a difference...Im not defining the something im stating you can have something and you can have nothing but you cant have a nothing..
 
Whoever
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 08:21 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
It's very possible that 'something' is not the 'everything' that we conclude, just as 'nothing' is equally as difficult for our minds to wrap around.

You may be heading for mysticism if this is your view, you will be horrified to learn. Here the idea that Nothing and Something are conceptual categories and not fundamental phenomena is orthodox. The second century Buddhist philosopher-sage Nagarjuna goes so far as to logically prove that for a fundamental analysis nothing really exists, not even Nothing. It remains to be seen whether philosophy or physics is capable of falsifying this result.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 08:25 am
@xris,
xris wrote:
You can oppose the notion all day but i will insist for me there is a difference...Im not defining the something im stating you can have something and you can have nothing but you cant have a nothing..


Yes, there is a difference to you, just as there is a difference to me. Because we've derived the terms with which to categorize, we've constructed the dichotomy in our own minds.
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 08:28 am
@Whoever,
So we cant conceive of something as it might be nothing..or nothing might be something..Ill sit on a toadstool and humm for an hour..get real folks we are talking about facts here not mystical probabilities..God may make an appearance on telly tonight but that would be something..
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 08:29 am
@Whoever,
Whoever wrote:
You may be heading for mysticism if this is your view, you will be horrified to learn. Here the idea that Nothing and Something are conceptual categories and not fundamental phenomena is orthodox. The second century Buddhist philosopher-sage Nagarjuna goes so far as to logically prove that for a fundamental analysis nothing really exists, not even Nothing. It remains to be seen whether philosophy or physics is capable of falsifying this result.


On the contrary, it doesn't border mysticism in the least. If anything, it's further consideration that only science will guide us to - we're on the right path with quantum physics, it appears. We need to strike deep into our fundamentals, and get our stagnants minds above this water of deception.

I understand they are conceptual categories, because that is what humans do! We conceptualize and categorize. This does not for a minute mean these two ambiguous terms form a dichotomy or that we will have a universal definition of "something" in the near future. That Buddhist philosopher is one of millions of people that have lived and died that have their own independent definition of "being".
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 08:31 am
@xris,
xris wrote:
So we cant conceive of something as it might be nothing..or nothing might be something..Ill sit on a toadstool and humm for an hour..get real folks we are talking about facts here not mystical probabilities..God may make an appearance on telly tonight but that would be something..


I have absolutely no clue where you're going with this. This has nothing to do with "God" or mysticism, and I don't know where that even came up.

I'm saying conceive as you will, but don't then apply YOUR conception to an objective definition; it just doesn't fly!
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 08:46 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
I have absolutely no clue where you're going with this. This has nothing to do with "God" or mysticism, and I don't know where that even came up.

I'm saying conceive as you will, but don't then apply YOUR conception to an objective definition; it just doesn't fly!
Why do you insist its my conception that is questioned but not yours? the comments on mystics was a general reply as it appears the improbabilities of something appear to be going into the realms of mysticism rather than facts..
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 08:51 am
@xris,
xris wrote:
Why do you insist its my conception that is questioned but not yours? the comments on mystics was a general reply as it appears the improbabilities of something appear to be going into the realms of mysticism rather than facts..


I'm saying it's all of our notions that should be questioned!!! From a conceptualize standpoint I understand using the terms "something" and "nothing", but like "nothing", I think "something" may be an idea we have an equally difficult time truly comprehending.

We brush countless words off daily that are just perceived as "givens", when they may be extremely complex. We just choose to stop contemplation at a certain level.
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 10:58 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
I'm saying it's all of our notions that should be questioned!!! From a conceptualize standpoint I understand using the terms "something" and "nothing", but like "nothing", I think "something" may be an idea we have an equally difficult time truly comprehending.

We brush countless words off daily that are just perceived as "givens", when they may be extremely complex. We just choose to stop contemplation at a certain level.
I appreciate your doubts about existance and the probabilities of somethings...but i still maintain you degrade the debate by saying the "nothing" is no different to something.I dont mind you doubting anything but for us to conceive of a nothing is not quit the same as conceiving something..there is no comparison..i see an apple fall from a tree..i dont see no apple falling from no tree..
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 12:13 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:
but i still maintain you degrade the debate by saying the "nothing" is no different to something.


I never stated that "nothing" is no different than "something". What I did say is that I do not believe there is a black and white dichotomy between the two concepts, and also that we don't truly grasp either.

xris wrote:
I dont mind you doubting anything but for us to conceive of a nothing is not quit the same as conceiving something


Basically we're talking on two different wavelengths here, and it's neither of our faults; we are bound by a limiting means of communication, language. I am not articulating my thoughts well enough for you to understand, and you are responding with comments that I've never rebutted previously. Let me try to clarify now: I am not saying that conceiving of "nothing" and "something" are the same, nor am I saying it's not easier to conceive of "something" - of course it is. I'm merely stating that I don't think we truly understand either concept, and apply a categorical index to both.

By you saying, "I don't see no apple falling from no tree" you're proving my idea. The mere fact that you've constructed this image of "nothing" in your mind, an opposite of the "something" you personally perceive, is the problem. Again, it makes sense why you do, we all do, but when critically considered we can begin to pave an understanding that states this: "We don't always know what we think we know." It's a bit hard for me to explain, and I'm obviously not quite a linguist. This is the best I can give you.
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 01:03 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
I never stated that "nothing" is no different than "something". What I did say is that I do not believe there is a black and white dichotomy between the two concepts, and also that we don't truly grasp either.



Basically we're talking on two different wavelengths here, and it's neither of our faults; we are bound by a limiting means of communication, language. I am not articulating my thoughts well enough for you to understand, and you are responding with comments that I've never rebutted previously. Let me try to clarify now: I am not saying that conceiving of "nothing" and "something" are the same, nor am I saying it's not easier to conceive of "something" - of course it is. I'm merely stating that I don't think we truly understand either concept, and apply a categorical index to both.

By you saying, "I don't see no apple falling from no tree" you're proving my idea. The mere fact that you've constructed this image of "nothing" in your mind, an opposite of the "something" you personally perceive, is the problem. Again, it makes sense why you do, we all do, but when critically considered we can begin to pave an understanding that states this: "We don't always know what we think we know." It's a bit hard for me to explain, and I'm obviously not quite a linguist. This is the best I can give you.
I totally agree its a difficult subject to talk about without misunderstanding creeping in..we must try harder..
 
Anthrobus
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 07:49 pm
@The Dude phil,
THE NON-EXISTENT {cannot be spoken of}...THE EXISTENT {can be spoken of}.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Wed 31 Dec, 2008 12:20 pm
@Anthrobus,
Anthrobus wrote:
THE NON-EXISTENT {cannot be spoken of}...THE EXISTENT {can be spoken of}.


Yes, that's the precisely the idea. Nicely put.
 
democritus
 
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 06:16 pm
@The Dude phil,
"Does "nothing" exists?"

YES, "nothing" exists as a notional being [concepts like zero or a ladder to the moon]

As also stated in the quotation below:
kennethamy wrote:
whether nothing exists? Obviously not. However, "nothing" is a word, and the word, "nothing" does exist.

NO, "nothing" does not exist as a material being [if we accept the existence of the universe and everything to do with the universe is made up of "atoms and void"] there is no possibility of not having material beings]

Here is the reasoning:

p1= if think=exists [true statement]
p2= if I=think . [true statement]
p3= then I=exist [sound argument]

p4= if I=exist [true statement]
p5= if I=atoms &void=material being [true statement - if accepting materialist view]
p6= then material beings=exist [sound argument]

p7= if existing=not nothing [existing is the absence of nothing - true statement]
p8= if material beings=exist . [true statement]
p9= then material beings=not nothing ["nothing" does not exist as material being- sound argument]

However, premise "p5" is conditional, such that: I=atoms &void=material being is a true statement only if accepting materialist view.

Suppose, materialist view found out to be wrong and all the material beings were actually made up of ideas, spirit or whatever it might be. We still have the existence of me and my ideas [like a ladder to the moon] and these ideas exist with me as notional beings.

p4= if I=exist [true statement]
p10= if my thoughts=notional beings [my thoughts are notional beings - true statement]
p11= if "nothing"=notional being . ["nothing" is a notional being - true statement]
p12= then nothing=exists ["nothing" exist as a notional being - sound argument

The Dude wrote:
"nothing" does not exist. No matter where you are in the universe their is something.

The confusion probably arises when we are actually questioning the "existence of the void [in space]" by asking the "existence of nothing"

Thanks
democritus
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 07:11 pm
@democritus,
Democritus, yes, that's exactly where the confusion lies. "Nothing", like "God", "City", "Country", can all have notional existence. However, with this particular word, "Nothing", we try to apply a dichotomy against "Something" (trying to label the void in space). Notionally, "Nothing" exists. Logically, to ask the question "Does nothing exist?" is to render the question unanswerable, as to conjure the notion of "Nothing" creates "Something".

I think we're all on the same page now. Thanks for your well-thought-out post - it can hopefully shed some light.
 
 

 
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