# A possible solution to why is there something rather than nothing.

ACB

Fri 31 Jul, 2009 12:35 pm
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;80531 wrote:
But anything is a possible world if it is not logically contradictory. There is nothing contradictory about a world without anything at all( ie: nothing).

If you want a picture, then it ought to be the empty set. How many elements are in the empty set? zero. That approximating how i see the empty world.

Maybe we have different ways of learning about possible worlds. Explain to me what frame of reference mean in this context? I suspect you are the one imaging empty world as a world with space. In more technical terms, you are imagine a configuration space for a possible world, but i have never heard of such necessary condition for possible worlds.

I can understand the idea of an empty world or set as part of a larger, non-empty one. The empty set then contains nothing (i.e. does not contain anything) but is itself something. But I cannot see how a universal set can be empty, as there would be no larger set (frame of reference or configuration space) in which it could be something, i.e. exist. There would be nothing that could be pointed to and called a 'set' or 'world'. Even if a set or world is just an abstract concept, an abstract concept is still a thing.

kennethamy

Fri 31 Jul, 2009 03:50 pm
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;80531 wrote:
I am not advocating the view of Quentin Smith. What i can say is what i think of the matter. What i think is that nothing is a state of affair without anything at all. I sort of like Inwagen` s view that nothing is state of affair, or a possible world without anything at all.

Why not? nothing might not be a state of affair that obtain, but it is a state of affair. It is a state of affair that pigs can fly, and cows can sing. perhaps you have a problem with nothing as a state of affair because it has a lack of anything. If so, then what is the source of your bias. If not, then why can` t nothing be a state of affair?

Nothing is just a world without anything. You can see it as the empty set. The intersection of two worlds with no elements in common is the empty world. Circular implies that i could define a possible world into existence. That is incorrect, because if possible world exist, then they exist regardless of how i define it.

At some basic level, do you really not know? Ok, what about the word "empty". A empty world is a world that is empty. Now, this is not nothing, because it is empty. Is a empty world logically possible? if not, then what is it that makes the empty world not empty?

You see, i don` t see how nothing is a quantifier at all. Explain this to me.

I don` t see what "nothing p" amounts to.

---------- Post added 07-31-2009 at 10:19 AM ----------

But anything is a possible world if it is not logically contradictory. There is nothing contradictory about a world without anything at all( ie: nothing).

If you want a picture, then it ought to be the empty set. How many elements are in the empty set? zero. That approximating how i see the empty world.

Maybe we have different ways of learning about possible worlds. Explain to me what frame of reference mean in this context? I suspect you are the one imaging empty world as a world with space. In more technical terms, you are imagine a configuration space for a possible world, but i have never heard of such necessary condition for possible worlds.

---------- Post added 07-31-2009 at 11:09 AM ----------

I put some extra effort on the last post to make it perfect, so do reply.

I did not accuse you of following the views of Quentin Smith. I know nothing about him. But I don't know why he put quotes around the term nothing, and neither, I suppose, does he.

There can be bureau drawers without anything in them, but then, of course, there is the empty drawer itself. But what is a world without anything in it? An empty world? What does that mean? Worlds are understood in terms of what they contain; laws of nature, or mountains, or what not. But what can we understand by an empty world? What does it contain-yes, I know, it contains, nothing. But, nothing is not something.

"Nothing" is a quantifier. It is not a referential term. From the statement that there is nothing in the drawer, but a pair of old socks, we cannot infer that there are two things in the drawer, a pair of old socks, and nothing. There is still only one thing in the drawer. The interesting thing is that neither Smith nor Inwagen have the slightest concern that they might be talking nonsense.

"Philosophy is a constant battle against the bewitchment of the intellect by language". (Wittgenstein)

vectorcube

Fri 31 Jul, 2009 04:18 pm
@ACB,
ACB;80561 wrote:
I can understand the idea of an empty world or set as part of a larger, non-empty one..

Wait the moment. we can only go so far in seeing the empty world as an empty set. The analogy breaks down when we try to figure out what "the subset of every set contains the empty set" mean in terms of possible worlds. We are talking about worlds, and so there cannot worlds within worlds. This is purely my opinion/principle, and but i know people like nozick disagree( nozick use something like self-subsumptions, and the whole things looks way to complicate from my point of view.)

Quote:
The empty set then contains nothing (i.e. does not contain anything) but is itself something

Be very careful. This "something" means different things to different people. Some mathematical platonists think empty sets are abstract objects, and some mathematical nominalist disagree( Part of philosophy of mathematics).

This problem transfers to possible worlds. Some people think possible worlds are abstract objects, and some people think they are concrete objects.

Quote:
But I cannot see how a universal set can be empty, as there would be no larger set (frame of reference or configuration space) in which it could be something, i.e. exist.

Again, using sets to think of possible worlds only works if you know where the similarities, and where the differences lies. Seeing possible worlds as universal sets is not correct for possible worlds are not sets, or universal sets. They are different animals all together. Possible worlds under some interpretation are maximal possible ways the world could be. No where do we need to see each possible ways the world could be as a universal set, and i am not even sure that such an idea is a coherent one.

Quote:

There would be nothing that could be pointed to and called a 'set' or 'world'. Even if a set or world is just an abstract concept, an abstract concept is still a thing

I already addresses this elsewhere in this post. A recap is that sets are not possible worlds. If possible worlds are anything, then they much be accepted as primitives( Ie: They are distinct fundamental catagories than sets). To see them as sets can only go so far. What these possible worlds are is a matter of research( They could be concrete worlds, abstract objects or something else entirely).

---------- Post added 07-31-2009 at 05:41 PM ----------

kennethamy;80592 wrote:

Worlds are understood in terms of what they contain; laws of nature, or mountains, or what not. But what can we understand by an empty world?

I think you have a bias againist a state of affair that does not contain anything. I think this is entirely personal. In general, philosophers start with some basic intuition, and try to find a philosophical justification for such intuition. Your intuition say that there is no state of affair that does not contain anything. I disagree. I don` t really know how we could continue with this discussion if we cannot agree one basic intuition of what a empty world is.

Instead, let us ask a more basic question. How can we settle our dispute? One possible way is for us to agree one a set of philosophical principles( Ie: a set of primitives). Once such an agreement is established, then we can derive the coherence of the notion of an "empty world", and see if it makes sense. Do you have a problem with this approach?

Quote:
"Nothing" is a quantifier. It is not a referential term. From the statement that there is nothing in the drawer, but a pair of old socks, we cannot infer that there are two things in the drawer, a pair of old socks, and nothing. There is still only one thing in the drawer. The interesting thing is that neither Smith nor Inwagen have the slightest concern that they might be talking nonsense.

Ok. I see you are introducing nothing as a quantifier. That is great, and might serve as a nice starting point in another thread.

On the other hand, you might be saying nothing is the same as the logical constant "not". If so, then it is not obvious to me at all, and you can explain to me why they are equivalent.

kennethamy

Sat 1 Aug, 2009 06:34 am
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;80595 wrote:

Ok. I see you are introducing nothing as a quantifier. That is great, and might serve as a nice starting point in another thread.

On the other hand, you might be saying nothing is the same as the logical constant "not". If so, then it is not obvious to me at all, and you can explain to me why they are equivalent.

What else is the function of the word, "nothing" than as a quantifier? That you and others want to make it a name doesn't mean that it is a name. Words have meanings, and they mean what they mean, not what any particular individual decides the word means.

"Nothing" does function as "not" does. For instance, "there is nothing in my drawer" is equivalent to, "There isn't anything in my drawer". "Nothing" functions as a negation. Not as a name. Not even when Porgy sings, "Oh, I've got plenty of nothing, and nothing's plenty for me".

ValueRanger

Sat 1 Aug, 2009 08:25 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;80685 wrote:
not what any particular individual decides the word means.

"not" is equally a modifier/quantifier as "nothing".

Just as "metaphysics" measures the range from softer (software) thought to harder (hardware), physical coalescence, Sustainable Language needs to be a universal education.

Set theory: something contains nothing in the set. Nothing is less of that something, or it is categorically imperative to Proportionally align the sequitur, according to hierarchical need*.

*The simple philosophy of 'cause no harm', has an equal and opposite container philosophy called 'Value-Added Theory'. VAT is easily mappable to causal physics, such as mathematical progressions that the forces of physics are. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is topological (conForms) to Sustainable Philosophy, as equally as ethical individual trajectories.

For further education and self-exploration, study the topology, set theory, and VAT entries in Wikipedia. It is our intent to facilitate a more eloquent bridging of these causal factors.

vectorcube

Sat 1 Aug, 2009 10:43 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;80685 wrote:
What else is the function of the word, "nothing" than as a quantifier?

I am asking you. You said it is a logical constant, so prove it to me. I don` t understand why you would turn around and ask me the same question i ask you.

Quote:
That you and others want to make it a name doesn't mean that it is a name. Words have meanings, and they mean what they mean, not what any particular individual decides the word means.

I am not sure what that particularly mean? I think you have a weird notion that the "meaning"( whatever it is ) dictates how people ough to think. This is obviously wrong. What is right is the other way around. We start with intuition, and trying to justifiy that intuition. You can say i am wrong, but al least my view is at least a coherent view. You view on the other seems to think the meaning impost itself onto the user( strictly one diretional).

Quote:

"Nothing" does function as "not" does. For instance, "there is nothing in my drawer" is equivalent to, "There isn't anything in my drawer".

like i said, you better start a new thread, and argue your point. You could also give me a link to a book, and that would work also. This is to show that "nothing" function as "not". This is only the beginning! You still have a long way to go to "convince" me. Let me make you a list:

1) show nothing is the same as the logical constant "not" ( by reference to a book or starting a new post( that you, you end us convincing me)

2) explain the incoherence of a world without anything.

Note that it is issue 2 which is the main interest of this thread, and not number 1.

3) explain the relavance of 1 to 2.

You better start you work! You have a long way to go.

Important: In your next post, i want you to give me a outline what you want to do. You need to do all 1, 2 and 3 to make your case. I will constantly refer back to the plan.

kennethamy

Sat 1 Aug, 2009 12:03 pm
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;80722 wrote:
I am asking you. You said it is a logical constant, so prove it to me. I don` t understand why you would turn around and ask me the same question i ask you.

I am not sure what that particularly mean? I think you have a weird notion that the "meaning"( whatever it is ) dictates how people ough to think. This is obviously wrong. What is right is the other way around. We start with intuition, and trying to justifiy that intuition. You can say i am wrong, but al least my view is at least a coherent view. You view on the other seems to think the meaning impost itself onto the user( strictly one diretional).

like i said, you better start a new thread, and argue your point. You could also give me a link to a book, and that would work also. This is to show that "nothing" function as "not". This is only the beginning! You still have a long way to go to "convince" me. Let me make you a list:

1) show nothing is the same as the logical constant "not" ( by reference to a book or starting a new post( that you, you end us convincing me)

2) explain the incoherence of a world without anything.

Note that it is issue 2 which is the main interest of this thread, and not number 1.

3) explain the relavance of 1 to 2.

You better start you work! You have a long way to go.

Important: In your next post, i want you to give me a outline what you want to do. You need to do all 1, 2 and 3 to make your case. I will constantly refer back to the plan.

I will certainly obey your instructions. But in the interim, perhaps you will tell me what the term "nothing" in "there is nothing in my drawer" refers to. Does it imply that there is at least one thing in my drawer? If not, then why not?

vectorcube

Sat 1 Aug, 2009 12:20 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;80736 wrote:
I will certainly obey your instructions. But in the interim, perhaps you will tell me what the term "nothing" in "there is nothing in my drawer" refers to. Does it imply that there is at least one thing in my drawer? If not, then why not?

I really don ` t know what any particalar word mean in a sentence. How would we even find out?

What i know is what that particular sentence mean. That particular sentence mean:

1)
it is not the case that there exist at least one element in the drawer.

Where is "nothing" is 1?

Surely, you are not expecting me prove your case! Remember, you are the one that is to convince me that Nothing is the same as not.

kennethamy

Sat 1 Aug, 2009 04:09 pm
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;80742 wrote:
I really don ` t know what any particalar word mean in a sentence. How would we even find out?

What i know is what that particular sentence mean. That particular sentence mean:

1)
it is not the case that there exist at least one element in the drawer.

Where is "nothing" is 1?

Surely, you are not expecting me prove your case! Remember, you are the one that is to convince me that Nothing is the same as not.

How about answering my question? What does the word, "nothing" refer to in my original sentence. You do know what the word "drawer" refers to, don't you? I suppose you are a fluent English speaker. So you do know what a particular word refers to. The particular word, "drawer". So, since you think that "nothing" is also a referential term, and not a logical quantifier. you should be able to tell me what "nothing" refers to. In fact, I think you said it refers to absence, or something of the sort.

Actually, my view is that "nothing" is like "not", a sign of negation. What is your view of how the term, "nothing" functions. I think you indicated that it functions as a name. Didn't you.

"Nothing is in the drawer" is equivalent to, "Not anything is in the drawer". I think that is good enough to show that "nothing" functions like "not". (Not that it is the same as "not" since I have no idea what that would mean).

ACB

Sat 1 Aug, 2009 04:49 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;80816 wrote:
"Nothing is in the drawer" is equivalent to, "Not anything is in the drawer". I think that is good enough to show that "nothing" functions like "not". (Not that it is the same as "not" since I have no idea what that would mean).

Vectorcube has stated that "There is nothing in the drawer" means "it is not the case that there exists at least one element in the drawer". That seems to agree with your interpretation "not anything is in the drawer".

kennethamy

Sat 1 Aug, 2009 06:01 pm
@ACB,
ACB;80822 wrote:
Vectorcube has stated that "There is nothing in the drawer" means "it is not the case that there exists at least one element in the drawer". That seems to agree with your interpretation "not anything is in the drawer".

Yes. "Nothing" is not the name of something. The belief that it is, generates the question, why is there something rather than nothing? The idea that since "nothing" is a noun, it must be a referential term.

vectorcube

Sat 1 Aug, 2009 06:37 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;80816 wrote:
How about answering my question? What does the word, "nothing" refer to in my original sentence..

You asked for what what nothing "mean" in the previous post. This is a different question from what nothing refers to. Which is it? What do you want?

Quote:
So, since you think that "nothing" is also a referential term,

where?

Quote:
Actually, my view is that "nothing" is like "not", a sign of negation. What is your view of how the term, "nothing" functions. I think you indicated that it functions as a name. Didn't you.

I think nothing is a state of affair without anything. Do tell me why this is unacceptable to you.

Quote:
"Nothing is in the drawer" is equivalent to, "Not anything is in the drawer". I think that is good enough to show that "nothing" functions like "not". (Not that it is the same as "not" since I have no idea what that would mean).

To be honest. I am not convince. For the sake the argument, let say i am will to accept your premise. How is this relavant to an empty world? Why is an empty world impossible. You are getting more and more confusing.

ACB

Sat 1 Aug, 2009 08:04 pm
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;80843 wrote:
I think nothing is a state of affair without anything.

Then you are using "nothing" as a referential term. You are making it refer to a state of affairs.

Quote:
How is this relavant to an empty world? Why is an empty world impossible.

It is relevant because if "nothing" means "not anything", it is wrong to call it a "state of affairs without anything". It should be called "not a state of affairs". An empty world is therefore either (a) something, in which case it is false to equate it with nothing, or (b) nothing, in which case no existence can be attributed to it (because if it existed it would be a state of affairs, and hence something).

quandary

Sat 1 Aug, 2009 11:49 pm
@vectorcube,
Quote:
Explain this again. I don` t see why there is nothing to explain if there is nothing. There would still be why nothing, and not something. Thus, giving privilage to something.

No, the question (why nothing, and not something) wouldn't exist. There isn't anything. How could you explain something when (1) there is nothing to explain, (2) an explanation couldn't exist for what we are then dealing with wouldn't be 'nothing'.

Quote:
I don` t completely understand what you are saying here. I think you are saying there is something counterintuitive with the notion of a natural state. A state that do not need any explanation.

No, only that the existence of everything being an explanation for itself is counter-intuitive.

Basically, with everything you have everything to account for, you have everything that could have some sort of an explanation. Nothing has neither anything to account for nor accounting for itself.

Arif phil

Sun 2 Aug, 2009 01:28 am
@quandary,
Quote:
Why is there something rather than nothing?

The statement "there is nothing" cannot be "falsified". It cannot be shown by observation or experiments hence it is unscientific. The idea is expressed by Karl Popper.

vectorcube

Sun 2 Aug, 2009 03:11 am
@ACB,
ACB;80858 wrote:
Then you are using "nothing" as a referential term. You are making it refer to a state of affairs.

Let say nothing does refer. I don` t see what is the problem. It is not like nothing refers to a state of affair that obtains.

Quote:
It is relevant because if "nothing" means "not anything", it is wrong to call it a "state of affairs without anything".

Wait, i said nothing is a state of affair without anything. This is not the same as "not anything". This also means i equate nothing with an empty world that i think is logically possible. I use "nothing" for a particular purpose. Namely, to denote an empty world. I think an empty world is logically possible. I prefer to call nothing to refer to the empty world.

Quote:
No, only that the existence of everything being an explanation for itself is counter-intuitive.

What is counter-intuitive for one person might not be for another. I have no problem with things being an explanation of itself when it comes down to basic principles of metaphysics or the ultimate laws of nature. In general, you just don` t expect such idea to hold.

Quote:
Basically, with everything you have everything to account for, you have everything that could have some sort of an explanation.

This is confusing.

Quote:
Nothing has neither anything to account for nor accounting for itself.

Confusing.

---------- Post added 08-02-2009 at 04:19 AM ----------

quandary;80871 wrote:
No, the question (why nothing, and not something) wouldn't exist. There isn't anything. How could you explain something when (1) there is nothing to explain, (2) an explanation couldn't exist for what we are then dealing with wouldn't be 'nothing'.

The basic idea is that of natural state as being a state without any explanation necessary. I said if the state of affair with something is natural, then the existence of nothing begs the question of why there is there nothing, and not something.

Quote:
No, only that the existence of everything being an explanation for itself is counter-intuitive.

Obviously, not everything. I think somethings are 'explanatory ultimates', and thus, holds because it holds.

---------- Post added 08-02-2009 at 04:23 AM ----------

Arif;80876 wrote:
The statement "there is nothing" cannot be "falsified". It cannot be shown by observation or experiments hence it is unscientific. The idea is expressed by Karl Popper.

Well, alot of things are not falsifiable, but at least they are plausible. I cannot falsified the claim that the earth would end in the next minute, but that does not mean the claim is true.

ACB

Sun 2 Aug, 2009 06:20 am
@Arif phil,
Arif;80876 wrote:
The statement "there is nothing" cannot be "falsified". It cannot be shown by observation or experiments hence it is unscientific. The idea is expressed by Karl Popper.

Cannot be falsified? On the contrary; any observation or thought at all falsifies it. I have only to think something, and hey presto! - a thought exists, and "there is nothing" is thereby falsified. (Unlike scientific statements, it cannot be verified.)

Arif phil

Sun 2 Aug, 2009 06:53 am
@ACB,
ACB;80904 wrote:
Cannot be falsified? On the contrary; any observation or thought at all falsifies it. I have only to think something, and hey presto! - a thought exists, and "there is nothing" is thereby falsified. (Unlike scientific statements, it cannot be verified.)

Ok. What about the statement "God exists". Can one falsify this statement?

ValueRanger

Sun 2 Aug, 2009 12:13 pm
@Arif phil,
Arif;80907 wrote:
Ok. What about the statement "God exists". Can one falsify this statement?

Yes.

God, like any other object in space and time (of course that includes language objects), is in constant more-or-less flux. So, therefore, God is more or less true, and false.

Popper, like previous generations, has sequitured to our current evolutionary, philosophy set.

quandary

Sun 2 Aug, 2009 01:13 pm
@vectorcube,
Quote:
The basic idea is that of natural state as being a state without any explanation necessary. I said if the state of affair with something is natural, then the existence of nothing begs the question of why there is there nothing, and not something.

I'm not sure I understand this. I don't see how the natural state isn't begging the question: