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

vectorcube

Mon 10 Aug, 2009 05:11 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;82384 wrote:
What now is that you have been refuted.

Refute what? What have you refuted? If you mean i have exposed the tricks you use to talk with people, then yes.

ACB

Mon 10 Aug, 2009 06:26 pm
@vectorcube,
Vectorcube - You have postulated an empty world, and stated (in post #54) that it is a logical possibility. But the mere postulation of something (e.g. Heaven, or a separate universe, or a universe with different fundamental particles or forces) does not automatically make it a logical possibility. The question is whether EW really is a possible world, and I don't think you have yet demonstrated that. Here are a few thoughts:

1. Is EW similar to a null set, or is that a false analogy?

2. Is a "state of affairs without anything" the same as the absence of a state of affairs? If not, what is the difference?

3. If a state of affairs is something, how is this compatible with absolute nothingness?

vectorcube

Mon 10 Aug, 2009 09:59 pm
@ACB,
Quote:

Vectorcube - You have postulated an empty world, and stated (in post #54) that it is a logical possibility. But the mere postulation of something (e.g. Heaven, or a separate universe, or a universe with different fundamental particles or forces) does not automatically make it a logical possibility.

Becareful here. Something is logically impossible if it` s denial involves a contradiction, but there is no contradiction in a EW at all. Since, EW is not logically impossible, then EW must be logically possible. Therefore, EW must be a possible world.

Quote:

The question is whether EW really is a possible world, and I don't think you have yet demonstrated that.

There are two fine distinctions here.

1). Is EW consistent with our notions of non-empty possible worlds?

2) Can EW be domonstrated by prove?

The answer to 1 is yes.
The answer to 2 is no. I suspect it is not obvious why it is no. If you do not see it, then i will explain.

Quote:
1. Is EW similar to a null set, or is that a false analogy?

It is fundamental wrong to make such analogy, because they are both fundamental entities in their own right.

Quote:
2. Is a "state of affairs without anything" the same as the absence of a state of affairs? If not, what is the difference?

This is a metaphysically loaded question. The word "Fact" is sometimes defined as a "state of affair that obtains". Now, for anyone that buys into wittgenstein`s view that the world is the sum total of facts. EW would not be a world. By pain of contradicting myself, I would have to reject: "A world is defined by the sum total of facts".

Here is how i would see EW. EW is fundamental. This means we cannot analyze them by reducing them to stuff we already know. The postulation of the EW is used to solve problems, and that is itself a justification for EW.

Quote:
3. If a state of affairs is something, how is this compatible with absolute nothingness?

I have no idea what "absoluate nothingness" mean. What i know is my stipulation of the name 'nothing' in the context of this discussion. There is nothing vague about this matter.

Aedes

Mon 10 Aug, 2009 10:03 pm
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;79426 wrote:
The thought is that if Y is natural, and X deviates from Y, then there ought to be a force F that transform Y into X.
I don't buy this premise (or anything that follows hence).

This hinges upon the dubious idea that what you observe (X) is unnatural, but what you don't observe (Y) is natural. It is FAR more likely that we're wrong about Y than that we're right and a transformative force is somehow required. Occam's razor.

vectorcube

Mon 10 Aug, 2009 10:17 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;82439 wrote:
I don't buy this premise (or anything that follows hence).

This hinges upon the dubious idea that what you observe (X) is unnatural, but what you don't observe (Y) is natural. It is FAR more likely that we're wrong about Y than that we're right and a transformative force is somehow required. Occam's razor.

Well, basically, you are denying 'nothing' is a natural state. Fair enough. In fact, i am of the opinion that there are no natural state at all.

BrightNoon

Mon 10 Aug, 2009 10:29 pm
@richrf,
It seems to me that the entire problem revolves around the human tendency to require a cause for every phenomenon. The question, 'why is there something rather than nothing?' does indeed seem to rest on the assumption that nothing is somehow more fundemental than something: i.e. that nothing preceeded something and is perhaps causal thereof. That erroneous assumption arises through the application of what we observe in ordinary life (one event leading to or causing another) to an abstraction. If one thing/event/phenomeon must always precede and cause another, then logically, some thing/event/phenomena has to preceed and be the cause of everything. However, if we are asking what preceeded or caused everything, that cannot be a thing in the same sense as the various things which we are collectively calling everything, because then it would be included in the group 'everything.' Therefore, we require something outside everything, something which is not a thing, and that is nothing. What is nothing? The logical antithesis of 'thing'. It does not exist, it's an abstraction, an ideal, and one without any sense. The word means nothing (no pun intended).

We can provide a logical antithesis of something else, e.g. unshirt (antithesis to shirt), but that word doesn't mean anything; the fact that we can formulate this antithesis doesn't mean that it actually refers to something in the same way that shirt does. Unshirt exists only insofar as it is a logical derivative of the concept shirt, which refers to something really existent.

So, why does something exist instead or nothing? Because 'nothing' is a meaningless term, a logical ghost, which refers to nothing that exists. It only exists (as a term or thought) in relation to something. Thus, as something must come before nothing (because 'nothing' is a just a logical antithesis of something), it is nonsensical to ask the question. Reworded, the question runs 'why does that-which-exists exist instead of not-what-exists?' with the phrase 'not what exists' literally having no meaning other than the term 'not' + 'what exists.' It's a language problem.

vectorcube

Mon 10 Aug, 2009 10:46 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;82441 wrote:
It seems to me that the entire problem revolves around the human tendency to require a cause for every phenomenon. The question, 'why is there something rather than nothing?' does indeed seem to rest on the assumption that nothing is somehow more fundemental than something: i.e. that nothing preceeded something and is perhaps causal thereof. That assumption arises an application of what we observe in ordinary life (one event leading to or causing another) to an abstraction. If one thing/event/phenomeon must always precede and cause another, then logically, some thing/event/phenomena has to preceed and be the cause of everything. However, if we are asking what preceeded or caused everything, that cannot be a thing in the same sense as the various things which we are collectively calling everything, because then it would be included in the group 'everything.' Therefore, we require something outside everything, something which is not a thing, and that is nothing. What is nothing? The logical antithesis of 'thing'. It does not exist, it's an abstraction, an ideal, and one without any sense. The word means nothing (no pun intended).

We can provide a logical antithesis of something else, e.g. unshirt (antithesis to shirt), but that word doesn't mean anything; the fact that we can formulate this antithesis doesn't mean that it actually refers to something in the same way that shirt does. Unshirt exists only insofar as it is a logical derivative of the concept shirt, which refers to something really existent.

So, why does something exist instead or nothing? Because 'nothing' is a meaningless term, a logical ghost, which refers to nothing that exists. It only exists (as a term or thought) in relation to something.

I think your answer is a perfectly rational one( ie: denying 'nothing' ), but I find it to be a deeply unsatisfying answer. Here is why!

When someone say "why X instead of Y". They are talking about "possible ways things could be". Why does the world contain this, rather than that. Thus, one has to look at it from the point of view of possible worlds. It seems to me that an empty world ( EW) is logically possible, because it` s denial does not contain any contradiction.

Krumple

Tue 11 Aug, 2009 04:06 am
@vectorcube,
I don't think this is a difficult question at all. Seems to me that reality is constantly shoving the answer in your face. The universe is from our perspective a duality. However within that duality there is a singleness. Such as we like to view temperature in two ways, either hot or cold, yet we logically know that hot and cold can be exchanged in relative ways. Some with all the polar opposites but the fundamental underlined link is that it is all actually one and the same thing, energy. That's it, simply that. The fact that we have consciousness is nothing extraordinary if you think about it in terms of energy. This doesn't in any way diminish life by saying that so don't get the wrong idea.

Now to suppose that the energy is for us, is a rather materialistic outlook and thinking everything is as it is just for you is nothing less than egotistical. So just for this split moment in the energy flow you get to have a minor experience to see the whole thing in another perspective. But it will not last for ever as nothing does. Deal with that, decide weather to accept it, but it's far more probable than any thing else.

Aedes

Tue 11 Aug, 2009 05:55 am
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;82440 wrote:
Well, basically, you are denying 'nothing' is a natural state.
Materially, "nothing" is the absence of "something". And our linguistic and metaphysical conceptions of "nothing" are distillations of our material experience.

Quote:
In fact, i am of the opinion that there are no natural state at all.
Because any possible state is as natural as any actual state?

kennethamy

Tue 11 Aug, 2009 06:07 am
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;82440 wrote:
Well, basically, you are denying 'nothing' is a natural state. Fair enough. In fact, i am of the opinion that there are no natural state at all.

Actually, "nothing" is a word. And to say that "nothing" is a natural state makes no sense, since how can the word, "nothing" be a natural state?

Maybe what you mean to say is that nothing is a natural state. But what that means is, that it is not the case that there are any natural states. Is that what you mean to say?

We really ought, at least, to distinguish between the word, "nothing", and the what it is supposed to refer to, if it can refer to anything; just as we distinguish between the word, "cat", and what the word "cat" refers to.

The issue is whether "nothing" is a referring word, like, "cat". Or whether it is a non-referring term like, "although". Does the word, "although" refer to anything? What is an although? Not all words are referring words.

Aedes

Tue 11 Aug, 2009 06:40 am
@vectorcube,
Right, and "nothing" is idiomatically interchangeable with "not anything".

"I found nothing" = "I did not find anything"

The opposite of "nothing" can be "anything", "something", or any particular thing.

vectorcube

Tue 11 Aug, 2009 03:08 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;82466 wrote:
I don't think this is a difficult question at all. Seems to me that reality is constantly shoving the answer in your face. The universe is from our perspective a duality.

Is it really a duality? Think about it. If a world is defined by the stuff in it, then a empty world would not be a world. If so, then where is the duality between something and nothing? Similarly, take the property of charge particles. There is a duality between positive change, and negative change. Do you think this duality is intricsic to the charge particle, or just a man-made convention? In this case, we cannot just expect to randomly naming something, because the charge nature of particles is instrinsic to the particle disregarding how we label it.

---------- Post added 08-11-2009 at 04:11 PM ----------

Aedes;82489 wrote:
Materially, "nothing" is the absence of "something". And our linguistic and metaphysical conceptions of "nothing" are distillations of our material experience.

Quote:

Because any possible state is as natural as any actual state?

Why not?

---------- Post added 08-11-2009 at 04:12 PM ----------

kennethamy;82491 wrote:
Actually, "nothing" is a word. And to say that "nothing" is a natural state makes no sense, since how can the word, "nothing" be a natural state?

Maybe what you mean to say is that nothing is a natural state. But what that means is, that it is not the case that there are any natural states. Is that what you mean to say?

We really ought, at least, to distinguish between the word, "nothing", and the what it is supposed to refer to, if it can refer to anything; just as we distinguish between the word, "cat", and what the word "cat" refers to.

The issue is whether "nothing" is a referring word, like, "cat". Or whether it is a non-referring term like, "although". Does the word, "although" refer to anything? What is an although? Not all words are referring words.

I don ` t talk to cheats.

kennethamy

Tue 11 Aug, 2009 03:14 pm
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;82606 wrote:
Is it really a duality? Think about it. If a world is defined by the stuff in it, then a empty world would not be a world. If so, then where is the duality between something and nothing? Similarly, take the property of charge particles. There is a duality between positive change, and negative change. Do you think this duality is intricsic to the charge particle, or just a man-made convention? In this case, we cannot just expect to randomly naming something, because the charge nature of particles is instrinsic to the particle disregarding how we label it.

---------- Post added 08-11-2009 at 04:11 PM ----------

Why not?

---------- Post added 08-11-2009 at 04:12 PM ----------

I don ` t talk to cheats.

You seem to be very excitable. Take a tranquillizer and calm down.

vectorcube

Tue 11 Aug, 2009 03:18 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;82496 wrote:
Right, and "nothing" is idiomatically interchangeable with "not anything".

"I found nothing" = "I did not find anything"

The opposite of "nothing" can be "anything", "something", or any particular thing.

I do think in the context of the question "why there is something rather than nothing", we are talking about "ways the world could be". Thus, we must invoke possible worlds. We might interpret the question as asking why we life in an non-empty, and not an empty world(EW). Since, EW is not logically contradictory, then EW must be a possible world.

kennethamy

Tue 11 Aug, 2009 03:24 pm
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;82610 wrote:
I do think in the context of the question "why there is something rather than nothing", we are talking about "ways the world could be". Thus, we must invoke possible worlds. We might interpret the question as asking why we life in an non-empty, and not an empty world(EW). Since, EW is not logically contradictory, then EW must be a possible world.

But if an empty world cannot be a world, because possible worlds are defined by what they contain, then an empty world is not a possible world, and, therefore must be a self-contradictory notion. QED

vectorcube

Tue 11 Aug, 2009 03:25 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;82609 wrote:
You seem to be very excitable.

Not excited at all. I don ` t see the value in talking with someone using tricks instead of real arguments. If you want to just "talk", then go find a girlfriend.

---------- Post added 08-11-2009 at 04:29 PM ----------

kennethamy;82613 wrote:
But if an empty world cannot be a world,

wrong! ( I don ` t give reasons to you).

ACB

Tue 11 Aug, 2009 03:37 pm
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;82610 wrote:
We might interpret the question as asking why we live in an non-empty, and not an empty world(EW).

The latter would be contradictory. A world cannot be empty if we live in it.

vectorcube;82610 wrote:
Since, EW is not logically contradictory, then EW must be a possible world.

Is this necessarily true? Must a thing be either logically contradictory or logically possible? Aren't there other alternatives? E.g. a concept can be ill-defined or incoherent, thus having no logical status at all.

BrightNoon

Tue 11 Aug, 2009 04:12 pm
@ACB,
Some people seem to be arguing that 'nothing' does exist in some fashion because is it possible-conceivable: i.e. that is exists as the very idea 'nothing.' 'Nothing' obviously then does not exist in the same way that 'something' exists: i.e. in actuality-reality. But may just be delaying the problem. What do actuality-reality on the one hand, and possibility-conceivability on the other, actually mean?

I think of the world as we know it (i.e. everything I refer to when I use the word 'world') as the sum of individual experiences, and that experience is divisible into two kinds, sensation and thought, but that those two kinds of experience differ only by degree. There is a hierarchy of them. First, there is visceral sensation. The first evaluation of one set of sensation in terms of another is the most primitive thought. Then comes the first evaluation of a thought in terms of another thought, which we might call the first meta-thought, and so on ad infinitum. So the distinction between 'actual' and 'possible-imaginary' is that the former refers to phenomena in the lower levels of the experiential hierarchy that are more bound to the present, and which in fact define what 'present' means; while the latter refers to phenomena in the higher levels of the hierarchy, which are less bound to the present, and increasingly timeless as they increases in complexity. Everything in the present is actual, while possibilities exist only in the non-present (among the higher orders of thought).

If we adopt this formulation, we can account for the difference between 'something' and 'nothing' phenomenologicaly, i.e. without having to reference an external reality that exists indpendent of our experience of it. And we can answer the question 'why should something exist instead of nothing?' by explaining that something and nothing exist in different ways.

Aedes

Tue 11 Aug, 2009 07:42 pm
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;82606 wrote:
What is the point of pontificating about nothingness unto itself? This is the realm where metaphysics descends into meaninglessness. Nothingness is only meaningful as a counterposition to something, anything. Taoism is THE philosophy of nothingness, and it is very self-consciously built on the something-nothing relationship.

kennethamy

Wed 12 Aug, 2009 01:06 am
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;82627 wrote:
Some people seem to be arguing that 'nothing' does exist in some fashion because is it possible-conceivable: i.e. that is exists as the very idea 'nothing.' 'Nothing' obviously then does not exist in the same way that 'something' exists: i.e. in actuality-reality. .

The fact that the idea of X exists, in no way means that X exists. The idea of unicorn exists. Unicorns do not exist. And, neither does it mean that the the idea exists in a "different way". Everything exists in the same way. In this case, the idea exists, but what it is the idea of, does not exist. Period. But, I don't think that even the idea of nothing exists. The word, "nothing" certainly does exists, but it does not follow that the idea of nothing exists. And if the best explanation that can be given of the notion of the idea of nothing is this explanation in term of an empty world, then the notion of the idea of nothing is in real trouble.