properties of 'nothing'

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tfus
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 05:26 am
In a conversation with a friend about meaning of our lives she came with an argument i cant estimate on value. She argued that life is worth living based on the idea of all individuals who will never exist..

So i thought about this group and wanted to qualify it to compare my existence to theirs ( the idea of it at least ). She said that is impossible because the group will never exist. So now it looks like a non-valid argument, but isn't that so due to the property not having any property? ( every property given to the group will make it to be an existing idea, which isn't the group she used as argument.)

The same thing happens when you think about nothing. Something with no properties, except that it has no property. A loop encountered much more often, i think.

So my question is: How to treat these concepts in logic, and what ways are there to use them in computer code?

PS: I'm not an expert in logic or computer-programming, am just looking for some guidance ( books / existing theories ) to help me think about this weird piece of reality.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 05:47 am
@tfus,
It was Aristotle who said that you cannot have a science of non-being, and he was correct.
 
tfus
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 06:00 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;168060 wrote:
It was Aristotle who said that you cannot have a science of non-being, and he was correct.


ok. true, but a problem arises when we know of something what IS non-being.
Maybe these loops are what Hofstadter wrote about in 'Godel, Escher and Bach'. I'm interested in other attempts to formulate this problem though.

any help is much appreciated
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 06:09 am
@tfus,
tfus;168055 wrote:
In a conversation with a friend about meaning of our lives she came with an argument i cant estimate on value. She argued that life is worth living based on the idea of all individuals who will never exist..

So i thought about this group and wanted to qualify it to compare my existence to theirs ( the idea of it at least ). She said that is impossible because the group will never exist. So now it looks like a non-valid argument, but isn't that so due to the property not having any property? ( every property given to the group will make it to be an existing idea, which isn't the group she used as argument.)

The same thing happens when you think about nothing. Something with no properties, except that it has no property. A loop encountered much more often, i think.

So my question is: How to treat these concepts in logic, and what ways are there to use them in computer code?

PS: I'm not an expert in logic or computer-programming, am just looking for some guidance ( books / existing theories ) to help me think about this weird piece of reality.


There are no individuals who will never exist. That is just a tautology. The proposition that something is such that it does not exist is a contradiction. You are attempting to talk about what does not exist as if it existed.

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by language (Wittgenstein).

---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 08:21 AM ----------

tfus;168065 wrote:
ok. true, but a problem arises when we know of something what IS non-being.
Maybe these loops are what Hofstadter wrote about in 'Godel, Escher and Bach'. I'm interested in other attempts to formulate this problem though.

any help is much appreciated


Since there is nothing which is non-being (whatever that may mean) we cannot know of it. I know that Martians do not exist, but that does not imply I know anything about Martians. There are no Martians to know anything about. There are no Martians even if there is the name, "Martian", for not all names have a bearer. To suppose that because there is a name there is something named (which does not exist!) is just fallacious. I can invent a name (say) "The Spaghetti Monster" (actually that name has already been invented) but how does that imply that there is a Spaghetti monster? It doesn't.

Here is the argument:
Suppose that every name had to have a bearer. Then to say of X that X does not exist would have to be a contradiction. But, that The Spaghetti Monster does not exist is not a contradiction. It is true. Therefore, it is false that every name must have a bearer. QED

---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 08:36 AM ----------

jgweed;168060 wrote:
It was Aristotle who said that you cannot have a science of non-being, and he was correct.


The trouble with that is that anyone who thinks that what does not exist exists anyway (but maybe in some sneaky way) will think that Aristotle was saying that there is something (non-being) of which there is no science, and he will want to know why there is something of which there is no science. So what Aristotle says, although true, may simply compound the confusion.
 
Humchuckninny
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 09:40 am
@tfus,
tfus;168065 wrote:
ok. true, but a problem arises when we know of something what IS non-being.
Maybe these loops are what Hofstadter wrote about in 'Godel, Escher and Bach'. I'm interested in other attempts to formulate this problem though.

any help is much appreciated


There are several ways to approach this. You could use Hume's approach to the unobserved and the critique of induction - something that does not exist is not observed, and simply because it is the contradiction of a proposition does not make it a valid entity. This is also Hume / Locke's rejection of the Cartesian proof of God (God is infinite, since I am finite I could not come up with the idea of infinite unless something infinite exists, etc.)

In short, there is no logical proof that such a concept as unborn people even exists. As kennethamy said, you are trying to make a value-comparison against something that doesn't exist.

To quote Kant, "reason seeks the unconditioned condition." If you wanted to, you might be able to make a case for these "individuals who never existed" as a concept of pure reason. These arguments are found in the Transcendental Dialectic in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 10:08 am
@Humchuckninny,
Humchuckninny;168107 wrote:


In short, there is no logical proof that such a concept as unborn people even exists. As kennethamy said, you are trying to make a value-comparison against something that doesn't exist.

.


"Something that does not exist" implies a contradiction, so unless there are contradictory concepts, there is no concept of something that does not exist. However, something that does not exist is not the same thing as unborn people. It may be empirically impossible for there to be unborn people, but it is not logically impossible. The notion of a kind of limbo for unborns does not imply a contradiction. And if a concept does not imply a contradiction then why should that concept not exist?
 
Humchuckninny
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 10:15 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;168113 wrote:
"Something that does not exist" implies a contradiction, so unless there are contradictory concepts, there is no concept of something that does not exist. However, something that does not exist is not the same thing as unborn people. It may be empirically impossible for there to be unborn people, but it is not logically impossible. The notion of a kind of limbo for unborns does not imply a contradiction. And if a concept does not imply a contradiction then why should that concept not exist?



The limits of language make it difficult to discuss "things" (which are not actually things) which do not exist. Either way, I am not in disagreement - I simply meant to refer to the initial idea of unborn people when I used the phrase "something that does not exist" - my mistake.

You are touching on exactly what I was talking about in reference to Kant's Transcendental Dialectic - those concepts which are empirically impossible but not logically impossible, such as morality, God, the immortal soul, etc. The concept may exist, but as nothing more than a concept.

What is meant by comparing the value of one's life to those individuals who will never exist? What type of comparison is this?
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 10:26 am
@Humchuckninny,
nothing has no properties
 
Humchuckninny
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 10:49 am
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;168121 wrote:
nothing has no properties


Nothing we can experience has no properties.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 10:55 am
@Humchuckninny,
Humchuckninny;168125 wrote:
Nothing we can experience has no properties.


True nuff indeed since we can't experience nothing
 
Humchuckninny
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 10:58 am
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;168127 wrote:
True nuff indeed since we can't experience nothing


And depending on your metaphysical point of view, sometimes the two statements can be identical.
 
Owen phil
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 04:35 pm
@tfus,
tfus;168055 wrote:


The same thing happens when you think about nothing. Something with no properties, except that it has no property. A loop encountered much more often, i think.

So my question is: How to treat these concepts in logic, and what ways are there to use them in computer code?

.


Russell's theory of descriptions deals with referring and non-referring terms.
See: On Denoting

For example: (all x)(Fx) -> F(the x:Gx), is not valid for all G, but,
(Exists(the x:Gx) & (all x)(Fx)) -> F(the x:Gx), is valid for all G.

That a described term is referring term is expressed:
E!(the x:Fx).
(the x:Fx) = (the x:Fx).
(some y)(y = (the x:Fx))
F(the x:Fx).
(some G)(G(the x:Fx)).
etc.

We can describe nothing as: (the x: ~(some F)(Fx))...the x such that it does not have a property.
In that case we can prove that (nothing)=(nothing) is contradictory etc.

Nothing is something, is contradictory.
There is no property that nothing has.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 05:24 pm
@Humchuckninny,
Humchuckninny;168125 wrote:
Nothing we can experience has no properties.


No. Experience has nothing to do with it. Nothing has no properties. Even if we cannot experience something, it may very well have properties. What is the argument for the proposition that only properties that we can experience exist?

---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 07:26 PM ----------

Humchuckninny;168128 wrote:
And depending on your metaphysical point of view, sometimes the two statements can be identical.


I guess you think that in the format of the slogan, one man's nothing is another man's something.
 
Humchuckninny
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 09:17 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;168277 wrote:
No. Experience has nothing to do with it. Nothing has no properties. Even if we cannot experience something, it may very well have properties. What is the argument for the proposition that only properties that we can experience exist?

---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 07:26 PM ----------



I guess you think that in the format of the slogan, one man's nothing is another man's something.


Experience has plenty to do with it, and I don't think you realize it, but we agree on your last three sentences. Nothing is not even an imaginable concept, due to the way our minds experience reality. There may be many more properties we cannot experience that exist, which is why "nothing" - that which has no properties we currently comprehend - may well have some properties.

My statement is giving a definition of nothing - that which cannot be experienced. Outside of space, time and the categories. Noumena. Thing in itself. There is no other comprehensible concept of nothing.

And no. My "slogan" is a distinction between idealists and realists in the conception of what exists outside of what we experience. Good guess though.
 
tfus
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 09:36 am
@Humchuckninny,
Humchuckninny;168125 wrote:
Nothing we can experience has no properties.


exactly! and i have to agree with above reply. But it does not solve the problem of that which has no properties.

in our mind these concepts can exist ( we can think of multiple groups of unknown quali- / quantifiable objects . so how they're different we don't know ), in reality there's only 1, 'nothing'. Now im trying to find a way to link these abstract concepts, (those without properties) with reality ( how to teach a robot about it ) by finding a way to distinguish between property-less-concepts, cause abstractly we know the difference between 'no-body' and 'no-where'. While logically i would say no-where is a place with only property 'nothing' ( the only thing without properties ( except this one ) ) ( as for nobody, somebody defined by nothing ) and live with the contradiction that i cannot send my robot to no-body no-where. I could tell him, if it would get a assignment like that to tell the assigner he can't, but how would he ever be more intelligent enough to function in society.

Maybe i'm searching for a description on how people understand 'nothing', and for that i will read. Thanks for the tips, Humchuckninny!
 
Owen phil
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 11:06 am
@tfus,
tfus;168587 wrote:
exactly! and i have to agree with above reply. But it does not solve the problem of that which has no properties.

in our mind these concepts can exist ( we can think of multiple groups of unknown quali- / quantifiable objects . so how they're different we don't know ), in reality there's only 1, 'nothing'. Now im trying to find a way to link these abstract concepts, (those without properties) with reality ( how to teach a robot about it ) by finding a way to distinguish between property-less-concepts, cause abstractly we know the difference between 'no-body' and 'no-where'. While logically i would say no-where is a place with only property 'nothing' ( the only thing without properties ( except this one ) ) ( as for nobody, somebody defined by nothing ) and live with the contradiction that i cannot send my robot to no-body no-where. I could tell him, if it would get a assignment like that to tell the assigner he can't, but how would he ever be more intelligent enough to function in society.

Maybe i'm searching for a description on how people understand 'nothing', and for that i will read. Thanks for the tips, Humchuckninny!


There is no common property of those things which have no properties.
There is no set that only contains non-existent things.

The present king of France does not have any properties.
The present king of USA does not have any properties.

There is some property F such that: F(the present king of France) & F(the present king of the USA), is false.

The present king of France is a member of the empty set, is false.

(the x:~(some F)(Fx)) = (the x:~(some F)(Fx)), is a contradiction.

We can't say what non-existent things are but, we can say what they are not.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 11:40 am
@Humchuckninny,
Humchuckninny;168582 wrote:
Nothing is not even an imaginable concept, due to the way our minds experience reality. .


I don't know what an imaginable concept would be, because I don't know how to tell whether a concept is imaginable. We really must get back to speaking English. I find philosophese too hard to follow. There is exactly as much of a concept of nothing as there is the concept of negation of which nothing, not, and it is not the case that, are instances. For instance, nothing is in the drawer, and it is not that case that anything is in my drawer, are just two ways of saying the same thing.
 
Self phil
 
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 01:41 am
@tfus,
Nothingness has the property of having no properties. Hence its a contradiction, hence many reject it. Parmenides, a Pre-Socratic Philosopher, and influence on Plato, is an interesting example.

Unborn people is not a non-existant concept, its an imaginary or fictional concept. In the strictest sense, anything you can think of exists, non-existance is outside of that set. Unborn people have the qualities of being people and being unborn, and unless you add additional criteria, these are the only qualities of them. As for what unborn and people entail, that's up for a lot of debate.

There are things which we would not call "real", but do exist. Superman is an example of this. If you jump off a building, you cannot reasonably expect someone to fly down and prevent you from dying. Still, that does not make superman non-existant, he certianly has defined qualities.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:54 pm
@Self phil,
Self;171640 wrote:
Nothingness has the property of having no properties. Hence its a contradiction, hence many reject it. Parmenides, a Pre-Socratic Philosopher, and influence on Plato, is an interesting example.

Unborn people is not a non-existant concept, its an imaginary or fictional concept. In the strictest sense, anything you can think of exists, non-existance is outside of that set.

I like this, generally. I would maybe push it this way a little. I think that "nothingness" exists conceptually as one of the emptiest concepts. As Hegel noted, nothingness and pure being are just about the same. It's pretty much just pure concept. It's still a unity. We think of nothingness and being as singular. So it is. And it is one.

But where is it? In what way does pure concept exist?Smile
 
setzer9999
 
Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2010 02:30 pm
@GoshisDead,
Had to edit... was asleep at the wheel and copy/pasted something incorrect from a word document I was typing this argument in to myself some months ago... but it was the wrong save version... I might have to work on that argument again if I can't find the more recent one hehe.
 
 

 
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