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Author Topic:   The Ultimate Question - Why is there something rather than nothing?
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 2563 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 316 of 366 (630032)
08-22-2011 3:23 AM
Reply to: Message 315 by PaulK
08-19-2011 6:52 AM


Another week; and yet more of nothing.
PaulK writes:
However, the declaration of brute fact, as you put it, has already answered that question. There is no reason, and if you want to argue that there MUST you'll be arguing against yourself and Grunbaum.
"There is no reason" is just another way of saying that the question (O.P. version) is unanswerable. No thing can be evoked to answer it, unlike the "contingent things" version, which can accept a theoretical necessary being.
Grnbaum isn't proposing that the question can be properly answered. He's questioning the question. He's claiming that it poses a "pseudo problem". (That's both versions of the question).
For analogy: "Why are there birds rather than angels?"
That's unanswerable, and suggests an alternative reality with angels flying around instead of birds. When we're seriously inquiring into the nature and origin of "birds", we don't need such a question.
A much better "ultimate question" might be something like:
"What exactly is the universe and why is it as it is?" That's unanswerable at the moment, and may always be, but at least we can explore it and improve on existing explanations
Do we really need to ask: "why does this reality exist rather than one of our fantasies?"
PaulK writes:
bluegenes writes:
"Necessity" could only be demonstrated in the context of "something world".
False. Since we are talking about logical necessity we CAN'T rely on the assumption of something existing without begging the question.
Well, exactly. That's another way of saying the same thing. That's why Leibniz refines the question into "why are there contingent things rather than no contingent things".
PaulK writes:
bluegenes writes:
I think you fail to see that the question says; "Why isn't there reality "y" rather than reality "x". How is it possible to demonstrate that "x" is "necessary" from inside it? How could you demonstrate that "y" couldn't have been?
If it is possible to demonstrate logical necessity (and remember that I argue it is not ) it is sufficient to show that "reality y" is logically inconsistent as Dr. A pointed out back in the OP.
Absolute nothingness (the "null world" of the O.P. version) forbids logical inconsistency, just as it forbids anything else (including "necessity").
Whether or not the O.P. version has built in unanswerability (I think it does - unless taken completely literally as I did earlier in the thread), Grnbaum's "pseudo-problem" point applies to both versions.
Edited by bluegenes, : typo - wrong word!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 315 by PaulK, posted 08-19-2011 6:52 AM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 317 by IamJoseph, posted 08-22-2011 5:24 AM bluegenes has replied
 Message 321 by PaulK, posted 08-22-2011 8:15 AM bluegenes has replied

IamJoseph
Member (Idle past 3754 days)
Posts: 2822
Joined: 06-30-2007


Message 317 of 366 (630048)
08-22-2011 5:24 AM
Reply to: Message 316 by bluegenes
08-22-2011 3:23 AM


Re: Another week; and yet more of nothing.
A good way to view this is that something and nothing are post-universe duality counterparts, whereby one part cannot exist without the other part. There is no something or nothing pre-universe. 'THING' is a corporeal entity and limited to this finite realm.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 316 by bluegenes, posted 08-22-2011 3:23 AM bluegenes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 318 by bluegenes, posted 08-22-2011 5:33 AM IamJoseph has replied

bluegenes
Member (Idle past 2563 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 318 of 366 (630049)
08-22-2011 5:33 AM
Reply to: Message 317 by IamJoseph
08-22-2011 5:24 AM


Re: Another week; and yet more of nothing.
IamJoseph writes:
A good way to view this is that something and nothing are post-universe duality counterparts, whereby one part cannot exist without the other part. There is no something or nothing pre-universe. 'THING' is a corporeal entity and limited to this finite realm.
Ah! Right. That's that sorted, then.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 317 by IamJoseph, posted 08-22-2011 5:24 AM IamJoseph has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 319 by IamJoseph, posted 08-22-2011 7:01 AM bluegenes has replied

IamJoseph
Member (Idle past 3754 days)
Posts: 2822
Joined: 06-30-2007


Message 319 of 366 (630052)
08-22-2011 7:01 AM
Reply to: Message 318 by bluegenes
08-22-2011 5:33 AM


Re: Another week; and yet more of nothing.
Sure that's that. But if you want to go complicated, I'll take you on.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 318 by bluegenes, posted 08-22-2011 5:33 AM bluegenes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 320 by bluegenes, posted 08-22-2011 7:36 AM IamJoseph has replied

bluegenes
Member (Idle past 2563 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 320 of 366 (630057)
08-22-2011 7:36 AM
Reply to: Message 319 by IamJoseph
08-22-2011 7:01 AM


Re: Another week; and yet more of nothing.
IamJoseph writes:
But if you want to go complicated, I'll take you on.
You could start by explaining what "pre-universe" means.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 319 by IamJoseph, posted 08-22-2011 7:01 AM IamJoseph has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 322 by IamJoseph, posted 08-22-2011 8:27 AM bluegenes has replied

PaulK
Member
Posts: 17838
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 321 of 366 (630059)
08-22-2011 8:15 AM
Reply to: Message 316 by bluegenes
08-22-2011 3:23 AM


Re: Another week; and yet more of nothing.
quote:
"There is no reason" is just another way of saying that the question (O.P. version) is unanswerable. No thing can be evoked to answer it, unlike the "contingent things" version, which can accept a theoretical necessary being.
Giving an answer rather disproves the claim that the question is unanswerable. Aside from that you're really only repeating points that I've already made.
quote:
Grnbaum isn't proposing that the question can be properly answered. He's questioning the question. He's claiming that it poses a "pseudo problem". (That's both versions of the question).
As I understand it Grunbaum is only arguing against the assumption that we should expect nothingness to exist, in the absence of a necessary entity or entities causing contingent entities to exist. That is reasonable, but doesn't establish that the question is silly without the apologetic baggage that Grunbaum is answering.
quote:
Well, exactly. That's another way of saying the same thing
Only in the same sense as "you are dead wrong and here's proof" is saying the same thing as "you're right"
quote:
Absolute nothingness (the "null world" of the O.P. version) forbids logical inconsistency, just as it forbids anything else (including "necessity").
Only given both your dubious reading of the question and the assumption that abstracts exist.
quote:
Whether or not the O.P. version has built in unanswerability (I think it does - unless taken completely literally as I did earlier in the thread), Grnbaum's "pseudo-problem" point applies to both versions.
Your assertion that the question is unanswerable has been disproven, and Grunbaum's point seems limited to attempts to argue that some necessary entity must exist.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 316 by bluegenes, posted 08-22-2011 3:23 AM bluegenes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 323 by bluegenes, posted 08-22-2011 11:19 AM PaulK has replied

IamJoseph
Member (Idle past 3754 days)
Posts: 2822
Joined: 06-30-2007


Message 322 of 366 (630063)
08-22-2011 8:27 AM
Reply to: Message 320 by bluegenes
08-22-2011 7:36 AM


Re: Another week; and yet more of nothing.
quote:
You could start by explaining what "pre-universe" means.
Prior to this finite universe emerging.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 320 by bluegenes, posted 08-22-2011 7:36 AM bluegenes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 324 by bluegenes, posted 08-22-2011 11:22 AM IamJoseph has replied

bluegenes
Member (Idle past 2563 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 323 of 366 (630090)
08-22-2011 11:19 AM
Reply to: Message 321 by PaulK
08-22-2011 8:15 AM


Re: Another week; and yet more of nothing.
PaulK writes:
Giving an answer rather disproves the claim that the question is unanswerable. Aside from that you're really only repeating points that I've already made.
An unsupported claim ("there's no reason") isn't an answer to the question "why is it a fact that there's something rather than nothing".
The O.P. version of the question cannot be answered by anything (any-thing).
PaulK writes:
Only in the same sense as "you are dead wrong and here's proof" is saying the same thing as "you're right"
That relies on your dubious reading of what I said, which was that "necessity could only be demonstrated in the context of the something world", which, to me, implies pretty much this:
PaulK writes:
Since we are talking about logical necessity we CAN'T rely on the assumption of something existing without begging the question.
In other words, the O.P. version cannot be answered by "necessity", which requires a necessary thing(s).
PaulK writes:
Only given both your dubious reading of the question and the assumption that abstracts exist.
I think we both assume that abstracts don't exist in the absence of something concrete. "Necessity", therefore, cannot apply in the "null world" of the O.P. question, although it can in Leibniz's modified version.
PaulK writes:
Your assertion that the question is unanswerable has been disproven, and Grunbaum's point seems limited to attempts to argue that some necessary entity must exist.
I missed the "disproof". Grnbaum is really questioning the validity of suggesting that angels might have been there rather than birds merely because we can perceive such a state of affairs as logically possible.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 321 by PaulK, posted 08-22-2011 8:15 AM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 325 by PaulK, posted 08-22-2011 1:43 PM bluegenes has replied

bluegenes
Member (Idle past 2563 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 324 of 366 (630092)
08-22-2011 11:22 AM
Reply to: Message 322 by IamJoseph
08-22-2011 8:27 AM


Re: Another week; and yet more of nothing.
IamJoseph writes:
Prior to this finite universe emerging.
How can anything be "prior" to time?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 322 by IamJoseph, posted 08-22-2011 8:27 AM IamJoseph has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 326 by IamJoseph, posted 08-22-2011 7:09 PM bluegenes has replied

PaulK
Member
Posts: 17838
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 325 of 366 (630108)
08-22-2011 1:43 PM
Reply to: Message 323 by bluegenes
08-22-2011 11:19 AM


Re: Another week; and yet more of nothing.
quote:
An unsupported claim ("there's no reason") isn't an answer to the question "why is it a fact that there's something rather than nothing".
Of course it isn't unsupported at all, because I supported it right back at the start of the thread. But even if you were right about the lack of support that it would not disqualify it as a possible answer. Indeed what you are saying is that an answer not shown to be true cannot possibly be true which is obviously fallacious.
quote:
That relies on your dubious reading of what I said, which was that "necessity could only be demonstrated in the context of the something world", which, to me, implies pretty much this
In which case I have to ask whether you are being stupid or just trolling. In fact your version of the "nothing world" IS logically impossible from your own arguments. That is one of the reasons I regard your reading as wrong.
quote:
In other words, the O.P. version cannot be answered by "necessity", which requires a necessary thing(s).
Do you really fail to understand the difference between am argument and an answer ? Or the difference between an assumption and a supported conclusion ? Proposing necessity as a possible answer is not an argument and so can't beg the question. A successful argument that something necessarily existed would make that a conclusion not an assumption.
quote:
I think we both assume that abstracts don't exist in the absence of something concrete. "Necessity", therefore, cannot apply in the "null world" of the O.P. question, although it can in Leibniz's modified version.
My view is somewhat different. However it is irrelevant, because if it truly were necessary that something exist the null world could not exist anyway. Unless you assume that the "nothing world" is basic - and you say that you don't - the objection can't arise.
quote:
I missed the "disproof".
You didn't see the possible answers ? Odd when you seem quite desperate to dismiss them.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 323 by bluegenes, posted 08-22-2011 11:19 AM bluegenes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 330 by bluegenes, posted 08-23-2011 1:05 AM PaulK has replied

IamJoseph
Member (Idle past 3754 days)
Posts: 2822
Joined: 06-30-2007


Message 326 of 366 (630151)
08-22-2011 7:09 PM
Reply to: Message 324 by bluegenes
08-22-2011 11:22 AM


Re: Another week; and yet more of nothing.
Time, like space, and anything contained in this uni, is post-uni. A finite cannot contain an infinite component.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 324 by bluegenes, posted 08-22-2011 11:22 AM bluegenes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 331 by bluegenes, posted 08-23-2011 1:09 AM IamJoseph has replied

Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 435 days)
Posts: 1815
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 327 of 366 (630166)
08-22-2011 8:23 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dr Adequate
07-20-2011 1:58 AM


Thermodynamics
If we know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, why can we not say that there has always been something?
If there has always been something, isn't that a sufficient reason for there being something rather than nothing?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Dr Adequate, posted 07-20-2011 1:58 AM Dr Adequate has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 329 by IamJoseph, posted 08-23-2011 12:10 AM Dogmafood has replied

Bob Green
Junior Member (Idle past 4683 days)
Posts: 1
Joined: 08-22-2011


Message 328 of 366 (630179)
08-22-2011 8:48 PM


There is something rather than nothing because the state of "nothing" is UNSTABLE.

IamJoseph
Member (Idle past 3754 days)
Posts: 2822
Joined: 06-30-2007


Message 329 of 366 (630207)
08-23-2011 12:10 AM
Reply to: Message 327 by Dogmafood
08-22-2011 8:23 PM


Re: Thermodynamics
It's far more intriguing to confront the reality facing us. The uni is absolutely finite - its exapanding, which says it wasn't infinite 10 seconds ago? This says anything contained in this universe could not have existed pre-universe: this includes phenomenons and faculties such as space, time, light, energy, history, geography, laws and the sciences. In this scenario, things never existed; so no-thing is a counterpart of some-thing; both are moot factors.
This is the challenging premise of Genesis and Creationism, but its interest to me is not a theological one, but more a mental grasp of the issue facing humanity outside of theology. There are only two possible scenarios: Creationism or No Creationism. While none are provable, making both legitimate premises, the latter has no alternative answer for us.
The big Q arises, what scenario can we imagine or postulate, if the universe is absolutely finite?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 327 by Dogmafood, posted 08-22-2011 8:23 PM Dogmafood has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 346 by Dogmafood, posted 08-23-2011 3:18 PM IamJoseph has replied

bluegenes
Member (Idle past 2563 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 330 of 366 (630208)
08-23-2011 1:05 AM
Reply to: Message 325 by PaulK
08-22-2011 1:43 PM


Unanswerability.
PK writes:
In which case I have to ask whether you are being stupid or just trolling. In fact your version of the "nothing world" IS logically impossible from your own arguments. That is one of the reasons I regard your reading as wrong.
My reading is common. And it doesn't make the non-existence of all things impossible.
PaulK writes:
bluegenes writes:
In other words, the O.P. version cannot be answered by "necessity", which requires a necessary thing(s).
Do you really fail to understand the difference between am argument and an answer ? Or the difference between an assumption and a supported conclusion ? Proposing necessity as a possible answer is not an argument and so can't beg the question. A successful argument that something necessarily existed would make that a conclusion not an assumption.
I'm pointing out that the question precludes possible answers. "Something" answers invariably assume the something world.
You cannot evoke something, any something, to answer the question: "Why is there something rather than nothing?"
That's the point that Adequate makes, correctly IMO, in the O.P.
The problem with the question is that it asks for something, (the reason that something exists rather than nothing), making it self-defeating. Whatever something could possibly be given as the answer would itself be subject to the question.
When I describe the question as unanswerable, I mean that we cannot provide what it asks for (the reason why there's something rather than nothing). When you give the opinion that there is no reason, you have not answered the question in this sense. Indeed, you've said "there isn't a reason, and therefore no answer".
Here's the O.P. again, to save us clicking back.
Dr Adequate in the O.P. writes:
Why is there something rather than nothing?
Some initial thoughts:
* God would not constitute an explanation, since God counts as something.
* Indeed, if anything constituted an explanation then the existence of everything was contingent on that thing, then that thing would stand in need of an explanation, and so wouldn't be the answer we were looking for.
* This last consideration makes the question look unanswerable. To explain my thinking, consider that a question beginning "Why ..." invites an answer describing some thing which is an antecedent cause, or at least something with a sort of family resemblance to an antecedent cause.
* Any attempt to prove a priori that there should be something rather than nothing would necessarily involve proving that a state of affairs in which nothing existed would be self-inconsistent. Which it isn't.
My own opinion is that the question is unanswerable, and indeed can only be asked because the English language allows us to talk nonsense. This view does not satisfy me in the slightest, but as I am in the habit of saying, being hungry does not prove that we have bread.
Why do you disagree with the conclusion that the question is unanswerable (not to mention the implication that the question is nonsense)?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 325 by PaulK, posted 08-22-2011 1:43 PM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 333 by PaulK, posted 08-23-2011 1:30 AM bluegenes has replied

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