Page 3 of 84 FirstFirst 123451353 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 840

Thread: Is "Why is there something rather than nothing?" a legitimate question?

  1. #21
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Xtian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    4,165
    Amen (Given)
    114
    Amen (Received)
    580
    Quote Originally Posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    That's my point. Nothing, philosophy speaking, is supposed to be devoid of properties and qualities. An absence is not. Therefore, "nothing" cannot be cogently described as an "absence" of things.

    An absence is meaningless unless it refers to something which is elsewhere present. I'm sure that you'll agree that an Absence of Batman is very different from an Absence of Mountain Dew.
    Indeed. But what does this have to do with the issue of whether 'nothing' has properties or qualities?

    Absence also has number. There can be an absence or multiple absences.
    Do elaborate.

    You can describe the quality of an absence, as in a partial absence or a complete absence.
    Except that 'partial absence' is an contradiction when used in a strict sense. Appealing to linguistic oddities hardly suffices, in my view.

  2. #22
    tWebber Boxing Pythagoras's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Faith
    Heathen
    Posts
    2,026
    Amen (Given)
    305
    Amen (Received)
    857
    Quote Originally Posted by Paprika View Post
    Indeed. But what does this have to do with the issue of whether 'nothing' has properties or qualities?
    I'm honestly unsure what was unclear, there. The philosophical "nothing" is devoid of any properties or qualities. An "absence" is not devoid of properties or qualities. Therefore, "nothing" is not an absence.

    Do elaborate.
    If one of my students was absent on October 3rd, October 20th, and November 10th, then I can count three Absences of that student.


    Except that 'partial absence' is an contradiction when used in a strict sense. Appealing to linguistic oddities hardly suffices, in my view.
    I don't think that partial absence is a contradiction, at all. Absence is an inherently spatio-temporal concept. When discussing an area, for example, it is entirely possible for some of the space within that area to be lacking the presence of a particular thing, but not all of the space. A partial absence describes this situation.
    "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every hidden truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
    --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

  3. #23
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Xtian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    4,165
    Amen (Given)
    114
    Amen (Received)
    580
    Quote Originally Posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    I'm honestly unsure what was unclear, there. The philosophical "nothing" is devoid of any properties or qualities. An "absence" is not devoid of properties or qualities. Therefore, "nothing" is not an absence.
    What does requiring a referent have to do with properties or qualities?

    If one of my students was absent on October 3rd, October 20th, and November 10th, then I can count three Absences of that student.
    No, you don't. You count three time periods during which there was an absence.

    I don't think that partial absence is a contradiction, at all. Absence is an inherently spatio-temporal concept.
    I happen to disagree; absence can be within space and time but not necessarily so.

    When discussing an area, for example, it is entirely possible for some of the space within that area to be lacking the presence of a particular thing, but not all of the space. A partial absence describes this situation.
    Again you're using a linguistic oddity - a colloquial phrase - to try to prove something about 'absence'. In the scenario you describe there is the presence within the space, though not within a subspace. Hence there is a presence within the space. There is no warrant to move from 'the thing is absent within part of the space' to 'partial absence', treating absence as something that is modifiable.

  4. #24
    tWebber Boxing Pythagoras's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Faith
    Heathen
    Posts
    2,026
    Amen (Given)
    305
    Amen (Received)
    857
    Quote Originally Posted by Paprika View Post
    What does requiring a referent have to do with properties or qualities?
    A referent is a property.

    No, you don't. You count three time periods during which there was an absence.
    This seems to be a distinction without a difference. They are three separate absences. Similarly, if you have an Absence of Batman, an Absence of Rubik's Cubes, and an Absence of Irony, you have three separate absences.

    I happen to disagree; absence can be within space and time but not necessarily so.
    You're right; I'll concede this point.

    Again you're using a linguistic oddity - a colloquial phrase - to try to prove something about 'absence'. In the scenario you describe there is the presence within the space, though not within a subspace. Hence there is a presence within the space. There is no warrant to move from 'the thing is absent within part of the space' to 'partial absence', treating absence as something that is modifiable.
    Why don't you think absence is modifiable?
    "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every hidden truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
    --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

  5. #25
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Xtian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    4,165
    Amen (Given)
    114
    Amen (Received)
    580
    Quote Originally Posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    A referent is a property.
    Perhaps I'm labouring under a wrong understanding of property, but I don't see that as the case.

    This seems to be a distinction without a difference. They are three separate absences.
    But here you're bringing time into the definition.

    Similarly, if you have an Absence of Batman, an Absence of Rubik's Cubes, and an Absence of Irony, you have three separate absences.
    I agree that if absence is defined with regards to some thing, absences could be different.

    Why don't you think absence is modifiable?
    I don't see any reason why it should be.

  6. #26
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Hillsborough, NC
    Faith
    Agnostic
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    13,102
    Amen (Given)
    1294
    Amen (Received)
    894
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelp(p) View Post
    According to my crap knowledge of physics, there is no such thing as "nothing" scientifically speaking. What we call empty space is still full of fields and infinitesimal quantum particles popping in and out of existence (or is that arising from and going back into the background field? Depends on one's view of quantum mechanics?) Philosophically, I've been told that "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is a nonsense question because we cannot conceive of true nothingness and thus have no reference point from which to talk about it.

    As I understand him, this is basically what Stephen Hawking means when he says that the universe creates itself without a God. He considers nothingness to be impossible and since there there is no such thing as a "beginning of time" therefore the universe must have an eternal past. I think Hawking killed my belief in a traditional Creator with this. All I'm left with as an alternative is the possibility of a God "eternal creating" the universe and providing a reason for it to exist rather than nothing at all. So, pretty much, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is my last recourse at having anything like a reason to believe in God. I know the idea of a "First Cause" just pushes the question of "why?" back one layer, but I'm trying to tackle one issue at a time here.

    I'm not sure true nothingness really is an oxymoron, though. I feel like I can, in fact, imagine nothingness. If I think of a finite particle or field, then I also have to think of the places beyond it's reach, the places where it does not exist. What's to stop me from adding "this field is not here" to every field I can think of until I've imagined a "place" in which there none of the fields in the universe are, in fact, located.

    Why there is something rather than nothing?
    Since science has no evidence of a time and place where there is nothing there is no falsifiable hypothesis to ultimately make this determination. As with whether the universe is infinite and eternal or finite and temporal, we have no objective evidence to answer these questions.

    In the same way, I think I can conceive of nothingness even if I've never experienced it and even if I can only think of a limited number of fields to negate and "add up to" nothingness. And if I can conceive of nothing, then I'm also allowed to ask why there is something rather than nothing.
    You are of course allowed to ask, and in philosophy an interesting question. In reality a question without an answer.

    Theologically, the Baha'i Faith believes that there is an eternal infinite matrix that exists that reflects the nature of God similar to that proposed by modern cosmology from which all possible universes are Created. In other words, there has never been a time where there has been absolutely nothing.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 11-11-2014 at 01:04 PM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  7. #27
    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Denmark - Jutland
    Faith
    Catholic
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    5,044
    Amen (Given)
    912
    Amen (Received)
    2722
    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Since science has no evidence of a time and place where there is nothing there is no falsifiable hypothesis to ultimately make this.
    No one is making the claim, that at any point nothing actually existed.

  8. #28
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Hillsborough, NC
    Faith
    Agnostic
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    13,102
    Amen (Given)
    1294
    Amen (Received)
    894
    Quote Originally Posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    How do you figure? An absence has properties and qualities, and refers to a specific concept. An absence is every bit as much a thing as is a presence.
    I disagree the term 'nothing' can be simply descriptive of literally 'nothing' without having to be considered as much of a thing as 'something.' The problem would be justifying as a realistic concept in 'Why there is something rather then nothing?'
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  9. #29
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Hillsborough, NC
    Faith
    Agnostic
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    13,102
    Amen (Given)
    1294
    Amen (Received)
    894
    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    No one is making the claim, that at any point nothing actually existed.
    Many Christians argue that God Created the universe from absolutely nothing. Creatio Exnhilo.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_nihilo



    Ex nihilo is a Latin phrase meaning "out of nothing". It often appears in conjunction with the concept of creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning "creation out of nothing"—chiefly in philosophical or theological contexts, but also occurs in other fields.

    In theology, the common phrase creatio ex nihilo ("creation out of nothing"), contrasts with creatio ex materia (creation out of some pre-existent, eternal matter) and with creatio ex deo (creation out of the being of God).

    The phrase ex nihilo also appears in the classical philosophical formulation ex nihilo nihil fit, which means "Out of nothing comes nothing".

    Ex nihilo when used outside of religious or metaphysical contexts, also refers to something coming from nothing. For example, in a conversation, one might raise a topic "ex nihilo" if it bears no relation to the previous topic of discussion. Another example is fiat currency, as the only thing that gives it value is the consensus belief in it.

    © Copyright Original Source

    Last edited by shunyadragon; 11-11-2014 at 01:14 PM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  10. #30
    tWebber seer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    21,798
    Amen (Given)
    1284
    Amen (Received)
    4399
    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Some Christians argue that God Created the universe from absolutely nothing.
    God is not nothing.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

  11. Amen hansgeorg amen'd this post.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •