# Why something rather than nothing?

by vectorcube
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 P: 229 Ok if I'm following this right... Well first off on the subject of nothing and something. It is that either one or the other must come first if anything is to come at all. An example of this is the big bang theory... we have the universe and to explain its existance we have a theory that states that the universe started as a micro dot that basicaly blows up and eventualy becomes the universe we know. Now the problem with this is that ever awful question of "why?" or more to the point what came before. The answer we are given is that there was no before or that nothing came before... Yet when you ask was it possible that nothing was before the big bang they all say no. Funny how they just said basicaly that nothing was before the big bang... Now that begs the question... What was before nothing? This is where the question comes to an end because the only possible answer to that is nothing. So before was nothing and before that was nothing or more to say that this is where the blank starting state of the universe must be. So this begs the question "How?" or more to the point... How will it end? The answer to this seems fairly obvious to me... That it wont end. To come to this conclusion all you need to do is understand how much space is in space. It is not a hard thing to think about and yet it is impossible to think about. If we started traveling at 100 times the speed of light in one straight direction out into space from anywhere we would never hit a wall that made us turn off our course. We could effectivly travel forever at that speed out into space. So how big is the universe? A: As big as you can dream it be. What was the first thing to exist? A: The first thing to exist was nothing. How can we be sure there wasn't something before nothing? A: We really cant know if something did not exist before something else but eventualy the question of what caused what will result in us finding the answer that nothing was before it... This is what every parent knows when they tell thier kid that its just because after a long list of whys.
P: 775
 Quote by magpies Ok if I'm following this right... Well first off on the subject of nothing and something. It is that either one or the other must come first if anything is to come at all. An example of this is the big bang theory... we have the universe and to explain its existance we have a theory that states that the universe started as a micro dot that basicaly blows up and eventualy becomes the universe we know. Now the problem with this is that ever awful question of "why?" or more to the point what came before. The answer we are given is that there was no before or that nothing came before... Yet when you ask was it possible that nothing was before the big bang they all say no. Funny how they just said basicaly that nothing was before the big bang... Now that begs the question... What was before nothing?
"Before" requires time and time implies space. Absence of either can't be described as anything we can imagine.

"Why something or nothing?" can only be asked in a world with time, space and logic... something. Meaningful question asking presupposes the very things that we're trying to 'trace' the origins of, and our usual tools of logic and analysis breakdown when applied to such a self-referential puzzle.

Apeiron's approach - as discussed in the current thread on consciousness - is as meaningful as any other attempt at providing a map to such trackless territory. Equally possible IMHO is Paul Davies' attempts at defining a Universe which self-selects from the primordial plenum/void, following ideas from Stephen Hawking about history having a quantum indefiniteness.
 P: 378 Not to burst anyones bubble, but if their actually was a "single particle" of whatever type at the origin of our universe as we know it; wouldn't their have to be a potentially infinite number of these particles existing beyond our universe that are just as capable of generating other universes. Our universe could exist within a sea of universes.
PF Gold
P: 2,432
 Quote by Pattonias Not to burst anyones bubble, but if their actually was a "single particle" of whatever type at the origin of our universe as we know it; wouldn't their have to be a potentially infinite number of these particles existing beyond our universe that are just as capable of generating other universes. Our universe could exist within a sea of universes.
Big bang approaches would normally talk of a primal quantum fluctuation rather than a single particle. But yes, if you take that approach, it just pushes first causes further into the past. QM fluctuations have to take place in "something".

The interesting question is how do we get beyond any kind of somethingness.

As initial conditions, the choices seem to be nothing, everything or vagueness. Or to instead argue there is no need for somethingness to have a beginning, no boundary - we can take it as eternal.

I should add that vagueness has the advantage that it combines the essence of the other three common choices. It is both a nothing that is everything, and is eternal in that it is timeless (yet could give rise to time).
P: 775
 Quote by apeiron Big bang approaches would normally talk of a primal quantum fluctuation rather than a single particle. But yes, if you take that approach, it just pushes first causes further into the past. QM fluctuations have to take place in "something". The interesting question is how do we get beyond any kind of somethingness. As initial conditions, the choices seem to be nothing, everything or vagueness. Or to instead argue there is no need for somethingness to have a beginning, no boundary - we can take it as eternal. I should add that vagueness has the advantage that it combines the essence of the other three common choices. It is both a nothing that is everything, and is eternal in that it is timeless (yet could give rise to time).
Thus the "boundless" or Pleroma. Makes sense. Reminds me of Ain Suf in Kabbalah or Boehme's Ungrund.
P: 270
 Quote by WaveJumper 20th century physics is saying anything worthwhile on this topic, it is that "something" and "nothing" are never that far apart as when seen through our human senses.
Explain this to me.
P: 270
 Quote by Pattonias Before I introduce some pies to start throwing at each other, maybe we can actually get something out of this thread. OP, are you saying that in order to prove that A is superior to B we have to have a C, and the C is derived from A and therefore can not prove or disprove the superiority of A?

No. Again, when ask the question of the form: " Why A rather than B". You can either think of A, B as state of affairs, or facts. Ex:The question of the form: "Why is the sky blue, and not green?". A reasonable answer might be to appeal to some conditions in the atmosphere, and the properties of light( Facts).
P: 270
 Quote by qraal Why should we take the "general form" of the question as you put it? Somethingness vs nothingness seems like an altogether different question than your little analogy.

Why not? The general form is first explicated by the philosopher Robert Nozick. Why don t you ask him? Ops, his dead.

 You're assuming existence by calling it "brute fact".
No. In my hypothesis, I never called existence brute fact. My hypothsis does assume existence of the world, and is a justified assumption, unless you want to doubt it. Do you?

 What does "brute fact" mean when discussing this sort of ontological question.
Brute fact has a technical meaning in philosophy.

X is a brute fact if and only if 1. X is contingent, and 2. It is not entailed by other facts.

2 is not completely precise, because i don t want to get into all the technical stuff here.
The basic idea is that X is the effect, or result of some other facts. That is to say, There is not facts q, such that q implies the existence of X.

"See no big words either, other than "ontological". Was that too big for you?"
What are you talking about? It is tiny!
P: 270
 Quote by apeiron This would be fine. Except he then chooses precisely the kind of logical paradoxes which explode the framework. He pushes a tool (which can be useful in certain applications) to the point where it becomes self-contradictory rather than self-consistent. .
Do you have problem reading? Where did i give any logical paradoxes that explode the "framework"? Wat "framework" are you talking about?

 Which is what justifies escalating matters to a meta-level where humans look at their tools and scratch their heads wondering what a better designed tool might look like. Or rummage through the drawers of academia to borrow someone else's more appropriate instrument.
I have no idea what problems you are talking about, but i take no shame in using other peoples tools.

 And any scholars response to big words ought to be curiosity. The more varieties of thought we can explore, the more clear we become about the ways we ourselves are thinking

No, i am not into "new age" stuff. I think they are vague, pretentious, and completely useless. I think people that seek profundity by being unclear as a form of self-delusion, and sickness.
P: 270
 Quote by magpies Ok if I'm following this right... Well first off on the subject of nothing and something. It is that either one or the other must come first if anything is to come at all. An example of this is the big bang theory... we have the universe and to explain its existance we have a theory that states that the universe started as a micro dot that basicaly blows up and eventualy becomes the universe we know. Now the problem with this is that ever awful question of "why?" or more to the point what came before. The answer we are given is that there was no before or that nothing came before... Yet when you ask was it possible that nothing was before the big bang they all say no. Funny how they just said basicaly that nothing was before the big bang... Now that begs the question... What was before nothing? This is where the question comes to an end because the only possible answer to that is nothing. So before was nothing and before that was nothing or more to say that this is where the blank starting state of the universe must be. So this begs the question "How?" or more to the point... How will it end? The answer to this seems fairly obvious to me... That it wont end. To come to this conclusion all you need to do is understand how much space is in space. It is not a hard thing to think about and yet it is impossible to think about. If we started traveling at 100 times the speed of light in one straight direction out into space from anywhere we would never hit a wall that made us turn off our course. We could effectivly travel forever at that speed out into space. So how big is the universe? A: As big as you can dream it be. What was the first thing to exist? A: The first thing to exist was nothing. How can we be sure there wasn't something before nothing? A: We really cant know if something did not exist before something else but eventualy the question of what caused what will result in us finding the answer that nothing was before it... This is what every parent knows when they tell thier kid that its just because after a long list of whys.
Nothing is not a 'thing'. It is simply falses to assume something can come from nothing. To say 'nothing' is simply to say " there is no state of affair".

Things could just be the way things are, because they are that way. They don t have to be.
P: 775
 Quote by vectorcube No, i am not into "new age" stuff. I think they are vague, pretentious, and completely useless. I think people that seek profundity by being unclear as a form of self-delusion, and sickness.
I agree about the vague, pretentious and largely useless assessment of most New Age drivel, but you go and ask one of the biggest questions in philosophy then expect a simple answer. Was that even reasonable? Are you after a debate or merely a loud proclamation of your apparent belief that every discussion should be easy for you to state and analyse. Why should that be so?
P: 270
 Quote by qraal "Before" requires time and time implies space. Absence of either can't be described as anything we can imagine. "Why something or nothing?" can only be asked in a world with time, space and logic... something. Meaningful question asking presupposes the very things that we're trying to 'trace' the origins of, and our usual tools of logic and analysis breakdown when applied to such a self-referential puzzle. Apeiron's approach - as discussed in the current thread on consciousness - is as meaningful as any other attempt at providing a map to such trackless territory. Equally possible IMHO is Paul Davies' attempts at defining a Universe which self-selects from the primordial plenum/void, following ideas from Stephen Hawking about history having a quantum indefiniteness.

Tell me how time implies space? Why would logic be in the same category as space time?
Are you joking me?
P: 775
 Quote by vectorcube Nothing is not a 'thing'. It is simply falses to assume something can come from nothing. To say 'nothing' is simply to say " there is no state of affair". Things could just the way things are, because they are that way. They don t have to be.
Your first sentence I agree, second maybe, third makes no sense.
P: 775
 Quote by vectorcube Tell me how time implies space? Why would logic be in the same category as space time? Are you joking me?
I'm not sure who's the joker here.

How can space exist or be observable without time and observers? How can distinguishable things exist without logic? Explain. That's the essence of this puzzle and what you've refused to address.
P: 270
 Quote by apeiron As initial conditions, the choices seem to be nothing, everything or vagueness.

Nothing means "There is no state of affair".

 It is both a nothing that is everything, and is eternal in that it is timeless (yet could give rise to time).
This is crazy. Nothing is everything?..? Honestly, if you want to define the word 'nothing' as some potential. Why don` t you say "there is this potential....."?
PF Gold
P: 2,432
 Quote by vectorcube No, i am not into "new age" stuff. I think they are vague, pretentious, and completely useless. I think people that seek profundity by being unclear as a form of self-delusion, and sickness.
Vectorcube, what level of education have you actually reached? What courses have you taken? Have you yet published anything? I mean how qualified are you to pass judgement?

You are getting little respect here as you have shown little respect. Even within any philosophy department you would have to deal with professors who are deconstructionists, theologians, eastern experts. How do they like being called sick and deluded?
PF Gold
P: 2,432
 Quote by qraal Thus the "boundless" or Pleroma. Makes sense. Reminds me of Ain Suf in Kabbalah or Boehme's Ungrund.
Thanks qraal. Those two references are new to me. I'll have to check them out.
P: 270
 Quote by qraal Was that even reasonable? Are you after a debate or merely a loud proclamation of your apparent belief that every discussion should be easy for you to state and analyse. Why should that be so?
The question is not really hard, and i had fun trying to analysis it. Most answers to the question tend to have very elogant analysis.