# Eternal Inflation and it's Philospohical implications

by heusdens
Tags: eternal, implications, inflation, philospohical
 P: 1,967 Sorry about that, didn't mean to pop anyone's bubble or derail the conversation. Merely to point out the semantic and aesthetic difficulties people were bringing up. :0)
 P: 3,714 I don't understand everyone's confusion with the limit of limitlessness. Do you think it's possible for something that is limitless to have a limit? And yet, if there is something that is impossible for this [limitless] entity, then it has a limit (whatever it is that is impossible for it is it's limit).
P: 1,967
 I don't understand everyone's confusion with the limit of limitlessness.
Don't worry, you are not alone. This has been an infinitely confusing issue for millennia. Just ignore it, it'll go away. :0)
P: 3,714
 Originally posted by wuliheron Don't worry, you are not alone. This has been an infinitely confusing issue for millennia. Just ignore it, it'll go away. :0)
But don't you think it's possible to explain it?

Seriously, what was wrong with my explanation?
P: 1,620
 Originally posted by wuliheron Exactly. In this case, the concept of infinity itself contains the finite within it as well in that it denies it has limits. To say something has no limits is to impose a limit, the limit that it has no limit.
Don't agree on that logic. Not having a limit, means that there isn't a limit, which doesn't impose a limit.

Using your kind of reasoning also one could say that something undifned is self-contradictionary, cause it would be defined (as 'undefined').

But this reasoning is absurd.
P: 3,714
 Originally posted by heusdens Don't agree on that logic. Not having a limit, means that there isn't a limit, which doesn't impose a limit. Using your kind of reasoning also one could say that something undifned is self-contradictionary, cause it would be defined (as 'undefined'). But this reasoning is absurd.
No it's not, and your illustration is as good as any, for proving Wu Li's point.

I do not, however, approve of Wuliheron's use of the word "infinity" instead of "limitlessness". I agree that there is a paradox, when speaking of something as being "limitless"; but "infinity" in mathematics and physics can just be endlessness in two directions, it doesn't have to imply limitlessness (and rarely, if ever, does).
P: 1,967
 But don't you think it's possible to explain it? Seriously, what was wrong with my explanation?
Why certainly you can explain infinity, just as you can explain paradox and the irrational. But your explanation needs to address the heart of the issue more directly instead of relying on finite classical Aristotelian logic alone. Heusdens' quote is more on the money:

 "Infinity is a contradiction, and is full of contradictions. From the outset it is a contradiction that an infinity is composed of nothing but finites, and yet this is the case. The limitedness of the material world leads no less to contradictions than its unlimitedness, and every attempt to get over these contradictions leads, as we have seen, to new and worse contradictions. It is just because infinity is a contradiction that it is an infinite process, unrolling endlessly in time and in space. The removal of the contradiction would be the end of infinity. " [F. Engels, Anti-Duhring (1877). V. Philosophy of Nature. Time and Space]
Infinity is a double negative and, thus, a positive as this quote makes clear. It is a logical tautology and as such lends itself better to more poetic expression. The passage above touches on the poetic and the most famous western poetic passage to date on infinity is that of William Blake:

 To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wildflower Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour
Because infinity is tautological and lends itself to poetic expression, these are widely considered the most satisfying and clear ways to express the concept.
 P: 3,714 This is a very wrong use of the word, "infinity". Infinity is not composed of a lot of finites. It is an infinite number of finites. This means that you cannot define infinity by how many finites it has, because the answer to that is "infinity", and you are no closer to understanding infinity than when you started.
P: 1,967
 This is a very wrong use of the word, "infinity". Infinity is not composed of a lot of finites. It is an infinite number of finites. This means that you cannot define infinity by how many finites it has, because the answer to that is "infinity", and you are no closer to understanding infinity than when you started.
Infinity is not a number, all numbers are finite. Thus when you say infinity is an infinite number of finites you contradict yourself. You are saying infinity is a finite (number) of finites.
P: 1,032
 Originally posted by wuliheron Infinity is not a number, all numbers are finite. Thus when you say infinity is an infinite number of finites you contradict yourself. You are saying infinity is a finite (number) of finites.
All your doing here is defining infinity in such a way that it can't exists. Infinity is meant to convey the concept that something is endless.

So if we take any endless thing and try to attach a number to it, we will be forced to say it is infinite. And therefore, by your definition, we cannot use infinity to convey anything of value so we must have a real number which means it must be finite. But from a semantic standpoint I understand perfectly what the sentence "it has an infinite number of things" is trying to convey. Which, by the way, is the only purpose for having a word for it.

You've created contradictions from semantics yet again. You want to talk about poetry and obscure references whenever you are pontificating on this topic in general, but then when it comes to the specific proofs, you want to apply strict rules of if/then logic. And apply them to semantic concepts no less.
P: 1,620
 Originally posted by wuliheron Infinity is not a number, all numbers are finite. Thus when you say infinity is an infinite number of finites you contradict yourself. You are saying infinity is a finite (number) of finites.
Infinity is not a finite number, but infinity is a number, but which has peculiar properties, that distinguish it from any finite number.
P: 1,967
 Infinity is meant to convey the concept that something is endless.
Duh!

 All your doing here is defining infinity in such a way that it can't exists.
No, I'm not defining it in such a way that it can't exist, I'm merely pointing out the difficulty in defining the concept as a "thing" in the first place.

 You've created contradictions from semantics yet again. You want to talk about poetry and obscure references whenever you are pontificating on this topic in general, but then when it comes to the specific proofs, you want to apply strict rules of if/then logic. And apply them to semantic concepts no less.
Only when people attempt to use infinity as if it is a classically proven concept in order to prove something else. There is absolutely no accepted logical or scientific evidence infinity exists. It is one of those boarderline concepts that is so popular among the religious especially, who have attempted to use it to prove the existence of god and how many angels you can fit on the head of a pin as I am sure you are well aware. At least poets acknowledge this and don't usually pretend it is indisputable evidence crop circles explain the meaning of life, the universe, and everything!

 Infinity is not a finite number, but infinity is a number, but which has peculiar properties, that distinguish it from any finite number.
See what I mean, this defies accepted mathematical theory. OK, I give, just what "number" is infinity then? 666? Go ahead, you can tell me, I won't tell anybody else.
 P: 69 I dont know if its my taste buds talking, but I find the idea of a "donut shaped" universe (or many of them for that matter) much more comforting than and infinite universe.
P: 1,032
 Originally posted by wuliheron No, I'm not defining it in such a way that it can't exist, I'm merely pointing out the difficulty in defining the concept as a "thing" in the first place. See what I mean, this defies accepted mathematical theory. OK, I give, just what "number" is infinity then? 666? Go ahead, you can tell me, I won't tell anybody else.
My only point is that the word infinity conveys meaning when someone writes the sentence "this thing stretches to infinity". But it is meaningless IMO to then take that statement, combine it with some other semantic premise like "infinity is not a number", to then conclude infinity is a contradiction. That's just semantic funtime.
P: 1,967
 My only point is that the word infinity conveys meaning when someone writes the sentence "this thing stretches to infinity". But it is meaningless IMO to then take that statement, combine it with some other semantic premise like "infinity is not a number", to then conclude infinity is a contradiction. That's just semantic funtime.
I'm sorry, but words either have meaning or they don't. Mathematicians don't consider infinity to be a number because it cannot be written down completely, has no clear definition, etc. Therefore we either create clear boundaries as to how it can be dealt with logically or we invite meaningless babble.

What's the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.....Infinity!
Who killed the Kennedys..... Infinity.

This is a scholarly website, not one devoted to meaningless babble.
Everyone here knows what the concept of infinity refers to, but I say again it is an illogical, irrational, and unscientific concept. It also just happens to be one of the most useful ones ever devised. To treat it otherwise is to invite meaningless babble.

Of course, you can argue that this is just semantic funtime, but unlikie some of you I have the philosophical and scientific community to back up my assertions. Either we emphasis semantic funtime or we emphasis anything-goes-funtime (Oh, did I spoil someones fun? Did I tell an unpleasent truth? Too bad.)
P: 69
 Mathematicians don't consider infinity to be a number because it cannot be written down completely
You can't write down the square root of 2 completely, or pi, or e, or the square root of -1 (i), but they are still numbers, and to the best of my knowldedge infinity is too.
P: 1,032
 Originally posted by wuliheron I'm sorry, but words either have meaning or they don't.
I agree with this completely. But I have yet to understand how something that has no meaning can be useful.

Just because a scientists doesn't know how to write it down on a piece of paper and therefore attach the word "number" to it(if this is even true), doesn't mean that you can then insert the word "finite" into every sentence that uses "infinity" and claim it as proof of contradictions.
 What's the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.....Infinity! Who killed the Kennedys..... Infinity.
I agree these statements make no sense. Infinity has nothing to do with the Kennedy's. Just wanted to point that out in case someone is actually tempted to believe this extreme depiction of the opposing view.

 This is a scholarly website, not one devoted to meaningless babble.
Which is exactly why I suggested that we get this thread back on track and stop discussing this concept in this way. Let's keep the meaningless babble in the paradox threads.[:D]

 Of course, you can argue that this is just semantic funtime, but unlikie some of you I have the philosophical and scientific community to back up my assertions.
Where are the scientific and mathematical sources? Just claiming they exists isn't sufficient. You can see many people here disagree with your mathematical premise. And if these sources do exist, it would be good if you can find some from this century. Alot has happened in the last hundred years or so.

 Either we emphasis semantic funtime or we emphasis anything-goes-funtime (Oh, did I spoil someones fun? Did I tell an unpleasent truth? Too bad.) [/B]
Nonsense. We don't have to do either of these time wasting things. We can recognise that the imperfections of language are not proof of more fundamental imperfections in the universe. Once we do this we can attempt to have a philosphical conversation without getting bogged down in these imperfections. It is a common criticism of philosphy that it is nothing but debate over semantics. While I try to avoid this as much as I can, the reason why these people make this claim is all over this forum.
P: 1,967
 You can't write down the square root of 2 completely, or pi, or e, or the square root of -1 (i), but they are still numbers, and to the best of my knowldedge infinity is too.
The parts of them you can write down are certainly numbers, infinity is not. Just look it up if you don't believe me. The infinity of infinity in mathematics, by the way, is called aleph aleph and is utterly paradoxical.

 I agree with this completely. But I have yet to understand how something that has no meaning can be useful.
I never said infinity has no meaning, I said it is irrational and paradoxical. That is part of the incredible amount of confusion around the subject. God is an illogical, irrational, and paradoxical concept but it certainly has a tremendous amount of meaning for the vast majority of humanity. God also happens to be a very useful concept in many respects just as infinity is.

 I agree these statements make no sense. Infinity has nothing to do with the Kennedy's. Just wanted to point that out in case someone is actually tempted to believe this extreme depiction of the opposing view.
Ahhh, then you do have limits you apply to the concept of infinity. How nice. Would you like to list them for the rest of us to debate?

 Which is exactly why I suggested that we get this thread back on track and stop discussing this concept in this way.
Then people need to stop insisting infinity is not considered irrational by philosophers, and other such nonesense. I couldn't care less if people want to claim infinity explains crop circles or whatever, but when they start insisting their claims have rational, scholarly, or scientific evidence they threaten the mission of this bulletin board.

 Either we emphasis semantic funtime or we emphasis anything-goes-funtime (Oh, did I spoil someones fun? Did I tell an unpleasent truth? Too bad.) [/B] Nonsense. We don't have to do either of these time wasting things. We can recognise that the imperfections of language are not proof of more fundamental imperfections in the universe. Once we do this we can attempt to have a philosphical conversation without getting bogged down in these imperfections. It is a common criticism of philosphy that it is nothing but debate over semantics. While I try to avoid this as much as I can, the reason why these people make this claim is all over this forum.
Next you'll be telling me this is the answer to world peace.What utter and rediculous hogwash and even brazen lying. You have kept up arguments like this over the irrational with me for days on end. They are now burned into the cds Greg made of the last website and distributed for anyone to buy for twenty bucks.

Again, this is a scholarly website. Debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin is by modern scholarly standards a subject for religious and mystical debate, not philosophical. I have posted links to relevent websites on the issues already and given my arguments. Unless you have something sincere to say, I'm done.

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