Does the universe allow for paradoxes?

  • Thread starter Mentat
  • Start date

Does the universe allow for paradoxes?

  • Yes

    Votes: 8 72.7%
  • No

    Votes: 3 27.3%

  • Total voters
    11
  • #51
3,762
2
Originally posted by wuliheron
All I said was it seems like a likely candidate

Considering all the evidence, it does seem likely to me. The only evidence, I think, we are ever gonna have on the issue is statistical evidence like Quantum Mechanics which suggests the same possibility.

However, I will add that one interpretation of such "paradoxes" is that we are just staring at nature, and nature is staring back so to speak. Kind of like trying to use the "pickle" to define itself. Past a certain point you just find yourself going in circles.



Sorry, but the topic is paradox and nothing less than the entire universe. There is no other reasoning possible that I am aware of. If you can come up with a better way to talk about the subject be my guest.
I don't understand this. What do you mean by, a better way of talking about paradox? Do you mean the way that doesn't insist that there is in fact a paradox, without proof?
 
  • #52
1,944
0
I don't understand this. What do you mean by, a better way of talking about paradox? Do you mean the way that doesn't insist that there is in fact a paradox, without proof?
Paradox has different meanings for different people. Broadly it refers to the inexplicable, apparently contradictory but true, or self-referential and self-contradictory. There is no way to prove something is inexplicable. The best you can do is demonstrate something is apparently inexplicable. However, that does not mean we cannot use the words like inexplicable, unfathomable, and ineffable. If you can think of a better way to use such words, more power to you.

In the meantime, I'll stick with the Asians on this one. They've spent thousands of years perfecting ways to talk about the inexplicable, unfathomable, and ineffable.
 
  • #53
RuroumiKenshin
I haven't read this whole thread, so forgive me if I am repeating something someone already said.

Aren't paradoxes anisotropic in most occasions? Does a paradox specify something that defies human knowledge?
 
  • #54
1,944
0
Aren't paradoxes anisotropic in most occasions? Does a paradox specify something that defies human knowledge?
Exactly so, except I wouldn't describe them as defying human knowledge so much as logic and reason when taken out of context. For example, the liar's paradox makes perfect sense when spoken by a compusive liar:

"Everything I say is a lie."

But, logically analyzed without assuming such a context it is meaningless.
 
  • #55
RuroumiKenshin
I see, so do you mean that the liar paradox is a paradox, because it defies logic? Is that all a paradox does?
 
  • #56
1,944
0
Paradox has different meanings for different people. Broadly it refers to the inexplicable, apparently contradictory but true, or self-referential and self-contradictory. There is no way to prove something is inexplicable. The best you can do is demonstrate something is apparently inexplicable.

The inexplicable can also include the ineffable, that which cannot be expressed. Whether the ineffable defies logic or not then is by definition impossible to say. This is a major source of confusion for westerners encountering Asian philosophy.
 
  • #57
3,762
2
What a paradox really is.

A paradox does not have different meanings, just because people happen to misunderstand what it means. Something is only paradoxical when it can be explained, but the explanation requires the use of contradictory propositions.
 
  • #58
3,762
2
What a paradox really is.

A paradox does not have different meanings, just because people happen to misunderstand what it means. A paradox is an explanation. What differentiates paradoxes from other explanations, is that it requires contradictory propositions.
 
  • #59
1,944
0
par·a·dox

A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true: the paradox that standing is more tiring than walking.
One exhibiting inexplicable or contradictory aspects: “The silence of midnight, to speak truly, though apparently a paradox, rung in my ears” (Mary Shelley).
An assertion that is essentially self-contradictory, though based on a valid deduction from acceptable premises.
A statement contrary to received opinion.
I have been over this countless times with you Mentat, just as you know perfectly well. Just punch "infinite mathematical absurdities" into your favorite browser and see what comes up. You can argue that pigs have wings all you want, and you do seem to like to do it a great deal.

If words are to have meaning, we must find aggrement on them. The dictionary is a great place to start.
 
  • #60
RageSk8
Yes and no. Paradoxes are features of vocabularies.
 
  • #61
3,762
2
Originally posted by wuliheron
I have been over this countless times with you Mentat, just as you know perfectly well. Just punch "infinite mathematical absurdities" into your favorite browser and see what comes up. You can argue that pigs have wings all you want, and you do seem to like to do it a great deal.

If words are to have meaning, we must find aggrement on them. The dictionary is a great place to start.
While this dictionary's definition is not perfectly compatible with what you will find in books about logic, I don't see how it contradicts anything I said.

BTW, a dictionary is not always a good place to start. Think of how many dictionaries there are that will have someone believing that a theory is synonymous with an hypothesis. Sometimes it's better to see what those, who make use of the certain concept, define it as. However, a dictionary definition is valuable, and I don't see any contradiction (in the quoted definition) with what I said about paradox.
 
  • #62
1,944
0
While this dictionary's definition is not perfectly compatible with what you will find in books about logic, I don't see how it contradicts anything I said. BTW, a dictionary is not always a good place to start.
If the dictionary fails us, then we can move on to splitting semantic hairs if we feel so inclined. This particular dictionary definition contradicts what you said by including the inexplicable instead of restricting the use of the word paradox to the contradictory.

As for Rage's idea that paradox is merely a feature of vocabularies, such a stance summarilly denies the emperical evidence of the paradox of existence without providing evidence. I suppose next Rage will claim objectivity is merely a feature of vocabularies. For all I know he may be correct, but I see no evidence to support such a position much less any practical purpose that can be served by adopting such a position.
 
  • #63
3,762
2
Originally posted by wuliheron
If the dictionary fails us, then we can move on to splitting semantic hairs if we feel so inclined. This particular dictionary definition contradicts what you said by including the inexplicable instead of restricting the use of the word paradox to the contradictory.

As for Rage's idea that paradox is merely a feature of vocabularies, such a stance summarilly denies the emperical evidence of the paradox of existence without providing evidence. I suppose next Rage will claim objectivity is merely a feature of vocabularies. For all I know he may be correct, but I see no evidence to support such a position much less any practical purpose that can be served by adopting such a position.
Well, logician's seem to restrict the word, "paradox", to the contradictory, and this is the kind of paradox that the thread is about.

Don't you realize that YOU HAVE NOT PROVEN THE PARADOX OF EXISTENCE. So why does it matter that Rage ignores the "paradox of existence", it probably doesn't exist.
 
  • #64
1,944
0
Well, logician's seem to restrict the word, "paradox", to the contradictory, and this is the kind of paradox that the thread is about.
Well, if you want to use specialized definitions of words then you might do well to say so ahead of time.

Don't you realize that YOU HAVE NOT PROVEN THE PARADOX OF EXISTENCE. So why does it matter that Rage ignores the "paradox of existence", it probably doesn't exist.
Reductio ad absurdum is a strong argument as Rage is well aware, while making noises about "vocabularies" is not. If context is paramount, than the context of existence is the ultimate contextualizer and once again Rage's logic leads back to the paradox.
 
  • #65
755
0
Mentat... of course the universe allows for paradoxes. How else could we have come up with them?

One must remember that our brains are definitely a product of the universe and so... any product a brain produces is part of the universe, as well.
 
  • #66
RuroumiKenshin
of course the universe allows for paradoxes. How else could we have come up with them?
Because we, in our perspective, see paradoxes when something doesn't comply with our[human] logic. I believe the whole concept is anisotropic.

One must remember that our brains are definitely a product of the universe and so... any product a brain produces is part of the universe, as well.
And our brain is known for its ability to ellude us.

i.e, temporal lobe esp.
 
  • #67
755
0
Originally posted by MajinVegeta
And our brain is known for its ability to ellude us.

i.e, temporal lobe esp. [/B]
If "known" is a function of the brain then the "ability to ellude" you speak of is, no doubt,also an illusion.

This is the paradox of thinking.
You may only think you're thinking!
 
  • #68
3,762
2
Originally posted by quantumcarl
If "known" is a function of the brain then the "ability to ellude" you speak of is, no doubt,also an illusion.

This is the paradox of thinking.
You may only think you're thinking!
Don't be foolish, carl, if she "thinks that she's thinking, then she is thinking (about thinking)".

Anyway, I already said that I was not talking about conceptual paradox. I was talking about physical paradox. Our brain is physical, but our mind is not, and it is the mind that conceives of paradox.
 
  • #69
RuroumiKenshin
Our brain is physical, but our mind is not, and it is the mind that conceives of paradox.
true. The brain is the organ of the mind. So how are you going to speak of the physical brain, without refering to the mind?
 
  • #70
drag
Science Advisor
1,062
0
Greetings !

A great thread Mantat !
Originally posted by Mentat
I suppose I'll set the example, in showing the reason for our choices:

I picked "no", because I have always seen the universe as governed by a set of laws (hence the possibility of a T.O.E.). If it is governed by a set of laws, then the propositions that make up those laws, could not contradict each other (IMO) or else we'd be able to break the so-called "laws". A conclusion that is based on contradictory propositions is a paradox.
I picked "yes", because I have always seen the
Universe as governed by a set of laws (hence the
possibility of a T.O.E.).
However, there is no possibility of a law that will
explain the existence of all the other laws.
Further more, since the existence of the laws lacks
an explanation, there is no advantage or reason
to the claim that they must "fit" nicely together.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Leonardo Da Vinci

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #71
3,762
2
Originally posted by drag
Greetings !

A great thread Mentat !
Thanks, drag.




I picked "yes", because I have always seen the
Universe as governed by a set of laws (hence the
possibility of a T.O.E.).
However, there is no possibility of a law that will
explain the existence of all the other laws.
Further more, since the existence of the laws lacks
an explanation, there is no advantage or reason
to the claim that they must "fit" nicely together.
That's a reasonable answer. Basically, you think that the universe is ultimately unexplainable? I suppose that - while that is a slightly different kind of "paradox" then I was thinking of (one in which the laws are self-contradictory) - I agree with you to some extent.
 
  • #72
Thomo
I voted no as I suspect a paradox in physics will dissapear with enough knowlege of the subject.The universe has been around for a while and appears relitivly stable,paradoxs could only de stabilize physical laws
 
  • #73
3,762
2
Originally posted by Thomo
I voted no as I suspect a paradox in physics will dissapear with enough knowlege of the subject.The universe has been around for a while and appears relitivly stable,paradoxs could only de stabilize physical laws
Thanks for your participation, Thomo. I agree with you (at least to some extent), in that the universe would (IMO) not be at all stable of it's laws were self-contradictory.
 
  • #74
1,944
0
The universe has been around for a while and appears relitivly stable,paradoxs could only de stabilize physical laws
There's the rub. Do protons live forever? Is the speed of light utterly invariable? For that matter, is fourteen billion years long enough to make an accurate assessment considering the uncounted layers of complexity the physical universe displays? Certainly the physical laws appear invariable, but nothing else does. Because the evidence is so strong for both points of view we may have to wait for a theory of everything and, even then, it could make the situation appear even less clear.
 
  • #75
DrChinese
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,361
1,151
Yes, there are paradoxes. A paradox is an apparent contradiction. I think there are plenty of paradoxes in existence. For example, the mind-body paradox.
 

Related Threads on Does the universe allow for paradoxes?

Replies
31
Views
3K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
51
Views
6K
Replies
22
Views
8K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
46
Views
6K
Replies
20
Views
14K
Replies
12
Views
2K
Replies
18
Views
21K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
55
Views
7K
Replies
3
Views
3K
Top