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How does one define existence outside the physical world?

  1. Mar 5, 2008 #1
    I ask this because it seems to me there is a striking paradox to a God's existence claim. I do think that what is and what isn't are conceptions that depend on our perception of the universe. So how, then, if we take down this road of thought, can we speak of existence outside the physical realm? Is it only possible to do so if we relate some physical effects to the existence of the deity in question? Is this why religions need to make claims about the physical world - because else, they're devoid of meaning?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2008 #2
    Suppose the following:
    (1) What is depends on our perceptive strengths.
    (2) What isn't depends on our imagination bolstered by some sort of metaphysical reasoning.

    When you say meaning, I have to use, what isn't said, to say myself, you mean what you mean, plus more, which seems to me, what you mean by meaning, is connotation plus value.

    Value is measured as far as I know in two ways. The first is itz organization and the second is itz re-organizability. Suppose some of Maxwell's monkeys got loose, and while you were asleep, disassembled your computer and laid all the parts down, neatly in four rows. Your computer now has no value to you, because it is not functional, and further, the important messges cannot reach you anymore.

    Not all things are re-organizable (except the GODs of the religions, due to metaphysical reasoning), making the value of those things, the not(re-organizable) ones, static. Electricity is re-organizable and you know how valualble that is to us. Electric charge itself has little value because itz existential organization, mostly causes harm, and has no known functional use.

    Using this argument, I do not think it is a necessary condition, to make claims about the physical world, to give religions their meaning, metaphysical exploration is adequate. Remember, this is an evolved argument, coming from a mind that has raised itz value over history - it now holds more meaning...

    I have hardly asnwered the question, but hopefully, these few dabs of paint will help restore these faded photos...
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  4. Mar 5, 2008 #3
    The term "outside of the physical world" is self-contradictory, since outside is a measure only valid within the physical world. It is like asking what was before the beginning of time or left of the uttermost left you can get. It's a stolen concept.
  5. Mar 5, 2008 #4
    Religions make claims about the physical world because it exists in their lore, typically based on observation, tradition and metaphor. It does lend meaning to the people who follow that religion. It makes for a story that people can relate to.

    Believers of a personal God would probably say that one does not define the metaphysical world. Rather, the metaphysical world defines us. It is the higher order. It isn't the physical world that gives meaning to religion. Meaning in religion is derived by the metaphysical precepts that form it.
  6. Mar 5, 2008 #5
    I'm sorry to burst your bubble.

    If Thor gives meaning to the existence of humans, then what brings meaning to Thor existence? Three options arises:

    (1) Thor gets his meaning from Thor's god, in which case, Thor is irrelevant for ultimate meaning.
    (2) There is no meaning to Thor's existence, in which case there is no reason to think that humans have any non-arbitrary meaning or that the concept is itself meaningful.
    (3) Thor's existence has an intrinsic meaning by some objective criteria, in which case, humans can have intrinsic meaning as well.

    So either Thor is irrelevant for meaning, meaning doesn't exist or meaning is arbitrary. Take your pick.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  7. Mar 5, 2008 #6
    I take it that inside-outside follows boolean logic. If and entity is said to be not inside the physical world, we must assume it is outside. The entire question is how do we interpret "outside".
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  8. Mar 5, 2008 #7
    There is a second option: An entity that is not inside the physical world, does not exist. Furthermore, you have just made a negative definition, which says nothing about what outside means. If I say that "jaxyplonk" is not a banana, I haven't really said a lot about what jaxyplonk is.

    So what is "outside" of the physical world? I know what it is not (inside), but what is it?
  9. Mar 5, 2008 #8
    This is what I'm asking. I want to know if it's possible to arrive at definitions of "outside" and "existence" within the context in question without colliding with a contradiction.

    Perhaps we, humans, are for the most part unaware that such a contradiction cannot be avoided because our minds see themselves as unphysical. In other words, we are fooled into the belief that existence and non-existence do not depend on the physical world because we have conceptions of them in the imaginary, which we, mistakingly, deem as unphysical. What do you think?
  10. Mar 5, 2008 #9
    The OPs question is only a stolen concept if one presupposes the non-existence of a metaphysical world.
    Replace "physical world" with house, spaceship, mind. Using the same argument we could determine that the physical world is self-contradictory because it is outside of the mind, or the kitchen pantry.

    You also make an untrue assumption that all stolen concepts are false. If our knowledge and logic were perfect you might be right, but unfortunately that is not the case for any of us. What you are actually doing is using your presuppositions to pawn off your position as fact, without attempting to give a meaningful answer to the question outlined by the OP. To give a meaningful answer one would have to have the ability to assume the existence of a metaphysical world. Can one give meaningful answers to meaningless questions, or would that also be a stolen concept fallacy?

    Here's another stolen concept for you.
  11. Mar 6, 2008 #10
    The idea of god being 'outside' comes from the notion of 'god the creator'. Its not unthinkable that if one is to create something that one must be separate from it. Our notion of self, soul, being separate from our body is a similar duality. Now what this actually means with regards to a god, or a soul, is hard to say. We can't really think in any terms except those we experience. And these are by definition beyond our experience.

    That is the standard 'creator' god theology. However, it is not the only tradition. Brahman for instance is 'all' and the primal source of all. One can clearly see a contradiction of course, but this is explained by the fact that human beings are 'limited' and divorced from the true nature of the universe. In the eastern tradition, generally, the self is an illusion, so any 'logic' we may use is part of that illusion and equally limited.

    It really all depends on how you view things. With regards to gods, any theory is speculation so you can't really deny a god except with regards to pointing out apparent contradictions in any specific theology. Of course, without any kind of evidence, believing in such a thing is about as useful as believing in fairies, aliens, and unicorns.
  12. Mar 6, 2008 #11
    Have you finally gone of the deep end?

    Measures are valid both within and outside the house, spaceship, mind and the pantry, since they all exist in the physical world.

    An argument using the stolen concept fallacy is always wrong, just as a contradictory argument is always wrong.
  13. Mar 6, 2008 #12
    We can certainly represent length in our minds. But what is 'inside' the mind is qualitatively different. Or a dream would be no different than the 'physical'.
    That is not what was written.
    Note: the word 'argument' was not used.
    You keep doing this. You misread something, then you tell people what they are saying, and then say they are wrong.

    Please, take a step back and think about this...if you are truly more than a troll...
  14. Mar 6, 2008 #13
    Nothing can be observed without a mind to observe it. Without having access to any observations outside a room, none of the information received will be completely understood.

    If one has never observed anything outside of the room that they are in then it is very likely they will not understand the true nature of any information originating from outside that room. If someone is playing a radio in another room, and our observer in his room universe hears it, he may deduce that sounds are caused by the vibrations of walls, and that these sounds have a meaningful pattern. Anyone that told him that the sound comes from Radio, he would just say they are using a stolen concept fallacy and are unequivocally wrong. In this example the observer has limited knowledge and has made an incorrect conclusion.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2008
  15. Mar 10, 2008 #14
    Hmmm.... So analyze this statement.

    "Nothing is for certain, even this statement"

    Is that above statement incorrect? If it is incorrect please point out its flaw, unless im interpretting what your saying differently than you intend for us to interpret it.

    The statement is self contradicting but it is nonetheless true.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
  16. Mar 10, 2008 #15
    The problem with this statement is more linguistic than philosophical, although its a great way to get people thinking.

    "Nothing" is a noun.
    A noun is a person, place or thing.
    So the word 'nothing' describes the 'lack of a thing' as a thing.

    "Certain" also has linguistic issues.
    You can use it in the context of 'certain' death.
    And you can also use it when talking about personal, but unverified belief.

    I am certain he is facing certain death.
    The first implies a subjective belief, the second implies some sort of objective standard.

    Many 'philosophical' problems can be addresses this way.
  17. Mar 10, 2008 #16
    ~(P & ~P)
  18. Apr 3, 2008 #17
    Mental existence, is created from the physical existence, (tree to think of it as tree's and not road's)(you have to get off the road to think of these kind of things :/)

    Hence in are physical state that we are in, we can only do what other's will let us, or what we would let are selfs do, but in are mental world we are not bound be the after effects that are create from the action's that we do or donot do, that of which in are phyiscal state we would face such thing's, from other's and nature and effects to are phyisical bodie's :/

    But if you would mean out side the the main rule's, like for example we cant create a new geometrical shape or create a new color that isnt in are existance :/ not even in are minds world can we do such action's..

    But you asked "How" dose one define existence outside the physical world...

    you can define it by creating list of things we are bound by in the physical world, this way you know what the physical world is, and therefore you could define what its not, and that thing that its not would be the existence outside the physical world...

    And thats your answer to "how" dose one define existence outside the physical world..

    It is what it is, its not what its not :/ all while useing are thought :\ while sitting in one spot :)
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