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How is change possible?

  1. Sep 2, 2011 #1
    IN https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=525749" thread a question was asked.

    “Why is there Something rather than Nothing”

    For there something to come out from nothing - or whatever the case may be - is required the concept of change.

    You may have heard in philosophy, panta rei or 'You can't step into the same river twice.".
    So, how is change possible? And, if this isn't the ultimate question, then what is?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2011 #2
    Both change and the lack of change are relative to the observer like so many other properties. As for the ultimate question, "What is the gift of a question?" works for me.
     
  4. Sep 2, 2011 #3
    Yes, but we digress from here. Such as, "If 'change' is observer-dependant then what counts as an observer?" or more trivially, "If change is observer-dependant, then what is change?". It's cheating.
     
  5. Sep 2, 2011 #4
    What counts as an observer or change depends on the context like any other word.
     
  6. Sep 2, 2011 #5

    apeiron

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    How is stasis possible? Why does anything persist?
     
  7. Sep 2, 2011 #6
    Half joking, my ultimate question: Who are you?
     
  8. Sep 2, 2011 #7
    I'm talking about change not things being changed.
     
  9. Sep 2, 2011 #8
    Not fair. First answer my question.
     
  10. Sep 2, 2011 #9
    Show me a single definition of change that doesn't involve things.
     
  11. Sep 2, 2011 #10
    The original question posted a poem which can be understood to be a definition of change.
     
  12. Sep 2, 2011 #11
    Even the poem describes change in terms of things.
     
  13. Sep 2, 2011 #12

    apeiron

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    It is the same question. The water flows but the river persists. If you mean to draw attention to this standard Greek metaphysical question, then you have to consider the whole of it like they did.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/heraclitus/#UniOpp ........

     
  14. Sep 2, 2011 #13
    See but it doesn't make sense if everything changes.
     
  15. Sep 2, 2011 #14
    How so?

    Ok. So, how do opposites exist if they cannot be identified?
     
  16. Sep 2, 2011 #15

    apeiron

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    How do things change if things persist? How do things persist if there is change?

    What do you mean? Your question identified them - stasis and flux, stability and change.
     
  17. Sep 2, 2011 #16
    Ok, identify a state of stasis as opposed to flux and I'll concede.
     
  18. Sep 2, 2011 #17

    It is again a question of context. The broader and more vague the context the less meaning and sense it conveys. Everything is "energy" or whatever makes no sense whatsoever because the context is simply too vague. You might as well say everything is spiffy or shiny.
     
  19. Sep 2, 2011 #18
    There seems to be no context in this case, since everything changes.
     
  20. Sep 2, 2011 #19

    apeiron

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    What does that mean? Any state of stasis would be opposed to one of flux.
     
  21. Sep 2, 2011 #20

    apeiron

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    But not everything changes at the same rate - again the river vs its waters.
     
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