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Something or nothing

  1. May 12, 2003 #1
    i have a question that i want to ask:
    there are three box, box A, box B and boxC. box A contain something inside. box B contain nothing inside and we don't know either there contain something inside or nothing at all inside box C.
    do you know that is there something inside or nothing at all inside:
    a)box A b)box B c)box C

    (there is no exact answer)
  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2003 #2
    It all depends whether to trust your words, there may be no boxes at all.
  4. May 12, 2003 #3
    Well I can either take your word for it or, I could take a look inside. As for box C, I would just assume leave it alone (and not investigate) if, I wished to remain uncertain about it.

    Also, with respect to box B (this is for Mentat), a sense of "nothingness" does imply that there is "no thing" in it, that indeed in fact it's empty, at least with respect to the box's "intended purpose."

    Does this not also entail the https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=611" Where there are those things you can be certain about (whether the box is full or empty) and those things you can't, which remain a mystery until you investigate? While everything is shrouded behind "the form" (of the box).

    Perhaps this is also about the "great debate," say between Science and Religion, and perhaps the notion of the "immortal soul?" Where either side claims box A is full (with respect to their views), and box B is empty (with respect to the other's views), whereas box C is the only "true mystery" which neither side wishes to address, for indeed that would spell the end of "who is right," and very likely entail a great deal of research to undue "the wrong" ...
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  5. May 12, 2003 #4
    Re: Re: something or nothing

    What is a box's "intended purpose"? To contain something? What if someone just likes boxes? They don't have to put anything into them, and the boxes would not have the "purpose" of containing something.

    P.S. if there is space between one side of the box and another, there is something inside of it. I know this is not what the originator of the thread was asking, but s/he seems to have already answered his/her own original question.
  6. May 12, 2003 #5
    Then they would call that a "fetish."

    I think the question was asked with the "implied intent" of putting something into the boxes.
  7. May 12, 2003 #6
    But the "purpose" of that person's boxes would not be the same as other people's boxes, right?

    And you're probably right, but you mentioned me (and the concept of "Nothingness") - otherwise I probably wouldn't have commented at all.
  8. May 12, 2003 #7
    But then you've redefined the purpose of the box, in which case it's no longer just a box, but a "collector's box" perhaps?

    Fair enough ...
  9. May 12, 2003 #8
    I have not redefined "box", I have simply shown the flaw in the definition that you chose.
  10. May 12, 2003 #9
    When you redefine the purpose of the box then you redefine the box, because it becomes something "other" than its intended design. For example let's say you fashioned the box into a cat bed, by stuffing it with a pillow or a blanket or something, then the box no longer becomes a box, but a "cat bed" -- which thus describes its "full utility."
  11. May 13, 2003 #10
    my answer for box A is there's something inside and my answer for
    box B is there's nothing inside. this is because it is clearly stated in the question. but i still don't know whether there's something or nothing inside box C.

    i have a different way to approach this box C. suppose that you entered a compettion.there's two same box(left and right), in this compettion you need to tell which box (left or right) have a apple inside. of course you cannot touch the box or do anything to it. which one would you choose? left or right?
    this is the same for box C but i still don't know which one to choose.
  12. May 13, 2003 #11
    If you approached it from the standpoint of flipping a coin, you stand a 50/50 chance of getting heads on the first flip. Which if you do (say it represents the box being full), because you have just flipped heads, you stand an "improved" chance of flipping tails (where the box is empty) on the next try, in order to maintain the 50/50 average. Whereas if you flip it a third time, because you have just flipped tails, you stand an "improved" chance of flipping heads again (where the box is full), i.e., in order to maintain the 50/50 average. Does that make any sense?
  13. May 13, 2003 #12
    But I didn't redefine the purpose of a box - that was the point of everything I said before. A box has no purpose on it's own. Another (conscious) being must assign it a purpose, and then that is it's purpose. After a purpose has been assigned, then it can be redefined. However, "box" has no defined purpose.
  14. May 16, 2003 #13
    Nope. Chances are supposed to be independend.
    When a head comes up any number of times after one another, does not change the chance of 50/50 for head or tail to the next flip.
  15. May 16, 2003 #14
    If this is a quantum mechanical puzzle, then indeed we can not state anything about the contents of either boxes.

    What was inside box A might now be "tunneled" into Box B, and the content of box C might not be known until actually observed (collapse of wave function).

    Assuming the example is classical or macro scopic phenomena, then we just know what is being stated about the 3 boxes: A contains something, B nothing and C we don't know.
    Last edited: May 16, 2003
  16. May 16, 2003 #15
    Are you sure? Because in order to maintain the 50/50 average, either heads or tails, "statistically" it has to average out ... suggesting the "likelihood" of it flip-flopping on the next flip will occur. Just as everything in the Universe has its "own vibration."

    Perhaps this is the answer to quantum mechanics? Where everything occurs as a matter of "push and pull?" Where the one force pushes in one direction and the other force pulls in the other (out of displacement), thus creating an oscillation effect? ...
  17. May 17, 2003 #16
    Re: Re: something or nothing

    for me this is a philosophical question. example for box A and box B: in school, you learn something and you know it very well because it happen in everyday life.then you can say this is this and that is that because it is already stated. if i push you, do you fall up or down in earth?
    for box C: you ask whether what we learn is true or not? chicken first or the egg first? now i'm just using an easier question (box question) to approach this kind of question.
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