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The ultimate mystery

  1. Mar 6, 2005 #1
    Is there an incompleteness which, over all others, defines our existence?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2005 #2
    there sure is.
  4. Mar 6, 2005 #3
    I'd say yes also. But it might depend on exactly what you mean by incomplete.
  5. Mar 6, 2005 #4
    Specifically, an incompleteness which defines our existence entirely.
  6. Mar 6, 2005 #5
    What if the feelings of incompleteness were just our perception of Ions in our systems, that are looking for bonds to make? What if it is our natural state to detect our own electricity as an open circuit, that seeks closure due to the workings of entropy, or inertia of rest?
  7. Mar 6, 2005 #6


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    Incompleteness sure doesn't define my existence entirely. I had a complete breakfast this morning and I'm not missing any limbs or anything.
  8. Mar 6, 2005 #7
    I'd say we are half complete.
  9. Mar 6, 2005 #8
    In other words, are we beings who are not or who are - "half empty or half full"?
  10. Mar 6, 2005 #9


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    How exactly do you make a distinction? Any object that is halfway between two extremes is half of each. If we truly were half full, we'd also be half empty.
  11. Mar 7, 2005 #10
    That is determined by whether we are in the process of being emptied or filled.

    by the way loseyourname, i miss your old avatar. o:)
  12. Mar 7, 2005 #11
    If physics is a mathematical model of the universe then physics cannot model the universe both completely or consistently. Stephen Hawkings concludes that physics must be forever incomplete since, presumably, we will weed out any inconsistencies over time. There will therefore always be a gap in the scientific model of the universe.

    Two of the most obvious gaps appear in our scientific/philosophical explanations of cosomgeny and consciousness. According to many philosophers both these gaps are logically unfillable.

    The question then becomes whether these gaps are the result of some quirk of our epistemology, as Colin Mcginn and I think also Hawkings suggest, or are they 'ontological'. In other words, are the gaps in our explanations a sign of the limitations of the formal axiomatic systems we use when we are reasoning, or is there actually something in these explanatory gaps whose nature is such that it cannot be represented or modelled as an object within such a system? If the latter then is this 'God of the Gaps' (that cannot be 'idolised' within the system) the thing which 'defines our existence', in the sense of underlying or giving rise to it?

    Loren - I took this to be the question here, but there weren't many clues. Is this roughly what you were getting at at?
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2005
  13. Mar 7, 2005 #12
    Unfillable it is. I fear that by filling ourselves to complete ourselves, we will end up reversing the completeness. There would be no way of knowing if we were complete unless we tested our completeness by emptying ourselves. If test prove that we were complete then we would have to try and complete ourselves over again.

    Sorry if I seem bit simple but I prefer it that way.
  14. Mar 7, 2005 #13


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    How the heck did you get that from his question? He never once mentioned physics, mathematics, or any other means of describing things. He just asked if incompleteness defines our existence. Even granting that physics does not give a complete description of things, how does it follow that incompleteness defines human existence? Did you suddenly change your mind and decide that humans are purely physical after all?
  15. Mar 7, 2005 #14
    i am not incomplete at all, and as a matter of fact, some would say that i am too complete
  16. Mar 7, 2005 #15
    oh gawd, this will sound sooo zen! we are as complete as we need to be or should be at this moment.

    BUT, we will never be complete because we are expanding within an infinite, expanding universe.

    even IF we should ever become complete within our current reality system, wouldn't we start another universe?

    olde drunk

    "heaven was created by your clergy so they could charge admission"
  17. Mar 7, 2005 #16
    Actually (being a physicist) I had implied a model representing a physical simplification of our extant selves. Such a self would be reducible to logic, but may be considered as including or excluding any aspect of our hypothetical reality.
  18. Mar 7, 2005 #17


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    That still doesn't tell me much about what you mean when you ask if incompleteness defines human existence. Are you asking only if a physical model of a human is incomplete?
  19. Mar 7, 2005 #18
    I believe I am asking if only a logical (e. g., reduced physical) model can define its existence through its limitations.
  20. Mar 8, 2005 #19


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    Why the "we" then? I don't know if logic is defined entirely by its limitations, or that anything is, for that matter. Any system of operations is defined by what it can do as much as by what it cannot do. In fact, I would say the former provides a better definition. In order to define a system by what it cannot do, you would first need to define every possible operation that can be carried out, then define the operations that the system in question cannot carry out. It is far simpler, from what I can see, to just define your system by defining what it can do and stipulating that it can do nothing more.
  21. Mar 8, 2005 #20
    Defining existance will always end with incompleteness when you ignore the existance of the universe as a whole and only try to define human existance.
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