Ultimate question: Why anything at all?

  • Thread starter bohm2
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  • #401
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i think, why something ?
please let me delve....

Substance = Object = Things



latin
substantia:‘something that stands under or grounds things’

foundational or fundamental entities of reality.

entities = objects


substances (objects) are distinct from their properties.
properties are just predicates of objects, not the substance itself.
(Being objects of predication but not being themselves predicable of anything else)
i.e. paradigm subjects of predication and bearers of properties.

Bare particular:
is the element without which the object would not exist, that is, its substance, which exists independent from its properties.

Inherence relation:
inherent relation of property with the object.

two types of predicables:
what is ‘said of’ objects (i.e red apple) and that which are ‘in’ objects (the apple is on the table)

substance play an irreducible and ineliminable explanatory (reductive definition but not by physical causes), a fundamental efficient cause by its own.



Metaphysical nihilism (MN)

1. There is a world with a finite number n of concrete objects (accessible from our own: i.e. possible relative to ours). Call this world wn.
2. The existence of any object o in wn is contingent.
3. The non-existence of o does not imply the existence of another object o'.
4. There is a world, wn-1, accessible from wn containing exactly one less object than wn. There is a world accessible from wn-1, w(n-1)-1, containing exactly one less object than wn-1.
5. By iterating the above procedure (i.e. by repeated ‘subtractions’) we arrive at a world wn-m = wmin, accessible from wn, that contains exactly one object.
6. Therefore, by steps 2, 3, 4, from wmin there is an accessible world, wnil = wn-m-1, containing no objects at all (= MN).
hmm.. very similar to.

cosmological argument

1. A contingent being (a being that if it exists can not-exist) exists.
2. This contingent being has a cause of or explanation for its existence.
3. The cause of or explanation for its existence is something other than the contingent being itself.
4. What causes or explains the existence of this contingent being must either be solely other contingent beings or include a non-contingent (necessary) being.
5. Contingent beings alone cannot provide an adequate causal account or explanation for the existence of a contingent being.
6. Therefore, what causes or explains the existence of this contingent being must include a non-contingent (necessary) being.
7. Therefore, a necessary being (a being that if it exists cannot not-exist) exists.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmological-argument/
 
  • #402
825
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hmm.. very similar to. cosmological argument
I don't see the similarity.
 
  • #403
463
7
I don't see the similarity.
not teleologically, just on the same footing "Contingency".
 
  • #404
No. By similar reasoning, the number 3 cannot exist since on a scale of real numbers, it has probability 0 of existing.
Sorry for backtracking a thought post mortem, but I just wanted to clear up any fallacies that the original author directed through his/her reasoning. (if this post is not allowed by the standard regulations, just edit/delete it please)

The set of real numbers (shorthand being R) implies the number 3. Probability doesn't work in determining why a certain number exists; of course, we could deform and reform it, but the underlying concepts and overlapping culture would still be untransformed - they would be necessarily identical. Likewise, any subset of a set is automatically granted providing the admission of sets it necessarily pertains to. In problems whence a subset merely _can_ pertain to a collective set (like whether possibility Y exists in system A), then you can apply probability to ascertain the plausibility of certain propositions

On the one hand, the existence of a universe, having many different forms, seems highly probable, but is merely a single possibility out of a massive deluge as engulfing the entirety of human thought. On the other hand, the existence of 3 (or III and '...') is a necessary condition of set R in which case it is an implication of set R. Thus, the criticism fails

However, although one hurdle has been cleared for vacancy in regards to preliminary plausibility, I would argue that there are many more pitfalls to evaluate and thereafter evacuate before excavation can even ensue in pursuit of life's finer pleasures - that of self-sustained understanding.

For one, although there are many different universes and only one state of nonexistance, there are only two contiguities in the constitution of reality - universes, although they may be diverse in development, by execution of emergence, only have one engine of design to match chemistry with. If the universe was created, let's say, then there is only one way that could've happened. It's likw how there are many different books all with different authors and different publishers, but how the books are basically all made the same way - namely via the machinery of the printing press. So, we've reduced the probability of the universe existing to only 1/2 with the chance of the universe existing at all to be equal to the probability of the university being a null set- there is roughly a 50/50 distribution.

As the conclusion forbears no preference for either one of the selected propositons in mind, we can only rationalize that the universe could've existed or not, but can't quite round off the edges in explaining why it came into being- even if simply by mathematical acrobatics.

On that leave, the very existence of the universe is a very interesting thing indeed. By far, "the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible" - in this case, we depart from that aphorism to terra incognita.
 
  • #405
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Seems everybody (including myself) got tired of arguing ;)
I will probably return to argue since I think the questions raised were good questions
and my opponents were serious and honest opposers. There has not been any ad hominem argumenting for example.

The concept of Semantic Content has been mentioned... Perhaps it needs elucidation?
Suppose you write the following on a paper on the table: This paper is on the table.
Its true isnt it? Then hold it in your hand and the same statement is not true.

So: How shall we explain the situation? You will speak about contexts I guess...
I will do essentially the same but in a slightly different way leading to my version of the Theory of Truth
 
  • #406
RaptorWizard
The reason as to why there is something rather than nothing is because the all is mind; the Universe is mental, meaning that it is consciousness and the way that this energy is focused into form that determines our reality, the greatest goal of them all being perception.
 
  • #407
The reason as to why there is something rather than nothing is because the all is mind; the Universe is mental, meaning that it is consciousness and the way that this energy is focused into form that determines our reality, the greatest goal of them all being perception.
That doesn't explain why things exist in the first place; it merely hints at the nature of interpretive perception

You're reducing the problem from that of the physical to that of the mental and metaphysical. however, the problem of existence is indifferent to that dichotomy; the phantasms of our haunting have not yet left us in rest. If everything is good, why does good exist? If the universe is only mind, how come the mind exists? Surely, reasoning is not necessary of reality - otherwise, the universe could simply be factored into nothing but the rational in itself and that is certainly untrue
 
  • #408
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Think of all the possible ways that the world might be, down to every detail. There are infinitely many such possible ways. All these ways seem to be equally probable—which means that the probability of any one of these infinite possibilities actually occurring seems to be zero, and yet one of them happened. “Now, there’s only one way for there to be Nothing, right?” There are no variants in Nothing; there being Nothing at all is a single state of affairs. And it’s a total state of affairs; that is, it settles everything—every possible proposition has its truth value settled, true or false, usually false, by there being Nothing. So if Nothing is one way for reality to be, and if the total number of ways for reality to be are infinite, and if all such infinite ways are equally probable so that the probability of any one of them is [essentially] zero, then the probability of ‘there being Nothing’ is also [essentially] zero.” Because there are an infinite number of potential worlds, each specific world would have a zero probability of existing, and because Nothing is only one of these potential worlds—there can be only one kind of Nothing—the probabilily of Nothing existing is zero.

This probability argument bugs me. There are only an infinite number of choices for reality because there is something versus nothing.

So why is it not a 50/50 chance of having something versus having nothing. Why is it that we should include all the possibilities of what reality could be. And who is to say what is not reality is something that could be (or could have been) reality. There is certainly no evidence.
 
  • #409
chiro
Science Advisor
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This probability argument bugs me. There are only an infinite number of choices for reality because there is something versus nothing.

So why is it not a 50/50 chance of having something versus having nothing. Why is it that we should include all the possibilities of what reality could be. And who is to say what is not reality is something that could be (or could have been) reality. There is certainly no evidence.
Here is a question for you: if you haven't observed something yourself, does that mean it doesn't exist?
 
  • #410
825
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This probability argument bugs me. There are only an infinite number of choices for reality because there is something versus nothing. So why is it not a 50/50 chance of having something versus having nothing. Why is it that we should include all the possibilities of what reality could be. And who is to say what is not reality is something that could be (or could have been) reality. There is certainly no evidence.
You might want to look at post 180. The authors in those links make the same point you are arguing for, I think. From one of the links in post 180:
When you win the lottery ticket it may be reasonable to infer that other people bought a ticket but, in any case, the very idea of winning a lottery presupposes that other tickets exist and that the winning ticket has been drawn more or less randomly from the collection of tickets. By contrast, our universe being the way it is (“winning the lottery”) does not presuppose that other universes (with different properties) exist-our evidence is simply neutral in this respect. Furthermore, we have no a priori right to presuppose that the values of the parameters characterizing our universe are bestowed on it by some random process-and so no right to presuppose a probability distribution (uniform or otherwise) of the outcomes. Therefore, a judgment of what is natural to infer from our universe being as it is (with us in it) hangs in the air.
 
  • #411
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Here is a question for you: if you haven't observed something yourself, does that mean it doesn't exist?
Of course not. But follow my logic here.

If no one has seen something does that mean it doesn't exist?

Of course not, it just means that there isn't a lot of evidence for it existing, is there?

Take any point in history. Moon Landing.

Is it possible that the shuttle carrying them could have crashed?

Yes. We know it is possible because we have observed other shuttle's crash.

Is there a possible reality where the first voyage to the moon with N. Armstrong, crashed?

Yes.

Has anyone observed a reality where this is the case?

No.

So is there strong evidence that this reality exists?

No.

So if there is no strong evidence that all these other realities exist, are we not just looking at the possibility of our reality existing versus nothing?

In my opinion there is just as much evidence supporting the idea that if "reality happens" (whatever the hell that means) that it can only happen in ONE possible way. And it is the way we are experience our world, right now. As there is evidence that reality could happen in any other possible way, where we are all fish, or where the earth is a cube, or where Gandhi invented the Apple computer.

I'm not an expert, nor have I studied philosophy so forgive me if I make no sense.
 
  • #412
chiro
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I'm not really saying this from a philosophic view per se (although I'm sure these concepts are in philosophy and are in debate).

All I'm saying is that what we observe is somewhat very narrow when you consider what is to be observed out there if you look at the universe as a whole and consider how much we have not observed not necessarily even through "time" as it were, but also through space.

There is a lot of evidence for patterns in a wide variety of contexts that include the major sciences like biology, chemistry, physics, psychology and the like so the ideas of absolutely anything happening whenever it wants has evidence against that.

However with that being said, it is important to realize that what we observe is just an absolutely tiny and dare I say, almost insignificant part of what is out there waiting to be observed.

A simple mathematical description of this is to consider the subset of all observations that correspond to our own (call it A) where A is a proper subset of U.

If we forget this, we are likely to draw inferences on U only with A in such a strong way that we conclude that A represents U more than it should.

The best way IMO to handle something like this, is just to remember that when we are doing inferencing in any general situation we have two errors.

The first error is that we make a positive inference given that the result is negative and the second is that we make a negative inference given that the result is positive.

When you initially accept that A is a rather small subset of U, then the consideration of the above errors is a lot easier and one can then work backwards from being "super pessimistic" to "more optimistic" as new stuff comes in to make the picture that little bit clearer.

It's not that we know nothing absolutely, but that we don't know that much relatively but then again organized knowledge discovery as we know it for our current period of time is not that long.
 
  • #413
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This is the kind of question that makes me bang my head on my desk. Why do people spend time on such useless questions? Oh, I know, philosophy asks the questions that don't need to be asked. <bangs head on desk>

Carry on.
I'm OK with whatever inspires people to think.
 
  • #414
chiro
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  • #415
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That doesn't explain why things in the ; it merely hints at the nature of interpretive perception

You're reducing the problem from that of the physical to that of the mental and . however, the problem of existence is indifferent to that dichotomy; the phantasms of our haunting have not yet left us in rest. If everything is good, why does good exist? If is only mind, how come the mind exists? Surely, reasoning is not necessary of - otherwise, could simply be factored into nothing but the rational in itself and that is certainly untrue

well said !
 
  • #416
chiro
Science Advisor
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With regard to why good exists, it's like anything else: you need to a duality to put one thing in perspective.

Good needs to be relative to "not good", nothing relative to "not nothing" and everything else along the same lines.

One can not even analyze, compare, and contrast something let alone to do any kind of analysis on something that has no dual or complement: it's impossible.

Analysis needs a way to make some kind of comparison, and without that comparison there is no way of analysis across the board.

With regards to the mind comment, one thing you might want to do is instead of asking "why" the mind exists, instead ask what would happen if it didn't exist: what would be the alternatives if something did not exist?

This kind of approach that you have tried is basically the hammer and nail situation where if you have a hammer, you treat everything as a nail to hammer in.

The alternative approach is to think about the situation where you didn't have a hammer and then think about what the consequences of such a thing should be instead of intrepreting the nail, screw, or whatever to be in the context of holding a hammer.

Mathematicians do this all the time but in a slightly more subtle way with proof by contradiction, which I think is probably the most important logical principle that has ever been written down.

To prove something, we assume that the opposite is true and try and show that a flaw exists in this model or argument.

Mentally the distinction between this approach the hammer/nail approach may be subtle but it's very far reaching when it comes to general analysis because the person with the hammer is going to miss the whole picture and only get the pixel while the proof by contradiction guy is forced to think about the whole picture (even if done at parts at a time) and if the proof by contradiction guy can't find a fault in the argument, then they are forced to re-evaluate their conclusion.
 
  • #417
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This was another interesting argument by this author. He considers 3 possible universe views:

1. Null Possibility
2. All Worlds Hypothesis (e.g. Multiverse)
3. One particular universe

He then argues that option 1 seems less puzzling than option 2 which is less puzzling than option 3:
If all these worlds exist, we can ask why they do. But, compared with most other cosmic possibilities, the All Worlds Hypothesis may leave less that is unexplained. For example, whatever the number of possible worlds that exist, we have the question, ‘Why that number?’ That question would have been least puzzling if the number that existed were none, and the next least arbitrary possibility seems to be that all these worlds exist. With every other cosmic possibility, we have a further question. If ours is the only world, we can ask: ‘Out of all the possible local worlds, why is this the one that exists?’ On any version of the Many Worlds Hypothesis, we have a similar question: ‘Why do just these worlds exist, with these elements and laws?’ But, if all these worlds exist, there is no such further question...

Though the All Worlds Hypothesis avoids certain questions, it is not as simple, or unarbitrary, as the Null Possibility...Of all the cosmic possibilities, the Null Possibility would have needed the least explanation. As Leibniz pointed out, it is much the simplest, and the least arbitrary. And it is the easiest to understand. It can seem mysterious, for example, how things could exist without their existence having some cause, but there cannot be a causal explanation of why the whole Universe, or God, exists. The Null Possibility raises no such problem. If nothing had ever existed, that state of affairs would not have needed to be caused.
Why Anything? Why This?
http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/phil3600/parfit.pdf [Broken]
 
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