Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by lightgigantic, May 16, 2007.
And your point in posting this non-sequitur would be...? :shrug:
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Hello, new member here. From a young age, I regarded this question of existence - why does anything exist? - with deep curiosity. In terms of the question itself, I was not seeking an answer to the question of the purpose of existence, but merely searching for an explanation of existence, an understanding of why something - anything at all - exists, rather than nothing existing at all. By "existence" I am referring to physical, material existence. It seemed to me then, in my childhood, as it still seems to me now, that the non-existence of a physical universe would be a more natural state of affairs than the existence of a material world. And yet physical existence is a reality, an undeniable fact. Do we have an explanation as to why this is so, why physical reality exists? I do not have an answer, but the question remains.
It's possible that science has something to offer us here, in terms of our current understanding of the laws of the physical universe, and yet to my mind scientific explanations fall short of answering the underlying philosophical question. Since the mid-20th century scientists have discarded the concept of an eternally pre-existing universe. I am a thorough-going rationalist, but even science falls short of attempting to answer the question of what, if anything, existed before the Big Bang - for example, what existed 50 billion years ago? Of course, this question may itself be ill-formed - by some accounts time itself may only have come into existence with the Big Bang. And yet, as a philosophical question, the "Why?" of the Big Bang is just as important as the "When?" and "How?" If nothing existed 50 billion years ago, why did it come into existence at the Big Bang? And if it did exist 50 billion years ago, where did it come from?
Short of finding an answer to the question "Why does anything exist?" I have found it more fruitful to give it - the reason or explanation for material existence - a name. The name itself is unimportant, but giving it a name at least enables further constructive consideration. I call it "Reforme". What then can I say about Reforme? Reforme is just a name, a label, which I give to something I do not understand. Those of a religious persuasion might equate Reforme with God. Personally I have no truck with theology or religion of any kind. And yet, despite having no idea what Reforme is, or what the nature of Reforme might be, I regard Reforme with wonder and delight, verging on awe. For there is scarcely anything more amazing, wonderful and awe-inspiring than the magnificent reality of the physical universe.
A lack of anything—nothing—couldn't cut it, and so that is the Why, making existence the normal state of affairs; however, there's nothing but a distribution of nothing to make it of, so, obviously, that must be the case. As support, one notes a zero-sum balance of opposite polarity of charge and matter/antimatter states, as well as only two stable matter particles of charge, the electron and the proton, and only only one stable energy particle, the photon, and further that electron/positron production happens only in pairs of these. Some also say the the positive kinetic energy of stuff is balanced and canceled out by the negative potential energy of gravity but I tend toward electric charge as nullifying all existence in the overview, which in actuality can't happen since a 'nothing' state must be perfectly unstable, which, too, is in accord with what we see when progressing beneath to simpler and simpler states, the simplest then being 'nothing'.
Existence, then, is partial nonexistence, the only source possible. Can't have an infinite regress of smaller and smaller stuff, which still begs for what it is made of, nor specific and particular stuff around forever, which not only still begs for what it is made of, but has it as already made and defined without it ever having been.
Welcome to zero-sum physics.
And of course God is out since beings of any kind cannot be first and fundamental.
Only if this lack of anything was a completely stable state of affairs. It is too that we find nothing nowhere, for all is filled with field.
Nothing never sleeps, for it is always up to something.
There is an entire existence filled with "nothing". "Something" has to be a statistical anomaly. "Anything" pertains to matter. So why did light from the beginning suddenly group and spiral into slower moving particles creating "something"?
Indeed filled with a distribution of nothing as space and curvatures of space, space essentially being the nothing of a vacuum which must fluctuate, making the 'vacuum' no longer a vacuum.
There could have been no beginning of all of this, for beginnings are doom to anything being the All, as then duration and extent would have been bounded. Only nothing can qualify as the infinite and eternal prime mover, and that is why existence must have those qualities as well. Everything just keep on happening, everywhere, its total information content being the same as nothing: zero.
God can't exist, for not only can beings not be elemental, but also that nothing is not God, nor could this basis of nothing have had creation or a Creator.
There's not much to say that hasn't already been said in this thread already by myself and many others. Suffice it to say that the problem with the question of why there is something instead of nothing is that it presupposes an either-or scenario; that the non-existence of anything and everything is a legitimate alternative to the existence of something. But since nothing has no properties (not even the property of non-existence, technically) it simply can not be here instead of something. Something is therefore not just a more natural state of affairs but the only state of affairs.
Because it canPlease Register or Log in to view the hidden image!Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Anybody got anything else? I think I'm running a lowgrade fever again, I'm willing to make up all sorts of nonsensical answers.
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Really? Where? Link please.
Um, it didn't.
And as usual, you don't.
Yeah, me too. I've always had a strong sense of the... contingency... of everything. Not just our own lives and all the physical objects around us, but space, time and the more abstract regularities that we call 'physical laws' as well.
I think that the question: 'Why is there something rather than nothing' is the ultimate and fundamental question of ontology.
I agree. Science is very good at explaining why things are this way rather than that way, given preexisting conditions and the more abstract and general principles of nature. But it's not very helpful in telling us why nature exists in the first place and why it has any principles at all. Employing science to answer the fundmental ontological question is almost certainly going to involve us in circular reasoning.
Frankly, I don't know of any way of answering the fundamental question of existence. Attempts to address it seem to involve us in circularity, infinite regress or some kind of contradiction.
This is the point in your post where I'm going to start disagreeing with you. Naming the unknown answer to the universal question is going to be misleading by its very nature.
For one thing, it assumes that there IS an "answer". But one of the possibilities is that this might turn out to be what philosophers call a "pseudoproblem". In other words, we might be misconceiving the issues somehow, and confusing ourselves into thinking that there's a question that needs answering when there really isn't.
If we must name it, I prefer something like "the unknown explanation for being itself, for why existence exists in the first place". That's cumbersome, but it sums up the issue while remaining clear that we don't actually have a clue about the answer.
Though you deny your own religiosity, that sounds like a religious statement to me. You're free to feel that way (I kind of feel that way myself sometimes, when I'm confronted with the cosmic mysteries) but I think that you are getting far out in front of the evidence and are kind of reintroducing the old 'God' concept under your new name.
Try using your brain...
Saying a hot dense structure that didn't decay in any way appeared and exploded before light existed is absolutely mother fudging redonkulius. Implying it is even worse if your motives are to teach.
1: decay can bee seen as a sort of form of light.
2: (A hot dense structure) implies "something".
3: Light is between nothing and something.
You made the claim. Back it up.
This is certainly true, as nothing is found nowhere.
We must still explain why exactly the specific particulars of the 'elemental' somethings and so that's where nothing comes in to complete the otherwise incomplete theory.
Whilst it is hard to disagree with you, Rav, in so far as physical existence is the only state of affairs with which we are familiar, surely this simply begs the question of existence and provides no answer to it. Is there a consensus as to whether the universe has existed eternally, or that it came into existence spontaneously from nothingness, or that it had some other origin? Philosophically, all these options seem problematic.
Um, Big Bang? Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Try the links in the first post of this thread.
PS, welcome to Sci.
You can start tearing your hair out now if you wish.
Thank you, Yazata, for your comprehensive response. I find myself in complete agreement with you, not only where you supported my views but also in your analysis of the weaknesses in my position. Specifically, I concur with your comments about naming the unknown answer to the question of existence:
That in fact sums up my position much better than I explained it myself.
As for the quasi-religiosity of my closing comments, I can assure you I have no intention of "re-introducing the old 'God' concept", as you put it, and the fact that my post may have read like that tells me that I explained my ideas somewhat inadequately and unclearly.
The BBC recently released two TV programs referred to as "Everything and Nothing". The show on Nothing may answer a few questions.
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radiation, irradiation. What's the difference? Infinitely dense objects don't exist, except when it comes to the human mind.
At some point in time a statistical anomaly in this nothingness opted to instead of doing its job and accomplish "nothing", to create light and send the first particles as the universe. The full gravity of nothingness has compressed enough to make an entirely new kind of matter that explodes with the beauty and grace of an unfolding orchid. Its shape and rules held since its origin in a bulb.
What does that have to do with anything?
Really? How dense is a black hole? Take a guess. In fact take three.
And you persist in this "light" business. Why are you ignoring everything else that resulted?
Very poetic. And nothing to do with science.
And well done on ignoring all the other points.
Separate names with a comma.