Why Is There Anything, Rather Than Nothing?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Patriot, Oct 14, 2004.

  1. fadingCaptain are you a robot? Valued Senior Member

    "nothing" is non-existance.

    "nothing" cannot exist.

    something exists.

    There is a proof on why something exists.
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  3. mercurio 9th dan seppuku sensei Registered Senior Member

    Inside this universe there is spacetime. Within it, 'nothing' cannot exist. Even a vacuum is not really empty: it constantly produces new particles and semi-particles:


    Our best human-created vacuums are piffle (several millions particles per m3) compared with the ones in outer space (a few particles on average per m3) btw.

    'Nature abhors vacuum' they used to say. Within our universe that would seem to be true. Even in the best of vacuums you'd still have some raw creative energy, meaning that like reaching exactly zero degrees Kelvin, it is something impossible to achieve.

    'Outside' our universe might be real 'nothing' (not even Laws of Nature, no Raw Energy, no Dimensions, zip), but we will probably never know for sure.

    There might be other such 'pockets of existence', but divided by ... what?
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Nothing exists nowhere.
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  7. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

    anthropic principle. if the universe were any different you would not know it.

    moreover, perhaps for trillions of trillions of trillions^trillions^trillions^trillions^trillions of years there was nothing, only there as nobody around to see it.
  8. Dreamwalker Whatever Valued Senior Member

    If there was truly nothing, then there should not be something around now...
  9. beyondtimeandspace Everlasting Student Registered Senior Member

    I have read over the responses so far, and they all pretty much assert that there cannot be nothing in this universe.... that there is definitely something.... that because there is something now there must always have been something.... that we couldn't know "nothing" as such. However, none of these responses, at least that I can tell, really touch upon the question asked, "WHY is there something, rather than nothing." I mean... it's pretty obvious that there is something, but why?

    Anyway, I've been thinking about the question of existence. It seems to me, that modern day thought considers existence in a different way than the origin of the term. When you consider the terms "existence," "being," "to be," "to exist," something you should note is that these are all verb forms. Common thought would consider existence under the light of a noun, an object, rather than an activity. One might say that existence is a state of being. However, here again, we are left with the overriding fact that it is a state of activity, since being itself is also a verb form.

    What is interesting to note is that even when something appears still, inactive, it is really in motion on the molecular level (and lower). It would seem, then, that things, or beings, are really, quite simply, relative to a delineated movement within space-time. What I mean by this is that all things are in motion at the basest level, and that perhaps what makes things up is motion itself, and forms, on whatever level, are really compositions of movements (I suppose this is something similar to string theory).

    Therefore, it seems to me, that "nothing" is simply non-motion. That is, if motion ever ceased, then nothing would exist. The question then, in a more clarified sense, is why is there movement, rather than non-movement?

    An interesting side-note is that one classical description of God is that God is Pure Act.
  10. an>roid.v2 Registered Senior Member

    Can "something" become "nothing"? The solar system swallows the earth. The milky way swallows the solar system. The endless universe swallows the galaxy. Endless eternity swallows the endless universe. In other words, there's now... nothing.
  11. §outh§tar is feeling caustic Registered Senior Member

    Why should "nothing" be an alternative to "anything"?

    I don't see why that should be necessarily true.
  12. philocrazy Banned Banned

    this thread is saying nothing
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2004
  13. alain du hast mich Registered Senior Member

    my two cents

    there is be something because otherwise we wouldn't be able to have this discussion.
  14. duendy Registered Senior Member

    (((((((why is there anything, rather than nothing))))))?..

    first understand that you are asking this dualistically. ie., you are presupposing that theree exists an 'anything' and a 'nothing'--l;et us call these terms abstracts.
    'anything' 'nothing'

    Dualism --the sense of conflicting oppo-sites arises with analytical thinking. where thought can chop up reality into sizeable pieces which logic then seeks to analyze. but is this process reality?
    well it is reality in the sense that we actually do it in our heads, but does doing it in our heads MEAN that there exists an 'anything' and a 'nothing'? i don't think so!

    so having done th choppin up, we can then reconciliate this by understanding how these terms relate to each other. for example, to even RECOGNIZE 'anything' we would need the idea of 'nothing', yeah? and to even dig 'nuthin' we would need a conept of 'anything'. so what's that tell us? it means that you cannot HAVe one withOUT the other. They arise togther simultaneously.....!!!!!!!!!
    Now although this was a mental excercise, the latter part of the answer probably fits better than the assumption of there only being 'anything' or only being 'nothin', for surely that wouldn't make sense...HOw ould you only have 'nothing' or only have 'anything'
    it'd be like only having 'up' without 'down' wouldn't it

    and then of course is the excluded middle
  15. mercurio 9th dan seppuku sensei Registered Senior Member

    "and then of course is the excluded middle"

    Ah! Does that have a hollow centre, too?

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  16. duendy Registered Senior Member

    "excluded middle" "hollow centre"

  17. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Without something there wouldn't be a word for nothing.
  18. Dreamwalker Whatever Valued Senior Member

    Does nothing need a word to exist?
  19. mercurio 9th dan seppuku sensei Registered Senior Member

    Two even. No + thing.

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    btw duendy, 'the excluded middle" *was* unacceptable to the 'intuitionist' school of mathematics (Brouwer)

    As an example of this difference, law of the excluded middle, while classically valid, is not intuitionistically valid, because, in a logical calculus that allows it, it's possible to argue P ∨ ¬P without knowing which one specifically is the case. This is fine if one assumes that the law of the excluded middle is some kind of subtle truth inherent in the nature of being; but if the validity of a mental construct is entirely dependent upon its coherence with its context (i.e., the mind), then epistemological opacity is, in effect, cheating.

  20. an>roid.v2 Registered Senior Member

    An alternative indicates choice. And "anything" are components. Thus there are boundaries -- objects that are independent.

    However, when I contemplate eternity, my mind keeps penetrating endlessly into darkness because all I encounter is... nothing.

    So let's assume in another galaxy far far away there's another android contemplating eternity. His mind would have already swept me aside in blissful ignorance of my existence: I've become nothing!
  21. duendy Registered Senior Member

    an>roid.v2 :"However, when I contemplate eternity, my mind keeps penetrating endlessly into darkness because all I encounter is ... nothing"

    But you MIND is 'there' an>roid.v2, and that is something........
  22. Ronhrin Registered Senior Member

    something and nothing are simply humam words and perspectives of our limited mind
    in fact both can be true and fake is only the manner in wich the question is asked
    but to answer the question of this thread
    humans are made of something and all they can see is something and it is a humam being that's making this question...
  23. Übergänger Registered Member

    I agree, and I'd like to expand on that:

    When you ask "why?" of something you mean to find out either of two things:

    - The cause or circumstance which precedes the occurrence you are questioning (e.g why did the ball move?; because it was hit by another one).

    This is a mechanistic explanation.

    - A "purpose", defined as an event in the future for which the occurrence takes place. (e.g why are you eating food?; because by doing so I will satiate my hunger).

    This is a teleological explanation.

    Neither question can be asked intelligibly about reality as a whole, which is your intention here. (why is there anything?, why reality?).

    As it regards the mechanistic question, we are considering a causal chain, and by logic we are compelled to conclude the following:

    1. There is a first cause, call it God/Nature/Universe or whatever, that is itself uncaused (it has always existed); hence there is no "why" for this entity in the mechanistic sense.

    Other options are illogical, like proposing that the Universe (or God) is it's own cause (gave birth to itself, something came out of nothing), or that there is no first cause, so we have an infinite causal chain, this chain as a whole hanging from nothing.

    As it regards the teleological question, we should remind ourselves that the word "purpose" only has meaning as a property of something or someone. To wit, you say "his/her/it's purpose", purposes don't just float around and exist independently of anything, that's nonsense.

    We should also remind ourselves of a problem regarding self reference:

    Suppose I say that the purpose of your existence is to fulfill a wish of yours. That's equivalent to saying "You exist/came into being because you want to do x".
    Clearly enough, that's an impossible statement, as it demands that your own purpose (a purpose that you created) exists before you come into being.

    With this in mind, let us consider the initial question again: Why is there anything?

    1. As we saw, in a mechanistic sense, we reach a point where we have to accept that there is no why, or plunge into absurdity.

    2. In the teleological sense, we have seen that, just as things cannot be their own cause, things cannot be their own purpose either, nor can things exist (come into being) for the sake of fulfilling their own purposes.
    Therefore the question "why is there anything? (including God/first cause)" is meaningless, since to make it significant (answerable) you would have to suppose another thing/entity whose purposes Reality's existence serves, because purposes can't not belong to anything, and Reality cannot be it's own purpose).

    Either way we have to accept that there is no why once we reach a certain point. "why" can only be asked about parts of reality, and not about reality as a whole.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2004

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