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Old 04-21-2008, 07:27 AM
 
2,633 posts, read 4,726,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
I won't argue with this, but I just want to point out that it looks like you're committing yourself to something like "scientism," the view that the limits of knowledge are simply the limits of science.
Not really, as Plato placed it:


So a proposition which is both true and believed constitutes knowledge.
My position is that beyond science we may just as well arrive at a proposition which is both true and believed but which we couldn't tell whether it was valid or not. Remember that science doesn't work in absolute truths but rather in confidence intervals(based on a few assumptions)

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Metaphysics has often been called the "speculative science" (sometimes in a derogatory manner, sometimes not). But these questions we're dealing with here are clearly metaphysical in nature. In other words, we're rationally, philosophically, scrutinizing the scientific data. It is at least beyond the scope of current scientific knowledge. But I would also add that I can't see how it could even be answered (settled) through scientific investigation, simply because of the nature of the question. I think you even allude to this later when you say you can't prove a negative.
Thats ok and i understand that

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Well I'm definitely not trying to say anything like that. You sound like Heidegger.
hehe well I'm not asking about the use of "being" nor do I support national socialism. I'm getting confused though, in your post you said:

Quote:
Imagine that the universe does not exist. There are no galaxies or starlight or time or space or energy. We cannot even say there is a void or a vacuum. There is absolutely nothing.
From there I got the notion that you view nothing as the absence of anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Right. I already gathered that you were thinking along these lines. But this isn't the sense of "nothing" invoked when people (philosophers, usually) insist that something does not come from nothing. Good joke, by the way.
Well in that case I don't think something can come from nothing but that's only as applied to metaphysical nothingness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Some of this looks like confusion to me. Admittedly, it's very difficult to talk about "nothing," since in the very act of talking about "it", we are forced, through language, to talk about "it" as though "it" exists in some way. But this is not correct (and it belies the meaning of "nothing"). So, having said that, I would say I'm not at all clear what you mean about nothingness applying to our universe.
Thinking about the question of existence. "How did we get here?" The implication is that there was meta-nothing at some point. With plato-nothing I just say that what we are experiencing as "something" is actually just an ephemeral representation of nothing. The argument against it being that plato-nothing is not really nothing but rather "something" cleverly disguised so as to look like nothing. In my "trash your room but fix it" scenario, with my frame of reference something has happened but with your frame of reference nothing has.

Am i then wrong in saying that if plato-nothing is really just plato-something then that something has always existed in one way or another?(ie that meta-nothing is not and has never been a feature of this world)

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
But, at the least, it looks like you're starting to see what I (and others, I think, in this forum--and let's not forget Hume) are talking about
A bit, I'm not a philosopher though so most of the famous names and their views are alien to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Your philosopher grandfather? Does he teach? Tell me more. I'm big on philosophy, if you haven't guessed.

As to what he (you) say--it's very similar to what I said above. We use language, and we can give a linguistic description of sorts, and this in turn suggests that "nothing" exists in some sense. But it's just about impossible to get our heads around, this utter lack of anything. So I agree with Grandfather
Hehe how did you know he taught?

Well he mayored in Mathematics and Philosophy and got his Phd about 5 decades before i was born. He's big on ethics and has published a few books on it which is good for the grandson who loves to read the big collection he has in his house but bad because they are all written in spanish

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
But isn't this just to repeat what you just said, that "something indeed does not come from nothing"? I'm confused. I guess I'm not sure what you mean.
But remember that we are talking about different "nothings". To you my statement is basically that "something" comes from "something".

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
But of course, we're not talking about the vacuum as "nothing" (since we are now both on the same page about that) but rather as something--field, force, energy, take your pick, but there's something going on. Things don't just pop into existence in a vacuum for no reason. We may not know the reason (the cause), but there sure is golly darn straight a reason.
Why? Can you really defend this absolute conviction?


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
The problem seems to be that we don't understand what, or how, it's all happening. But that's different, since it points to the limits of science (maybe) or the limits of technology (maybe), or something else (maybe we need another mathematical genius, like Descartes or Leibniz, to unwrap the mystery a bit). But I don't see how the rational answer is just to say, "no cause, it came from nothing." Both "cause" and "nothing" have to be seriously qualified for me to swallow that.

You can't. So the best assumption is that there is a cause, rather than that there isn't. The issues of causality and "nothingness" are intimately related. To say there is absolutely no cause for an effect is really to claim that it came from "nothing." And this doesn't make any sense at all. Maybe we have to abandon the linear model of causality. Fine by me. But "uncaused effect" makes no sense, by definition.
Yes and again this really depends on "nothingness". Call me a hard-core nihilist but nothing about this contradicts the plato-nothingness view

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Now, having said that, I want to be clear on something. I'm not claiming it makes no sense to say something can be absolutely uncaused.
Just as well as saying that everything is caused makes no sense either lest we follow a path of infinite regression.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
I'm claiming that it makes no sense to say this of something that does not exist, and then all of a sudden *pop* exists. Because, in such a case, we're coming very close to saying something came from nothing (maybe we are, in fact, saying this very thing).
which is problematic if it comes from meta-nothing as opposed to plato-nothing(i love using these terms btw, i do hope they clear up the confusion just a bit)
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:46 AM
 
366 posts, read 520,305 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
Not really, as Plato placed it:


So a proposition which is both true and believed constitutes knowledge.
My position is that beyond science we may just as well arrive at a proposition which is both true and believed but which we couldn't tell whether it was valid or not. Remember that science doesn't work in absolute truths but rather in confidence intervals(based on a few assumptions)
I think Plato gave us something like "justified true belief." And you still sound, more or less, like a proponent of "scientism." But that's a tangent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
From there I got the notion that you view nothing as the absence of anything.
I think that's about right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
Thinking about the question of existence. "How did we get here?" The implication is that there was meta-nothing at some point.
Why is that the implication?

And by "meta-nothing" you mean....."metaphysical nothing"? And by "metaphysical nothing" you mean...?

I think we need to sharpen up what were talking about. I don't think we need all these various senses of "nothing" floating around, since it's confusing (and the distinction between "plato-nothing" and "meta-nothing" is, to me, not helpful enough). "Nothing" just means, in its basic sense, no - thing. The only difference in usage is in the scope, the domain of things we're talking about. So, when we say, "hey joe, what are you planning to do today?" It's completely legit for joe to say, "nothing." And if we ask, "what's responsible for that tree falling in the woods?" We can also say "nothing, it just happened," if we're asking for some particular, out-of-the-natural-order, explanation. It all depends on what kind of question is being asked, since this determines the scope of "nothing." If we ask, "who or what killed joe?" we could similarly answer, "nothing killed Joe, he died of natural causes."

So we usually qualify the sense of "nothing" depending on the context. In this context, when we ask if something comes from nothing, or if something can come into existence with NO cause, we're NOT qualifying or limiting the scope of "nothing." It's unrestricted. And in this unrestricted sense of nothing, I don't see how it makes any sense at all to say something comes from nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
Am i then wrong in saying that if plato-nothing is really just plato-something then that something has always existed in one way or another?(ie that meta-nothing is not and has never been a feature of this world)
No. (I'm still not quite sure how exactly you define "plato-nothing" but that's ok). We don't have to say that THAT PARTICULAR thing has always existed in one form or another. The claim is not that every particular thing is eternal. We only should say, I think, that something has always existed, that there was never a "time" when nothing at all existed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
Well he mayored in Mathematics and Philosophy and got his Phd about 5 decades before i was born. He's big on ethics and has published a few books on it which is good for the grandson who loves to read the big collection he has in his house but bad because they are all written in spanish
Cool. Is he still teaching?

Quote:
Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
Why? Can you really defend this absolute conviction?
Sure. Everything I've been saying has been a defense of this. Something can't come from nothing. Hence, things don't just pop into existence from nothing, without cause.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
Just as well as saying that everything is caused makes no sense either lest we follow a path of infinite regression.
Right. Saying that "everything is caused" leads to an infinite regress. And I am of the opinion that this (depending on how it is construed) doesn't make sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
which is problematic if it comes from meta-nothing as opposed to plato-nothing(i love using these terms btw, i do hope they clear up the confusion just a bit)
Yes. Your terms helped a bit. But a little more clarity is good!
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