Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

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Present awareness
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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Present awareness » June 5th, 2018, 1:13 pm

Eduk wrote:
June 5th, 2018, 11:35 am
How do you know?
I do not know. Like all philosophy, it is simply a way of looking at things, based on what I feel to be true. The same goes for all religions, there is no proof, for or against God, people just go with what they feel to be true.
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Eduk » June 5th, 2018, 2:09 pm

Is that good enough for you? Do you ever feel like maybe you are missing out?

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Present awareness » June 5th, 2018, 3:29 pm

Eduk wrote:
June 5th, 2018, 2:09 pm
Is that good enough for you? Do you ever feel like maybe you are missing out?
I am missing out on everything, which isn’t happening at this very moment. For example, if I’m awake, I’m missing out on being asleep etc.
Everything which is happening in the entire universe, is happening now, and it seems to me that it has always been that way. What we call “now” has no beginning or ending and so it is infinite, like the universe itself.
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Dachshund » June 6th, 2018, 12:07 pm

Consul, Halc,

You two are clearly more knowledgeable than yours truly re the pertinent science. So could you advise me if my thinking is muddled in any conspicuous way when I reason as follows...

The current consensus among mainstream, professional cosmologists and astrophysicists is that the universe is expanding; they seem to agree that space is stretching. BUT stretching something entails extending it, right? Stretching is process of positive extension, a process whereby something is being extended "OUTWARDS". Right?

If space itself is stretching ( i.e. "Cosmic Inflation" is occurring right now)then no matter how hard one endeavours to evade the fact, the fact remains that something ( space itself, in this case) simply cannot extend into nothingness. Space simply cannot be stretching (i.e. continually extending) itsel into a state of non-being. As the ancient, Parmenides, proved a long time ago, this is logically impossible. Period, In short something cannot extend itself "OUT" ( i.e. stretch itself OUT) into no-thing/no-thingness; no even space. This is correct, right ?

Regards

Dachshund

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Eduk » June 6th, 2018, 12:31 pm

I think your question can be answered in many different ways and a simple Google search will demonstrate that. But I'm not sure they truly answer your question? You seem to be asking what is outside of our universe? Or how can there be something and not nothing? Physics is not definitive on that question.
Out of interest what do you think? If space cannot expand (according to your logic) but cosmologists say that it is, what conclusions do you draw?

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Dachshund » June 6th, 2018, 1:07 pm

Eduk,

My instinctive, intuitive, "gut" feeling is that what you are looking up into when you gaze into the clear night sky , that is, the constellations of distant stars that you see, the moon ( presumining it is visible), planets like Venus, galaxies like the "Milky Way", "Halley's comet (if you are lucky enough) etc; are all physical objects/ groups of physical objects suspended in space, and if you travelled in the hypothetical rocket ship I described in the OP, you would find that it (i.e. the SPACE that they exist in) extends out further and further and further and further neverendingly as what Aristotle termed a POTENTIAL (as opposed to an "ACTUAL" or "completed") INFINITY.

Regards

Dachshund

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Eduk » June 6th, 2018, 1:30 pm

Ok but do you see any other options?

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Eduk » June 6th, 2018, 1:46 pm

I think the rocket is a bit of a distraction. If we assume the universe is expanding it follows that logically it is expanding into something.
Now you could think of the space between the stars as being the same space that the universe is expanding into. That seems to be your assumption?
It could be that space is not fundamental though and that space is emergent and that the 'space' the universe is expanding into is a different kind of space than that which is between the stars.
So there could easily be something outside of the universe which explains this expansion. But of course being outside of the universe we could never know.
It could also be nonsensical to talk about what the universe is expanding into.
And it could be expanding into nothing. Whatever nothing is.
Also it might be a fixed size but space is being created within the universe. This makes a certain amount of sense to me.
We already know space is much weirder than it appears to us. Relativity has proven that.
I guess in summery that what I am saying is that there are options. It is likely that I have given no options which have even a grain of reality to them. It is likely that most of my options are nonsense. This is of course is unsatisfying. But it is important to know what you don't know and that shouldn't be treated lightly.

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Dachshund » June 6th, 2018, 4:07 pm

Eduk,

Oh, yes, I fully acknowledge the fact that there are many other possibilities. The bottom line is that, generally speaking, to date no one: none of our best and brightest astrophysicists and cosmologists, none of our most eminent and respectable professional metaphysicians really have much of a clue AT ALL about what is actually going on.

There are two generic theories; one is that the universe is finite, that is, it is definitely limited and therefore bounded in some sense, but expanding nonetheless. The other is that the universe is infinite; that it is an "example" of an Aristotelian Potential Infinity; In either of these two scenarios the problem is that the implications they have are completely and utterly mind-blowing. (And) our poor, little human brains simply melt down/ short -circuit whenever we begin to seriously ponder them.

Most physical theorists still agree that our universe definitely began ( i.e. came into BEING) with the "Big Bang". Ok, fine; but if our universe did come into being with this "Big Bang" then it sure as hell did not just "pop" - or perhaps I should say "bang" - into being "ex nihilo", did it? Things do not just suddenly pop into existence out of nothing, do they, Eduk? Have you ever seen a humble car or a dog or a tea cup or any other ordinary, mundane object in your day-to-day world ever just "pop" into being ( for real) in front of your eyes out of "thin air"? No, you certainly haven't, right? So if the universe suddenly "popped" into being 13.7 billion years ago at least we know that it did not magically appear out of nothing. Something (?) was "going on" before the "Big Bang", right? There WAS some real state of affairs... there WAS some kind of real being ( as opposed to non-being/nothingness) that obtained before the "Big Bang", wasn't there, Eduk? But whatever this state of affairs (this state of being) was, and how or why it decided to go "bang" when the "Big Bang" did its thing and happened are all riddles that are way, WAY out of our pathetic little (human) league; we simply cannot comprehend/understand any of it; but why, in turn is this the case ? WHY, is it all such an imponderable conundrum for us ? I mean WTF was/is going on ??!! Whatever it was/is it is something, and it is something BIG, isn't it? Some kind of big, mysterious, "not- set-in- motion-by-human-beings" thing is going on right in front of our very noses whenever we look into the night sky and think words like" ginormous", "boundless", "infinite" and "forever".

It bothers me, Eduk. It plays on my mind. It makes me wonder A LOT !

What about you ?

Regards

Dachshund

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Consul » June 6th, 2018, 4:08 pm

Dachshund wrote:
June 6th, 2018, 12:07 pm
The current consensus among mainstream, professional cosmologists and astrophysicists is that the universe is expanding; they seem to agree that space is stretching. BUT stretching something entails extending it, right? Stretching is process of positive extension, a process whereby something is being extended "OUTWARDS". Right?

If space itself is stretching ( i.e. "Cosmic Inflation" is occurring right now)then no matter how hard one endeavours to evade the fact, the fact remains that something ( space itself, in this case) simply cannot extend into nothingness. Space simply cannot be stretching (i.e. continually extending) itsel into a state of non-being. As the ancient, Parmenides, proved a long time ago, this is logically impossible. Period, In short something cannot extend itself "OUT" ( i.e. stretch itself OUT) into no-thing/no-thingness; no even space. This is correct, right?
Image

"We think of a boundary whenever we think of an entity demarcated from its surroundings. There is a boundary (a line) separating Maryland and Pennsylvania. There is a boundary (a circle) isolating the interior of a disc from its exterior. There is a boundary (a surface) enclosing the bulk of this apple."

Boundary: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/boundary/

The logical problem with the idea of a(n expanding) finite space with a (variable) boundary is that boundaries are conceived as things separating something from something else, as dividing lines. But if space (as a whole) is finite and bounded, what is beyond its boundary? If there is more space, then the spatial boundary in question cannot be the boundary of space as a whole but only of some part (region) of it. And if there isn't more space, there is nothing. But a boundary separating something from nothing isn't a boundary at all. So the idea of a finite and bounded space seems incoherent.

However, there are coherent alternative scenarios with regard to the topology of space:

1. space is infinite and unbounded: such a space can still expand (but if it does, it isn't thereby getting any larger).

2. space is finite and unbounded (like the two-dimensional surface of a sphere): such a space can expand (and if it does, it is thereby getting larger).

1+2 are free of the logical boundary problem.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Halc » June 6th, 2018, 7:50 pm

Dachshund wrote:
June 6th, 2018, 12:07 pm
So could you advise me if my thinking is muddled in any conspicuous way when I reason as follows...
It seems that you want something other than what I am saying. That's OK, but I can only be of limited help.
The current consensus among mainstream, professional cosmologists and astrophysicists is that the universe is expanding; they seem to agree that space is stretching. BUT stretching something entails extending it, right? Stretching is process of positive extension, a process whereby something is being extended "OUTWARDS". Right?
No, extending is just the wrong way to view it. It implies more space being added to the edge. You seem to be envisioning 3D space expanding over independent time into other-space, like the space was 'stuff', and the other-space was the static coordinate system into which it occupies a greater footprint. But this is also a view of 3D space instead of 4D spacetime. Spacetime has a temporal dimension, and is not expanding. Space expands over time, but into the only dimension left, which is into the future. A circle has greater circumference the greater the radius, but a given circle is not expanding. It works like that.
If space itself is stretching ( i.e. "Cosmic Inflation" is occurring right now)then no matter how hard one endeavours to evade the fact, the fact remains that something ( space itself, in this case) simply cannot extend into nothingness. Space simply cannot be stretching (i.e. continually extending) itsel into a state of non-being. As the ancient, Parmenides, proved a long time ago, this is logically impossible. Period, In short something cannot extend itself "OUT" ( i.e. stretch itself OUT) into no-thing/no-thingness; no even space. This is correct, right ?
Well the logic is sound enough. You can say that space is larger at time Y than at time X if X occurs before Y. In that sense, space is expanding into the future, as I said above, but things don't move into the future. Spacetime is static, and doesn't expand or change in any way. So it would be more correct to say space is larger at later times than in earlier times, just like circles are larger at greater radius.

You seem to be attempting to apply the rules of objects within a coordinate system to the coordinate system itself. How do you possibly envision this? What is the nature of the boundary between space and the other-space into which it is expanding? What's the difference between the two kinds of space? If it is just that the former is occupied with matter, then you're thinking of the matter expanding into fixed space. That's not the model.
The model is more like zooming in on a place in google maps, which makes all the cities move away from each other on the screen, despite the fact that they are all stationary places on the map.

Almost no matter is moving at any noteworthy velocity relative to the average of all the stuff that is visible to it. Everything is reasonably stationary (has insignificant 'peculiar velocity', to use the accepted term). We (solar system) have a peculiar velocity of something like 0.0013c, which is a little below the average. Some galaxy receding from us at half light speed? It is just as stationary as we are. It is just that the space separating us is expanding.
So there could easily be something outside of the universe which explains this expansion. But of course being outside of the universe we could never know.
The eternal inflation theory says there is inflation stuff outside our spacetime. Our spacetime is a bubble in that inflation stuff, and there are other bubbles defining different universes of sorts, most of which are trivial in some way.
The bottom line is that, generally speaking, to date no one: none of our best and brightest astrophysicists and cosmologists, none of our most eminent and respectable professional metaphysicians really have much of a clue AT ALL about what is actually going on.
They have far more of a clue than you give them credit. Try understanding the articles that present their work. That works for me, as far as I can understand it. There is definitely a threshold where they lose me.
Also learn to separate the science from the philosophy. Science has models for the origin of our big bang, as well as the tuning problem. Philosophy reaches more for what things fundamentally are, and how they come to be real.

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Halc » June 6th, 2018, 7:56 pm

Consul wrote:
June 6th, 2018, 4:08 pm
1. space is infinite and unbounded: such a space can still expand (but if it does, it isn't thereby getting any larger).

2. space is finite and unbounded (like the two-dimensional surface of a sphere): such a space can expand (and if it does, it is thereby getting larger).

1+2 are free of the logical boundary problem.
I love that picture BTW. That was made even before expansion was known.

The picture I paint is more like your #2 above, but solid, not a 2D surface expanding into more volume as would an inflating sphere. Spacetime fills it in solid, both in and out, and the sphere surface is merely an abstract foliation of the full spacetime.

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Greta » June 6th, 2018, 10:52 pm

Actually, time may not have begun with the big bang. Even if there is no multiverse, there's no way of knowing if this was the first and only or the trillionth big bang.

According to Krauss, before the BB was the quantum foam with countless virtual particles popping in and out of existence until one of them expanded instead of disappearing. Each of them theoretically would have a very short time period where it appeared and disappeared, and that time period would be theoretically relative to other virtual particles. It would not be measurable or coherent time by our standards, but it is time of sorts.

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Burning ghost » June 12th, 2018, 3:17 am

Sausage Dog -

If this hasn’t already been pointed out ... well!

Anyway, it is easy, or not, to simply view this from a flat lander perspective. If you walk/swim in one direction you’ll traverse around the globe given that you’ll likely veer off your path a little you’ll maybe not notice that ve done this ... given that your memory may not be so great, or that the land you’re traversing changes and is vast and variable (or only slightly variable!), then you could essentially feel like you’re going on forever and ever discovering new ground when in fact you’re merely going over old ground that has succumbed to the passage of time.

So if you blast off in a rocket this principle holds out too. Of course I am ignoring some astronomical/mortal principles here for the sake of simplicity!

The fellow with no long term memory lives the same experience with the appearance of it being “different and new” for essentially ever and ever (from their perspective.) They experience an infinity of sameness. Hope this helps reveal the interesting implications of the concept of “infinity” both conceptually and concretely.

Personally I prefer the mathematical magic of addition and subtraction of “infinities”. Sadly abstract logic is hard to apply to intuition if we cannot relate it to everyday experience.
AKA badgerjelly

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Re: Request for Help re the Notion of Potential Infinity

Post by Felix » June 16th, 2018, 10:00 pm

Dachshund: There are two generic theories; one is that the universe is finite, that is, it is definitely limited and therefore bounded in some sense, but expanding nonetheless. The other is that the universe is infinite....
Both could be true: finite temporal universes within infinite space, the boundary between finite and infinite space would be dimensional or some other species of space than our material variety. We have mysterious invisible types of space right within our known universe, which we call dark energy and dark matter.
Greta: According to Krauss, before the BB was the quantum foam with countless virtual particles popping in and out of existence until one of them expanded instead of disappearing.
I don't think the words "quantum foam" have any real meaning, just a quasi-scientific term for unknown stuff.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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