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Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

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Eddie Larry
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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Eddie Larry » September 10th, 2018, 7:32 pm

There is something, rather than nothing because there is the world of things we experience. We can doubt this or that but to doubt everything...?

Touch your fingers together, then put your hands on your phone or computer, put a finger on each side of what you are touching. Try to press your fingers towards each other. Can your fingers touch (now don’t break anything!). If your fingers don’t touch, that’s real.

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Eddie Larry
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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Eddie Larry » September 10th, 2018, 9:11 pm

“My point is that different ways of reference-fixing don't constitute different senses of "reference". Reference is reference, no matter whether the referents are abstract objects or concrete ones.”

Well said.

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by JamesOfSeattle » September 11th, 2018, 12:47 am

Consul wrote:
September 10th, 2018, 4:54 pm
As far as reference to abstracta is concerned, it cannot be fixed "via perception" but only "via description", since abstract objects are imperceptible by definition. For example, the reference of "7" can be descriptively fixed by saying "7 is the unique natural number between 6 and 8", but it certainly cannot be fixed perceptually by saying "Look, the thing you see here is the number 7!". For there cannot be any perceptual or causal relations between mathematicians and abstract mathematical objects such as numbers.
But what about “Look, there are a number of things there. In fact there are 7 things” ? In practice, this might not work for 7, but it certainly works for 2 or 3.

*

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Consul » September 11th, 2018, 1:16 am

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 12:47 am
But what about “Look, there are a number of things there. In fact there are 7 things” ? In practice, this might not work for 7, but it certainly works for 2 or 3.
What's the referring expression in your example? If it's "the two/three/seven things here", the reference of this noun phrase can certainly be fixed ostensively via perception: "Look at these things here, they are what 'the two/three/seven things here' refers to!"
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Consul » September 11th, 2018, 1:32 am

Eddie Larry wrote:
September 10th, 2018, 9:11 pm
“My point is that different ways of reference-fixing don't constitute different senses of "reference". Reference is reference, no matter whether the referents are abstract objects or concrete ones.” [Consul]
Well said.
Also:

"I shall find no use for the narrow sense which some philosophers have given to 'existence', as against 'being'; viz., concreteness in space-time. If any such special connotation threatens in the present pages, imagine 'exists' replaced by 'is'. When the Parthenon and the number 7 are said to be, no distinction in the sense of 'be' need be intended. The Parthenon is indeed a placed and dated object in space-time while the number 7 (if such there be) is another sort of thing; but this a difference between the objects concerned and not between senses of 'be'."

(Quine, W. V. Methods of Logic. 4th ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982. p. 263)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Fooloso4 » September 11th, 2018, 11:25 am

In response to the question of why is there something rather than nothing master of the witty philosophical one liners Sidney Morgenbesser answered:
If there were nothing you’d still be complaining!

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Greta » September 11th, 2018, 5:56 pm

:)

The key point here, Fooloso, where is the scientific evidence proving that nothing exists?

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Fooloso4 » September 11th, 2018, 6:13 pm

I’m still looking for it but there are a lot of places to look and since it’s always in the last place you look, it will take me a long time to look everywhere until I get to the last place.

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Hereandnow » September 11th, 2018, 6:44 pm

Ha! It is right before your eyes as you look for your keys to no avail. That state of looking is inherently a negation of all that is not keys. Nothingness lies in the apophatic search for what is.

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Hereandnow » September 11th, 2018, 7:00 pm

but this a difference between the objects concerned and not between senses of 'be'.
Thereby dismissing the issue of senses of "be". All are equal on this ground. 'Be' becomes either a grammatical function. He is right, that is, until you read Jaspers.

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Greta » September 11th, 2018, 8:27 pm

Then again, the vast cosmic poodlesaurus too cannot be seen, and looking for it only negates the possibility.

HAN, I tend to distrust stitch-ups such as these. It reminds of the Church's decree against sceptical thought, where doubts only meant that one was not a good Christian. In the same way, there is an assumption that something is real but it can't be perceived.

It seems you are speaking of nothing as a sensation or idea rather than an absolute aspect of reality.

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Hereandnow » September 11th, 2018, 9:52 pm

It just plays on the failure of the perceiving person to perceive herself. Of course, one could look at the body, the neuronal behavior under a microscope, and so on, but in all these the perceiver is the "invisible presence" behind the perception and every time you try to turn your gaze upon it, you take "it" with you in the turning. There are those who think there is nothing there doing the perceiving, just perception itself exhausts analysis of what is there; others think there is "something" but it is impossible to observe for it is part of the observation itself. In any case, it presents itself as nothing in the empirical investigation.
If the poodlesaurus perceives, there is "nothing" on the subjective end to be acknowledged that registers as a subject.

And on the matter of "is" is it really that all there is to this term is grammar?

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Greta » September 11th, 2018, 11:36 pm

HAN, when I have looked within I don't get nothing. The bottom line is a set of tendencies. Needs.

What does it mean to be? It means to be like something.

Greta tends to be like X - she has x qualities. HAN tends to be like Y - he has y qualities. Otherwise I see no difference between HAN and Greta - they are just conditioned life forms, "programmed" to operate in certain ways, with various potentials and limitations. ("Programmed" means we feel good if we do A and bad if we do B, and this can be overcome by will - noting that one exerts will because it ultimately feels good to them, if not physically, emotionally).

The point is, if our genetics and life circumstances are swapped, then we are entirely swapped - there is no remnant "ghost in the machine", the closest being our fundamental forms - the differences between us if we'd been raised in the same way without the influence of human culture.

So, when I look within, past my individual tendencies, I mostly see a reflection of my culture, and of humanity, of mammalia and chordata, of life, of Earth, maybe even of the Milky Way! (Might denizens of one galaxy differ fundamentally from those of others?).

So when I look within there's oodles of something and, um, no nothing at all :)

Seriously, I suspect that any perception of "nothing" or "nothingness" is going to be a perspective effect, probably due to relativities, and possibly due to brain and nerve responses and limitations. People laugh at John Hagelin because he's such a funny hippie and says so many unsubstantiated things, but I must admit to being a fan of his Universal Field hypothesis, which is a basically a hybrid of the quantum foam, string theory and God.

I have no idea if he's right or not, but I find the idea enjoyable and it has its own logic, at least unless LHC tests disprove string theory, in which case it's game over for Hagelin's Big Idea (string theory is already on shaky ground ATM, possibly being combined with loop quantum gravity, which seems at least as arcane).

Then there's the possibility that the reason why we can't devise a theory of everything is that there is none possible - that reality is in fact dual - two separate but entwined domains that operate by different rules. That opens up some wonderful quantum woo possibilities like Hagelin's (although bad for those advocating nothingness). I adore woo, and while I tend to be cynical towards it, I'm aware that a one million to one chance is not zero - the one is possible.

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Hereandnow » September 12th, 2018, 6:40 pm

Greta:
Hmmm, not sure how qualities experience something. I see a flower, I am also tall, vision endowed, I mean, certainly a visual event takes place and there are many ways describe it, as in the distance to the flower, the retinal reception of light and its electromagnetic properties, cerebral events, and so on. But to be an agency that is here,experiencing the qualities.....

When a person is feeling good, as you note, the programming is in place to make all the necessary associations, but at the moment of feeling good, you stop and acknowldge the qualities that lay before you, the peace or the pleasure or the mood. At that time, it is clear that you are not any of these, because you are beholding them as an object, but then, you are curious, but the moment you observe this curiosity, it is not you. i am "here" and the my mood is angry, say, and I can acknowledge the distance between the observing I and the anger when I say, "there it is." My reason takes hold of the moment as it casts it in propositional form, an assertion, "there is anger" but when I try to capture the sentential grammar, I find that I am using grammar to do so and so it is with all things that would make a claim to being me: I turn to each one, and I am apart from it, but the I that is apart is never observed. I know what reason is, and can see its properties, its structure, but only through the eyes of reason itself. So it is with nothingness: always there, but turn your gaze toward it and it vanishes. An epistemological nothingness.

Now. you can SAY that all this can be placed within a conception of experience that looks to a, say, wandering "self" defined as a brain manifestation which, when something is brought before it as an object, a mood or experience, as applies here, simply transpositions itself to another quadrant of brain activity, and I have no doubt that something like this happens, but I cannot see how we can ever get beyond the emerging self, in its new neuronal position, if you follow, as being acknowledged by the positioned consciousness itself. You see? Brains are brains because we perceive them this way, not because we are seeing them AS they really are. As they really are, they are infinite and ineffable, because they would be free of the finitude placed upon then by a configuring consciousness.

I have stepped ..a bit too far? it is just that "I" is so elusive upon examination.

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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Greta » September 13th, 2018, 1:37 am

The best way to apprehend this "I" is to hark back to its dawn. Never mind the limits of memory. Your earliest memories can act as a reference point for any ensuing assumptions. There must be assumptions made when considering the nature of consciousness if we are to define it, which requires examining its limits and grey areas such as proto-consciousness and reflexes.

Oh hell, the dog's at me for a walk. Just quickly, consider the "I" of the dog, trying to use her charms to induce me to take her out where she can access Pee-mails and "posts" made by her canine peers on Tinkler and Pisstagram. There's a lot going on. Much more so than, say, the "I" of newborn infants. Human nowborns are are much like any other newborn placental mammal.

Is there an "I" at that point - maybe a formative a fuzzy sense of self? At what point in gestation would it have emerged? With the nervous system and the ability to feel? I will need to leave you with these questions until the dog's had her outing :)

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