The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now

The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

Could everything have existed forever?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Post Reply
Tamminen
Posts: 1108
Joined: April 19th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Tamminen » May 31st, 2019, 9:23 am

RJG wrote:
May 31st, 2019, 8:52 am
It's either causa sui (self-created) or it has "always existed"
Also "always existed" can be causa sui, if time has no start as you claim. Also an infinite chain of physical events needs a reason for its being.
But then logic tells us self-creation (causa sui; X<X) is impossible.
You do not understand what I mean by causa sui. It is not X<X, but the existence of X seen as necessary because its nonexistence is self-contradictory. So 'self-caused' must be taken metaphorically, meaning 'self-evident'.
...it is a 'dimension' of this universe
A dimension need not be infinite.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1382
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 31st, 2019, 10:42 am

RJG wrote:...it [time] is a 'dimension' of this universe
Tamminen wrote:A dimension need not be infinite.
Time cannot 'not' be infinite!

Again, X<X logically prohibits it. There cannot be a time before time. There cannot be a state of existence 'before' the existence of time, ...as "befores" don't yet exist (prior to the existence of time).

The universe and all its dimensions (which make the universe a universe) has "always existed" (infinite; eternal; forever and ever). There is no other logical possibility.

Tamminen
Posts: 1108
Joined: April 19th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Tamminen » May 31st, 2019, 11:00 am

RJG wrote:
May 31st, 2019, 10:42 am
There cannot be a time before time.
You got it!
There cannot be a state of existence 'before' the existence of time
You got it again! Existence is temporal.

So what is wrong with my reasoning? I have not said X<X.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1382
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 31st, 2019, 11:54 am

Tamminen wrote:So what is wrong with my reasoning? I have not said X<X.
It is your conclusion/implication that "time is not infinite". If there is no starting point (or a "before" state) to the existence of time, then doesn't this make time 'infinite' (eternal)?

Tamminen
Posts: 1108
Joined: April 19th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Tamminen » May 31st, 2019, 12:23 pm

RJG wrote:
May 31st, 2019, 11:54 am
Tamminen wrote:So what is wrong with my reasoning? I have not said X<X.
It is your conclusion/implication that "time is not infinite". If there is no starting point (or a "before" state) to the existence of time, then doesn't this make time 'infinite' (eternal)?
If time begins with the first event, then, obviously, there is no state before that event, because there is no such thing as "before". And if time has a beginning, this does not mean that it has a beginning in time, because that would be self-contradictory. Is this the X<X you speak of? A beginning in time and the beginning of time are totally different things. Compare this with your subjective time: when you wake up in the morning your subjective time begins after sleep, and then you can do things within your subjective time.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1382
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 31st, 2019, 12:59 pm

Tamminen wrote:If time begins with the first event
"Begins" and "events" do not exist (are meaningless words) in the absence of time.

User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 363
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Sculptor1 » May 31st, 2019, 1:23 pm

RJG wrote:
May 31st, 2019, 12:59 pm
Tamminen wrote:If time begins with the first event
"Begins" and "events" do not exist (are meaningless words) in the absence of time.
Yeah? But **** happens! Don't it?

Tamminen
Posts: 1108
Joined: April 19th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Tamminen » May 31st, 2019, 1:25 pm

RJG wrote:
May 31st, 2019, 12:59 pm
Tamminen wrote:If time begins with the first event
"Begins" and "events" do not exist (are meaningless words) in the absence of time.
So how would you describe the first conscious experience of your life? Something appears, your existence...begins? Your subjective time...begins? If not 'begins', what then? And was it not some sort of an event? You had no subjective time before that, in fact there was no subjective "before", because you did not exist. So give me better words than 'begin' and 'event' and I take them to my vocabulary.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1382
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 31st, 2019, 1:52 pm

RJG wrote:"Begins" and "events" do not exist (are meaningless words) in the absence of time.
Tamminen wrote:So how would you describe the first conscious experience of your life?
My first conscious experiences occurred 'within' time, not in the 'absence' of time.

Tamminen wrote:Something appears, your existence...begins? Your subjective time...begins?
What does "subjective time" have to do with anything? The clock of the universe did not start ticking upon my first experience of it ticking (i.e. "subjective time"). One's personal/subjective experience of time occurs 'within' time, not outside it.

Tamminen wrote:So give me better words than 'begin' and 'event' and I take them to my vocabulary.
These time-dependent words are valid vocabulary words (have meaning) 'within' time, and non-valid (have no meaning) in the absence of time.


Sculptor1 wrote:Yeah? But **** happens! Don't it?
Yep. Blame 'time'!, ...sh*t can't happen if there ain't no time for it to happen.

User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 363
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Sculptor1 » May 31st, 2019, 2:36 pm

RJG wrote:
May 31st, 2019, 1:52 pm
Sculptor1 wrote:Yeah? But **** happens! Don't it?
Yep. Blame 'time'!, ...sh*t can't happen if there ain't no time for it to happen.
Yes, misdirected that remark.
SH1T does, in fact happed, has happened and shall happen again, it time.

User avatar
Felix
Posts: 2417
Joined: February 9th, 2009, 5:45 am

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Felix » May 31st, 2019, 3:19 pm

Tamminen: "What is the difference between being and absolute being?

You had used the term "absolute being" and I was not sure what you meant by it. Apparently you see it as the sum total of all subjects' temporal experience. How would that work in practice?

RJG: "What does "subjective time" have to do with anything? The clock of the universe did not start ticking upon my first experience of it ticking (i.e. "subjective time")."

Tamminen seems to believe that if no one heard the cosmic clock ticking, it did not make a sound.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

Tamminen
Posts: 1108
Joined: April 19th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Tamminen » May 31st, 2019, 3:52 pm

Felix wrote:
May 31st, 2019, 3:19 pm
Tamminen: "What is the difference between being and absolute being?

You had used the term "absolute being" and I was not sure what you meant by it. Apparently you see it as the sum total of all subjects' temporal experience. How would that work in practice?
Being is subjective or in relation to the subjective. I do not remember when I used the term 'absolute being' in any other sense. Maybe in some appropriate context.
RJG wrote:
May 31st, 2019, 1:52 pm
What does "subjective time" have to do with anything? The clock of the universe did not start ticking upon my first experience of it ticking (i.e. "subjective time"). One's personal/subjective experience of time occurs 'within' time, not outside it.
I just wanted to show by means of the phenomenology of subjective time that the beginning of time is logically consistent, using a parallel case. The relationship between subjective time and physical time is worth another discussion, but not now.

devans99
Posts: 275
Joined: June 17th, 2018, 8:24 pm

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » July 7th, 2019, 11:25 am

RJG wrote:
May 31st, 2019, 10:42 am
RJG wrote:...it [time] is a 'dimension' of this universe
Tamminen wrote:A dimension need not be infinite.
Time cannot 'not' be infinite!

Again, X<X logically prohibits it. There cannot be a time before time. There cannot be a state of existence 'before' the existence of time, ...as "befores" don't yet exist (prior to the existence of time).

The universe and all its dimensions (which make the universe a universe) has "always existed" (infinite; eternal; forever and ever). There is no other logical possibility.
Imagine an eternal god who has always been counting - what number would he be on? Forever has no start, so the god could not have even started counting - the lack of an initial state invalidates all subsequent states - a system’s initial state determines all subsequent states. 'Forever' has no initial state so is impossible. For ‘counting god’ we can substitute any system we care to mention. For example:

- An eternal clock. It would never have started keeping time so it can have no current time
- An eternal oscillating string. It never started oscillating so its current state is undefined
- A eternal quantum field. It never started fluctuating so it has not current state
- An eternal universe. It has no initial state so no current state.

Time must be finite.

User avatar
Consul
Posts: 1980
Joined: February 21st, 2014, 6:32 am
Location: Germany

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Consul » July 8th, 2019, 12:23 am

devans99 wrote:
July 7th, 2019, 11:25 am
Imagine an eternal god who has always been counting - what number would he be on? Forever has no start, so the god could not have even started counting - the lack of an initial state invalidates all subsequent states - a system’s initial state determines all subsequent states.
'Forever' has no initial state so is impossible. For ‘counting god’ we can substitute any system we care to mention. For example:
- An eternal clock. It would never have started keeping time so it can have no current time
- An eternal oscillating string. It never started oscillating so its current state is undefined
- A eternal quantum field. It never started fluctuating so it has not current state
- An eternal universe. It has no initial state so no current state.
Time must be finite.
I'm not convinced.

Counting arguably requires a beginning, so one can argue that whatever God has always been doing, it cannot be counting.

Of course, if time is past-infinite, you cannot start at the year –oo and ever get to 2019, since there is no year –oo and hence no starting point. But there is nothing contradictory about saying that for all years X earlier than 2019 there is some year Y such that Y is earlier than X. Even if the number of years earlier than 2019 is infinite, there is a finite temporal distance between 2019 and every year earlier than 2019, such that there can be a continuous progression and succession of events/states from every one of the infinitely many years earlier than 2019 to 2019.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1382
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » July 8th, 2019, 12:44 am

devans99 wrote:Imagine an eternal god who has always been counting - what number would he be on? Forever has no start, so the god could not have even started counting...
Correct. If this counting (event) never "started", then the counting never happened. This God can't be counting if he never started counting.

devans99 wrote:...the lack of an initial state invalidates all subsequent states - a system’s initial state determines all subsequent states.
This only applies to events within an already existing deterministic universe. It does not apply to the existence of the universe itself.

It is one thing to say that events require "starts", and quite another to say that the existence of matter-time-space (the universe) require a start.

For it is this universe that makes "starts" possible, NOT the other way around! Without matter-time-space there can be no "starts" at all. Nothing to start. No time to start. No where to start.

Therefore, "starts" are only possible within a "non-started" pre-existing universe. If this universe exists, then it has never not existed.

Post Reply