Could everything have existed forever?

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RJG
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » July 12th, 2019, 2:50 pm

devans99 wrote:If we view things in terms of causality, which of the following statements would you disagree with and why?

1. Every effect in time must has a cause
2. No effect can be the cause of itself
3. So at least one cause must be outside of time
I would disagree with #3, because causation, like all events, are a function of time. More specifically, causes "precede" it's effect. In the absence of time, there can be no "preceding" (causative) action. "Precedes" don't exist yet.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » July 12th, 2019, 3:33 pm

RJG wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 2:50 pm
devans99 wrote:If we view things in terms of causality, which of the following statements would you disagree with and why?

1. Every effect in time must has a cause
2. No effect can be the cause of itself
3. So at least one cause must be outside of time
I would disagree with #3, because causation, like all events, are a function of time. More specifically, causes "precede" it's effect. In the absence of time, there can be no "preceding" (causative) action. "Precedes" don't exist yet.
You disagree with #3 - that means you believe that an effect (in time) with no cause is possible
But you agreed with #1 - every effect (in time) has a cause
Thats contradictory.

Thats one reason why I believe the state of timelessness is required - it is the only possible way that causality can work. Causality forms a huge pyramid in time - the tip of the pyramid is the Big Bang and the base of the pyramid is present events. It only works if there is an uncaused cause - a brute fact - to start the whole thing off - and uncaused things can only exist outside of time.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » July 12th, 2019, 3:47 pm

RJG wrote:I would disagree with #3, because causation, like all events, are a function of time. More specifically, causes "precede" it's effect. In the absence of time, there can be no "preceding" (causative) action. "Precedes" don't exist yet.
devans99 wrote:You disagree with #3 - that means you believe that an effect (in time) with no cause is possible
Huh? Where did I say "an effect with no cause is possible"??

devans99 wrote:But you agreed with #1 - every effect (in time) has a cause. Thats contradictory.
What's contradictory?

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Atla » July 12th, 2019, 4:00 pm

I haven't seen anyone on two philosophy forums who could imagine spacetime as a closed loop. Therefore both being timeless fundamentally, but appearing as causal to us.

I mean even in the Youtube comments section, I've seen people who could imagine this. Go figure.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » July 12th, 2019, 4:01 pm

RJG wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 3:47 pm
RJG wrote:I would disagree with #3, because causation, like all events, are a function of time. More specifically, causes "precede" it's effect. In the absence of time, there can be no "preceding" (causative) action. "Precedes" don't exist yet.
devans99 wrote:You disagree with #3 - that means you believe that an effect (in time) with no cause is possible
Huh? Where did I say "an effect with no cause is possible"??

devans99 wrote:But you agreed with #1 - every effect (in time) has a cause. Thats contradictory.
What's contradictory?
Well #1 and #2 taken together imply that there must be an event that has no cause:

1. Every event must have a cause
2. No event can be the cause of itself

If causality forms a pyramid in time, which it must do logically, there has to be at the pointy end of the pyramid an event with no cause.

An infinite regress is impossible - it would have no initial cause - which determines all subsequent events - so all of the subsequent event would be uncaused - meaning that nothing in causality would exist.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » July 12th, 2019, 4:10 pm

Atla wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 4:00 pm
I haven't seen anyone on two philosophy forums who could imagine spacetime as a closed loop. Therefore both being timeless fundamentally, but appearing as causal to us.

I mean even in the Youtube comments section, I've seen people who could imagine this. Go figure.
It is an interesting idea.

If time formed an eternal circle, then the start/end would have to be in an identical state at the point they meet (the Big Bang/Big Crunch). So with this model, time still seems to need a start - the ‘reset’ point (the point at which time resets if we treat time as a modular variable - the bang/crunch).

Or under the 'moving spotlight' theory of time, the spotlight of time still has to start somewhere - a start of time.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Consul » July 12th, 2019, 4:34 pm

devans99 wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 5:17 am
Consul wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 3:49 pm
Okay, I see that my formulation is ambiguous. I mean:
An infinite set can be defined as a set S which is such that for all subsets S* with a finite cardinality N there is some subset S** of S with a finite cardinality N* such that N* > N.
Still not with you. All subsets S* with finite cardinality cannot have a single cardinality value of N - there must be an N1, N2, N3, etc?
"For all subsets S* with a finite cardinality N" doesn't mean that they all have the same cardinality. In predicate logic there's a subtle distinction between "for all x there is some y" (AxEy) and "there is some y for all x" (EyAx). What I'm saying is equivalent to the former: For all subsets there is some cardinality N (and not: There is some cardinality N for all subsets.)
devans99 wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 5:17 am
Consul wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 3:49 pm
"A set is a well-defined collection of objects. Objects in the set are called elements.
The phrase 'well-defined' separates sets from other collections. If we take the word 'well' to mean good and the word 'defined' to mean description, then a set is a collection that has a 'good description'. In other words, a set is well-defined if we know exactly which objects are or are not in the set. So we must avoid describing sets with relative words that can take on different meanings depending on the situation."
This definition is very vague. He starts with 'A set is a well-defined collection of objects' - which I agree with - it is a finite list of objects. Then he goes onto say a collection that has a 'good description' - that is hardly the foundation of a rigorous theory of sets.
"…In other words, a set is well-defined if we know exactly which objects are or are not in the set." – This isn't "very vague". In fact, it's non-vague.
devans99 wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 5:17 am
Consul wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 3:49 pm
This is refuted by the fact that the beginningless infinite series of negative integers is well-defined and well-ordered. And, for example, there is a corresponding (possible) beginningless infinite series of years BC; and this series is well-defined and well-ordered too:
… -4, -3, -2, -1
… -4 BC, –3 BC, -2 BC, -1 BC
The collection of negative integers exists purely in our minds - it is not physical like a particle or the universe. Illogical/undefined things can exist in our minds (like square circles), illogical/undefined things cannot exist in reality.
I don't have the collection of negative integers in my mind, and neither have you. Anyway, it doesn't matter whether numbers really exist as abstract objects (outside minds). What matters is that there can be a 1:1 correspondence between the series of negative integers and real dates or events (as shown above).
devans99 wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 5:17 am
Take the example of an eternal, 24 hour clock. Then if we represent time as t in hours, then the clock always reads t % 24. So if t = 49, then 49 % 24 = 1:00am. If t is UNDEFINED (because time never started), then the clock always reads UNDEFINED % 24 = UNDEFINED. So this an example of a general rule - the initial state determines all the subsequent states - an initial state (a start of time) is required for there to be any subsequent states. This rule applies to everything in the universe (except the contents of our minds which are allowed to flaunt logic).
Again, you're just wrong, because there's nothing logically contradictory about an eternal clock. Whenever you look at it, there will be a definite position of its hands; and whenever somebody looked at it in the past, there was a definite position of its hands. The eternal clock has always been displaying some definite time, despite the fact that whenever somebody looked at it, there had already been an infinite number of hand rotations (in the same direction).

Note that to say that an eternal clock is logically possible is not to say that it's physically possible. Nobody can construct a material eternal clock, since it wouldn't have always existed then; and no material clock can stay intact forever, because materials are subject to fatigue over time.

Image
devans99 wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 5:17 am
Consul wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 3:49 pm
Anyway, your "undefined" is undefined. What's your definition of "well-definedness" in this context?
Well, I think that -256 is well-defined in the sense I can define it by counting backwards:
{ 0, -1, -2, ..., -256 }
But I cannot define -256 by counting forwards:
{..., -255, -256 }
The first sequence is realisable in reality - it has a concrete starting point which gives concreteness to all subsequent members. The second sequence starts with '...' - IE it has no concrete starting point so nothing in it is well defined.
Of course, you can recite negative integers in reverse order, but -1, -2, -3… isn't their correct mathematical order, which is …-3, -2, -1.

You seem to define the well-definedness of an ordered sequence/series of things in terms of its having a beginning or start, a first (smallest/earliest/oldest) member, or a "left boundary". But this begs the question against those arguing that sequences/series lacking a left boundary can be well-defined, with the negative integers being a paradigmatic example. No negative integer is mathematically ill- or undefined, and the infinite series of negative integers as a whole isn't mathematically ill- or undefined either. So having a left boundary isn't a necessary condition of well-definedness.

By the way, what about the infinite series of positive integers, which does have a first and smallest element? Are you happy with future-infinite series of dates or events?
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » July 12th, 2019, 4:35 pm

devans99 wrote:If causality forms a pyramid in time, which it must do logically, there has to be at the pointy end of the pyramid an event with no cause.
The false pyramid (or "first cause") argument relies only on the 'one-to-one' and the 'one-to-many' (cause-to-effect) interactions, and disregards the 'many-to-one' and the 'many-to-many' causal interactions. In reality, it may take multiple causes to create a singular effect, which means there is no "pyramide", or "first cause" here, but instead a steady "stream" of causality, which of course could propagate infinitely.
  • One-to-one = one cause to one effect
    One-to-many = one cause to many effects
    Many-to-one = many causes to one effect
    Many-to-many = many causes to many effects.
Also, not all effects become causes (as visualized in a domino falling arrangement).

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » July 12th, 2019, 4:53 pm

RJG wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 4:35 pm
The false pyramid (or "first cause") argument relies only on the 'one-to-one' and the 'one-to-many' (cause-to-effect) interactions, and disregards the 'many-to-one' and the 'many-to-many' causal interactions. In reality, it may take multiple causes to create a singular effect, which means there is no "pyramide", or "first cause" here, but instead a steady "stream" of causality, which of course could propagate infinitely.
  • One-to-one = one cause creates one effect
    One-to-many = one cause creates many effects
    Many-to-one = many causes to create one effect
    Many-to-many = many causes create many effects.
Also, not all effects become causes (as visualized in a domino falling arrangement).
Many-to-one and Many-to-many would be freak occurrences - they require many causes to all be simultaneous. One-to-one and One-to-many are the normal state of affairs. This view is supported by the 2nd law of thermodynamics - disorder increases with time - due to the vast predominance of One-to-one/One-to-many over Many-to-one/Many-to-many.

Plus if you consider the BB - it is pretty clear that everything has a common, single cause.

In any case, uncaused effects must exist - else there could be nothing - there has to be something concrete to cause everything else or nothing else exists - infinite regresses are not concrete - there is no start to an infinite regress so nothing in it can logically exist.

Returning to my original point:

1. Everything in time has a reason
2. Nothing can be the reason for itself
3. (From 1 and 2) At least one reason must be outside of time

I do not see how you can disagree?

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » July 12th, 2019, 5:13 pm

devans99 wrote:Many-to-one and Many-to-many would be freak occurrences - they require many causes to all be simultaneous.
Not necessarily have to be "simultaneous". Parallel causes are a common many-to-one example. Just look at one pixel of color on your phone screen. And think how much stuff has to happen to create that one singular effect.

It seems that most effects have multiple (many) causes.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » July 12th, 2019, 5:15 pm

Consul wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 4:34 pm
I don't have the collection of negative integers in my mind, and neither have you. Anyway, it doesn't matter whether numbers really exist as abstract objects (outside minds). What matters is that there can be a 1:1 correspondence between the series of negative integers and real dates or events (as shown above).
Fundamentally, time is sequential, with earlier times determining later times. The set of negative integers:

{ ..., -4, -3 -2, -1 }

Has no initial determinant. Because its start is not determined, nothing subsequent in the series is determined.
Consul wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 4:34 pm
Again, you're just wrong, because there's nothing logically contradictory about an eternal clock. Whenever you look at it, there will be a definite position of its hands; and whenever somebody looked at it in the past, there was a definite position of its hands. The eternal clock has always been displaying some definite time, despite the fact that whenever somebody looked at it, there had already been an infinite number of hand rotations (in the same direction).
Would you agree that an eternal clock cannot have an initial state? IE, an initial position of its hands? (forever has no start so it cannot).

If it has no initial position of its hands, it cannot have any subsequent position of its hands.

Consul wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 4:34 pm
You seem to define the well-definedness of an ordered sequence/series of things in terms of its having a beginning or start, a first (smallest/earliest/oldest) member, or a "left boundary". But this begs the question against those arguing that sequences/series lacking a left boundary can be well-defined, with the negative integers being a paradigmatic example. No negative integer is mathematically ill- or undefined, and the infinite series of negative integers as a whole isn't mathematically ill- or undefined either. So having a left boundary isn't a necessary condition of well-definedness.

By the way, what about the infinite series of positive integers, which does have a first and smallest element? Are you happy with future-infinite series of dates or events?
We define the negative integers by starting at -1 and counting backwards. We do not define the negative integers by starting at -∞ (which has no fixed value / is undefined) and counting forwards - that would be impossible - there is nothing to start from so nothing can be derived.

I cannot see a problem with future eternal (=potential infinity). It is past eternal (=actual infinity) that I have the problem with.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » July 12th, 2019, 5:24 pm

RJG wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 5:13 pm
Not necessarily have to be "simultaneous". Parallel causes are a common many-to-one example. Just look at one pixel of color on your phone screen. And think how much stuff has to happen to create that one singular effect.

It seems that most effects have multiple (many) causes.
Each cause in a phone is a circuit changing value - which causes an effect - heat energy. From the user's perspective, it may appear that many causes lead to a single effect but in actual fact, each cause has a thermodynamic effect as well as en end-user effect. Plus the causes are not truly simultaneous - it only appears that way because the circuitry runs very quickly - there is actually a sequential series of cause effect that appear to us as a single effect.

Effects truly having multiple causes are very rare.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » July 12th, 2019, 6:18 pm

devans99 wrote:Effects truly having multiple causes are very rare.
The causes can be parallel or series connected, not necessarily "simultaneous". Many-to-one examples:

The effect of staying cool at a hot summer day is reliant on very many causes. All the parts of the air conditioning system must be causally working in unison to create the cold air effect that I feel. The failure of any of these causal mechanism's will render my cooling effect gone.

The effect of a picture displayed on my TV is reliant upon very many causes. If any of these causes of this effect; displayed picture, (such as electricity, components within the tv, broadcasting station, cable wire) change or stop working, then I loose the effect of seeing a TV picture.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Atla » July 13th, 2019, 8:51 am

devans99 wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 4:10 pm
It is an interesting idea.

If time formed an eternal circle, then the start/end would have to be in an identical state at the point they meet (the Big Bang/Big Crunch). So with this model, time still seems to need a start - the ‘reset’ point (the point at which time resets if we treat time as a modular variable - the bang/crunch).

Or under the 'moving spotlight' theory of time, the spotlight of time still has to start somewhere - a start of time.
Please read the following quote again, because it applies to you too.
I haven't seen anyone on two philosophy forums who could imagine spacetime as a closed loop.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » July 13th, 2019, 11:13 am

Atla wrote:
July 13th, 2019, 8:51 am
Please read the following quote again, because it applies to you too.
I haven't seen anyone on two philosophy forums who could imagine spacetime as a closed loop.
Not quite sure what you mean, it is well know physics:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed_timelike_curve

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