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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.
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RJG
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 21st, 2019, 10:49 pm

”devans99” wrote:I claimed that an eternal, timeless 'now' exists causally 'before' our time…
But there is no “before” existence if time does not yet exist.

”Devans99” wrote:How does timeless state cause the creation of time? You have to think about timelessness as one eternal now - everything happens at the same time - yet there can still be causal relationships. So the first cause could cause time to start.
If “before” does not yet exist, then there can be no “prior” cause to cause anything; hence no causation.

”devans99” wrote:But an infinite regress has no start so none of it can exist.
“No start” does not equate to “non-existence”. There is no (sound) logic that refutes an infinite existence!

”devans99” wrote:Would the black ball go in if the cue did not hit the white? No - we remove the first element in a time ordered regress and find that the rest of the regress disappears. So the first element (in time order) is key - it defines the whole of the rest of a regress.
But again, there is NO “first element” (or beginning point) in “always existing”.

”devans99” wrote:…temporal/casual infinite regresses are impossible.
Not so. It only seems impossible, because we have been indoctrinated to believe such.

”RJG” wrote:If something has "always existed" then there is no beginning (...nor is there any logical contradiction of an "uncaused first cause"). There is no "first cause" in an "always existing" causal universe. ...a tough concept to grasp, but it is the only one that doesn't logically contradict itself.
”devans99” wrote:If there is no first cause, there is no second cause, no second cause, then no third cause. By induction there is nothing in the universe without a first cause.
But this “induction” leaves you with a deductive logical contradiction (an uncaused first cause). So then, what is your preference, do you wish to believe in a logical impossibility (a non-caused causation) or a non-palatable logical possibility (an infinite universe)?

I'll take the (unpalatable) possibility over an impossibility, any day of the week!

”Tamminen” wrote:An infinite causal chain of events from past to present is logically problematic for reasons you mentioned.
An infinite causal chain is not a logical impossibility, it is only a concept that is difficult to grasp due to our pre-conditioned beliefs. Again, there is no logic that refutes it, or that of an infinite existence. There is only the irrational 'disbelief' of such a notion.

”Tamminen” wrote:Time is an internal property of being in general, its key structure. Therefore we have various possibilities to think of its being finite or infinite.
Time is a ‘dimension’ within an infinitely existing universe.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » May 22nd, 2019, 2:14 am

RJG wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 10:49 pm
I'll take the (unpalatable) possibility over an impossibility, any day of the week!
An uncaused first cause is not a logical contradiction if it is beyond time/causality. It is a requirement that an uncaused first cause existed - it is the only way for there to ‘be something’ in the universe.

What you are suggesting is impossible - nothing can have any existence at all in an 'always existing' model ('always' has no start). I feel the onus is on you to proof how anything can have existence in your ‘always existing’ model.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Tamminen » May 22nd, 2019, 4:24 am

devans99 wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 4:51 pm
...caused an uncaused cause... the first cause... which does not count as an event in causality as the first cause is timeless/beyond causality
What do you think is the nature of this first cause? I see no other possibility than the subject, which can be seen as causa sui and which makes the existence of the physical world necessary for its own concrete existence, and therefore is the uncaused cause of the causal chain of physical events.
RJG wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 10:49 pm
Time is a ‘dimension’ within an infinitely existing universe.
"The first event" of physical time is not a logical impossibility any more than my first experience when I wake up in the morning. There is no "before" that event, because time begins with it. You seem to think that time is something absolute and precedes existence ontologically. I do not think that is the case.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » May 22nd, 2019, 4:36 am

Tamminen wrote:
May 22nd, 2019, 4:24 am
What do you think is the nature of this first cause? I see no other possibility than the subject, which can be seen as causa sui and which makes the existence of the physical world necessary for its own concrete existence, and therefore is the uncaused cause of the causal chain of physical events.
I am of the opinion that the first cause 'always' existed rather than self caused. Its impossible to 'always' exist in time so the first cause must be timeless/beyond causality (and thus uncaused in itself).

The first cause must be able to cause the first effect without in itself being effected, so it would be self-driven, IE intelligent.

Self-causation requires a causal loop of some sort. I can only think of circular time. But in that case, who would create the circular time structure? It seems to require another first cause to do that. So I think the first cause has to be permanent rather than self causing.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Felix » May 22nd, 2019, 5:20 am

devans99: "I am of the opinion that the first cause 'always' existed rather than self caused."

I believe RJG is suggesting that the Universe itself is eternal, and therefore a First Cause is unneccessary. However, he has confused eternality with infinity, they are not equivalent, an infinite series can have a starting point.

devans99: "It's impossible to 'always' exist in time so the first cause must be timeless/beyond causality (and thus uncaused in itself)."

It's not impossible, spaciotemporal existence (manifestation) need not be continuous, it can repeatedly begin and end, and this cycle can be an eternal one.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Tamminen » May 22nd, 2019, 8:09 am

devans99 wrote:
May 22nd, 2019, 4:36 am
The first cause must be able to cause the first effect without in itself being effected, so it would be self-driven, IE intelligent.
This is what I mean by the subject. But the subject itself needs no reason for its being, therefore it is causa sui, and causes the causal chain of physical events. But the subject is not a supernatural entity, it is more like the metaphysical subject Wittgenstein speaks of.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 22nd, 2019, 9:56 am

devans99 wrote:An uncaused first cause is not a logical contradiction if it is beyond time/causality.
Again, there is no "beyond" or prior "causality", if time does not yet exist.

devans99 wrote:It is a requirement that an uncaused first cause existed - it is the only way for there to ‘be something’ in the universe.
Not according to logic. If 'something' (matter/stuff) exists in this universe, then, according to logic, it has "always existed". We may not like this answer, but it is THE ONLY 'logical' possibility. Any other proposed solution/answer logically defeats/contradicts itself (...is a logical impossibility!).

devans99 wrote:What you are suggesting is impossible - nothing can have any existence at all in an 'always existing' model ('always' has no start).
Why not? Is it because it conflicts with your past indoctrinations? Saying it is impossible, does not necessarily make it so. You need to show the logic of its impossibility without begging-the-question (i.e. without claiming "everything has a start" therefore "always existing is impossible").

devans99 wrote:I feel the onus is on you to proof how anything can have existence in your ‘always existing’ model.
Again, there is no (sound deductive) logic that disproves/refutes "always existing" (infinite existence). Although unpalatable to most of us, it still remains a logical 'possibility'. Logic cannot rule out the possibility of "always existing".

Tamminen wrote:But the subject itself needs no reason for its being, therefore it is causa sui, and causes the causal chain of physical events.
But one cannot exist before one exists. X<X is a logical impossibility. "Causa sui" (self causation/creation) is therefore a logical impossibility. One cannot 'pre-exist' itself to then cause/create itself.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Tamminen » May 22nd, 2019, 10:35 am

RJG wrote:
May 22nd, 2019, 9:56 am
Tamminen wrote:But the subject itself needs no reason for its being, therefore it is causa sui, and causes the causal chain of physical events.
But one cannot exist before one exists. X<X is a logical impossibility. "Causa sui" (self causation/creation) is therefore a logical impossibility. One cannot 'pre-exist' itself to then cause/create itself.
One need not pre-exist itself to be the reason and cause for itself. One's existence just follows from one's essence. And this is exactly what I mean by the subject. Time exists because the subject necessarily exists and it can exist only temporally. And then we can ask whether time has a start or not. I think devans99 gave very strong arguments against the infinite past.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 22nd, 2019, 10:49 am

Tamminen wrote:But the subject itself needs no reason for its being, therefore it is causa sui, and causes the causal chain of physical events.
RJG wrote:But one cannot exist before one exists. X<X is a logical impossibility. "Causa sui" (self causation/creation) is therefore a logical impossibility. One cannot 'pre-exist' itself to then cause/create itself.
Tamminen wrote:One need not pre-exist itself to be the reason and cause for itself. One's existence just follows from one's essence.
This is just kicking-the-can (i.e. the-impossibility)-down-the-road. If one's existence follows (is caused by?) one's "essence", then what is the cause of one's essence? ...causa sui? There is no way to avoid the obvious logical impossibility of self-causation/creation (aka "causa sui").

Tamminen wrote:...the subject necessarily exists…
Tam, you are hinging your beliefs on a logical impossibility.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Tamminen » May 22nd, 2019, 11:26 am

RJG wrote:
May 22nd, 2019, 10:49 am
If one's existence follows (is caused by?) one's "essence", then what is the cause of one's essence?
Saying that the being of the subject is causa sui is just a metaphorical way of saying that it necessarily exists and that it is impossible to think of its nonexistence if we think it through to the end. Therefore it needs no cause for its essence or existence, as I have tried to say. The idea of its possible nonexistence is absurd. We just have to see this, and when we see it, it becomes obvious. I have not found any logical path to prove this though.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » May 22nd, 2019, 11:49 am

RJG wrote:
May 22nd, 2019, 9:56 am
Again, there is no "beyond" or prior "causality", if time does not yet exist.
Well if it helps, think of two sorts of time:

- Our time. Experienced moment by moment. Has a start. Causality applies (effect follows cause)
- Eternal time. Everything experienced at one. Always existed. Causality does not apply

So the creation of our time is part of the ‘eternal now’.
RJG wrote:
May 22nd, 2019, 9:56 am
Not according to logic. If 'something' (matter/stuff) exists in this universe, then, according to logic, it has "always existed". We may not like this answer, but it is THE ONLY 'logical' possibility. Any other proposed solution/answer logically defeats/contradicts itself (...is a logical impossibility!).
But stuff would not have a start; a coming into existence moment; so could not exist. For example, if you were not born, would you exist?

RJG wrote:
May 22nd, 2019, 9:56 am
Why not? Is it because it conflicts with your past indoctrinations? Saying it is impossible, does not necessarily make it so. You need to show the logic of its impossibility without begging-the-question (i.e. without claiming "everything has a start" therefore "always existing is impossible").
Particles (and objects in general) need a temporal start point. I think I may have given this before but it stands as a valid proof as far as I’m concerned. Its a proof via contradiction:

a. Assume a particle does not have a temporal start point (IE its existed ‘forever’)
b. If the particle does not have a start, then it cannot have a ‘next to start’ (because that would qualify as a start and [a] says that it does not have a start)
c. So particle does not have a next to start (by Modus Ponens on (a) and (b)).
d. etc… for start+2, start+3…
e. Implies particle does not have middle
f. etc… unto start+∞ (now)
g. Implies particle does not have a (temporal) end
h. Implies particle never existed

RJG wrote:
May 22nd, 2019, 9:56 am
Again, there is no (sound deductive) logic that disproves/refutes "always existing" (infinite existence). Although unpalatable to most of us, it still remains a logical 'possibility'. Logic cannot rule out the possibility of "always existing".
How do you explain the low entropy of the universe? It must have been periodically reset with infinite time. The only mechanism to do this is big bang - big crunch cycles. But cycle time would surely decrease each time as the system looses kinetic energy, resulting in the absurd conclusion that everything should be in one big black hole by now.

Note that the universe is expanding; it cannot have been expanding forever. If as astronomers think we are not in a cycle of big bang big crunch then the expansion of the universe clearly points to start. In fact we know time slowed right down before the Big Bang due to intense gravity from all the matter. Its not much of a stretch to imagine the singularity as the start of time…

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 22nd, 2019, 1:04 pm

Tamminen wrote:Saying that the being of the subject is causa sui is just a metaphorical way of saying that it necessarily exists and that it is impossible to think of its nonexistence if we think it through to the end. Therefore it needs no cause for its essence or existence, as I have tried to say. The idea of its possible nonexistence is absurd. We just have to see this, and when we see it, it becomes obvious. I have not found any logical path to prove this though.
I don't disagree that the root of everything we know stems from our 'subjective' experiences. But I'm not as confident as you, that this further means that our 'subjective' selves are the root of all reality.


devans99 wrote:- Eternal time. Everything experienced at one. Always existed. Causality does not apply.
Here it seems that you agree that something has "always existed", but yet you continue to argue that "always existing" is an impossibility. :? ???

RJG wrote:If 'something' (matter/stuff) exists in this universe, then, according to logic, it has "always existed". We may not like this answer, but it is THE ONLY 'logical' possibility. Any other proposed solution/answer logically defeats/contradicts itself (...is a logical impossibility!).
devans99 wrote:But stuff would not have a start; a coming into existence moment; so could not exist.
This just begs-the-question (pre-assumes the conclusion). You are in essence saying - "stuff without a start cannot exist" therefore "stuff without a start (i.e. the "always existing" stuff) cannot exist". You need to show why "stuff without a start cannot exist" and not repeat this as the justification of itself (the conclusion).

devans99 wrote:For example, if you were not born, would you exist?
The blob of 'stuff' that is called "me", has "always existed" (in one form or another).

devans99 wrote:Particles (and objects in general) need a temporal start point.
Need? ...why must it "need" a temporal start point?

devans99 wrote:a. Assume a particle does not have a temporal start point (IE its existed ‘forever’)
b. If the particle does not have a start, then it cannot have a ‘next to start’ (because that would qualify as a start and [a] says that it does not have a start)
c. So particle does not have a next to start (by Modus Ponens on (a) and (b)).
d. etc… for start+2, start+3…
e. Implies particle does not have middle
f. etc… unto start+∞ (now)
g. Implies particle does not have a (temporal) end
Ok, I have no problem with all this above.

devans99 wrote:h. Implies particle never existed
So here is the problem. This is again, "begging the question" (pre-assuming the conclusion). You are pre-assuming that stuff without temporal start/end cannot exist, therefore particles without a temporal start/end (or start+1, start+2, etc.) cannot exist!

If something has always existed, then it certainly has no temporal start or end (or start+1, start+2, etc.). There is no starting point in "always existing"! Those that claim that something without a starting point can't exist because you need a starting point to exist, is committing a logical error; "begging-the-question" logical fallacy.

RJG wrote:Again, there is no (sound deductive) logic that disproves/refutes "always existing" (infinite existence). Although unpalatable to most of us, it still remains a logical 'possibility'. Logic cannot rule out the possibility of "always existing".
devans99 wrote:How do you explain the low entropy of the universe? It must have been periodically reset with infinite time. The only mechanism to do this is big bang - big crunch cycles. But cycle time would surely decrease each time as the system looses kinetic energy, resulting in the absurd conclusion that everything should be in one big black hole by now.

Note that the universe is expanding; it cannot have been expanding forever. If as astronomers think we are not in a cycle of big bang big crunch then the expansion of the universe clearly points to start. In fact we know time slowed right down before the Big Bang due to intense gravity from all the matter. Its not much of a stretch to imagine the singularity as the start of time…
Don't forget --- Logic always trumps Science. If something is logically impossible then all the science in the universe cannot make the impossible, possible. If you want answers (truths/falses) to these type of philosophical questions then logic is the preferred path to take.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » May 22nd, 2019, 1:27 pm

RJG wrote:
May 22nd, 2019, 1:04 pm
devans99 wrote:a. Assume a particle does not have a temporal start point (IE its existed ‘forever’)
b. If the particle does not have a start, then it cannot have a ‘next to start’ (because that would qualify as a start and [a] says that it does not have a start)
c. So particle does not have a next to start (by Modus Ponens on (a) and (b)).
d. etc… for start+2, start+3…
e. Implies particle does not have middle
f. etc… unto start+∞ (now)
g. Implies particle does not have a (temporal) end
Ok, I have no problem with all this above.
devans99 wrote:h. Implies particle never existed
So here is the problem. This is again, "begging the question" (pre-assuming the conclusion). You are pre-assuming that stuff without temporal start/end cannot exist, therefore particles without a temporal start/end (or start+1, start+2, etc.) cannot exist!

If something has always existed, then it certainly has no temporal start or end (or start+1, start+2, etc.). There is no starting point in "always existing"! Those that claim that something without a starting point can't exist because you need a starting point to exist, is committing a logical error; "begging-the-question" logical fallacy.
I am not pre-assuming anything; stuff without temporal start/end cannot exist - an object without temporal start/end is just nothing.

IMO you are relying on magical/wishful thinking not logic. Stuff does not magically appear out of nothing. Stuff needs a temporal start to define it. To think otherwise is just wooly/magical thinking.

In terms of always existing, I maintain that it's impossible within time. But it is possible outside of time. Imagine an eternal 4D object, it would have spacial starts and end points but there would only be one, always existing 'now'. This is how timelessness may work.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 22nd, 2019, 1:52 pm

devans99 wrote:I am not pre-assuming anything; stuff without temporal start/end cannot exist - an object without temporal start/end is just nothing.
WHY? (...and please answer WITHOUT "begging the question"!)

devans99 wrote:Stuff needs a temporal start to define it.
WHY? (...and please answer WITHOUT "begging the question"!)

devans99 wrote:In terms of always existing, I maintain that it's impossible within time. But it is possible outside of time.
Not so. Without 'time', there is NO "always"; "always" has no meaning (does not exist) "outside of time".

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » May 22nd, 2019, 2:08 pm

RJG wrote:
May 22nd, 2019, 1:52 pm
devans99 wrote:I am not pre-assuming anything; stuff without temporal start/end cannot exist - an object without temporal start/end is just nothing.
WHY? (...and please answer WITHOUT "begging the question"!)

devans99 wrote:Stuff needs a temporal start to define it.
WHY? (...and please answer WITHOUT "begging the question"!)

devans99 wrote:In terms of always existing, I maintain that it's impossible within time. But it is possible outside of time.
Not so. Without 'time', there is NO "always"; it is meaningless (does not exist) "outside of time".
If you think about an object in 4d spacetime, if it has no temporal start/end that implies its length in the time dimension is zero. Anything with a dimension set to zero does not exist. Imagine filming something for zero seconds - you'd have no film right?

Always is a meaningless word within the context of time; you can't always exist or always do anything in time. For example, in order to count, you need to start counting, but with infinite time there is nowhere to start from.

Permanent existence is required (can't get something from nothing so something must have existed always) but can only happen outside time.

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