Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

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

Post by Hereandnow » September 13th, 2018, 4:21 pm

Look at it like this, if you were an astronomer your observations of the night sky would be very much compromised if your lenses were crooked, or damaged. It would be a very important to have your instrument properly maintained. Further, the science of the lens, the properties that magnify, the degree of magnification and the curvature of the lens, and so on, all this and more is basic to the science of telescopic observation. Modern telescopes are much more complex and employ computer to produce and analyze data.

I offer this as an analogy for the human observation station, with its lenses, its auditory and tactile equipment, and so on. But two things: a person has a brain with 100 billion neurons that has interneuronal capacities that are incalculable. Anyway, while the assumption with a telescope that the basic science of magnification is demonstrable, the data produced by the human brain is not;it is, indeed, entirely hidden. Why? To continue with the analogy, the display of functions and apparatus in a telescope is manifestly justified because these too can observed. The observer has independent access to both the data produced by the telescope and the functions and apparatus that are parts of it. the observer(with help from experts, say. The observer here is us, the community of scientific knowledge and techniques) IS the independent source of knowledge that can confirm or deny both the telescope's proper operation and the data it provides.

But with us, with human brains, while the data is there in the observation, the confirmation that the data is valid lies with a machine that is entirely beyond the scope of objective discovery, and this is because the observer IS the instrument in question and every empirical observation s/he makes is qualified by the very instrument that is under review and observation. There is, in short, no way to verify if data right or wrong since there is no independent source of confirmation, and even if there were, the same argument would apply there as well.

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

Post by Greta » September 13th, 2018, 5:52 pm

It's a nice point - that contradicting the findings of the most complex machine (the brain) with the findings of simpler interrogative units may not be valid. Then again, those simpler machines have picked up faults with our perceptions numerous times due to our cognitive and sensory limitations.

The human mind is tremendously complex and, like all complex machines, is not what you'd call a reliable and faithful servant like simple, robust machines but more like a sensitive thoroughbred that might run that mile in championship time but is just as likely to freak out due to a mild stimulus that a simpler and sturdier horse might shrug off.

If you want inspiration, go for the thoroughbred. If you want reliability, choose a solid plodder. Thus it is with inquiries into the nature of reality. The human brain will show you the path but it's the simple instruments that provide the reliable data. A machine's testimony is taken far more seriously than human testimony in court for that reason.

Also, I'd like to hark back to the dawn of the sense of being as per my previous post. When and how does it manifest? Would a zygote - or even an egg and sperm - have any kind of sense of being at all. Would their existence be subjectively precisely as "black" - as "nothing" - as a grain of salt or sliver or metal or would there be some small element of "proto being"?

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

Post by Hereandnow » September 13th, 2018, 10:34 pm

I think the zygote is not a zygote at all, apart from our machinery. I don't know what it is. I know what it does under observation, I mean if I look into its mass with a microscope and watch the fluids rush around and I am a geneticist so I can fit this into a scientific context, then I understand and interpret. But it being a zygote is me telling the world it's a zygote. What is it without language? And language is not a zygote either.

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

Post by Greta » September 14th, 2018, 4:08 am

What is any entity without language? Alone. Not that being alone is antithetical to a sense of being.

Still, some aspects of body language are pretty well understood at the simplest level. For instance, the signal of a large thing rapidly moving towards you brings an innate response whether one is a fly or a human.

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

Post by Hereandnow » September 14th, 2018, 7:16 pm

Or not an entity at all, given that all language assimilates what is alien into language and hence familiarity. Just saying the world brings a thing to heel.

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

Post by Burning ghost » September 14th, 2018, 8:10 pm

Has any progression been made with this thread?

Note: looking to LOCK this thread and continue discussion in new thread/s. Has this come to a point where it can meaningfully branch of into more indepth discussion?

Would be helpful if active participants could give a summation of what has been resolved and what questions at hand have surfaced.
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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Hereandnow » September 14th, 2018, 8:34 pm

The point is not to resolve, but to become aware of the implications of what we believe. It can take time to muddle through, but in the end you might find a presumption in favor of an argument you never dreamed of taking seriously. People stew on things, then there is the epiphany. Philosophy is like this.
The why is there something rather than nothing question has not achieved reached its center yet.

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

Post by Fooloso4 » September 14th, 2018, 9:09 pm

I would like to see the original question and posts dealing with Heidegger separated.

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

Post by Hereandnow » September 14th, 2018, 9:45 pm

Heidegger was mistaken.

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

Post by Greta » September 14th, 2018, 10:42 pm

Hold fire pretty please, BG :) HAN and I are edging towards some nitty gritty stuff that is relevant enough, I think.

I am still trying to think through my next post.

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

Post by Greta » September 14th, 2018, 10:56 pm

Greta wrote:
September 14th, 2018, 4:08 am
What is any entity without language? Alone. Not that being alone is antithetical to a sense of being.

Still, some aspects of body language are pretty well understood at the simplest level. For instance, the signal of a large thing rapidly moving towards you brings an innate response whether one is a fly or a human.
Hereandnow wrote:
September 14th, 2018, 7:16 pm
Or not an entity at all, given that all language assimilates what is alien into language and hence familiarity. Just saying the world brings a thing to heel.
Whether we are speaking about processes or entities is tangential to my point, HAN.

What I am putting forward is that at some point in our development our internality is no longer "black" (subjective nothingness) - there is a sense of being. It wasn't there before, and then it gradually emerges.

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

Post by Burning ghost » September 15th, 2018, 12:37 am

Greta wrote:
September 14th, 2018, 10:42 pm
Hold fire pretty please, BG :) HAN and I are edging towards some nitty gritty stuff that is relevant enough, I think.

I am still trying to think through my next post.
I wouldn’t have asked if I could have seen a clear split. It seems to me there are 3 or 4 things being brought up in this thread that need clarification.

Even if the thread is more on track than at the start I would highly recommend working together on creating a new OP whilst leaving a link back to this thread. Simply expressing briefly what you all think is important here would be of great benefit and avoid cross purposes.

My aim is not to direct the discussion. I want you all to express what it is you’re talking about as briefly and succinctly as possible and then see if the OP can be refined/reinforced.
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Re: Why is there anything at all and rather not nothing

Post by Hereandnow » September 15th, 2018, 9:57 am

Greta:
Whether we are speaking about processes or entities is tangential to my point, HAN.

What I am putting forward is that at some point in our development our internality is no longer "black" (subjective nothingness) - there is a sense of being. It wasn't there before, and then it gradually emerges.
So many things here that are packed with complexity. So I'll look at one, the "black" of nothingness prior to becoming a person. I don't think it was black, I think it was bliss. The matter becomes how is it that an infant prior to language learning and personality can have the agency for experiencing? With an adult it seems clear for I have before me what other adults have, a vast playground of experiential possibilities, emotions, abilities and at the center of it all, a self grounding all things in me and mine. An infant doesn't have this center, and things are "blooming and buzzing" all around. Is bliss possible without such a thing?
The blackness you refer to, would this be the nebulous self with no particularity, then experiences amass through the days, months and years....but then question remains, how can this accumulation of experience make for a moral agency that is so concretely centered? Pain and joy must needs MORE than a "heap" of memories to make an experience. Their must be a transcendental center, this elusive "I" I spoke of.

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

Post by Greta » September 15th, 2018, 6:52 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
September 15th, 2018, 9:57 am
Greta:
Whether we are speaking about processes or entities is tangential to my point, HAN.

What I am putting forward is that at some point in our development our internality is no longer "black" (subjective nothingness) - there is a sense of being. It wasn't there before, and then it gradually emerges.
So many things here that are packed with complexity. So I'll look at one, the "black" of nothingness prior to becoming a person. I don't think it was black, I think it was bliss. The matter becomes how is it that an infant prior to language learning and personality can have the agency for experiencing? With an adult it seems clear for I have before me what other adults have, a vast playground of experiential possibilities, emotions, abilities and at the center of it all, a self grounding all things in me and mine. An infant doesn't have this center, and things are "blooming and buzzing" all around. Is bliss possible without such a thing?
The blackness you refer to, would this be the nebulous self with no particularity, then experiences amass through the days, months and years....but then question remains, how can this accumulation of experience make for a moral agency that is so concretely centered? Pain and joy must needs MORE than a "heap" of memories to make an experience. Their must be a transcendental center, this elusive "I" I spoke of.
The closest thing I know experientially to that "blackness" - the same "blackness" within intelligent machines - is being under general anaesthetic. Why would you think of it as bliss? The responses of newborn infants, for instance, suggest a chaotic toggling between bliss and agony.

While language can shape experiences, it is in no way essential for experiencing. The agency for experiencing seems to (at least) come with being alive. Bliss is certainly present in the chaotic "blooming and buzzing" you referred to - it comes with every blooming.

In summary: my understanding is that the concept of nothingness is only validly:
- theoretical, eg. the concept of zero
- relative, eg. 'there was nothing in the room'
- subjective, eg. general anaesthetic, as per above.

I've made clear that I disbelieve in "true nothingness" as regards physical reality but you seemingly also dispute the notion of subjective nothingness, panpsychism. It is possible to my mind that exponentially less profound forms of consciousness (or proto consciousness) might be perceived by such unusually complex and sophisticated hominids as nothing at all so my views here are open to change.

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

Post by Hereandnow » September 15th, 2018, 10:01 pm

Greta:
The closest thing I know experientially to that "blackness" - the same "blackness" within intelligent machines - is being under general anaesthetic. Why would you think of it as bliss? The responses of newborn infants, for instance, suggest a chaotic toggling between bliss and agony.
Freud calls infantile subjectivity under the pleasure principle, and continues on about how an infant lives in a narcissistic world of omnipotence, given how the mother rushes to feed and change at the sound of crying. I never liked this term pleasure principle because we draw a distinction between pleasure and emotional states. Then there is personal confirmation, I actually remember, oddly enough, and then there is confirmation from many neo Freudians and others. I don't think the infants are in agony, though if they are colicky or unattended things could go south. But sitting in the crib starring into the abyss? Boundless joy. We forget.
While language can shape experiences, it is in no way essential for experiencing. The agency for experiencing seems to (at least) come with being alive. Bliss is certainly present in the chaotic "blooming and buzzing" you referred to - it comes with every blooming.
I agree, language is not essential to have experiences. But this is where those complexities come in. First, take a feral child. They have a very primitive world, I have read, because it si not so much language as such, but language as modeled. i am reminded of Herbert Meade, who wrote about how we internalize structures of internal reflection through witnessing conversation and actually internalizing these relations between people into consciousness itself. We think in solitude within the structures of social discourse. Private thoughts are essentially social.
In summary: my understanding is that the concept of nothingness is only validly:
- theoretical, eg. the concept of zero
- relative, eg. 'there was nothing in the room'
- subjective, eg. general anaesthetic, as per above.

I've made clear that I disbelieve in "true nothingness" as regards physical reality but you seemingly also dispute the notion of subjective nothingness, panpsychism. It is possible to my mind that exponentially less profound forms of consciousness (or proto consciousness) might be perceived by such unusually complex and sophisticated hominids as nothing at all so my views here are open to change.
A true nothingness would be if in a perceptual act, there were nothing there on the radical subjective side of the event. I look at a flower, I try to look at the looker and when I do, I find i take the looker with me; now if in this there were no looker at all, hypothetically, then that would be a true existential nothingness, and I maintain this claim based on the reasoning earlier on. I differ on this. I think this is only apparent nothingness, and that there is an egoic center that is real and not an abstraction.

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