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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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Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » March 14th, 2019, 10:30 am

Felix wrote:
March 13th, 2019, 10:17 pm
RJG said: "It seems logically, that we can only combine, convert, transform the existing (already created) stuff into only different shapes and forms, using the same old tired ingredients. There is never really anything "new", or any real "creating" going on whatsoever, anywhere! There is only just the mixing (re-configuring) of the stuff we've already got, that's all."
We don't know. It is fairly recent history on earth that human brains sere created with all those emergent properties. Perhaps new kinds of matter or really phenomena will be created in the future, but humans or AIs or by who knows what. We don't know how malleable 'stuff' is. We don't know if new stuff can be made and rearranging stuff seems to do rather remarkably new stuff in and of itself.
Who is the "we" in that sentence, human beings? Obviously our creative capacity is limited, e.g., we cannot create a universe.
Not yet.

Furthermore, I don't know why one would expect the universe to conform to the dictates of human logic.
Universes and things are not logical, statements as parts of arguments are or are not. It's a category error to say the moon is logical or gravity is. The universe is. Logic is about drawing conclusions from what we think is the case in language. The universe is not logical, it is. It's not illogical either. It just is.

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Plaffelvohfen
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Plaffelvohfen » March 14th, 2019, 11:18 am

RJG wrote:
March 14th, 2019, 7:37 am
RJG wrote:Though I'm still struggling with how it is even logically possible to "create" anything in the first place, ...in the literal sense.
Plaffelvohfen wrote:To me, it kind of makes sense that it would be illogical because Logic itself cannot exist in a "non-expressed time-state", which would be a necessary state of non-created existing things... In this "non-expressed Time-state", always and never are the same.
Sorry, I don't get what you're saying here.
It relates to my first comment on this thread where I tried to explain Time as a dimension (like depth) and how as such, it always existed... It's a view influenced by the Many-worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics... I conjugate the term "expressed" here, a bit like gene expression in biology... Timelessness here, would mean a state of being, where Time is non-expressed (or static, stopped)... And I'm pointing out that Logic, is contingent on Time being expressed...
RJG wrote:
March 14th, 2019, 7:37 am
Plaffelvohfen wrote:As an absurdist, I accept that there's a intrinsic limit to our ability to understand certain phenomenon/concepts that may or may not, exist outside our own universe…
Agreed. Also, "absurdist" seems to be an interesting title to call oneself. I suspect there is more here than meets the eye with this "absurdist".
I suspect you are right in assuming this... I may have to elaborate but I'm not sure this thread is the right place to do so... ;)

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Felix
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Felix » March 14th, 2019, 4:51 pm

RJG: Are you somehow implying that "new" matter magically comes into existence (from non-existence?) with the birth of living organisms? If so, then do you also denounce the first law of thermodynamics?
I don't think the Universe (capital U) is composed solely of gross matter (i.e, what we can apprehend via our senses), so there would be more to creation than simply rearranging or transforming it. I was responding to your comment that there is "nothing new under the sun." Under a different sun, a different universe (small u), there could be.

If by creation you mean "creating something from nothing," I agree that is a nonsensical concept. I would expand the definition of "create" to mean producing order from disorder, so in that sense the new order created - or the new creation ordered - would be the foundation for something(s) unique.
RJG: If we humans wish to "make sense", then 'logic' is the only tool we've got.
I think not, there are other means of perception.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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MrSpock-mm
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by MrSpock-mm » April 22nd, 2019, 4:28 am

Time can be infinite.

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RJG
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 7th, 2019, 8:34 am

MrSpock-mm wrote:Time can be infinite.
Time is infinite, as there can never be a time before time or a time after time. X<X and X>X are logical impossibilities.

If time truly exists, then it has 'always' existed (i.e. it has never 'not' existed).

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » May 20th, 2019, 2:28 pm

RJG wrote:
May 7th, 2019, 8:34 am
MrSpock-mm wrote:Time can be infinite.
Time is infinite, as there can never be a time before time or a time after time. X<X and X>X are logical impossibilities.

If time truly exists, then it has 'always' existed (i.e. it has never 'not' existed).
1. If time is infinite then the universe will have gone through all possible states
2. Some states are equilibrium states. Once in equilibrium, universe cannot escape
3. We are not in equilibrium
4. Time is finite

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RJG
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 21st, 2019, 7:34 am

RJG wrote:Time is infinite, as there can never be a time before time or a time after time. X<X and X>X are logical impossibilities.

If time truly exists, then it has 'always' existed (i.e. it has never 'not' existed).
devans99 wrote:1. If time is infinite then the universe will have gone through all possible states
2. Some states are equilibrium states. Once in equilibrium, universe cannot escape
3. We are not in equilibrium
4. Time is finite.
So then are you saying that there WAS (or will be) a 'time' before (or after) the existence of time?

Are you saying that something CAN exist before it exists??? (...i.e. X<X???)

devans99
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » May 21st, 2019, 9:41 am

RJG wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 7:34 am
So then are you saying that there WAS (or will be) a 'time' before (or after) the existence of time?

Are you saying that something CAN exist before it exists??? (...i.e. X<X???)
I think there is a state of timelessness that is causally before the start of time.


Thomas Aquinas's Argument From Necessary Being has a similar conclusion (paraphrased):

A. Can’t get something from nothing
B. So something must have existed ‘always’.
C. IE if there was ever a state of nothingness, it would persist to today, so something must have permanent existence.
D. It’s not possible to exist permanently in time (always leads to an infinite regress; but they have no start so cannot not be), so the ‘something’ must be the timeless first cause (of time/causality).

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RJG
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 21st, 2019, 11:59 am

RJG wrote:Are you saying that something CAN exist before it exists???
devans99 wrote:I think there is a state of timelessness that is causally before the start of time.
Impossible. Without 'time', there is no "before" (or after) or "start" (or end). "Before" and "start" don't exist yet (and are meaningless words) if 'time' does not already exist. ...you cannot have a "before" without time!

devans99
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » May 21st, 2019, 12:31 pm

RJG wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 11:59 am
Impossible. Without 'time', there is no "before" (or after) or "start" (or end). "Before" and "start" don't exist yet (and are meaningless words) if 'time' does not already exist. ...you cannot have a "before" without time!
Well its difficult to express; but logically the timeless thing must cause time to start so the timeless thing is 'before' time in a causal sense. This is the only possible way for anything to exist - without something timeless, you get an infinite regress - which is impossible.

This all ties in with first cause arguments for God - the first cause is uncaused; IE beyond causality/time but causes everything else. Again if you think about it, an uncaused cause is the only way causality can work and anything can exist.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » May 21st, 2019, 12:49 pm

devans99 wrote:Well its difficult to express; but logically the timeless thing must cause time to start so the timeless thing is 'before' time in a causal sense. This is the only possible way for anything to exist…
Not so. There is ONLY one logical possibility, and that is that time has "always existed" (i.e. has never not-existed). Claiming that a moment in time existed "before" the existence of time, is a logical contradiction. X<X is a logical impossibility.

devans99 wrote:...without something timeless, you get an infinite regress - which is impossible.
Not so. There is no infinite regress with "always existing". There is NO beginning (NO starting point) in "always existing".

devans99 wrote:This all ties in with first cause arguments for God - the first cause is uncaused; IE beyond causality/time but causes everything else. Again if you think about it, an uncaused cause is the only way causality can work and anything can exist.
Again, not so. 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
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » May 21st, 2019, 1:21 pm

RJG wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 12:49 pm
Not so. There is ONLY one logical possibility, and that is that time has "always existed" (i.e. has never not-existed). Claiming that a moment in time existed "before" the existence of time, is a logical contradiction. X<X is a logical impossibility.
I claimed that an eternal, timeless 'now' exists causally 'before' our time - it is not a moment of time - it is a different state of existence.

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. I think it was incorrect of me to use the word ‘before’ as that’s associated with time; what I meant was causally before.
RJG wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 12:49 pm
devans99 wrote:...without something timeless, you get an infinite regress - which is impossible.
Not so. There is no infinite regress with "always existing". There is NO beginning (NO starting point) in "always existing".
If time has 'always' existed, the moments of time and the particles within those moments form an infinite regress. IE particle A hits particle B hits C etc... this collision history forms an infinite regress. But an infinite regress has no start so none of it can exist. To illustrate this with an example, imagine a pool table:

The cue hits the white ball.
The white ball hits the black ball.
The black goes in the pocket.

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. If it is absent, as in the case of an infinite regress, then the regress does not exist - temporal/casual infinite regresses are impossible.

That means that time cannot be infinite.
RJG wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 12:49 pm
Again, not so. 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.
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.

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Felix
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Felix » May 21st, 2019, 1:43 pm

RJG: "There is ONLY one logical possibility, and that is that time has "always existed" (i.e. has never not-existed). Claiming that a moment in time existed "before" the existence of time, is a logical contradiction. X<X is a logical impossibility."

As devans99 said, it is not a "moment in time," it is timelessness - no time > time started. There's nothing illogical about that, in fact some propose that the Big Bang is such an event.

RJG: "There is NO beginning (NO starting point) in "always existing".

There can indeed be many spaciotemporal beginnings and endings in eternity, e.g., the aforementioned Big Bang singularity - of course it's not really a singularity if it happens repeatedly but we can't see past this one (literally).

RJG: "There is no "first cause" in an "always existing" causal universe."

True, but that is just one possibility, the other is what was mentioned. The First Cause would transcend temporal reality, or at least our spaciotemporal reality, of which we have very limited knowledge. We can only identify about 5% of the matter in our Universe, the rest we've called dark matter/dark energy, which are just names we've given to things we don't understand - although they do suggest the existence of other dimensions beyond our 4D set.
"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 21st, 2019, 4:21 pm

devans99 wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 1:21 pm
If time has 'always' existed, the moments of time and the particles within those moments form an infinite regress. IE particle A hits particle B hits C etc... this collision history forms an infinite regress. But an infinite regress has no start so none of it can exist. To illustrate this with an example, imagine a pool table:

The cue hits the white ball.
The white ball hits the black ball.
The black goes in the pocket.

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. If it is absent, as in the case of an infinite regress, then the regress does not exist - temporal/casual infinite regresses are impossible.

That means that time cannot be infinite.
Right. An infinite causal chain of events from past to present is logically problematic for reasons you mentioned. But not from present towards the future, because all we need to say is that there will be no last event. In this respect the past and the future have different structures.

To say that physical time cannot have a beginning is consistent if we think that time precedes being ontologically. But I think it is the other way round: being precedes time. 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.

Let us suppose we have a causal chain of physical events A, B, C,... Now we can think of this chain as a totality ABC... and ask what caused its existence. And the answer may be: (1) some event X before A or (2) nothing or (3) the series of events ABC... itself, being a causa sui, its essence causing its existence. Just to mention a few possibilities.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by devans99 » May 21st, 2019, 4:51 pm

Tamminen wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 4:21 pm
Right. An infinite causal chain of events from past to present is logically problematic for reasons you mentioned. But not from present towards the future, because all we need to say is that there will be no last event. In this respect the past and the future have different structures.

To say that physical time cannot have a beginning is consistent if we think that time precedes being ontologically. But I think it is the other way round: being precedes time. 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.

Let us suppose we have a causal chain of physical events A, B, C,... Now we can think of this chain as a totality ABC... and ask what caused its existence. And the answer may be: (1) some event X before A or (2) nothing or (3) the series of events ABC... itself, being a causa sui, its essence causing its existence. Just to mention a few possibilities.
Yes causal chains from a definite starting point stretching into the potentially infinite future are not ruled out by these arguments.

I think the cause of events ABC could be:

- (1) is possible - caused by another event
- Or caused an uncaused cause... the first cause... which does not count as an event in causality as the first cause is timeless/beyond causality.
- I don't think (2) is possible - from nothing comes nothing. I do not believe QM impacts the macro world and the origin of the universe is a macro question.
- (3) requires a specific geometry of spacetime - nothing can cause itself without a causal loop (circular time). A causal loop is in itself caused by something. EG the universe might be a big causal loop but the whole loop was caused by the first cause (which is timeless)
- I can't think of other possibilities?

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