Norman, Stephen, Brent, list

>>> "Why is there something rather than nothing?"
>>> When I heard that Famous Question, I did not assume that "nothing" was 
>>> describable - because, if it was, it would not be "nothing."  I don't  
>>> think of "nothing" as an empty bitstring - I think of it as the absence of 
>>> a bitstring - as "no thing."
>>> Given that definition, is there a conceivable answer to The Famous Question?
>>> Norman [Samish]

>> Yes, there is an answer! Because Nothingness can not non-Exist. 
>>Stephen [Paul King]

I guess that's why the Hindus have only a creator (Brahma), a preserver 
(Vishnu), and a destroyer (Shiva), and not also an existence preventer.

> Or in the words of Norm Levitt, "What is there?  Everything! So what isn't 
> there?  Nothing!"
>Brent Meeker

Here are a few:

Q: Why there is something rather than nothing?
Sidney Morgenbesser: "Even if there were nothing, you'd still be complaining!"
http://crookedtimber.org/2004/08/03/sidney-morgenbesser
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Morgenbesser

66~~~~~~~~~~~
Suppose there were nothing. Then, pace the physicists, there would be no laws; 
for laws, after all, are something. If there were no laws, then everything 
would be permitted. But if everything is permitted, nothing is forbidden. So if 
there were nothing, nothing would be forbidden. Nothing, in other words, is 
self-forbidding. Therefore THERE MUST BE SOMETHING.
       This epiphany came to me while I was shaving... 
~~~~~~~~~~~99
-- "Jim Holt" by Jim Holt, _Slate_, March 1, 1997, http://www.slate.com/id/3715/

That seems to slide into saying that the reason that there isn't nothing is 
that everything just overwhelms it. That's been my intuitive take -- there's 
just so inexhaustibly much that it "tips the balance" against nothingness. I'm 
unsure whether such an intuition means anything.

I've wondered how to say "everything exists" in logic. I don't know whether the 
following is logically interesting, much less whether it's original, but it 
might be mildly amusing.

In standard first-order logic, the phrase "everything exists" would be taken to 
trivially mean "“that, that is, is," or the like. Is there a way to say it in a 
non-trivial sense in first-order logic at all? Is it an idea that can be 
logically expressed at that basic level? What would it mean if it can't? I'm 
not a logician, but there does appear to be a way to say it in a specially 
restricted kind of first-order logic, by use of a special kind of 
quantificational functor. As for whether this leads to a coherent logical idea 
in less restricted logic, you be the judge. The result is, at least, a kind of 
statement which seems to lead to an area of logical issues raised by the 
"Everything Exists" picture, in any case, with regard to saying that every 
"potential" particular definite individual is actualized somewhere and 
somewhen, or the negative, that the world in all times and places lacks some 
particular definite individual. 
Now, in defining the existential particular quantification, one may start with 
a finite universe of objects named by constants "a" through "h", and say “There 
is a such that...Ja...or there is b such that...Jb...or... [etc.] ...or there 
is h such that...Jh....” and agree to write this as "Ex ...Jx...." Then one 
drops the substitutionalist requirement that x shall range over only named 
objects a, b, c, etc. Then the variable x is no longer _substitutional_ but 
instead is _objectual_. To get to our new special functor will be a matter of 
replacing the repeated "or" with a repeated "and". 
Let’s define a functor "Æ" such that "Æx ...x...." is equivalent to "There is a 
such that...a...AND there is b such that...b...AND... [etc.] ...AND there is h 
such that...h...." 
In effect one is saying that every name names something. Now, what happens when 
the substitutionalist requirement is dropped? In considering just what it is 
that x now ranges over, and whether the objectual statement "Æx ...x..." is 
contingently or formally true or contingently or formally false or formally or 
contingently undecidable or (despite its fraternal-twin relationship with the 
existential particular) just plain ill-defined, one is led to consider some of 
the logical problems which arise in any case in entertaining the general idea 
that “everything exists.” In other words, we seem to arrive at some of the 
right problematics. Then if you negate it, you're saying that there lacks a 
something, some particular thing is failing to exist. If you say "~Æx Jx," 
you're saying that something's missing or it exists but isn't J (e.g., but 
isn't jumping). So you could say "[AxJx] & ~[ÆxJx]"
(Note: "Æx" should NOT be called the "existential universal" which would 
instead be properly applied to whatever is equivalent to the conjunction or 
predicative combination of the existential particular and the hypothetical 
universal, where you say, e.g., "there's some food that’s good, and any food is 
good" or "there's some food that's good such that any food is good" or “there’s 
food and any food is good” I suppose that "Æx” could be called the 
"omniexistential." 

Best, Ben Udell


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