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!"
Here are a few:
Q: Why there is something rather than nothing?
Sidney Morgenbesser: "Even if there were nothing, you'd still be complaining!"
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...
-- "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
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
Best, Ben Udell
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to email@example.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
For more options, visit this group at