On 9 August 2011 07:36, Roger <roger...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> I always like to distinguish between the
> mind's conception/perception of a thing and the thing itself.  So, I'd
> say that a thing can exist even if its properties are unknown to us
> (ie, to our mind's conception of the thing) but those properties have
> to be known, or be part of, the thing itself in order to be properties
> of that thing.  I think this is real important in thinking about
> "nothing" or non-existence.  Next to our minds, which exist, nothing/
> non-existence just looks like the lack of existence, or nothing.  But,
> non-existence itself, not our mind's conception of non-existence,
> completely describes or defines what is present and is therefore an
> existent state.

Agreed on the distinction between a conception and what it (may)
ultimately refer to.  However, I'm not really convinced of its
centrality in this case.  The "nothing" that is here juxtaposed with
"something" is surely intended to rule out any state whatsoever,
including any "properties" or "definitions" thereof.  For example, in
the face of such "radical absence", even the truth that "17 is prime"
would be in abeyance (although I suspect Bruno might say that this is
evidence enough that the concept fails to refer).  To be sure, given
the brute fact that there IS "something", such radical non-existence
may indeed be excluded as a matter of fact.  That is, the IDEA of
"nothing" as the radical absence of any state of affairs whatsoever
may indeed lack any referent in actuality.  But notwithstanding this,
any less radical proposal fails to exhaust the concept at its logical
limit (e.g. in your very reliance on the formulation "defines what is
present").  And the dizzying prospect of that ultimate conceptual
limit is, rightly or wrongly, what troubles us when we encounter the
canonical question.

David

> Brent,
>
>    Thanks for the comment!  I always like to distinguish between the
> mind's conception/perception of a thing and the thing itself.  So, I'd
> say that a thing can exist even if its properties are unknown to us
> (ie, to our mind's conception of the thing) but those properties have
> to be known, or be part of, the thing itself in order to be properties
> of that thing.  I think this is real important in thinking about
> "nothing" or non-existence.  Next to our minds, which exist, nothing/
> non-existence just looks like the lack of existence, or nothing.  But,
> non-existence itself, not our mind's conception of non-existence,
> completely describes or defines what is present and is therefore an
> existent state.  Thanks!
>
>
> Roger
>
>
> On Aug 8, 1:59 pm, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>> On 8/7/2011 11:40 PM, Roger wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> >      Hi.  I used to post to this list but haven't in a long time.  I'm
>> > a biochemist but like to think about the question of "Why is there
>> > something rather than nothing?" as a hobby.  If you're interested,
>> > some of my ideas on this question and on  "Why do things exist?",
>> > infinite sets and on the relationships of all this to mathematics and
>> > physics are at:
>>
>> >https://sites.google.com/site/ralphthewebsite/
>>
>> > An abstract of the "Why do things exist and Why is there something
>> > rather than nothing?" paper is below.
>>
>> >      Thank you in advance for any feedback you may have.
>>
>> >                                                                            
>> >                                                                 Sincerely,
>>
>> > Roger Granet                                                               
>> >                                                         
>> > (roger...@yahoo.com)
>>
>> > Abstract:
>>
>> >     In this paper, I propose solutions to the questions "Why do things
>> > exist?" and "Why is there something rather than nothing?"  In regard
>> > to the first question, "Why do things exist?", it is argued that a
>> > thing exists if the contents of, or what is meant by, that thing are
>> > completely defined.
>>
>> Things that are completely defined are mathematical abstractions: like a
>> differentiable manifold or the natural numbers.  One might even argue
>> that an essential characteristic of things that exist is that they can
>> have unknown properties.  But perhaps I'm misreading what you mean by
>> "defined".  Maybe you just mean that things that exist either have a
>> property or not, independent of our knowledge.  So Vic either has a mole
>> on his left side or he doesn't, even though we don't know which; whereas
>> is makes no sense to even wonder whether Sherlock Holmes has a mole on
>> his left side.
>>
>> Brent
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> > A complete definition is equivalent to an edge or
>> > boundary defining what is contained within and giving substance and
>> > existence to the thing.  In regard to the second question, "Why is
>> > there something rather than nothing?", "nothing", or non-existence, is
>> > first defined to mean: no energy, matter, volume, space, time,
>> > thoughts, concepts, mathematical truths, etc.; and no minds to think
>> > about this lack-of-all.  It is then shown that this non-existence
>> > itself, not our mind's conception of non-existence, is the complete
>> > description, or definition, of what is present.  That is, no energy,
>> > no matter, no volume, no space, no time, no thoughts, etc.,  in and of
>> > itself, describes, defines, or tells you, exactly what is present.
>> > Therefore, as a complete definition of what is present, "nothing", or
>> > non-existence, is actually an existent state.  So, what has
>> > traditionally been thought of as "nothing", or non-existence, is, when
>> > seen from a different perspective, an existent state or "something".
>> > Said yet another way, non-existence can appear as either "nothing" or
>> > "something" depending on the perspective of the observer.   Another
>> > argument is also presented that reaches this same conclusion.
>> > Finally, this reasoning is used to form a primitive model of the
>> > universe via what I refer to as "philosophical engineering".
>
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