On 19 Sep 2011, at 08:27, nihil0 wrote:

Hi everyone, This is my first post on the List. I find this topic fascinating and I'm impressed with everyone's thoughts about it. I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but it has been discussed on a few other Everything threads. Norman Samish posted the following to the thread "Tipler Weighs In" on May 16, 2005 at 9:24pm: "I wonder if you and/or any other members on this list have an opinion about the validity of an article at http://www.hedweb.com/nihilism/nihilfil.htm . . ." I would like to continue that discussion here on this thread, because I believe the article Norman cites provides a satisfying answer the question "Why does anything exist?," which is very closely related to the question "Why is there something rather than nothing." The author is David Pearce, who is an active British philosopher. Here are some highlights of Pearce's answer: "In the Universe as a whole, the conserved constants (electric charge, angular momentum, mass-energy) add up to/cancel out to exactly zero. . . Yet why not, say, 42, rather than 0? Well, if everything -- impossibly, I'm guessing -- added up/cancelled out instead to 42, then 42 would have to be accounted for. But if, in all, there is 0, i.e no (net) properties whatsoever, then there just isn't anything substantive which needs explaining. . . The whole of mathematics can, in principle, be derived from the properties of the empty set, Ø" I think this last sentence, if true, would support Tegmark's Mathematical Universe Hypothesis, because if math is derivable from nothing (as Pearce thinks) and physics is derivable from math (as Tegmark thinks) and, then physics is derivable from nothing, and presto we have a theory of everything/nothing. I think Pearce's conclusion is the following: everything that exists is a property of (or function of) the number zero (i.e., the empty set, nothing). Let's call this idea Ontological Nihilism. Russell Standish seems to endorse this idea in his book "Theory of Nothing", which I'm reading. He formulates an equation for the amount of complexity a system has, and says that "The complexity [i.e., information content] of the Everything is zero, just as it is of the Nothing. The simplest set is the set of all possibilities, which is the dual of the empty set." (pg. 40) He also suggests that Feynman acknowledged something like Ontological Nihilism. In vol. 2 of his lectures, Feynmann argued that the grand unified theory of physics could be expressed as a function of the number zero; just rearrange all physics equations so they equal zero, then add them all up. After all, equations have to be balanced on both sides, right? Personally, I find Ontological Nihilism a remarkably elegant, scientific and satisfying answer to the question "Why is there something instead of nothing" because it effectively dissolves the question. What do you think? Thanks in advance for your comments,

We have of course already discussed this a lot.

`In a nutshell, you cannot derive anything just from the empty set`

`alone: you need some mathematical principles or axioms, like the`

`comprehension and the reflection axioms. This leads to an axiomatic`

`set theory, which is nice but somehow too much powerful. But OK, set`

`theory is already a Löbian observer, and you can derive everything`

`from this, although you still need some definition, notably of the`

`internal observers. Assuming mechanism, to proceed in that direction,`

`then, as I have often explained, you get the derivation of everything`

`including a notion of "God" (truth), souls and the precise laws of`

`physics (but this is a sequence of hard number theoretical problems,`

`yet the conceptual solution already exist. Note that such a derivation`

`is not a derivation from nothing: it is a derivation from the empty`

`set + rich powerful axioms. I use traditionnally 0, successor,`

`addition, and multiplication (in this list), but the combinators +`

`application are quite handy for that task too.`

`Note also, that, contrary to what Tegmark defined, if mechanism is`

`correct, the physical universe is not a mathematical structure, but`

`more the border of something which can be made 99% into a mathematical`

`structure, together with a non reductible element, which is related to`

`the theological aspect of consciousness. The theory of everything`

`becomes the mind theory of the (universal) numbers, and physics`

`appears to be a sum or measure on all computations.`

`In that setting nothing and everything are equivalent dual notions,`

`but they makes sense only in some theory with some rules of`

`manipulation of the concept of nothing (like 0, or the empty set, or`

`the quantum vaccum: but this last one is assuming too much, and I have`

`provided an argument showing that we have to derived it from numbers`

`(or from combinators) if we want to be able to explain both the qualia`

`and the quanta. See my URL for proof of those statements if you are`

`interested.`

`In a nutshell: we have still to postulate some primitive elements.`

`Assuming the empty set + some rules, is equivalent with assuming all`

`the sets, or all the numbers. Once you have all the numbers (or all`

`the sets) you can derive the quanta and the qualia, by assuming the`

`mechanist hypothesis (or any of its multiple weakenings).`

`We cannot explain the numbers (or the sets) in any theory which does`

`not postulate them. This is well known by mathematical logicians. So`

`it looks like the numbers constitute an irreducible mystery.`

Bruno

Jon On Aug 8, 2:40 am, Roger <roger...@yahoo.com> 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 isthere 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 istheresomething rather than nothing?" paper is below. Thank you in advance for any feedback you may have.Sincerely,RogerGranet(roger...@yahoo.com)Abstract: In this paper, I propose solutions to the questions "Why do things exist?" and "Why istheresomething 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 arecompletely defined. A complete definition is equivalent to an edgeorboundary defining what is contained within and giving “substance” andexistence to the thing. In regard to the second question, "Whyistheresomething rather than nothing?", "nothing", or non-existence, isfirst 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 andofitself, 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 hastraditionally been thought of as "nothing", or non-existence, is,whenseen 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".--You received this message because you are subscribed to the GoogleGroups "Everything List" group.To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.

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