On 5/7/2012 9:16 AM, R AM wrote:
On Sun, May 6, 2012 at 8:04 PM, Stephen P. King <stephe...@charter.net <mailto:stephe...@charter.net>> wrote:

Hi Stephen,

    - If nothing has no properties, and a limitation is considered a
    property, then "nothing" cannot have any limitations, including
    the limitation of generating "something". Therefore, "something"
    may come from "nothing".

        Can nothing be treated as an object itself? Can we "hang"
    properties on it?

Some people claim that something cannot come from "nothing". I think they are hanging a property on it.

Hi Ricardo,

Yes and some other people claim that something can indeed come out of nothing - so long as that something comes with its antithesis so that the sum of the two is equal to nothing, kinda like 1 and -1 popping out of zero. I think that they are "hanging a property on it" and thus they are assuming that it has "hooks" - to follow the metaphor. But I think that here we are looking at the symptoms of something else, the symptoms of the word "come from" or "caused by" or "emergent". They all involve some kind of transformation. Are transformations possible within a "nothing"? What about automorphisms? Those transformations that leave some pattern or object unchanged?

    Are we actually talking about "substance" as synonomous with what
    the philosophers of old used to use as the object minus its
    properties? I like to use the word "Existence" in this case, as it
    would seen to naturally include "nothing" and "something" as its
    most trivial dual categories.

    - Given that something exists, it is possible that something
    exists (obviously). The later would be true even if "nothing" was
    the case. Therefore, we should envision the state of "nothing"
    co-existing with the possibility of "something" existing, which
    is rather bizarre.

        Does Nothingness exist? Can Nothingness non-exist? At what
    point are we playing games with words and at what point are we
    being meaningful?

I think a proper philosopher would say that "nothing" is the state of affairs (rather than "nothing" exists).

Umm, OK, but would this not make "affairs" more primitive than nothing? I think that this way of thinking starts of with a collection of "somethings" (plural) and classifies "nothing" as that particular member of the collection that is the place holder for the absence of a state. This is the patterns that we see in the Natural numbers, where ZERO (0) marks the spot that divides the positive numbers from the negative numbers.

    You are pointing out how "possibility" seems to be implicitly tied
    to the relation between something and nothing. In my reasoning
    this is why I consider existence as "necessary possibility".
    Unfortunately, this consideration suffers from the ambiguity
    inherent in semiotics known as the figure-frame relation
    Is the word we use to denote
    <http://grammar.about.com/od/d/g/denotationterm.htm> or connote
    <http://grammar.about.com/od/c/g/connotationterm.htm> a referent?
    What if we mean to use both denotative and connotative uses?

One way of intuiting "nothing" is that which remains when you have removed everything.


In fact, I believe that the philosophical "nothing" is nothing else than classical empty space elevated to metaphysical heights.

I agree. We see this in the modern notion of the vacuum or vacua (plural).

The problem is that even after you have removed everything (including time and space), there is something that cannot be removed: the possibility of something existing.

Exactly! Possibility itself can never be completely extracted, it can only be countered.

It would seem that "nothing" (or rather, NOTHING) shouldn't allow even for the logical possibility of something existing. But given that something exists, this possibility cannot be removed. That is why I said that the idea of "nothing" and the logical possibility of existence, sharing the same state of affairs, is bizarre (if not incompatible).

    I agree. This is what I have in mind as well.

    - Why should "nothing" be the default state? I think this is
    based on the intuition that "nothing" would require no
    explanation, whereas "something" requires an explanation.
    However, given that the possibility of something existing is
    necessarily true, an explanation would be required for why there
    is "nothing" instead of "something".

        I agree. We might even think or intuit "nothing" as the
    absolute absence of 'everything' : the sum of all particulars that
    piece-wise and collection-wise are not-nothing; whereas
    'something' is a special case of 'everything'; a particular case
    of everything.

Probably the best way of defining "nothing" is the absence of everything (not this, not that, ...). But isn't it funny that in order to define "nothing" you have to accept the possibility of everything?

And I think that is a very important point! This is part of my argument that Existence is necessary possibility itself.

    - There are many ways something can exist, but just one of
    nothing existing. Therefore, "nothing" is less likely :-)

        But this statement implicitly assumes a measure that itself,
    then, implies a common basis for comparison. Is there a set,
    class, category or other 'collection' that has all of the forms,
    modalities, aspects, etc. of something along with nothing?

I guess it couldn't be a set.

Right, because a set requires the definition of a function that picks out its members, either by inclusion or exclusion. One cannot just have a set and nothing else.

In any case, when people ask the question "why something rather than nothing", they implicitely assume that there is some sort of priority for "nothing" over something.

My short answer to "why something rather than nothing?" is "why not?".

Yeah, but while that is clever it does not explain much, but I appreciate the spirit of the answer.

     We tend not to think much of it, but 'Nothing' = Sum of {not a
    cat, not a dot, not a fist, not a person, not a word, ... }

I agree, but why the absence of things requires less explanation than the presence of things?

I think that it requires less of an explicit explanation as it relies on the explanations that exist previously in the minds of those that are apprehending the explanation. The fact that explanations are what conscious entities do with each other, they communicate meanings, not by pushing some "stuff" into them, but by implicating patterns of relations between the elements of the minds of the entities. Knowledge, learning, perception, Understanding are more like synchronization and entrainment than anything else.

        I suspect that the answer to this question is trivial: We see
    this universe because it is the only one that is minimally (?)
    consistent with our ability to _both_ observe it and communicate
    with each other about it.

OK, now prove the mass of the electron from these axioms :-)

Well, we would first have to be sure that we had the necessary elements to define what the relations of mass and electron are...



"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
~ Francis Bacon

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