• Pfhorrest
    4.5k
    that things just happen, for no reason.Manuel

    Quantum mechanically, that’s pretty much the case, and such quantum randomness is the posited mechanism that spawns new “universes” on an eternal inflation model.
  • Manuel
    984


    One last question:

    Sure. But I mean, there's a bound to what can and cannot happen, right? It's not as if an elephant will pop in to existence. Maybe a particle or some small thing pops in for discernable reason, but there's a range of things which are expected within the randomness, or that's not the case?
  • Zelebg
    626

    That’s not an infinite line.
    It's a diagram of a segment of an infinite line.

    ...so what did you think you actually proved?
    What I said, in other words, if we can exist in infinite space, so too present time can exist with infinite past. Do you think space could be infinite?
  • Pfhorrest
    4.5k
    Technically that is possible and leads to some weird philosophical conundrums. Google (or search this forum) for “Boltzmann brain” for a prominent example.
  • Mww
    2.5k


    Ahhhh....ok, then. A symbolic proof. Thing is....that little squiggly thing at each end of the representational dotted line segment presupposes the very thing you’re using to prove something about it. “A” could be located at that point, or any other point, whether or not the line is infinite. Denying the antecedent comes to mind. Actually, there’s no point “A” could not be found on an infinite line, so it says nothing at all about the line itself, to say where “A” is found.
    —————-

    Do you think space could be infinite?Zelebg

    Sure, it could be. I also think it could be bounded by the current universe. Six of one, half dozen of the other. Mathematical/logical proofs for both, empirical proofs for neither.
  • Zelebg
    626

    My point was mainly to introduce an analogy, to look at the problem from a bit different perspective in hope it might shed some new light and open alternative way to look at it. Although the question is whether spatial analogy to temporal infinity is indeed adequate, but it seems to me that it is.

    In any case, I think this problem, as many other philosophical and problems in general, is heavily burdened by semantics, that is incomplete definitions, mixing, conflating and inappropriate application of concepts.

    For example, the concept of infinity is inherently an abstract concept, which, it seems, just simply cannot be applied to reality, and so this and similar discussions necessarily lead us to some kind of paradox, one way or another.

    Basically, I think we cannot find satisfying resolution to this question until we first do something with our vocabulary, perhaps make definitions of concepts involved more robust or restrictive, or maybe come up with some new concepts and definitions, don't know. Who knows? Who knows!

    Sure, it could be.
    As an abstract concept, yes, by definition space is infinite. But what is our working definition of "space" concept in reality?

    For example, does "time" make any sense if nothing moves, if there is no change, and similarily, does "space" make any sense if there is nothing in it?
  • InPitzotl
    560
    Ahhhh....ok, then. A symbolic proof. Thing is....that little squiggly thing at each end of the representational dotted line segment presupposes the very thing you’re using to prove something about it.Mww
    How about this one?:
    ep2.png
    ...here there's an "object" (blue line) aligned with two rulers. Per the top ruler, it extends backwards from 0 to -1, but keeps going. Per the bottom ruler, that point measured at -1 by the top ruler has infinite measure. It's kind of irrelevant that our numbering system along that bottom ruler "never ends"... that line segment certainly has a point on it.

    My point here is that at least in some of your discussions you're confusing the measurement with the thing you are measuring.
  • Mww
    2.5k
    For example, the concept of infinity is inherently an abstract concept, which, it seems, just simply cannot be applied to reality, and so this and similar discussions necessarily lead us to some kind of paradox, one way or another.Zelebg

    Good.

    Basically, I think we cannot find satisfying resolution to this question until we first do something with our vocabulary, perhaps make definitions of concepts involved more robust or restrictive, or maybe come up with some new concepts and definitions,Zelebg

    Better.

    My vote for Best......maybe we cannot find satisfying resolutions until we first do something with our metaphysics.

    All I’ve contended here, is the notion of proof. I’m ok with your general thinking....and it wouldn’t matter even if I wasn’t....but I categorically reject the possibility of any proof for your original proposition, other than logical syllogism.
    ————-

    For example, does "time" make any sense if nothing moves, if there is no change, and similarily, does "space" make any sense if there is nothing in it?Zelebg

    This, buried back in this maze of comments, is pretty much what I said. Just maybe with a couple additional reductions.
  • Mww
    2.5k
    My point here is that at least in some of your discussions you're confusing the measurement with the thing you are measuring.InPitzotl

    This is going on, and it is what the fighting’s all about, as my ol’ buddy Roger Waters would have you know.

    Misplaced concreteness writ large, and I’m trying to demonstrate the futility of it.
    ————-

    It's kind of irrelevant that our numbering system along that bottom ruler "never ends"... that line segment certainly has a point on it.InPitzotl

    Sure it does. It has an infinite number of them. Do you see this doesn’t relate to my arguments with respect to the thread’s original proposition? It is not contested that, given an origin, an infinite regression from it is logically possible. It follows that an infinite number of points are given by that possible infinite quantity which contains them. What I am saying, is diagrams do not prove the case, but merely represent that logical possibility. So neither of these two pictorial renditions prove the absolute necessity, of that which is grounded only in a mere possibility.

    It is impossible to prove there is a point on an infinite line, if there is no possibility of an infinite line. This is a perfect example of reason in conflict with itself.....substituting what is legitimate in thought, with what is illegitimate in experience. Still, all that in itself is utterly irrelevant with respect to the thread, in which there is given the origin of a completed whole......the universe. The universe as a whole is the logical equivalent of your pictorial representation. As such, there is an infinite quantity of constituency in the universe, just as there is an infinite number of points on the line segment, 0 through -1. But the other diagram is bounded by infinity itself, no beginning and no end, which makes it absurd to locate any point on that line. I mean.....where is the access point?

    Anyway.....metaphysics. Can’t prove it, can’t refute it. Best to discover the limits of what can be done with it.
  • InPitzotl
    560
    Do you see this doesn’t relate to my arguments with respect to the thread’s original proposition?Mww
    From reading your reply it appears you don't understand the diagram. Let's imagine the units of the above ruler is hours; and the unit of the below ruler is also hours. -1 by the above ruler means one hour ago. -1 on the below ruler also means 1 hour ago. -2 on the below ruler means two hours ago; -3 three hours ago, and so on. By the above ruler, there's a point in time one hour ago. By the below ruler, that point in time is in the infinite past.
    So neither of these two pictorial renditions prove the absolute necessity, of that which is grounded only in a mere possibility.Mww
    Sure, ...
    It is impossible to prove there is a point on an infinite line, if there is no possibility of an infinite line.Mww
    ...but proving the possibility is equivalent to disproving the impossibility. The original post is about challenging Popper's proof of impossibility.
    This is a perfect example of reason in conflict with itself.....substituting what is legitimate in thought, with what is illegitimate in experience.Mww
    To what does the phrase "illegitimate in experience" refer?
    The universe as a whole is the logical equivalent of your pictorial representation. As such, there is an infinite quantity of constituency in the universe, just as there is an infinite number of points on the line segment, 0 through -1. But the other diagram is bounded by infinity itself, no beginning and no end, which makes it absurd to locate any point on that line. I mean.....where is the access point?Mww
    If Sam falls into an eternal black hole, and I watch, Sam would experience nothing unusual when he falls into the event horizon. His watch just ticks along as usual. There it goes... tick tick tick. I, on other hand, will never see him fall into the black hole, because time dilation is so extreme that Sam asymptotically never goes in, on my ruler. So where is the exit point? Why, it's the event horizon. This time reversed illustration is simply meant to convey that your question, whereas it may at first appear to have no answer, might have the simplest of them... the access point is simply an hour ago by the top ruler and is a type of horizon by the bottom one.
  • val p miranda
    47
    Infinity, like nothing, has no real existence; they are merely concepts.
  • Mww
    2.5k
    To what does the phrase "illegitimate in experience" refer?InPitzotl

    Stuff like this:

    If Sam falls into an eternal black holeInPitzotl
    ————

    It is impossible to prove there is a point on an infinite line, if there is no possibility of an infinite line.
    — Mww
    ...but proving the possibility is equivalent to disproving the impossibility. The original post is about challenging Popper's proof of impossibility.
    InPitzotl

    It wasn’t Popper’s, it was Kant’s. And it wasn’t a challenge as much as a misunderstanding by the thread’s author, of the original argument logically proving the impossibility of the world having no beginning. Still, you are correct, insofar as proving the possibility of an infinite line would at the same time prove one and all points on the line. To prove a possibility, one must prove a necessity, and to prove a necessity one needs prove an existence. Otherwise, all that’s proved is sufficiency. To prove the possibility of an infinite line one must show the existence of one. Which is impossible. So all that’s left is to represent an infinite line sufficiently, using those little dots after the uncompleted series of whatever’s. Or maybe something like “n + 1”.

    In the case herein being senselessly beaten to death, the existence is given, re: the world, so the need to prove its possibility is negated, as is for the equivalency in disproving the impossibility that the world had a beginning, or, which is the same thing, that the beginning of the world is in the infinite past. The common rejoinder is, of course.....why not both. A beginning for the world and that beginning infinitely long ago. The contradictions so blatantly obvious, the counterarguments so lackluster......eventually regressing into such modern conceptual monstrosities as (gaspsputterchoke) “spagettification”

    (Sigh)
  • InPitzotl
    560
    It wasn’t Popper’s, it was Kant’s.Mww
    Sort of; it's "Kant's argument as Popper presents it" (see below).
    And it wasn’t a challenge as much as a misunderstanding by the thread’s author, of the original argument logically proving the impossibility of the world having no beginning.Mww
    The one does not preclude the other:
    Maybe I don't quite understand Kant's argument as Popper presents it, but: isn't that as fallacious as arguing that the series of negative integers cannot be infinite because otherwise it could never reach -3?Amalac
    There is definitely a challenge here ("isn't that as fallacious as"...).
    To prove a possibility, one must prove a necessity, and to prove a necessity one needs prove an existence.Mww
    We seem to have vastly different views of modality. One need not prove a necessity nor an existence to prove a possibility. I can prove it possible for me to run from A to B by running from C to D, or running on a treadmill. Or, I can prove a wooden floor can hold 500 pounds by analysis (I need never put a 500 pound weight on it). In this case, the impossibility argument is based on an alleged absurdity; showing the alleged absurdity viable suffices to undermine the argument.

    Or we can phrase it another way. The challenge is that the argument is fallacious. A fallacious argument is an invalid argument. But arguments can be invalid even if their conclusions are true. To show an argument invalid, one simply needs to show the conclusions don't follow.
    The common rejoinder is, of course.....why not both. A beginning for the world and that beginning infinitely long ago.Mww
    Sure, that's possible too. Per the illustration, it's even possible that there was a prior to the infinitely long ago, as illustrated by the line. I drew this diagram intentionally depicting such a prior, and intentionally making it ambiguous whether there was a beginning or not. But the infinitude nevertheless demonstrates the argument invalid by undermining the alleged absurdity; even if the universe in fact turns out to have a beginning.
    The contradictions so blatantly obvious, the counterarguments so lackluster......eventually regressing into such modern conceptual monstrosities as (gaspsputterchoke) “spagettification”Mww
    Obvious does not entail correct. The counterarguments do exactly what was intended... they undermine the alleged absurdity. Undermining the alleged absurdity suffices to undermine the argument. Your confusion that the burden must be way higher is just your confusion.

    By my reading and treatment, this thread is more about an argument's validity than about time's actual beginning or lack thereof. To me, it's unknown whether time had a beginning. But it's certain that argument is invalid.
  • Mww
    2.5k
    By my reading and treatment, this thread is more about an argument's validity than about time's actual beginning or lack thereof.InPitzotl

    Agreed. I don’t care about time in and of itself. That which it conditions, or is the condition for, interests me.

    To me, it's unknown whether time had a beginning.InPitzotl

    To everyone, I would think.

    But it's certain that argument is invalid.InPitzotl

    There have been a few. Which one, please? Popper’s? “That argument” denotes specificity, so....
  • InPitzotl
    560
    there have been a few. Which one, please?Mww
    Fair question. Here I was referring to the argument Amalac quoted in the first post ("Kant's argument as Popper presents it").
  • Anand-Haqq
    95


    . There is no past ...

    . Past ... as such ... is a myth ... so you can be entangled with and towards that ... which is not ... so you can be dreaming while alive ... so you cannot be in here ... which is the only place ... and now ... which is the only time.

    . The society creates guilt ... the priests and the politicians ... towards that you've done ... at a remote past ... so you cannot live in the here-now ... so you can be an efficient machine ...
    a beautiful machine ... a flesh and blood machine ...

    . When I say ... that ... you must die to that which is not ... but you think it is ... I don't mean that you will not be able to remember it. It does not mean that all your memories will be dissolved or destroyed. It only means that now you don't live in those memories. You're free from them. They will remain, but now they will be just a part of your brain, not part of your consciousness.

    . The brain is a mechanism ... a beautiful mechanism ... yes ...

    . But ... it is just like a tape-recording machine. The brain goes on recording everything. The brain is the physical part. It will go on recording, and your memories cannot be destroyed unless the brain is destroyed. But that is not the problem. The problem is that your consciousness is filled with memories. Your consciousness goes on identifying itself with the brain and the brain is always stirred by your consciousness - and memories go on flooding you.

    . So your question ... must ... do a eighty hundred degree turn ...

    . Can the universe be FINITE towards the past?

    . The beggining and the end are ... the whole ... of it ... They are one ... an oneness ...

    . There is no past ... therefore ... it can be finite ...

    . How can the universe be infinite towards that ... which ... is not ... whose existence ... is not ... ?

    . In order to exist ... you must be ... you must exist ... you must be a being ...

    . That's why you're a human being ... you're constantly ... being ...
  • val p miranda
    47
    Correct. There is no past. The present has passed but the pass does not exist. Existence is moving forward,
  • Mww
    2.5k


    Two things, both of which have been covered in these comments:

    One thing.....
    Your diagram represents a given present, called “0”, initiating a regression of quanta, such that one of the infinite quanta is included in the totality of them. As such, three hours ago is a member of the set of all hours regressing from zero, which is the same as being included in the infinity of such hours, which is the same as being included in infinity of past hours, which is the same as being included in the infinite past. And you thought I didn’t get it. Shhheeeesh......gimme some credit, huh??

    I grant the present represented by zero is synonymous with the beginning of negative hours, just as Kant’s argument stipulated the beginning of the world. It follows that there must be a time where negative hours did not exist, just as there must have been a time when the world did not exist, for that which has a beginning must have a time relative to it necessarily.

    Nevertheless, do you see that these two are not compatible? And therefore cannot be used to argue that one invalidates the other? In the case of the numbers, the non-existence of negatives is subsequent to them; the non-existence of the world, is antecedent to it. Therefore, that past consistent with each, isn’t consistent with itself, insofar as the infinite past of negative numbers is yet to be past, but the infinite past of the world has already past. Now it is clear that given an infinite already past of the world, the beginning of it has no referent, hence the existence of it cannot be said to have ever occurred. But no matter its beginning, it did have one, therefore it could not have had an infinite past in which no beginning is to be found. Hence, that the world has an infinite past, is self-contradictory.

    The other thing....
    Your diagram represents exactly that which resides in the accusation of “confusing the measurement with the thing you are measuring“. The concept of negative hours included in an infinite past, is very far from the existential reality of the world as it was, and must have necessarily been, three hours ago. Again, Kant’s remark, that do so is “mere subterfuge”.

    Your turn. How is the argument invalid?
    —————

    On modality.

    Whatever steps are taken, it must be possible to take them. Given it is possible to take them, something must existent in order to take them. Given that steps are taken, it must been necessary for that which takes them, to exist as something capable of taking them.

    “......It is to be added, that the third category in each triad always arises from the combination of the second with the first. (...) necessity is nothing but existence, which is given through the possibility itself....”.

    This is not to say we cannot have different notions of modality. On such occasions where it is questioned, the above is my answer.
  • Anand-Haqq
    95


    . There is no present too ... friend ...

    . Present ... as such ... is ... just a bridge ... a temporal bridge ... connecting the past and the future ...

    . If there is no past and future ... necessarily ... the bridge disappears ... exists not ...

    . For the sake of language ... you must ... call it so ... but ... existentially ... present exists not ...

    . You try to say the word NOW ... the moment you say it ... it's already past ... it's already ... past experience ...

    . That's the reason why ... only ... a meditative being ... can Live totally ... can be fully in the present ... because ... he's fully aware of this truth ...

    . You're always being rejuvenated ... not only you ... the whole existence ...

    . The quantum physics ... at the 20th century ... arrived ... to this conclusion ... that ... in an ultrasonic speed ... all the existence disappears ... and ... appears again ... as a new phenomenon ... as new reality spectrum ...

    . So ... it's not just ... spiritually portraying ... it's ... also ... physically saying ...

    . In Yoga ... this knowledge ... for thousands of years ... at least ... 5 thousands of years ... have been known by the mystics ... but ... then ... thousands of years later ... the physics arrived to this truth too ...
  • InPitzotl
    560
    And you thought I didn’t get it.Mww
    Apparently not, because you keep saying something follows that doesn't follow.
    I grant the present represented by zero is synonymous with the beginning of negative hours, just as Kant’s argument stipulated the beginning of the world.Mww
    "Negative", "zero", and "positive" are classes of numbers. In terms of ordering, 0 divides the classes; greater numbers are positive, lesser are negative, and 0 per se is in neither (in the typical scheme). By beginning we usually talk about the lower end; so in this case, that would be discussions about horizons. This refocus on the upper end "to make a point" doesn't seem to make it pretty well. Even so, nothing meaningful is entailed on that side either, so let's talk both.
    It follows that there must be a time where negative hours did not exist, just as there must have been a time when the world did not exist,
    Nothing about the extent of that blue line follows from the extent of the ruler. Be it horizon or origin, the line may not reach it, may reach it exclusively, reach it inclusively, or may go beyond it. I cannot rule in or out any of those things on the basis of pontificating on the nature of the number classes.
    for that which has a beginning must have a time relative to it necessarily.Mww
    Not sure what you're saying here. 0 is the beginning of the negative numbers by your scheme, but 0 is not negative; so the beginning point is exclusive.
    In the case of the numbersMww
    ...I've discussed the number cases above. We have classes with inclusive and exclusive endpoints and classes with no endpoints.
    But no matter its beginning, it did have one, therefore it could not have had an infinite past in which no beginning is to be found.Mww
    No, that does not follow. The horizon can be an exclusive endpoint or an inclusive endpoint (or a non-endpoint). We can have a future horizon just like that as well. There is no meaningful restriction to the extent of that blue line that you can infer from any infinitude of a ruler.
  • Mww
    2.5k


    That settles it. I guessed wrong, I didn’t get it, which just goes to show....you’re way too smart for me.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    I just don’t see why we would want or need to say that an infinite amount of time elapsed, if the past were infiniteAmalac

    What does one mean by past? Elapsed time ending in the present (now).

    So, if the past is infinite, an infinite amount of time must've elapsed. You can't accept one without accepting the other. It's like someone saying, "I've arrived in Paris". Well, if fae's arrived somewhere, for certain he was travelling.
  • Amalac
    309


    Ok, so let's suppose all that Kant/Popper meant when saying that an infinite amount of time passed/elapsed up to the “now” was to say that it is the case that the universe had no beginning in time.

    What then is the alleged contradiction about that with the fact that time in the universe ends in the “now”? It is maintained by Kant that a universe with no beginning in time would never be “completed”/ would never “end”.

    If all he means by that is to say that time would never end towards the past, then obviously yes, that's entailed by the very definition of such a universe, and there's no contradiction about that, since one cannot maintain that it must end towards the past in some beginning moment of time, without also rejecting/contradicting the definition of a universe with an infinite past, unless there's a reason why it must have had a beginning in time, which is what Kant had to prove and didn't prove.

    But if Kant means that such a universe would also never “be completed/end” in the “now”, then that seems like a non-sequitur.

    Again, one cannot use the claim that it could never end in the “now” because that would imply traversing an infinite amount of time in order to get to the “now”, because:

    a) The assumption that it would necessarily imply that, as I said before, is false, and there's no reason for someone who held the universe to be infinite towards the past to make that assumption.

    b) The models of a universe with an infinite past/ no beginning in time do not logically depend upon the claim that in such a universe one would have to traverse an infinite series of syntheses of time in order to get to “now”.

    (Also, see my replies to Mww)

    If, on the other hand, we take that word “elapsing” to have its usual meaning, then time “elapsing” necessarily implies a beginning and an end of an interval of time. In fact, a lapse of time is the same thing as an interval of time.

    But intervals, by their very nature, must be of finite amounts of time, not infinite ones (otherwise you can't even construct the interval, since you would be missing at least one of the limits that define the interval/lapse of time).

    So if that's what you mean by “an infinite amount of time elapsing up to the present", then I disagree with:

    What does one mean by past? Elapsed time ending in the present (now).

    So, if the past is infinite, an infinite amount of time must've elapsed.
    TheMadFool

    That definition would only be adequate if the past was finite, not infinite.

    All “a universe with a finite past” means is: a universe with a beginning in time. Likewise, all “a universe with an infinite past” means is: a universe with no beginning in time.

    That doesn't mean the same as “a universe in which an infinite amount of time elapsed ending in the present”.

    So what one means by past is simply: the time before the present. With this definition, no assumption about time “elapsing” is required.

    The only thing needed to make that universe consistent is to drop the false assumption that in such a universe necessarily an infinite amount of time must have elapsed up to the present, since such a claim implicitly assumes, for no reason, that a universe with an infinite past both had and didn't have a beginning, so obviously, as I said before, there's no need for one to assume that that must also be the case in a universe with no beginning in time.
  • Joshs
    1.5k
    There is no past. The present has passed but the pass does not exist. Existence is moving forward,val p miranda

    If thats the case how so we hear a piece of music as a unity? We would only know each present note but not the previous flow of notes that creates the mellody. This was a problem for the old model time as punctual now points. The solution, offers by William James, Husserl
    and others , was that we experience the just past note in the present alongside the current note. It is not. past that is gone but a past simultaneous with the present , appearing alongside it in the same moment.
  • val p miranda
    47
    It appears to me the issue is a matter of perception by the perceiver, perceiving the perception as the brain unifies.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    I have a feeling that you might want to look into, analyze thoroughly, an expression that seems to be, luckily or not, a stock phrase employed by those who face major employment issues, that phrase being, "my career ended before it even started" How on earth can something end before it started? An infinite past has no start and yet, here we are, in the present, an end as it were.
  • Amalac
    309


    I have a feeling that you might want to look into, analyze thoroughly, an expression that seems to be, luckily or not, a stock phrase employed by those who face major employment issues, that phrase being, "my career ended before it even started"TheMadFool

    That's just a figure of speech, obviously.

    How on earth can something end before it started?TheMadFool

    Did I ever say such a thing?

    An infinite past has no start and yet, here we are, in the present, an end as it were.TheMadFool

    Something can't end before starting (if it started), obviously. A universe with an infinite past would not end before it started, it never would start in the first place (by definition), but that doesn't mean it can't end in the "now", or at least that needs to be proven first.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    That's just a figure of speech, obviously.Amalac

    Perhaps there's a grain of truth in it. The expression, "my career ended before it even started" does make sense, right? The way I parse it is, that which has no beginning [before it even started] has terminated [ended]. My career was over before it even began - notice a reversal, a complete volte face as it were in the sequence of events, the events being start and end. The usual way these two happen (temporally) is start first and end second. The phrase "my career ended before it even started" flips this order and end comes first (before) the start which is second; don't forget that it says, "before it even began" i.e. there was/is no beginning. Isn't this exactly the same problem we're facing - a beginningless time that has an end (now) which is the infinite past conundrum we've trying to get a handle on.

    By way of trying to get a fix on, zero in on, the intuition that makes the statement, "my career ended before it even began" slip through the logical checkpost with such ease we can again revisit the fact that the order of start and end has been reversed, "my career ended before it even started" In other words, there's an ambiguity - the end is first but that's a start's position and the beginning is second and that's the end's position. While we attempt to wrap our heads around this fine piece of linguistic cum logical gymnastics, what happens is the end and start are swapped because of the ordering and our minds don't feel violated in the slightest way - the end that was before the start is treated as the start and the beginning that never was is the end - a normal state of affairs for a potential infinity which our minds seem to have little trouble accepting.
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