• MoK
    107
    None of this is new to me, but you have still failed to provide a link to backup your claim that spacetime is a substance. That is what I would like a link to.Sir2u
    To me, spacetime is a substance because it affects the motion of other objects and light. It also carries energy in the form of gravitational waves. There is extensive debate and literature about the nature of spacetime and whether it is a substance or not. Perhaps you enjoy this. I studied this article a long time ago and had a hard time grasping all its content. I hope you do better than me.
  • MoK
    107
    The argument seems valid. The issue is that many premises are doubtable. Is it even possible — or rational — to talk nothingness about and what properties it has? "There is no time in nothing" seems to mean absolutely nothing without further elaboration.Lionino
    To me, nothing is a condition that there is no thing, no spacetime, no material,... There is no thing in nothing therefore nothing does not have any property. I don't know how I could elaborate further on nothing. I can answer other questions however if you have any.
  • MoK
    107
    Well, this has proved to be a contentious issue, which is to me somewhat puzzling. There are plenty of folk hereabouts who will agree with you, but I am not one. I see no reason not to say that changes can occur across distances, as well as times. And I think the mathematics and physics back up this approach, since we can calculate change over distance (Δx/Δy) for various things, and we have the physics of statics, Hook's law and so on.

    I'd be interested in why you think this to be the case.
    Banno
    You are correct. We could have changes in a thing in space such as temperature, pressure, and the like. By change here I mean temporal change rather than spatial change.
  • MoK
    107
    But if spacetime appears, we have spacetime. If you're saying we need spacetime before spacetime, that doesn't make any sense. The only thing you've noted is that we need spacetime for other changes besides spacetime itself. You have not proven, only asserted, that spacetime cannot come from nothing. That doesn't work. Prove it, and you have an argument. If not, you're stuck.Philosophim
    I already argue that spacetime is needed for any change and you agreed with it. What is left is whether we can agree that nothing to spacetime is a change or not.

    Its not an assumption, its a logical conclusion based on your point. If you say spacetime has a beginning, and spacetime is the only way for other things to change, there can only have been nothing before spacetime. You can't win on this one Mok. If you say, "Begin" that implies there was something before. If there was not something before, then nothing was before. And if you say something was before, then it looks like something can cause spacetime to appear. And if that's the case, what is that something? So either way, you cannot prove that something cannot come from nothing with your current set up.Philosophim
    Could we agree that there is no point before the beginning of time? Yes or no.
  • Banno
    22.9k
    By change here I mean temporal change rather than spatial change.MoK

    Yep. Cheers.

    Now (1) in the OP is
    P1) Time is needed for any changeMoK
    can be adjusted by simply specifying that the topic of discourse is change over time. but then what of (2)?
    P2) Nothing to something is a changeMoK
    Needn't someone simply say that the change from nothing to something is then not in the topic of discourse - that it does not occur over time?

    Seems this needs addressing. Arguably, the beginning of time is not a change over time.
  • MoK
    107
    I see. Here’s my understanding of it in syllogisms (and let me know if I am misunderstanding):Bob Ross
    Thank you very much for your input and the discussion which was very informative for me.

    P1: If an entity is the pure negation of all possible existence, then it cannot be subjected to temporality.
    P2: ‘Nothing’ is the pure negation of all possible existence.
    C1: Therefore, ‘nothing’ cannot be subjected to temporality.

    P3: Change requires temporality.
    P4: ‘Nothing’ cannot be subjected to temporality.
    C2: Therefore, ‘nothing’ cannot be subjected to change.

    P5: ‘Nothing’ becoming ‘something’ requires change.
    P6: ‘Nothing’ cannot be subjected to change.
    C3: Therefore, ‘nothing’ cannot be subjected to becoming (something).

    Firstly, I underlined ‘entity’ in P1 to denote that this sort of entity is not something but must be analyzed as if it were: it is the incoherent positing of something which is itself nothing—and there is no way, in language, to say it otherwise. Analyzing ‘nothing’ is a tricky endeavor.
    Bob Ross
    I see what you mean. I however have a problem with this premise. I don't see how "then it cannot be subjected to temporality" follows. Do you mind elaborating?

    The way I conclude that was based on two assumptions, spacetime is a substance and there is no spacetime in nothing.

    Secondly, this whole argument rests on time (i.e., temporality) being identical to motion—which I have my doubts. I don’t see anything incoherent with positing that literally movement/motion is only a biproduct of how we represent the world and not something that is happening in the world as it is in-itself.Bob Ross
    Well, to me motion is a sort of change in which the position of an object changes so to me motion is not identical to time.

    Thirdly, the crux of the argument is that in order for nothing to become something, nothing must change. I am fine with this, as long as you define nothing like P2.Bob Ross
    I would say that there must be a change from nothing rather than nothing must change.

    Fourthly, and most importantly, none of this proves that it is logically impossible for nothing to become something.Bob Ross
    I see what you mean.

    This is what I just spoke of with respect to time being identical to motion (in the sense of actual movement). I personally would go for a metaphysic of time where the temporal ordering of things is real (i.e., exists in reality mind-independently) but that the motion we experience is just a biproduct of the modes by which we intuit and cognize objects. In other words, I literally envision reality in-itself as a motionless web of relations, of which one of those relations is temporal ordering, and our brains-in-themselves are interpreting them, from the standpoint motionlessness, into motion. As odd as that may seem prima facie, I think there’s sufficient philosophical and scientific reasons to believe this. My point is just to give you a counter position to digest and chew on.Bob Ross
    I think you are talking about the block universe (correct me if I am wrong). I however have a problem with the way you describe motion from a motionless thing. Mainly our brains are parts of the universe so how can we perceive any change considering that everything in the universe, including our brains, is changeless?

    (1) Time is needed for any change and (2) Time is a substance.

    I reject 2.
    2) According to general relativity, time is a component of spacetime. Spacetime is a substance though. By substance, I mean something that exists and has a set of properties. Spacetime's property is its curvature. Two phenomena confirm that spacetime is a substance or in other words confirm general relativity, namely gravitational wave and gravitational lens.

    I think general relativitiy works fine without that metaphysical assumption. One can posit that temporal relations are real but that they exist as a giant block (a time block) (or even a space/time block) and, as such, the literal motion you experience is no where to be found—but the relations governing that motion are real.

    If one goes the #2 route, then either (1) everything is in motion and extension or (2) space and time, as substances, exist in a void. #1 is less parsimonious than positing what I said above, and #2 is absurd.
    Bob Ross
    Well, there is extensive literature on the nature of spacetime and whether it is a substance or not. You may like this article.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    I already argue that spacetime is needed for any change and you agreed with it.MoK

    Yes, and I made two points you'll have to consider.

    1. We have nothing, then spacetime. Change happened with spacetime.
    2. There is nothing in your argument that proves nothing cannot come before spacetime.

    Could we agree that there is no point before the beginning of time? Yes or no.MoK

    Before the beginning of spacetime? Lets assume yes for the argument. In which case, nothing came before spacetime. Its either nothing, or something. There are no other options.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    'Nothing', as a concept, nevertheless must be definable if it is to be utilized in discussion. It cannot simply be equivalent to no "specific value".

    Personally, I think 'nothing' is pure negation of all possible existence.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    That is true, it should be C -> T.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    Sure. Then use the predicate logic formulation I made.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    How would you know if something is an entity without knowing what it is?

    It is an entity iff it exists.

    That is not propositional logic. It is an EL (Epistemic Logic) operator which means, Agent "knows". It could have been "K" for knows in general, but the box implies knowing via observation.

    Oh I see. I was interpreting it under modal logic, not propositional logic.
  • Sir2u
    3.2k
    There is extensive debate and literature about the nature of spacetime and whether it is a substance or not. Perhaps you enjoy this.MoK

    One view is that spacetime is a substance: a thing that exists independently of the processes occurring within it. This is spacetime substantivalism. The hole argument seeks to show that this viewpoint leads to unpalatable conclusions in a large class of spacetime theories. — The article you provided a llnk to:

    Oh dear.

    I studied this article a long time ago and had a hard time grasping all its content.MoK

    Yes, I can imagine.
  • Corvus
    2.4k
    It is an entity iff it exists.Bob Ross
    Things exist in minds as well as in empirical world. When things exist in mind, they are called concepts and ideas.
  • MoK
    107
    Now (1) in the OP is

    P1) Time is needed for any change

    can be adjusted by simply specifying that the topic of discourse is change over time.
    Banno
    Yes. I can adjust the premise to Time is needed for any temporal change. Thanks for the correction and the contribution.

    but then what of (2)?
    P2) Nothing to something is a change
    — MoK
    Needn't someone simply say that the change from nothing to something is then not in the topic of discourse - that it does not occur over time?
    Banno
    This premise is the second premise of the old argument. I don't need that anymore unless I want to make a reductio ad absurdum argument. Here is my second argument which has one hidden premise (HP)

    P1) Time is needed for any temporal change
    P2) Nothing to something needs a temporal change in nothing (HP)
    P3) There is no time in nothing
    C1) Therefore, temporal change in nothing is not possible (From P1 and P3)
    C2) Therefore, nothing to something is not possible (from P2 and C1)

    Please note that Bob Ross also developing another argument.

    Seems this needs addressing. Arguably, the beginning of time is not a change over time.Banno
    I cannot follow you here. What do you mean by "the beginning of time is not a change over time."?
  • LFranc
    7
    That is correct but a more direct way to prove this would be to show that "nothing" (nothingness) is already not possible logically anyway. If I think that nothingness exists, I still think it, so there's at least a thought, not nothing. And if I think that "nothingness exists when I stop thinking about it", then this statement is purely unverifiable.
    (source:Brief Solutions to Philosophical Problems Using a Hegelian Method, Solution 1)
  • MoK
    107
    Yes, and I made two points you'll have to consider.

    1. We have nothing, then spacetime.
    Philosophim
    Yes, but you have to wait for it. I am trying to counter this simply by saying that nothing to spacetime is a change.

    Change happened with spacetime.Philosophim
    Sure, but there is no spacetime in nothing therefore change from nothing is not possible.

    2. There is nothing in your argument that proves nothing cannot come before spacetime.Philosophim
    Sure there is. Nothing to spacetime is a change (you agree with this). Any change requires spacetime (you agree with this too). Therefore, we need spacetime to have nothing to spacetime.

    Before the beginning of spacetime? Lets assume yes for the argument.Philosophim
    That point is a point in spacetime for two reasons: It is a point (point in a variable) and it is before the beginning of time. Simply there is a temporal change from that point to the beginning of time. This means what we call the beginning of time is not really the beginning of time but the point that we agree on its existence is the beginning of time. This is however problematic. If that point refers to a condition that there is nothing then we agreed that there is no spacetime in nothing so we have a problem here since that point is the beginning of spacetime.
  • Mark Nyquist
    729

    You can have,

    Physical nothing

    Or

    Physical object

    And mentally we have,

    Brain; (the idea of nothing)

    Or

    Brain; (the idea of a physical object)

    So just what you were saying. But it's different physically and mentally. The physical follows laws of physics and the mental is at will.

    Edit: Note the reality of physical nothing may not exist....maybe an open question.
  • MoK
    107
    That is correct but a more direct way to prove this would be to show that "nothing" (nothingness) is already not possible logically anyway. If I think that nothingness exists, I still think it, so there's at least a thought, not nothing. And if I think that "nothingness exists when I stop thinking about it", then this statement is purely unverifiable.LFranc
    I would be happy to see an argument for nothing is illogical physically.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    1. We have nothing, then spacetime.
    — Philosophim
    Yes, but you have to wait for it. I am trying to counter this simply by saying that nothing to spacetime is a change.
    MoK

    There is no waiting for it, as there is nothing doing the waiting.

    Change happened with spacetime.
    — Philosophim
    Sure, but there is no spacetime in nothing therefore change from nothing is not possible.
    MoK

    No, but spacetime happened after there being nothing, so we have a change, and we have spacetime. In your case we have the start of spacetime.

    2. There is nothing in your argument that proves nothing cannot come before spacetime.
    — Philosophim
    Sure there is. Nothing to spacetime is a change (you agree with this). Any change requires spacetime (you agree with this too). Therefore, we need spacetime to have nothing to spacetime.
    MoK

    But there is spacetime. Nothing, then spacetime. A change has occurred and it involves the start of spacetime. Unless you're saying spacetime cannot start? If spacetime cannot start, then it has always existed. But that contradicts your previous statement that an infinite amount of spacetime cannot have existed previously to our own time. How should we resolve this?

    That point is a point in spacetime for two reasons: It is a point (point in a variable) and it is before the beginning of time.MoK

    Isn't this another contradiction? First, I've noticed a pattern. You keep using time independently of space. But very early on you noted that time could not be independent of space, that it was a property of a combination called spacetime. One thing we shouldn't do in a discussion is ascertain that a property cannot exist independently, then use it as if it is independent. Are you sure you want to keep time and space together? If so, lets stop using time independently.

    Currently what should be said is: "That point is a point in spacetime for two reasons: It is a point (point in a variable) and it is before the beginning of spacetime."

    As you can see, the above contradicts itself. I cannot be both a point in spacetime, and before spacetime.

    This means what we call the beginning of time is not really the beginning of time but the point that we agree on its existence is the beginning of time.MoK

    This is a contradiction. Something cannot both be a beginning and not a beginning.

    Keep trying! Lets see if these contradictions can be resolved.
  • MoK
    107
    No, but spacetime happened after there being nothing, so we have a change, and we have spacetime. In your case we have the start of spacetime.Philosophim
    You agreed that nothing to spacetime is a change. Don't we need spacetime for this change? If yes, then we need spacetime for nothing to spacetime. This leads to infinite regress though.

    But there is spacetime. Nothing, then spacetime. A change has occurred and it involves the start of spacetime. Unless you're saying spacetime cannot start? If spacetime cannot start, then it has always existed. But that contradicts your previous statement that an infinite amount of spacetime cannot have existed previously to our own time. How should we resolve this?Philosophim
    Sure there is spacetime. Spacetime cannot begin to exist though. Spacetime simply exists, in this sense is fundamental, and has a beginning.

    Currently what should be said is: "That point is a point in spacetime for two reasons: It is a point (point in a variable) and it is before the beginning of spacetime."

    As you can see, the above contradicts itself. I cannot be both a point in spacetime, and before spacetime.
    Philosophim
    Yes, it is a contradiction. See below.

    This is a contradiction. Something cannot both be a beginning and not a beginning.

    Keep trying! Lets see if these contradictions can be resolved.
    Philosophim
    Yes, that is a contradiction and that is my point. I was trying hard to take you to the point that you see the contradiction. It is improper to talk about a point before the beginning of spacetime since that point is again a point in spacetime and therefore is the beginning of time.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    You agreed that nothing to spacetime is a change. Don't we need spacetime for this change? If yes, then we need spacetime for nothing to spacetime. This leads to infinite regress though.MoK

    Right. I never agreed that we need spacetime before a change can happen. I agreed that we need spacetime for a change to happen. The start of spacetime is a change because it involves spacetime.

    Sure there is spacetime. Spacetime cannot begin to exist though. Spacetime simply exists, in this sense is fundamental, and has a beginning.MoK

    Mok, go over the sentence again carefully. You're saying it cannot begin to exist, but it has a beginning. That doesn't make any sense. Can you get what you intend without making a contradiction like this?
  • MoK
    107
    Right. I never agreed that we need spacetime before a change can happen. I agreed that we need spacetime for a change to happen.Philosophim
    Correct. But the only thing that I need to show that nothing to spacetime leads to an infinite regress is that we need spacetime for any change to happen.

    Mok, go over the sentence again carefully. You're saying it cannot begin to exist, but it has a beginning. That doesn't make any sense. Can you get what you intend without making a contradiction like this?Philosophim
    Well, I have to elaborate on what I mean by begin to exist then. By this, I mean that spacetime didn't exist and then exists.
  • Mark Nyquist
    729

    In 13.8 billion years of the universe there has never been a time when a physical nothing has ever existed. Is that right? Are there special cases?

    Mentally we can conceive of nothing but that is the only place it ever comes up.

    So in the logic of nothing to something you are dealing with two mental abstractions only. Isn't that the only scenario? Is logic expected to work the the same way on mental abstractions as it does on theories of physical matter?

    Is there a way to resolve this?

    Edit: I'm thinking as a mathematical object only
    So this is trivial....nothing does not equal something.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    Right. I never agreed that we need spacetime before a change can happen. I agreed that we need spacetime for a change to happen.
    — Philosophim
    Correct. But the only thing that I need to show that nothing to spacetime is an infinite regress is that we need spacetime for any change to happen.
    MoK

    Where is the infinite regress? If we don't need spacetime before spacetime (as this sentence doesn't make any sense), and go from nothing to spacetime, how is that infinitely regressive?

    Mok, go over the sentence again carefully. You're saying it cannot begin to exist, but it has a beginning. That doesn't make any sense. Can you get what you intend without making a contradiction like this?
    — Philosophim
    Well, I have to elaborate on what I mean by begin to exist then. By this, I mean that spacetime didn't exist and then exists.
    MoK

    And if this is the case, then what was around if spacetime did not exist? Nothing. Since you stated that you have to have spacetime for change to happen, there must have been nothing before spacetime.
  • MoK
    107
    In 13.8 billion years of the universe there has never been a time when a physical nothing has ever existed. Is that right?Mark Nyquist
    Correct.

    Are there special cases?Mark Nyquist
    No.

    Mentally we can conceive of nothing but that is the only place it ever comes up.

    So in the logic of nothing to something you are dealing with two mental abstractions only. Isn't that the only scenario?
    Mark Nyquist
    No, nothing could exist as a physical condition where there is no thing. It however follows that nothing comes from nothing as wisely stated by Parmenides.

    P1) Time is needed for any change
    P2) There is no time in nothing
    C) Therefore, change in nothing is not possible

    Is logic expected to work the the same way on mental abstractions as it does on theories of physical matter?Mark Nyquist
    I think the physical theories must respect the logic.

    Is there a way to resolve this?Mark Nyquist
    What do you mean?
  • Mark Nyquist
    729

    Okay, but I think it's an open question if physical nothing is possible and your own conclusion argues against it.
  • Mark Nyquist
    729
    If anyone needs a primer on this you can check out my post on Universal Form for trouble shooting philosophy problems.

    Less than a week old but it works.
  • MoK
    107
    Where is the infinite regress? If we don't need spacetime before spacetime (as this sentence doesn't make any sense), and go from nothing to spacetime, how is that infinitely regressive?Philosophim
    We need one thing in here, nothing to spacetime needs spacetime. We start from nothing and ask ourselves how we could have spacetime (let's call this spacetime ST1). This requires the existence of another spacetime (let's call this spacetime ST2) since we agreed that nothing to spacetime requires spacetime. So we cannot have ST1 without having ST2. In the same manner, we cannot have ST2 if we don't have ST3, etc.

    And if this is the case, then what was around if spacetime did not exist? Nothing.Philosophim
    Yes, if we don't have spacetime we simply have nothing. Why? Because physical entities or things occupy space.

    Since you stated that you have to have spacetime for change to happen, there must have been nothing before spacetime.Philosophim
    This we already discussed it. There cannot be nothing before spacetime since it leads to a contradiction.
  • MoK
    107
    Okay, but I think it's an open question if physical nothing is possible and your own conclusion argues against it.Mark Nyquist
    Considering that something exists right now then it follows that nothing is not the initial condition if that is what you are trying to say.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    We need one thing in here, nothing to spacetime needs spacetime. We start from nothing and ask ourselves how we could have spacetime (let's call this spacetime ST1). This requires the existence of another spacetime (let's call this spacetime ST2) since we agreed that nothing to spacetime requires spacetime. So we cannot have ST1 without having ST2. In the same manner, we cannot have ST2 if we don't have ST3, etc.MoK

    Ah, ok. I think you missed this point I made before, so I'll point it out again.

    You never said we need spacetime BEFORE a change can occur.
    You said we need spacetime FOR a change to occur.

    Nothing, then a change to space time, has spacetime.

    Saying you need something before you have it is a contradiction. Cake must exist before cake can happen for example. :) I wish I could have my breakfast before I make it, but sadly, that is not life.

    And if this is the case, then what was around if spacetime did not exist? Nothing.
    — Philosophim
    Yes, if we don't have spacetime we simply have nothing. Why? Because physical entities or things occupy space.
    MoK

    Then we've invalidated the conclusion that a change cannot happen from nothing. Let me break it down.

    A. Spacetime has a beginning.
    B. Spacetime is required for change
    C. Since no change can happen if spacetime is not involved, there was nothing before spacetime.
    Conclusion: A change in which there was nothing, then spacetime, had to have happened.
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