The Instigator
i-Immaterial
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
horisam
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

An actual infinite is possible and does exist.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,045 times Debate No: 44762
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (29)
Votes (0)

 

i-Immaterial

Pro

I (pro) will be arguing that an actually infinite number of things is indeed possible and we can easily see it.

BoP will be on me, but con must provide a refutation to my argument.

Rules

1. A forfeit or concession is not allowed.
2. No trolling or lawyering.
3. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed without asking in the comments before you post your round 1 argument. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed in the middle of the debate.

Voters, in the case of the breaking of any of these rules by either debater, all seven points in voting should be given to the other person.
horisam

Con

First of all I will request a exact definition of what you mean by actually infinite number of things is indeed possible. Are we arguing physically (infinite number of possible shapes and stuff or something along those lines), mathematically or something I am not even thinking of. Will this do as a definition of infinite? limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate. I will leave you to create your first argument and I hope to have a fun and interesting debate. One last question, Are we supposed to prove it mathematically, scientifically, abstractly ect? Could you just give me a rough idea?
Debate Round No. 1
i-Immaterial

Pro

By infinite, I mean an endless amount. I cannot think of an actually infinite number of physical things except when talking about space. But space is not technically a thing. It is really the abscense of things or a measurement of distance between things. I'd say it's potentially infinite. Numbers are not infinite either. Numbers are not things. They are descriptions. They are potentially infinite, but there is no number called infinity. Rather, the things that are potentially infinite are facts. Take this example.

X is true

Above is true

Above is true

Above is true
...

Or

1+1=2
1+2=3
1+3=4
...

We can argue mathematically, abstractly, or philosophically.
horisam

Con

Physically there is a limit on the amount of possible molecules or at very least stable molecules but that is a question that is not practically answerable at the present time. We do know that of the 118 atoms currently known about there is a finite number of possibilities. Space is not infinite. The universe is not infinite. Space and the universe are were both created at the big bang. The universe expanded faster than light at the start but this did not violate the speed of light because empty space was expanding. However there is a limit on how big the universe is currently. This of course raises the question "what is empty space expanding into" The answer to this is tricky. Basically it is expanding into nothing but what that nothing is is hard to answer. It is still debated if it is empty space or just nothing. As quoted by this site, http://curious.astro.cornell.edu..., "we are, by definition, stuck within the space that makes up our universe and have no way to observe anything outside of it, this ceases to be a question that can be answered scientifically. So the answer in that case is that we really don't know what, if anything, the universe is expanding into." This essentially means that finding the definite answer to that question for sure is likely impossible. Anyways the universe could end in the big freeze or run out of force pushing it apart and be pulled back into itself but I will avoid arguing about this too much because it is a pointless and futile debate.
As for the mathematical portion of this I will argue that numbers don't truly "exist". I don't really have a better word than exist for this. Anyways my stance on this topic is that numbers are really just a way of expressing the physical world. This article http://homepages.math.uic.edu... says that "Numbers do not exist eternally. We have made them" meaning that numbers are really just a clever way of humans describing the world around us. We could use smell, or some other sense instead of numbers to convey information but humans tend to work best through something like numbers. It is again a pointless argument that will likely end in one of us using semantics or something that doesn't pertain to the topic. We can argue this but it will eventually come down to philosophy and not science which I prefer because it provides solid evidence.
As for facts I will argue that there isn't an endless number of facts . The first question is simple. Does a fact have to be true? The second question is simple as well. What constitutes a fact? I will argue that fact is also a way of expressing the world but that they mean something and therefore exist. I believe that 1 fact would be 1=x,x=1,x is one and so on instead of each one being a different fact. Each one sums up the same idea and so they are the same fact stated multiple times. My next point will be that each fact must describe something or is not a fact. There are a limited number of things to describe and so there are a limited number of facts. If a fact must be true then we need a definition of true but I think that the most obvious one is going to be that for something to be true it must accurately describe something in the physical world. The physical world is limited and therefore a limited, though huge, number of true things may be said about it.
Debate Round No. 2
i-Immaterial

Pro

I made a typo sorry. I meant there was an actually infinite number of facts, but only potentially infinite numbers and space. Con hasn't really addressed my argument from facts. For example, 1+1=2 is a fact. But if is also a fact that 1+1=2 is a fact. It is also a fact that 1+1=2 is a fact is a fact... And so on and so forth. Please address that argument.
horisam

Con

I understand your point. Sorry, I thought you were arguing something else about facts. The first thing I have is just something I though of and it is just a thought, not an actual argument. If infinity can be defined as "impossible to measure or calculate" and the way you measure something s with numbers than essentially the definition of infinity is the point at which one thing in one set has nothing to match to in the numbers set. For example if I have 7 cows what does that mean? It means I have 1 cow for each number 1-7. Since numbers will always have something in the set to match to they can never technically reach infinity anyways. Anyways I will continue with the main part of the debate. This is actually largely semantics. For example 1+1=2. That is probably a fact by any reasonable definition. However 1+1=2 is a fact does not describe anything in the physical world. It could be true but it is not a fact. This turns into philosophy and is basically determined by the definition of "fact", "true" or another similar vague word. Here are a few interesting questions to think about. What is infinity divided by infinity or infinity minus infinity?
Debate Round No. 3
i-Immaterial

Pro

Well by definition, facts can't really be divided. That aren't physical things. I wasn't really arguing for a physical infinite. But nevertheless, the number of facts can't really be counted. Why can't philosophical facts be part of the world? But for the sake of argument, if they are true in some possible world (facts), then what's to stop other things from being actually infinite? What discriminate between physical and nonphysical (abstract) objects? Without abstractions, how would we even be able to calculate or understand what's around us?
horisam

Con

The questions I asked at the end (What is infinity divided by infinity or infinity minus infinity?) were really just interesting things that came to mind and also a questioning of infinity. My answer to the question about philosophical facts and why they can't be true is that philosophy mostly focuses on no answers and thinking and opinions. For example is war good? Of course from an ethic or moral thought it is probably said to be bad. I am of course making a slight generalization but it doesn't really matter. Anyways from a scientific viewpoint there is no good or bad. Lets assume by good we mean it helps "humans". What is a human? Wars tend to kill humans but many hep humanity as a whole. What is the difference between humans and humanity. If a war kills 5 billion but means that 5 billion and 1 people who otherwise would have been killed live is it bad. Wars promote standards of living in general (with a couple of notable exceptions). They advance science and often trade. They help define "Us" and "them". I kind of got distracted there but anyways the point is that in philosophy the general idea is to think , not to find the "truth" in the scientific sense. As a matter of fact many believe that the universe can be written a purely mathematical equation and evidence points toward this being correct. If this is true then all of the facts in the universe would be reducible to a few mathematical equations. For example we currently have the standard model and relativity in physics that essentially sum up all that is known about the subject and mostly sum up physics as we know it(again with a few exceptions). If you believe these scientists then essentially the universe can be reduced to numbers and symbols and again it likely can. Again we come back to the question of what is a fact and what is true and a bunch of other questions that are semantics or have no clear answer, not even one that can be argued.
Debate Round No. 4
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by i-Immaterial 3 years ago
i-Immaterial
Thanks for participating horisam. I will host a debate like this again hopefully. If horisam would like to continue the discussion here in the comments, he is welcome to.
Posted by horisam 3 years ago
horisam
It is an interesting debate. I hope I argued my side clearly. My only problem with the debate is that words like "infinity", "fact", "true" and "abstract" don't mean anything clear. I would advise anyone who tries this debate again to clearly define words like those. The argument presented below in the comments "view to be all rational numbers. or into a larger subset, complex numbers,etc. it is possible to find an infinite amount of infinite sets by looking at the large collection of infintisimally small numbers between any two boundaries. i.e. 0.1, 0.01, 0.001, 0.0001, etc." was the argument I thought you would use.
Posted by brepar 3 years ago
brepar
ah, k.
interesting idea for a debate though, far better than most I've seen.
Posted by i-Immaterial 3 years ago
i-Immaterial
Increments are potentially infinite. Infinite sets are more of the factual sense of infinite, which is what I was arguing for.
Posted by brepar 3 years ago
brepar
again, i find myself disagreeing, considering only natural numbers it would be incredibly hard to take an infinity.
however, expanding your view to be all rational numbers. or into a larger subset, complex numbers,etc. it is possible to find an infinite amount of infinite sets by looking at the large collection of infintisimally small numbers between any two boundaries. i.e. 0.1, 0.01, 0.001, 0.0001, etc.
Posted by i-Immaterial 3 years ago
i-Immaterial
Typo correction/

*number 9's are there in sets that are potentially infinite*

*number infinities are there for every set (a potentially infinite number of sets) starting with the first being 1-infinity*
Posted by i-Immaterial 3 years ago
i-Immaterial
You are failing to see the distinction between a symbol and a description. If someone takes a picture of me, then they have taken a symbol composed of ink and paper. However, the ink and paper are not descriptions. It is the color of my skin, shirt, and hair that describe me. It is the straightness of my hair, the position I am standing in that describes me. The picture as a whole is just a symbol. So you can see the absurdity of painting the color red, red. Red is the descriptor. It is the thing that colors, not the thing that is colored.

As for numbers, let me try to describe it another way. How many number nine are there in a set that is potentially infinite starting with 1-9? In every case, the answer would be one. Now what if I asked you how many number infinity are there in a potentially infinite set starting from 1-infinity. Well now you run into a problem. Infinity is not a number, and an infinite set does not exist. And there can't be a potentially infinite number of sets after the set 1-infinity.

Hope that helps.
Posted by brepar 3 years ago
brepar
they are still descriptive, if i asked you to describe the room you were in would you not use some combination of words, numbers and pictures?
Posted by i-Immaterial 3 years ago
i-Immaterial
24,23,55,90 are just symbols. These are only potentially infinite. And no, pictures and words are not descriptive lol. They're only symbolic.
Posted by brepar 3 years ago
brepar
Infinity is not a number, it is a theory related to the possibility of an endless amount of something.

Words are descriptors we can still count them
24,23,55,90
There are 4 numbers in the row above, i have counted numbers with numbers and it has in no way been incorrect.

You may as well say that you cannot paint a picture of a painting or describe a word using other words. So id the dictionary wrong?
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