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# There probably exists a necessary, external cause to the universe

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NoMagic
 Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point Started: 12/19/2014 Category: Philosophy Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period Viewed: 1,148 times Debate No: 67344
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 Pro This will be a quick, 3-round, open debate. BOP will be on me. Minimum ELO to vote will be 2500. Definitions: Universe - Everything which is, or ever has been, actual Cause - Something which brings about some other state of affairs and is transitive such that if A causes B, and B causes C, then A causes C. Existence - The state of being. Necessary: Cannot not be. Good LuckReport this Argument Con Thank you to Pro for this debate. Pro defines the Universe-everything which is, or ever has been, actual If the universe is everything that is, or has ever been, then there can be nothing external to the universe. Therefore there can be no external cause. Back to you ProReport this Argument Pro Thanks Pro! I hope you enjoy this debate!First for the introductory definitions. i) S = everything that exists or has existed. ii) --> on S = if some y-->x then y is a cause of x. iii) x is at least one of the causes of x for all x in S iv) :. --> is transitive. v) If x-->y and y-->x then x=y. vi) :. --> is a partial ordering of S. vii) An External, Necessary cause is defined as an element G of S with the property that if X is another element of S such that X-->G, it must be the case that X=G. (G has no cause and cannot not be) viii) Creation occurs when G-->X. Now, onto the argument. Premiss 1: The set S is a set in a universe of sets that satisfies the axiom of choice Premiss 2: The set S is inductively ordered. Theorem: If Premisses 1 and 2 hold, then an external, necessary cause of S exists. Defence of Premise 1 This premise is uncontroversial, as it would be hard to deny that S exists, and it would be equally as hard to deny that the axiom of choice to hold, which states that the cartesian product of a collection of non-empty sets is non-empty - i.e., for every set whose elements are a disjoint (have no element in common) collection of non-empty sets, it is possible to choose another set which contains precisely one element from each of the sets in the original set. Why should we believe this? Well, it seems self-evident. Imagine there is a set of boxes, each with 100 items in them, and there is a non-empty subset in each box (each box has more than one item). The axiom of choice will say that it is metaphysically possible to pick exactly one item out of each box. Simple, right? Now, simply apply this principle to S, and premise 1 is established. Defence of premise 2 This states that in some chain C in S, there exists some X in S such that X is the cause of everything in C. Some chain C in S means that there is a set in S such that if x and y are distinct elements of C, then either x-->y or y-->x. Thus, C is totally ordered by causation. In other words, imagine that a causes b, b cases c, c causes d and so on in an ordered chain. If this chain is inductively ordered, then a will be the cause of everything else in the chain in a causal sequence. [1] Proof: The most basic view of dependence states that a is the cause of b iff if a were not to exist, then neither would b. [2] If so, then in any ordered chain (i.e., the universe), if a were not to exist, then neither would b,c,d...., quod erat demonstrandum. But even if we reject this view of dependency (but I see no reason to), I fail to see any other view of dependence which does not imply the same principle. So, this premise must be accepted. Proof of Theorem Lemma 1 (Zorn's Lemma) Every partially ordered set P has the property that every chain (i.e. totally ordered subset) has an upper bound. Then the set P contains at least one maximal element. Now, replace P with the inductively ordered (partially ordered) set S in premise 1. Then, S contains at least one maximal element. In this case, the maximal element must cause every other member of S. Moreover, to avoid a vicious causal regress, this must result in G-->G and thus G is necessary. So we have a necessary being who is the cause of all members of S. Proof of Lemma 1: For a reductio, assume Zorn's Lemma is false. Then, there exists a partially ordered set or poset such that for every totally ordered subset, every element has an upper bound ad infinitum. Therefore, we need to define each element a1
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by NoMagic 2 years ago
Toviyah, I spent about 3 months and 3 books focusing on the subject of Nothing. My question was is it a possible state? After much pondering, and tying my brain up in circles, I've come to the conclusion that Nothing isn't a possible state. I suspect the universe is infinite, which means it is open, no external. I see no other way it can be. However, this is only a thought that I think is probably true. We cannot know if the universe is open or closed. I would say that I don't think a closed universe makes logical sense. That requires an edge, which would mean something beyond. You run into an infinite "well what is beyond the edge" question. "What is beyond that edge?" I think the most logical conclusion is that it has no edge and is therefore infinite. However, I would never claim to be able to prove that.
Posted by Toviyah 2 years ago
It's the 'logic' paragraph in R3 and a couple of comments below
Posted by dylancatlow 2 years ago
I don't feel like reading the whole thing. Can you quote a passage which you think gets us around this obvious contradiction?
Posted by Toviyah 2 years ago
Dylan that's what we have been discussing
Posted by dylancatlow 2 years ago
How can there be an external cause to the universe, if the universe is everything that exists?
Posted by Toviyah 2 years ago
We can know it is a closed system a priori. The universe is a closed system if it is finite or infinite, and all the Newtonian laws, thermodynamics etc. depend on the assumption
If you really think that the universe is an open system then you are granting me the argument. A closed system is one not able to exchange forces with anything external to it. As such, an open system grants that there is something external to the universe, as it supposes that there is something which can be interacted with external.
Posted by NoMagic 2 years ago
Toviyah, I would agree that it would be better for you to define the universe as a closed system. Of course I would like to know how you know it is a closed system. If your argument is based on it being a closed system, yet this is beyond your knowledge ability, of what value is the argument? What if the universe is an unlimited open system? Can you rule one more probable than another?
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
I was really hoping there would be another vote on this debate...
Posted by Toviyah 2 years ago
Magic,

I usually don't debate in the comment section but this doesn't have many comments so why not.
Semantic arguments are typically useless, for all that follows is a small redefinition of the terms.
Literally, all I need to add to the definition is 'in a closed system'. In fact, that is probably even more of an accurate description of the universe than the one I gave.
Posted by NoMagic 2 years ago
This seems pretty easy to me. If the universe is a set that contains ALL things. Then there simply cannot be an external cause. It violates what is claimed the universe contains. Logical contradiction. What more is needed? I thought the debate was over in round 1.
Post debate discussion? I'm assuming that is acceptable for the debaters?
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