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MouthWash
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11/15/2012 4:33:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I was discussing the nature of nothingness on another forum and some guy gave me the below argument. I know logically that this is ridiculous, but I can't quite figure what fallacy or mistake to apply to it.

"Nothing and something are two properties of one quality: the state of being. Insofar as you can assert that existence is a "property in itself," all things can be said to either exist or not exist.

But this is not born out by evidence. There is an infinite division by degrees of "being" between nothing and something, which we can call "0" and "1" respectively. Take, for example, an apple. Would you call a full, unmolested, ripened and plucked apple an apple? What would you call it if I took a bite out of it? Or what if I ate the entire thing? At what point, in other words, does the apple cease to be an apple, or changes properties and becomes something else entirely? Since I do not eat the apple all at once, even the change in property is gradual. We can perhaps say that an apple with a bite out of it is 90% apple, 10% not, but unless there is a sudden watershed moment between apple and no-apple then it is a matter of degree. Nothing is truly "apple," as that is meaningless; it can at best be said to be "mostly apple." Perhaps more rigorously, we can say that the space formally occupied by apple-stuff is mostly apple-stuff.

The key takeaway of this exercise is to illuminate that there is no fundamental difference between existing and not-existing. Or to be more clear, something and nothing. It is mostly a matter of degree. And since you insist on using a tautology to demonstrate that existence exists, we must apply with equal rigor to this qualification what we do to that of the apple. That is to say: existence mostly exists (depending on your associated axioms, anyway). This reasoning can be extrapolated to include your theoretical "all things exist because existence exists" and I presume you see where I am going with this. All things mostly exist, or most of all things exist, perhaps. The exact dimensions are unknown, but it does not demonstrate a fundamental change in quality to have some things not exist while other things do. Something from nothing, in other words."


My response:

"Consider a bale of hay. At what point after removing hay straws from this bale does it stop being a bale?

There is no set definition of "bale", or in your case "apple". Applying your hypothetical percentage only works in reference to the apple that formerly existed. If it was simply a stem, there would be no logical way I can conclude that the picture is a (part) representation of the apple. Let's say I press on and on until I am finally left with a single molecule. I say, "Here is an apple molecule. This is technically still an apple." Of course there is no such thing as an "apple molecule" but molecules with different/proper names (chemical formulas, etc.)

But if there is a set of defined rules, then there is a fundamental difference between being and non-being. If I arbitrarily define a bale of hay to be: "10 hay strands, minimum 2 cm long, 1 micrometer wide, arranged to be at minimum 1 mm off the ground..." and keep going until I reach unarguable statements, then how do you verify the existence of this "bale?"


His response:

"Well, you need not use an apple. Realistically you could use, as reference, virtually anything in the universe. A star, a pencil, a city, a river, a nebula, the universe. Things we commonly ascribe the value of "being existent" to.

Anyway part of my assertion is that you could not refer to a molecule that used to be part of an apple as an apple molecule per se. But you could say in some seriousness that it is some infinitesimal amount apple, and in fact probably not just that. An apple core is an instance of being both partially apple and partially apple core - two entities that are formally distinct but are really just shades of the same thing.

And this is the thrust of my argument. When you want to distinguish between states of being, it serves to identify what is so distinct about them. But we can't even seem to find what is so different about existence and non-existence using an apple, which you implicitly acknowledged. Even if apple is simply a contrivance of our own imagination, one cannot readily distinguish between its so-called different states of existence in a fashion that meaningfully identifies that distinction as fundamental. Of an apple, existence and non-existence are the same thing, and the apple itself occupies any point in a gradient between them. We don't need fixed reference points because all such descriptions are a part of that same gradient; there does not need to be a specific definition of apple, nor its measurements, nor its size, and soforth. The apple is ~0% pencil, ~0% space shuttle, whatever% tree, and so on. But it has qualities in common with virtually everything. It is both everything and nothing. So, too, with the case of the entire universe, or "all of existence" as you insist.

So if I may perhaps phrase my point as a question: if one cannot take a mundane object like an apple and illustrate the existence/non-existence dichotomy conclusively, especially when we start thinking about how much of the apple is a pencil and not a pencil or anything, how can one take something like "all of existence" and do the same?"


How do I explain how completely wrong he is?
"Well, that gives whole new meaning to my assassination. If I was going to die anyway, perhaps I should leave the Bolsheviks' descendants some Christmas cookies instead of breaking their dishes and vodka bottles in their sleep." -Tsar Nicholas II (YYW)
pozessed
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11/15/2012 4:52:50 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/15/2012 4:33:09 PM, MouthWash wrote:
I was discussing the nature of nothingness on another forum and some guy gave me the below argument. I know logically that this is ridiculous, but I can't quite figure what fallacy or mistake to apply to it.

"Nothing and something are two properties of one quality: the state of being. Insofar as you can assert that existence is a "property in itself," all things can be said to either exist or not exist.

But this is not born out by evidence. There is an infinite division by degrees of "being" between nothing and something, which we can call "0" and "1" respectively. Take, for example, an apple. Would you call a full, unmolested, ripened and plucked apple an apple? What would you call it if I took a bite out of it? Or what if I ate the entire thing? At what point, in other words, does the apple cease to be an apple, or changes properties and becomes something else entirely? Since I do not eat the apple all at once, even the change in property is gradual. We can perhaps say that an apple with a bite out of it is 90% apple, 10% not, but unless there is a sudden watershed moment between apple and no-apple then it is a matter of degree. Nothing is truly "apple," as that is meaningless; it can at best be said to be "mostly apple." Perhaps more rigorously, we can say that the space formally occupied by apple-stuff is mostly apple-stuff.

The key takeaway of this exercise is to illuminate that there is no fundamental difference between existing and not-existing. Or to be more clear, something and nothing. It is mostly a matter of degree. And since you insist on using a tautology to demonstrate that existence exists, we must apply with equal rigor to this qualification what we do to that of the apple. That is to say: existence mostly exists (depending on your associated axioms, anyway). This reasoning can be extrapolated to include your theoretical "all things exist because existence exists" and I presume you see where I am going with this. All things mostly exist, or most of all things exist, perhaps. The exact dimensions are unknown, but it does not demonstrate a fundamental change in quality to have some things not exist while other things do. Something from nothing, in other words."


My response:

"Consider a bale of hay. At what point after removing hay straws from this bale does it stop being a bale?

There is no set definition of "bale", or in your case "apple". Applying your hypothetical percentage only works in reference to the apple that formerly existed. If it was simply a stem, there would be no logical way I can conclude that the picture is a (part) representation of the apple. Let's say I press on and on until I am finally left with a single molecule. I say, "Here is an apple molecule. This is technically still an apple." Of course there is no such thing as an "apple molecule" but molecules with different/proper names (chemical formulas, etc.)

But if there is a set of defined rules, then there is a fundamental difference between being and non-being. If I arbitrarily define a bale of hay to be: "10 hay strands, minimum 2 cm long, 1 micrometer wide, arranged to be at minimum 1 mm off the ground..." and keep going until I reach unarguable statements, then how do you verify the existence of this "bale?"


His response:

"Well, you need not use an apple. Realistically you could use, as reference, virtually anything in the universe. A star, a pencil, a city, a river, a nebula, the universe. Things we commonly ascribe the value of "being existent" to.

Anyway part of my assertion is that you could not refer to a molecule that used to be part of an apple as an apple molecule per se. But you could say in some seriousness that it is some infinitesimal amount apple, and in fact probably not just that. An apple core is an instance of being both partially apple and partially apple core - two entities that are formally distinct but are really just shades of the same thing.

And this is the thrust of my argument. When you want to distinguish between states of being, it serves to identify what is so distinct about them. But we can't even seem to find what is so different about existence and non-existence using an apple, which you implicitly acknowledged. Even if apple is simply a contrivance of our own imagination, one cannot readily distinguish between its so-called different states of existence in a fashion that meaningfully identifies that distinction as fundamental. Of an apple, existence and non-existence are the same thing, and the apple itself occupies any point in a gradient between them. We don't need fixed reference points because all such descriptions are a part of that same gradient; there does not need to be a specific definition of apple, nor its measurements, nor its size, and soforth. The apple is ~0% pencil, ~0% space shuttle, whatever% tree, and so on. But it has qualities in common with virtually everything. It is both everything and nothing. So, too, with the case of the entire universe, or "all of existence" as you insist.

So if I may perhaps phrase my point as a question: if one cannot take a mundane object like an apple and illustrate the existence/non-existence dichotomy conclusively, especially when we start thinking about how much of the apple is a pencil and not a pencil or anything, how can one take something like "all of existence" and do the same?"


How do I explain how completely wrong he is?

Maybe ask him to define existence. After he explains that ask him where/how in his definition of existence can an apple become a pencil or a pencil an apple?

It may help you see things from his perspective better as well.
MouthWash
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11/17/2012 10:38:06 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/15/2012 4:52:50 PM, pozessed wrote:
Maybe ask him to define existence. After he explains that ask him where/how in his definition of existence can an apple become a pencil or a pencil an apple?

It may help you see things from his perspective better as well.

I'm not sure, but that thread is dead and buried. Sorry. It really should be easy for someone who studies philosophy, I don't know why people aren't telling me. I know intuitively that this is wrong but I can't explain why.
"Well, that gives whole new meaning to my assassination. If I was going to die anyway, perhaps I should leave the Bolsheviks' descendants some Christmas cookies instead of breaking their dishes and vodka bottles in their sleep." -Tsar Nicholas II (YYW)
Wnope
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11/17/2012 10:55:52 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/15/2012 4:33:09 PM, MouthWash wrote:
I was discussing the nature of nothingness on another forum and some guy gave me the below argument. I know logically that this is ridiculous, but I can't quite figure what fallacy or mistake to apply to it.

"Nothing and something are two properties of one quality: the state of being. Insofar as you can assert that existence is a "property in itself," all things can be said to either exist or not exist.

But this is not born out by evidence. There is an infinite division by degrees of "being" between nothing and something, which we can call "0" and "1" respectively. Take, for example, an apple. Would you call a full, unmolested, ripened and plucked apple an apple? What would you call it if I took a bite out of it? Or what if I ate the entire thing? At what point, in other words, does the apple cease to be an apple, or changes properties and becomes something else entirely? Since I do not eat the apple all at once, even the change in property is gradual. We can perhaps say that an apple with a bite out of it is 90% apple, 10% not, but unless there is a sudden watershed moment between apple and no-apple then it is a matter of degree. Nothing is truly "apple," as that is meaningless; it can at best be said to be "mostly apple." Perhaps more rigorously, we can say that the space formally occupied by apple-stuff is mostly apple-stuff.

The key takeaway of this exercise is to illuminate that there is no fundamental difference between existing and not-existing. Or to be more clear, something and nothing. It is mostly a matter of degree. And since you insist on using a tautology to demonstrate that existence exists, we must apply with equal rigor to this qualification what we do to that of the apple. That is to say: existence mostly exists (depending on your associated axioms, anyway). This reasoning can be extrapolated to include your theoretical "all things exist because existence exists" and I presume you see where I am going with this. All things mostly exist, or most of all things exist, perhaps. The exact dimensions are unknown, but it does not demonstrate a fundamental change in quality to have some things not exist while other things do. Something from nothing, in other words."


My response:

"Consider a bale of hay. At what point after removing hay straws from this bale does it stop being a bale?

There is no set definition of "bale", or in your case "apple". Applying your hypothetical percentage only works in reference to the apple that formerly existed. If it was simply a stem, there would be no logical way I can conclude that the picture is a (part) representation of the apple. Let's say I press on and on until I am finally left with a single molecule. I say, "Here is an apple molecule. This is technically still an apple." Of course there is no such thing as an "apple molecule" but molecules with different/proper names (chemical formulas, etc.)

But if there is a set of defined rules, then there is a fundamental difference between being and non-being. If I arbitrarily define a bale of hay to be: "10 hay strands, minimum 2 cm long, 1 micrometer wide, arranged to be at minimum 1 mm off the ground..." and keep going until I reach unarguable statements, then how do you verify the existence of this "bale?"


His response:

"Well, you need not use an apple. Realistically you could use, as reference, virtually anything in the universe. A star, a pencil, a city, a river, a nebula, the universe. Things we commonly ascribe the value of "being existent" to.

Anyway part of my assertion is that you could not refer to a molecule that used to be part of an apple as an apple molecule per se. But you could say in some seriousness that it is some infinitesimal amount apple, and in fact probably not just that. An apple core is an instance of being both partially apple and partially apple core - two entities that are formally distinct but are really just shades of the same thing.

And this is the thrust of my argument. When you want to distinguish between states of being, it serves to identify what is so distinct about them. But we can't even seem to find what is so different about existence and non-existence using an apple, which you implicitly acknowledged. Even if apple is simply a contrivance of our own imagination, one cannot readily distinguish between its so-called different states of existence in a fashion that meaningfully identifies that distinction as fundamental. Of an apple, existence and non-existence are the same thing, and the apple itself occupies any point in a gradient between them. We don't need fixed reference points because all such descriptions are a part of that same gradient; there does not need to be a specific definition of apple, nor its measurements, nor its size, and soforth. The apple is ~0% pencil, ~0% space shuttle, whatever% tree, and so on. But it has qualities in common with virtually everything. It is both everything and nothing. So, too, with the case of the entire universe, or "all of existence" as you insist.

So if I may perhaps phrase my point as a question: if one cannot take a mundane object like an apple and illustrate the existence/non-existence dichotomy conclusively, especially when we start thinking about how much of the apple is a pencil and not a pencil or anything, how can one take something like "all of existence" and do the same?"


How do I explain how completely wrong he is?

There is no gradation between "something" and "nothing." Simply redefining the reference point of what constitutes "something" does not change the fact that it remains something. An apple is something. The core is something. The molecular structure below it is something.

The rationale is identical to claiming the following (independently of the above argument):

I can say coherently that "there is no token/referent apple which exists" (i.e. negation of his "an apple exists.")

I can also say "there is no apple core which exists" or "there is no apple chunk" or "there is no molecular structure."

This means there are infinite gradations of "nothingness."

Therefore, if nothingness gradations are infinite, then the distinction between "nothing" and "something" cannot be coherent.
sadolite
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11/18/2012 12:42:53 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/15/2012 4:33:09 PM, MouthWash wrote:
I was discussing the nature of nothingness on another forum and some guy gave me the below argument. I know logically that this is ridiculous, but I can't quite figure what fallacy or mistake to apply to it.

"Nothing and something are two properties of one quality: the state of being. Insofar as you can assert that existence is a "property in itself," all things can be said to either exist or not exist.

But this is not born out by evidence. There is an infinite division by degrees of "being" between nothing and something, which we can call "0" and "1" respectively. Take, for example, an apple. Would you call a full, unmolested, ripened and plucked apple an apple? What would you call it if I took a bite out of it? Or what if I ate the entire thing? At what point, in other words, does the apple cease to be an apple, or changes properties and becomes something else entirely? Since I do not eat the apple all at once, even the change in property is gradual. We can perhaps say that an apple with a bite out of it is 90% apple, 10% not, but unless there is a sudden watershed moment between apple and no-apple then it is a matter of degree. Nothing is truly "apple," as that is meaningless; it can at best be said to be "mostly apple." Perhaps more rigorously, we can say that the space formally occupied by apple-stuff is mostly apple-stuff.

The key takeaway of this exercise is to illuminate that there is no fundamental difference between existing and not-existing. Or to be more clear, something and nothing. It is mostly a matter of degree. And since you insist on using a tautology to demonstrate that existence exists, we must apply with equal rigor to this qualification what we do to that of the apple. That is to say: existence mostly exists (depending on your associated axioms, anyway). This reasoning can be extrapolated to include your theoretical "all things exist because existence exists" and I presume you see where I am going with this. All things mostly exist, or most of all things exist, perhaps. The exact dimensions are unknown, but it does not demonstrate a fundamental change in quality to have some things not exist while other things do. Something from nothing, in other words."


My response:

"Consider a bale of hay. At what point after removing hay straws from this bale does it stop being a bale?

There is no set definition of "bale", or in your case "apple". Applying your hypothetical percentage only works in reference to the apple that formerly existed. If it was simply a stem, there would be no logical way I can conclude that the picture is a (part) representation of the apple. Let's say I press on and on until I am finally left with a single molecule. I say, "Here is an apple molecule. This is technically still an apple." Of course there is no such thing as an "apple molecule" but molecules with different/proper names (chemical formulas, etc.)

But if there is a set of defined rules, then there is a fundamental difference between being and non-being. If I arbitrarily define a bale of hay to be: "10 hay strands, minimum 2 cm long, 1 micrometer wide, arranged to be at minimum 1 mm off the ground..." and keep going until I reach unarguable statements, then how do you verify the existence of this "bale?"


His response:

"Well, you need not use an apple. Realistically you could use, as reference, virtually anything in the universe. A star, a pencil, a city, a river, a nebula, the universe. Things we commonly ascribe the value of "being existent" to.

Anyway part of my assertion is that you could not refer to a molecule that used to be part of an apple as an apple molecule per se. But you could say in some seriousness that it is some infinitesimal amount apple, and in fact probably not just that. An apple core is an instance of being both partially apple and partially apple core - two entities that are formally distinct but are really just shades of the same thing.

And this is the thrust of my argument. When you want to distinguish between states of being, it serves to identify what is so distinct about them. But we can't even seem to find what is so different about existence and non-existence using an apple, which you implicitly acknowledged. Even if apple is simply a contrivance of our own imagination, one cannot readily distinguish between its so-called different states of existence in a fashion that meaningfully identifies that distinction as fundamental. Of an apple, existence and non-existence are the same thing, and the apple itself occupies any point in a gradient between them. We don't need fixed reference points because all such descriptions are a part of that same gradient; there does not need to be a specific definition of apple, nor its measurements, nor its size, and soforth. The apple is ~0% pencil, ~0% space shuttle, whatever% tree, and so on. But it has qualities in common with virtually everything. It is both everything and nothing. So, too, with the case of the entire universe, or "all of existence" as you insist.

So if I may perhaps phrase my point as a question: if one cannot take a mundane object like an apple and illustrate the existence/non-existence dichotomy conclusively, especially when we start thinking about how much of the apple is a pencil and not a pencil or anything, how can one take something like "all of existence" and do the same?"


How do I explain how completely wrong he is?

You can't be wrong about nothing
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bossyburrito
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11/18/2012 12:59:02 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Bundle theory.
The moment the apple doesn't have the properties of an apple, it isn't an apple.
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Seremonia
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11/18/2012 1:27:41 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
It's nothing & It's something

It can be considered as makes sense, if we understand it like this:

Consider there is a water.

This water has qualities. We can perceive an ice or as a hot water, etc. Nothing must be understood as "there is no quality at all to be perceived". We can't see an ice, or hot water, etc. Something can be considered as "there is a quality of the water that can be perceived by us". We can see an ice.

When someone said that, something was coming from nothing. It must be understood, that, something, a quality, or an ice, was coming from potentiality of the water, in the sense that actually an ice is always there but at the level of potentiality, and somehow from potentiality, a portion of it was changed to an ice. Nothing in the sense, AT THE LEVEL OF OUR ABILITIES TO PERCEIVE SOMETHING, THE POTENTIALITY OF AN ICE CAN'T BE PERCEIVED (because at the level of potentiality itself). But once it can be actualized in a way that we can perceive it, then an ice is exist from nothing (potentiality). Nothing in this case is "outside our perception" but not "outside of all.

We can understand "nothing", in the sense that, "nothing" is just a degree of actualization COMPARED TO OUR ABILITY TO PERCEIVE IT. WHY? Because if we are asserting that "something" is "something" and "something" is not "nothing", then how can we possibly measure that something (an example: an apple) is really something as it is? or in other words, how can we possibly assert that something is something as it is, as complete understanding? Since we can't measure how far for "the completeness" without comparing to others.

Meaning, understanding is comparison, there is no understanding without comparison. Therefore, stating that "there is nothing" has meaning, because (by comparison) nothing asserts absence of something.

Saying "there is nothing" is meaningless, but it doesn't have to be considered as impossible, since it's meaningless, unless we can relate it to something.

Stating "there is no nothingness" has process. First we have to point on all actualization, and then we make denial for all of these, by stating "there is no nothingness" in the sense that "there is no absence of all of these (all actualization)". Therefore, "nothingness is exist" or "there is nothingness" must be considered as makes sense, in the sense that, "there is no all actualization can be found on nothingness because nothingness is not pointing to any of actualization, but nothingness is pointing to potentialities.

The point is:

- "nothing" and "something" is just the same as, "potentiality" and "actualization".

If we want to keep this understanding ("Nothing and something are two properties of one quality: the state of being"), then it must be understood as already mentioned ("potentiality" and "actualization").
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StreetLogician
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11/20/2012 8:31:28 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
A friend of mine would joke that "something is the absence of absence". I think that there is something to this. That is that nothing is a nonsensical concept and that things exist in relationship to other things. Particles pop out of so called empty space because empty space is something. Read Larry krauss' book "a universe from nothing". Interesting stuff.
StreetLogician
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11/20/2012 8:34:11 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
PS. I think you confuse the issues when you talk about aggregates such as an apples. I would confine your discussion to fundamental particles that are present or absent without ambiguity.
Stephen_Hawkins
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11/20/2012 12:19:32 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
It's just the "how many grains of sand makes a heap" taken to its logical conclusion, or the Sorites Paradox.

Either run fuzzy epistemicism, hystericism, or intersubjective semantics.

His point is pretty valid though: how can we say existence is a rational characteristic of anything? Let me take an example:

I am describing an apple. By describing an apple, this apple is something we all intuit some characteristics of it. It'd be mundane to describe the idea of an apple, simply because we share some idea of an apple (even if it is somewhat inaccurate, and disputing this affirms my conclusion anyway but in a different route). Now, let's say I describe this apple as "red". You know what this is: you know the characteristic intuitively, it is not inherent to an apple, but I am still helping describe the apple and it is very useful to us in understanding this apple more.

Now let's say this apple is "small". This is another characteristic we know intuitively through comparison to what we know as "big". This is another characteristic that is helping us reshape this apple.

Now let's say this apple is "not tasty". This characteristic is subjective and intuitive, yet we still are learning more about this apple.

Let us say this apple is "rotten". This characteristic is now objective and rational (that is, not varying on opinion - though the more I think about it, this relates to the original problem) and we're still learning more of the apple. Moreover, the apple has the characteristic of "a worm inside it". We're learning more of the apple.

At this point, we've got a very solid understanding of this apple, and I'd expect us to have either the same idea of the apple or are missing out some of the characteristics previously mentioned (that is, if we're thinking of an apple with the same characteristics, the two apples are extremely similar). This is because every description I gave increases the knowledge we have of the apple, which is because every description reshapes the apple, and makes the idea of the apple better described, and reshapes our apple. It started off for me, for example, as an apple that was red, then the characteristic of red was confirmed, then it became smaller, then it started to taste horrible, then it started to rot, then a maggot came out of it.

Now imagine I add the characteristic of the apple as "being". What does this change? This changes nothing to the apple, there is no descriptive power or explanatory power. This characteristic is a misnomer - it is not a characteristic at all. Thus, characterising existence as important is irrelevant.
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Smithereens
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11/21/2012 4:45:47 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/15/2012 4:33:09 PM, MouthWash wrote:
I was discussing the nature of nothingness on another forum and some guy gave me the below argument. I know logically that this is ridiculous, but I can't quite figure what fallacy or mistake to apply to it.

"Nothing and something are two properties of one quality: the state of being. Insofar as you can assert that existence is a "property in itself," all things can be said to either exist or not exist.

But this is not born out by evidence. There is an infinite division by degrees of "being" between nothing and something, which we can call "0" and "1" respectively. Take, for example, an apple. Would you call a full, unmolested, ripened and plucked apple an apple? What would you call it if I took a bite out of it? Or what if I ate the entire thing? At what point, in other words, does the apple cease to be an apple, or changes properties and becomes something else entirely? Since I do not eat the apple all at once, even the change in property is gradual. We can perhaps say that an apple with a bite out of it is 90% apple, 10% not, but unless there is a sudden watershed moment between apple and no-apple then it is a matter of degree. Nothing is truly "apple," as that is meaningless; it can at best be said to be "mostly apple." Perhaps more rigorously, we can say that the space formally occupied by apple-stuff is mostly apple-stuff.

The key takeaway of this exercise is to illuminate that there is no fundamental difference between existing and not-existing. Or to be more clear, something and nothing. It is mostly a matter of degree. And since you insist on using a tautology to demonstrate that existence exists, we must apply with equal rigor to this qualification what we do to that of the apple. That is to say: existence mostly exists (depending on your associated axioms, anyway). This reasoning can be extrapolated to include your theoretical "all things exist because existence exists" and I presume you see where I am going with this. All things mostly exist, or most of all things exist, perhaps. The exact dimensions are unknown, but it does not demonstrate a fundamental change in quality to have some things not exist while other things do. Something from nothing, in other words."


My response:

"Consider a bale of hay. At what point after removing hay straws from this bale does it stop being a bale?

There is no set definition of "bale", or in your case "apple". Applying your hypothetical percentage only works in reference to the apple that formerly existed. If it was simply a stem, there would be no logical way I can conclude that the picture is a (part) representation of the apple. Let's say I press on and on until I am finally left with a single molecule. I say, "Here is an apple molecule. This is technically still an apple." Of course there is no such thing as an "apple molecule" but molecules with different/proper names (chemical formulas, etc.)

But if there is a set of defined rules, then there is a fundamental difference between being and non-being. If I arbitrarily define a bale of hay to be: "10 hay strands, minimum 2 cm long, 1 micrometer wide, arranged to be at minimum 1 mm off the ground..." and keep going until I reach unarguable statements, then how do you verify the existence of this "bale?"


His response:

"Well, you need not use an apple. Realistically you could use, as reference, virtually anything in the universe. A star, a pencil, a city, a river, a nebula, the universe. Things we commonly ascribe the value of "being existent" to.

Anyway part of my assertion is that you could not refer to a molecule that used to be part of an apple as an apple molecule per se. But you could say in some seriousness that it is some infinitesimal amount apple, and in fact probably not just that. An apple core is an instance of being both partially apple and partially apple core - two entities that are formally distinct but are really just shades of the same thing.

And this is the thrust of my argument. When you want to distinguish between states of being, it serves to identify what is so distinct about them. But we can't even seem to find what is so different about existence and non-existence using an apple, which you implicitly acknowledged. Even if apple is simply a contrivance of our own imagination, one cannot readily distinguish between its so-called different states of existence in a fashion that meaningfully identifies that distinction as fundamental. Of an apple, existence and non-existence are the same thing, and the apple itself occupies any point in a gradient between them. We don't need fixed reference points because all such descriptions are a part of that same gradient; there does not need to be a specific definition of apple, nor its measurements, nor its size, and soforth. The apple is ~0% pencil, ~0% space shuttle, whatever% tree, and so on. But it has qualities in common with virtually everything. It is both everything and nothing. So, too, with the case of the entire universe, or "all of existence" as you insist.

So if I may perhaps phrase my point as a question: if one cannot take a mundane object like an apple and illustrate the existence/non-existence dichotomy conclusively, especially when we start thinking about how much of the apple is a pencil and not a pencil or anything, how can one take something like "all of existence" and do the same?"


How do I explain how completely wrong he is?

Fallacy of False Analogy. An apple is not an apt description of what is being discussed. False Analogy is where person argues that A and B are similar, and thus share the same quality 'C.' You're rebuttal works quite well except you should propose that there is no such thing as semi-existence as he argues. Something can either exist, or not exist, not inbetween. At what point does something cease to exist? Answer: When its no longer in existence. Simple.
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sadolite
Posts: 8,839
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11/23/2012 10:53:37 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
This thread calls for an award for participation. You won "nothing" but still got an award. So in conclusion nothing really is something especially if you participated. In some circles it is more prestigious than actually winning.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
Cometflash
Posts: 126
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11/23/2012 12:04:13 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Talking about "nothing" seems impossible.

Using "is" after "nothing", pretty much dictates that "nothing" is something.

Saying, if nothing exists... Again using exists means you are acknowledging the possibility of "nothing" to exist, if something exists, it is something and not nothing.

So how do you talk about "nothing"?