And so without any person witnessing the transformation of the clay nobody would have known, apart from inference that things change and that the clay was likely x number of shapes before the present one because it probably didn't just come into existence
lehmar wrote: I would agree with what mazzgolf has said - even if past events no longer exist, we can still count them.You seem to think that we can't count them because "there is no physical trace of them left". But how does that show that we can't count them? There is no physical trace of my dead pets anymore, but surely I can count how many pets I've had. Your argument works only on the assumption that the only things we can count are those that leave physical traces. Why think this? Furthermore, this assumption is false. Again, we can look at the example of my dead pets. I know I had 3 of them, even though there are no physical traces of them left. Furthermore, if your argument is right, that means we can't count any past duration. If your argument is right, then I can't know that I have been alive for X number of years, or that I was asleep X hours ago, and so on. But surely I can know this!I was about to give a thought experiment similar to mazzgolf's, but was beat to it, haha, so I'll just suggest that you reflect on that thought experiment.
Surroundx wrote: Subjectively you can still count them, but not objectively. You cannot objectively count your pets because they no longer exist. But you can still count them in a sense because you have memories of your past pets. But your memories of your past pets, and your actual past pets, are not the same thing. And so although your past pets actually existed, they no longer exist. I don't know how to express my argument any better than that.
Surroundx wrote: For there to be an actual infinite there needs to be an actually infinite group of things that exist at this moment. Past events/actions/people/pets etc. are no longer 'actual' but rather past. And so I believe that there can have been an infinite number of past (i.e. not actual) events/objects. I hope this makes sense. Seems I have problems explaining my arguments.
lehmar wrote: What do you mean by "subjectively" and "objectively"? Surely it is an objective fact that I had, say, 3 pets. By "objective", I mean independent of what people believe. You seem to mean something else by "objective".
lehmar wrote: Yes, memories are different from actuals pets. (For one thing, some pets can't fit in my skull, haha.) But you seem to miss the point. The point is that my memories are of those pets, so that, if my memory is reliable, I can have knowledge of the past about those pets. Would you say that memory doesn't give us any knowledge at all of the past?
lehmar wrote: Besides, the reference to memory can be removed. What if I get a severe case of amnesia, so I forget all about my pets. Does it follow that there is no fact of the matter that I had 3 of them? Clearly not, that would be a jump in logic.
lehmar wrote: Perhaps you are confusing the term "actual" in the term "actual infinite". The "actual" in "actual infinite" doesn't mean that the infinite number of objects exists right now. It is used in contrast with a "potential infinite" - an actual infinite involves an infinite number of objects, while a potential infinite involves a finite number continuously approaching infinity as its limit. "Actual" here doesn't mean "actually existing in the present moment".
lehmar wrote: You assume that we can only count things which exist in the present moment. So far, you haven't really supported this assumption. You have said that we can only count what has left physical traces, but if you require that these physical traces exist in the present, then you are in effect only restating your assumption.
Surroundx wrote: Even if we accept that an infinite series of events is impossible (something I do not see any reason to believe nor disbelieve), I do not see how that has any bearing on the actual world. Cosmological arguments claim as part of their premises that an infinite regress is impossible but I do not see how this has any relevance to the actual world.
Surroundx wrote: For an infinite series of past events to be an actual infinite you would need to consider all past events as actual. But this is erroneous because I can fashion a piece of clay into one shape and then another shape. Now is it true that the clay is both shapes or merely the latter shape? It is merely the latter shape, and it is no longer the former shape. But for the theist to claim that an actual infinite is impossible they would need to claim that the clay is actually both shapes even though it is clearly only a single shape, and could only ever be a single shape simultaneously.The theist needs to claim that all past events, even though no trace of their occurrence exists in many cases (and hence are no longer actual), are actual; that they accumulate. Am I guilty of equivocation? Am I misunderstanding the theists argument?
Surroundx wrote: I agree that we can count things which do not exist in the present moment; either things past or not yet arrived.
Surroundx wrote: If the universe is constituted of a finite amount of matter then an actual infinite of any kind specifically pertaining to the universe is impossible.
lehmar wrote: You seem to be on the side of those who claim that actual infinites are impossible.
lehmar wrote: So right now I'm a bit confused. How are your points relevant to the cosmological argument again? Please do clarify.
Surroundx wrote: If an actual infinite is impossible then the actual world cannot contain any actual infinites. There would therefore be two options: either god is the first cause so to speak. Or, we need to make a distinction between infinites and actual infinites; infinites being able to exist, but the latter clearly not. The question then is, which is it? The theist is the one who makes the case that without god as an explanatory hypothesis we are left with an infinite regress which needs resolving, and therefore we invoke god to dissolve the problem. I can only object to this argument since I am not the one making it. I am defending my worldview against the Cosmological argument, or at least any version of it which pertains to the content of my posts.As I do not believe in the existence of god, I need to show either that actual infinites are indeed possible (something I have no definite opinion on, and so cannot make a confident argument for). Or I need to show that infinite is possible so long as it is not an actual infinite. I do not see any third option. So to answer your question directly, I am attempting to show that even if actual infinites are impossible there is no problem with affirming naturalism because we do not need to postulate god to explain how there is no actual infinite which there should be if god does not exist and past events stretch back into the eternal past.