Rob Heusdens

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Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« on: June 11, 2014, 06:19:55 am »
This question is very similar to the Leibnitz question ('Why does something exist, rather then nothing')

Assumption:

There is in reality some existing state-of-affairs. This existing state-of-affairs belongs to some phase-space, where all existing state-of-affairs are part of. Further we assume that there exist some rules which determine the possible progress from one state-of-affairs to some other state-of-affairs, wether that is deterministic, probablistic or other.

For any state-of-affairs it is true that it has a predecessor, which is also contained within this phase space and has a successor (at least one) which is also contained within the phase space.

[ Note: We can relax this condition a bit, we could also allow that there are state-of-affairs that either have no predecessor or no successor (but not both) the argument works the same. ]

[ Note 2: Another relaxation is to not make the distinction between predecessor or successor, but just define that as connection, also to not assume a direction of time progress. ]

Nothing further is assumed about the internal structure of the phase space of existing state-of-affairs.

Apart from the phase space we define the null-world as the absence of a state-of-affairs.

Further we define for any existing entity X that if that exists, it has a state-of-affairs belonging to the phase space.

From this it is clear that:

1. The null-world is currently not the case
2. As any predecessor of the current state-of-affairs must be within the phase space, neither the null world could have been the case at any prior time
3. As any successor of the current state-of-affairs must be within the phase state, neither the null-world can become the case at any later time.

Now the question is: can there be an existing entity (let's say enitity G) that either could have caused or chosen (deterministically, probalistically or if you want: "free will") some existing world (any state-of-affairs), or alternatively, have chosen  to not cause anything, and so would left us then with a null-world?

The simple answer is of course: no. Because the null-world does not have any predecessor, and because any entity X has a state-of-affairs which must be within the phase space, any succesor of that state-of-affairs must also be within the phase space, and can never lead to the null-world.

Remarks

In this way it can be shown that the question 'why is there some state-of-affairs, rather then none' can not be explained at the basis of some existing entity.

In contrary to that, we CAN (in principle) answer a question like: 'Why is THIS the case rather then THAT'. That is why we do science.

Conclusion

The only logical conclusion would be then to say that entity G does not exist. So, G is then identical with the null-world.
That explains there is a world, instead of none.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 10:15:54 am by Rob Heusdens »

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Branden Holmes

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 07:45:56 am »
2. As any predecessor of the current state-of-affairs must be within the phase space, neither the null world could have been the case at any prior time
There are those who believe that the universe "popped" into being in some sense. That is, there was a time n when no state-of-affairs existed, and now there is time u when a universe exists. So it seems that at some level that phase space (as you call it) could succeed a null world (as you call it). Of course, whether it is metaphysically possible for something to come into existence from nothing is highly contentious.

3. As any successor of the current state-of-affairs must be within the phase state, neither the null-world can become the case at any later time.
It could if everything ceased to exist, but whether this is a viable option is person-subjective.

Now the question is: can there be an existing entity (let's say enitity G) that either could have caused or chosen (deterministically, probalistically or if you want: "free will") some existing world (any state-of-affairs), or alternatively, have chosen  to not cause anything, and so would left us then with a null-world?
As I replied in the other thread to your post, MOA proponents believe that a null world (as you call it) isn't really possible at a metaphysical level. And others (including atheists) certainly could believe that as well.

The simple answer is of course: no. Because the null-world does not have any predecessor, and because any entity X has a state-of-affairs which must be within the phase space, any succesor of that state-of-affairs must also be within the phase space, and can never lead to the null-world.
In addition to my points above, could an entity like God come into being into a world which had no previous state-of-affairs?
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Rob Heusdens

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2014, 08:09:33 am »
2. As any predecessor of the current state-of-affairs must be within the phase space, neither the null world could have been the case at any prior time
There are those who believe that the universe "popped" into being in some sense. That is, there was a time n when no state-of-affairs existed, and now there is time u when a universe exists. So it seems that at some level that phase space (as you call it) could succeed a null world (as you call it). Of course, whether it is metaphysically possible for something to come into existence from nothing is highly contentious.

That is contradictionary. The null-world, by definition, does not have a sucessor.

The null-world does not exist and has no state-of-affairs.

You can not declare a time t in which somehow that 'no state-of-affairs' was realised, because that supposes that the null-world exists. We already defined that not to be the case.

Quote
3. As any successor of the current state-of-affairs must be within the phase state, neither the null-world can become the case at any later time.
It could if everything ceased to exist, but whether this is a viable option is person-subjective.

Same as above, The null-world by definition does not have a predecessor. That has nothing to do with subjective-bias, but with the definitions. Similar: a rook in chess can not move diagonally. That is not a valid move. So there doesn't exist a valid chess game in which such a chess move was made.

Quote
Now the question is: can there be an existing entity (let's say enitity G) that either could have caused or chosen (deterministically, probalistically or if you want: "free will") some existing world (any state-of-affairs), or alternatively, have chosen  to not cause anything, and so would left us then with a null-world?
As I replied in the other thread to your post, MOA proponents believe that a null world (as you call it) isn't really possible at a metaphysical level. And others (including atheists) certainly could believe that as well.

It simply follows from the definition. Nothing can be argued against that.

Quote
The simple answer is of course: no. Because the null-world does not have any predecessor, and because any entity X has a state-of-affairs which must be within the phase space, any succesor of that state-of-affairs must also be within the phase space, and can never lead to the null-world.
In addition to my points above, could an entity like God come into being into a world which had no previous state-of-affairs?

You could in principle say that there can be state-of-affairs (but then, they BELONG to the phase space and ARE NOT the null-world!) that have no predessor, but that our current state-of-affairs is in the chain of successors of that state,

If that is really the case, I do not know and is irrelevant to the question here.

But remember that such a state-of-affairs is not unique. We could allow there to be more of such states with no predecessor, and we could so to say be orginiated by any one of them.

Such an entity (state-of-affairs) does not come into being, since it has no predecessor.

I think such state-of-affairs (a state-of-affairs without predecessor) does not exist. This however can not be proven to be the case.

But for the sake of the argument, this is irrelevant.

I simply proved that there is not an existing entity G that could have the option to either cause the existing state-of-affairs or left us with the null-world.

That is simply impossible as proven.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 08:12:57 am by Rob Heusdens »

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Branden Holmes

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2014, 08:27:04 am »
2. As any predecessor of the current state-of-affairs must be within the phase space, neither the null world could have been the case at any prior time
There are those who believe that the universe "popped" into being in some sense. That is, there was a time n when no state-of-affairs existed, and now there is time u when a universe exists. So it seems that at some level that phase space (as you call it) could succeed a null world (as you call it). Of course, whether it is metaphysically possible for something to come into existence from nothing is highly contentious.

That is contradictionary. The null-world, by definition, does not have a sucessor.

The null-world does not exist and has no state-of-affairs.
If by null-world you simply mean "no state of affairs", which is how I interpreted your use of that term, then it is not the case that the null world cannot have a successor state of affairs, assuming that things can pop into existence. And hence it is not contradictory. If it is possible that things can pop into existence then I fail to see how a null-world as you seem to define it below is indefinitely null.

If you mean to state that the null-world is the possible world in which the description entails no things, as I now interpret your use of the word since you seem to reject any first thing coming into being, then I would agree that such a world can have no successor. But you were not explicit about that as far as I could see.
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Rob Heusdens

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2014, 08:36:36 am »
2. As any predecessor of the current state-of-affairs must be within the phase space, neither the null world could have been the case at any prior time
There are those who believe that the universe "popped" into being in some sense. That is, there was a time n when no state-of-affairs existed, and now there is time u when a universe exists. So it seems that at some level that phase space (as you call it) could succeed a null world (as you call it). Of course, whether it is metaphysically possible for something to come into existence from nothing is highly contentious.

That is contradictionary. The null-world, by definition, does not have a sucessor.

The null-world does not exist and has no state-of-affairs.
If by null-world you simply mean "no state of affairs", which is how I interpreted your use of that term, then it is not the case that the null world cannot have a successor state of affairs, assuming that things can pop into existence. And hence it is not contradictory. If it is possible that things can pop into existence then I fail to see how a null-world as you seem to define it below is indefinitely null.

If you mean to state that the null-world is the possible world in which the description entails no things, as I now interpret your use of the word since you seem to reject any first thing coming into being, then I would agree that such a world can have no successor. But you were not explicit about that as far as I could see.

I did not reject the possibility of there being state-of-affairs that do exist, but have no predecessor XOR have no successor.

Not that I think that such could be the case, but for my argument, that does not make a difference.

A 'cosmic egg' (some possibly existent state-of-affairs without predecessor) for instance is sometimes theorized about in cosmology models.

A null-world is not existing, and hence can by definition not be a predecessor or successor to any existing state-of-affairs.

I definately exclude that.

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Branden Holmes

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2014, 09:12:54 am »
A null-world is not existing, and hence can by definition not be a predecessor or successor to any existing state-of-affairs.

I definately exclude that.
You give the wrong characterization of a null-world when you say that "A null-world is not existing". To say that the null-world is actual is to say that it is ("now") more than just its description (e.g. "there are no things in the world"), which difference equates to something in some ontological sense, and hence it is not entirely accurate to say that the null-world does not exist as such.

I would agree that the null-world has no predecessor or successor, if we amend the description to say something to the effect that it has no states of affairs at any point in its history (there being other possible worlds whose initial conditions are a state of no affairs, but "after" which one or more things "pop" into existence, which renders them as no longer state-of-affair-less). Of course, whether there are other possible worlds which, like the null-world also start out with no state of affairs is personal opinion (not that such opinions couldn't be justified or warranted in some sense).

I have a question. What is the difference between the null-world and an abstract object in your opinion?
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 09:20:38 am by Branden Holmes »
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Rob Heusdens

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2014, 10:08:02 am »
A null-world is not existing, and hence can by definition not be a predecessor or successor to any existing state-of-affairs.

I definately exclude that.
You give the wrong characterization of a null-world when you say that "A null-world is not existing". To say that the null-world is actual is to say that it is ("now") more than just its description (e.g. "there are no things in the world"), which difference equates to something in some ontological sense, and hence it is not entirely accurate to say that the null-world does not exist as such.

I would agree that the null-world has no predecessor or successor, if we amend the description to say something to the effect that it has no states of affairs at any point in its history (there being other possible worlds whose initial conditions are a state of no affairs, but "after" which one or more things "pop" into existence, which renders them as no longer state-of-affair-less). Of course, whether there are other possible worlds which, like the null-world also start out with no state of affairs is personal opinion (not that such opinions couldn't be justified or warranted in some sense).

I have a question. What is the difference between the null-world and an abstract object in your opinion?

The problem then is how to define that 'something exists'. What does it mean for something to exist actually?

Suppose for example a subspace within our broadly define phase space, that is totally disconnected from our state-of-affairs, which means that no matter what state-of-affairs you take in that subspace, and construct the space of all the predecessors and successors, without ever having to include our current state-of-affairs. Now such a subspace would contain from our perspective only unreachable state-of-affairs. Like a paralle universe, which is totally disconnected from ours.

Could that be said to "exist"? In what sense?

To answer your question, what is the difference between the null-world and abstract objects?

Well all the abstract objects are not state-of-affairs. Neither is the null-world. So they have much simillarity.


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Branden Holmes

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2014, 10:26:23 am »
The problem then is how to define that 'something exists'. What does it mean for something to exist actually?
This is where the limitations of language are obvious. It is easier to understand what it means for something to exist than it is to actually describe the difference between existence and non-existence.

Suppose for example a subspace within our broadly define phase space, that is totally disconnected from our state-of-affairs, which means that no matter what state-of-affairs you take in that subspace, and construct the space of all the predecessors and successors, without ever having to include our current state-of-affairs. Now such a subspace would contain from our perspective only unreachable state-of-affairs. Like a paralle universe, which is totally disconnected from ours.

Could that be said to "exist"? In what sense?
I'm sorry, I don't fully understand what you mean here. Perhaps it would be beneficial for you to read up on possible world semantics, as I am not the best person to explain these things. My vocabulary always seems to shrink when I need it.
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Rob Heusdens

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2014, 10:53:48 am »
The problem then is how to define that 'something exists'. What does it mean for something to exist actually?
This is where the limitations of language are obvious. It is easier to understand what it means for something to exist than it is to actually describe the difference between existence and non-existence.

Suppose for example a subspace within our broadly define phase space, that is totally disconnected from our state-of-affairs, which means that no matter what state-of-affairs you take in that subspace, and construct the space of all the predecessors and successors, without ever having to include our current state-of-affairs. Now such a subspace would contain from our perspective only unreachable state-of-affairs. Like a paralle universe, which is totally disconnected from ours.

Could that be said to "exist"? In what sense?
I'm sorry, I don't fully understand what you mean here. Perhaps it would be beneficial for you to read up on possible world semantics, as I am not the best person to explain these things. My vocabulary always seems to shrink when I need it.

What we could reason about is that (apart from the null-state) within the world (phase space) of all posible state-of-affairs, we can find many that are not connected to our state-of-affairs.

For example, suppose a chain of A - B. Neither A nor B (or anything in between) is connected to our state-of-affairs. They form so to say a world on theirm own, without a connection to our state-of-affairs.

In what sense are we supposed to say that they exist?

And for the opposite: All points in phase space, all possible state-of-affairs that ARE connected (directly or by some intermedia points) can be said to exist, because they actually belong to our world.

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Branden Holmes

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2014, 03:17:20 am »
What we could reason about is that (apart from the null-state) within the world (phase space) of all posible state-of-affairs, we can find many that are not connected to our state-of-affairs.

For example, suppose a chain of A - B. Neither A nor B (or anything in between) is connected to our state-of-affairs. They form so to say a world on theirm own, without a connection to our state-of-affairs.

In what sense are we supposed to say that they exist?
I believe that you are talking about the multiverse. Where each universe is unconnected to ours. In that case, they would exist in the same sense that our universe exists.
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Rob Heusdens

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2014, 04:29:01 am »
What we could reason about is that (apart from the null-state) within the world (phase space) of all posible state-of-affairs, we can find many that are not connected to our state-of-affairs.

For example, suppose a chain of A - B. Neither A nor B (or anything in between) is connected to our state-of-affairs. They form so to say a world on theirm own, without a connection to our state-of-affairs.

In what sense are we supposed to say that they exist?
I believe that you are talking about the multiverse. Where each universe is unconnected to ours. In that case, they would exist in the same sense that our universe exists.

They would perhaps form parallel universes.

The multiverse as in inflation is different in that universes have connection, due to some (distant) past tiimeline that connects them..

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Branden Holmes

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2014, 04:40:14 am »
They would perhaps form parallel universes.

The multiverse as in inflation is different in that universes have connection, due to some (distant) past tiimeline that connects them..
They would just be universes which are causally independent of each other. I don't see a problem with postulating this, unless you subscribe to some sort of "single origin of cosmogonic creation" centre somewhere within phase space so that all universes must be causally connected to each other.
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Rob Heusdens

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2014, 05:09:26 am »
They would perhaps form parallel universes.

The multiverse as in inflation is different in that universes have connection, due to some (distant) past tiimeline that connects them..
They would just be universes which are causally independent of each other. I don't see a problem with postulating this, unless you subscribe to some sort of "single origin of cosmogonic creation" centre somewhere within phase space so that all universes must be causally connected to each other.

The vision of inflationary universe would be that the universe is a fractal. So they are connected in some broad sense.

Other regions though, which are not part in this, are just fictional "other worlds".

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Branden Holmes

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2014, 05:23:51 am »
Other regions though, which are not part in this, are just fictional "other worlds".
Nobody knows whether there are other universes "out there" so I don't think that calling other worlds "fictional" is accurate. Even if some science fiction author made up the existence of some other universe does not mean that that or another universe cannot exist somewhere else in phase space.
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Rob Heusdens

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Re: Why is there 'some state-of-affairs' rather then none.
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2014, 08:03:14 am »
Other regions though, which are not part in this, are just fictional "other worlds".
Nobody knows whether there are other universes "out there" so I don't think that calling other worlds "fictional" is accurate. Even if some science fiction author made up the existence of some other universe does not mean that that or another universe cannot exist somewhere else in phase space.

The "parallel" universes in my vocabulary are totally disconnected "entities" so you can not know about them, not even based on some physical theory (like inflationary multiverse in principle can), and are therefore entirely fiactional.

It would not matter if they exist or not in any real sense, since they are totally disconnected with ours.

One could always imagine that no matter how large the universe is, or what structure it has, there is a distinct exact copy of it outside of our universe.

What else is there to base that on other then fiction?