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We know for now, at least, it's impossible to go back in time scientifically.

We know for now, at least, it's impossible to go back in time scientifically. But what if you really needed to, say if you had done something really bad and had ever desperation to go back in time and correct what you did, so you don't suffer the consequences you are suffering in the present. Provided you would not cause a disaster by going back in time, and that you would only change the bad things you did, it is an interesting concept. With this context, if you could be given a drug, that would leave you asleep for the rest of your life (coma), would you do it? Read on, there's more. In this sleep, you will have a dream, which is set from just before your mistake. So essentially, it causes you to simulate the past and the rest of your life in your head. It seems real, but it isn't. My question is, would this be the same as going back in time and changing things in reality? Does reality matter more, or our interpretation of it?

First a terminological quibble. By "scientifically impossible," I take it you mean "technological infeasible," i.e., impossible given the limits of current technology. As I see it, what's scientifically possible or impossible depends only on the laws of nature, which are standardly taken to be unchanging over time (or at least over any time that humans will experience). I think the jury's still out on whether backward time-travel is scientifically impossible in this latter sense.

To your question: I think there's something self-contradictory in the idea of "correcting what you did" if that means "bringing it about that you never did what you in fact did." Either (1) you did it, or (~ 1) you never did it. I can't see how any consistent story features both (1) and (~ 1).

In that sense, then, there's no such thing as (2) "going back in time and changing things in reality" and therefore nothing that's the "same as" (2). See section 1.2 of the SEP article on time-travel.

First a terminological quibble. By "scientifically impossible," I take it you mean "technological infeasible," i.e., impossible given the limits of current technology. As I see it, what's scientifically possible or impossible depends only on the laws of nature, which are standardly taken to be unchanging over time (or at least over any time that humans will experience). I think the jury's still out on whether backward time-travel is scientifically impossible in this latter sense. To your question: I think there's something self-contradictory in the idea of "correcting what you did" if that means "bringing it about that you never did what you in fact did." Either (1) you did it, or (~ 1) you never did it. I can't see how any consistent story features both (1) and (~ 1). In that sense, then, there's no such thing as (2) "going back in time and changing things in reality" and therefore nothing that's the "same as" (2). See section 1.2 of the SEP article on time-travel .

When the word" exist "occurs like "numbers exist "does it mean what it means in

When the word" exist "occurs like "numbers exist "does it mean what it means in sentences like "Dogs exist"?

I think it does, or at least I think the burden of proof is on anyone who says that "exist" is systematically ambiguous, meaning one thing when applied to numbers and another thing when applied elsewhere.

It's widely held that abstract objects such as numbers, if indeed they exist, don't exist in spacetime, whereas concrete objects such dogs clearly do exist in spacetime. But that doesn't affect the meaning of "exist" itself. In particular, it doesn't imply that "exist" means "exist in spacetime." Otherwise, the expression "exist in spacetime" would be redundant and the expression "exist but not in spacetime" would be self-contradictory, neither of which is the case.

Analogy: It's a fact that some things exist aerobically and some things exist anaerobically, but that fact doesn't tempt anyone to say that one or the other kind of thing doesn't really exist, or to say that "exist" just means "exist aerobically." So I see no reason not to say that numbers, if they exist, exist nonspatiotemporally, whereas dogs exist spatiotemporally: the adverbs differ in meaning, but not the verbs.

I think it does, or at least I think the burden of proof is on anyone who says that "exist" is systematically ambiguous, meaning one thing when applied to numbers and another thing when applied elsewhere. It's widely held that abstract objects such as numbers, if indeed they exist, don't exist in spacetime, whereas concrete objects such dogs clearly do exist in spacetime. But that doesn't affect the meaning of "exist" itself. In particular, it doesn't imply that "exist" means "exist in spacetime." Otherwise, the expression "exist in spacetime" would be redundant and the expression "exist but not in spacetime" would be self-contradictory, neither of which is the case. Analogy: It's a fact that some things exist aerobically and some things exist anaerobically, but that fact doesn't tempt anyone to say that one or the other kind of thing doesn't really exist, or to say that "exist" just means "exist aerobically." So I see no reason not to say that numbers, if they exist, exist nonspatiotemporally,...

I am wondering if there is an alternative between nominalism and realism. Both

I am wondering if there is an alternative between nominalism and realism. Both of these theories agree that particulars exist but they disagree about the relationship between the particulars and their properties. However, what if there are no individual particular entities that are independent with their own self-nature? In our modern times, we often discuss how entities are interconnected and, to some extent, dependent on other entities. In the field of Social Work, for example, the micro, mezzo, and macro environments affect each other and the line between the three are constantly blurred and uncertain. Believing in a "mechanical" world that is made up of separate individual parts is becoming increasingly difficult to believe.

I can't do better than to recommend that you consult the SEP entry on monism written by Jonathan Schaffer. It's not clear to me from your question whether you favor what Schaffer calls "existence monism" or instead what he calls "priority monism," but you'll find both views expertly discussed.

I can't do better than to recommend that you consult the SEP entry on monism written by Jonathan Schaffer. It's not clear to me from your question whether you favor what Schaffer calls "existence monism" or instead what he calls "priority monism," but you'll find both views expertly discussed.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument has as its first premise "Everything that begins

The Kalam Cosmological Argument has as its first premise "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" (at least in the form I've heard it). Often examples of "chairs" or "people" are given for things that began to exist. But this seems to be a category error - the Universe did not begin to exist in the same way that a chair does. Indeed a chair doesn't "begin to exist" in that it was created from other things. So to me it sounds like the argument overstates its case with "everything that begins to exist" since the only thing that has begun to exist is, well, everything. One could restate this premise as "The universe began to exist" could it not? Is I missing something or is this what is meant by this argument? If so it seems to be more of an assumption than the inductive reasoning I hear it being used as (e.g. "you've never seen a chair 'pop into existence' have you?").

I think you've put your finger on a dubious feature of the KCA. While I would say that a chair does begin to exist when it's created from pre-existing materials, I agree with you that if the universe began to exist, the universe didn't begin to exist in the same sense in which a chair does.

So I think you're right to detect a questionable move from "Everything within the universe that begins to exist has a cause" to "Everything, including the universe itself, that begins to exist has a cause." It's not at all clear that the phrase "begins to exist" is being used in the same way both times.

To the question "You've never seen a chair pop into existence, have you?" one can reply as follows: "I've never seen anything arising from pre-existing materials pop into existence, but that isn't relevant to whether something not arising from pre-existing materials can pop into existence."

I think you've put your finger on a dubious feature of the KCA. While I would say that a chair does begin to exist when it's created from pre-existing materials, I agree with you that if the universe began to exist, the universe didn't begin to exist in the same sense in which a chair does. So I think you're right to detect a questionable move from "Everything within the universe that begins to exist has a cause" to "Everything, including the universe itself, that begins to exist has a cause." It's not at all clear that the phrase "begins to exist" is being used in the same way both times. To the question "You've never seen a chair pop into existence, have you?" one can reply as follows: "I've never seen anything arising from pre-existing materials pop into existence, but that isn't relevant to whether something not arising from pre-existing materials can pop into existence."

Is there a clear way to distinguish physical and non physical things? I'm not

Is there a clear way to distinguish physical and non physical things? I'm not implying that there are non physical things. I would prefer if you didn't define "physical" as whatever is studied by physicists.

How about this: All physical things occupy spacetime. But not all nonphysical things occupy spacetime, and maybe none do.

The clearest example of allegedly nonphysical things would, I think, be abstract objects such as numbers and sets. Platonists say that there are infinitely many such things. See this SEP entry.

How about this: All physical things occupy spacetime. But not all nonphysical things occupy spacetime, and maybe none do. The clearest example of allegedly nonphysical things would, I think, be abstract objects such as numbers and sets. Platonists say that there are infinitely many such things. See this SEP entry .

If every thing has being then how can non-being, as a concept, not have being?

If every thing has being then how can non-being, as a concept, not have being? Wouldn't it have being by virtue of its distinction from being? I.e. in being 'non-being'- it 'is' that which is 'not being' (the conceptual complement of being) and as it 'is' non-being - distinct from being, it is 'being' no? And so if this is the case, and being is thus a characteristic of all things - then what of being itself?

...how can non-being, as a concept, not have being?

I see no reason why it can't. I see no reason to think that the concept of non-being (or non-existence, or related concepts) fails to exist. Not every concept must instantiate itself. Indeed, typically concepts don't instantiate themselves: the concept of tree isn't a tree, etc.

It's more controversial whether being (or existence) is a characteristic (or property) of things. You'll find detailed discussion of this issue in the SEP entry linked here. I myself favor the widely held view that all (and only) things exist. It's not clear to me that this view implies that existence is a property, nor is it clear to me that anything of importance turns on whether existence is a property.

...how can non-being, as a concept, not have being? I see no reason why it can't. I see no reason to think that the concept of non-being (or non-existence, or related concepts) fails to exist. Not every concept must instantiate itself. Indeed, typically concepts don't instantiate themselves: the concept of tree isn't a tree, etc. It's more controversial whether being (or existence) is a characteristic (or property) of things. You'll find detailed discussion of this issue in the SEP entry linked here . I myself favor the widely held view that all (and only) things exist. It's not clear to me that this view implies that existence is a property, nor is it clear to me that anything of importance turns on whether existence is a property.

Can philosophy speculate as to the likelihood of their being aliens on other

Can philosophy speculate as to the likelihood of their being aliens on other planets or intelligent life elsewhere? If so, what do philosophers have to say about this and what do you philosophers on this forum have to say?

Speculate is pretty much all that philosophers, as such, can do about this question. For what it's worth, however, some well-placed astronomers are confident that life (intelligent or not) does exist elsewhere and that we'll discover evidence of it within 20 years: see this link.

Speculate is pretty much all that philosophers, as such, can do about this question. For what it's worth, however, some well-placed astronomers are confident that life (intelligent or not) does exist elsewhere and that we'll discover evidence of it within 20 years: see this link .

I guess some philosophers discuss whether in some exact location there is only

I guess some philosophers discuss whether in some exact location there is only one object, a statue, or two objects, the statue and the stone it is made of. Are there well-known philosophers who argue that this is a false question, a mere matter of choice of words, that there is no criterion to distinguish one object from two objects? Thank you.

You might also look into the work of philosopher Eli Hirsch (Brandeis University), who argues that various disagreements in ontology, perhaps including the one you mentioned, are "merely verbal" disagreements.

You might also look into the work of philosopher Eli Hirsch (Brandeis University), who argues that various disagreements in ontology, perhaps including the one you mentioned, are "merely verbal" disagreements.

The big bang theory says that time began with the big bang. Is that correct?

The big bang theory says that time began with the big bang. Is that correct? Then does that mean that those who describe the big bang theory as an idea that something comes from nothing are incorrect? If time began with the big bang doesn't that mean there never was a time when there was nothing?

I can't resist responding to one thing that Prof. Stairs says in his excellent reply: "If there's no such [necessary] being, then it might be that there's no explanation for why contingent things exist." I used to think that myself. But as I thought more about the question "Why do any contingent things exist?" I concluded that the question has a very simple answer -- indeed, many simple answers -- if it's a well-posed question in the first place, and those answers have nothing to do with any necessary being. I try to explain why in this paper.

I can't resist responding to one thing that Prof. Stairs says in his excellent reply: "If there's no such [necessary] being, then it might be that there's no explanation for why contingent things exist." I used to think that myself. But as I thought more about the question "Why do any contingent things exist?" I concluded that the question has a very simple answer -- indeed, many simple answers -- if it's a well-posed question in the first place, and those answers have nothing to do with any necessary being. I try to explain why in this paper .

Suppose someone asked me the timeless question, "Why is there something rather

Suppose someone asked me the timeless question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?", is it reasonable for me to answer,"because if there is nothing, the question would still arise as to, why is there nothing rather than something?" Does the second question make sense in itself, and as a response to the first?

Hmm. I can't tell whether your answer engages the timeless question. But I think the timeless question is deeply problematic anyway, as I explain in my contribution to Tyron Goldschmidt's new edited collection of essays on the topic.

You seem to be saying that if there were nothing, then at least the following question would exist: "Why is there nothing rather than something?" (or, perhaps more properly, the question expressed in the actual world by the string of English I just quoted). In that case, it's impossible for there to be nothing. I suppose it's open to the timeless questioner to reply that questions don't exist independently of languages and hence independently of language-users, in which case the question wouldn't exist if there were nothing (else).

Hmm. I can't tell whether your answer engages the timeless question. But I think the timeless question is deeply problematic anyway, as I explain in my contribution to Tyron Goldschmidt's new edited collection of essays on the topic. You seem to be saying that if there were nothing, then at least the following question would exist : "Why is there nothing rather than something?" (or, perhaps more properly, the question expressed in the actual world by the string of English I just quoted). In that case, it's impossible for there to be nothing. I suppose it's open to the timeless questioner to reply that questions don't exist independently of languages and hence independently of language-users, in which case the question wouldn't exist if there were nothing (else).

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