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Can 'nothing' exist?

 
 
phoney
 
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 04:25 pm
If you can describe or imagine 'nothing' then you are describing something, therefore nothing is something.
I don't think it is possible for the human mind to get to grips with the concept of 'nothingness'.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 14 • Views: 6,166 • Replies: 86
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 06:01 pm
@phoney,
I basically agree. Nothigness is an abstract concept. It's not something you can imagine in your mind's eye. It's more mathematical than anything. The absence of all matter isn't 'nothing.' It's something -- it's empty space! However, just because we can't visualize it or describe it in human terms, does not mean it doesn't exist. Cf. Hume.
Shapeless
 
  2  
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 08:52 pm
@phoney,
Quote:
I don't think it is possible for the human mind to get to grips with the concept of 'nothingness'.


Maybe the mind can't, but the body can quite easily. Try eating nothing for a few days. You may be able to "describe or imagine" this nothing, but all the philosophizing in the world won't convince your stomach that you've eaten "something."
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 10:02 pm
@Shapeless,
As a person, we have 'personhood'. We're an entities and we think and feel using the mind that we possess as entities. As beings we have the qualities of 'beingness'. However, using an example, let's say, of an embryo - that never is born...that is miscarried and never is born... that embryo never lives. That potential life is now nothing - a non-existant being having the quality of 'nothingness'. It ceases to exist.

In my wallet, I have no money. When I have no money there, nothing exists there to spend. So, what is hard to imagine about those example of nothingness?
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 10:06 pm
@Merry Andrew,
As for the example of the absence of all matter, that example would mean that no space can exist. That is not just the condition of empty space. it is not just empty - it doesn't exist.
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 11:46 pm
@Ragman,
Quote:
When I have no money there, nothing exists there to spend. So, what is hard to imagine about those example of nothingness?


Exactly. That's another surefire way to assess the substance of "nothingness": when it applies to material things, especially one's own. In those cases, "nothing" is a paltry substitute indeed for "something."
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 12:07 am
@Ragman,
Quote:
As for the example of the absence of all matter, that example would mean that no space can exist. That is not just the condition of empty space. it is not just empty - it doesn't exist.


I don't understand how you arrive at that, Ragman. Empty space is empty space. That means it is someething. It exists all right. It simply has no content. That is not 'nothing'.
0 Replies
 
phoney
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 12:34 am
The state of being 'empty' is not the same as not existing. If you can enter or put something into a space then that space exists and is something.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 01:07 am
@phoney,
Exactly.
0 Replies
 
KiwiChic
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 04:32 am
I think the concept of nothingness gets me when I think of outer space and the prospect of infinity - that blows my mind to the point when I have to slam the brakes on and stop thinking of an infinite black of nothingness....did that make any sense? lol, So what was the question? - Can nothing exist? well I guess it can.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 04:35 am
Please reread and understand what I wrote. I do not include space or empty space as a worthwhile definition. Empty space should not be associated or not be an appropriate descriptor for 'Nothingness'. In fact, the concept of space or outer space can not be associated with nothingness either. Outer space has a direction and some boundaries relative to home planet earth (our reference point). Nothing does not and can not. There is a vacuum in space which many associate with nothingness, but is far from an all-inclusive term or descriptor of 'nothingness'. Outer Space is just a place without air or an atmosphere. Nothingness has no place or direction.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 04:41 am
@Ragman,
..and has no qualities. In fact, it has no physcial attributes. Space or empty space has some physical attributes and should not be associated with nothingess.
0 Replies
 
KiwiChic
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 04:41 am
@Ragman,
My apologies I did not realise I had boundaries, if you can think of nothing and you realise that in fact you were thinking nothing at all, then I guess its a some....thing!
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 04:46 am
@KiwiChic,
how can nothing have a location which you can refer to the space it occupies? you and I have boundaries, space has a boundary as we refer to it as 'outer space'...as in the reference point as measure from our earth.

You are confusing 'nothing' with the concept and discussion of nothing. How can nothing have a location which you can refer to the space it occupies? You and I have boundaries and space has a boundary -- as we refer to it as 'outer space'...as in the reference point as measure from our earth. Nothing has no reference point. However, the discussion of nothing has the qualities of somethingness, therefore is something.
KiwiChic
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 04:55 am
@Ragman,
Lol I thought we weren't talking about outer space which by the way has no boundary, unless Ive missed the news lately, to me its an endlessness of nothingness anyway. Besides where do you get the measure from earth from? There is no measure it is measureless.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 04:55 am
@KiwiChic,
I'm not sure how to address the concept of infinity. However, when one discusses and associates infinity and outer space, we are talking about something man theorizes about the qualities of outer space -- that it is infinite. Many scientists theorize that outer space might NOT be infinite. Also it has physical qualities.
KiwiChic
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 05:02 am
@Ragman,
And your concept of "'Nothingness' is?.....
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 06:51 am
Nothing is the absence of something. A thought does not fill in a void, it merely recognizes that the void exists. So, nothing can indeed exist.
phoney
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 09:30 am
@McGentrix,
You can avoid a void, so a void is something.
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 10:11 am
@phoney,
yes, it's the absence of something, therefore it has nothing.
 

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