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What Is Nothing?


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#1 AceScottie

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 12:34 PM

This is a question that has been running through my brain for quite some time.

 

Simply put can a space containing nothing actually exist.

For nothing to exist in a space there can be no air, water or even light, even if there was the tiniest of particles or photons in that space then technically something would be occupying it and it couldn't be described as nothing.

Now bear with me on this. In the dictionary "Nothing" is described as "something that is nonexistent", but this is really a paradox.

something that is nonexistent, the phrase seems wrong to me, if "nothing" is something that is nonexistent it is still something. Firstly Something had to exist there to begin with so it could become nonexistent, secondly time had to exist in that space as well for that something to disappear into nothing, but at the exact moment that something becomes nothing time would have to stop existing and that would prevent the something form becoming nonexistent which would mean that something would again exist in that space.

 

The whole question comes down to the perception of something not existing, how can something that does not exist be drawn attention to, and if nothing at all exists in a particular space how can we say for sure that that space itself exists. If there was nothing at all in a space then time its self could not exist in this space either, if it did then at least 1 thing existed in this space and it would be "something".

 

Can Nothing actually exist?

 

If my brain is not intentionally messing with me then i believe i have stumbled upon a mistake commonly made by other scientists that state nothing exists outside our universe. By simply applying the notion that nothing cannot exist its left to assume that something actually exists there. Perhaps a bunch of broken space that both exists and does not exist as the flow of time becomes distorted.

 

This logic could also be applied to another questing on how the universe is expanding still. 

To put this one simply if a single molecule, photon or atom whizzes past the edge of our universe then something exists beyond our universe and therefore the universe becomes part of the space that something brought into existence. *this is a slightly stupid theory but sounds better in my head)

 

So what do you think. Its probably a load of trash to some people but please understand I'm writing this when i am very tired and i only have a GCSE level in science so I'm not too knowledgeable about the subject.



#2 Rade

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 06:54 PM

This is a question that has been running through my brain for quite some time.....Simply put can a space containing nothing actually exist.

 

Let space be the inner most boundary that contains, thus the inner most boundary of |<   and  >|

 

Let ~~~~ be something

 

Then  | ~~~~~ | is space that contains something

 

Therefore |    | is space that contains nothing.


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#3 AceScottie

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 02:25 AM

I see what you are trying to say but if I    I is space that contains nothing then how do we know that that space actually exists since it can not contain light or time. If light and time were present in that space then there would still be something there and as such could be described as something.

 

If a space contains absolutely nothing then it couldn't be observed. 



#4 Rade

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 11:52 AM

If a space contains absolutely nothing then it couldn't be observed


I agree, but not being observed does not mean such a space | | does not exist as potential that can become actual. Recall the definition of space used above, the inner most boundary of that which contains. Here I assume from Einstein that space-time is a dimensional entity that exists separate from other entities as objects.

Suppose you sit at a table with two chairs and a friend sits in the seat next to you. So, you (Y) are a thing and your friend (F) is a thing, and both exist with a space associated with each chair, thus |(Y)| and |(F)|.

Suppose your friend goes away from the table...what moves is (F) and what remains is the space they once occupied | |. When you look at the empty chair you do not see the | | space once occupied, you see nothing, but mentally you could imagine the shape of the | | your friend once occupied. So in this example you can imagine a space at present that has potential to exist in the future as the body shape of your friend as it once existed in the past, but it cannot presently be observed, yet it 'exists' as a potential that could be occupied in the future once your friend returned.

Note how real this potential space as nothing that once occupied your friend can become to you. Suppose your friend told you they would return in 5 mins, and 20 min latter they have not returned, 1 hours latter no friend and you get worried. You keep looking at the chair they sat in and you can imagine the space they once occupied, what do experience ? You observe nothingness, a potential space outline | | that contains no friend. You experience panic when you observe this nothingness of space, perhaps they were in an accident, etc. Thus pure nothingness, a potential space not acutalized, can have cause-effect impact on your thoughts.

What I suggest is that it is possible to have a potential virtual nothingness that exists as an empty space | | without a Being associated with it, but it never is possible to have a Being without a non-virtual potential nothingness of space coexisting with it as |(Being)|.
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#5 ErlyRisa

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 08:03 AM

LMAO...Scottie, welcome to the Einstein club.

 

Most versed astrophysicists through the the most versed philosophers have nere asked that question.

 

It's alot like the tortoise hare problem.

 

PS. If one day you would like I could explain nothing to you...but believe you me, you will need Zanex or similar, and maybe even some ECT treatment once I am done with you.

 

One of my fav things to do with what are going to be "future' intelligent people is too pose this question to them...

 

Do you thiunk once your dead, that God gives you the last digit to Pi ?

Most people laugh...but its actually quit serious when you start to think about it.


Edited by ErlyRisa, 15 November 2014 - 08:06 AM.


#6 SwoopdeSwoop

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 05:12 PM

It would be the logical negation of the universally infinite set, no?

 

So essentially you have a set that contains all other sets and "things", and Nothing is simply the denial or negation of that set. Wraps up nicely with the Universal Quantification and Existential Quantification operators in symbolic logic.

 

I'll try to generate some notation for it tonight if I can.



#7 pgrmdave

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 05:25 PM

Simply put can a space containing nothing actually exist.


Yes - part of the problem is the combination of the exact terminology with inexact terminology. "Nothing" can be defined exactingly: a bounded area of space without any matter or energy. "Exist" can't be defined as well though. However, an easy way to think of it is this - "space" is defined by the distance between objects. Assume that space is continuous, assume that matter is not. Given two objects, start to draw a line from one to the other, and stop as soon as you hit matter or energy. That line contains nothing by definition.

#8 PersonalPronoun

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 07:42 AM

Simply put can a space containing nothing actually exist.


No. The answer is no.
The inner boundary of the space would be in the space.

Firstly Something had to exist there to begin with so it could become nonexistent,


Um.......why?


secondly time had to exist in that space as well for that something to disappear into nothing,


Again, why?



Can Nothing actually exist?


Not that you'd know of.
 

flow of time

Time does not "flow."
Time is a duration that exists between two vibrations of a crystal.
A duration does not move. It just sits there being a place holder.
Time = 0

These are nothing more than my opinions.
 

#9 PersonalPronoun

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 08:15 AM

"space" is defined by the distance between objects. Assume that space is continuous, assume that matter is not. Given two objects, start to draw a line from one to the other, and stop as soon as you hit matter or energy. That line contains nothing by definition.



"Empty" is not = to "nothing."

If there is nothing between two objects, then there is only one object.

#10 pgrmdave

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 01:38 PM

"Empty" is not = to "nothing."

Clearly you use a different definition of nothing than I do.

#11 Eclogite

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 02:00 PM

It is all about definitions. Without very precise terminology there is much room for ambiguity, paradox and disagreement. That's why I usually avoid such discussions as they are akin to eating cucumber. Some people like that, but at the end of the day you get very little of value out of the experience.



#12 pgrmdave

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 02:25 PM

It is all about definitions. Without very precise terminology there is much room for ambiguity, paradox and disagreement. That's why I usually avoid such discussions as they are akin to eating cucumber. Some people like that, but at the end of the day you get very little of value out of the experience.


Define "value" :P


Edited by pgrmdave, 09 February 2015 - 02:25 PM.


#13 PersonalPronoun

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 02:29 PM

I'm not surprised. Scientists and philosophers have debated "nothing" for as long as they've debated anything else.
Below is what I meant by "Empty is not = to nothing.

Clearly you use a different definition of nothing than I do.

This sort of nothing—the absence of matter—we might consider to be the first level of nothing, clarified  J. Richard Gott, a physicist and cosmologist at Princeton University and the author of “Sizing Up the Universe: The Cosmos in Perspective.” It’s what scientists call a quantum vacuum state. It’s a box with everything taken out of it—all the stuff, all the air, all the light. “It even has a color—it’s black,” deadpanned Gott, who frequently demonstrated the best comedic timing of the bunch. Yet even in this nothing, something remains. Virtual quantum particles pop in and out of being, and the empty box still contains the basic scaffolding of existence: space, time and quantum fields.
http://blogs.scienti...of-nothingness/

#14 pgrmdave

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 02:50 PM

Yet even in this nothing, something remains. Virtual quantum particles pop in and out of being, and the empty box still contains the basic scaffolding of existence: space, time and quantum fields.
http://blogs.scienti...of-nothingness/

I know. But I don't think you read my post enough.  I didn't say to pick two objects with nothing in between them - just any two objects.  Then start drawing an imaginary line from one to the other.  Stop as soon as you hit anything that isn't nothing.  By definition, that line you drew contains nothing, because otherwise you would have stopped earlier.



#15 PersonalPronoun

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 04:47 PM

I know. But I don't think you read my post enough.  I didn't say to pick two objects with nothing in between them - just any two objects.  Then start drawing an imaginary line from one to the other.  Stop as soon as you hit anything that isn't nothing.  By definition, that line you drew contains nothing, because otherwise you would have stopped earlier.


How would I have known that my line had come in contact with space, or time?

#16 pgrmdave

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 04:51 PM

How would I have known that my line had come in contact with space, or time?


That's a question for an engineer and irrelevant to the question as to whether or not nothing could exist. Unless you'd say that there is literally *no distance* between an object and the next closest object then you'd have to agree that there are areas of "nothing".

#17 Eclogite

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 05:07 PM

Is there space between the objects? Space is not nothing. Not the space our universe exists in.