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 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 26
Nothing unphysical existsPage 2 of 5    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
IgorFrankensteen,


What is the goal of declaring this "nothing physical exists" thing, and defining it's terms?

My own first thought is, that the purpose of saying something like this, is to lessen our burdens a bit. That is, if we declare something doesn't exist, we can put it in the universal dumpster of existence, and never spend time and energy in it again.

So is that the goal of the title thought?

If that is the case, then, I have some opposition to it. I would be opposed to it primarily, because of what I mentioned earlier, that all to often, it is discovered that something which we didn't recognize, does actually exist, and the problem wasn't that it had no physicality, it was that our technology couldn't detect it. Or, that our existing way of thinking about the universe, our learned prejudices if you will, caused us to prevent ourselves from seeing it.

Entire species and subgroups of living entities have been said to be discardable, and have even enslaved, because the prevailing belief was that they didn't have recognizable "souls."

Call me a conceptual pack rat if you wish, but I'm wary of purposely closing my eyes to possibilities. I do support sorting, and prioritizing, so the goal of avoiding spending too much of our lives on what looks like nonsense is on my agenda.

So what are we up to here?


Good questions. To answer, yes, most of the goal is to lessen our burdens. To DEFINE what it means to exist. So we can narrow down and descriminate by not considering everything we can conceive of as being worthy of equal consideration. That is part of any good problem solving process.

I agree that it is often unwise to completely overlook ANY possibility... but what about impossibilities or probabilities? Higher probabilities, by definition, are more likely to right answer which is why they are considered more heavily than low probabilities. It always makes sense to eliminate impossibilities from consideration however, which makes it necessary to properly define impossibilities. Thus my question. Would "non-physical" be a logical impossibility.

Assuming "what we know to exist and NOT exist is based on what we know SO FAR and may change in the future but cannot DETECT it now with our present technology", than sure... maybe it's too early to say it's impossible. But we're not talking about something specific like a dragon or unicorn. We safely say they dont exist but that's only based on having never detected or studied one. At least we can imagine the detection of a dragon. We know roughly what we would be looking for to confirm the existence of a dragon.

If we to detect something "non-physical", what qualities would it have to distinguish it from physical phenomena? In other words, is physicality required for detectability? If so, non detection may not mean non existence but would certainly be a necessary quality of non existence. This thought is to narrow down a proper discussion on existence. It's too easy to say that if I cannot detect something that I claim exists, to say that it simply transcends physicality, space and time, or exists "outside" the physical and so on. are these just other ways of expressing a logical "non-existence"?

THAT's my point of the discussion.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 27
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/26/2012 12:51:13 PM
I suggest what I call "contingency living." Choose to have three giant tubs to sort all concepts into.

One for stuff we're sure we have to deal with, and all of the underpinnings of physics required to deal with them;

Once for stuff we'll never have to deal with, and all the nonsense that we therefore don't have to answer to;

And one for all the stuff that we just aren't sure about, and which we might wish were true, or we hope is false, and all the stuff that underpins THAT stuff.

Then as we go about planning our day, and allocating time and money, we only spend on tub One, but we continue to pay to rent space in tub Three.

Where it gets challenging is this:

To maximize our possibilities, while minimizing our losses of wasted time and energy, when we plan for the future, or work on a project, we put about 5-10% extra effort in, by stopping to take a glimpse into Tub Three, before we go ahead.
 JoseMadre
Joined: 1/9/2012
Msg: 28
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/26/2012 1:48:14 PM
Does logic exist?
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 29
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/26/2012 4:01:29 PM

I suggest what I call "contingency living." Choose to have three giant tubs to sort all concepts into.

One for stuff we're sure we have to deal with, and all of the underpinnings of physics required to deal with them;

Once for stuff we'll never have to deal with, and all the nonsense that we therefore don't have to answer to;

And one for all the stuff that we just aren't sure about, and which we might wish were true, or we hope is false, and all the stuff that underpins THAT stuff.

Then as we go about planning our day, and allocating time and money, we only spend on tub One, but we continue to pay to rent space in tub Three.

Where it gets challenging is this:

To maximize our possibilities, while minimizing our losses of wasted time and energy, when we plan for the future, or work on a project, we put about 5-10% extra effort in, by stopping to take a glimpse into Tub Three, before we go ahead.


igorfrankensteen, nice analogy. And yes again, that is pretty much the allocation i would give too. BUT, and this is the purpose of the thread, what qualities would a concept have to have to qualify for tub 2? If there are any concepts that DO fall into tub 2, why would THEY qualify for tub 2 while "non-physical" falls in tub 3?

So, to celebrate your analogy, I guess I'm supporting the idea of "non-physical existence" falling into tub 2 instead of tub 3. Having given it a lot of thought, I'm not sure what else could possibly qualify for tub 2 if not this.

Thanks for clarifying my objective here and making a clear analogy. tub 2 or tub 3? THAT is the question.
 Stray__Cat
Joined: 7/12/2006
Msg: 30
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/27/2012 4:18:18 PM
I am philosophically having a problem with physical existence.
In that I don't believe in it.

I see it all as waves within waves.
In short...... a movement within the void.

Slow down atoms to a complete stop....
Molecules disappear.
Slow down atomic parts to a stop...
Atoms disappear.

You can go as tiny as you want,
and stop the motion of quantum parts of parts,
and waves within waves.....

and you will be left with nothing
......really
................there.
Nothing solid.
No part.

Just movement.

We....and everything....is merely a disturbance in the force.
A wind in the void.
Rippling motion within nothingness.

who knows when motion started.
Maybe God sneezed.
beats me.
 CressB
Joined: 7/1/2011
Msg: 31
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/27/2012 4:24:24 PM
stray__cat:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nice. Real smoooooooth.
 Maverick325
Joined: 5/1/2011
Msg: 32
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/27/2012 10:37:40 PM
I'm essentially a materialist, but only in an inductive sort of way, not in deductive sort of way. I'm a materialist, but what that means to me is that any time anyone suggests anything that violates the laws of physics, I can conclude with near absolute certainty that they are wrong. For example, someone who claims to speak to the dead. There is no physical mechanism through which that could possibly happen, hence it can be dismissed as absurd. The point is that the positive evidence in favor of physics counts as negative evidence against those things. A priori, I would be completely unbiased as to whether communication with the dead might be possible. But since I know something about the natural world, I know that it's not.

However, our knowledge of the physical world is only inductive. It results from a process of trial and error in our own lives and in the experiments of physicists. As such, we cannot logically rule out the possibility that the trends we have seen in the past might be violated. Maybe tomorrow things will fall up, instead of down. To the best of our knowledge, we must believe absolutely that things will not fall up, rather than down tomorrow. But the best we can do is only the best we can do. It is not infallible. So, technically, maybe things will fall up instead of down tomorrow. But, no rational person should believe that they will, even though it's possible as a technicality.

This view is fully justified empirically. But what's clear to me is that if there are non-physical things, they don't interact with physical ones. There could be something non-physical out there that just never manifests itself. But there isn't much point in its existence, as far as we are concerned, in that case, since we are physical beings. Again, it could be that such things will interact with the physical at some point in the future, but all evidence points against it, so far.

Since there is no evidence of anything non-physical, we have to dismiss any talk of such things as idle and pointless speculation.

Those who think they are giving examples of non-physical things are either not understanding the sense in which we are using the word non-physical, or else they are mislead by the fact that their examples are abstractions of physical things. If you keep looking up words in the dictionary, and every word in every definition, all the way back, eventually, you will either have to go in circles or you will have to define things in terms of things we can point to. That illustrates why there aren't really any unphysical things, at least as far as we know.
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 33
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/31/2012 8:27:18 AM

I am philosophically having a problem with physical existence.
In that I don't believe in it.

I see it all as waves within waves.
In short...... a movement within the void.

Slow down atoms to a complete stop....
Molecules disappear.
Slow down atomic parts to a stop...
Atoms disappear.

You can go as tiny as you want,
and stop the motion of quantum parts of parts,
and waves within waves.....

and you will be left with nothing
......really
................there.
Nothing solid.
No part.

Just movement.

We....and everything....is merely a disturbance in the force.
A wind in the void.
Rippling motion within nothingness.

who knows when motion started.
Maybe God sneezed.
beats me.


stray__cat , Some of this reply may sound a little smartassy and I hope you see some of the humour in good spirit. Feel free to retort with equally appropriate jabs if you like. It will all be taken with good sportsmanship and winks.

That being said, I cannot avoid replying this way when I say...

To clarify, when I say "physical", I'm refering to the real word with the real definition... from a dictionary if you will. Something studied in the field of physics... not a made up word which I assume you used since you breathed and typed at a keyboard the very phrase..."I am philosophically having a problem with physical existence. In that I don't believe in it." Otherwise, if you actually meant the real word "physical" as it is commonly known, perhaps you meant to use the word "psychologically" instead of "philosophically". I hope you dont take offense as I assume you wont as you dont believe in me anyway as I am physical, and in fact, you probably dont believe in yourself as you are probably physical, I assume based on the message having been sent with what I assume was a computer of some sort, requiring some sort of physical touch to function properly.

Also, I'm refering to the ACTUAL universe in THIS REALITY, not a hypothetical one. You seem to assume that if an alternate reality can be imagined, then all other realities become false. You argued that if ALL motion stopped on every level (motion being completely relative of course but whatever, we'll go along for the sake of argument) that existence would also end. I think that's liek saying you dont believe in light because of light suddenly lost it's ability to travel, then would it still be light? How would it reach our eyes? And I KNOW you dont believe in WATER because it;s physical but if all H2O was suddenly gone, water wouldn't exist.

Well, I guess I was having a discussion about REALITY.

Also, if you're logica is that everything is just waves, how exactly are "waves" non physical?
 aremeself
Joined: 12/31/2008
Msg: 34
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/1/2012 7:32:21 PM
It's pretty hard to estimate how much we know, if we don't know how much there IS to know.

but I hear that it's not much, that we know, in and about this universe.

so, what about the other dimensions that just might exist?

we are not talking as if we somehow know that this is the only dimension, are we?
and even of ''it'', we know very little.

we think we know a lot, but that is how 'we' have always been.

we always at 'THIS' point think we almost have a handle on 'it'.
 Stray__Cat
Joined: 7/12/2006
Msg: 35
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/3/2012 7:52:48 PM
un·physical
adj \¦ən+\
Definition of UNPHYSICAL
1
: not physical : mental, spiritual
2
: not according with the doctrines or methods of physics

MusicFellow, I am not insulted by your reply.
and am far lamer than you suspect,
as I do not accept the observable as solid.

I went with the 1st definition of unphysical
(as I am wired that way.)
Didn't realize you prefer the boring 2nd one.

I know the question is really a play on words.
more a koan than a discussion.

However, considering the interwoven rippling of motion thru time as observable physical phenomena,
I still say the void it moves thru is unphysical.
If it wasn't unphysical,
the physical(motion) would not move.(exist)

That's as close as I can come.
It goes without saying the unphysical...being unphysical.... can't really be explained with physical measurement.
We can only observe the physical peaks.
The unphysical troughs are beyond us.
:-P
 mmadkins
Joined: 3/30/2012
Msg: 36
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/5/2012 6:07:47 PM
That doesn't work for alot of things, however. In the field of computer science, abstract structures could be explained by physical phenomena when on a computer, but they can also exist on paper or in your head. The definition of an abstract data structure would remain the same, regardless of what media it's being observed on.
 healthyoutlook
Joined: 3/14/2012
Msg: 37
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/8/2012 10:38:49 AM
I think netgypsyLynn summed it up quite neatly in stating that:

Physical things are things we can detect, and study


That encompasses it all. If we are studying something, even say the potential of something not existing, that study would then only support it's existance because it has become physical as a topic.
...although if the topic is 'unphysical', that may also render unphysical to be itself physical by that logic, hence making the topic itself nonsensical.

*Ponders* I've effectively added nothing to this arguement..
 Kevin554
Joined: 3/20/2012
Msg: 38
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/8/2012 7:07:18 PM
I could go a hundred different ways with this but i'll try to keep it simple. You have to look from a natural-physics perspective or relativity. If there was something physical, then something unphysical would have to exist for the physical to define itelsef. This is like how space is a 'something' and not a 'nothing'. Even quantum physics 'put' divisions into space. If space/time can change, such as gravity or the bending of light, slowing or speeding of satillite clocks etc... then it is a something, it has an effect on 'physical' statuses. If you hold two magnets close together, how do they know they presence of each other with out even touching? this is because the 4 primary forces in the universe are mediums, or so-called non-physical realms. Space, electromagntism, higgs mechanism, and the strongforces. Even matter is a medium. To say that material even 'occupies' space is jumping to conculsions, physics doesnt operate in the same way we see our world. Do you know how a quark exists in space? Is is physical like a rock? Or is it like a 'space digit' where enough of them in conglomeration making atoms and chemicals would finally result in the appearance of something phyical because of the way we percieve photons bouncing off of the microscopic things? In order to have a better understanding for these questions, you need to null everything you've learned in this world by your senses. It's a purely mathematical thing, and our senses can confuse our ability to see outside this box. People can see energy as a force, something powerful. But thats just how our macro-world is seen. In physics, it's nothing more than a mathematical existence, a change of physical status like quantum numbers and relativistic location/velocity. There is perception, then there is understanding.


An Idea is a form of information/info-processing. Information exists in the physics universe, it can travel faster then the speed of light due to the fermion problem. Scientist have claimed to have successfully created a 'space warp' where they teleported information from one set of electrons to another.

Blue is far more subjective than what you just explained. So subjective, probably beyond comprehension. With photons, there is no blue green or red. There is no receptor that is R G or B. Our brain is wired in such a way that color has become a succesfull illusion for us, a sensational representation of 3 different light energy levels. How we are able to actually see light in colors may never be known. It worse than that too. How do we see yellow? Red and green make yellow. So without even having a 'yellow receptor', how do our brains properly mix colors together with perfect fidelity to produce more colors that are irrlevent to photons themself? It's not only on our brains ability to produce color in the mind, but to actually 'see' it, instead of shades of energy.
 PossibleSarcasm
Joined: 4/7/2012
Msg: 39
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/12/2012 11:09:22 AM
I don't believe there is absolutely any possible answer for such a question yet. Just like our ideas of space, time, earth and stars have changed through the years, so to will our preconceived notions of what is and is not. We are way to young of a species to comprehend such complexities yet. Our vast collective knowledge cannot scratch the surface of the infinite possibilities and wonders to come.

Technological advancement is exponential in growth and has not slowed down yet. Give our species a few million years than we can start to ask that question.... "Maybe". I personally believe that the possibility that something nonphysical exists is much higher than the reverse. None the less it's the unanswerable questions like this that drive us to search for more knowledge haha.
 Kevin554
Joined: 3/20/2012
Msg: 40
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/12/2012 1:32:38 PM
"Couldn't physical contain all we have in the universe and 'not physical' be outside our realm of existence? "

-I think that's a good question too. I'm led to believe there is something more to some of the processes that already exist in nature, more sub-atomic, that so far appear to have no greater or rational purpose, other than an obvious function. Ultimately the opinion to that answer depends on perspectives and our own definitions for things. For example: In physics, nothing is actually physical. Space is not necessarily occupied in a three dimensional sense. Atoms and particles contain a few different fields of force around a center point that serves as a virtual 'event horizon', where interactions are made some distance from the center of the atom or quark, like the reflection or absorption of light. Imagine a magnet that was so small it was invisible, but retained its powerful magnetic field. If you had a sense for its magnetic effect you would think it was physical in some way and that it was larger than it is. Well with real atoms, that do have locations and mass, but not necessarily a 'physical' occupation of space. The forces that make the atom can be measured, but nothing else can, which is really convincing that sub-atomic particles don't differ much even from space itself. It isn't the easiest thing to explain. Imagine a literal bubble, where instead the bubble was an outward force, with no center. somtimes multiple bubbles can mimic one larger one together. Ultimately these bubbles dont physically exist but still affect one another. To be rash, particles are nothing but forces making them unphysical. The physical world only exists on a macroscopic level where on is able to percieve the illusion, where our own size makes the fundamental workings of physics 'obselete'. So back to the question about the unphysical, its hard to say in such a vague point of view. Can things exist with no quantifiable part? That's a scientifically creepy question, but hasn't been proven impossible. So far, the lack of evidence of the higgs boson and graviton do support the existence of the non-physical in some vague sense. Let me ask you for some direction here. Do you consider gravity in some way to physically or non-physically exist? Or is the non-physical restricted to planes we cannot sense, like an anti-physical?
 RainGrimoire
Joined: 2/2/2011
Msg: 41
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/14/2012 11:12:49 AM
Your opinion that nothing unphysical exists is definitely unphysical, yet has notable effects on what you are saying. You can effect it, it can effect others, it can effect you. Does it exist then? What about a woman's scorn? You will meet it as an obstacle to your objective just as surely as the end table in front of you. Existant?
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 42
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/15/2012 12:09:01 PM

Your opinion that nothing unphysical exists is definitely unphysical, yet has notable effects on what you are saying. You can effect it, it can effect others, it can effect you. Does it exist then? What about a woman's scorn? You will meet it as an obstacle to your objective just as surely as the end table in front of you. Existant?


I understand upon first thought that certain things do not appear to be obviously "physical" in the way we normally attribute physical like a rock or a tree. Music, thoughts, concepts, were all brought up as examples of non physical but upon deeper examination, they are still very much physical.

For instance, my opinion... based on physical observations with my physical senses, information gathered is stored and processed in my physical brain consisting of chemicals and their reactions, electrical activity and so on. Expressed and communicated through physical voice or physically typing on a physical computer to a network that allows you to read it and start the process over again to others. At no point does a "non-physical" process occur that is required for opinions to exist.

Is there any part of an "opinion" that I may have missed that you consider not to have any physical qualities but is integral to the existance of an opinion?
 pappy009
Joined: 2/3/2008
Msg: 43
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/15/2012 5:53:17 PM
Nonexistence=nothing=no knowledge
Existence=something=knowledge

How can one experience nonexistence. Only thru consciousness. Nothingness exist because Something does exist. The more we experience Something the further away nothingness is. Can consciousness be nonexistent. How can one experience or know of Nothingness consciously, without consciousness. So how can consciousness exist in nothingness. All that exists is consciousness. The word or thought itself is contradictory to the very nature of the word nonexistent or nothingness because we are conscious we cannot comprehend nothingness.
 RainGrimoire
Joined: 2/2/2011
Msg: 44
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/16/2012 6:29:21 PM
You've merely repeated what I said. It has physical qualities, that would make it exist. It in itself is represented but not necessarily being composed of them. I will never see "nothing unphysical exists" on an EEG scan, at least not yet.
 RainGrimoire
Joined: 2/2/2011
Msg: 45
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/16/2012 6:30:48 PM
But there, we get into some of our foggy frontiers when it comes to the mind. I agree with an earlier post, time will have to be the judge.
 aremeself
Joined: 12/31/2008
Msg: 46
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/20/2012 11:16:16 PM
''Nothing unphysical exists''

well, we are physical, so unless we think 'outside of the physical box' we might not be looking in the right direction, so to speak.

at the moment we don't have a method to check for other dimensions.

but, do we then just say they don't exist?
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 47
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/22/2012 1:58:26 PM

You've merely repeated what I said. It has physical qualities, that would make it exist. It in itself is represented but not necessarily being composed of them. I will never see "nothing unphysical exists" on an EEG scan, at least not yet.


If something did not in fact exist, would it surprise you that it did not in fact show up on an EGG scan? Wouldn't that be a common quality of all things that don't exist? That they dont show up on EGG scans?
 earthlingsRevenge
Joined: 10/30/2009
Msg: 48
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/22/2012 2:15:27 PM

I've brought this up before with great debates and discussion from all sides of the phylosophical position. I think I believe that It IS the case and think I'm a materialist but alwasy like to throw the question out there in case I missed something. I say this based on the idea that everything to have ever been known to "exist" seems to rely on at least some sort of physical phenomena. Within the realm of physics. Contains or describes an event reliant on mass, energy, etc.


Msg #5, Lynn said it right.
"But since we have no "unphysical" way to detect the "unphysical" one can't prove or disprove this statement."

This is the problem with us. We think we are given everything needed to understand the universe. Chances are we lack many qualities.

Here is another way to take a stab at the question.
What we see around us, the macroscopic world, in this world there is nothing unphysical. But once we enter the microscopic world, we discover there is nothing physical. I always argue with people in science websites that there is a huge disconnect between micro and macroscopic worlds and no one knows how to connect them.
 arwen52
Joined: 3/13/2008
Msg: 49
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/22/2012 2:20:16 PM
We can neither prove nor disprove the existence of anything non-physical. We can neither prove nor disprove the qualities of claimed non-material beings or worlds. Therefore, anyone can say anything.

What is the difference between a dragon that is invisible, has no mass, cannot be detected by any means . . . and one that does not exist?

My description of God is more true than yours and you cannot prove me wrong. My description of the non-material world is right and yours is wrong and you cannot prove otherwise.

I have no interest is such exercises of the imagination. The natural world is amazing enough for me.
 aremeself
Joined: 12/31/2008
Msg: 50
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 4/22/2012 11:54:04 PM
if the laws of physics were disrupted enough, this 'natural' world [universe] would disappear.
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