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

Thoughts?
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 2
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/19/2012 2:42:12 PM
The infamous Clinton quote comes to mind: "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

I am not trained in higher level physics theory, but I am aware that the possibility of alternate universes actually being added to our explanations of reality, is currently being seriously discussed. Hence, something in such an alternate universe, would have no detectable physicality on ours, but would still exist in it's own universe.

Also, I have heard that there are theoretical particles which have no mass (I might be misremembering this, or it might have been discarded by now), and that would mean something that was said to exist, but would have no physicality.

I have come to be cautious enough, that I would go with "Nothing unphysical needs to have space rented for it in a storage bin."
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 3
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/19/2012 3:34:18 PM
IgorFrankensteen , first of all, I TOO am not trained in these specialties. Lets face it. those who are actually qualifies to properly answer many of the questions we ask on these forums do not spend their time on these forums.

Nice call on the Clinton reference. "is" meaning the statement IS true that "Nothing unphysical exists" OR, in other words, "existence is defined by and is reliant on having physical properties" A "physical property" could also be the behaviour of mass and energy. For instance, gravity is not a physical object but it's describing an event involving the interaction of physical objects.

As far as an alternate universe is concerned, There is certainly no need to detect something to define probable existence. The edges of the universe, from a visual point of view, will constantly seem to expand as the light of these stars eventually reach us to detect. Once detected, we know that they have existed for billions of years so it's reasonable to assume that things we currently detect certainly still exist, but not without physicality. Detectibility is not required for existence... at least for many logical reasons, but I would assume existence is certainly required for detection to occur... can we detect anything unphysical? Certainly this alternate universe has mass? thus exists regardless of detection. All hypothetical of course.

Which bring us to virtual particles. Obvious questions come to mind. what characteristics imply virtual particles? I really know nothing about them but, like gravity, if they contain no mass, perhaps they are an observed reaction of a physical event. Perhaps it's a bit more complicated than that.

and finally,


I have come to be cautious enough, that I would go with "Nothing unphysical needs to have space rented for it in a storage bin."

I like this. nice.
 red_fir
Joined: 11/21/2011
Msg: 4
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/19/2012 7:06:31 PM
In that case quantum physics is in a heap of trouble.....
"Time" exists (at this juncture).
I defy you to find the least physical attribute of it.
 Bukleigh
Joined: 2/24/2012
Msg: 5
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/19/2012 10:46:15 PM
Being physical, means we can perceive. it.

So ...

If a tree falls in the forest ... etc.

Is the same question.

Predictability is another consideration. If we can model an event, inject a stimulus and predict an outcome .... then whether or not we can perceive what has occurred or acted upon it, we do indeed know something has occurred and therefore can be said to have perceived it.

This occurs far more often in science than is commonly "perceived". :-)

A big part science is filling in the gaps.

Also important to keep in mind, the models that are used, to explain or give predictability, are indeed just models. There is little reason to believe the models reflect reality, their only real purpose is to provide a metric of predictability, repeatability. It's about control and mastery of our environment.

It something is indeed "unphysical" the only way to detect it, would indeed be it's affect on the physical when interacting with the unphysical.

Accepting that scenario changes, "nothing unphysical exists", to "nothing exists" .. :-)

Humans have limited perception abilities. of course. Discovering how to perceive more is part of the process.

Unphysical means we have not discovered how to perceive it yet. Doesn't mean it's not there. It doesn't even mean it's not physical .. once we change the model to include it. :-)

The line between faith, philosophy, science blurs at the limits.

I like to think nothing exists, from time to time, makes it easier to sleep. :-)
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 6
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/20/2012 2:43:52 AM
There are lots of unphysical things which exist.

Thoughts and ideas exist.
Shadows and mirages exist.
Fear and prejudice exist.

In fact, most of the things which have the most impact upon our lives are non-physical.
 null_locus_accede
Joined: 6/25/2011
Msg: 7
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/20/2012 4:50:49 AM

Nothing unphysical exists


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.


http://captionsearch.com/pix/thumb/2rub7eoeem-t.jpg
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 8
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/20/2012 4:57:01 AM
One small thing to keep in mind folks: many things that we once thought were non-physical, have been found to be entirely so, and it's just that we previously didn't have the ability for whatever reason to measure or recognize the physicality of it.

Thus it is quite possible that we might one day find the physical reasons for thoughts and emotions, and so forth.

One thing at a time!
 Kentish-Man
Joined: 3/7/2012
Msg: 9
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/20/2012 6:54:21 AM
Um...gravity, magnetism, sound...?
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 10
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/20/2012 12:04:47 PM

thoughts, love, gravity, are all physical, just not all "matter", something you can pick up with your hands. Physical things are things we can detect, and study.


netgypsyLynn, you helped me make a point here I was about to post. Thank you and I will elaborate. and this is a reply to all posters so far, thank you for contributing.

Before coming to my idea that nothing unphysical exists, I too gave it a lot of thought as to what that meant. I considered time, thoughts, ideas, gravity, etc. However, I could not escape the fact that ALL of these types of things are either physical or terms used to describe a physical event.

Time: a measurement of intervals between specific physical events. It is no different than any other term used to describe a physical thing such as length, width, speed, color, shape, circumference, etc... it no more exists as a real thing than "length" does.

Thoughts, ideas, memories, emotions, love, anger, etc.: All of these are biological functions of the body including physical recordings and processes in the brain or chemical processes causing that we detect and "feel", thus feelings (emotions). All symbolic words for physical events.

Light: Energy is Matter in a different state. Light is affected by gravity, can be blocked by other physical objects, affects temperature, etc. Nothing unphysical about light and in fact DOES have a mass, ever so slight.

GRAVITY and MAGTETISM: I realize they are not the same thing at all but both fall into the categoy of terms used to describe the natural properties and behaviour of MASS in the universe.

Someone once brought up "music" but that fits in the "SOUND" category and I dont think I should have to spell out the physical explanation of what SOUND is do I? Vibration of physical things.
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 11
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/20/2012 1:09:34 PM
I bring up the notion of "nothing unphysical exists" as a phylosophical and logical one, not unlike "2 objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time" and other logical truths like that and perhaps even more profound.

I wonder if it's necessary to say that we simply haven't found an example of it. Have we simply not been able to find an example of 2 objects occupying the same space at the same time? Hypothetically, if we had every means necessary to detect EVERYTHING in the universe, lets say we see and know what "God" knows (not implying a god debate here... just eliminating limits here), what are we looking for? What detection would make us say "aha! finally! THERE is someting NON PHYSICAL"? Is it simply a question of logic? Is physicality simply a requirement for "Existence"? I'm moving towards... YES... thus this thread for input, peer scrutiny if you will.

As an earlier contributor to this thread posted... You cannot prove or disprove something like this. This argument is used to support the possibility for gods all the time or anything supernatural for that matter. In fact, as long as there is ZERO evidence for the something's existence, you STILL must say that it cannot be 100% proven to NOT exist. Unless it is a LOGICAL RULE like the time and space thing.

Thus.....

EXISTENCE = PHYSICAL IN NATURE and therfore possible for evidence to be aquired for proving or disproving.

NON-EXISTENCE = NON PHYSICAL IN NATURE and thus impossible for evidence to be gathered for proving or disproving.

My POINT!!!!

perhaps when someone describes something as not being able to be proved or disproved 100% because of lack of evidence or imply that something that seems to defy physical law simply "TRANSCENDS" the physical, instead of letting the lack of evidence help their case by not being able to be disproven, remind them that what they are describing is the definition of NON EXISTENCE because all things that do not exist MUST "transcend" the physical and MUST be unprovable and UNdisprovable.

Instead of unproveable being a defense, it will be an open admition of non-existence.
 Jiperly
Joined: 8/30/2006
Msg: 12
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/20/2012 4:06:49 PM
Aren't ideas non-physical? Like rights and freedoms- such things don't physically exist outside our heads...
 Aristotle_Amadopolis
Joined: 12/8/2011
Msg: 13
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/20/2012 4:41:25 PM
Nothing "unphysical" exists

For anything to exist time must exist as there would be no measure of its existence without it, as things always exists for a period of time.

Therefore I would say your statement is false, as something that can not be touched can exist.
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 14
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/20/2012 5:35:28 PM
Jiperly,

ideas, thoughts, and anything else that happens in the brain (inside our heads) are very much physical processes or chemicals, electrical impulses and so on. They can be manipulated physically, changed, stored and so on. Memories are types of recordings, with physical changes to the storage devices inside the brain. Like a hard drive. Software is stil technically hardware in a physical sense, otherwise would not take space on a disk. I know memory is a lot different but the physical idea is still the same.


For anything to exist time must exist as there would be no measure of its existence without it, as things always exists for a period of time.

Therefore I would say your statement is false, as something that can not be touched can exist.


Aristotle_Amadopolis , if you're refering to "nothing unphysical exists" being a false statement based on what you said here, maybe you misread it because it sounds like you're trying to SUPPORT the statement and not falsify it.

WhenI say physical, that accounts for all terms that describe physical events such as gravity. But it cannot be touched per se. You're certainly right about nothing exists without time... which is actually why "TIME" doesn't count as something non physical as it's only used to measure physical events in the same way "length" or "width", speed, color and so on are used to measure physical things. They are describing the physical.
 Aristotle_Amadopolis
Joined: 12/8/2011
Msg: 15
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/20/2012 6:09:02 PM

which is actually why "TIME" doesn't count as something non physical as it's only used to measure physical events in the same way "length" or "width", speed, color and so on are used to measure physical things. They are describing the physical.

I see measure as something that you do to time, not something that describes it.

Time is the physical constant that allows all things to happen and exist.

So maybe it needs its own category.
 Jiperly
Joined: 8/30/2006
Msg: 16
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/20/2012 11:41:47 PM
I'm not convinced. If you can say "if it exists in your mind, its physical", then only things inconceivable would match your definition of "non-physical existence"

Rights only exist because we all agree they exist. But you cannot touch rights- and saying that you can touch the brain that believed in the idea of rights is a little convoluted
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 17
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/21/2012 7:56:45 AM
There is nothing unnatural or supernatural--how can there be?
 lagoda
Joined: 11/20/2009
Msg: 18
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/21/2012 12:31:34 PM
Nothing unphysical exists.

Oh how limited we are by our language. Everything we experience has to be labeled for our understanding. We label the wind but as per your statement, wind is non-existent. The analysis of wind as air pressure, and then as chemical, brings us closer but how then do we account for frequencies and forces that act on a mass. We could probably reduce it all to mathematical and then it would appear that everything, even the physical doesn't exist. For the sake of communication then, it's really all just metaphor.

I think that our progression beyond classical physics into quantum mechanics gave us the concept that matter = energy = matter. To me, much more than what we see, hear, feel, taste, and touch, not only exists but surely interacts more with the reality we understand at the present, than we could possibly imagine. I'll probably think that way about it until the math no longer contains constants like Planck's to explain those 'small' margins of unknown.

I think it, therefore it is - is more like it.
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 19
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/21/2012 3:09:16 PM

Oh how limited we are by our language.


Hmm . . . I don't see "it" as being limited by language, but rather a "momentary" inability to express ourselves fully in language. Without language, would there be thought? Without language, we would have no expression, eh? We think in words. Someday, perhaps we will find other ways of communication, but I think the human race will become extinct before then. Or, perhaps, when we find this mode, we will become something other than human.

The ancient Egyptians believed that a thing could not exist without a name; early deities spoke the universe into existence. One of the earliest tasks for the mythic Adam was to name plants and animals.

We cannot names things of which we are not aware, but when we find those "things," we will name them.
 lagoda
Joined: 11/20/2009
Msg: 20
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/21/2012 5:51:01 PM


I think it, therefore it is



Oh how limited we are by our language.



Hmm . . . I don't see "it" as being limited by language, but rather a "momentary" inability to express ourselves fully in language. Without language, would there be thought? Without language, we would have no expression, eh? We think in words. Someday, perhaps we will find other ways of communication, but I think the human race will become extinct before then. Or, perhaps, when we find this mode, we will become something other than human.

The ancient Egyptians believed that a thing could not exist without a name; early deities spoke the universe into existence. One of the earliest tasks for the mythic Adam was to name plants and animals.

We cannot names things of which we are not aware, but when we find those "things," we will name them.



I was making a distinction between philosophy and science. I didn't say 'I think it, therefore it is and that which I don't think, isn't. So to clarify, thought or reality would not be limited by language. What is limited by language is our ability to successfully communicate our subjective reality to others because those experiences are difficult to measure.

Science is the study of that part of reality that we can measure and generally agree on, what I mean when I say collective reality. When I consider the OP's statement that nothing unphysical exists, I think of space. We could say that outer space is a void or vacuum in which nothing exists aside from dust and other particles. So space apparently is an entity that is the separation between objects (which distances can only be measured by another entity - light), of itself, not having physical properties. Then does space exist? Science says yes. But the OP's statement suggests otherwise. The statement can really only be argued philosophically with more definition of what is meant by (un)physical.
 lagoda
Joined: 11/20/2009
Msg: 21
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/21/2012 6:55:05 PM

I have come to be cautious enough, that I would go with "Nothing unphysical needs to have space rented for it in a storage bin."


Good analogy. This is how I'd describe some of the mathematical constants used to define the little gaps in some of the more difficult laws of physics. Scientists are only just renting the space until something more permanent presents.
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 22
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/23/2012 1:55:53 PM
Abstract concepts like FREEDOM physical or non-physical?

This is the kind of question that led me to my "rule" if you will.

1. "Freedom" starts with an idea. one that happens in the brain, with measurable activity, changes in heat and electrical activity, with information physically sored in our brains. I consider all activities and events that occur within the brain to be physical in nature.

2. The idea of FREEDOM is then expressed through either voice or written or typed. The voice is a physical event of vibrations of the body that vibrate the air, which is picked up by ears or other recording devices. All of this is physical, including the laws themselves that are written. Without any of the physical recordings of these ideas, the concept would cease to exist.

At no point do concepts like freedom or ideas or games or rules of a game or knowledge or anything like that become non-physical.

The terms are symbolic of refering to physical event or an exact sequence of smaller physical events.

WIND: Do i really have to explain why WIND is physical and not NON-physical? I'm pretty sure most of you would not consider it non-physical just because it cannot be seen directly with the naked eye.

Also, being able to "touch" something does not make it NON-PHYSICAL I dont think. I imagine its mipossible for us to touch the sun. But I see the point... assuming its implying that anything that exists can "make contact" with other physical things... or "influence" other physical things on the same relative scale to it's mass/energy, etc.

TIME: Necessary component of physical existence? yes. sure... however you describe it, it is a quality or describing a quality of physcial existence, thus physical.

COLOR: Saying "BLUE" is physical may seem kind of bizzar until you realize that only physical things can reflect or emit the color blue... thus, when we say "BLUE", we are always talking about the effect of seeing a physical thing.

I think that's where we all start to question wether eveeything is physical or not... the abstract concepts themselves dont seem to be physical until it becomes clear that the only reason they are confusing is that they are merely DESCRIBING a physical event, multiple events, a specific state or order of events, etc. ALL ARE PHYSICAL though.
 CressB
Joined: 7/1/2011
Msg: 23
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/24/2012 2:56:07 AM
musicfellow38:

I have thoroughly enjoyed your defense of your position on this question. Actually I support your position (it is something I have contemplated on my own), but have a few interesting questions for you.

1. Can a singularity be considered a physical phenomenon?

2. If not, do singularities exist outside our universe?

3. If singularities exist outside of our universe, do they exist on a non-physical set of rules?
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 24
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Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/24/2012 5:05:16 AM
I have a secondary question for the OP, and anyone else invested in this:

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?
 Silmaril82
Joined: 8/21/2011
Msg: 25
Nothing unphysical exists
Posted: 3/25/2012 10:32:36 AM
Doesn't matter simply consist of specific patterns of non-material energy? And that's where the science is right now. Once our methods of magnification improves further, what will we discover? The materialist worldview, to me, seems unlikely.
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