What do yo know?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by ExpandUrMind, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. It's very simple, man.

    I know nothing. Knowing nothing takes "knowing". Therefore, nothing is not really "the absence of anything", because nothing is something, just not anything.
  2. I realize you can use the word nothing in that way. I also understand it's not anything.

    What then is nothing?

  3. What is is? Sometimes you have to have faith you know when you use a word.
  4. I don't pretend to know what "is" is, nor did i say "is" is something.

    I am asking you to elaborate on what you said you "know" like the OP suggested. Attacking what i know is a poor defense/explanation for what you know.

    "Nothing" isn't simple at all.
  5. All the statements you made, do you know you're the one making them? All those words you use, do you know it was you who used them? How do you know they are words?

    It comes down to personal faith in using the words that resonate with us.

    When I say I know nothing, I don't mean I don't know anything, because that would be knowing something and not highlighting that.

    When I say I know nothing, I mean that I know nothing is really everything.
  6. i will probably eat a frozen meal because my ankle hurts and I don't want to stand on it long
  7. I posted what I know, and none of those questions address none of my statements

    Ok, there is what you think you know about nothing.

    I would include myself in everything. I then disagree that nothing is everything, because i am not nothing.

    I am absolutely something. All evidence, the fact i am thinking and posting, points to me being something.

  8. Nothing is something though, the way you use it.
  9. Something, maybe, but it isn't me. Therefore it isn't everything.

  10. To you, but you aren't everything, so that's fine. ;)
  11. Isnt anything the opposite of nothing?
  12. Ice, advil, and bud should do the trick. Then take a nice and warm bath. Then stretch your ankle well, then take an advil pm, then smoke some more, then go to sleep :D

  13. What's the opposite of opposite?

    Everything contains its so-called opposite.

    Is anything, something, or everything the opposite of nothing?
  14. Depending on your personal definition of nothing it varies. You say you know nothing, so the opposite must be anything. However in your sig, it states "everything contradicts", which in this case I believe to be true. I believe one contradicts onesself when they say they know nothing. Remember when you were talking about faith, which is synonomous with belief? Well what you have faith in is what you believe to be true, this is the foundation of your knowledge. So to say you know nothing is to contradict what you have faith in.

  15. To say words don't help is contradictory but it must be said at times.

    Nothing is something though when we refer to it, because it is something.

    I know nothing means I know something, that something being nothing.
    I don't know anything means I know I don't know anything which is contradictory. Therefore, it seems your definition of nothing as the opposite of anything is the limiting factor to comprehension here.
  16. Web of thought, whatever you believe will imprison you, just thrash and repeat to escape. ;)
  17. Language and logic

    Grammatically, the word "nothing" is an indefinite pronoun, which means that it refers to something. One might argue that "nothing" is a concept, and since concepts are things, the concept of "nothing" itself is a thing. This logical fallacy is neatly demonstrated by the joke syllogism that contains a fallacy of four terms:
    1. The Devil is greater than nothing.
    2. Nothing is greater than God.
    3. Therefore, the Devil is greater than God.
    The four terms in this example are
    • God,
    • The Devil,
    • Nothing-as-a-thing that the Devil is greater than, and
    • Nothing-as-an-absence-of-a-thing: 'no-thing' or 'not-some-thing', ie, no entity exists that is greater than God.
    The error in the conclusion stems from equating nothing-as-a-thing with nothing-as-absence-of-a-thing which is invalid logic.
    Clauses can often be restated to avoid the appearance that "nothing" possesses an attribute. For example, the sentence "There is nothing in the basement" can be restated as "There is not one thing in the basement". "Nothing is missing" can be restated as "everything is present". Conversely, many fallacious conclusions follow from treating "nothing" as a noun.
    Modern logic made it possible to articulate these points coherently as intended, and many philosophers hold that the word "nothing" does not function as a noun, as there is no object that it refers to. There remain various opposing views, however-for example, that our understanding of the world rests essentially on noticing absences and lacks as well as presences, and that "nothing" and related words serve to indicate these.[citation needed]


    Western philosophy

    Many unschooled in philosophy would consider the study of "nothing" to be foolish, a typical response of this type is voiced by Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) in conversation with his landlord, one Dr. Gozzi, who also happens to be a priest,
    “As everything, for him, was an article of faith, nothing, to his mind, was difficult to understand: the Great Flood had covered the entire world; before, men had the misfortune of living a thousand years; God conversed with them; Noah had taken one hundred years to build the ark; while the earth, suspended in air, stood firmly at the center of the universe that God had created out of nothingness. When I said to him, and proved to him, that the existence of nothingness was absurd, he cut me short, calling me silly.[1]”
    However, "nothingness" has been treated as a serious subject worthy of research for a very long time. In philosophy, to avoid linguistic traps over the meaning of "nothing", a phrase such as not-being is often employed to unambiguously make clear what is being discussed.


    One of the earliest western philosophers to consider nothing as a concept was Parmenides (5th century BC) who was a Greek philosopher of the monist school. He argued that "nothing" cannot exist by the following line of reasoning. To speak of a thing, one has to speak of a thing that exists. Since we can speak of a thing in the past, it must still exist (in some sense) now and from this concludes that there is no such thing as change. As a corollary, there can be no such things as coming-into-being, passing-out-of-being or not-being.[2]
    Despite the fact of existence stubbornly refuting Parmenides' conclusion, he was taken seriously by other philosophers, influencing, for instance, Socrates and Plato.[3] Aristotle too, gives Parmenides serious consideration but concludes; "Although these opinions seem to follow logically in a dialectical discussion, yet to believe them seems next door to madness when one considers the facts."[4]


    Leucippus (early 5th century BC), one of the atomists, along with other philosophers of his time, made attempts to reconcile this with the everyday observation of motion and change. He accepted the monist position that there could be no motion without a void. The void is the opposite of being, it is not-being. On the other hand, a thing that exists is an absolute plenum and there can be no motion in a plenum because it is completely full. But there is not one monolithic plenum, existence consists of a multiplicity of plenums. These are the invisibly small atoms of the atomists theory, later expanded more fully by Democritus (circa 460 BC - 370 BC). They are a necessary part of the theory in order to allow the void to exist between them. In this scenario macroscopic objects can come-into-being move through space and pass into not-being by means of the coming together and moving apart of their constituent atoms. The void must exist in order to allow this to happen or else the frozen world of Parmenides must be accepted.
    Bertrand Russell points out that this does not exactly defeat the argument of Parmenides, but rather ignores it by taking the rather modern scientific position of starting with the observed data (motion etc) and constructing a theory based on the data as opposed to Parmenides attempts to work from pure logic. Russell also observes that both sides were mistaken in believing that there can be no motion in a plenum, but arguably motion cannot start in a plenum.[5] Cyril Bailey notes that Leucippus is the first to say that a thing (the void) might be real without being a body and points out the irony that this comes from a materialistic atomist. Leucippus is therefore the first to say that "nothing" has a reality attached to it.[6]


    Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) provided the classic escape from the logical problem posed by Parmenides by distinguishing things which were matter and things which were space. In this scenario, space is not "nothing", but a receptacle in which objects of matter can be placed. The void (as "nothing") is different from space and is removed from consideration.[7][8] This charactersition of space reached its pinnacle with Isaac Newton who asserted the existence of absolute space. Interestingly, modern quantum theory agrees that space is not the void, there is the concept of quantum foam which still exists in the absence of all else, although Albert Einstein's general relativity no longer agrees with Newton's concept of an absolute space. Rene Descartes, on the other hand, returned to a Parmenides like argument of denying the existence of space. For Descartes, there was matter, and there was extension of matter leaving no room for the existence of "nothing".[9]
    The idea that space can actually be empty was generally still not accepted by philosophers who invoked arguments similar to the plenum reasoning. Although Descartes views on this were challenged by Blaise Pascal, he declined to overturn the traditional belief, commonly stated in the form "Nature abhors a vacuum". This remained so until Evangelista Torricelli invented the barometer in 1643 and showed that an empty space appeared if the mercury tube was turned upside down. This phenomenon being known as the Torricelli vacuum and the unit of vacuum pressure, the Torr, being named after him. Even Torricelli's teacher, the famous Galileo Galilei had previously been unable to adequately explain the sucking action of a pump.[10]

    John the Scot

    John the Scot, or Johannes Scotus Eriugena (c. 815–877) held many surprisingly heretical beliefs for the time he lived in for which no action appears ever to have been taken against him. His ideas mostly stem from, or are based on his work of translating pseudo-Dionysius. His beliefs are essentially pantheist and he classifies evil, amongst many other things, into not-being. This is done on the grounds that evil is the opposite of good, a quality of God, but God can have no opposite, since God is everything in the pantheist view of the world. Similarly, the idea that God created the world out of "nothing" is to be interpreted as the "nothing" here is synonymous with God.[11]

    Georg Hegel

    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) is the philosopher who brought the dialectical method to its pinnacle of development. According to Hegel in Science of Logic the dialectical methods consists of three steps. First, a thesis is given, which can be any postulate in logic. Second, the antithesis of the thesis is formed and finally a synthesis incorporating both thesis and antithesis. Hegel believed that no postulate taken by itself can be completely true. Only the whole can be true and the dialectical synthesis was the means by which the whole could be examined in relation to a specific postulate. Truth consists of the whole process, separating out thesis, antithesis or synthesis as a stand-alone statement results in something that is in some way or other untrue. The concept of "nothing" arises in Hegel right at the beginning of his Logic. The whole is called by Hegel the "Absolute" and is to be viewed as something spirtual. Hegel then has;[12]
    • Thesis: The Absolute is Pure Being
    • Antithesis: The Absolute is Nothing
    • Synthesis: The Absolute is Becoming
    The existentialists

    The most prominent figure among the existentialists is Jean-Paul Sartre whose ideas in his book Being and Nothingness are heavily influenced by Being and Time of Martin Heidegger, although Heidegger later stated that he was misunderstood by Sartre.[13] Sartre defines two kinds of "being" (être). One kind is être-en-soi, the brute existence of things such as a tree. The other kind is être-pour-soi which is consciousness. Sartre claims that this second kind of being is "nothing" since consciousness cannot be an object of consciousness and can possess no essence.[14] Sartre, and even more so, Jaques Lacan, use this conception of nothing as the foundation of their atheist philosophy. Equating nothingness with being leads to creation from nothing and hence God is no longer needed for there to be existence.[15]

    Eastern philosophy

    [​IMG]This section requires expansion.
    The understanding of 'nothing' varies widely between cultures, especially between Western and Eastern cultures and philosophical traditions. For instance, Shunyata (emptiness), unlike "nothingness", is considered to be a state of mind in some forms of Buddhism (see Nirvana, mu, and Bodhi). Achieving 'nothing' as a state of mind in this tradition allows one to be totally focused on a thought or activity at a level of intensity that they would not be able to achieve if they were consciously thinking. A classic example of this is an archer attempting to erase his mind and clear his thoughts in order to better focus on his shot. Some authors have pointed to similarities between the Buddhist conception of nothingness and the ideas of Martin Heidegger and existentialists like Sartre,[16][17] although this connection has not been explicitly made by the philosophers themselves.
    In some Eastern philosophies, the concept of "nothingness" is characterized by an egoless state of being in which one fully realizes one's own small part in the cosmos.
    The Kyoto school handles the concept of nothingness as well.


    In mathematics, "nothing" does not have a technical meaning. The number zero is often used interchangeably with the term. It could also be said that a set contains "nothing" if and only if it is the empty set, in which case its cardinality (or size) is zero. In other words, the word "nothing" can be an informal term for an empty set.
    In physics, the word nothing is not used in any technical sense either. A region of space is called a vacuum if it does not contain any matter, though it can contain physical fields. In fact, it is practically impossible to construct a region of space that contains no matter or fields, since gravity cannot be blocked and all objects at a non-zero temperature radiate electromagnetically. However, even if such a region existed, it could still not be referred to as "nothing", since it has properties and a measurable existence as part of the quantum-mechanical vacuum.


    In computing, "nothing" can be a keyword (in VB.Net) used in place of something unassigned, a data abstraction. Although a computer's storage hardware always contains numbers, "nothing" symbolizes a number skipped by the system when the programmer desires. Many systems have similar capabilities but different keywords, such as "null", "NUL", "nil", None [1].
    To instruct a computer processor to do nothing, a keyword such as "NOP" may be available. This is a control abstraction; running processors are always computing something, if only the identity function.
  18. #38 hydrosRheaven, Sep 16, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2009
    You stand to your position you know nothing, but so far I haven't heard any factual elaboration on what nothing is.

    I can only guess as to what nothing would be like.

    For the sake of this argument say let's say god created the universe out of nothing.

    What is nothing like? That is what your saying you know.

  19. i don't know man. what is something like? because there are a lot of somethings... and you're seeming to imply that god can't do that. uh, hello, its god were talking about. you may be too high to repent for your sins but i smoke in peace because i've gotten it on with jesus.
  20. See everything bk says, lol. Thank god for him. :hide:


    When I say "I know I don't know anything" I mean "I know nothing".

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