You can't create something out of nothing can you! And yet, here we exist. Is this not the most relevant question we can't answer?

@ Jonathan: If I may, I think Leibniz's analogy is faulty. The constraints on what counts as a good explanation of why there have been any books at all (or any books bearing a particular title) need not be constraints on what counts as a good explanation of why there have been any states of the universe at all. I try to explain why in this brief article .

Can something become nothing? In an absolute sense. It seems impossible intuitively speaking, but I have hard time figuring out a logically strict arguments. Thanks!

Merriam-Webster defines the relevant senses of the verb "become" as "come into existence"; "come to be"; and "undergo change or development." Given that definition, how about this argument? (1) Necessarily, whatever comes into existence, comes to be, or undergoes (qualitative) change or development exists at the end of the process of coming into existence, coming to be, or undergoing (qualitative) change or development. (2) Necessarily, whatever exists is not nothing. (3) Therefore: It is impossible for something to become nothing. If that argument is sound, then it's only in a figurative sense (rather than a literal sense) that something becomes nothing when it goes out of existence.

Are all concrete objects contingent objects and all abstract objects noncontingent objects? Thank you!

I'm inclined to say that all concrete objects are contingent. But those who believe that God exists noncontingently would likely disagree, because according to standard versions of theism God is a concrete object, since God has causal power. But I'm inclined to say that not all contingent objects are concrete. The Eiffel Tower is a concrete object, whereas the set whose only member is the Eiffel Tower -- the set {The Eiffel Tower} -- is an abstract object, as all sets are. The identity of any set depends solely on its membership: had any member of a given set failed to exist, then the set itself would have failed to exist. Therefore, because the Eiffel Tower exists only contingently, the non-empty set {The Eiffel Tower} itself exists only contingently. Indeed, any set containing at least one contingent member is itself a contingent, abstract object. Or so it seems to me.

Hello, why a thing cannot exist without any properties ? (like being just itself)

I see no reason why properties do not include being identical to the number 7 and being distinct from the number 7 . If so, then -- necessarily -- everything that exists has exactly one of those two properties. The number 7 has the former property; everything else has the latter property. If there is no such thing as the number 7, then everything has the latter property. Either way, nothing can exist without having one property or the other.

Is their really an objective answer as to where the world came from?

I take it you presume that there is an objectively true answer to your question (otherwise, why ask it?). I can't see how there could fail to be an objectively true answer concerning where the universe came from, and the objectively true answer may be that the universe never came from anything because the universe (in one form or another) has always existed. Of course, the existence of an objectively true answer to the question is, by itself, no guarantee that we will ever come to know the answer.

so What is more real? The number two or my two feet?

Why must either be "more real" than the other? I can't make sense of "more real," anyway, as a comparison. Are shadows less real than the 3D objects that cast them? Shadows are dependent in a way in which 3D objects are not, but I don't see how that makes shadows any less real when they exist. Some philosophers say that the number 2, being an abstract object, exists necessarily (i.e., in all possible circumstances), whereas your two feet exist only contingently (i.e., in some but not all possible circumstances). But that view does not imply that the number 2 is any more real than your two feet. Other philosophers say that the number 2 exists but not your two feet, because they say that "anatomical foot," being a linguistically vague term, fails to denote anything in the world. (I think they're mistaken.) Still other philosophers would say that neither the number 2 nor your two feet exist. But none of that, I think, implies that one is more real than the other. Is Donald Trump more real than the...

Someone told me that there are nothing like table or chair because what there actually are is arrangement of matter and energy and label attached to it, which only exist in our minds. He thought if we accept nominalism, then we must accept this. I think he confused abstract objects with concrete objects. It seems to me that it's possible to believe things like table and chair exist while believe those concepts exist only in mind. Am I wrong?

Judging from your descriptions of them, your position seems to me more plausible than the other person's position. If tables actually are arrangements of matter and energy to which some label (say, "table") attaches, how does that imply that tables don't exist? On the contrary, it seems to imply that tables do exist, because it implies that tables are things (namely, arrangements of matter and energy) to which that label attaches, i.e., things referred to by that label. Someone who denies the existence of tables ought not to identify tables as anything, including as particular arrangements of matter and energy. It's true that tables wouldn't exist unless human beings (or some other species) made them: tables are artifacts. But of course it's not true that tables wouldn't exist unless human beings (or some other species) attached the label "table" to particular arrangements of matter and energy. Indeed, the very first tables probably weren't called "tables," and in most of the world tables still...

I don't know if this a philosophical question or scientific question, So this is my question, If A create all things, is it logically safe to say that A is uncreated?

Professor Westphal wrote: "If I create everything except myself, then of course it follows that I do not create myself. But...does it follow that I am uncreated? I can't see how it does. For one thing, there could be someone else who created me...." If I am created, then I have one or more creators, each distinct from me. If I am created and I create everything except myself, then I must create my own creator(s), which is no more coherent than self-creation. Hence I must be uncreated. See my original reply. Professor Westphal's interpretation of John 1:3 makes the verse at least possibly true, but at the cost of making it oddly redundant: "All made things were made by God; and no made things were made without God." The second clause comes so close to simply restating the first clause that it could hardly count as "evidence" in favor of the first.

The analogy to printing money fails. There's an obvious difference between (a) "I create everything except myself" and (b) "I print all the money except what's in my wallet." Given the impossibility of creating my own creator, (a) implies that I am uncreated. By contrast, (b) doesn't imply that the money in my wallet is unprinted. Maybe Professor Westphal assumes that it's possible for someone to create his/her own creator. Maybe he imagines a time-travel loop in which, say, X creates Y in 1900 and then Y goes back in time to create X in 1800. I think such a scenario is conceptually incoherent, because I think that "X creates Y in 1900" implies "Y doesn't exist prior to 1900." But I suppose others might interpret "creates" differently.

It's a philosophical question. No scientist, as such, will have any particular expertise for answering it. If A created all things, then it follows that A created itself , since presumably only a thing (rather than literally nothing) can do any creating. But the notion that A created itself seems to me to be logically inconsistent: in order for A to do any creating, A must exist, and in order for A to be created (i.e., to be brought into existence) A can't yet exist. So I conclude that it's impossible for A to create all things. However, if A created everything else , i.e., everything distinct from A, then I think it does follow that A is uncreated. Otherwise, A would have to create A's own creator(s), which seems to me to be logically impossible. I myself think it's impossible for anything to create everything else, because I think that there are abstract objects (such as numbers, or the laws of logic) that exist necessarily and that are necessarily uncreated. So those things, at least,...

In my amateur philosophy club, my friend told me that modal ontological argument is false because its premise, It's possible that a perfect being exists, doesn't make sense. He argued that it is logically equivalent to say "it is possible that it is necessary", which means 'there exists at least one possible world in which all possible worlds have this objects in them.' So, according to his analysis, that premise make possible worlds in a possible world, which is absurd and makes a danger of infinite regress. But I think he misunderstood the argument. I think what actually that premise says is "there is at least one possible world that has a object which is in every possible world." I think this is implied when the argument says that "if something possibly necessarily exists, then it necessarily exists." Am I wrong?

Excellent question. It's great to hear that you belong to a philosophy club. As I see it, if the modal-ontological argument fails, it's not because the locution "It is possible that it is necessary" is absurd or ill-formed or meaningless. The opening premise of the modal-ontological argument can be expressed without using the possible worlds idiom: There could have been a necessarily existing God (where "could have been" is construed as consistent with "is"). The idea is that even atheists are supposed to concede that a necessarily existing God is at least logically possible: logically speaking, there could have been such a thing (even if, according to atheists, there isn't). Granted the possibility of a necessarily existing God, the argument then uses the modal principle "If it's possible that it's necessary that G, then G," letting "G" in this case stand for the proposition that God exists. Conclusion: God actually exists. In my view, the argument can be challenged for assuming (1) the above...

Regarding the age old conundrum of the tree falling in the forest. According to Barclay, there is no sound if there is no mind to hear it. I am thinking that there may be no human around hence no human auditory organs to absorb the waves and send the message of "sound" to the brain.....but that is a bit anthropocentric. The forest is full of creatures that have auditory organs, so some brains will hear the sound....some minds will perceive the sound of a crashing tree, no? (listening to Nigel Warburton's A Little History of Philisophy)

I agree. I don't know what Berkeley says about whether any nonhuman animals possess minds, but on his view, I take it, nonhuman animals would need to possess minds in order to perceive anything. Indeed, according to Berkeley, not only does the tree make no sound unless a mind perceives the sound, but the tree doesn't even exist without a mind to perceive it. (Even if no finite mind perceives the tree, Berkeley attributes the tree's existence to the tree's being perceived by God's mind.) Notice, too, that if we construe "a sound" dispositionally, i.e., as simply a disturbance that would be heard if there were a normally equipped listener to hear it, then sounds can occur even with no listeners (human or nonhuman) on the scene.

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