Hi. My name is Roger. I'm from Michigan but have lived in Columbus, Ohio for 32 years. This site contains my ideas on philosophy and physics. Throughout these papers, I try to make as few assumptions as possible, try to be internally consistent and try to follow the logic wherever it takes me. As with all hypotheses related to science, these should be consistent with what's known and eventually make testable predictions, which can hopefully be validated by observation. The goal is not to overturn or refute existing scientific knowledge but to explore its foundational underpinnings and use this to make progress. In addition, this site also contains some miscellaneous ideas on science, economics, technology and other stuff. Thanks for visiting the site and reading the papers!
1. Why do things exist and why is there something rather than nothing?
A solution to the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is proposed that also entails a proposed solution to the question "Why does a thing exist?". In brief, I propose that a thing exists if it is a grouping. A grouping ties stuff together into a unit whole and, in so doing, defines what is contained within that new unit whole. For outside-the-mind groupings, like a book, the grouping is physically present and visually seen as an edge, boundary, or enclosing surface that defines this unit whole/existent entity. For inside-the-mind groupings, like the concept of a car, the grouping may be better thought of as the top-level label the mind gives to the mental construct that groups together other constructs into a new unit whole (i.e., the mental construct labeled “car” groups together the constructs of engine, car chassis, tires, use for transportation, etc.). The grouping, or enclosing surface/label, gives "substance" and existence to the thing as a new unit whole that's a different existent entity than any components contained within considered individually. Next, in regard to the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?", when we get rid of all known existent entities including matter, energy, space/volume, time, abstract concepts, laws or constructs of physics/math/logic, possible worlds/possibilities, counteracting forces, properties, consciousness, and minds, including the mind of the person trying to imagine this, we think what is left is the lack of all existent entities, or "nothing" (here, “nothing” does not mean the mind's conception of "nothing", but "nothing" itself, in which all minds would be gone). But once everything is gone, and the mind of the person thinking about this is gone, this "nothing" would, by its very nature, be the complete definition of the situation. That is, the very lack of all would itself be the entirety. Is there anything else besides that "nothing"? No. It is "nothing", and it is “the all”. Completely-defines-the-situation/entirety/”the all” is a grouping, which means, by the definition given here, that the situation we previously considered to be "nothing" is itself an existent entity. The surface of this entity isn't some separate structure; instead, it is the complete-definition-of-the-situation/entirety/"the all" grouping itself that is the surface. Said another way, by its very nature, "nothing" defines itself and is therefore the beginning point in the chain of being able to define existent entities in terms of other existent entities. One objection might be that a grouping is a property so how can it be there in "nothing"? The answer is that it is only once all known existent entities, including all properties and the mind of the person visualizing this “nothing”, are gone does this “nothing” completely define the situation and become the “the all” grouping and, therefore, an existent entity, or a “something”. The above argument can be restated by making the analogy between the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" and the idea that you that you start with a 0 (e.g., "nothing") and end up with a 1 (e.g., "something"). Because you can't change a 0 into a 1, the only way you can do this is if that 0 really wasn't a 0 but was actually a 1 in disguise, even though it looks like a 0 on the surface. In conclusion, it is argued that "something" is necessary because even what we previously considered to be "nothing" is a "something". This isn't a new idea, but, to the best of the author's knowledge, providing a mechanism for why "nothing" is a "something" is.
Other copies of this are available at: https://philpapers.org/rec/GRAPST-4
2. Use of the proposed solution to the question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" to build a simple model of the early universe
In order to provide evidence for these proposed solutions to the questions "Why do things exist?" and "Why is there something rather than nothing?", I'm trying to derive some properties of the existent entities previously called "nothing" and use these properties to build a simple computer simulation-type model of the early universe. Remember, the universe is made of existent entities, so this makes sense. The reason for building a model is that no matter how logical an idea is, people won't listen to it without evidence and especially without visual evidence. If this model matches what is observed and can make testable predictions that are experimentally verified, this will provide evidence for the model. Even though it starts with metaphysical thinking, this is the scientific method. I think this metaphysics-to-physics, or philosophical engineering, approach can allow faster progress towards a deeper understanding of the universe than the more top-down approach that physicists currently use. What I've got so far in terms of the model seems promising, but it gets complicated, and I'm not a computer programmer, so the progress is slow. So if anyone that knows 3D computer simulation software and physics is interested in working on a computer simulation of the model, any work (on your own time and expense) would be welcome. Thank you in advance! I'm currently using computer simulation software called HoudiniTM, but the model itself is independent of any particular kind of software.
3. Application of "A Thing Exists If It's A Grouping" to Russell's Paradox and Godel's Incompletness Theorem
A resolution to the Russell Paradox is presented that is similar to Russell's “theory of types” method but is instead based on the definition of why a thing exists as described in previous work by this author. In that work, it was proposed that a thing exists if it is a grouping tying "stuff" together into a new unit whole. In tying stuff together, this grouping defines what is contained within the new existent entity. A corollary is that a thing, such as a set, does not exist until after the stuff is tied together, or said another way, until what is contained within is completely defined. A second corollary is that after a grouping defining what is contained within is present and the thing exists, if one then alters what is tied together (e.g., alters what is contained within), the first existent entity is destroyed and a different existent entity is created. A third corollary is that a thing exists only where and when its grouping exists. Based on this, the Russell Paradox's set R of all sets that aren't members of themselves does not even exist until after the list of the elements it contains (e.g. the list of all sets that aren't members of themselves) is defined. Once this list of elements is completely defined, R then springs into existence. Therefore, because it doesn't exist until after its list of elements is defined, R obviously can't be in this list of elements and, thus, cannot be a member of itself; so, the paradox is resolved. This same type of reasoning is then applied to Godel's first Incompleteness Theorem. Briefly, while writing a Godel Sentence, one makes reference to a future, not yet completed and not yet existent sentence, G, that claims its unprovability. However, only once the sentence is finished does it become a new unit whole and existent entity called sentence G. If one then goes back in and replaces the reference to the future sentence with the future sentence itself, a totally different sentence, G1, is created. This new sentence G1 does not assert its unprovability. An objection might be that all the possibly infinite number of possible G-type sentences or their corresponding Godel numbers already exist somehow, so one doesn't have to worry about references to future sentences and springing into existence. But, if so, where do they exist? If they exist in a Platonic realm, where is this realm? If they exist pre-formed in the mind, this would seem to require a possibly infinite-sized brain to hold all these sentences. This is not the case. What does exist in the mind is the system for creating G-type sentences and their corresponding numbers. This mental system for making a G-type sentence is not the same as the G-type sentence itself just as an assembly line is not the same as a finished car. In conclusion, a new resolution of the Russell Paradox and some issues with proofs of Godel's First Incompleteness Theorem are described.
4. Infinite Sets: Do Abstract Mathematical Axioms About Infinite Sets Apply To The Real, Physical Universe?
In mathematics, if one starts with the infinite set of positive integers, P, and want to compare the size of the subset of odd positives, O, with P, this is done by pairing off each odd with a positive, using a function such as P=2O+1. This puts the odds in a one-to-one correspondence with the positives, thereby, showing that the subset of odds and the set of positives are the same size, or have the same cardinality. This counter-intuitive result ignores the “natural” relationship of one odd for every two positives in the sequence of positive integers; however, in the set of axioms that constitute mathematics, it is considered valid. In the physical universe, though, relationships between entities matter. For example, in biochemistry, if you start with an organism and you want to study the heart, you can do this by removing some heart cells from the organism and studying them in an in vitro (outside the organism) cell culture system. But, the results are often different than what occurs in the intact organism because studying the cells in culture ignores the relationships in the intact body between the heart cells, the rest of the heart tissue and the rest of the organism. It also introduces other non-physiological conditions. Relationships between entities are of great importance in chemistry and physics as well. In chemistry, if one were to study a copper atom in isolation, it would never be known that copper atoms in bulk can conduct electricity because the atoms share their electrons. In physics, relationships between inertial reference frames in relativity and observer and observed in quantum physics can't be ignored. Furthermore, infinities cause numerous problems in theoretical physics such as non-renormalizability. What the above suggests is that the pairing off method and the mathematics of infinite sets based on it are analogous to the artificial cell culture system or studying a copper atom isolated from bulk copper if they are used in studying the real, physical universe. That is, in the real, physical world, the natural, or inherent, relationships between entities matter. Said another way, the set of axioms which constitute abstract mathematics may be similar to, but not identical with, the set of physical axioms by which the real, physical universe runs. This then suggests that the results from abstract mathematics about infinities may not apply to or should be modified for use in physics.
5. Infinite Sets: The Appearance of an Infinite Set Depends on the Perspective of the Observer
Given an infinite set of finite-sized spheres extending in all directions forever, a finite-sized (relative to the spheres inside the set) observer within the set would view the set as a space composed of discrete, finite-sized objects. A hypothetical infinite-sized (relative to the spheres inside the set) observer would view the set as a continuous space and would see no distinct elements within the set. Using this analogy, the mathematics of infinities, such as the assignment of a cardinality to a set, depends on the reference frame of the observer thinking about them (the mind of the mathematician) relative to the infinite set. This reasoning may also relate to the differing views of space in relativity as continuous and in quantum mechanics as discrete.
6. Miscellaneous Ideas on Quantum Weirdness, Time, The Relativity of Time and Location, The "Unreasonable" Effectiveness of Math at Describing The Universe and Other Things
This paper has some ideas on time, the relativity of time and location, the "unreasonable" effectiveness of math at describing the universe and other things.
8. Questions and Ideas on Other Things in Science, Economics and Other Stuff
All of the ideas in the first four papers were originally published in 2001 at www.geocities.com/roger846; although, this site is now closed.
Contact information: email@example.com.