Space, Time and Infinity

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Enigma3
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Space, Time and Infinity

Post by Enigma3 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 5:37 pm

I consider space as being infinite. Looking out at the night sky I see the Universe but importantly I see a black background. The background means, to me, that space will go on forever. Yet, I can't truly believe it, even though it seems that it is necessary.


If there were no universe there still should be empty space and that space would be infinite. Even though I am saying it I still can't wrap my mind around it. It's too much space. It goes on forever. Does it make sense to say that is has an origin? I think not. For, what would be the origin of the origin? Who makes the makers? We can't get rid of the ideas of eternity and infinity.

The same goes for time. We can conceptually go back in time forever. And we can go forward forever, it just doesn't make any sense. with the idea of eternity and infinity we are negating our own existences it seems.

Infinite space and eternal times are impossible to believe in the face of our own existence. Yet it seems that it is necessary.

Are space and time mere concepts in the mind?

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Lawrence Crocker
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by Lawrence Crocker » Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:13 pm

Kant concluded that space and time were forms imposed by our minds upon reality. One of his arguments, the "First Antinomy of Pure Reason" in his Critique of Pure Reason anticipates some of your thoughts here.

The physicists tend to say that, although we can conceptualize infinite space and time infinite in both directions, the geometry of space (including whether it is infinite) and the career of time are physical questions.

thedoc
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by thedoc » Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:45 pm

Enigma3 wrote:I consider space as being infinite. Looking out at the night sky I see the Universe but importantly I see a black background. The background means, to me, that space will go on forever. Yet, I can't truly believe it, even though it seems that it is necessary.


If there were no universe there still should be empty space and that space would be infinite. Even though I am saying it I still can't wrap my mind around it. It's too much space. It goes on forever. Does it make sense to say that is has an origin? I think not. For, what would be the origin of the origin? Who makes the makers? We can't get rid of the ideas of eternity and infinity.

The same goes for time. We can conceptually go back in time forever. And we can go forward forever, it just doesn't make any sense. with the idea of eternity and infinity we are negating our own existences it seems.
Infinite space and eternal times are impossible to believe in the face of our own existence. Yet it seems that it is necessary.
Are space and time mere concepts in the mind?
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I know there some on a forum like this who will argue the point, but so far the best explanation I have heard is that the universe is finite in both size and duration, but without boundaries in size. both before and beyond the universe there was nothing, not empty space, but nothing, not even empty space. The problem is that this idea is very counter-intuitive because it does not fit with the common experience of most humans. There is always something beyond and something that happened before, so the idea of nothing existing or happening just doesn't fit with reality as we know it. However there is no reason to expect that the universe will conform to human expectations. The Universe has defied human expectations before and probably will do so again.

surreptitious57
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by surreptitious57 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:15 pm

Lawrence Crocker wrote:
Kant concluded that space and time were forms imposed by our minds upon reality
He assumes they are mind dependent when actually it is the opposite for they are mind independent

Otherwise it would mean they could not exist before they were conceived of which is obviously false

Enigma3
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by Enigma3 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:31 pm

thedoc wrote:
I know there some on a forum like this who will argue the point, but so far the best explanation I have heard is that the universe is finite in both size and duration, but without boundaries in size. both before and beyond the universe there was nothing, not empty space, but nothing, not even empty space. The problem is that this idea is very counter-intuitive because it does not fit with the common experience of most humans. There is always something beyond and something that happened before, so the idea of nothing existing or happening just doesn't fit with reality as we know it. However there is no reason to expect that the universe will conform to human expectations. The Universe has defied human expectations before and probably will do so again.
Thanks for your reply, doc.

I agree with you that there is no reason to expect that the universe will conform to human expectations but to say that we replace 'empty space' with 'nothing' is to replace one human centered notion with another. We are still faced with the problem that infinite space seems necessary as a condition of the physical universe that we do experience. The problem is existence itself. Infinite empty space is a form of nothingness.

After all I am not saying that there is a God who created the Universe (which would be anthropocentric in a sense). I am asserting that infinitely empty space or the type of nothingness that we are discussing leaves the individual in a sort of crisis. I would suggest that both Being and Non-being are connected in this life and this world, in the here and now.

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Enigma3
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by Enigma3 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:51 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Lawrence Crocker wrote:
Kant concluded that space and time were forms imposed by our minds upon reality
He assumes they are mind dependent when actually it is the opposite for they are mind independent

Otherwise it would mean they could not exist before they were conceived of which is obviously false
It seems that it all depends on what one means by the word "conceived". Perception is an attribute of living beings, what these beings perceive would be necessarily limited. Space and time could be limits of human perception; for no one could see the totality or a 'thing in itself'.

Space and Time are aspects of reality and we may assume that they belong to the whole that we cannot see directly, so in that sense they do exist as our concepts; just as the colour green exists in my awareness of a green object at the time and place of my perception.
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Seremonia
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by Seremonia » Tue May 05, 2015 1:34 am

We can understand "infinity" in different ways. First, infinity is never ending. Secondly, infinity is "not limited by another thing".

Former, indicates a case where we couldn't hold on it. A never ending implies there is at least one thing which is unreal, in the sense that it has no place wherever possible. Because once you are pointing to the farthest pointer but suddenly it's not the farthest. Never ending, there is no exact place of never ending.

Later, not limited to be consider not limited by another, it makes sense. In the sense that thing could be considered depending upon (limited by) another thing. Or things are not depending upon other things, as not limited by another thing but maybe it's limited by something else.

So, what is infinity? It's not limited by one thing but on the other side it was limited by something else.

Philosophy Explorer
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Tue May 05, 2015 2:04 am

Seremonia said:

"Secondly, infinity is 'not limited by another thing'."

Are you aware there are different levels of infinity? There's Aleph null, Aleph one, Aleph two, etc. So, in a sense, infinity limits itself where Aleph null, e.g., is limited by Aleph one. So let me ask you what you mean by limited?

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Seremonia
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by Seremonia » Tue May 05, 2015 2:39 am

Philosophy Explorer wrote:Seremonia said:

"Secondly, infinity is 'not limited by another thing'."

Are you aware there are different levels of infinity? There's Aleph null, Aleph one, Aleph two, etc. So, in a sense, infinity limits itself where Aleph null, e.g., is limited by Aleph one. So let me ask you what you mean by limited?

PhilX
As previously stated, limited means, it's dependent upon (in any possible ways) something else.

van Keister
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by van Keister » Wed May 06, 2015 7:10 pm

When one speaks about infinity or for that matter Being one isn't saying much. But in Riemann geometry or curved space which may be the proper geometry according to Einstein of our universe, infinity curves back upon itself and is bounded, our ideas of space/time and infinity are local and not as mystifying as phenomenologists have us believe. Interesting to note that the Greeks had a word for the infinite (apeiron) but none for space. Frailty, thy name is..philosopher..

uwot
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by uwot » Wed May 06, 2015 10:18 pm

van Keister wrote:...in Riemann geometry or curved space which may be the proper geometry according to Einstein of our universe, infinity curves back upon itself and is bounded, our ideas of space/time and infinity are local and not as mystifying as phenomenologists have us believe. Interesting to note that the Greeks had a word for the infinite (apeiron) but none for space.
Do you have any idea what you are talking about?

van Keister
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by van Keister » Thu May 07, 2015 12:26 pm

Contrare...As a retired science and math teacher I believe I do. Do you understand anything about modern geometry especially fractal geometry? If you did then I believe you wouldn't be worshipping "infinity" as something devine as you do.

Wyman
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by Wyman » Thu May 07, 2015 2:07 pm

Seremonia wrote:
Philosophy Explorer wrote:Seremonia said:

"Secondly, infinity is 'not limited by another thing'."

Are you aware there are different levels of infinity? There's Aleph null, Aleph one, Aleph two, etc. So, in a sense, infinity limits itself where Aleph null, e.g., is limited by Aleph one. So let me ask you what you mean by limited?

PhilX
As previously stated, limited means, it's dependent upon (in any possible ways) something else.
Seremonia, have you ever studied calculus? Between any two real numbers (or any two points on the real number line), there are infinitely many numbers. And yet, one can determine exactly what the area bounded by a curve is, or the volume of any bounded solid (or on the differential side, instantaneous velocity, or the slope of a curve at any point, or a thousand other applications) by calculations involving quantities that approach infinity or approach infinitely small quantities. So mathematics, even at the level of calculus, deals extensively with infinity - infinite sets, open and bounded, infinite series with finite values, etc., etc., etc..

Philosophy Explorer
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Thu May 07, 2015 2:18 pm

Wyman wrote:
Seremonia wrote:
Philosophy Explorer wrote:Seremonia said:

"Secondly, infinity is 'not limited by another thing'."

Are you aware there are different levels of infinity? There's Aleph null, Aleph one, Aleph two, etc. So, in a sense, infinity limits itself where Aleph null, e.g., is limited by Aleph one. So let me ask you what you mean by limited?

PhilX
As previously stated, limited means, it's dependent upon (in any possible ways) something else.
Seremonia, have you ever studied calculus? Between any two real numbers (or any two points on the real number line), there are infinitely many numbers. And yet, one can determine exactly what the area bounded by a curve is, or the volume of any bounded solid (or on the differential side, instantaneous velocity, or the slope of a curve at any point, or a thousand other applications) by calculations involving quantities that approach infinity or approach infinitely small quantities. So mathematics, even at the level of calculus, deals extensively with infinity - infinite sets, open and bounded, infinite series with finite values, etc., etc., etc..

I'm in agreement with what you say. I'm partially in disagreement with the way calculus is taught when the texts say "when x approaches infinity" without bothering to explain what is meant by this, relying on the reader's intuition.

Wyman
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Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Post by Wyman » Thu May 07, 2015 2:34 pm

Of course, Newton and Leibniz thought of it in terms of infintesimals, which others later thought of as problematic or absurd, probably for the same reason as the posters above think the same about some aspects of infinity. I don't see the difference conceptually(philosophically?); but the idea of limits is how we all learned calculus, so I assume the notation and methods, having been worked out for hundreds of years, are simpler and more streamlined by the modern notation.

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