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StrictlyLogical

Objectivism: The Infinite, Causation, and the Universe

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What is the Objectivist position on the following observations:

1. No thing can come from Nothing.

2. There was no prior time during which there was Nothing and from which (after which) came or arose all of existence.

3. The Universe is and always was, it had no beginning.

4.  At every moment the chain of events in causation prior to that moment are the cause of what IS at that moment.

5.  At no moment was there an absence of causation for what WAS at that moment, nor an absence of prior events and existents which constitute the causes of that causation.

6.  The chain of causative events of the past are to be grasped as extending indefinitely into the past.

7.  A chain of causative events extending indefinitely into the past implies an uncountable number of past events exceeding any finite number, since any finite number of events into the past constitutes a causal chain extending only definitely (finitely) into the past.

 

In order to avoid a conclusion that something came from nothing, entities came from no entities, or that time came from no time etc., or that at one time there was not past and no causation; one must embrace a universe which has "forever" existed and has undergone an infinity of causal events in the past.

 

This infinite accounting of events, is vaguely reminiscent of an infinite causal regress, the flawed argument of creation:  universe was created by God 1 from nothing, God 1 was created by God 2 perhaps as part of another higher universe, from nothing; ... God X and his universe were created by God X+1 from nothing... in an infinite regress.  The main difference between an infinite accounting and an infinite regress is that the causality of disparate events of an everlasting universe, although they are constantly and always "giving birth" to a metaphysically changed universe from what it was a moment ago, the universe has NOT come into existence from nothing nor is it a different universe, nor something of a categorical different order, and there is no "hierarchically separated" structure of creation as would be implied by a nested series of God creations of the infinite regress.

 

What is the Objectivist position on the above, and (notwithstanding my above ruminations) why IS an infinite "regress" worse than an infinite causal chain?

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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As I understand her:

 Ayn Rand would agree with points 1 and 2.  Point 3 seems to me to be more a scientific question.  On the rest of your points, she disagreed with the concept of events being caused by previous events, instead thinking in terms of actions caused by entities that act.

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26 minutes ago, Doug Morris said:

As I understand her:

 Ayn Rand would agree with points 1 and 2.  Point 3 seems to me to be more a scientific question.  On the rest of your points, she disagreed with the concept of events being caused by previous events, instead thinking in terms of actions caused by entities that act.

Interesting... I'm not sure I agree with your assessment re. 3... Peikoff has dealt with it from a philosophical point of view I believe.

As for "events", I do not mean disembodied action (which is literally an impossibility) but actual events we observe occurring in reality, i.e. entities interacting somewhere at some time, which together form the causal chain.

My use of the term "event" includes the entities and the actions/interactions which define the event.  "The car crash at 5:30 at 2nd and 5th streets" is an event which includes the cars, their interaction, etc...   I could have gone into more detail but felt it was unnecessary and did not want to overcomplicate things.

 

I do not know of a better term to generally identify or refer to any interaction of entities in the causal chain.  If there is a better one please let me know.  I would like to correct any misleading implications in the OP.

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Ayn Rand didn't claim to know more about the world than what science tells us. What she did do is assume three axioms without which any knowledge would be impossible, and dismiss statements that aren't based in fact, or use concepts that aren't based in reality.

One such concept is "infinite", or "forever". Defining a concept as the "the opposite" of another concept (has "opposite" attributes) isn't based in reality. Just because something exists, doesn't mean "the opposite" of it exists too.

Let's just leave it at this: there are things that we don't have the ability to measure, currently. We are limited by technology (as well as the inability of things that possess mass to travel faster than the speed of light, or to travel back in time ... at least in time and space as we know them), in what we can measure. Which means that there (probably) are things we know nothing about. I'm saying "probably", because again: we don't know anything about it, it's just highly unlikely that the size of existence and the size of the measured Universe coincide.

But just because there are holes in our knowledge doesn't mean we should fill them up with nonsensical or simplistic assumptions. We should just accept that the holes are there. By filling holes up with assumptions, we are limiting ourselves. We are ignoring possibilities...such as that time and space isn't something that can only be experienced the way we currently experience them, but rather something that can be manipulated, and perhaps even extended or built.

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