Pre-existing

David Cowles

Jan 6, 2022

In my last post, I reflected on the idea that all the world’s ontologies (philosophical, theological or scientific) fall into one of two camps: (A) Some sort of Determinism, where the ‘actual’ is ultimately embedded in what is falsely called the ‘potential’ or (B) some sort of Indeterminism where potentiality is selectively converted to actuality through an agency that somehow, in some way transcends pure potentiality itself.

In my last post, I reflected on the idea that all the world’s ontologies (philosophical, theological or scientific) fall into one of two camps: (A) Some sort of Determinism, where the ‘actual’ is ultimately embedded in what is falsely called the ‘potential’ or (B) some sort of Indeterminism where potentiality is selectively converted to actuality through an agency that somehow, in some way transcends pure potentiality itself.


Group A would argue that there must be nothing before there can be something; Group B would reverse it: there must be something before there can nothing.


At first glance, Group A might seem to have the better of the argument. After all, doesn’t it make sense to move from ‘nothing’ to ‘something’? But there are two problems:


(1) No one has been able to explain successfully how nothing can give birth to something without reference to some pre-existing actuality (e.g., chaos, virtual particles, negative vacuum pressure) or some transcendent agency (e.g., a probability function, the fundamental laws of physics)

(2) The notion of Nothing, by itself, has no denotative meaning. No-thing implies ‘thing’ and there are no pre-existing things in this ontology. On the other hand, if one posits Something then the notion of Nothing emerge

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