Does All Actuality Imply Possibility?

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Dimmesdale
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Does All Actuality Imply Possibility?

Post #1

Post by Dimmesdale »

If something is actual, real, then it is therefore possible. Right?

I don't think so. I think that the word "possible" implies things other than mere "reality" and is thus inaccurate to use in various contexts.

"Possible" can in fact have THREE different meanings, philosophically, that I have been able to parse. Some of these are implied in the general usage of the word, but not all of them, all of the time.

FIRST, there is the notion that a hypothetical object is at least possible FROM OUR VANTAGE POINT OF KNOWLEDGE. Let me explain. Theists and atheists argue whether an eternal being (God) exists. Generally, both believe it is possible it exists, although both may, also, have varying levels of doubt that they are right, one way or the other. Let's just concentrate on the segment of the population who are OPEN to agnosticism to some extent. It is these I wish to focus on, because it is these thinkers who highlight what it means for something to be POSSIBLE from the epistemological, or knowledge, vantage point, but not in the sense of ontology.

As I have said, these theists and atheists argue about an ETERNAL being (God). IF God exists, then he could not have come to be. It is a necessary being. He could not have NOT been, at any point. Likewise, if God ISN'T, then it is equally a necessary FACT that no God could possibly exist (because God is by definition eternal -- he would have always, already BEEN).

So what meaning does the word "possible" have in the context of the discussion between these uncertain theists and atheists? It only applies to their own epistemology. Actually, the REALITIES God or not-God were CERTAIN, all along, being UNCHANGEABLE FACTS completely independent of our MINDS debating about them. It is only our own uncertain mental GRASPING that DEFAULTED to the conclusion "possible." Nay, CERTAIN is regards the ACTUAL FACT, POSSIBLE applies only to our SPECULATION ABOUT it.

SECOND, there is the notion that something can be ACTUALLY or ONTOLOGICALLY possible. This can refer, unlike in the case of God or eternally or absolutely necessary beings (mathematical forms, etc), to things which have the POTENTIAL of COMING to BE from a state of NOT BEING or "NOTHINGNESS." So for instance, assuming we do not live in a wholly deterministic universe, that there is such a thing as an uncertainty principle, then things can MOVE from a state of POTENTIALITY to one of ACTUALITY (or not). So for instance, it is possible to win the lottery. Assuming there is free will or some other force involved, we can assume that it is at least possible a certain player can win (or, again, NOT, as the case may TURN OUT). Here possibility takes on a completely different meaning. It is ontological, not epistemic.

THIRD, there is lastly the notion that SOMETHING (a state of affairs, etc) is possible in the sense that REALITY as we know it in terms of its inherent RATIONALITY ALLOWS or PERMITS it. So we know that since logic is real, there cannot be such a thing as a one-sided shape in terms of our spatial experience. Assuming any type of shape IPSO FACTO presumes more than one side because that is the nature of space. One side + depth = at least another side. This is simply a basic feature of the reality we find ourselves in. It is inherent.

Now, let's apply this to a "World." An actual world. The world we live in.

Is it, FIRSTLY, possible in the epistemic sense? You could say so, but since most of us take the world as a given, it is meaningless to say so. No one is agnostic or debating about it. So why even bother saying this about the world?

Is it, SECONDLY, possible in the ontological sense? How would you know? Do you know that the world does not have a necessary existence (that is, generated by chance)? If not, then it's not really accurate to say it is possible, is it? The fact is, you don't know, do you?

Is it, THIRDLY, possible in the rationalistic sense? This last one seems the most fitting. But it is also the least interesting. So what if the world is rational? It just means that the world isn't inherently absurd, but follows the necessary logic of existence all existent things follow. It doesn't tell us squat about any other "possible worlds" -- only this one. And what it simply says is that this world "IS" as much as anything is - rational and not absurd.

Is this world ACTUAL? Knock-knock. Yep.
Is this world possible?

At best, maybe, or it's a moot point.

(I am open to being proven wrong though; let's all learn together).
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Re: Does All Actuality Imply Possibility?

Post #11

Post by William »

Dimmesdale wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:03 pm
William wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 7:56 pm Therefore, yes. It is possible for an individual in the next phase to experience such a thing as "suffering in boiling oil for 1000 millennia." if that individual so happens to create that experience for itself. So "God" would allow that but would also have ways set up in which said individual who created such a horrific circumstance for itself, is potentially enabled to get free of that situation.
Alright, what about eternal suffering then? Suffering that is infinite and without any end whatsoever. That is conceivable in the mind of the Creator. Does that mean it is possible?
All things are possible, but some things are more likely than other things. As I wrote, ""God" would allow that but would also have ways set up in which said individual who created such a horrific circumstance for itself, is potentially enabled to get free of that situation." so in that, it allows for some things to be less possible than other things. Call it "fudging" to get a desired result, but when one thinks how pointless any Eternal Being in such an eternal circumstance would be, the fudging makes sense.
That would seem to go against pantheism, if we are all parts of the divine, destined sooner or later to reunite with Source. So within your own worldview that would not be possible. Even though it is still very much imaginable.
It is somewhat imaginable I agree that much. I do not think we can really imagine it to be "very much imaginable" - we cannot even really fully comprehend what eternity is - the best we can do is get a gist of the idea - like something unseen at the edge of a dream...
I hope you and I agree at least that eternal hell is little more than gross superstition.
Lots of beliefs are steeped in superstition, yes. Such beliefs are still allowed to play out for a time for any and all who might choose to believe in such...so yep - getting through that and to the end of it does help serve the individual to learn not to be so superstitious ... silver linings and all...

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Re: Does All Actuality Imply Possibility?

Post #12

Post by Dimmesdale »

William wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:26 pm
All things are possible, but some things are more likely than other things. As I wrote, ""God" would allow that but would also have ways set up in which said individual who created such a horrific circumstance for itself, is potentially enabled to get free of that situation." so in that, it allows for some things to be less possible than other things. Call it "fudging" to get a desired result, but when one thinks how pointless any Eternal Being in such an eternal circumstance would be, the fudging makes sense.
Sorry, but in the scenario of eternal torment there are no get out cards. If there were, it wouldn't be eternal suffering. Is it possible or not? Your adding conditions of mercifulness is beside the point. If such were to exist, then that would mean, sooner or later, the poor unfortunate soul would get out. It would be inevitable, even if it took 300 trillion years. OR it is inevitable that there is no end. You can't combine the two.

There is no such thing as "more possible" or "less possible." That is chance, probability, not possibility. You are conflating the two. Possible is either possible or impossible. It does not admit of degrees.

Probability on the other hand is when what is possible is actuated by already existent factors.
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Re: Does All Actuality Imply Possibility?

Post #13

Post by William »

[Replying to Dimmesdale in post #13]

Things which are possible are just that. Possible.

As you wrote;

"That is conceivable in the mind of the Creator. Does that mean it is possible?"

The answer would have to be "yes".

Possible doesn't mean that it is certainty. That is what I was attempting to explain. I wasn't conflating probability with possibility.

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Re: Does All Actuality Imply Possibility?

Post #14

Post by Dimmesdale »

William wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:20 am [Replying to Dimmesdale in post #13]

Things which are possible are just that. Possible.

As you wrote;

"That is conceivable in the mind of the Creator. Does that mean it is possible?"

The answer would have to be "yes".

Possible doesn't mean that it is certainty. That is what I was attempting to explain. I wasn't conflating probability with possibility.
I think you are confused. I don't feel like going over everything again.

My answer is a firm "no."
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Re: Does All Actuality Imply Possibility?

Post #15

Post by William »

Dimmesdale wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:26 am
William wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:20 am [Replying to Dimmesdale in post #13]

Things which are possible are just that. Possible.

As you wrote;

"That is conceivable in the mind of the Creator. Does that mean it is possible?"

The answer would have to be "yes".

Possible doesn't mean that it is certainty. That is what I was attempting to explain. I wasn't conflating probability with possibility.
I think you are confused. I don't feel like going over everything again.

My answer is a firm "no."
Certainly I am confused. In that I do not understand what you are trying to get across here about possibility.

But let us suppose that such a thing is not conceivable in The Mind of The Eternal Creator . That it is not possible for The Eternal Creator to imagine such a thing.

Then that would mean that we too cannot imagine such a thing is possible.

So either, - as I wrote earlier "It is somewhat imaginable I agree that much. I do not think we can really imagine it to be "very much imaginable" - we cannot even really fully comprehend what eternity is - the best we can do is get a gist of the idea - like something unseen at the edge of a dream..."

We can speak about eternity but we cannot imagine it in any manner which our human brains can really comprehend...

Does that mean imagining eternity is real, does not mean it is real?

If something is actual, real, then it is therefore possible. Right? You don't think so.

So I read the whole OP to see if there is something which explains you premise in the first sentence.
Let's just concentrate on the segment of the population who are OPEN to agnosticism to some extent. It is these I wish to focus on, because it is these thinkers who highlight what it means for something to be POSSIBLE from the epistemological, or knowledge, vantage point, but not in the sense of ontology.
Okay...
As I have said, these theists and atheists argue about an ETERNAL being (God). IF God exists, then he could not have come to be. It is a necessary being. He could not have NOT been, at any point. Likewise, if God ISN'T, then it is equally a necessary FACT that no God could possibly exist (because God is by definition eternal -- he would have always, already BEEN).
Not sure what exactly you are saying here...Let us call this eternal god "The Eternal Creator ".
Then we can turn or attention to The Creation.

If The Eternal Creator has always existed, then it is possible that The Creation has also existed, If all things are of The Eternal Creator
So what meaning does the word "possible" have in the context of the discussion between these uncertain theists and atheists? It only applies to their own epistemology. Actually, the REALITIES God or not-God were CERTAIN, all along, being UNCHANGEABLE FACTS completely independent of our MINDS debating about them. It is only our own uncertain mental GRASPING that DEFAULTED to the conclusion "possible." Nay, CERTAIN is regards the ACTUAL FACT, POSSIBLE applies only to our SPECULATION ABOUT it.
In that - it is Possible that The Eternal Creator made it that way so that We could experience that particular retarded point of view...as in my mention of the human brain...[and general human form] also to mention the extra containment of the Earth acting as a retardant - specifically a retardant so good that it forces us to contemplate what is possible - because that is the way WE The Eternal Creator created it to operate as.

It is possible WE did this because WE thought it was possible - motivated by the terrible position of knowing everything, and thus - otherwise - having no escape from that condition...
Is it, FIRSTLY, possible in the epistemic sense? You could say so, but since most of us take the world as a given, it is meaningless to say so. No one is agnostic or debating about it. So why even bother saying this about the world?
Certainly - as I mentioned regarding the existence of a pink unicorn being possible in this universe.

But there is another step to take before one closes the door on that.

For obviously what exists, either was seen as a possibility before The Eternal Creator created it...OR...It has always existed as part of The Eternal Creator. It is possible that both apparently different things are the same thing.

So one is then required to travel down the rapids of that possibility...But why would The Eternal Creator create this universe and investigate its qualities by inserting Its own awareness into it and effectively losing itself for nigh on an eternity?

It is possible that The Eternal Creator was "tired" of knowing everything all at once forevermore and so created a way in which to alleviate Itself of the burden...because it was possible for The Eternal Creator to achieve this...and here we are right bang in the "middle" of its apparent actuallity...so at least we know that If there is The Eternal Creator, then not only was it possible to create such a place, but we have the evidence of it to confirm that it was done.
Is it, SECONDLY, possible in the ontological sense? How would you know? Do you know that the world does not have a necessary existence (that is, generated by chance)? If not, then it's not really accurate to say it is possible, is it? The fact is, you don't know, do you?
Well is it possible to know? Yes. One simply has to put the pieces together. Perhaps all things are possible, but this world happens to be, so in relation to the idea that The Eternal Creator exists and thus created it, all possible reasons for why it exists can be explored - possibly.

Otherwise "chance" is as good a reason as any.

So it is up to the theists to show the way. Answer the question "Why?"

But also - do this in a scientific manner - in a manner which allows for the tearing down of old ideas which - now being aligned with new knowledge - are redundant. Strip the creation down to see if anything is reveal behind its awesome existence...

This idea that WE are in the thick of this creation because WE stuffed up and are being punished, is one of those antiquated ideas pinned to the possibilities. Whereas the idea the creation exists as one example of a universe The Eternal Creator can dummy down within, and escape Its awesome self for as long as it wants to do so - is more aligned with reasonable possibility than those more superstition-based possibilities.
Is it, THIRDLY, possible in the rationalistic sense? This last one seems the most fitting. But it is also the least interesting. So what if the world is rational? It just means that the world isn't inherently absurd, but follows the necessary logic of existence all existent things follow. It doesn't tell us squat about any other "possible worlds" -- only this one. And what it simply says is that this world "IS" as much as anything is - rational and not absurd.
This world doesn't need to tell us about other possible worlds. We have our imaginations for that [so it does so indirectly] and there is reason enough to think these things imaginable are therefore possible and furthermore WE - being a chip off the old block of The Eternal Creator -have the same attributes so "why not" be able to create your own world to experience in the next phase?

I choose [3] because it seems something that The Eternal Creator would do if It could do it, and we know that It can do it, when we look at this absurd universe of apparent order. The absurdity isn't in the overall makeup of the universe itself, but rather the fact that WE are within it and apparently experiencing it.

Not only is it absurd, but one cannot help but go insane...even that WE think WE are "normal". Insanity is the normal default setting for WE within it...

The whole thing is incredible funny even that it is also very tragic. But it doesn't have to be tragic...the tragic is just a phase WE went through while WE were still cleaning the mud off of our faces.
Is this world ACTUAL? Knock-knock. Yep.
Well - it is possible that it is really just a projection on the screen of the Mind of The Eternal Creator and only appears to be actual to US within it...but it is just a daydream The Eternal Creator is experiencing as a means of escaping ITs omniness.

But yes - regardless, WE have been placed into the daydream and while WE spit the blood of our mothers womb out and cough and splutter our way into it, get down and dirty with it, it appeared to be a nightmare - we naturally reacted badly and it is possible to feel contrition regarding that, but lets not linger... Knock-knock. "Who's There?" "The Eternal Creator" "The Eternal Creator Who?" ...

*Silence*...

Is this world possible? It exists. But the question isn't the one to be asking of something which exists...

..."Hello? Are you still there?"
At best, maybe, or it's a moot point.
Or - open the door and see who it is...

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Re: Does All Actuality Imply Possibility?

Post #16

Post by Dimmesdale »

William wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:46 pm
Certainly I am confused. In that I do not understand what you are trying to get across here about possibility.
For something to be possible, it means that the conditions can exist (potentially or actually) for that state of affairs to come about. It either is or is not possible. There is no in-between. There is no such thing as "more possible" or "less possible." Possible is possible. That's it.

On the other hand, if something is "probable" that means there is increased "likelihood" that the "possibility" (already existing) in question will be actualized/instantiated. Those are two different things, yet you conflated them.

You can deny it, but that's how I read your post.
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Re: Does All Actuality Imply Possibility?

Post #17

Post by William »

[Replying to Dimmesdale in post #17]

Okay - we can put that to the side now as confusion resolved.

Now to the other points I made to do with the OP. What say you about those?

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Re: Does All Actuality Imply Possibility?

Post #18

Post by Dimmesdale »

William wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:46 pm
We can speak about eternity but we cannot imagine it in any manner which our human brains can really comprehend...

Does that mean imagining eternity is real, does not mean it is real?

If something is actual, real, then it is therefore possible. Right? You don't think so.

Of course we can't comprehend eternity fully. We can only grasp it indirectly. But we can have a very basic concept of it or we would not be able to communicate it at all, it seems to me.

I'm not saying we can't imagine real things. I'm saying not everything we imagine is necessarily real or even possible.... I don't see why this is such a difficult idea to grasp....

I can imagine my house. My house is real. I can imagine unicorns. That does not make them real. Not even as a possibility -- unless that can be demonstrably shown. If it cannot, we must default to agnosticism at best.
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Re: Does All Actuality Imply Possibility?

Post #19

Post by William »

Dimmesdale wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:39 pm
William wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:46 pm
We can speak about eternity but we cannot imagine it in any manner which our human brains can really comprehend...

Does that mean imagining eternity is real, does not mean it is real?

If something is actual, real, then it is therefore possible. Right? You don't think so.

Of course we can't comprehend eternity fully. We can only grasp it indirectly. But we can have a very basic concept of it or we would not be able to communicate it at all, it seems to me.

I'm not saying we can't imagine real things. I'm saying not everything we imagine is necessarily real or even possible.... I don't see why this is such a difficult idea to grasp....

I can imagine my house. My house is real. I can imagine unicorns. That does not make them real. Not even as a possibility -- unless that can be demonstrably shown. If it cannot, we must default to agnosticism at best.
As I stated already, it is very reasonable to think that in this universe somewhere, pink unicorns do actually exist. One can imagine this as being possible based upon the variables involved which could make it possible.

Now to the other points I made to do with the OP in post#15 What say you about those?

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Re: Does All Actuality Imply Possibility?

Post #20

Post by Dimmesdale »

William wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 5:05 pm
As I stated already, it is very reasonable to think that in this universe somewhere, pink unicorns do actually exist. One can imagine this as being possible based upon the variables involved which could make it possible.
"It is very reasonable to think" is a speculation. You are agnostic about their existence. That is the #1 definition of possible in the OP. Whether they actually are is a different can of worms.

That does not mean they are (#2) ontologically possible (capable of being generated) or rationally permissible (#3).

You only think, in other words, that it is "possible that they are possible."
William wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 5:05 pmNow to the other points I made to do with the OP in post#15 What say you about those?
I'll get back to you.
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