X-Message-Number: 23834
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2004 19:46:35 EDT
Subject: nothing

Dave Pizer has written that, logically, nothing can come from nothing, and 

Michael Price responded that this is a question for experiment. Reminds me of an
old joke:
Fellow says, "I'm afraid of nothing!"
Second fellow: "I'll bet you're afraid of death."
First: "Sure--death is nothing."
Most "philosophical" puzzles--maybe all of them--are just confusions of 

language. This is certainly true of the most famous "paradoxes" such as the Liar
and Russell's.
Current physics indicates that the "vacuum"--one form of "nothing"--has a 

structure, an ontology, and even whole "universes" can spring from nothing, let
alone violations of conservation of energy. And space itself, or spacetime, is 
said to be a physical "thing" with its own structure and transformations. 
Much ado about nothing?
And "instrumentalism" isn't good enough. The ptolemaic system was good enough 
for an instrumentalist!
We do need to make a distinction between work and play, even if we enjoy our 
work or get paid for playing.
Robert Ettinger

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