Monday, August 2, 2010

Deep Thoughts XXVII

Only the eternal is forever.

[Actually, this is only a necessary truth on some readings of "forever" and "eternal". We need to read "eternal" as compatible with merely futureward eternity, but not pastward eternity. We need to read "forever" as implying infinite futureward temporal extent, so that existing at every time not count as sufficient for existing forever (imagine a world where the timeline has only a finite extent from beginning to end—we don't want to count a being that exists from the beginning to the end of time as existing forever in that world). It's worth noting that the converse of the above Deep Thought might not be a necessary truth. For a timeless being can be eternal, but I am not sure a timeless being counts as existing "forever", except of course in an analogical sense.]


Jarrett said...

Should it be better read as only the eternal is constantly existing? Or does adding the constantly only complicate things?

This post reminds me of Alan Guth and his inflationary theory. He speaks of it [his theory] being eternal but notes it's really only semi-eternal, being that the 'future' is eternal on his theory, but not the past. (With each 'world or bubble/pocket' universe being finite).

Alexander R Pruss said...

How about: "Only the at least futureward semi-eternal lasts is forever." Not so catchy?

Jarrett said...

Indeed! However, in due time that phrase will become catchy. :)-

Alexander R Pruss said...

Not unless I delete the word "lasts", which must have been a typo.

Jarrett said...

I noticed the typo. I too am not immune to them. You can delete the 'last' and I'll go about living my life as if I never saw it. lol

PS: I'm trademarking the phrase. We can't have people going around saying it as if they were the ones who came up with it. lol