Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Deep Thoughts XXXIX

You cannot leave an empty room.

[The idea behind this lovely tautology is from my daughter Clare.]

11 comments:

Heath White said...

Can you enter an empty room?

Alexander R Pruss said...

There is this rushing sound as you and the air around you is sucked into the vacuum, and the room isn't empty anymore.

SMatthewStolte said...

I prefer to leave the room empty.

= MJA said...

You cannot be in an empty room. =

Alexander R Pruss said...

And you cannot leave a place you cannot be in.

Heath White said...

The Metaphysical Entrapment Thesis:
You cannot leave an empty room. Each actual room is possibly empty. For each room, therefore, possibly you cannot leave it. But if you cannot possibly leave a room, you are trapped in it. Therefore, no matter what actual room you are in, you are trapped.

The Metaphysical Entrapment Thesis, Part 2:
As established, you cannot leave an empty room. However, you can enter an empty room. Many people have entered empty rooms. Therefore many people cannot leave the rooms they are in.

Cosmological Proof of the Pre-existence of the Soul in Heaven
Some rooms are occupied. Every room which someone begins to occupy enters from another room, which also must be occupied. This process cannot go on to infinity. Therefore, there is some occupied room which no one begins to occupy.

Cosmological Proof of a Necessarily Non-Empty Room
Rooms are occupied either contingently or necessarily. Every room that is contingently occupied gets its occupants from another room, which likewise is occupied either contingently or necessarily. If a room is contingently occupied, there is some point in time at which it is empty. Not all rooms can be occupied contingently, for if they were, then there would be some point at which all the rooms were empty, and there would be no one to occupy rooms in the future. Therefore, there exists a necessarily occupied room.

Theorem: You cannot enter an empty room
I cannot be in an empty room. Therefore, if a room is empty, I cannot be in it. But if I cannot be in a room, I cannot enter it, so I cannot enter an empty room.

Theorem: Emptiness is an essential property of empty rooms.
I cannot be in an empty room. Therefore, if a room is empty, I cannot be in it. This claim generalizes: if a room is empty, no one can be in it. So every empty room is essentially empty.

Corollary: Occupancy is an essential property of occupied rooms. The proof is left as an exercise.

A New Argument for Substance Dualism:
Suppose we construe ‘room’ broadly to quantify over any region of contiguous space. Necessarily, if I am in such a room, the room is not empty. But whether a room is empty is contingent. Therefore, whether I am in a room is contingent. However, since rooms include all of space, the only way I could fail to be in a room is if I had no spatial location. The only way I could have no spatial location is if I were disembodied. The only way I could be disembodied is if substance dualism is true. Therefore substance dualism is true.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Doesn't your final argument require the thesis that you exist?

Heath White said...

Alex:

You have caught what is surely the only fallacy in my arguments. Let’s clean it up this way.

“…whether I am in a room is contingent. However, since rooms include all of space, the only way I could fail to be in a room and exist is if I had no spatial location. The only way I could have no spatial location and exist is if I were disembodied. The only way I could be disembodied and exist is if substance dualism is true. Therefore, since I do exist, substance dualism is true.”

Dagmara Lizlovs said...

Now the only way a room can be truly be empty is if it evacuated of everything and that includes every air molecule so that there is an absolutely pure vacuum. Now the room is in fact, truly empty. You cannot be in this room and have it be empty. 1. If you are already in the room you are probably incapacitated because there is nothing for you to breath, therefore you can't leave, but if you are in the room even as an inanimate object now, the room is not empty. 2. You can't enter the completely evacuated room because either you won't be able to open the door because the outside air will be holding it shut, or if you manage to open it, the air will rush in. So with a truly empty room containing absolutely nothing, you can neither enter nor leave.

While we're on the subject of empty rooms:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2nnImeCBoI

Chris Giles said...

I asked my 8-year-old: "Is it possible to leave an empty room?"
And she said: "You mean it's not enough any more that I have to tidy it?"

Dagmara Lizlovs said...

Chris:

I think your 8-year-old daughter's reply is the best one of all. :-)

Now for some advice to the 8-year-old. When I was 9 (that's not really that far removed from 8), my mom said I could only go over my friend's house if I tidied up my room. There was stuff everywhere and it seemed like a job that would take forever. Then my friend gave me this advice - "Shove it all under the bed." Which we promptly did. My mom was none the wiser, and I was allowed to go over to my friend's house. :-)