Many broad arguments, listed below, hold for the entirety of our existence, but they overwhelmingly fail to explain the edge cases - that is, the beginning and the end.

For example:

  1. Energy cannot be created or destroyed
  2. Everything has a reason / cause
  3. Classical Mechanics (

These ideas do a very good job of modeling our everyday lives, but they literally contradict any kind of reasoning we would need to adopt to explain how everything began, or how it will end.

When was energy created then? What was the first thing, that caused all other things. I feel like an ant, that simply cannot comprehend the world with the laws we currently use.

Do you think that these questions can be answered with an extension of our currently working logic systems, or will we have to reinvent axioms and a new way of thinking to comprehend the nature of the universe? Has any philosopher pondered this question in their works?

  • 1
    There is nothing wrong with our "logic systems." The ultimate origins and endings of the universe are not questions of philosophy and introspection, but of the observation-based science of cosmology. – Dan Christensen Mar 27 '15 at 3:19

In my opinion the dissonance is caused not by logic but rather by logical inconsistency in disregarding time as one of the players in the game.

If one considers beginning and end independently of the time context, rather in the same sense as endpoints of a segment in geometry or, say, the tail and the tip of the arrow

then there is no dissonance I think.

The dissonance only begins if we forget that time itself is something in which not everything is placed. Nobody knows what it is, but for sure it is not something in which everything is placed. Logic for one thing is not placed inside time. Our logical reasonings are placed in time, but correctness or incorrectness of one reasoning or another is something independent of time.

In that sense we do not have to reinvent anything - we already have logic which does not depend on time (although our use of logic obviously depends on it).


Aristotles typology of causes has four categories:

  1. Material

  2. Formal

  3. First

  4. Final

All the sciences such as biology or physics uncover generally the formal and material cause of their subject matter; by deliberate intention they ignore first and final causes - these are your edge cases.

It's worth recalling that modern science had its roots in a Europe that was Christian in a way it isn't now; first and final causes would have been identified with God as creative and providential; these early modern scientists did not want to avail themselves of this 'hypothesis'.


I would go beyond Kant and argue that not just time, but causation is a subjective notion of humans. Time flows in one direction for us because our mental processes for collating information use entropy to drive them. But that has nothing to do with the nature of the universe.

Kant imagines that angels, free of time, would still have the notion of causation, since he establishes it as a Category of Pure Reason. But I would broaden this consideration of the differences between possible minds. If you had the equivalent of thought without time, I believe it would lack what we think of as chains of causation.

Energy seems to us to be a substance conserved in transformations, but that is because entropy, our chosen recording medium, is a form of (wasted) energy. Our accounting system would not work if the basis we account against could spontaneously arrive or vanish. But it is simply the currency in our accounting system. It is preserved over time, because it is what time is made up of. If time is recorded as increasing entropy, and entropy is unordered energy, entropy can only really be measured as a fraction of all energy, and the supply of energy must appear fixed through time.

So all of the intermediate things that you point to, that break down at the start or end of time, are all aspects of time itself. Since time is a form we impose on interpretations, by virtue of being tied to electrochemical brains, and not a part of the nature of the world, these forces are also not basic aspects of reality. More specifically, they are not going to make sense of states that involve the lack of existence of time, whether that is the start and the end, or domains where it is not deterministically driven.


Logically I ask what is energy? And what relation does it have to my existence because I am more than just energy. As for everything has a reason... I totally disagree - for what reason is a child killed, what reason does a wealthy person win the lottery when someone in poverty doesn't. These arguments as you call them are not acceptable to me, so are illogical and have no bearing on "The" beginning or end. Possibly its our inability to accept the answer that mitigates it's comprehension but demands we ask the question.

  • Logically, energy is any matter. (i.e., unless you are in a vacuum, there is energy) And yes, everything does have a reason. The child was killed because he was shot with a bullet, the wealthy person won the lottery because they bought the ticket. – AlexMayle Mar 27 '15 at 14:51
  • Not meaning to attempt debate between "reason for" and "cause/effect" will I humbly acquiesce. Though must interject when someone tells me everything happens for a reason, I adamantly disagree. You see I anxiously await the time I will meet with God so he can tell me the reason my nine year old son, and only child, was killed in a house fire at his grandparents. For me there is no logical reason only cause and effect... – NjayneM Mar 28 '15 at 5:28
  • Yes, just semantics. I would agree, there is no "reason" for everything, just cause and effect. – AlexMayle Mar 29 '15 at 23:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.