Imagine an ideal box, whose contents are perfectly isolated. Whatever is inside it, it has not, has had or will have any relations with the rest of the universe. We could say that its content does not exist in our universe. It can have any form elsewhere, because even though it does not have external relations, it can have internal ones: inside the box there could be a beetle, the void or another universe.

Does the mere hypothesis of the existence of something in the "box" put it in relation to our universe? Is complete isolation therefore impossible?

Note: of course the box is an impossible object, because any box should have relations with our universe. This is why I intend the "box" metaphorically, like an isolated pocket of existence.

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    What you describe is causal isolation, it is certainly possible, such causally isolated regions exist in some relativistic spacetimes. Lewis's modal realism describes possible worlds as real but causally isolated too. But objects in the box would still enter non-causal relations, like numerical identity, similarity, etc., with everything else. Indeed, Lewis uses just that to develop modal semantics, and cosmologists to develop various multiverse theories.
    – Conifold
    Oct 25, 2018 at 17:58
  • You may as well put the contents outside the universe.
    – christo183
    Oct 26, 2018 at 10:40
  • @Conifold thank you for pointing Lewis, I think he's very close to the question. I wonder if even non-causal relations could be avoided. Oct 26, 2018 at 10:43
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    No, if you want to consider it. That very act puts it into a relation to you. Considering something that is defined to be unconsiderable (even by God, presumably) would be incoherent.
    – Conifold
    Oct 28, 2018 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


Your explanation is ambiguous while the content of the box can not be completely isolated if it is as you say not in relation “with the rest of the universe” by which you imply it is part of the universe from which it is set apart and thus is never completely isolated. Also if you knew of such a box its content would not be in complete isolation as the content is in relation to the box which is in relation to you/your knowledge. We can theorize it, but we can’t really imagine it because we need the universe to put things in perspective. We learn that a relation can not be partitioned. So complete isolation can not break relation. That seems a contradiction, but it shows how time and space relate to each other. Compare this to communication. You can not ‘not communicate’.

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