Consider this statement:

“Everything has an end”

I think many of you here can agree with this. But that means that the claim in this above statement also has an end. So one day, there might be some things that don’t have an end. Is my logic correct, or can it be refuted?

As a note, I am a layman to Philosophy (I come from a Mathematical background), so please include the definition of advanced words if you need to.

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    For large values of 'Everything'.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 0:02
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    “Everything has an end” is a vague atmospheric sentiment with intentionally loose scope of "everything" and intentionally obscure meaning of "end". Taking it as subject to logic is missing the point.
    – Conifold
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 0:25
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    There's no issue here. You are challenging your premise rule with a rule that will break it, and this leads to a contradiction, that's like stating 1) C=True 2) C=False (breaks Identity Law). If you want your premise to hold, sustain it with logically consistent rules. Otherwise, nobody will agree to the proposition, even for physical things: most physical bodies might have an end on the X dimension (e.g. Length) but also has an infinite perimeter (=perimeter has no end; see the Coastline Paradox).
    – RodolfoAP
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 0:31
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    The problem is that "everything," is not well-defined. In math terms, this would be like trying to talk about the set of all sets (which does not exist).
    – Sandejo
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 6:05
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    Additionaly to all the logic and definition above, "everything has an end" is at best an axiom, a premise that is not proven and that people must grant you. I for one would disagree, since i don't know everything it's just common sense that i can't grant you that everything has an end.
    – armand
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 14:03

3 Answers 3


Sure. We can say everything has an end and then immediately realize that this statement contradicts itself. Since antiquity philosophers grappled with contradictions like this. First Heraclitus, Parmenides, and sophists, then Socrates, Plato and Aristoteles tried to save philosophy from self-contradictions. They all failed in one way or other. In the modern period, this question was first taken by Kant, who concluded that metaphysics was impossible because of contradictions. Then it was answered by Hegel who showed us a systematic way to avoid contradictions. The path Hegel took was to face the contradiction head-on and overcome it in a higher abstraction level. This was the core of his dialectical method. For example: “Everything has an end”, which lead us to “Everything has no end”. So the things are always such that they both have an end and no end at the same time. How is this possible? Because things are not fixed but dynamic and changing. Their fixedness is illusory. It destroys itself at another point. Introducing the time element allows us to overcome any contradiction. So not only physical things but concepts, ideas also move and change in time.

This is all well but it isn’t really satisfactory from a meta-philosophical view point. Because the contradiction establishes itself again at the higher abstraction level as well. So what Hegel does is just postponing the contradiction and creating a circle that closes itself on itself and hope that the contradiction solves itself in this self-enclosing loop.

In the 20th century, we saw that the contradictions are not just philosophical or even logical but they enter mathematics as well. First shown by Russell and then Gödel. Ways were found to avoid them of course but the questions remain.

So I would argue thar we can avoid contradictions while we conduct good philosophy, logic, maths, science and in our daily life but they in fact stay unresolved on a deeper level.

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    This is an amazing answer! I learned a lot from just reading it. Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 15:21
  • Contradictions also enter logic. There are multiple logics, with the options very plausibly being infinite. cambridge.org/core/journals/think/article/… That leaves us with no closed form method of evaluating the validity of any particular logic. And with no certain method of determining if a logic applies to the physical or conscious worlds. Pragmatically, we default to classical logic, but we know it is not applicable to many cases. Pragmatism, and pragmatic "truth" is the only path out of this.
    – Dcleve
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 15:14
  • This is a really great answer. I was a philosophy major in college and I gained a new context for understanding Hegel (whom I studied) from your answer. That said, I think there is harm in avoiding intellectual contradictions in daily life - it tends to lead to dogmatic views - and on the flipside, I think we can use the contradictions inherent in all things to open our mind to many new possibilities. This is more like an aside, because I don't think you intended your last sentence as a negation of abstract thinking. Cheers
    – dgo
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 16:14

"Everything has an end, a sausage has two." -German proverb

We think space and time began with the Big Bang. So, where and when did the Big Bang come from..? A compelling theory called Conformal Cyclic Cosmology developed by Nobel winner Roger Penrose, suggests our universe will cease to experience time once only photons are left (for slightly technical reasons, photons don't exerience time, see Does light experience time?

A great deal of our language depends on comparisons, and 'end' is one of those things, see: Life and Death as one and the same?

It's quite a common thing for people to use a statement that aims to move a discussion forward, and say, in the terms of the old debate, the new statement is self-contradictory. And indeed, that's why the debate hadn't moved on. An example is when people say Postmodernism is the metanarrative of not having metanarratives, the philosophy of not expecting one final unified philosophy - but in it's own terms, it describes skepticism or incredulity towards metanarratives, rather than an assertion of being the final one.

So another example, the ancient wisdom-tradition saying, This too shall pass. Shall that also pass? Once there are only photons left, who will know..? And yet, it expresses something even more timeless, that it's in the nature of things that arise, to be time-bound, and to pass, whether we wish it or not, and there is comfort knowing it applies to the good and the bad.

A core job of philosophy is investigating definitions, and especially edge-cases or where terms seem to start fraying and breaking down.

What does it mean to stand outside of time, in a place where ending has ended? Well, surely it would be unbegun also, timeless. An example might be the E8 mathematical structure, which seems to represent all possible sets of fundamental physical. To not pass away is also to not arise, which means to have always been.

  • In CCC, where did the whole cycle come from? Why is it there in the first place?
    – user4894
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 20:48
  • @user4894: Infinite. It's pretty much an Abrahamic conceit to assume there was a Creation. Egyptians, Buddhists, & many others assumed cyclical rise & fall. In physics, I would say all you need is the Uncertainty Principle, & complex consequences for very unlikely events. Basically feedback from simple cycles of the Cosmos, to increasingly more complex, gets us to what we see.
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 22:30
  • Where did the laws of physics come from? Where did the uncertainty principle come from? A cyclic universe does not answer any of these metaphysical questions. Answering the question "Was the universe always here?" by saying, "No, but the cycle of universes was always here," adds zero new information. It tells us nothing.
    – user4894
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 1:25
  • @user4894: 'In the beginning was total uncertainty, which having absolutely no way to determine what it was, exploded.'
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 12:55
  • Are you proposing that as an explanation of something? What, exactly? And how? Are you making a joke? Do you believe you wrote something meaningful?
    – user4894
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 18:07

Phase is not definitely correct.

Everything has borders. If a thing has no borders you can't identify where/when this thing is - thing without borders is not determinate in some area/set/time.

Also it is not correct that "Everything has an end, a sausage has two". A sausage has two border sides but are they are either ends or beginnings, depending on the context. So, the context determines what is the cause and what is the consequence (effect). Cause is similar to beginning, and consequence is for end of the thing.

And a third point. All things have a context of interaction. If a thing has no effect you can't say anything about it; there are no facts of its existing. But whether it is a beginning or an end is based on specific facts. Without the facts this discussion is meaningless.

About facts and coastline problem. When i tell about "facts" i mean not particle individuals cases like complexity or confusion of the coastline fractal images. This is not a 'the facts' i mean, this facts have a place to be, but this facts doesn't create the continuity picture, but fragmented kaleidoscope images. So if think about borders, you ll get multiple magnification of the similar structures contained borders. So this analysis will give you system complication, but analysis wouldn't be ever final result of something, only synthesis can be a result, so we need to collect all fragments in holistic image. And when i told about border facts, i told about holistic borders their facts, not about fragments. Fragments can be, all things are consist of particles, but the END of everything thing always IT's holistic form.

So, the answer your question: everything has the END in it's holistic completed form. Only unbroken things have the end.

Also as only broken things have the beginning.

  • When investigated, 'cause' is a pretty problematic term. See: 'Is the idea of a causal chain physical (or even scientific)?' philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/70930/… My point with the proverb, was that 'end' has different meanings in different contexts
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 13:03
  • @CriglCragl Im not sure that cause is definitely that word i mean, you can change it's meaning for something for the beginning of the thing. the begin and the end is more then cause and consequence. Cause logic is possible only when you d set the begin and the end of something - when you d determinated the borders of something. When you are talking about sausage with two ends - it is fun joke calembour. Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 13:13
  • @CriglCragl maybe you should to set a locii of the cause? I don't know why, but in rus( im russian) "cause" have two words причинно-следственная, but in eng it is only one word - причинная(?), so im not sure that is equal concepts. When you have only one word for describing something, you can't determinate the thing, only to refer on another signifier - so you ll got term-word, not name of the thing. But when you have two words you have triple effect: you have begin, end and you have a context bond - the connect vector that set the first and the second - what is the begin and what is the end. Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 13:35
  • @CriglCragl and what it gives? for example Lie question. Did you thought that lie can be different? Lie about future and lie about past. You can prevent future lie with correct contract, but if the lie in past - you contract will include the lie inside already. That mean the contract will not work. Because you set the rules already on lie base. Here is the problem with aletheia - you can't conclude a true contract with liar. But you got another trick, you make double lie contract, because double lie in logic mean 'truth' - so you become call the 'truth' this double lie. Is this still truth? Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 13:44

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