# If I move a box with nothing in it, does the nothing move with it?

## Recommended Posts

So, you have a completely solid, impenetrable  box with nothing in it. Not a single atom. Not a quark. Not a string. If I move that box a meter, does the nothing move with it?

Logically, yes, as there is nothing in and it is impossible for anything to get inside, but what about any-nothing?

Physically, something must have mass to interact with other particles so the nothing just sits there and is replaced by more nothing when I move the box.

P.S: This is coming from an ameteur physicist who overthinks stuff a lot, so tell me if this is a dumb question.

• Replies 76
• Created

#### Posted Images

17 minutes ago, KittyBeRich said:

So, you have a completely solid, impenetrable  box with nothing in it. Not a single atom. Not a quark. Not a string. If I move that box a meter, does the nothing move with it?

Logically, yes, as there is nothing in and it is impossible for anything to get inside, but what about any-nothing?

Physically, something must have mass to interact with other particles so the nothing just sits there and is replaced by more nothing when I move the box.

P.S: This is coming from an ameteur physicist who overthinks stuff a lot, so tell me if this is a dumb question.

One a point of detail it is untrue that something must have mass to interact with something else. Something can be a field for example, as with photons.

But more fundamentally, you seem to assume one can identify one piece of nothing as distinct from another piece, such that one can speak of one portion of nothing "replacing" other nothing. But that's rather silly, isn't it?

Edited by exchemist
##### Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, KittyBeRich said:

So, you have a completely solid, impenetrable  box with nothing in it. Not a single atom. Not a quark. Not a string. If I move that box a meter, does the nothing move with it?

Logically, yes, as there is nothing in and it is impossible for anything to get inside, but what about any-nothing?

Physically, something must have mass to interact with other particles so the nothing just sits there and is replaced by more nothing when I move the box.

P.S: This is coming from an ameteur physicist who overthinks stuff a lot, so tell me if this is a dumb question.

What I don't understand is what this Physics question is doing in the General Philosophy question.

A couple of hundred or a couple of thousand years ago GP might have been the correct place but today we have Quantum Mechanics, Feynman diagrams and virtual particles, so the answer must be

Perhaps.

Your 'impentrable walls' deserve further consideration as well.
If you heat them with a blowtorch, will they not radiate into the box although no particles pass through?

##### Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, studiot said:

What I don't understand is what this Physics question is doing in the General Philosophy question.

I don't think there's very much physics in it.

1 hour ago, KittyBeRich said:

If I move that box a meter, does the nothing move with it?

Nothing isn't a thing, so this is more like (the western view of) a Zen koan, like "What is the sound of one hand clapping" which (AFAIK) doesn't have an answer.

Perhaps a more practical approach is if the box has a hole contained within it, obviously that hole moves with the box, because the material that defines the hole moves. In that sense, the notion of a "nothing" requires "something" in order to define it. But the issue of whether it's the same nothing, the question is "how could you confirm this, one way or the other?" If you can't tell different nothings apart, then there's no way to know for sure.

##### Share on other sites

1 hour ago, swansont said:

a Zen koan, like "What is the sound of one hand clapping" which (AFAIK) doesn't have an answer.

##### Share on other sites

1 minute ago, exchemist said:

One a point of detail it is untrue that something must have mass to interact with something else. Something can be a field for example, as with photons.

But more fundamentally, you seem to assume one can identify one piece of nothing as distinct from another piece, such that one can speak of one portion of nothing "replacing" other nothing. But that's rather silly, isn't it?

Ok, you are correct, major oversight about the mass->mass statement, but how do we define liquids? As a bottle of water. Therefore I define this nothing as a box of nothing.  Also, an object has a size. If we take away that object, there is a hole of that size in the place of that object. So, it's a inside of box sized nothing.

##### Share on other sites

No, there’s air.

And subatomic particles.

And vacuum fluctuations.

Stop thinking of nothing in a philosophical sense and start realizing there’s ALWAYS something in your box.

The thought experiment is more useful when realistic.

##### Share on other sites

9 hours ago, KittyBeRich said:

Ok, you are correct, major oversight about the mass->mass statement, but how do we define liquids? As a bottle of water. Therefore I define this nothing as a box of nothing.  Also, an object has a size. If we take away that object, there is a hole of that size in the place of that object. So, it's a inside of box sized nothing.

No, we do not define liquids by the quantity that we have. You can characterise water, or petrol, say, perfectly well without any reference to the quantity you are talking about. The same is true for other things, e.g. sheep. The definition of sheep does not require any information about the number of them that someone may have.

Quantity or volume information is generally not intrinsic to an entity.

##### Share on other sites

19 hours ago, KittyBeRich said:

So, you have a completely solid, impenetrable  box with nothing in it. Not a single atom. Not a quark. Not a string. If I move that box a meter, does the nothing move with it?

It depends how you look at it.

That nothing is actually a part of space(time) and I do not think that that space(time) part of the Universe would be possible to move away from the position it possesses.

I think you can "glide" the empty box in Space (nothingness). Your box has it´s own space(extend) and time (age, time since it exists) which does not equals the age of the Space(Time) realm develops in 4 dimensions since the beginning and now we observe a part of it.

If this box if moving, the original space it have been existing in will remain in position it occupies in proportion to every other space existing throughout the system

The box will be in a "new" part of the universe when you moved it with the physical properties (emptiness) it already had have. The box will occupy a different space then before which is a different emptiness(nothing) than in the first position.

Space(Time) is the Universe without any kind of Energy and Matter.

I think it is Universally true that every point of Space(Time) has a physical value of 0. Maybe its mathematical expression should maybe 0 as well, the 4D matrix(graph) develops since Time begun...

So I do not think anyone could change the fundamental fabric of Space(Time) just because we pull something in it.

The box will be empty in the new position as well, which I think supposed to be a different empty part of the Universe maintained by the box itself.

Edited by Conscious Energy
##### Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Conscious Energy said:

It depends how you look at it.

No it doesn't; it's like asking if the glass is half-full or half empty, it's always full...

1 hour ago, Conscious Energy said:

That nothing is actually a part of space(time) and I do not think that that space(time) part of the Universe would be possible to move away from the position it possesses.

I think you can "glide" the empty box in Space (nothingness). Your box has it´s own space(extend) and time (age, time since it exists) which does not equals the age of the Space(Time) realm develops in 4 dimensions since the beginning and now we observe a part of it.

If this box if moving, the original space it have been existing in will remain in position it occupies in proportion to every other space existing throughout the system

The box will be in a "new" part of the universe when you moved it with the physical properties (emptiness) it already had have. The box will occupy a different space then before which is a different emptiness(nothing) than in the first position.

Space(Time) is the Universe without any kind of Energy and Matter.

I think it is Universally true that every point of Space(Time) has a physical value of 0. Maybe its mathematical expression should maybe 0 as well, the 4D matrix(graph) develops since Time begun...

So I do not think anyone could change the fundamental fabric of Space(Time) just because we pull something in it.

The box will be empty in the new position as well, which I think supposed to be a different empty part of the Universe maintained by the box itself.

Then, did 'you' move the box?

##### Share on other sites

20 hours ago, exchemist said:

But more fundamentally, you seem to assume one can identify one piece of nothing as distinct from another piece, such that one can speak of one portion of nothing "replacing" other nothing. But that's rather silly, isn't it?

This is very much along the lines of what I wanted to say. How can you cut "nothing" in disjoint pieces and tell them apart, keeping track of the one that's inside your box and the one that's outside?

Some questions make no sense. And what's more; some concepts (even with no predicate) make no sense. Examples:

The position of unanimity

The sympathy of the rock

etc.

If you want to make sense of an idea of "nothing", you need to go back to physics. And the salient idea from physics that's closest to "nothing" is the vacuum. And the physical idea of the vacuum looks nothing like that naive no-thing. For starters, it looks more like the box is sitting on the vacuum (it gets its mass from it, through the Higgs mechanism), rather than that the vacuum is a substance that can be trapped in the box. It also changes through cosmological evolution, it expands, etc. It's seamless, pretty much featureless, but not completely devoid of attributes.

Science edits some of our ages-old philosophical ideas and completely revamps them.

##### Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, joigus said:

If you want to make sense of an idea of "nothing", you need to go back to physics.

I think you need to ignore physics, because if you account for it, the concept of “nothing” goes away.

##### Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, swansont said:

I think you need to ignore physics, because if you account for it, the concept of “nothing” goes away.

I sympathise with your position, for many years it's been my own position, but influential scientists like Lawrence Krauss insist on claiming the concept of the physical vacuum as a substitute for "nothing" (A Universe from Nothing), so (for better or worse) it has permeated to the general culture. And you need to take that into account if you want to dispel some confusion in people who strive to understand these concepts.

##### Share on other sites

1 minute ago, joigus said:

I sympathise with your position, for many years it's been my own position, but influential scientists like Lawrence Krauss insist on claiming the concept of the physical vacuum as a substitute for "nothing" (A Universe from Nothing), so (for better or worse) it has permeated to the general culture. And you need to take that into account if you want to dispel some confusion in people who strive to understand these concepts.

Doesn't influential mean a better tomorrow?

Who know's...

##### Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Doesn't influential mean a better tomorrow?

No. Counterexample: The Kardashians

##### Share on other sites

1 minute ago, joigus said:

No. Counterexample: The Kardashians

Hello possible???

##### Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Hello possible???

Please, get back in the box.

##### Share on other sites

1 hour ago, joigus said:

I sympathise with your position, for many years it's been my own position, but influential scientists like Lawrence Krauss insist on claiming the concept of the physical vacuum as a substitute for "nothing" (A Universe from Nothing), so (for better or worse) it has permeated to the general culture. And you need to take that into account if you want to dispel some confusion in people who strive to understand these concepts.

But when one puts a physics context on it, those familiar with physics understand what is meant, and it’s not the nothing described in the OP.

##### Share on other sites

It is obvious that the original nothing has gone off to dance on the head of a pin.

##### Share on other sites

On 6/25/2021 at 6:02 PM, swansont said:

I don't think there's very much physics in it.

But I didn't get an answer to the Physics content of my post.

But I would go further than anyone else here and declare that a box which contains exactly nothing is impossible as a self contradiction.

Let us say this 'box' has sides of 10 cm by10cm x 10cm that is it has a volume of exactly one litre.

So it has the capacity to contain one litre of whisky.

Now capacity is an abstract noun, to be sure and an old fashioned one to boot.

But a noun it is and therefore a 'something'

So by studiot's theorem

"Every empty box contains something."

Edited by studiot
##### Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, studiot said:

But I would go further than anyone else here and declare that a box which contains exactly nothing is impossible as a self contradiction.

I’m not sure impossible is disqualifying as a philosophy question.

##### Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, studiot said:

“Every empty box contains something."

That something is at least some Space with an Age

##### Share on other sites

If I move a box with nothing in it, does the nothing move with it?

I think I found a something (a physical value) attributed at this nothing or empty. A measurement can therefore be made of this nothing. Sometimes this variable result can change according to its movement or location.

Spoiler

The temperature

##### Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Kartazion said:

The temperature

“nothing” doesn’t have a temperature

##### Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, swansont said:

“nothing” doesn’t have a temperature

It's the story of a box at room temperature where there is nothing inside. Only emptiness, no fields. You tell me now that this nothing inside has no temperature since it is nothing?

The single definition of nothing is a complex philosophical subject proper to the term.

But can the quantification of this volume of nothing be expressed by this box?

@swansont You are right. In its proper sense moving from nothing is therefore not possible, since there is nothing.

But figuratively nothing is something.

## Create an account

Register a new account