A Theory Of Everything Is A Theory Of All Truths

Isn’t a theory of everything simply a theory that contains all true propositions and only those propositions?

Furthermore, in such a theory of everything, we can combine any two of these true propositions to form a true conditional statement, by the Definition of Material Implication. Since the converse of the true conditional statement is also made up of two true propositions, the converse of the conditional statement is also true, by the Definition of Material Implication. So, since both a conditional and its converse are true, we know the biconditional of the two true propositions is also true. This result is confirmed by the Definition of Material Biconditional. Thus, in terms of the material biconditional, we can say that every truth is a necessary and sufficient condition of every truth. To quote the Wikipedia article on the Material Biconditional, every truth is “at the same time both cause and consequence” of every truth. Thus it seems that “everything causes everything” from a logical point of view. Given any initial set of premises we consider true, we can use whatever true conditional statements we want in such a theory to conclude the truth of anything true. Such a theory would allow us to deduce logically every truth and only truths. Aren’t these our ultimate goals when searching for a theory of everything?

This idea is kind of like saying that everything in life works out. It also implies the common saying “everything happens for a reason.” Thirdly, it seems to agree with Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation: every particle in the universe is attracted to every other particle in the universe, so any particle’s attraction to any other particle, no matter how negligible, contributes to the current state of the second particle, and must therefore be a part of the second particle’s cause. Fourth, it seems to agree and have an interesting relationship with the butterfly effect in chaos theory. Fifth, it seems to conform with the concept of nonlocality in physics. Sixth, this idea gives interesting and mysterious reasons for events that seem to be related via synchronicity; all coincidences have causes. Seventh, it seems to imply that fields of study such as numerology and astrology may have a real, true, logical basis. Eighth, it implies that even suspicions, superstitious beliefs, and mysteries themselves all have causes and are connected to everything else. Finally, it implies that as long as we don’t know every truth, we will be left in the dark as to the full, complete causes of everything in our world; things and their causes will remain a mystery until all truth is discovered. It’s all or nothing when it comes to understanding.

Another way of looking at this idea of “universal causation” is to consider somebody who is taking a walk and somebody thousands of miles away who is writing a poem. At first we may intuitively say that the person taking a walk is not causing the other to write the poem. After all, they’re thousands of miles away from each other! But when you think about it a little more, you realize that the person taking a walk is not doing anything that is preventing the other from writing the poem. Thus, the walker is allowing, and thus in a sense causing, the other to write the poem.

This is an idea I’ve had for a while now, and I’m kind of surprised that nobody has ever proposed this before, or so it appears. I’ve asked it on other sites on the Internet several times over the past few years, but nobody seems to have anything interesting or revelatory to say about it. So now is your chance. What do you think about this idea?

If I understand correctly you propose as theory a collection of undeniable truths. These truths are confirmed be material conditionals and biconditionals. And to the inevitable questions “how” and “why” the answer should be: because everything is connected and if allowed then it is caused.

So the explanation of what the universe is and how and why the universe works is the universe itself. While undeniably true it is obviously not satisfactory for the human beings and, as you said, things and their causes will remain a mystery until all truth is discovered.

The problem for me is that what you propose as theory of everything is actually the confirmed and proven knowledge of everything. The purpose of a theory is to state principles and make predictions in order to interconnect facts and facilitate the discovery of new knowledge. A theory remains theory until it is proven and becomes knowledge. But some things are not provable today and may never become provable and this is why we need theory.

So the ultimate theory will be an ultimately unprovable fiction, which is able to predict and explain all provable things. Would and could such a fiction (while still unprovable) be regarded as truth even when the fiction itself is the ultimate paradox?

No, these truths are all truths: not just true material conditionals and biconditionals.

I agree, but don’t look at “if allowed then it is caused” as the focus. That’s merely a crude example supporting my logically proven point.

I completely agree with what you’re saying. At first it appears, and may very well not be a satisfactory explanation for human beings. I urge you to look at this idea’s potential though. It could turn out to be a much more powerful and meaningful result than what its simple cover suggests. It’s a short, valid, sound proof based off of a few of the most primitive, taken-for-granted notions in logic.

I’m talking about a formal mathematical theory, not a scientific theory. We may never know everything, but that’s not a problem. I don’t need to know everything to talk about a theory of everything, just as I don’t need to know everything about cooking to talk about cooking. I’m talking in theoretical terms, as I only should be. A discussion involving a theory of everything is not worthless just because we may never be able to know every truth out there. Just as with any theoretical discussion, it can often turn out to be precise, concise, and extremely useful.

I wouldn’t say unprovable; for all we know it could be provable. A fiction, yes, in the same sense that any theory is considered in; in the same sense that you imagine a number or a triangle having side lengths a, b, and c to exist.

In the second sentence of my first post I made a mistake – it should be “by” and not “be”. What I meant is that all truths are linked and connected by the conditionals and biconditionals. In such terms it is a system of knowledge confirmed by undeniable proofs.

Actually every theory would like to walk that path to confirm all of its predictions. Sadly I don’t believe in mathematics, because it is just another language. While using it we can predict a lot of things but we cannot predict all things, because we don’t know all the words of the language and they seem not to reveal automatically to us. Prof. Higgs made mathematically absolutely sound calculation of his boson. I don’t think anyone would bother if the math was wrong. And then they built this X-billion dollar LHC machine to prove prof. Higgs’s calculation and now after two years of experiments they are talking only of a Higgs-like boson. If something does not behave as predicted by sound mathematical theory, then what is wrong – the math or the proof? And then we see how mathematics starts to accommodate yet more unprovable variables, dimensions etc. The String theory needs at least nine dimensions for its math to work. How comfortable indeed. Who and when will ever be able to prove the existence of these dimensions?

So your theory of having a set of undeniable truths is absolutely correct. And when something new is discovered then we’ll have another set of undeniable truths. Both sets can be perfectly accommodated (generalized) by mathematics and in both cases you will be correct. But after the new discovery is made the old set is proclaimed as false and the new set is adopted as correct. It happens all the time. So in terms we already have theory of everything that is proven wrong almost every day :smiley:

A theory isn’t the collection of all the truths it leads to. A theory is a proposition (or a small set of propositions) in itself. The theory of evolution doesn’t contain the proposition “all dodos are extinct” or “5% of bacteria are penicillin-resistant”; it offers reasons behind the way things are and propositions that help us to predict and manage things. Also, the current usage of “theory of everything” is in a particular context, tying together physical laws such that they hold true at all physical scales - that’s not to say it could be used to generate truths about art or diplomacy. But let’s take a theoretical theory of everything to really be what it claims, it’s an interesting idea.

I know material conditionals are your thing, but there’s no causative connection inherent in it. The biconditional introduces “if and only if”. It may well be true that all politicians are liars and all canaries are yellow, but that doesn’t mean that canaries’ yellowness affects politicians’ lying, or that the arrival of a truthful politician will cause any avian replumage.

However, if there were a theory of absolutely everything, and it were correct, it would mean that there would never be a truthful politician or a purple canary. They would be related by the terms of the theory; in fact, technically speaking there would be no need for hypothetical conditionals at all, as they (and probability) are human constructs to deal with unknowns or insoluble complexities.

If there were a theory of everything, that would be true. That first premise is going to need some confirmation before you draw any metaphysical conclusions from its existence, though.

They certainly have causes, they don’t need to be rational ones though. On of the truths the theory of everything reveals could be “numerology is bunk”.

Not at all. The cause of your nosebleed can be ascribed to your walking into a door; we don’t need to know which apes mated 5 million years ago to create your forefathers and those of the carpenter that built the door to understand that walking into doors can cause nosebleeds.

Allowing is not causing, in any normal sense of the word.

It strikes me as wholly in line with a lot of Eastern philosophy; everything is everything :slight_smile:

I’m glad to hear it. :slight_smile: It’s nice to have somebody else understand what I’m trying to say.

While that’s one definition of the word, I’m using the word theory in its technical mathematical sense: a set of propositions. Some of these propositions are postulates, and the rest are the theorems that can be deduced from the postulates.

I’m glad you see this way.

There are senses of causation in which you are correct. But there’s also at least one sense of causation in which canaries’ yellowness does affect politicians’ lying. It’s a sense related to the logical deduction of the truth from conditional statements. When we negative a conditional statement, we get a statement of the form “p implies q,” also well known as “Just because p, doesn’t mean q.” Notice the use of the world because in that statement; that implies a sense of causation is being invoked. So when we negate this negation of a conditional statement, we end up with a conditional statement of the form “Just because p, means q.” We’re attributing p as a cause of q. p doesn’t have to be true for q to be true, but nonetheless when it is, it is a cause of q.

I don’t quite get what you mean there.

There may not be a need for hypothetical conditionals, but nonetheless all true hypothetical conditionals would be included the theory. The theory even has consequences for probability theory. Two independent events are defined as events for which, as the Wikipedia article on “Independence (probability theory)” states, “the occurrence of one does not affect the probability of the other.” However, in a world where “everything’s causing everything,” no two events can be independent. So all of probability theory seems to be flawed, even if only in a sense, and/or minutely.

That could very well be the case.

I may have went a little too far by saying “It’s all or nothing when it comes to understanding,” but there’s a sense where that appears to be true. If you define “understanding” as “understanding completely” then I would be right in at least that sense of “understanding.”

To me, allowing seems to be causing, even if in a weak sense. As I’ve said in an earlier post, my example is only a crude one. If you know your friend is going to jump off a bridge and kill himself/herself, and you allow that to happen, I would think you would in at least one sense be responsible for the person’s death. A law could be created under which you are legally responsible, for example. You did nothing to help and/or prevent you friend from killing himself/herself. But then again, this is only a crude example used to support a logically proven point.

Eastern philosophy, yes, somewhat. Buddhism, for example. They don’t have a logical proof of universal causation of the type I propose, though. :slight_smile: