Which came first?

The chicken or the egg?

Is there a philosophical problem at the essence of this question?
Does it translate into the debates between different forms of government?
Is it related to science or medicine?
Is it something poetic?
Total nonsense?

I’m taking the stance that no one knows.

I may at some point switch that stance for the sake of argument.

It seems like an essence v existence, or yes v no question.

And those can just drive your mind into madness. – been there, done that, no fun at all.

I think that thinking long and hard about simple questions with no answers is good for the mind.


It’s a bad question.

The first chicken “happened” when someone named it a chicken.

The real answer is that essentialism is metaphysics, which has no application to the phenomenal world.

Consider that the first creature did not come from a hard shelled egg or an egg but, an egg like process. Then it had to have replication abilities within it. So build it up from there. The first chicken did not come from a chicken it had to have come from another creature closely resembling a chicken. The first chicken probably had to have come from an egg since we have never found fossilized chickens, we have found fossilized large and small cousins though. The replicating ability came within the first creature that needed to replicate.

Yes, Kris - the question assumes a static state, and not a process. An isolated object, and not a position on a continuum.

Well, I suppose evolutionists would the chicken evolved from lower lifeforms. Some theists would the chicken was created.

A darwinian would say that at some point there was a mutation and what we today call a chicken - which has a life cycle from egg to chicken - was first an egg. An egg that differed from earlier eggs in that it was a chicken egg and the earlier eggs - in that line - were pre-chicken birds.

A fundamentalist Christian should say the chicken came first and was labelled by Adam.

Yeah, but then it wasn’t a chicken egg. Chcken eggs come from chickens, hence the name.

thought became the cycle of both chicken and egg

chicken and egg are one and the same cycle, thus one and the same thought

The egg and sperm greeted one another, souped up their DNA and decided to created something new, which then became a cute little chick. :laughing:

That is precisely incorrect. The first chicken egg came from something that was not a chicken, at least from the Darwinian perspective. The mutation took place in the gametes of one of the parents. The child was not the same as the parents.

Then eggs are not named for what they came from, but for what’s inside them. Then the egg is named for the new species - and so the first chicken and the first chicken egg occurred simultaneoulsy.

Which is the correct answer.

Thanks for playing.

Faust, you’re saying that the egg came first. The new species’ egg is at first only an egg. And somewhere along the line we’re forgetting about the rooster and when it comes.

For me the statement is just a way of saying that it’s impossible to know which event is the cause and which the effect.

The question hinges upon whether or not it’s a chicken egg.

Just like the Humean billiard balls, the cause and the effect occur simultaneously.

Or whether the rooster is a chicken. The primordial egg stuff can be molded into a chicken if the rooster is a chicken…and I say this not having taken one biology class, but that seems plausible.

Again, in the end, it’s a matter of naming. Just as cause and effect is a matter of naming. If there was a Big Bang, and the universe is deterministic, then all the causes and all the effects happened at the same time, because there was only one cause and one effect. But we break all those effects up into little pieces, for very practical reasons, so we likewise expect many causes. Which we can find, if we look.

All this is okay, as long as we don’t take it too seriously.

Your question seems to hinge on your interpretation of what part of speech chicken is and how we should interpret it and you have your way. In your way of framing the issue. But some people will actually be satisfied with the answers I gave because those answers answer their questions. In your universe the word first has no meaning.

I don’t see how determinism makes all the effects happen at one time. That is if the word ‘effects’ has any meaning. If everything is one effect, this effect still happened over time. But I have also argued something similar in relation to determinism. I think once you reach the explanation you have, you might as well drop out the concept of cause and effect. Why separate the Big Bang out from its aftermath - which even my language does here. The Big Bang has just kept on going. One event. No cause, no effect.

The closer side of the chair does not cause the one that is further away from me.