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Everything Includes the Container for Everything

phyllobates's picture

  I was just reviewing my class notes on the Library of Babel.  For the most part, it seems like we all disagreed with Dennet’s theory and then disproved his theory by citing the impossibility to have a library within a library. The more I think about this disproof the less convincing it seems. What if instead of claiming that everything to ever exist was in a library Dennet insisted it was hidden within the unique planet Earth. Perhaps you would argue that the Earth is clearly too small to hold an infinite amount of information, but we were going to put it all in a library so… Sure, the Earth would not contain itself (it is the container), but can’t something be a unique bottle holding the possibilities that will then emerge to affect or inhabit itself? By serving as the container for everything could the Earth be included in the everything? Clearly we have universe, and everything that is inside the universe at, arguably, one specific moment exists, but is the universe included in the everything? I would have to argue that the universe is a sort of container of everything, and yet it is still included in the everything. Thus going back to the library, why could it not just be the noted Library of Babel, designed to hold everything else that will ever be, including other specified libraries. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t support Dennet’s theory, but as long as we are in imagination world where we are concerned about an infinite hypothetical library not holding itself, anything seems to go. Why can we not just change Dennet’s rules, or make them more clear, to specify that the container is included in the everything. It is fine if we don’t want to make this assumption, but either way I’m not sure that our disproof is ultimately very convincing.  


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