Language

Science

Published on *AskPhilosophers.org* (http://askphilosophers.org)

Language

Science

The question comes out of an thought experiment which goes like this:
Suppose i ask you to choose a random word from English dictionary. And I tell you to find its definition. Now the definition of the word will also contains some set of words. I ask you to find the definition of all words taking one at a time. The definition of this second word will also contain some set of words, so you have to repeat this definition finding until you reach a word which has already been defined. Now you take the second word from the definition of the very first word you chose and keep repeating this process. As there are finite number of words in English dictionary, you will reach a point where there is nothing to define. Hence, if a set of definitions(in this case the English dictionary) there are finite definitions for each unknown.
Accordingly, if our laws of universe are finite, then there will be finite answers to explain the entire universe. Or we can say existence of each physical process can be satisfactorily explained and is related to each other.
Now coming back to our dictionary process, if someone asks you to define the word again, such that while defining you have to define each and every word you say. But it is not possible as each definition will go on in an infinite loop. So we cannot really define the word in a single sentence unless the number of words in the dictionary are finite.
So, the question is given the finite number of physical laws, is theory of everything really possible?