Hello. I wonder what you think about the following: About 13.7 billion years ago, there probably was a Big Bang. The astronomers start their counting of time from that. What do the philosophers think of what happened before the Big Bang? JB from Sweden

Well, I've answered other similar questions despite my not being terribly well-informed about science, so I'll take a stab at this one, too.

The answer to this question depends partly upon whether the universe is "open" or "closed", that is, upon whether the expansion of matter will eventually cease, the universe will start contracting, and everything will end in a "Big Crunch". If so, then it is my understanding that the energy so generated would lead to another Big Bang, and the whole process would start again. If that's how things are, then, before the Big Bang, that may have been how things were.

So suppose things weren't like that. Then I believe current physical theory implies that there wasn't any "before the Big Bang". Astronomers start counting time with the beginning of the Big Bang because time itself began with the Big Bang. If that seems bizarre, well, the theory of relativity does have a way of upsetting one's everyday assumptions about time.

Someone who knows more about this than I do care to confirm or deny?

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