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What is "real" in physics?


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I don't understand why you think I said or implied that "a continuum can be extended". I'm not sure what a continuum would be when we're talking about space unless it would be "the" continuum of space, which to me is the universe.

 

I should not have said "empty space between the spheres". I was trying to present the idea that each sphere would be in contact with its neighbors, which would lead to the idea that the displacement of one sphere would cause the displacement of its neighbors. I don't want to include the idea that there would be anything between the spheres, not even a void; the spheres would be and would define all that "is". But enough of that, this thread is not the place to expand on what is obviously only at best incomplete. I just have not, and most likely never will, develop the ideas into a coherent whole. I don't have the knowledge of all the related subjects required to do it and I really don't have the inclination to spend the time required. I presented what I have thought about thus far as the basis for my philosophy of what is real.

 

I do not understand your statement "the same logic can be made to lead to the idea that all things are composite, and reduce to voidness or emptiness". I don't understand how something (a composite) can be thought to come from nothing (a void). Maybe I am wrong but it seems to me that the path of composition must be retraced during the process of reduction.

 

Argument in philosophy is not quarrel is it? I accept it as constructive reasoning. I expect most of the members posting here are way ahead of me in their knowledge of philosophy and I appreciate the discussions.

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I don't understand why you think I said or implied that "a continuum can be extended". I'm not sure what a continuum would be when we're talking about space unless it would be "the" continuum of space, which to me is the universe.

 

I think it means something which has no discrete divisions i.e seamless

Edited by StringJunky
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...

 

Briefly. if a phenomenon can cease to exist then it would not be real or fundamental.

 

...

What isn't transient? I don't get the logic of requiring permanence as a property of reality. I don't equate real with fundamental. To me, something fundamental must be real, but something real doesn't have to be fundamental.

 

I see both light and water vapor as disturbances (at different scales) in the substance of space. I consider the substance of space is real (and fundamental) therefore light and water vapor are real and the interaction betwen the two is real. Therefore the rainbow, although transient, is real.

I think it means something which has no discrete divisions i.e seamless

Would this mean it contains no voids?

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Fred. I've misread you a couple of times here. Sorry about that.

 

I'll follow up on just one issue. A composite phenomenon must reduce to a non-composite phenomenon. A non-composite phenomenon must reduce to, what?

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Fred. I've misread you a couple of times here. Sorry about that.

 

I'll follow up on just one issue. A composite phenomenon must reduce to a non-composite phenomenon. A non-composite phenomenon must reduce to, what?

I take your term "composite phenomenon" to mean the result of the interaction between two (or more) non-composite phenomena. I don't know how to take the meaning of your term "non-composite phenomenon".

 

I suggest that all phenomena are composite. I have posited a smallest unit of something that can be anything (spheres of space). I have also posited that we can say an object exists only when that object presents evidence of its existence and it does this by interacting with its surroundings. I have posited that a single smallest unit will have no properties other than occupying a volume, thus there will be no evidence of the existence of a single unit isolated from its neighbors. My my suggestion is that there is only one kind of fundamental object (the smallest units), the only expression of the existence of those units is the result of displacements among them, and all of the displacements, waves, currents, vortices and larger constructs interact to produce "composite phenomena".

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If all phenomena are relative then no phenomenon is fundamental. I don't buy that.

 

The reason you don't how to take the meaning of 'non-composite phenomenon' may be that for all phenomenon would are relative. I would agree that all space-time phenomena would be relative, but I would not agree that they originate in a relative phenomenon, since then the original phenomenon would have to two phenomena.

 

But each to his own.

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If all phenomena are relative then no phenomenon is fundamental. I don't buy that.

 

The reason you don't how to take the meaning of 'non-composite phenomenon' may be that for all phenomenon would are relative. I would agree that all space-time phenomena would be relative, but I would not agree that they originate in a relative phenomenon, since then the original phenomenon would have to two phenomena.

 

But each to his own.

Do you equate "relative" with "composite" for phenomena?

 

You say "space-time" phenomena. Is there another kind?

 

The reason I suggest that all phenomena are composite is because my understanding is that two or more objects must interact to produce any result. I don't see how our senses, or any object, could experience anything without something acting upon them, or it, or reacting to some action by them, or it. In other words "it takes two" or more of something to produce any phenomenon.

 

Seems to me that interaction may be only one of three ways: fundamental object to fundamental object, fundamental object to composite object or composite object to composite object. The only one of these which might be considered non-composite is the first. I expect that our senses and our instruments are not sensitive enough to respond to action by a fundamental object, although we and our instruments might respond to the result of interaction between a fundamental object and a composite object.

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Fred Champion

 

In other words "it takes two" or more of something to produce any phenomenon.

 

Would you agree that if you have two somethings interacting you then have three things viz the two things plus the interaction?

Edited by studiot
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Would you agree that if you have two somethings interacting you then have three things viz the two things plus the interaction?

Yes, but with the qualification that the interaction, or more properly the result of the interaction, may not necessarily be a "thing" which could be considered a phenomenon, and I expect the interaction between two somethings might not necessarily be limited to producing a single result of which more than one could be considered a phenomenon. I think it fair to say the nature of the two somethings and the circumstances of the interaction would determine the outcome.

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The word 'real' is difficult. I would use it to mean non-contingent or independently existing. Or, maybe we could say that a thing is not real if it can be reduced. So, with Beaudrillard, I'd say that money is not real in this strong sense. A ten pound note is just a bunch of anonymous electrons, and it might as well be a fifty pound note for all they care, or a horse.

 

'Fundamental' for me would mean irreducible or independently-existing (not a relative phenomenon). So for me a reducible phenomenon would be not real and not fundamental, while an irreducible phenomenon would be real and fundamental. In this way 'real' and 'fundamental' would mean the same thing. We see this use of the words in Bradley's book-title 'Appearance and Reality'. Reality would be that to which everything else reduces, and would be the only phenomenon that is non-relative, non-contingent and irreducible.

 

Briefly. if a phenomenon can cease to exist then it would not be real or fundamental.

 

I'm not sure of the importance of this issue, but clarifying how we are each using the words must be a useful exercise.

 

Edit: Another thought. Beaudrillard calls that which is left over once we reduce the unreal phenomenon of everyday life the 'Desert of the Real'. That is, when we look at them closely they are not there. What is there is an empty desert devoid of features.

 

This leads us straight into mysticism, but I won't go there.

 

What does being fundamental have to do with ceasing to exist?

 

moving on

 

Your account ignores the spatial relations between these fundamental things. We don't just have two fundamental things, we have two fundamentals that are a precise distance from eachother: two fundamentals and the relation between them, which amounts to three things total.

Edited by MonDie
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A fundamental phenomenon is one that can exist independently and is not emergent or relative. In this sense it is real, where dependent, composite or relative phenomena are emergent. like money or atoms. Fred is looking at relative existence and calling it 'real'. This doesn't work as a fundamental theory because it isn't fundamental.

 

How can there be two fundamental things? As studiot says, two things implies three things. And so on...

 

The idea of two fundamental things with a space between them is incoherent. We would have to go deeper for a fundamental theory.

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Yes, but with the qualification that the interaction, or more properly the result of the interaction, may not necessarily be a "thing" which could be considered a phenomenon, and I expect the interaction between two somethings might not necessarily be limited to producing a single result of which more than one could be considered a phenomenon.

 

 

Apologies, I should have said at least three.

 

"things or phenomena" I was simply seeking a generic word to cover all bases in one. I certainly agree that some or all the extra items may be non material. And if the first two possess existence, so must the third, fourth etc.

So we have finally come to agreement on that point. Both material and non material items may possess the quality of existence or they may be purely imaginary.

 

:)

Edited by studiot
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... Both material and non material items may possess the quality of existence or they may be purely imaginary.

 

:)

Your statement makes no sense to me. You must understand the meaning of "material", "non-material" and "existence" in a way I don't understand.

A fundamental phenomenon is one that can exist independently and is not emergent or relative. In this sense it is real, where dependent, composite or relative phenomena are emergent. like money or atoms. Fred is looking at relative existence and calling it 'real'. This doesn't work as a fundamental theory because it isn't fundamental.

 

How can there be two fundamental things? As studiot says, two things implies three things. And so on...

 

The idea of two fundamental things with a space between them is incoherent. We would have to go deeper for a fundamental theory.

Help me out here. I'm just a simple guy who sees a mechanical universe.

 

You ask "How can there be two fundamental things? As studiot says, two things implies three things. And so on..."

 

I ask how can one thing, one fundamental thing, one non-composite thing without anything else to interact with, produce another thing?

 

It seems to me that a fundamental thing must be inert, with no internal structure, incapable of any activity independent of external influence.

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studiot, on 07 Jun 2014 - 10:37 AM, said:snapback.png

 

 

... Both material and non material items may possess the quality of existence or they may be purely imaginary.

 

:)

Your statement makes no sense to me. You must understand the meaning of "material", "non-material" and "existence" in a way I don't understand.

 

 

Well try it this way.

 

You have made the following statement:

 

 

Fred Champion

The reason I suggest that all phenomena are composite is because my understanding is that two or more objects must interact to produce any result.

 

So let the two objects both be bar magnets. Certainly they interact to produce an observable 'result'.

 

I am classing the bar magents as material and the interaction between them, however you chose to explain it, as non material.

(An example of two material objects interacting to produce a material result would be a lit match, a piece of paper and a fire)

 

I am further suggesting that I may perform this experiment in mind only in which case none of the three objects (physically) exist.

Alternatively I might actually perform the experiment with actual bar magnets.

In which case both the magnets and their interaction (physically) exist.

 

I am simply trying to choose words to allow for all combinations.

There is nothing magic, mystic or intentionally covert about this.

 

Incidentally, with regard to the quote from your goodself.

I disagree.

 

An example of where you require only one object to produce an interaction would be the self inductance of a solenoid.

 

:)

Edited by studiot
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It seems to me that a fundamental thing must be inert, with no internal structure, incapable of any activity independent of external influence.

 

What is "activity independent of external influence"? Things don't spontaneously start moving or spinning in physics. All interaction requires an external influence.

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The idea of two fundamental things with a space between them is incoherent. We would have to go deeper for a fundamental theory.

I'm not saying they have space between them; I'm saying they have a spatial relation.

 

 

How can there be two fundamental things? As studiot says, two things implies three things. And so on...

The interaction could be emergent if causal efficacy is an inherent property of each thing, but I don't see how a spatial relation could emerge from the mere fact that there are two particles. Maybe the spatial relation is just as fundamental. Heck, maybe spatial relations are more fundamental, and a "particle" is really just common focus for multiple spatial relations.

Edited by MonDie
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I see it like this.

 

If there are two particles they have a spatial relationship. Each particle occupies a different location in space. No spatial relationship, no particles.

 

There can only be one fundamental phenomenon. If there were two it would impossible to explain this cosmic coincidence. As they would be fundamental they could not be dependent on each other, each could exist independently, and one could not cause the existence of the other.

 

The logical problems associated with a fundamental phenomenon, (such as Fred's point about the impossibility of motion and change emerging from a phenomenon that does not interact or change), can only be overcome by denying the true reality of motion and change. This was asserted by, for instance, Parmenides and Zeno. If we reify motion and change, or the phenomena that change and move, then there is no possibility of constructing a fundamental theory. The logic simply cannot be made to work, as history shows.

 

As to how form can arise from formlessness. or change arise from changelessness, this is a deep and difficult topic. Spencer Brown models the process as a calculus in his Laws of Form, and this may be the easiest way in to this idea for someone coming from physics.

 

The idea that if there is one thing then there must be two, and that if there are two then there must be three, and so forth, appears in the Tao Te Ching, but that's a more difficult read. It is the Tao that I'm talking about here. however, as being fundamental.

 

Yes, I know, I know. It's all pink fairies and flying spaghetti monsters. Nevertheless, I promise to pay £10,000 to the first person who can prove it is, and would be happy to have the money held by a third party in the meantime, James Randi style.

Edited by PeterJ
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Well try it this way.

 

You have made the following statement:

 

 

 

So let the two objects both be bar magnets. Certainly they interact to produce an observable 'result'.

 

I am classing the bar magents as material and the interaction between them, however you chose to explain it, as non material.

(An example of two material objects interacting to produce a material result would be a lit match, a piece of paper and a fire)

 

I am further suggesting that I may perform this experiment in mind only in which case none of the three objects (physically) exist.

Alternatively I might actually perform the experiment with actual bar magnets.

In which case both the magnets and their interaction (physically) exist.

 

I am simply trying to choose words to allow for all combinations.

There is nothing magic, mystic or intentionally covert about this.

 

Incidentally, with regard to the quote from your goodself.

I disagree.

 

An example of where you require only one object to produce an interaction would be the self inductance of a solenoid.

 

:)

I see the fields produced by magnets as material (physically existing) and the interaction between them as material (physically existing) also. I expect the interaction between any two or more material objects to be material.

 

In the post I responded to, you said "... non material items may possess the quality of existence...". Imagined objects do not exist, at least as I understand the terms imagined and exist.

 

Solenoids are inert until an electric current is applied. Self-induced change is the mirror image of perpetual motion; it just doesn't happen on this side of the looking glass.

 

What is "activity independent of external influence"? Things don't spontaneously start moving or spinning in physics. All interaction requires an external influence.

That was exactly my point. And it is not just "interaction" it is "action" too.

...

Maybe the spatial relation is just as fundamental. Heck, maybe spatial relations are more fundamental, and a "particle" is really just common focus for multiple spatial relations.

This looks to me like a nicer way of describing what I have proposed as units of the volume we call space. I like it even though I don't understand the "common focus" part.

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I see the fields produced by magnets as material (physically existing) and the interaction between them as material (physically existing) also. I expect the interaction between any two or more material objects to be material

 

You asked me what I meant by material and non material and I told you.

 

Since I introduced the terms material and non material into the thread, quite deliberately to distinguish from any terms others might use, I claim the right to define them.

 

We cannot have a conversation about anything I have said subsequent to my definition if you wish to use a different one since anyyhing I have said must be contingent upon my original definition.

 

So are you arguing with my conclusions, drawn commensurate with my definitions, or are you arguing about my definitions?

 

 

In the post I responded to, you said "... non material items may possess the quality of existence...". Imagined objects do not exist, at least as I understand the terms imagined and exist.

 

I did indeed, and I have several times in this thread distinguished between real as having existence and imaginary as not having existence.

 

Further I have distinguished between material and non material items, which I have defined as a different concept, as indicated about, to prevent confusion with real v imaginary.

I have even accomodated you in altering my use of the term 'object' to item and explained why I did that - again to avoid confusion stemming from conflicting definitions.

 

So are you just palying with words or do you have a substantive point to make?

 

If so, please be good enough to make it properly.

 

 

Solenoids are inert until an electric current is applied.

 

Actually this is not strictly true, since there are other circumstances where a soleoid is not inert.

 

If you look more carefully at my statement, I said

 

 

An example of where you require only one object to produce an interaction would be the self inductance of a solenoid.

 

Now a solenoid possesses calculable self inductance whether or not electric current applied.

 

So once again. are you playing with words or do you have a reasoned objection?

 

If so please state your reasoning.

Edited by studiot
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I see it like this.

 

If there are two particles they have a spatial relationship. Each particle occupies a different location in space. No spatial relationship, no particles.

 

There can only be one fundamental phenomenon. If there were two it would impossible to explain this cosmic coincidence. As they would be fundamental they could not be dependent on each other, each could exist independently, and one could not cause the existence of the other.

 

The logical problems associated with a fundamental phenomenon, (such as Fred's point about the impossibility of motion and change emerging from a phenomenon that does not interact or change), can only be overcome by denying the true reality of motion and change. This was asserted by, for instance, Parmenides and Zeno. If we reify motion and change, or the phenomena that change and move, then there is no possibility of constructing a fundamental theory. The logic simply cannot be made to work, as history shows.

 

As to how form can arise from formlessness. or change arise from changelessness, this is a deep and difficult topic. Spencer Brown models the process as a calculus in his Laws of Form, and this may be the easiest way in to this idea for someone coming from physics.

 

The idea that if there is one thing then there must be two, and that if there are two then there must be three, and so forth, appears in the Tao Te Ching, but that's a more difficult read. It is the Tao that I'm talking about here. however, as being fundamental.

 

Yes, I know, I know. It's all pink fairies and flying spaghetti monsters. Nevertheless, I promise to pay £10,000 to the first person who can prove it is, and would be happy to have the money held by a third party in the meantime, James Randi style.

The notion that the underlying pattern of the universe can neither be described in words nor conceived in thought seems to me to be a more basic way of saying that we cannot describe or imagine anything in terms which are outside of our experience. If one were to hold to this idea, it would lead to an idea that discovery is futile. Maybe it is. Of course we must describe everything in terms from our experience; we can know only what we experience.

 

If there can really be only one fundamental phenomenon, let it be space. Both the singularity of the Big Bang and God of the creation story had to be "somewhere" before the beginning. I expect that idea is inevitable if we are composite beings emergent from space. Perhaps in seeking our origin we want to look outward but we are only capable of looking inward.

 

You asked me what I meant by material and non material and I told you.

 

Since I introduced the terms material and non material into the thread, quite deliberately to distinguish from any terms others might use, I claim the right to define them.

 

We cannot have a conversation about anything I have said subsequent to my definition if you wish to use a different one since anyyhing I have said must be contingent upon my original definition.

 

So are you arguing with my conclusions, drawn commensurate with my definitions, or are you arguing about my definitions?

 

 

I did indeed, and I have several times in this thread distinguished between real as having existence and imaginary as not having existence.

 

Further I have distinguished between material and non material items, which I have defined as a different concept, as indicated about, to prevent confusion with real v imaginary.

I have even accomodated you in altering my use of the term 'object' to item and explained why I did that - again to avoid confusion stemming from conflicting definitions.

 

So are you just palying with words or do you have a substantive point to make?

 

If so, please be good enough to make it properly.

 

 

Actually this is not strictly true, since there are other circumstances where a soleoid is not inert.

 

If you look more carefully at my statement, I said

 

 

Now a solenoid possesses calculable self inductance whether or not electric current applied.

 

So once again. are you playing with words or do you have a reasoned objection?

 

If so please state your reasoning.

I have no objection. I cannot object to what I do not understand. I cannot conceive of something non-material existing. Perhaps the problem is, as you say, one of definitions.

 

My understanding of inductance is that either a current or a magnetic field must be applied to the circuit for anything to happen, but perhaps I'm wrong.

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That was exactly my point. And it is not just "interaction" it is "action" too.

 

So there are no fundamental particles, according to this view.

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Roughly speaking material is translated as made of matter and no material is made of something else.

 

 

I cannot conceive of something non-material existing.

 

 

Perhaps you missed this post in the time thread but here is something made of absolutely nothing (ie non material)

 

If you wish to deny the existence of the hole, try using one without a hole.

 

post-74263-0-99279300-1402235109_thumb.jpg

 

 

My understanding of inductance is that either a current or a magnetic field must be applied to the circuit for anything to happen, but perhaps I'm wrong

 

You didn't say that in your precious post. You need to be accurate and precise in Science. Particularly if you are testing the logic of someone else's deductions or statements.

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...

If you wish to deny the existence of the hole, try using one without a hole.

I don't think a hole exists per se. It is an abstract concept like and probably related to the idea of 'nothing' ...it is a particular state of absence of something.

Edited by StringJunky
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