Act, potentiality and the unmoved mover
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
02-01-2015, 12:18 AM
Act, potentiality and the unmoved mover
Hello,

I have read some objections against the first way of aquinas (the argument from motion) but unfortunately I think I don't clearly understand all of them Consider(even if i know that the argument is flawed).

Full argument here:

[The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.]

The objections to the first way generally concern the infinite regress, the fact that god is assumed to be the unmoved mover or "Is the unmoved mover really unmoved?". Those arguments are quite interesting, but arguing about them is not the purpose of this thread.

I saw that the argument could apparently be refuted if we take modern physic or quantum physic into account. Since I'm not a science guy, I'm searching some explanations that could me help to fully understand the scientific arguments.

Here is a list of questions I was wondering about. Could someone give me some answers (and giving some sources/links if possible) please?

1. How does the Einstein's theory of relativity refute the argument ? What about the notion of "absolute motion" and the idea that motion is relative?

2. Are there any other arguments/fact showing that a first (unmoved) mover is not absolutely necessary?

3. Does quantum physics refute the argument?

4. What does modern physic tell about act and potentiality? Could the concept of act and potentiality be refuted by modern science? Could the notion of act and potentiality be also relative and not absolute?

5. Is that true that nothing can "move" (go from potentiality to act) itself? Are there any counterexample?

6. Does the notion of act and potentiality have serious grounds or is that just some arbitrary interpretation of the world? Some said that this is a metaphysical concept that has nothing to do with physics. Does that sound or it is just a bad counterargument?

If someone could answer to my questions please Bowing, that could help me a lot.

Sorry for my poor engrish, I apologize. This is not my native language and I'm still learning it.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like PxlSyndrom's post
02-01-2015, 12:55 AM
RE: Act, potentiality and the unmoved mover
This also isn't really my thing. I'm just banging this out quickly because I need to run down the shops. I am genuinely sorry if this isn't sufficent. Will come back to this.

1. It violates the general rules of relativity because of this section:
Quote:For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality.

Basically it posits that the first action by the "Prime Mover" was first. That contradicts relativity as nothing can exist before time as there is no "space" for it to exist in and if something doesn't exist in time or time doesn't exist while it exists. Then it has a "zero time value."

It exists for zero seconds: Which is how I'd explain that something doesn't exist.

2. Yes. Though I'm not familiar with them. This guy broke them down into their component pieces a couple of weeks ago and I thought he did an excellent job.

(20-12-2014 10:48 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  BTW, below are some ideas I wrote once, a while ago, (re the Aquinas stuff)

1. Unmoved mover.
* Assumes there actually is a state of absolute "motionlessness". In this universe, that is never observed, as absolute 0 temperature has a measure, (2.00 Kelvin).
Aquinas had no detection equipment.
* Assumes structure of rest / motion was already caused.
* Is argument for "proximate" mover, not ("first") Unmoved mover. The Unmoved moved, if he really is god, could have created a non-god, unmoved mover.
* Assumes linear time, and, that linear time is (already) in place.
* Assumes causality, and that causality is (already) in place. If the god "caused" causality, it assumes causality (already) in place. (Infinite Regression).
* Aquinas did not know about Relativity. ((There is no absolute (linear) time)).
(A cause, with a different direction/position/speed in space-time, ie in the future of the object moved, could be the cause of motion, in it's relative past), and vice-versa.
* Assumes the universe is intuitive. (we know from Einstein, Heisenberg, and Dirac, that it is not).
* Assumes ALL things in motion could not have always been in, or possessed, motion, without having established that that is not possible. States something with no proof.
What he really should have said is "acceleration requires energy". We know from physics it is acceleration which requires input of energy, not motion. Aquinas did not know about "increasing rate(s) of motion", (acceleration). Physics tells us "things in motion stay in motion". The input of energy into a system to initiate an increase in motion can arise from many sources, including the conversion of matter to energy, and chemical energy to motion, not just "motion". Thus motion's origin/transfer is not really the question here. (The question here is really the origins of energy. Since this question is not addressed in Aquinas' argument, I am not required to address it, either, as my purpose here is simply to show his arguments are fallacious.) Aquinas did not know matter and energy are interchangeable. (E=mc2).
* #5 is not the ONLY possible conclusion from 1-4. No proof.
* #7 stated, not proven
* #8 stated, not proven as the ONLY possible conclusion
* First and foremost, assumes an object which "appears" at rest, really IS (completely) at rest, and that we have the ability to determine that.
a. Particle Physics knows that is fundamentally false, (Aquinas did not know about atoms, their components, and their properties).
b. Uncertainty has shown us that there is no way to determine the absolute position of anything, thus absolute rest, cannot be proven, and in fact, from the particle/wave duality, we know it never will be.
c. A particle with absolutely no energy, (motion), has never been observed, or detected. Thus there is no way to test this proposition, and no reason to.
d. Assumes principle of transfer of energy of motion from one object to another object is, effective and efficient. Where did the principle come from ? If the transfer is not 100 % efficient, (which it is not, as some energy is dissipated as friction, and some as radiant energy), why did the god create a less than perfect transfer system ? What is a "perfect" transfer system. If there is one, who made the system ? Who set up the perfect standard ? (See perfection below).

2. First Cause
* Assumes linear time, and causality (already) in place. (Aquinas did not know about Relativity).

3. Contingent Being.
* No. Essentially god of the gaps. Also assumes linear time and causality, (already) in place.

4. Perfection.
* Perfection is a relative perception. What I perceive as perfect is not what you perceive as perfect.
* Perfection's definition is not established.
* Assumes there is only one "perfect standard". Has not established the standard. Has not established only one standard possible and/or necessary.
* States a creature is not as perfect as the idea of itself in mind of god. Not proven.
((Is actually a proof of NO god, and it makes her a non-perfect, (non-efficient, or less than perfect), creator)).
* A perfect, omnipotent god could/would translate a perfect idea, into a perfect creature.
* Assumes the god is subject to a structure of some sort, (already) in place, in the fabric of of the universe.

Did god have a reason for creating the universe ?
If god did not have a reason, god is not rational, and is capricious.
If not, god could either not do it, or create something else.
If god could not create something else, then there is a standard, apart from god, and god is not god.

Thank you Plato, for Euthyphro's Dilemma, (written for "morality", but works here) :
* If the god made something perfect, did it have a reason ? If it was not perfect, how could it be a product of a perfect god ?
If the god had no reason, for the state (of perfection and/or imperfection) of the creature, then it could have made something else, and there is no standard of perfection, (in the mind of the god).
If it could NOT have made something else, and still be god, then a standard exists, apart from god.
If there is a good reason, that reason exists, apart from god.
Could he have made something else ?
If he could not create something else, then perfection exists apart from god.
Is something not perfect, because god says it's not perfect, or is it not perfect, because it's objectively not perfect , and god had to say that ?
Would something imperfect, be perfect, if god says it's perfect ?
Conclusions:
If god could not have made something which is imperferct, and still be god, then the source of the perfection is not god.
If it would still be perfect , even if god says it's not perfect, then the source of perfection is not god.
If the source of perfection is not god, then we must look elsewhere for guidance, on what is perfect.

(BTW, this proof, is also valid for "causality", ie debunking "First Cause", and is also proof of god's non-existence, and non-contingent nature.)

5. Anthropic Principle.
* Refuted so many times, not worth discussion.

3. Yes. The decay of a radioactive particle (the same type you'd use in the Schrodinger's Box experiment) is probabilistic and isn't influenced by a "first cause."

4. By my limited understanding? The same things that I very much skimmed in the in the first and third question.

5. Maybe? Apparently the universe but I don't know enough to confirm that.

6. Having to fall back on metaphysics is an argument of presupposition. You're attempting to demonstrate that something metaphysical exists and are appealing to the metaphysical to do it.

It's a poor counterargument by default.

Soulless mutants of muscle and intent. There are billions of us; hardy, smart and dangerous. Shaped by millions of years of death. We are the definitive alpha predator. We build monsters of fire and stone. We bottled the sun. We nailed our god to a stick.

In man's struggle against the world, bet on the man.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Stuffed_Assumption_Meringue's post
02-01-2015, 01:44 AM
RE: Act, potentiality and the unmoved mover
(02-01-2015 12:18 AM)PxlSyndrom Wrote:  I saw that the argument could apparently be refuted if we take modern physic or quantum physic into account. Since I'm not a science guy, I'm searching some explanations that could me help to fully understand the scientific arguments.

As a general rule of thumb, any argument using Relativity or Quantum Physics can safely be ignored. Unless of course you're at a physics convention. Simply put, the people making the argument have little idea of what they're talking about and the people hearing it almost certainly have no idea what you're trying to say.

Aquinas' nonsense has a much simpler refutation. The argument from first motion is really just the argument from first cause in disguise. Aquinas is actually asking, 'What caused the first motion?' and deducing the Christian god. It's a bit of a leap.

The correct answer is that the question makes no sense. Causation is a feature of our universe so any discussion of causation prior to the universe is without meaning. What caused causation? It's a little like asking how many slices of bread there were before the loaf was baked.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like Paleophyte's post
02-01-2015, 01:59 AM
RE: Act, potentiality and the unmoved mover
(02-01-2015 01:44 AM)Paleophyte Wrote:  The correct answer is that the question makes no sense. Causation is a feature of our universe so any discussion of causation prior to the universe is without meaning. What caused causation? It's a little like asking how many slices of bread there were before the loaf was baked.

(That's a good metaphor and I'm going to steal it.)

Causation as a feature of the universe is a conclusion reached by general relativity. Which is part of why I disagree that relativity and quantum mechanics can be safely ignored as an answer.

Yes they're frequently obtuse and difficult to understand and non-intuitive but that can be helped by clear communication and research.

Do you have any other reasons to ignore relativity and quantum mechanics as answers?

Soulless mutants of muscle and intent. There are billions of us; hardy, smart and dangerous. Shaped by millions of years of death. We are the definitive alpha predator. We build monsters of fire and stone. We bottled the sun. We nailed our god to a stick.

In man's struggle against the world, bet on the man.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
02-01-2015, 06:51 AM
RE: Act, potentiality and the unmoved mover
(02-01-2015 12:18 AM)PxlSyndrom Wrote:  [The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another,
This part of the argument is counter to Newton's First Law of Motion. Classical physics. No relativity or quantum theory required.
Thumbsup

Sapere aude
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
02-01-2015, 07:03 AM
RE: Act, potentiality and the unmoved mover
Any argument that employs the word "metaphysical" is crap. It has been used by all sorts of labels and sects from fundy to new age apologists.

There is only science. "Metaphysical" is a phony word made up by those who are simply justifying superstition.

How about the direct simple answer. Humans don't like to face their finite existence so they are very imaginative as to coming up with crappy claims to justify ignoring their finite reality.

There is no justification for any claim that says we continue on past our own deaths. We are as finite in reality as a tree and a cockroach. We will go extinct just like the dinosaurs. And even our planet and sun are finite.

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Brian37's post
02-01-2015, 07:41 AM
RE: Act, potentiality and the unmoved mover
I've learned to hone my woo radar after hearing these arguments. They almost always invoke absolutes, this is an immediate red flag because absolutes require a perfect standard, perfection doesn't exist as anything but a subjective concept.

You'll also see them use perfection as an argument for whatever god they believe in, an instant admission that they're talking about something imaginary. Perfection is an attribute that has no useful definition to describe reality.

Generally if someone wants to use an argument that's over 700 years old, pretty sure they're going to fail at multiple levels, especially from the standpoint of science.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes TheInquisition's post
02-01-2015, 10:07 AM
RE: Act, potentiality and the unmoved mover
(02-01-2015 12:18 AM)PxlSyndrom Wrote:  Hello,

I have read some objections against the first way of aquinas (the argument from motion) but unfortunately I think I don't clearly understand all of them Consider(even if i know that the argument is flawed).

Full argument here:

[The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.]

The objections to the first way generally concern the infinite regress, the fact that god is assumed to be the unmoved mover or "Is the unmoved mover really unmoved?". Those arguments are quite interesting, but arguing about them is not the purpose of this thread.

I saw that the argument could apparently be refuted if we take modern physic or quantum physic into account. Since I'm not a science guy, I'm searching some explanations that could me help to fully understand the scientific arguments.

Here is a list of questions I was wondering about. Could someone give me some answers (and giving some sources/links if possible) please?

1. How does the Einstein's theory of relativity refute the argument ? What about the notion of "absolute motion" and the idea that motion is relative?

2. Are there any other arguments/fact showing that a first (unmoved) mover is not absolutely necessary?

3. Does quantum physics refute the argument?

4. What does modern physic tell about act and potentiality? Could the concept of act and potentiality be refuted by modern science? Could the notion of act and potentiality be also relative and not absolute?

5. Is that true that nothing can "move" (go from potentiality to act) itself? Are there any counterexample?

6. Does the notion of act and potentiality have serious grounds or is that just some arbitrary interpretation of the world? Some said that this is a metaphysical concept that has nothing to do with physics. Does that sound or it is just a bad counterargument?

If someone could answer to my questions please Bowing, that could help me a lot.

Sorry for my poor engrish, I apologize. This is not my native language and I'm still learning it.

I make a point on giving a pass to people for whom English is actually a second language. No worries!

My biggest objection to the argument is that it relies on an assumption that infinite regress is impossible, which in this context must be taken as circular reasoning. (It's not the worst mistake in there, but it's bad math, and bad math makes me itchy.) My second-biggest objection is the automatic identification of the prime mover with a conventional notion of a god, and my third-biggest objection is the fallacious move from generally-true trend to universal absolute. Of these three, you aren't interested in discussing the first two, so I'll expand on the third.

Generally speaking, we see events as being caused by the circumstances preceding them. On the macro level that humans operate, this is a very useful and reliable model, with no counterexamples to be easily found. This is what I referred to as a generally-true trend. It is a good basis for claiming causality in nearly every case, at least on our scale. However, going from "most things obey this principle" to "all things obey this principle" is a fallacy. At best, we can produce an extremely strong probabilistic argument, and that's not enough. We would need only a single exception for the argument from first cause to not work, and we have nowhere near enough data to confidently state that, in all the universe, in all of history, there has never been a single exception. In fact, this argument REQUIRES there to be an exception -- god.

I'll now answer a few of the specific questions that you've asked. I'm not an expert, though. I haven't seen cjlr around in a while, but that's the person to ask about all the quantum stuff.

2. is a reversal of the burden of proof. It is not that there is evidence that a prime mover is unnecessary, so much as there is no evidence that a prime mover is necessary. Contrary to the ancient Greek antipathy towards infinity, infinite regress is not actually a logical contradiction. The option is still on the table.

3-5. On the micro level of subatomic particles, things act in a probabilistic rather than strictly causal manner. For example, consider an atom of a radioactive isotope. It's not a stable structure. At some point in time, it will let loose a particle (radiation) and decay into something that is hopefully more stable. However, there is no causal element as to WHEN it does this. It does so at a random point in time, which can be described with an exponential probability distribution function but which cannot actually be identified in advance. There is no "cause" for the decay happening at this moment rather than another, other than that this was an atom that COULD decay. The radiation and decay is a spontaneous event. Another example is electrons jumping into lower orbits and emitting photons after being excited. Their excited state is what grants the potential to actually do this, but there's no actual cause to WHEN they do this. Imagine, on the macro level, a glass on a table, that spontaneously (without any cause of a breeze, vibrations, etc) falls off the table and to the floor. It being on the table in the first place gives it the potential to fall, but nothing actually shoves it off the table. This hardly ever happens on the macro scale, but it's commonplace on the scale of atoms and subatomic particles.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
02-01-2015, 10:54 AM
RE: Act, potentiality and the unmoved mover
(02-01-2015 12:18 AM)PxlSyndrom Wrote:  Sorry for my poor engrish

Are you from Orient ? Ah so. (Just teasing).
So interesting this stuff. Yet so easy to pull apart.

(02-01-2015 12:18 AM)PxlSyndrom Wrote:  Full argument here:
[The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses,

And ................ he can stop right there.
Reality has been proven to be non-intuitive. That is, the reality which our senses perceive is not really the way the universe works. Relativity, (no absolute position in space-time), Heisenberg's Uncertainty, and for math nerds, the tensors of Dirac, all have been proven to be true, yet do not make any intuitive sense. There are also many "logical" systems which are correct "logically" yet do not obtain in reality.

Now. I wanna be made a "Doctor of the Church" too. Who do I write to ?
Oh wait, Vosur's gonna get me for that. "Who do I write to, bitch ?" (Can't end a sentence with a preposition, ya know).

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
02-01-2015, 01:29 PM
RE: Act, potentiality and the unmoved mover
(02-01-2015 01:59 AM)Stuffed_Assumption_Meringue Wrote:  
(02-01-2015 01:44 AM)Paleophyte Wrote:  The correct answer is that the question makes no sense. Causation is a feature of our universe so any discussion of causation prior to the universe is without meaning. What caused causation? It's a little like asking how many slices of bread there were before the loaf was baked.

(That's a good metaphor and I'm going to steal it.)

I'll take that as a compliment.

(02-01-2015 01:59 AM)Stuffed_Assumption_Meringue Wrote:  Causation as a feature of the universe is a conclusion reached by general relativity. Which is part of why I disagree that relativity and quantum mechanics can be safely ignored as an answer.

Yes they're frequently obtuse and difficult to understand and non-intuitive but that can be helped by clear communication and research.

Do you have any other reasons to ignore relativity and quantum mechanics as answers?

Sorry, slight misunderstanding here. I was suggesting that any argument invoking Relativity or Quantum Mechanics can be safely ignored because the overwhelming majority of people have absolutely no idea what it's about. If you doubt me pop over to a fundie board and look at the threads "disproving" Einstein.

They are both elegant theories and useful in their own respect when talking to educated or even receptive audiences. Fundie trolls are neither.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Paleophyte's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: