Another boring existential ponderance....
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22-05-2014, 10:08 PM
RE: Another boring existential ponderance....
(22-05-2014 09:01 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  It is my understanding that the universe is finite in size, but as light and particles emanated out of the big bang escape into deep space

So what is "deep space"? If it exists, then it is a form of existence and not nothing. Our universe may be finite, but is existence finite? That is the question.

Hehe, to be or not to be........weird. Consider

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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22-05-2014, 10:49 PM
RE: Another boring existential ponderance....
(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  I brought up the notion of containment in reference to matter, not to fields; material structures occupy a volume bounded by a surface. You've brought it in reference to fields, although you later clarified that this containment is an unbound one.

In your view, the notion of containment does not seem to imply that of a container. Fair enough, it is your view. In my view, containment does suggest a container as well as that which is contained, so while I don't have a problem using the word in reference to material structures, because I can understand the contents and the container as their non-empty volume and their surface, respectively, I cannot do the same for energy fields, because I only have contents, not a container.

Yes, but such a restrictively literal interpretation is unproductive. I could have said "generates"; I could have said "permits"; I could have said "is in part comprised of"; all would have been likewise imperfect.

And in any case, "volume" and "surface" are not meaningful terms at a quantum level.

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  Since ideas are abstract notions, and thus virtual entities, the limits to your post do not appear in space but over time.

Only in the sense that entropy will eventually unmake it.

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  When your post is transferred as a stream of bits from the web server to a web client, the transmission is clearly delimited over time, from the beginning of the first bit to the end of the last bit, so even if your post can act as a virtual container of ideas, it is still a delimited container.

Of course, we can attach abstract notions to symbols arranged in space, so we can also view your post as the thing with letters that appears on the screen, in which case it is also delimited. Presuming that you are viewing this forum on a computer screen rather than the phone, have you noticed how there are a few pixels of non-post between my previous post and yours, and between yours and Hafnof's? In order to accept that some entity may be really or virtually contained, we need to be able to describe the container; otherwise, how can we be sure that the entity really is contained within its context?

As text, it is a wholly visual - that is, spatial - arrangement.

Vision is necessarily temporal, since it requires discrete photonic excitations...

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  It may be an odd fixation, and it may be a very limited interpretation of "contain", but the fact that you don't find it useful does not render it useless; I find it useful.

Fair enough, but is it not necessarily so that every new word and every new word usage inevitably raise the same reaction?

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  Really? Does the word "contain" not even remotely suggest the notion of a container in your mind? Well, it may be that they are completely unrelated notions.

Not at all, in such a context - I provided another abstract usage as a comparison.

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(19-05-2014 07:19 AM)cjlr Wrote:  ... but substituting "occur" should you wish to contains no difficulty.
I'm glad we can agree on "occur". That term does not suggest a container in my mind so I don't have a problem with it.

Good!

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(19-05-2014 07:19 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Our models occur in our minds, yes, but reality is reality in any case.
Please tell me what you understand by "reality".

Didn't we have a whole thread about that?

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(19-05-2014 07:19 AM)cjlr Wrote:  A quantised field is not sizeless; it occupies planck dimensions.
Please tell me what you understand by "occupy".

I assuredly do not mean a naively intuitive literal macroscopic sense of "occupy".

I mean that given the planck limit of any quantisation, the definition of a field's value at any "point" in space refers to a quantised area of space of at least such magnitude - indeed, far greater for any application I can think of.

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(19-05-2014 07:19 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Nonetheless, that "point" is an abstraction does not prevent a quantity from being defined at any point.
Please tell me what you understand by "defined".

Mathematically well-defined - a discrete observable.

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(19-05-2014 07:19 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Well; to bump into anything is an electromagnetic interaction.
Not necessarily, if the structures interacting are electrically neutral.

True enough; I was speaking only of interaction at a macroscopic scale (as seemed to be implied by "bump"). At which level any neutral object is nonetheless a statistical aggregate of positive and negative charges.

But it's true that, say, neutron scattering is a fundamentally quantum process - it is an interference pattern of waves.

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(19-05-2014 07:19 AM)cjlr Wrote:  But of course, that's how a model works. Field lines are an abstraction, but fields exist, certainly insofar as the behaviour they characterise is eminently observable and readily explicable.
Ok, so for you, things exist if they characterise a behaviour that is eminently observable and readily explicable. With that operational definition in mind, do square roots of negative numbers exist?

Insofar as rotation certainly does, that being what they describe.

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  Imaginary numbers are useful for describing observable behaviours such as rotations, so they must exist if I have understood your idea of existence correctly.

Numbers are descriptive. An abstracted model, referring to aggregate observation.

A field is not like an imaginary number. The abstract concept of a field is a human construct; the entity referred to is not.

It can be somewhat tedious to have the make the distinction between the two, but if you wish...

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  But if multiples of the imaginary unit exist, then it follows that the imaginary unit exists too, as itself times one, leading me to conclude that the square root of -1 exists. Now, what "real" number would I have to multiply times itself in order to get -1?

But "real" numbers are also an abstraction.

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  I'm not sure I understand your idea of existence but please keep in mind that the notion I attach to the same word is different from the one you seem to attach. When I say that fields don't exist, I am not saying that fields don't characterise a behaviour that is eminently observable and readily explicable, I mean that they do not occupy the volumes in which they seem to appear. One location may be part of many different fields during the same interval of time, but one location cannot be part of two different material structures during the same interval of time.

But a field does not occupy space in any naive sense - I'm not sure at all what you mean by that. It is simply defined for any given set of spacetime coordinates (as might be determined through its effect on observable interaction).

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(19-05-2014 07:19 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Sure, although "flavour" originally meant smell, not taste, and has meant "type" in a broader sense for centuries.
Yeah, you're right, thanks for pointing it out. And the chemical sensors that I mentioned are not exclusively located in the tongue; much of what we perceive as taste is in fact entering our bodies through our noses. Have you ever tried cinammon with your nose covered?

It is still a shit word to describe an attribute at a subchemical level of structure.

While non-ideal, it's certainly better than using a vaguer word like "type" (which you'd no doubt say is just as bad, since it refers to marked impressions on an object). A word like "kind" would be applicable to even more contexts.

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(19-05-2014 07:19 AM)cjlr Wrote:  But given the lack of overlap between particle physics and biochemistry the ambiguity is unlikely to arise.
Lack of overlap? Particle physics underlies biochemical structures and behaviours, how is that not overlapping?

If I refer to the flavour of a quark, I cannot imagine anyone in any way confusing that with how a lone quark would stimulate certain chemical receptors.

Unless of course one were unaware of just what either even meant, in which case the difference would be immaterial.

(19-05-2014 10:06 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(19-05-2014 07:19 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Well, neologisms are hard to come up with in any case.
I don't think they're so difficult to invent, and in any case it is worth the effort; it yields languages that are less ambiguous.

Consider
Well; what neologisms, then, would you suggest for the subatomic properties of the standard model?

I mean, I've never thought of any particularly compelling alternatives...
Wink

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