The purpose of this post is to question whether dynamical qualities (i.e. “fundamental charges”) can survive as primitive concepts in physics as contemporary theory moves from a mechanical model of the universe to a (potentially unified) informational paradigm. In the book “Concepts of Mass in Contemporary Physics and Philosophy,” Max Jammer presents physics as resting upon three primitive concepts: space, time and mass. (Jammer focuses specifically on the notion of mass, but the following discussion is just as valid for the notion of “charge” in general.) Of particular note, he writes: “[If] if is the concept of mass that is required for the transition from kinematics to dynamics, it must contain a dynamical ingredient. A theory of mass can therefore not operate solely with kinematical conceptions. Rather, it must itself be a dynamical theory and as such somehow involve a notion of force that is defined in mechanics as the product of mass and acceleration, thus leading to a logical circle. … In order to avoid this impasse a dynamical theory of mass has to defy the commonly accepted idea that mechanics – with its notions of mass and force, whether considered as a theory of physical reality or only as a metatheory or purely mathematical formalism – is the fundament of physics.” [my italics] Now, this may be viewed as an arbitrary philosophical discussion amongst practical minded theorists. But it seems to me that developing areas of study that are steering physics towards an informational paradigm – i.e. black hole thermodynamics, the holographic principle – are leading to a very real confrontation. These theories ultimately take us to the conclusion that information is proportional to area. Assuming this is correct, the traditional idea of point particles must be banished since the information “embodied” by a single particle cannot be embodied by a singular event. However, per Jammer’s points above, this seems to lead to a serious conceptual problem. Since “fundamental particles” must, by definition, possess dynamical qualities, they must be embodied by extended regions of spacetime. Further, if we are to assume that particles are an objective feature of the universe, then the events which make up a single particle must be uniquely associated with one another in a way that differs from their relation to other events in general. (Otherwise, we could not make objective statements like "events x and y are a part of particle z.") But this association cannot be accomplished through any intrinsic dynamical qualities, since those qualities must also embody information, and therefore cannot be embodied by the events in question. Conversely, if the events are not uniquely associated, then neither particles, nor their properties, can be considered fundamental. This contradiction may seem very philosophical in nature. But given that the assumption of primitive dynamical qualities is the featured component of virtually every existing paradox and problem in contemporary theory – singularities, nonlocality, flatness problem, horizon problem, etc., etc. – that seems like a dangerous assumption to preserve. My approach to the issue is to approach it in the same way as one would approach an architectural problem in software design. If a basic element of a program is both highly specialized and a prominent feature of every major problem in the system – then that element should be broken down and further generalized to abstract away the conflict. Specifically, my proposition is this: If dynamical properties cannot be embodied by a singular event; and if multiple events must therefore be associated with one another in a way that cannot be classified using spatiotemporal relationships alone. (And if we assume that particles are objective features of the universe, then we must… particularly if we assume that any eventual unified theory will be accompanied by a unified ontology.) Then both particles and their dynamical qualities must be treated as emergent. Of course, it is impossible to conjure dynamical qualities from space and time alone. But since we are already making associations between events which cannot be classified using those concepts, a natural solution is to define a third primitive relation to formally classify these associations and then place it on equal footing with space and time. These three primitives could then be used to define the dynamical qualities that were previously considered to be primitive aspects of reality. (I’ve submitted a paper to the Independent Research forum here on PF that presents this idea in more detail. But since that forum is moderated, and since the reviewers are volunteers and are extremely busy, I get the impression that it could be a very long time before the submission is approved… assuming it gets approved at all. In the meantime, I thought I’d initiate some targeted discussion here in the philosophy forum.) So, in keeping with the new rules of this forum, I ask the following questions: Has anyone ever seen any publications that propose a similar approach? Or even address the issue at hand? If not, is there any reason why my approach should not be taken seriously? Or is the issue somehow a non-issue?