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Notion of matter, space and time

  1. May 28, 2003 #1
    Here are some basic philosophic notions about matter, space and time.

    We talk here about the philosophical notions, not the physical notions. Matter denotes the category of existence outside of one's own mind, and independend of it. For Idealism, matter does not exist on itself, since Idealist state that mind is primary, and matter only a secondary property of reality, which was in first instance "created" by mind.
    Materialism claims that matter is primary, and mind (in form of consciousness and conscious beings) is a secondary, dependend, property of matter. The world existed before consciouss beings existed; consciouss beings formed out of the non-living material world in a long process of evolution.

    Matter can not be seperated from motion (#). Where there is matter, there is motion, and vice versa. The notions of time and space denote the "modes of existence" of matter.
    Matter is infinite. This means that even when all material forms must be thought of of having a finite spatial and temporal extend, matter itself is just in eternal motion/change/transformation, etc. and all material forms are the effects of previous material forms, and the causes of posterious material forms.
    For instance the sun, denotes a finite material form in a finite spatial extend, which at one time formed, and will at one time dissamble, disintegreate. Before there was a sun, there were gasuous clouds, and afterwards (after the sun gone red-giant) part of the material is re-emmitted into galactic space, and the rest will become a white dwarf. Matter is in eternal motion, without begin or end.

    The following notions are - according to materialism - invalid notions and can't denote something real:
    1. Matter without space or time
    (since matter is in motion always, therefore space and time exist)
    2. Space or time without matter
    (space and time do not exist on themselves, but are modes of
    existence of matter)
    3. Matter without motion, motion without matter
    (the "substance" that is in motion and the motion itself, can not
    be seperated, and do not exist independendly)
    4. "creation" or "destruction" of matter itself
    (nb. not just the transformation of one form of matter into
    another but creation or destruction of matter itself)

    In particular the notion of the Big Bang as denoting the BEGINNING of matter, space and time, is acc. to materialism an invalid notion.
    Matter itself can not be created or destructed, but only be transformed (f.i. mass into energy, energy into mass) from one form into another form. There is nothing wrong with the Big Bang theory as a theory that explains the way the universe evolved from the far past as a more hot and more dense and smaller material form into the current universe, but the claim that the Big Bang denotes an absolute begin of time, space and all matter, is not valid.

    (#) Please note that matter and motion are used here as general terms, and not specific forms of matter or motion. Matter can be anything (particles, energy, fields, etc) and also motion (motion through space, nuclear reaction, chemical reaction, change of temperature, etc. etc,)
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2003 #2


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    [mentor hat]
    I'm on the fence as whether to leave this topic here or move it to the Philo. forum. Eh...for now, let's see what happens here.
    [/mentor hat]
  4. May 28, 2003 #3


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    I agree it should be moved. No offense, heusdens,
    but this is irrelevant in this forum. I'm sure
    there'll be a real discussion of it in the Phil. forum.

    Peace and long life.
  5. May 28, 2003 #4


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    I second the motion regarding this matter. Here it will probably get very limited discussion, but in Ph. it will really rock. This is going to get into the validity of materialism as a school of thought (philosophy), the tenability and limitations of the Standard Model (A&C), and even the rationality of the laws fo conservation (Physics).

    Philosohpy is the only area of thought broad enough to encompass all of these.
  6. May 28, 2003 #5
    Hello everybody :)

    Im new here and came across this site pretty much accidently.. It all looks very interestng and tantalising to the brain.. I hope I can contribute somethings of interest to this forum :)

    anyways back to the topic at hand..

    heusdens I find your ideas and thoughts very interesting.. One thing I always wonder about the notions of matter is where did matter come from in the first place? I understantd that it is somethig that is forever changing and moving.. But how did it get here?.. After all you can't make something out of nothing....can you?
  7. May 28, 2003 #6
    Well, I think an interesting meld of Philosophy and Theoretical Physics may be represented here: There is matter and there is motion and they cannot exist without each other.
    Matter=particles. Motion=energy or "waves."

    The relationship is defined by hbar and that is more or less "proven" Theoretical Physics. So, in such a case, Materialistic philosophy and Theoretical Physics pretty much agree; It's a bit like saying one cannot exist without the other.

    Let's put it another way: Planck's Constant reflects the 'dysharmony' between matter and energy which exists in our particular Universe.

    Now, quarks, strings and M-Theory muddy the waters a bit. I don't know whether individual quarks must obey Planck's Law or not; and what has 'spin' do do with any of it?

    Here's where a relatively neat and understandable relationship becomes complicated: Can quarks, etc., be fitted into a comprehensive philosophy?

    I would be grateful for any opinion.

  8. May 29, 2003 #7
    Without matter, the world would be non-existent, it would not even be empty space, but total nothing.

    So, the best answer is to say that matter didn't get there, but was always there. Matter doesn't get created or destroyed, but can only be transformed into another material form.
  9. May 29, 2003 #8
    Please don't confuse the philosphical notion of matter, with that of physcics. In the philosophical sense of materialism, energy and fields are as material as anything else. But they all exist in the form of motion.
  10. May 29, 2003 #9
    The topic maybe should be moved to the phil. subforum, but there is one aspect worth discussing it here.
    Materialism claims that, even when it conforms to the Big Bang theory on most parts, it claims that the Big Bang was not the event some people (including Hawking) supposes it was: the beginning of time, space and matter.
    Acc. to materialism no such event ever took place..
  11. May 29, 2003 #10


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    Are you counting photons, all the EM spectrum, as "another material form? Also, I think your first post stated "matter is infinite". What about the long-known fact now that protons do decay, on a time scale older than the current universe? Doesn't proton decay mean a mechanism that somehow unbinds the Up and Down Quarks?

    These are honest questions, not a "challenge" to your post.
  12. May 29, 2003 #11
    Matter in the philosophical sense is just anything that can be thought of to constitute the outside objective world that is independend of our mind. What that substance is, and how it behaves, is the subject of physics, chemistry and the other natural sciences.

    Confusing enough, physics use the same term matter, but with a different meaning, namely to denote anything that can be modeled as "point particles" in contrast to energy or fields.

    Decay of proton or anything is not a problem acc. to materialism, since it is stated they decay (= transform) into something else.

    If it would be stated that protons decay leaving no trace of their existence, then that would be a problem for materialism.

    In fact, it could be stated that a universe without any component of physical matter (but for example anything that can be present in a vacuum, like a scalar field) is perfectly thinkable, acc. to materialism.
  13. May 29, 2003 #12


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    Ok, now I'm out of my league...
  14. May 29, 2003 #13
    The big bang theory states that matter moved inwards towards each other until it condensed to such a point that it then exploded outwars creating the univers we see today ? (at least this is what I understand the big bang theory to be..) but even if materialism states that this may not have occured it still doesn't say that the universe was created from nothing.. materail condensed togther in such a way as to cause the big bang.. but material was already there to do that.. So it may have created the universe we see today..but something was there before hand..

    I can't say I agree with the notion that material exists as a product of the mind..and that nothing exists outside of our perception of it because I cant see how intelligence evolved without the instance of experience (ie if there is nothing to interact with..how could intelligence evolve? Why would it bother to change at all when it had no reason to change?..It had nothing motivating it to do so..)

    It makes much more sense to me to believe that at least one atom.. (and it would only take one)had to be created or existed somewhere..that slowly learnt how to reproduce itself..perhaps through the instance of being exposed to heat or an electrical current? And as it "evolved" in form and intelligence, it learnt to create matter .. And why? because that gave it purpose.. and the more complex the matter..the more purpose it has..

    This is only my opinion but I think it makes alot more sense than to say matter exists and has always existed.. Thats just not logical..
    My brin has to spit that one out.. lol

    Heres an article which better explains where I'm coming from..

    http://www.think-aboutit.com/Spiritual/what_is_the_true_nature_of_reali.htm[/URL [Broken]

    ps scuse typos.. Ive got a really dikky keyboard at the moment.. ]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  15. May 29, 2003 #14
    lol... I'll try again..sorry..

    http://www.think-aboutit.com/Spiritual/what_is_the_true_nature_of_reali.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  16. May 29, 2003 #15
    hmmm actually after re-reading it it seems to be arguing against me.. lol..
  17. May 30, 2003 #16
    You are arguing from the point that there is a cycluic universe: Big Bang - Expansion - Contraction - Big Cruch = Next Big Bang, etc.

    I was arguing from the theoretical point that time itself began at the Big Bang. That is absolutely in contrast with materialism.

    Hmmm. The evolution of life required a lot more as one atom.
    It had to start with an already amazingly complex chemical macro molecules.

    Perhaps cleaing your keyboard might help?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  18. May 30, 2003 #17
    Whether cyclic or not once the big bang happened no information can be obtained from any time before decoupling took place so anything before that is purely speculative. If time and space is as I believe dependent upon the existance of matter not just energy but actual physical matter in any form then time and space did not exist prior to decoupling. Timespace is therefore finite at least to this cycle.
    If the universe is cyclic then timespace are not continous but destroyed and created with ech big Crunch/Big Bang. Either way as I said before we can know nothing about it and no information can reach us from any previous cycle so its moot. IMO
  19. May 30, 2003 #18


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    99% of this universe is made of just energy (vacuum). So why should the existence of space depend on "physical matter" as you describe it? And what exactly is non physical about other forms of energy?
  20. May 30, 2003 #19
    Because we are ignorant, we may learn. The instant of the big bang is as unknown to us as the instant a virtual particle appears out of thin vacuum. In both cases we are profoundly ignorant as to what is occuring, all we know are the statistical chances of the event occuring. Exactly what might have occured in any single event, including the prodigeous big bang, remains as enigmatic and probiblamatic as the next throw of the dice.
    Last edited: May 30, 2003
  21. May 30, 2003 #20
    I was speaking of the first few mircoseconds of the big bang when presumably the was nothing but infinitely dence energy at infinite temperature and matter did not existe in any form. Some think, and I agree with them, that spacetime did not yet exist. I'm not sure of this but I think that in string theory if it was too energetic for strings to form no other dimention and therefore time could not form until the singularity expanded enough for matter (strings?) to form and later after it expanded and cooled further matter and energy decoupled.
    This implys that the singularity that became the universe formed or came into existance in a dimentionless and thus timeless void not a vacuum. I call the dimentionless timeless void null-space. It is this null-space that the universe is expanding into now which is why it can expand faster than the speed of light. To say that the void is infinite is meaningless for it has no dimenion at all. To say that it is vast or eternal is equally meaningless for the same reason.
    It is specutated that the expanding universe can still be considered a sigularity and we and the entire universe known and unknown is inside a (the) singularity as time and distance have no meaning or scale either in the void null-space or inside a singularity.
    ___ ____ ___

    To stay in character - God said; "Let there be light." "Big Bang"
    There is nor can be any proof that this is what happened or proof that it did not happen. You choose and belive what you want. This is one place where none of us can be proven wrong or right. Maybe this is Free Will.
    Sorry about that I just couldn't resist the opportunity. :wink:
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