The Metaphysical and the Physical

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  • #76
Tiberius
Originally posted by LW Sleeth
This isn't a “chat board,” it is a forum. Moreover, it is a science forum with a philosophy area.


Heh, different form of the same thing - point is, it's a casual conversation. Don't think too highly of yourself because you're on a "forum" - I don't remember there being any standards to post here (obviously).

I think a lot of us shoot for high standards of accuracy because what we are posting is public. Also, there are quite a few young people who participate at PF, and there is some commitment to wanting the information they see to be trustworthy. Obviously opinions will differ, but the facts used to support an opinion should be right.
And they are. I've based my beliefs on things I've seen and read just like you. But I will not be held to standards of "scholarship" and posting official references for what is essentially entertainment. That is, until they pay me to post here. I don't expect the same from you - just that if you've got some examples you'd like to discuss then spill it or drop it.

Metaphyiscs is one of three formal areas of philosophy (with epistimology and ethics being the other two). In discussions at PF in the past where we’ve contemplated what philosophy is, a simple definition I’ve liked is that it’s thinking about thinking. Using that defintion, then one might say metaphysics is productive ways to reason about the ultimate nature of reality or what really exists (to use a tidy characterization).
Yep.

One tiny area of metaphysics might be the mystical-magical thing, but it does not typify what the philosophical metaphysics is about. So when you post an opinion based on your assumption that metaphysics refers only to new age nonsense, it shows you haven’t done your home work.
I have never claimed that metaphysics refers "ONLY to new age nonsense." - You assumed that when I chose to talk about those things. In fact, quite a lot of my posts on this very thread to others have suggested otherwise (other types of what may be called metaphysics that I'm ok with). Please see those.

Let me quote excerpts from two of your posts, one from your QM thread, and one from here:
Yes that's a good quote. I was referring to QM so I asked for accuracy. You're not happy about me discussing certain things so you're calling it inaccuracy about things I'm not even talking about. Again, if you want to discuss those thing then do so and stop complaining that I'm not.

Part of my objection to your attitude has been that while you are stickler for correct science, you don’t show the same conscientiousness with other areas of thought. I see this all the time here where people only study what they believe in, and form opinions on other stuff carelessly. The worst offenders present their beliefs like they have the “right” view already, and anyone who doesn’t conform intellectually to their beliefs is stupid.
Are you describing yourself here? Anyway, I have studied the things I am talking about. I'm sorry if I'm not discussing "union prayer" but please feel free to do so if you like.
 
  • #77
Tom Mattson
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Originally posted by LW Sleeth
You say, "Energy is a defined mathematical quantity. It has no physical reality apart from its functional dependence on state variables that do have reality."

At the old PF, Integral said this too, basically saying that energy is a means of measurement. So when you say “state variables that do have reality,” aren’t you meaning by the term “reality,” that which can be observed, measured, and quantified?
Yes. Look at the examples I gave. One does not measure kinetic energy, one measures speed (the state variable for KE). Similarly for the others.

Does energy fail to qualify for that (i.e., reality) because only energy’s effects can be seen (work), while energy itself (whatever that is) is unobservable, immeasurable, and unquantifiable?
As I said, energy is not measured, but it is a function of measured quantities. That does not mean that it is "unquantifiable". Indeed, when I say that it a mathematical function, that means that it is manifestly quantifiable!

Got it. But building on my previous point, is it that energy is “nothing,” or is it that energy is unobservable, immeasurable, and unquantifiable? You know it is “real” because you can see its effect on things, but for the sake of predicting and working in physics you have to find a way to observe, measure, and quantify. Since energy is contrary to that, you observe, measure, and quantify its effects on things.
Energy does not have "effects on things". How can it? It's an abstract object! No, as I said in my first post, the dynamical laws of nature as codified by physics are endowed with, among other constraints, the constraint of conservation of energy. It is defined because it is useful.

This is why I picked the fight. A number of people have been saying that energy is light. I used to think so too, until I realized light can be more, or less, energized. To me it is illogical that light can gain or lose energy without losing base characteristics, like c or oscillation. In every other instance where energy is required to move something, energy is expended. But light travels at c no matter what its energy. Therefore, energy is not responsible for c; c must be related to something else altogether.
Indeed, the energy of a photon has nothing to do with the speed of light. The state variable for the energy of a photon is the frequency (E=hf).

It is harder to make the case with oscillation (as a base characteristic of light) because it does slow and elongate in lower energy states. My argument there is that maybe light has a “base state” of vibrancy which energy is exaggerating. Since oscillation frequency increases as the wavelength shortens, then possibly “energy” is potentialized by compression of the base state of light, and made available for work when it decompresses.
There is no evidence that photons have a ground state energy. The frequency of photons seems to be a continuous variable starting from zero.

That’s the only thing you said I can’t see. If you assign a definition or a number to something, that is just its representative. You may understand the representative system you’ve set up, but it doesn’t mean you understand that which it represents.
This reminds me of when Lifegazer used to ask about the "essence of energy", as opposed to just the numerical value. To that, Ahrkron responded with "that's like asking about the 'essence' of your age".

It's just a number, not something with physical presence. However, all conservation laws do come from underlying symmetries in nature. In the case of energy, that law comes from the invariance of physical systems under time translations, an idea that is well understood.
 
  • #78
Tom Mattson
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Sorry, but when a pitcher serves up a meatball like this, I can't resist knocking it out of the park.

Originally posted by Eh
What exactly are you imagining light is? Do a thought experiment here. Take a photon, and then list the various properties it has. Can you find a property that isn't related to energy?
Photon Properties Not Related To Energy
1. Spin (J=1)
2. Isospin (I=0,1)
3. Parity (Π=-)
4. Charge Conjugation Parity (C=-)

There you go, 4 for the price of 1. What a bargain!
 
  • #79
Eh
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Isn't spin along the same lines (although not exactly the same as) of angular momentum? I guess the other examples should shut me up about that one.

But another question:

Indeed, the energy of a photon has nothing to do with the speed of light. The state variable for the energy of a photon is the frequency (E=hf).
Isn't there an associated momentum with light traveling at c?
 
  • #80
Eh
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Originally posted by LW Sleeth
Well, I am proposing that light is not energy, so it could exist. Energy is something expended to do work.
Aside from the confusion about c, I don't think you can define light as light without energy. That is, there doesn't seem to be such a thing as a photon that doesn't have an associated energy level. Something more fundemental may be the cause of light, but I think in a ground state in would no longer fit the definition of light.

If no energy is expended, and something is still moving, then it might mean the movement is perpetual.
Maybe you're looking for Newton's laws of motion. Something will move at a constant speed unless changed by a force. So if you throw something into a perfect vacuum, it will keep traveling at a constant rate until something else interferes. You don't need to be applying a constant push, ignoring friction.
 
  • #81
Tom Mattson
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Originally posted by Eh
Isn't spin along the same lines (although not exactly the same as) of angular momentum?
It is exactly the same as angular momentum, which is also not related to energy.

But another question:

Indeed, the energy of a photon has nothing to do with the speed of light. The state variable for the energy of a photon is the frequency (E=hf).
Isn't there an associated momentum with light traveling at c?
Yes: p=h/λ. Photon momentum has nothing to do with the speed of light, either.

edit: quote bracket
 
  • #82
Eh
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But is the momentum unrelated to the frequency?
 
  • #83
Tom Mattson
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Originally posted by Eh
But is the momentum unrelated to the frequency?
With light, you can always turn a wavelength dependence into a frequency dependence via c=fλ. So yes, you can write (edit: typo) p=hf/c. Please note that this does not imply that momentum depends on the speed of light. It is still a constant, no matter what value p takes on.
 
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  • #84
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
And yet your argument works only if it's "unknowable." Which I and many others have suggested to the contrary. If it exists then it "has" to be knowable, at least in some form.
This is nonsensical, as may people proport to "know" that metaphysics does not exist. You can't make this sort of proof by faith.
 
  • #85
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Originally posted by FZ+
This is nonsensical, as may people proport to "know" that metaphysics does not exist. You can't make this sort of proof by faith.
No, I can't prove it by your faith, but I can prove it by what I "know," at least to myself anyway. And, just because I may not be able to prove it to anybody else, does not invalidate it. If it exists, it exists, period. Granted, it can be very difficult and frustrating tyring to explain it to other people, but maybe that's the way it was meant to be? How else would one be able to see it for oneself then?
 
  • #86
Tiberius
Originally posted by FZ+
This is nonsensical, as may people proport to "know" that metaphysics does not exist. You can't make this sort of proof by faith.
Nope. It's not a mirror position (you say tomayto, I say tomaato). Most of us materialists don't claim to "know" that the immaterial (your use of the word metaphysical) does not exist.

What we claim is that we know the material exists. We also know that in thousands of years no one has even been able to show that the immaterial exists. That doesn't mean it DOESN'T, but it does mean that it's not rational to hold a belief in such. That is, until or unless it's proven.

By the same token, it would be irrational for me to BELIEVE that there is life on Europa. That is, until a probe goes there or we by some other reliable means determine it's there.

NOT believing X is not equal to believing it's opposite.

p.s.
The above can also be used to sum up the atheist position, contrary to the common misperception of all atheists as "anti-theists".
 
  • #87
Tom Mattson
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Good job, Tiberius. I can't tell you how many times I have tried to explain the difference between atheism and antitheism.
 
  • #88
drag
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Greetings !

Intresting discussion you guys have here...
Originally posted by Tiberius
What we claim is that we know the material exists.
What does it mean - "exist" ? Define it, please. :wink:
What does it mean - "material" ? Define it, please. :wink:
Oh and, upon what do you base that claim (that is, if after
the previous 2 questions you got any claim left) ?

Doubt or shout !

Peace and long life.
 
  • #89
Eh
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Jesus Drag, you've just opened a whole new can of worms.
 
  • #90
drag
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Originally posted by Eh
Jesus Drag, you've just opened a whole new can of worms.
Well, sometimes I get to these parties a bit late,
but I sure like to make up for all the fun I missed...
 
  • #91
Eh
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I suppose so. But at any rate, I'll take a crack at it.

Material An object located in spacetime.

To exist To be outside the imaginary world of the mind. Ie. Something not merely imaginary, fictional etc.

Though I wouldn't try to defend the notion that we can know any such reality.
 
  • #92
drag
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Originally posted by Mentat
First, for the purpose of this thread, let's take for granted that there are physical phenomena and that there are metaphysical phenomena. We may or may not actually believe that, but let's just assume it for the purpose of this thread.

Now, here is the question I'm posing: is it possible for metaphysical phenomena to interact with physical phenomena?
Let's assume there are FPEs (Flying Pink Ellephants)
and BSEs (Bull Sized Ellephants). Can they interact ?

Hint No. 1 : Without a full and clear definition we have
no way to know.
Hint No. 2 : We were just assuming this so we do not have
such definitions.
Hint No. 3 : This ain't working out... :wink:

Doubt or shout !

Peace and long life.
 
  • #93
drag
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Greetings Eh !
Originally posted by Eh
Material An object located in spacetime.
Well, I could ask you how do you define something that
exists in terms of something that supposedly needs
to be proved to exist itself. But, I won't for now...
Originally posted by Eh
To exist To be outside the imaginary world of the mind. Ie. Something not merely imaginary, fictional etc.
What is imaginary/fictional/so on then ?

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #94
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Originally posted by Tiberius
Nope. It's not a mirror position (you say tomayto, I say tomaato). Most of us materialists don't claim to "know" that the immaterial (your use of the word metaphysical) does not exist.
Lol. That wasn't what I meant. I mean that there is an equal capability of blind faith in any direction, and it is neccessary to make the distinction that you "know" something, as Iacchus seems to believe, and that you simply believe something. There is no way you can transform strong belief of any kind as an element of reality. Hence, while Iacchus may have no doubt in his mind, he cannot possibly presume to say that he has "proven" it, and need only to communicate to the unknowing masses. Your subjective beliefs have zero significance when it comes to objective existences. It's part of the definition of the terms. Unless we are going to get into an argument about solipism...
 
  • #95
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Originally posted by Tiberius
What we claim is that we know the material exists. We also know that in thousands of years no one has even been able to show that the immaterial exists. That doesn't mean it DOESN'T, but it does mean that it's not rational to hold a belief in such. That is, until or unless it's proven.
Yes, but who has to prove it, and to who whom? Does this not also imply that one is not even allowed to speculate on such things unless Science has proven it first? Obviously then, we know where "your faith" lies. Indeed, it will be a long time in coming before one will be able to accept God as a "personal matter."

In the meantime, I'll stick with being "irrational." :wink: ... And didn't they use to say the world was flat?
 
  • #96
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
Yes, but who has to prove it, and to who whom? Does this not also imply that one is not even allowed to speculate on such things unless Science has proven it first? Obviously then, we know where "your faith" lies. Indeed, it will be a long time in coming before one will be able to accept God as a "personal matter."

In the meantime, I'll stick with being "irrational." :wink: ... And didn't they use to say the world was flat?
Iacchus:

Do you think that there might be a certain lack of faith in ONESELF -- in one's ability to shrug off unfounded speculations after considering them for awhile -- that causes certain hard-core materialists to dismiss metaphpysical concepts "at the door"?

Even materialists have to admit that the world of physics would not have gotten very far had "outrageous ideas" not been entertained by certain of their brethren.

Still, they (the hard-core materialists) keep returning to these threads where they know that "we" (soft-minded idealists) are lurking. They come to "bury us, not praise us" and yet, where would we be without them? Speaking for myself, I WANT my hair-brained ideas CHALLENGED so that I'm "forced" to make a better case...or come to the sad conclusion I'm off my rocker.
 
  • #97
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Originally posted by M. Gaspar
Iacchus:

Do you think that there might be a certain lack of faith in ONESELF -- in one's ability to shrug off unfounded speculations after considering them for awhile -- that causes certain hard-core materialists to dismiss metaphpysical concepts "at the door"?
For one thing I think people get tired of getting ripped off. Which is why as we grow up, we tend to put aside those things which seem childish and naive. Hmm ... "irrational?" And yet I think this is it, that unless we retain some sense of "child-like" wonder in life, and not become too cynical, then we would have missed the point. Of course this is not an excuse for doing stupid things mind you!

Hmm ... would it be considered irrational not to take things too seriously? :wink: ... Or, vice versa?


Even materialists have to admit that the world of physics would not have gotten very far had "outrageous ideas" not been entertained by certain of their brethren.
Even so, we all become conservative once the status quo sets in. Nobody wants to disrupt the status achieved within the social hierarchy.


Still, they (the hard-core materialists) keep returning to these threads where they know that "we" (soft-minded idealists) are lurking. They come to "bury us, not praise us" and yet, where would we be without them? Speaking for myself, I WANT my hair-brained ideas CHALLENGED so that I'm "forced" to make a better case...or come to the sad conclusion I'm off my rocker.
I only offer what I have to say because I know there's more to life than what Science has to offer, and it rubs me the wrong way to have someone else "restricting" my choices. And I do have something to say!

By the way, would you say the experience the universe is looking for is ecstatic by nature? Indeed, this is what the whole of nature seems to suggest, as everything revolves around "sexual union" -- i.e., the "joining" of the masculine with the feminine. I believe this is one aspect of ecstasy anyway, especially when it involves a larger brain and higher degree of sensitivity.
 
  • #98
Eh
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Originally posted by drag
Greetings Eh !

Well, I could ask you how do you define something that
exists in terms of something that supposedly needs
to be proved to exist itself. But, I won't for now...
No need to be proving things, right? I'm talking about the concepts themselves. We can concieve of spacetime, so we can use it to define other things.

What is imaginary/fictional/so on then ?
A concept in the mind, that does not have an extension on the outside, so to speak. For example, I can imagine an elf who lives in Chicago. So I have a concept of an elf in Chicago. But in the real Chicago that exists outside the concept in the mind, there is no extension of that elf.
 
  • #99
drag
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Greetings !
Originally posted by Eh
No need to be proving things, right? I'm talking about the concepts themselves. We can concieve of spacetime, so we can use it to define other things.
I'm not following you.

I can also concieve of pink flying ellephants, so ?
What about the existence of space-time itself ?
Originally posted by Eh
A concept in the mind, that does not have an extension on the outside, so to speak. For example, I can imagine an elf who lives in Chicago. So I have a concept of an elf in Chicago. But in the real Chicago that exists outside the concept in the mind, there is no extension of that elf.
Real Chicago ? Is there anything provable beyond observation ?
Where and how do you set the limmits ?

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #100
Eh
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Originally posted by drag
Greetings !

I'm not following you.

I can also concieve of pink flying ellephants, so ?
What about the existence of space-time itself ?
I'm only attempting to define what constitutes material existence and the usage of 'exists'. I'll leave it to others to prove we can actually know any of them.

Real Chicago ? Is there anything provable beyond observation ?
Where and how do you set the limmits ?
Yes, the concept of a real Chicago, which is located outside the mind.
 

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