Is matter infinitely divisible?

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William
 
Reply Fri 9 Oct, 2009 05:27 am
@diamantis,
There is "no thing" that is nothing. It does not compute. This universe is filled to the brim. Just because we cannot see it, doesn't mean it isn't there.

William
 
Shostakovich phil
 
Reply Sat 10 Oct, 2009 12:19 am
@William,
William;96190 wrote:
There is "no thing" that is nothing. It does not compute. This universe is filled to the brim. Just because we cannot see it, doesn't mean it isn't there.

William


I tend to agree. I think the 'thing that the universe is filled to the brim with' is the AbsoluteMind/Being/Entity of a Supreme Being/Intelligence with omniscience and omnipotence. As the apostle Paul wrote: In Him we live, move, and have our being.

I don't think I'm wrong here. I'm convinced about this more than any other fact of my existence. Others however, might take exception, and chose to think the space in which the universe exists, consists of some other 'thing.'
 
SammDickens
 
Reply Sat 10 Oct, 2009 01:37 am
@Shostakovich phil,
I think William is probably talking more about photons, neutrinos, maybe dark matter, and the ambient energy that little particle pairs emerge into existence from and very quickly dissolve back into again. A game I play is to imagine myself anywhere in the universe, and then to realize that every distant light, however dim, represents at least one photon in the location I have selected. Can you imagine even the most remote reach of the universe as totally devoid of photons, neutrinos, or some other kind of particle?

My cousin, Danny, asked me an intriguing question once as we sat high on a hillside in the country. He said, "Do you think there's an end to space?" He must have been maybe twelve years old and wondering this deeply. "I think, no matter how far out there you might go, you can always go a little farther." I think he jump-started my metaphysical explorations with that brief notion.

It occurs to me now that, wherever you are in the universe, as William says, the universe is filled to the brim, or certainly occupied by some form of matter or energy. And what about when you imagine some place where there is neither matter nor energy, a place that is truly and absolutely empty of all existence? If there any such thing as space that neither holds matter nor separates it?

As the King of Siam told Anna, "Isss... a puzzlement!"

Samm
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 10 Oct, 2009 09:48 pm
@vectorcube,
[QUOTE=vectorcube;96175]Nothing wrong here. Like i said before, premise 2 can be challenged, because quantum mechanics say that reality is discrete. If space-time turn out to be discrete, then space is not infinitly divisable. Therefore, matter is not infinitly divisible.[/QUOTE]The abstract mental conception of matter as particles occupying a certain position and possessing a certain velocity in the continuum of space time can be shown not to be the case in quantum mechanical systems. In fact the possible positions and changes in position are quantitized not continuous. This is a basic principle of "quantum" mechanics. Space and time as seen by "elementary particles" is not continuous. This is precisely the difference between Newtonian mechanics as a conception and the reality presented to us by quantum events.

The implication would be that space and time are relational not independent and discrete not continuous. Since space and time are relational to quantum events, space and time would be discrete and quantitized not independent and continuous. This corresponds precisely well with a process view of reality where ultimate reality is not matter but a series of discrete events.
Time does not exist separate from process or events.
Space likewise does not exist separate from the material aspect of events.
Time and space are relational, discontinuous and discrete just like the events from which they are derived.
The mental conception of continuous, infinitely divisible time and space is a mental abstraction which does not correspond to ultimate reality. It is as Einstein once said about another matter "an illusion albeit a persistent one".
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 03:26 am
@diamantis,
Who knows, that's what we strive to find out, isn't it?
 
Shostakovich phil
 
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 07:25 pm
@SammDickens,
Samm;96181 wrote:
...Now maybe if you cut a quark in fact, and instead of becoming two or more discrete quarkpieces, the rascal disintegrated into pure energy, maybe that would clue you that you've reached an indivisible minimum.

Samm


Hah! I think you're onto something!

Pure energy gives rise to matter.

Doesn't E=MC squared work that way?

I'm not a physicist, but doesn't the theory say that at the speed of light matter transforms into pure energy. This means the converse would hold true, that at speeds less than the speed of light, pure energy transforms into matter. So it seems we need to take into account, the speed at which matter is moving, and its temperature. At infinite temperatures, perhaps matter transforms into pure energy. Maybe space is itself a unity of pure energy, and all matter in it, are particulars of pure energy in their transformed, concrete states.

---------- Post added 10-11-2009 at 06:32 PM ----------

Another thought considering what Samm said earlier on in this thread, about space going on and on with populations of whatever -photons, neutrons, stars, galaxies.

Who has heard of Olber's Paradox?

The paradox was coined after Olber, but it predates Olber.

It is, in summary: If the universe is infinite, it contains an infinite number of stars. This means that any line of sight in space must end at a star. The point must be occupied by the light emitted by that star. Consequently, if the universe is populated by an infinite number of stars, every place in the sky you look must be light.

Taken to an extreme. If the universe is populated by an infinity of stars, then the sky must be a burning inferno of light, just as strong as our sun.

Consequently (my addendum): If the universe is populated by an infinite number of stars then we'd all have burnt up into a cinder long ago. In fact, the universe as we know it, could not exist.

Thus, the universe is not populated by an infinite number of stars.

The universe must be finite.

This also leads to the conclusion that the universe, just as cosmologists now have it, is not infinite, and it must have had a beginning in time.
 
SammDickens
 
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 08:07 pm
@Shostakovich phil,
If there must be an infinite number of stars in an infinite universe, but the infinite universe is not one infinite star, as it clearly is not, then we must suppose that infinity is not an absolute. There might therefore be an infinite amount of "empty" space and an infinite amount of nebular and solid-body (planets, moons, asteroids, etc.)space. One might also suppose that the ratio of these infinities to the whole, the infinity of the universe, might be about the same as the ratio of the actual volumes of the universe occupied by such objects. But then, we must ask, can there be multiple infinities within a single "larger" infinity? For that matter, I wonder if there are any known infinities of any physical kind in the universe. Or are the only infinities anywhere in our heads?

Osiphagus
errrrr, Samm
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Mon 12 Oct, 2009 09:47 pm
@SammDickens,
If the universe is finite, then it has limits or boundaries, in which case there is something outside the universe to give it such limits (a body is limited by what it is not, what is external), in which case the universe does not include everything, in which case we're not really talking about the universe (All, everything), but only a part of the universe.

Therefore, the universe must be infinite.
 
SammDickens
 
Reply Mon 12 Oct, 2009 10:50 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;97077 wrote:
If the universe is finite, then it has limits or boundaries, in which case there is something outside the universe to give it such limits (a body is limited by what it is not, what is external), in which case the universe does not include everything, in which case we're not really talking about the universe (All, everything), but only a part of the universe.

Therefore, the universe must be infinite.


To say that a finite entity is bounded by what it is not is only another way of saying that any finite entity is bounded by the extent of the manifest form of its being, beyond which that entity, in context both of space and of time, is not. In the case of a universe, one must concede that beyond the space-time boundaries of its manifest form there is nothing; that is, that a universe is all inside with no outside, since space and time themselves are nothing more than properties of the universe which are necessarily the bounds that define the form of the universe.

I would further argue, however, that it is only the form of the universe that is bounded within space and time. The being of which the universe is but one manifest form, is not bounded by the constraints of any one form in which it is manifested, because it is not that form; rather, it is the storehouse of limitless potential of which this form or that, this universe or that, are but one embodiment.

Samm
 
vectorcube
 
Reply Mon 12 Oct, 2009 11:52 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;97077 wrote:
If the universe is finite, then it has limits or boundaries, in which case there is something outside the universe to give it such limits (a body is limited by what it is not, what is external), in which case the universe does not include everything, in which case we're not really talking about the universe (All, everything), but only a part of the universe.

Therefore, the universe must be infinite.



The surface of the earth is both finite, and unbound. Why? Finite in the sense that if you draw a line in the surface of the earth, it meets itself on the other end. Similarly, if the universe is finite, then traveling in one direction will lead your to where you started. It is worthy to note that when physicists talk about infinite, or finite, they are talking about intrinsic properties of space! Ie: like Dawing a big giant triangle accross the universe, and look at the sum of the angles. It makes no sense to talk about extrinsic properties of space. It makes little sense of of talking about space-time "outside" of space-time.

---------- Post added 10-13-2009 at 01:01 AM ----------

Samm;96822 wrote:
If there must be an infinite number of stars in an infinite universe, but the infinite universe is not one infinite star, as it clearly is not, then we must suppose that infinity is not an absolute. There might therefore be an infinite amount of "empty" space and an infinite amount of nebular and solid-body (planets, moons, asteroids, etc.)space. One might also suppose that the ratio of these infinities to the whole, the infinity of the universe, might be about the same as the ratio of the actual volumes of the universe occupied by such objects. But then, we must ask, can there be multiple infinities within a single "larger" infinity? For that matter, I wonder if there are any known infinities of any physical kind in the universe. Or are the only infinities anywhere in our heads?

Osiphagus
errrrr, Samm


There are difference sizes of infinite, but they are not physical. If Q is a infinite set, then the power set 2^Q is larger than Q.

In physics, actual infinite is a bad thing, bacause you can`t specific a probability mass function for the ensamble of universes.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 12:08 am
@Shostakovich phil,
Shostakovich;96814 wrote:
The universe must be finite.


When the mind is in a sleep state, it has no concept of space/time. Within this state, the mind (the exact same mind that is aware of space/time in the awake state), has no sense of finite or infinite. This is a glimpse (clue) as to the nature of the universe.

Rich
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 01:15 pm
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;97101 wrote:
The surface of the earth is both finite, and unbound. Why? Finite in the sense that if you draw a line in the surface of the earth, it meets itself on the other end. Similarly, if the universe is finite, then traveling in one direction will lead your to where you started. It is worthy to note that when physicists talk about infinite, or finite, they are talking about intrinsic properties of space! Ie: like Dawing a big giant triangle accross the universe, and look at the sum of the angles. It makes no sense to talk about extrinsic properties of space. It makes little sense of of talking about space-time "outside" of space-time.


In what sense in the earth unbounded? 'Earth' is defined as x,y, and z; with the implication that there are also p, q, and r, which are external to 'earth.' Otherwise, there is no sense in specifying 'earth' as a thing; things only exist in opposition to other things: i.e. what they are not. The idea of definition is seperation - from others. Likewise with the universe. If it is finite, if it is a thing with bounds, then it is such by virtue of the fact that it is seperate from something other. What would that something other be? It is some thing? Yes, by definition. Ergo, the universe does not include every thing; ergo it is not 'the universe' if by that we mean everything.

What if we just add that something to the universe and then say, alright, now we have everything accounted for. No, now there is something else outide that new finite unit that is not included, and so on ad infinitum. Therefore, the universe is infinite. We tend to think of infinite in terms of a great size or expanse; it means something much simpler to comprehend: without limits. As it is logically impossible to ascribe limits, the universe is by definition infinite.
 
SammDickens
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 04:35 pm
@BrightNoon,
The universe did once mean "everything" at a time before science began to understand it from a new perspective. It still means everything we understand in a physical sense I guess, but we don't understand dark matter or energy, and too our cosmology now presents the universe as all that part of reality that came into being from (or though?) the event we call the big bang. But the big bang and other changes in our understanding all suggest that the universe is not really "everything".

Language changes, Knowledge changes. Everything is no longer everything. Perhaps the universe is finite. After all, it started much smaller than a proton and expanded by finite increments for a finite time from that point. No matter how big a number you add to one, and no matter how often you add it, you never get infinity.

Samm
 
Zacrates
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 05:13 pm
@diamantis,
diamantis;82926 wrote:
[CENTER][CENTER]Thought experiment
(Deductive reasoning)
Syllogism [/CENTER]
[/CENTER]


PREMISE 1: MATTER OCCUPIES SPACE.

PREMISE 2: SPACE IS INFINITELY DIVISIBLE.

CONCLUSION: MATTER IS INFINITELY DIVISIBLE.


It seems that it would be, because if you had 1 of something you can have a half of that, and then have of that to make a quarter, and then an eighth, and so on.
 
vectorcube
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 06:21 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;97256 wrote:
In what sense in the earth unbounded? 'Earth' is defined as x,y, and z; with the implication that there are also p, q, and r, which are external to 'earth.'



The keyword here is the word "external". If the universe is the whole of space-time connected by it` s spatial-temporal relation to the bb, then it does not make sense to ask what is external to this space-time, just like it is incorrect to ask what is on the other side of the whole of space.


Quote:
What if we just add that something to the universe and then say, alright, now we have everything accounted for. No, now there is something else outide that new finite unit that is not included, and so on ad infinitum. Therefore, the universe is infinite. We tend to think of infinite in terms of a great size or expanse; it means something much simpler to comprehend: without limits. As it is logically impossible to ascribe limits, the universe is by definition infinite


Quote:
things only exist in opposition to other things: i.e. what they are not. The idea of definition is seperation - from others.



It does not work. Your intuition is to think of a room separated from the dinning room by a door. This is incorrect, because "what is on the other side of the separation( or door)" is itself a spatial notion that do not make sense in the context of the "whole of space-time". In a sense, you are asking "what is on the other side of space-time". It does not make sense.

Quote:
What if we just add that something to the universe and then say, alright, now we have everything accounted for. No, now there is something else outide that new finite unit that is not included, and so on ad infinitum. Therefore, the universe is infinite. We tend to think of infinite in terms of a great size or expanse; it means something much simpler to comprehend: without limits. As it is logically impossible to ascribe limits, the universe is by definition infinite.



I think your intuition is that there is something more than the same old temporal-spatial space-time that is our universe. If so, then you can` t say what is outside of space-time. It simply does not make sense.

What you can do is to take the position of many philosophiers,and physicists, and say the following:

I posit the existence of wholely independent universes/multiverses/worlds that exist, but they themselves do not have any spatial-temporal relations to our universe, or to our Big bang.


I honestly do believe there are other universes/multiverses that just exist. You open a bag of worms when you try to say this in terms of space-time as described by general relativity, because, you can ask where they are "in", where "in" demands for an location in space-time. This is a technical, and subtle point. I hope you get it.

---------- Post added 10-13-2009 at 07:33 PM ----------

Samm;97302 wrote:
The universe did once mean "everything" at a time before science began to understand it from a new perspective. It still means everything we understand in a physical sense I guess, but we don't understand dark matter or energy, and too our cosmology now presents the universe as all that part of reality that came into being from (or though?) the event we call the big bang. But the big bang and other changes in our understanding all suggest that the universe is not really "everything".

Language changes, Knowledge changes. Everything is no longer everything. Perhaps the universe is finite. After all, it started much smaller than a proton and expanded by finite increments for a finite time from that point. No matter how big a number you add to one, and no matter how often you add it, you never get infinity.

Samm


You need to calm down. The word "finite" has a very techical meaning that is not like anything you can come from free association. If space is finite, then going in one direction from (x, y, z) means coming back to (x, y, z) at a certain time. Secondly, you really cannot defined space from any external vintage point. Third, You can know that the universe is infinite/finite without knowing what somethings in it is.


I personally think the universe is infinite.
 
SammDickens
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 11:07 am
@vectorcube,
Hi, V^3! You say "You need to calm down. The word 'finite' has a very techical meaning that is not like anything you can come from free association. If space is finite, then going in one direction from (x, y, z) means coming back to (x, y, z) at a certain time. Secondly, you really cannot defined space from any external vintage point. Third, You can know that the universe is infinite/finite without knowing what somethings in it is. I personally think the universe is infinite."

In what context in particular does the word "finite" have the cyclical definition you provide? If I move away from a point in space, must I return to that same point in a finite time for space to be finite? Why is it impossible for space to be finite in normal terms?

Samm
 
diamantis
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 06:41 am
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;82929 wrote:
Premise 2 can be challenged, because if space-time is discrete, then it is meaningless to talk of dividing something without space.


The space-time continuum is contradictory to space-time discretenes.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 06:49 am
@diamantis,
diamantis;82926 wrote:
PREMISE 1: MATTER OCCUPIES SPACE.
PREMISE 2: SPACE IS INFINITELY DIVISIBLE.

CONCLUSION: MATTER IS INFINITELY DIVISIBLE.
LaughingI belive there's some particles making up the theorized superstrings, I don't belive them to be infinitivly divisble. Read some physics please.
 
diamantis
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 06:53 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;82962 wrote:
Why are we using syllogisms to answer questions about matter? Democritus and Aristotle spent a lot of time on this topic.

But it turns out that their explanations did not stand up to plain old observation, and everything we think we know about the constituents of matter comes from the likes of Plank, Thompson, Rutherford, Roentgen, Einstein, etc etc etc etc.

Matter is observable. Both experimental and mathematical evidence suggested that atoms were divisible, and that protons and neutrons were divisible. Nothing suggests that a quark is (or needs be) divisible. So what is half a quark? It's a concept for which we lack evidence and for which we lack need.

And you're also running into the problem that the fundamental constituents of matter are NOT purely matter themselves -- you get into the wave/particle duality of quantum particles, and you can't speak of them as "occupying space" or having divisible mass. That's a classical model that has been disabused by quantum science.



In my point of view, metaphysics is not about experimental findings, since technology continuously evolves, but about answering questions with logic the only instrument.
 
diamantis
 
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 03:11 am
@richrf,
richrf;82947 wrote:
Hi,

I guess we run into problems with Premise 1, since experiments using classical instruments, do not allow us to understand what is happening at the quantum level (e.g. photons, electrons, etc.).

Whatever it is, it is neither a particle of matter or is it a wave, but it is something that is sometimes referred to as a wave-particle, but no one knows what it is. Scientists and philosophers can only speculate and interpret what they are measuring. However, it is certainly not simply a particle of matter.

At the end, it may be nothing more than a holographic thought (this is speculation on my part, since it is unknown what it is). If so, would a thought be considered infinitely divisible? Is a thought divisible at all?

Rich


In my point of view, metaphysics is not about experimental findings, since technology continuously evolves, but about answering questions with logic the only instrument.
 
 

 
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