Antenna Guru

RF is not 'black magic' – It's Synthesis, Optimization, Analysis and Realization.

The Myth of Matter, p. 9

Matter as Metaphor

We begin this section where we ended the last one. Quoting Prof. Max Jammer–

Since the end of the nineteenth century physicists and philosophers have been cherishing the hope that all of the problems related to mass could be resolved if a theory could be constructed that reveals what they called “the nature of mass,” that is, a theory that explains the origin, existence and phenomenological properties of mass. Of course … any talk about “the nature of mass” would be scientifically meaningless or metaphysical rigmarole. [Yet] the quest for a theory of the nature of mass arises from a profound epistemological motivation. It is no exaggeration to say that all experiments and certainly all measurements in physics are in the last analysis … ultimately based on observations of the position of a particle or of a pointer on a scale as a function of time. … Hence, the term ‘mass’, thus defined, has no absolute meaning since it always implies a relation to an object chosen to serve as the unit of mass.[1]

Unless I am mistaken, Prof. Jammer is saying that the whole of physics is one great circular argument, and that the idea of “the nature of matter”, simply and not self-referentially defined, is mythical. Since “all measurements” are based on matter, and since matter itself is only defined in an axiomatic sense, one might see physics as a belief system, albeit a very powerful and constructive one.


[1] Concepts of Mass in Contemporary Physics and Philosophy, pages 139–140

Advertisements

One response to “The Myth of Matter, p. 9

  1. Pingback: Why Are Physicists Hating On Philosophy? « Στα ίχνη της Γνώσης … Tracing Knowledge

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Social Behavioral Patterns--How to Understand Culture and Behaviors

Understanding behaviors, examining culture, adapting to change, and empowering relationships

Being Rebekah

A journey towards excellence for Christ

TexasReadyBlog

Survival Gardening for the 21st Century

Kimberly A. Vogel

Building bridges | Connecting families | Through LOVE

Tommy Lasorda's World

I've told thousands of baseball stories, and I've got a lot more to share with you. Please join me all year to talk some baseball here on my official MLBlog.

celtic straits

bradstrait.com -- real life stories from a christian mystic

clotildajamcracker

The wacky stories of a crazy lady.

One Movie, Our Views

www.onemovieourviews.com - Movie Reviews & More

Earthpages.ca

Think Free

A Business Guy's Guise

I gave up everything only to see that everything would always be right here

Gentlemen of Sport

Analysis of sports, culture, women, & life. We are curious college students & this is the world through our eyes.

PhotoBotos.com

The #1 Featured Photographer Blog on the Web!!

%d bloggers like this: