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#1 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 02:42 PM

In his The Elements of Philosophy, William Wallace makes the following statement about motion:  "“Motion (10:24c) can be taken in a wide and in a strict sense:  in the wide sense it stands for any change (mutatio) from one state to another; in the strict sense, for continuous and successive change, usually spoken of as movement (motus).  The latter is found in several different categories of being, and thus the elements of its definition must transcend the categories; the only available prior concepts for defining motion are those basic to being itself, viz. potency and act [§33.2].  Motion is situated midway between potentiality and full actuality.  When a body is only in potency it is not yet in motion; when it has been fully actualized, the motion has ceased.  Therefore, motion consists of incomplete act.  But since incomplete act can be the termination of a motion or the starting point of a new motion, it is necessary to indicate motion as the act of being in potency precisely as still in potency to more of the same act.  This line of reasoning led Aristotle to define motion as “the actualization of what exists in potency insofar as it is in potency.”  This is usually spoken of as the formal definition of motion; the material definition is that motion is properly “the act of mobile being precisely as mobile.”  By manifesting the connection between these two definitions one obtains the first demonstration in natural philosophy, which concludes that motion is the pervasive property of all mobile being and so properly exists in the thing moved, not in the mover as such [§20.2-3].”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 3 NATURAL PHILOSOPHY  //  [Section] §18.  MOTION  //  [paragraph] 1  //   [pages] 49 and 50)

 

My question for your consideration and response is the final line of the statement, which is "...motion is the pervasive property of all mobile being and so properly exists in the thing moved, not in the mover as such..."  This statement, theologically and philosophically, fits nicely with the idea of a creator/nurturer/maintainer God who is not changed in his/her/its act of causing change/motion in other things.  I get that.  But in the realm of science, and especially in physics, what are examples of motion caused by something which is, itself, not moved or changed in the act of its causing other things to move/change?

 

Otto


Edited by Otto Piechowski, 15 January 2020 - 02:43 PM.


#2 EJN

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 06:48 PM

Well, first off Aristotle's ideas about motion were conclusively shown to be wrong by Galileo & Newton, in that an object in motion at a constant velocity does not require the continuous application of a force to remain in motion (neglecting friction).

Secondly, you need a better definition of motion. In physics, velocity is a vector quantity, speed and direction.

An object at constant velocity does not require a force to be applied to maintain a constant velocity. If it changes speed, or direction, or both, then that requires the application of a force.

Change of speed/direction is acceleration.

So the first law of motion is that an object will persist at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by a force.

The second law is F = m*a = m*dv/dt

The third law is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

This introduces the concept momentum (denoted p), p = m*v

When something causes the momentum of an object to change, its own momentum

changes by an equal and opposite amount.

Special Relativity adds the twist that inertial reference frames are interchangeable by the Lorentz transformation.


Edited by EJN, 15 January 2020 - 07:47 PM.


#3 BillP

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 07:57 PM

Hmmm.  An example of movement from no movement.  Not sure this fits but perhaps the universe?  From Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin - https://www.discover...re-the-big-bang

 

Vilenkin’s calculations show that a universe created from nothing is likely to be tiny, indeed — far, far smaller than, say, a proton. Should this minute realm contain just a smattering of repulsive-gravity material, that’s enough to ensure it will ignite the unstoppable process of eternal inflation, leading to the universe we inhabit today. If the theory holds, we owe our existence to the humblest of origins: nothing itself.


Edited by BillP, 15 January 2020 - 08:08 PM.


#4 llanitedave

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 12:20 AM

In a quantum universe, I think it's time we revised our concept of "nothing".

 

It appears that "nothing" really doesn't exist at all.



#5 DaveC2042

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 01:05 AM

In a quantum universe, I think it's time we revised our concept of "nothing".

 

It appears that "nothing" really doesn't exist at all.

Jean Paul Sartre was bored with proofreading Being and Nothingness and went to the cafe.  The waitress approached.

 

"Would you like a coffee Monsieur Sartre?"

"Yes, I'll have a coffee with no milk."

"I'm sorry Monsieur, we're out of milk.  Would you like a coffee with no cream?"


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#6 mountain monk

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 09:07 AM

"Nothing itself noths."

 

Heidegger

 

Dark skies

 

Jack


Edited by mountain monk, 16 January 2020 - 09:08 AM.


#7 llanitedave

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 09:58 AM

Jean Paul Sartre was bored with proofreading Being and Nothingness and went to the cafe.  The waitress approached.

 

"Would you like a coffee Monsieur Sartre?"

"Yes, I'll have a coffee with no milk."

"I'm sorry Monsieur, we're out of milk.  Would you like a coffee with no cream?"

Geez, HE was bored!?  Did he think of the Dear Readers????



#8 greenstars3

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 10:43 AM

The concept of At Rest is one of perception and perceptual set of the observer. 

Although Aristotle thought that the earth was stationary the Pythagoreans did not. 

At the macro level, look at the night sky and observe motion.

At the micro level Einstein devised a very simple and elegant experiment to prove both the concept that everything is in motion and the proof that molecules/atoms exist. Take a glass of water and find the most stable place you can set it, carefully place a few drops of food coloring in the glass, leave it undisturbed for a day, look in the glass and you will see that the dye has diffused throughout the glass, (Brownian motion).

The concept of at rest is useful in our daily lives, but it is only an easy approximation of reality, if I leave my eyepieces on the counter and when I return they are gone I assume 1 of 3 things, my wife moved it. my kids or friends moved it or someone with nefarious intentions took it, as it seemed  to be stationary on that most stationary of counters, but the earth is in motion and the very atoms that make up the eyepiece are in motion.

 

Robert     

 

edit: the Catholic church at some very early point excepted that Aristotle's cosmology, the geocentric model was the correct one, the church has rejected the geocentric  model and now has a very nice observatory of their own 


Edited by greenstars3, 17 January 2020 - 12:47 PM.


#9 bitnick

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 11:26 AM

This William Wallace fellow seems to be rather confused, judging only by the quotations by Otto. I first thought this was a reflection of the book being published maybe several hundred years ago, but when I looked it up now I see that it was published in 2012! (Is it a reprint of an older book?)

 

Is this what happens when people "think" about things (or accepts other people's thoughts) without checking the thoughts against the real world? I.e., are these, what seems like random thoughts, the result of not using the scientific method?

 

Edit: "real world", not "real work" foreheadslap.gif 


Edited by bitnick, 17 January 2020 - 03:46 PM.

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#10 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:07 PM

Hi Bitnick,

 

Thank you for your comments on this thread.  Your words lead me to share the following information about the book and the author's background.

 

With gratitude,

 

Otto

 

 

The book The Elements of Philosophy:  A Compendium for Philosophers and Theologians was first published in A.D. 1977.

 

Father Wallace (William A. Wallace), o.p. background includes:

- Professor; The School of Philosophy of The Catholic University of America

- Professor; West Virginia University

- Professor; University of Maryland

- Professor; University of Padua

- Speciality:  Galileo and the history of the development of scientific methods

- Holds eight university degrees in engineering, physics, philosophy, theology

- Awarded four honorary doctorates

 

- Staff member to the Chief of Naval Operations, 1943 to 1945

- Awarded the Navy Legion of Merit

- Research Appointment; Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton

- Research Appointment; Consolidated Edison

- Research Appointment; the Naval Ordnance Laboratory

- Research Appointment; the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

 

- Editor of the Encyclopedia of the Renaissance

- Editorial board of the New Catholic Encyclopedia

- Author of 20 books and some 370 articles

- Member of the Dominican Order, 1947 to his death in 2016


Edited by Otto Piechowski, 17 January 2020 - 12:18 PM.


#11 bitnick

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 03:57 PM

I'm not sure what his military and theology titles has to do with this? And if he's got a university degree in physics then I don't understand why he seems so confused about motion...


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#12 greenstars3

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 04:55 PM

The question being what initiated  motion it the first place is one reason why theology exists, I can not see anything in physics that could explain the start of motion.  Lots of examples of motion however are explained, just not root cause.

 

Robert  

 

edit: having never gotten to absolute zero we don't even really know if motion ever stops


Edited by greenstars3, 17 January 2020 - 04:59 PM.


#13 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 05:24 PM

Robert, your statement is interesting to me.

 

In nature/reality, many, and perhaps all, changes which occur are one thing doing something which affects another thing; as in an asteroid hitting another asteroid to cause it to change direction and speed, or the bee coming to rest on the flower petal causing it to dip toward the ground, or the rain causing a furrow to appear in newly tilled soil.

 

But is motion present in the things of the universe/reality/nature without those motions having been caused by other movers/actors?  That is an interesting question/statement.


Edited by Otto Piechowski, 17 January 2020 - 05:25 PM.


#14 bitnick

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 06:44 PM

So what William Wallace is thinking about is really "Where did energy come from"? The answer to "What made the universe and everything in it?" is "We don't know." It's a bit frustrating, but it's the only answer that anyone can honestly give at this point in time. Pondering the question without any way of anchoring one's thoughts in the real world may be fun, but it's not science.


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#15 greenstars3

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 07:47 PM

Motion appears to be inherent in everything that is, in quantum physics when a particle  pops into this reality it already has motion. It may pop back out but when detected in particular accelerator experiments that particle is already in motion. Maybe motion is a requisite for existence. 

 

Robert   f



#16 figurate

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 12:19 AM

It is interesting that in parliamentary procedure, a 'motion' is a formal proposal. 

 

This topic seems largely focused on the idea of a prime mover, and when one moves (that word again) outside the realm of physical reality there really isn't much science can say. From wiki: "That which moves without being moved" or Prime Mover (Latin: Primum Movens) is a concept advanced by Aristotle as a primary cause, or first uncaused cause, Mover of all the motion in the universe. Aquinas for example elaborated on the unmoved mover in the "Five Proofs".

 

I would think by definition that would have to be extraneous to or prior to anything we could uncover, and therefore this question is not a physical but a theological one. Wallace seems to have had one foot in the mid-twentieth century and the other rooted in medieval thought and that must have been, I imagine, an awkward position to sustain. Contrast that passage with this one, from the "Selections from the Notebooks of Leonardo" (1505):  

"The air moves like a river and carries the clouds with it; just as running water carries all things that float upon it. The movement of the air against a fixed thing is as great as the movement of the moving thing against an air that does not move."

"every movement will retain its course or rather every body when moved will continue on its course as long as the power of the impulse is maintained therein."

 

This seems like a model of lucidity in comparison, and I took the excerpts from a page opened at random. More of a concern for me than Aristotle is the possibility that we are moving full-tilt toward the renaissance, but headed in the opposite direction (Unlearning perspective? Check. Unlearning musical polyphony and diatonic harmony? Check. Unlearning the classics? Check.) There are lots of wonderful developments out there but there are some ominous trends as well, and our over-specialization isn't helping. 


Edited by figurate, 18 January 2020 - 03:21 AM.

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#17 figurate

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 02:38 PM

I'll add that, coincidentally, I was reading about the Jesuit philosopher and paleontologist Pierre Chardin several weeks ago. He received a warning from the Vatican In 1962 for his ideas-  https://www.americam...ardins-writings

Apparently that is a tough sort of integration or reconciliation to attempt; you obviously get criticism from the other side as well. RIP Sir Roger.


Edited by figurate, 18 January 2020 - 03:42 PM.


#18 BillP

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 04:46 PM

Pondering the question without any way of anchoring one's thoughts in the real world may be fun, but it's not science.

I would beg to differ on several levels.  It is philosophically interesting, and that is important because it gives insights into the workings of human thought, and without human thought of course influences how humans approach science.  FWIW, the main difference between science and philosophy is in the way they work and treat knowledge.  Science is concerned with and limited to natural-world phenomena, so a subset of existence.  Philosophy on the other hand attempts to understand the nature of man, existence, and the relationship that exists between the two concepts.  As long as human beings with mind and emotion are wielding tools like science, you will never be able to completely divorce one from the other and they will forever intersect.  It would be bad science not to realize this!


Edited by BillP, 20 January 2020 - 04:47 PM.

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#19 Jim_V

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 05:09 PM

 and without human thought of course influences how humans approach science.  

I think you had a context issue there Bill in that sentence. I am pretty sure I understand what you meant, just that sentence seems convoluted. 




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