# New definition of mass

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by arfa brane, Jul 19, 2022.

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1. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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No. You can measure a distance because it is a physical object. So that's a direct disagreement.
It means able to be measured. But then what is physically real and "able to be measured?" and who decides? If instead you just forget about what a distance "really" is and measure it, then distance might be defined that way.
Besides, we usually have an intuitive concept of distance, it's something evolved animals probably need. But need isn't a good place to start if you want an operational definition, eh?

What does a distance need to be physically real, instead of a concept? Is that even a question?
And a process isn't an object, in your logic? It is in mine.
But these conceptual objects--numbers--really exist when you have physical things to count. Notice how one sheep is not the same as three sheep. This is not a concept, it's a physical fact.
The numbers "exist" when physical objects exist that can be counted, even if a concept of numbers or a concept of counting, or a concept of sheep, really exist or not. The sheep are there whether or not a human has any concepts. More than one planet has been orbiting the sun since well before humans counted the planets.

So how long has that been physically true or "real", that a number of planets has been there? What have humans conceiving of numbers had to do with it?

And the answer to that question is--nothing at all. The number of planets has absolutely nothing to do with humans and concepts.

James, you seem to be hopelessly confused about what you think you know about physics. Please, as I've asked before, just stop. Just keep all those wonderful insights to yourself. I don't need you to tell me about them. I don't really get what they mean.

Stop James. Won't you stop, James?

Last edited: Jul 27, 2022
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3. ### sideshowbobSorry, wrong number.Valued Senior Member

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We don't measure objects. We measure properties of objects.

You can't "measure a brick". You have to specify what properties of the brick you are measuring - length, width, height, weight, etc.

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5. ### Magical RealistValued Senior Member

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Are properties mental or physical, or something in between?

(I should start a thread on the nature of properties)

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7. ### sideshowbobSorry, wrong number.Valued Senior Member

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Good question.

8. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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If I walk from my house to the nearest bus stop, I necessarily "measure" the distance, with say, a number of strides and steps. Not especially accurate, but accuracy is something else, right?

What is a physical object? As far as I can tell, it's anything that's defined with physical units. I presumably also know what physical means, or if I don't I can count my strides and steps and call it a physical distance--an object in the same sense as a "data structure" in some computer program. Of course then the program is in my head. Is my head a physical object?

And so on.

9. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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So you claim.
I can claim that if I pick a brick up I'm measuring something--the mass and volume. But not accurately.
What can you say about my claim?

10. ### sideshowbobSorry, wrong number.Valued Senior Member

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You're measuring the distance between two objects on the surface of a third object, the earth. The distance is still a property, not an object in and of itself.
You're measuring the properties of something.

11. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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Unless I say, yes the distance is an object in and of itself. An object is, I now claim, the required abstraction.

If you like to call a unit of distance a property of a choice of a physical object (say a metre ruler made of wood), I say there's no problem changing that to: the property, length, of the wooden ruler is also an object. But notice you can't define measurement of distance, without the choice of unit.

It doesn't have to be an accurate unit. That's another choice, right? The point is, you have to choose a unit of distance, to measure "a" distance.
These days the metre is defined in terms of the speed of light at a fixed frequency. The choice of distance units then, is a number of wavelengths.

12. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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arfa brane:
If you get a tape measure and measure the distance between two walls in your bedroom, the tape measure only touches the walls at its two ends (if you're doing it properly). The "distance" being measured is the space between those two ends. That space is not an object. You can't bottle space.

Do you have a bottle of distance you can show me?
You still haven't worked out what "physically real" means, apparently. You made no effort to define that term, despite my direct request that you attempt to do so.
Have you got a bottle full of process you can show me, perchance?
The sheep are a physical fact, I am willing to concede. The number of the sheep is a number.

Have you got a bottle of numbers you can show me, perchance?
I am also willing to concede that numbers exist. They exist in your head.
Is the number of sheep there when nobody is counting the sheep? Where is it, exactly? Can we put the number in bottle for safe keeping?
Okay. And so...?
Wait a minute! You just said planets have been orbiting the sun. But now you're saying that the "number of planets" has been orbiting the sun. What does the orbiting - the planets or the numbers? Can we see the orbiting numbers if we have a powerful enough telescope?
That's what you need to figure out.
Perhaps. But counting the number of planets seems to have a lot to do with humans and concepts. Does it not? Same with counting sheep.
We're not discussing physics any more. This is more about ontology, or perhaps epistemology.

I can at least tell the difference between a number and some sheep. I'd say that means I'm rather less confused than you are.
That's obvious.
Fine. Let's both agree that you and I won't ever discuss whether physical concepts are numbers again. Agreed? Personally, I doubt you'll be able to contain yourself for long, but we can give it a try. Just stop right here and we'll see how you go.

13. ### sideshowbobSorry, wrong number.Valued Senior Member

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But it isn't. As James R says, can you put it in a bottle?
How is an object an abstraction?
The problem is that it isn't an object. Can you put it in a bottle?
That doesn't seem to have anything to do with what you're saying.
And that has nothing to do with a distance being an object.

14. ### Neddy BateValued Senior Member

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Actually he did. In post #21 he said that he thinks "physically real" means "able to be measured." Of course that would mean that all measurable properties of things are also "physically real" according to him.

But he did concede in post #25 that these measured properties can just be a program in his head. So I think the idea is, he measures something, puts his head in a bottle while thinking of the thing he measured, and then he can tell you that the thing he measured has been bottled.

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15. ### BeaconatorValued Senior Member

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Depends on the property. Most are physical with mental analysis. Nothing is pure numbers. Some might have a mental explanation that does not explain the full account of that particular property or its origin.

16. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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The old "you can't put in in a bottle" argument. It's a useless argument, though. It says actually nothing.
But you have--if you can put it in a bottle, something, something else, some other thing, right?
Ludicrous, just bloody ludicrous.
No I'm not saying that. I'm saying the number of planets has been there, orbiting the sun. What a shithead you are; you're trying as hard as you can to make someone look stupid. But you're the one who is stupid. Really stupid.

So. Fuck off. James. Just fuck off.

17. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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What is an object?

In my world I can call whatever I want an object. If you don't like it, I don't care.
Why should I?

If I need to write a computer program that models physical reality, what kinds of objects and relations between them will I need?
Will they have to be things I can put in a bottle? I don't think that's going to have much to do with it.

But for those with smaller brains, if you need bottles to put things in, so you can safely think of them as objects, I hope you have the time of your life with that. Ok?

18. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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See, right there, the problem with that is I can put it in a computer program, and call it a data object. I don't need a bloody bottle.

Nor do any of you idiots.

19. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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arfa brane:
Maybe you haven't understood the point. I must say, it's taking an extraordinarily long time. I'm fairly sure everybody else who has followed our discussion understands the point. What's your problem?
That's not my definition of "physically real". That, approximately, is my definition of "object". It's a simple enough rule of thumb: if you can put it in a bottle, it's probably an object (caveat: the size of the required bottle will depend on the size of the object, in general). If you can't, then maybe it isn't an object; maybe it's something less tangible, like a concept for instance.

It is only you who has kept insisting on the nebulous term "physically real", despite being apparently unable to define the term.
That's right. An average six year old would have understood the simple point by now. But you? You're stuck, for some reason.
Just to be clear then: it's the planets that do the orbiting and not the numbers? If that's what you're saying, then we agree on that point.
*sigh*

You just can't help yourself, can you? Whenever you have nothing useful to say, you trot out some insults instead. When you've got yourself into a hole like this, at what point do you stop digging?
I offered to "fuck off" from this conversation in my previous post to you, provided that you also agreed to fuck off, so to speak. But here you are, still pushing your barrow. Why? If you want out, just stop. You already look like a bit of fool, not to mention a bit of a dick.

20. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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See my rule of thumb above. If you can put it in a bottle, it's probably an object. That's a reasonable start, I think.
You could call everything a banana, but that wouldn't make everything a banana. At some point, you need to connect with the actual world that you share with everybody else, if you want to have any kind of useful discussion.
The only object (apart from yourself) that you need to write a computer program is a working computer. The required relation for writing computer programs usually involves you typing on a computer keyboard.

A theoretical model is not an object. You can't bottle it. There are no bottles inside your computer program, either. The map is not the territory.
I hate to break it to you, but up to now we have been talking about objects made of matter. Now, for some reason, you're talking about conceptual objects.

Perhaps you think that by muddying the waters and introducing "data objects" into the conversation, you can avoid facing the simple point that I have put to you. Perhaps you hope you can confuse some small-brained readers (if there are any reading this). If that's the case, then I don't think it's working very well for you.

On the the other hand, perhaps you are actually unable to distinguish between concepts and things made of matter.

What you really need to do is to work through your own confusions. Perhaps do that before posting another angry response.

A "data object" would be a kind of "data". Data is a kind of information. Information is not physical, but conceptual. Hence, a "data object" is conceptual. Data objects exist in your head, not in bottles.

Perhaps you are about to try to argue that data objects exist inside computers. But computers contain things like silicon chips and electrons. If you take an axe to your computer, you will find no "data objects" among the resulting debris. You will not be able to collect the remnant "data objects" and put them in a bottle.

Last edited: Jul 31, 2022
21. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Wait - you're not using programming terminology to define things here, are you? Because those terms describe programming, not reality.

In a kernel panic, the computer is not really panicking. If your program has a bug, there's not an actual insect in your code. If you kill a process, nothing living dies. A zombie process is not really a zombie and directories don't literally have roots.

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22. ### sideshowbobSorry, wrong number.Valued Senior Member

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A computer object is not a physical object.

23. ### exchemistValued Senior Member

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Yes, I think arfa is deliberately choosing to conflate the metaphors of programming-speak with terms used to describe the physical world, to try to wriggle out of an untenable position.

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