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The Nature of Space?

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And when it passes through this "something" does it move it out of the way or do both the object and the something occupy the same space at the same time? 

When travelling from the Earth to the moon, one is changing positions in space; i.e., one's relationship between you, the moon and earth change.  One is not passing through any thing.

Just to clarify, if the universe is a plenum, musn't we be moving through something? There are no empty places, right? As to whether that 'something' is traveled through, or displaced, I don't know.

When we travel through water or air, metaphysically, it's not much different than traveling through space, ie, something is always there that we must navigate through. That something just isn't 'space'. When we travel to the moon, what do we travel through, fields, waves, somethign else?

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Just to clarify, if the universe is a plenum, musn't we be moving through something?  There are no empty places, right?  As to whether that 'something' is traveled through, or displaced, I don't know.

Another alternative to "through" and "displaced," is "on."

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Just to clarify, if the universe is a plenum, musn't we be moving through something?  There are no empty places, right?  As to whether that 'something' is traveled through, or displaced, I don't know.

When we travel through water or air, metaphysically, it's not much different than traveling through space, ie, something is always there that we must navigate through.  That something just isn't 'space'.  When we travel to the moon, what do we travel through, fields, waves, somethign else?

Or perhaps something is travelling through us. After all, matter is mostly "empty space" between the nucleus and the electrons, and between the atoms themselves. Maybe there's something that exists between the quantum states of normal matter.

Oh well, enough science fiction. I wish I could live long enough until someone figures it out, but I'm not going to hold my breath. It's a fascinating problem, but speculating that "something is there" may be an assumption that is not valid.

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It's a fascinating problem, but speculating that "something is there" may be an assumption that is not valid.

But something is there, which is why we speak of the universe being a plenum. In Little's TEW, that "something" is the elementary waves.

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But something is there, which is why we speak of the universe being a plenum. In Little's TEW, that "something" is the elementary waves.

I was using the term "something" to designate an attribute of material objects that is perceivable to humans. I guess I was using it synonomously with "entity" or "object" I should be more careful.

I've downloaded Little's articles, but I haven't read them yet. It's one of my goals for the near future.

Thanks for the correction.

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I was using the term "something" to designate an attribute of material objects that is perceivable to humans.  I guess I was using it synonomously with "entity" or "object"  I should be more careful. 

Thanks for clarifying. I took the alternative to "something is there" to be "nothing is there."

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Thanks for clarifying. I took the alternative to "something is there" to be "nothing is there."

That's interesting because that's not the first time I've had this problem. Do you think that I'm not using the word "something" in the correct manner or would it be more clear if I used "some thing" as two words, or just "thing"? Using "thing" by itself sounds strange to me unless it's referring to a specific object.

Thanks.

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Another alternative to "through" and "displaced," is "on."

I can't concretize this in the context of, to use the common sense notion, an object travelling in space. Can you elaborate?

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I can't concretize this in the context of, to use the common sense notion, an object travelling in space. Can you elaborate?

One idea that comes to mind is travelling on a wave like a surfer. He is travelling on the water, not through the water.

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One idea that comes to mind is travelling on a wave like a surfer.  He is travelling on the water, not through the water.

Or an airplane, which, in one sense, travels through the air, but is also travelling on it? Which would apply to a fish in water as well.

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Thanks for clarifying. I took the alternative to "something is there" to be "nothing is there."

That's interesting because that's not the first time I've had this problem. Do you think that I'm not using the word "something" in the correct manner or would it be more clear if I used "some thing" as two words, or just "thing"? Using "thing" by itself sounds strange to me unless it's referring to a specific object.

A "something" can be anything that exists, material or immaterial. So, when you said "but speculating that 'something is there' may be an assumption that is not valid," is to say in effect, when we are talking about "space," that it may not be valid to assume that existence is everywhere in space. And this, of course, contradicts the notion of a plenum.

Perhaps, as you suggest, your intention would have been more clear had you said "but speculating that some 'thing' is there may be an assumption that is not valid." A "thing" is usually thought of as a material entity. We usually think of "consciousness" as being "something," but we do not think of consciousness as being a "thing." Likewise, the plenum that fills all of existence is certainly "something," but it does not have to be a "thing," in the sense of a material entity.

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Another alternative to "through" and "displaced," is "on."

Do you mean that two existents occupy the same place at the same time? Can that be ruled out philosphically?

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Likewise, the plenum that fills all of existence is certainly "something," but it does not have to be a "thing," in the sense of a material entity.

It looks like we were writing at the same time. You answered some of my question before I asked it; how's that for service?

I'm not sure what to make of an entity that is "something" but not a "thing". I don't know enough about physics to know of such a thing. Would gravity be something like this, ie, a continuous field of some kind that can fill up a region? You briefly mentioned waves; when I think of waves, I think of a beam like this: ~~~~~~, but in that case I can imagine space between the waves. Do you suggest something more continous? While we're at it, is gravity a "something", that is, something physical? Thanks again.

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Another alternative to "through" and "displaced," is "on."

I can't concretize this in the context of, to use the common sense notion, an object travelling in space. Can you elaborate?

Perhaps it was a bit cryptic. I was thinking of the quantum level, not of a macroscopic object. A macroscopic object is composed of particles, and in the TEW all that exists are particles and the elementary waves that the particles follow. Without specifically designed experiments we cannot know the exact physical means by which the particles interact with the waves. Perhaps the particles travel "on" the waves by partially excluding the waves from their volume. On this fundamental level this cannot be pictured in the ordinary sense, but an extremely (extremely!) loose analogy would be a doughnut travelling on a rod.

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Another alternative to "through" and "displaced," is "on."

Do you mean that two existents occupy the same place at the same time? Can that be ruled out philosphically?

That's not what I meant (see my post to Phil Oliver), but to answer your question: on the most fundamental level we cannot philosophically prescribe the nature and actions of the ultimate constituents, other than to say that they possess identity and act causally. In advance of grasping their nature we have no idea even how the notion of "place" can be applied to them.

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I'm not sure what to make of an entity that is "something" but not a "thing".  I don't know enough about physics to know of such a thing.  Would gravity be something like this, ie, a continuous field of some kind that can fill up a region?  You briefly mentioned waves; when I think of waves, I think of a beam like this: ~~~~~~, but in that case I can imagine space between the waves.  Do you suggest something more continous?  While we're at it, is gravity a "something", that is, something physical?  Thanks again.

You should read my three-part introduction to the TEW, and then Little's 1996 paper referenced there. In short, the elementary waves (EWs) are omnipresent -- they are what has been loosely described as "space" -- but they are not waves like a disturbance in a medium. The EWs are the medium, and they are waves in the sense of having a periodic nature. The EWs travel at the speed of light, and the particles follow their associated waves. Gravity, then, becomes graviton particle and wave interactions, where the ordinary straight-line motion of the waves is curved in accord with the predictions of general relativity.

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Hello

I did a search for plenum, and this was one of threads listed.

I get the distinct feeling that the key to understanding the concept of the plenum is TEW, so I'll begin to read that ASAP, however, I'm curious whether Objectivists used the term plenum before TEW?

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I thought TEW was disproven? I remember Little performed an experiment that would distinguish his theory, and it failed to predict the results. There may be value in the theory, but it's clearly flawed (unless he's made corrections since that I didn't read about).

In any case, the key to understanding a plenum is not in physics but in metaphysics - in particular, the axiom that existence exists. One problem that was addressed, I believe it was in Harry Binswanger's "Selected Topics in the Philosophy of Science" lectures, is the difference between the concepts "space" and "place". There is certainly a legitimate way to use the term "space", but sometimes we say it to mean that there is room to put something. Such as: there's space left on the bookshelf for this book. However, this does not mean that there is nothing there where the book would go; clearly there is atmosphere, dust, etc. Dr. Binswanger argued that to be more exact, what we mean by space is "place", which designates a location but does not imply an absence of "stuff" there.

If we say there is a "nothing", then there is no thing for us to point to and reference. Nonexistence does not exist. So when we point at "space", we have to be pointing at something. That's what it means to say that the universe is a plenum, which is really a corollary of the axiom of existence.

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I thought TEW was disproven? I remember Little performed an experiment that would distinguish his theory, and it failed to predict the results. There may be value in the theory, but it's clearly flawed (unless he's made corrections since that I didn't read about).

To David and bborg, I would advise you both start with the link provided.

http://www.speicher.com/tew.html

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I did a search for plenum, and this was one of threads listed.

I get the distinct feeling that the key to understanding the concept of the plenum is TEW, so I'll begin to read that ASAP, however, I'm curious whether Objectivists used the term plenum before TEW?

That the universe is a plenum is a philosophical rather than a scientific issue so it does not depend on the acceptance of any particular scientific theory. It follows from the Law of Identity, that everything is something, and that there is no "nothing." As my late husband Stephen Speicher wrote in this post:

The universe is a plenum, it is full; there are no gaps, holes, or empty spaces, no "non existence." It's not like that there are two things; here there is existence, and here is non-existence. To say that something does not exist simply means the absence of something that does exist, not that non-existence is a different kind of existence. To exist means to be, to be something, to possess identity.

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I thought TEW was disproven?

Not at all. That claim was made in David Harriman's "Statement on the Theory of Elementary Waves."

In my judgment, violations of the Bell inequalities in "double-delayed-choice" (DDC) experiments have proven the existence of "non-local" interactions. TEW is a local theory, and therefore it contradicts the results of these experiments.

(Read entire article)

This application of Bell's inequalities to the TEW has serious problems that are both philosophical and scientific. For one thing, it requires instantaneous action at a distance, an idea that Harriman does not see as a philosophical problem.

Furthermore, if an action at location A causes a change at location B, metaphysics alone does not tell us that there was a time delay while something moved from A to B.

I disagreed with this on philosophical grounds and wrote an essay explaining why.

Some attempts have been made to explain the results of the Double-Delayed Choice experiment in terms of immediate, instantaneous, non-local action or "instantaneous action at a distance." This can - and should - be rejected on philosophical grounds because "instantaneous action" is a contradiction in terms.

(Read entire essay)

As for the scientific validity of Harriman's critique, it was discussed at length on the TEWLIP discussion list and you can read it all by going here and entering "Bell's inequality" or "DDC" in the search box at the top of the page.

The one posting with links to Lewis Little's explanation of the Double Delayed Choice (DDC) experiment in terms of the TEW, Travis Norsen's critical comment, and Stephen Speicher's response to Norsen's comment, can be read here.

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I thought TEW was disproven? I remember Little performed an experiment that would distinguish his theory, and it failed to predict the results. There may be value in the theory, but it's clearly flawed (unless he's made corrections since that I didn't read about).

To David and bborg, I would advise you both start with the link provided.

http://www.speicher.com/tew.html

Thanks Ray, I'll enjoy reading that. However I remember distinctly that Little was able to run an experiment where his theory's predictions differ from quantum theory, and it failed. I thought they made a statement about this at Objective Science, but maybe I just imagined it and there was no such experiment? I can't find any mention of it at the moment, except for a statement from David Harriman that "non-local" interactions had been proven, which would contradict TEW.

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Thanks Ray, I'll enjoy reading that. However I remember distinctly that Little was able to run an experiment where his theory's predictions differ from quantum theory, and it failed.

Actually, that experiment was something my husband and Dr. Little were working on and very close to actually doing, but it hasn't been done yet. If anyone knows of a physicist who would be interested in this, have them contact me.

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Actually, that experiment was something my husband and Dr. Little were working on and very close to actually doing, but it hasn't been done yet. If anyone knows of a physicist who would be interested in this, have them contact me.

Ah, I was just confused. It was something about setting the polarizers at different angles, wasn't it? That's what I remember.

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