Can an electron be identified?

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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#31  Postby Belindi » April 22nd, 2017, 3:30 am

Steve wrote:

I think if you want to make a statement such as "Every electron has its own (self-)identity or "haecceity" simply by being numerically different from all other electrons: where there are two or more electrons, there are two or more numerically different electrons. Simple as that!" you'd have to describe an experiment whose results can only be explained if that statement is true.

This is why I suggested earlier that purely ontological questions about how things "really are" such as "are electrons really identical?" serve no purpose and just lead to confusion unless they're tied to what can be observed.



So is Consul saying in effect that if you can count things, including electrons, then they are discrete entities? From what Consul says, I gather that my original question is a question about epistemology: how we can know anything.

Steve, are you agreeing that questions about how things "really are" are epistemological questions, and not ontological questions at all?

Earlier, Steve, you mentioned how a physicist can measure a double decker bus. Is it the case that while I , who am not a physicist, can measure a double decker bus I cannot measure an electron because only physicists who have special measuring techniques can measure electrons? This is an epistomological question, would you say? I mean how we differentiate entities is a separate question from "is any entity, ranging from a double decker bus to an electron, a real entity?"

So, Steve, are you claiming that scientific realism is the only ontological stance that serves any useful purpose? If so, I agree. What is the difference if any between scientific realism and logical positivism?
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Re: Can an electron be identified?



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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#32  Postby -1- » April 22nd, 2017, 4:06 am

Belindi wrote:So, Steve, are you claiming that scientific realism is the only ontological stance that serves any useful purpose? If so, I agree. What is the difference if any between scientific realism and logical positivism?


Good thing that you phrased the two as a questions of possibility, because the claim is pretty hefty. I would not go out on a limb to commit to say "aye" or "nay", but as questions, the two are equally pretty provocative, and ought to generate a juicy enough discussion.

The diff between Sci and LoPo is that while both are convergent and have as one of their axioms the presupposition that the world can be learned to know by man, or figured out to know by man, therefore both are ultimately convergent schools of thought, LoPo is purely language-based, and approaches the challenge of knowing things purely via an employment of language, with particular emphasis on definitions, the Sci approach is observation-and-inference-by-calculation based, and while also convergent in its nature of enquiry, it is not self-restrictive like language, it can mushroom in growth of new info and understanding in any direction, so to speak.

What I mean is that language is a closed-shop entity, the aim of LoPo is to make sense of a closed knowledge-system, presented by language; and physics or the natural sciences could never predict in what direction and in what magnitude future knowledge will encroach on the uncharted territories of "knowables".

Thus, language-based convergent inquiries, like LoPo, should be getting less and less hard to proceed in as the territory is harnessed, because the field of unknowns shrinks, and does not expand (or expands only slowly and minimalistically, as new words keep on entering the language); the field of natural sciences can potentially increase in both known and unknown territories of knowledge, irrespective of any real, imagined or implied guarantees whether and how much known and unknown things mankind has conquered and faces, respectively.
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#33  Postby Belindi » April 22nd, 2017, 12:31 pm

-1- wrote:
Belindi wrote:So, Steve, are you claiming that scientific realism is the only ontological stance that serves any useful purpose? If so, I agree. What is the difference if any between scientific realism and logical positivism?


Good thing that you phrased the two as a questions of possibility, because the claim is pretty hefty. I would not go out on a limb to commit to say "aye" or "nay", but as questions, the two are equally pretty provocative, and ought to generate a juicy enough discussion.

The diff between Sci and LoPo is that while both are convergent and have as one of their axioms the presupposition that the world can be learned to know by man, or figured out to know by man, therefore both are ultimately convergent schools of thought, LoPo is purely language-based, and approaches the challenge of knowing things purely via an employment of language, with particular emphasis on definitions, the Sci approach is observation-and-inference-by-calculation based, and while also convergent in its nature of enquiry, it is not self-restrictive like language, it can mushroom in growth of new info and understanding in any direction, so to speak.

What I mean is that language is a closed-shop entity, the aim of LoPo is to make sense of a closed knowledge-system, presented by language; and physics or the natural sciences could never predict in what direction and in what magnitude future knowledge will encroach on the uncharted territories of "knowables".

Thus, language-based convergent inquiries, like LoPo, should be getting less and less hard to proceed in as the territory is harnessed, because the field of unknowns shrinks, and does not expand (or expands only slowly and minimalistically, as new words keep on entering the language); the field of natural sciences can potentially increase in both known and unknown territories of knowledge, irrespective of any real, imagined or implied guarantees whether and how much known and unknown things mankind has conquered and faces, respectively.



Thanks Steve. I will have to let this sink in. I do understand , however I have an unfortunate need to revise a concept quite frequently in order to retain it. Any possibility you could post a sort of diagram?
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#34  Postby -1- » April 22nd, 2017, 1:22 pm

Belindi, I am actually not Steve. I am -1-, and as far as you are concerned, I am not you, either. (-:

We are all different. Quite different from electrons, actually. The major difference being that we are all different.

But I take being mistaken for Steve3007 as a compliment. A huge one.
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#35  Postby Belindi » April 23rd, 2017, 4:21 am

Terribly sorry and ashamed -1-. It's true that it's a compliment to be mistaken for Steve.

-- Updated April 23rd, 2017, 4:23 am to add the following --

I'd like a diagram of it if you have the time, please.
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#36  Postby -1- » April 24th, 2017, 2:06 am

Belindi wrote:I'd like a diagram of it if you have the time, please.

Reason for my convoluted explanation in extreme detail was that if you took me by mistake for yourself, I'd consider that also an extreme honour.
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#37  Postby Alan Masterman » April 24th, 2017, 6:15 am

I once knew an electron called Mick. Actually he might have been an electrician, now I think of it. I have to admit I'm on firmer ground with protons and croutons, numbering several of both among my circle of acquaintance.
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#38  Postby -1- » May 6th, 2017, 10:33 pm

Alan Masterman wrote:I once knew an electron called Mick. Actually he might have been an electrician, now I think of it. I have to admit I'm on firmer ground with protons and croutons, numbering several of both among my circle of acquaintance.


Your circling acquaintances: are they more a cloud, behaving according to a probability function, or are your acquaintances distinct, separable, countable, and... dare I say... different????
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#39  Postby Belindi » May 7th, 2017, 5:24 am

-1- wrote:
Alan Masterman wrote:I once knew an electron called Mick. Actually he might have been an electrician, now I think of it. I have to admit I'm on firmer ground with protons and croutons, numbering several of both among my circle of acquaintance.


Your circling acquaintances: are they more a cloud, behaving according to a probability function, or are your acquaintances distinct, separable, countable, and... dare I say... different????

What we do know about Crouton is that she is baked and delicious with fresh butter.
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#40  Postby Prothero » August 1st, 2017, 11:33 pm

There are certain repeatable and observable empirical events or phenomena, that we call "electrons". The exact nature or identity of the "electron" is debatable and perhaps will always remain unknown to us. In Kantian terms what we observe is the "phenomena" but what the electron is a "noumenon".
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#41  Postby Belindi » August 2nd, 2017, 6:08 am

Prothero wrote:There are certain repeatable and observable empirical events or phenomena, that we call "electrons". The exact nature or identity of the "electron" is debatable and perhaps will always remain unknown to us. In Kantian terms what we observe is the "phenomena" but what the electron is a "noumenon".


Thanks Prothero.

Have you read
http://willijbouwman.blogspot.co.uk/ ?
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#42  Postby Steve3007 » August 3rd, 2017, 8:11 am

Prothero:

I'd go further and suggest that the "exact/intrinsic nature or identity of the electron" is a useless concept in the absence of any reference back to observations which we attribute to it. The electron is a concept that we find useful for linking various aspects of various observations.

People sometimes express doubt that things like electrons really exist at all. I would say that I don't care about the question of whether electrons really exist. I care about whether the concept of an electron is useful. If, at some point in the future, some new and highly successful physics model/theory arises which doesn't feature electrons, then I'd be happy for the electron concept to be consigned to history, with the proviso that it can still be used in the "special case" where the new theory collapses into the old theory.

This is perhaps true for the concept of a force, in the sense of an action at a distance. It's a concept that is useful in Newtonian physics but which has fallen out of favour in modern physics, and been replaced by concepts like particle exchange. Since one of the basic principles of theories of physics is backward compatibility, there are still special cases where the modern laws of physics condense back down into classical Newtonian physics or Electromagnetism. In which case, the concept of a force re-emerges as useful again.
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#43  Postby Belindi » August 3rd, 2017, 8:47 am

Steve3007 wrote:Prothero:

I'd go further and suggest that the "exact/intrinsic nature or identity of the electron" is a useless concept in the absence of any reference back to observations which we attribute to it. The electron is a concept that we find useful for linking various aspects of various observations.

People sometimes express doubt that things like electrons really exist at all. I would say that I don't care about the question of whether electrons really exist. I care about whether the concept of an electron is useful. If, at some point in the future, some new and highly successful physics model/theory arises which doesn't feature electrons, then I'd be happy for the electron concept to be consigned to history, with the proviso that it can still be used in the "special case" where the new theory collapses into the old theory.

This is perhaps true for the concept of a force, in the sense of an action at a distance. It's a concept that is useful in Newtonian physics but which has fallen out of favour in modern physics, and been replaced by concepts like particle exchange. Since one of the basic principles of theories of physics is backward compatibility, there are still special cases where the modern laws of physics condense back down into classical Newtonian physics or Electromagnetism. In which case, the concept of a force re-emerges as useful again.


Would you call the above a pragmatic view of truth, Steve?

-- Updated August 3rd, 2017, 8:53 am to add the following --

I should rather ask "part of a pragmatic view of truth?" Obviiously one can say that about the concept of electrons , and also say that about the concept of weeds, apparel, binbags, tables etc. But not about terms that fit some larger concept such as botany, textile science, plastics industry, antique furniture.

Obviously those "larger concepts" may also be for the chop some time.
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#44  Postby Steve3007 » August 3rd, 2017, 11:39 am

Belindi:

Yes I guess you could call it a pragmatic view. Or perhaps a utilitarian view, because it places importance on the usefulness of concepts. But in a philosophy forum like this I'm wary of using those words because they're tied to "philosophical movements" about which I don't have sufficient in-depth knowledge to decide if I agree with them. I wouldn't want to commit myself to be bound to one of them! I make sure I keep the initial letters of the words in lower case!

I should rather ask "part of a pragmatic view of truth?" Obviiously one can say that about the concept of electrons , and also say that about the concept of weeds, apparel, binbags, tables etc.


Yes, we can say that about other concepts that are also nouns signifying physical objects. i.e. we can think of the whole concept of a physical object as being a useful way of tying together various sense data - Russell-style. But most people don't do that with everyday objects because it seems odd. It seems much more natural with fuzzy, intangible, very indirectly observed objects like electrons, which have strange properties that are not immediately apparent in everyday objects.

But not about terms that fit some larger concept such as botany, textile science, plastics industry, antique furniture.


Well, the odd one out there seems to be antique furniture. That's a class of physical objects. The rest are already abstract concepts which represent collections of knowledge.
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Re: Can an electron be identified?

Post Number:#45  Postby Belindi » August 12th, 2017, 6:00 am

Steve, I agree with all of your post, above. According to your description, collections of sense data, antique furniture fits 'collections of sense data " too.

What is usually accorded antique status is founded upon sense data plus consensus about durations. Consensus about the abstraction 'durations' is founded upon sense data regarding terrestrial time and sequences. Am I right? So an old man might feign offence when someone says they hate antiques.

'What is to be included in 'furniture' and what excluded is a matter of consensus , mediated through language. The social criteria that what is to be included under 'furniture' is the topic of quite a few visual jokes. Like Victor Meldrew mistaking the dachshund puppy for a phone.
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