Announcement: Your votes are in! The January 2019 Philosophy Book of the Month is The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt.

There is no such 'thing' as energy.

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
Post Reply
User avatar
vitency
New Trial Member
Posts: 3
Joined: May 28th, 2018, 7:13 pm

There is no such 'thing' as energy.

Post by vitency » May 29th, 2018, 2:00 am

"There is no such thing as matter. Everything is energy." Statements such as this are found in most modern physics textbooks; but is energy a 'thing'?

The material objects around us are manifest realities that have mass; but what do we mean by 'mass'? In general, it means that all objects near the Earth's surface possess weight, and also that they possess inertia. Mass is commonly defined as 'the amount of matter in a body', more accurately as 'the property of matter that measures its resistance to acceleration'. We can say that 'mass' is the quantification of matter that finds manifestation in weight and inertia. Both of these are observables: they can be detected, sensed, and measured; that is, quantified. They are qualities or properties of material objects that can be given a value on a scale of measurement.

Similar statements are true of motion. Generally speaking, all objects around us are either stationary or in motion relative to us, as determined by observation. Motion is also a manifest reality that can be quantified. If we know the mass and motion of an object, we can make statements and deductions about it. A tennis ball rolling along level ground will slow down and stop, whereas on a slope it will continue to move. In either case, appropriate measurements allow us to calculate the ball's motion to any desired degree of accuracy using well-established mathematical statements, and to calculate much else besides: velocity, acceleration, force of impact and so on. These properties can be called parameters of the object from the Greek para meaning beside and metron meaning measure.

Thus matter demonstrates mass, whilst radiation demonstrates motion; yet matter can also move, and radiation has an effective mass: both are fundamental components of Physical Reality.

A most useful parameter of a material object is its momentum: the product of mass and velocity: p = mv. Although derived from mass and motion, momentum is not an observable, but a concept: a calculated parameter. Neither is it a manifest reality as are mass and motion. If an object's momentum changes, it is NOT the case that momentum has been added to or subtracted from it: rather has its mass or its motion changed, and the calculated value of its momentum changes accordingly.

A similar parameter is kinetic energy. This, too, is a concept: a mathematical term naming the product of mass and the square of velocity: E = 1/2mv^2. What applies to momentum applies equally to kinetic energy, and to energy in general. It is a calculated quantity, neither an observable, nor a manifest reality. Energy cannot be added to or taken from an object; rather does it change in accord with mass, motion, position and composition. All calculation of energy requires the inclusion of a value for mass. If mass is unknown, energy cannot be calculated.

Recall now the first statement of this post, "There is no such thing as matter. Everything is energy." To claim that matter and radiation are both energy is to replace manifest realities with a mathematical parameter, and this surely is absurd.

It is true that all substance - sc. matter - is ultimately vibration, a contained, stationary resonance rather than the propagating vibrations of radiation; but vibration is not energy, even though it can be assigned an energetic value. In the case of electromagnetism, Planck's constant substitutes for the mechanical aspects of mass and motion: E = hf.

In spite of the foregoing, energy has proved to be one of the most valuable concepts in modern science, which is undoubtedly why it has been reified: that is, turned into a 'thing'. For more than a century, scientists have treated it as an actual physical reality instead of as a useful concept. What is needed is a new conceptual understanding of mass and motion, rather than the claim that both are composed of concepts.

For more see: http://vitency.com/npt/Ch03.html

User avatar
Halc
Posts: 285
Joined: March 17th, 2018, 9:47 pm

Re: There is no such 'thing' as energy.

Post by Halc » May 29th, 2018, 3:03 pm

vitency wrote:
May 29th, 2018, 2:00 am
Thus matter demonstrates mass, whilst radiation demonstrates motion; yet matter can also move, and radiation has an effective mass: both are fundamental components of Physical Reality.
Wait, where did radiation get introduced here? Radiation (light) is one way that all these things can be observed, but this is not essential to the concepts here. You need to explain how you are using it in this post, since you reference it more below.
Matter has mass (rest-mass is sort of a property of matter), and motion is a relationship that things (matter if you wish) have with a reference frame. Motion (and associated momentum and kinetic energy) is more of a mathematical concept then since it is not strictly a property of an object the way rest-mass is. Note that I am carefully distinguishing rest-mass from mass. The latter, like momentum, is frame dependent.
A most useful parameter of a material object is its momentum: the product of mass and velocity: p = mv. Although derived from mass and motion, momentum is not an observable, but a concept: a calculated parameter. Neither is it a manifest reality as are mass and motion.
If motion is manifest, then so is momentum. I think you are incorrectly classifying motion here. OK, angular motion (and associated angular momentum) is manifest and thus a measurable property of an object and not just an abstraction. But not linear motion.
A similar parameter is kinetic energy. This, too, is a concept: a mathematical term naming the product of mass and the square of velocity: E = 1/2mv^2.
Agreed, except what is the 1/2 for? Don't forget potential energy, which is negative.

Recall now the first statement of this post, "There is no such thing as matter. Everything is energy." To claim that matter and radiation are both energy is to replace manifest realities with a mathematical parameter, and this surely is absurd.
Why absurd? I don't find it so.
It is true that all substance - sc. matter - is ultimately vibration, a contained, stationary resonance rather than the propagating vibrations of radiation; but vibration is not energy, even though it can be assigned an energetic value.
Sorry, you lost me. Some links/references to something other than a personal blog would be nice, otherwise I have no reason to accept that "It is true that..."[/quote]

User avatar
Halc
Posts: 285
Joined: March 17th, 2018, 9:47 pm

Re: There is no such 'thing' as energy.

Post by Halc » May 29th, 2018, 3:08 pm

OK, I got the 1/2MV^2. Apparently it is not just a choice of units. This gets correct the proportions of the two components of total energy (rest energy and kinetic energy). E=MV^2 uses units more appropriate for pre-relativistic physics.

User avatar
vitency
New Trial Member
Posts: 3
Joined: May 28th, 2018, 7:13 pm

Re: There is no such 'thing' as energy.

Post by vitency » June 5th, 2018, 3:29 am

Summary response after one week.

All physical objects are comprised of atoms. Atoms, individually or in aggregate, are called matter. All matter is visible and revealed to us by light. Some objects are so small as to be invisible to the naked eye, but microscopes can reveal them. Even individual atoms can be seen via light:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/21 ... ing-photo/

Some objects are so distant as to be equally invisible without instrumental assistance, but in theory could be seen using a sufficiently powerful telescope. There may be a finite limit to this, perhaps the Hubble limit.

All motion is visible and revealed to us by light. It requires two or more observations separated by intervals of time. Some motion is so rapid as to be indiscernible, but is also amenable to instrumental detection, as in the case of strobe lighting. Some is so slow as to require extended periods of observation.

Thus matter and motion are the two fundamental observables of Physical Reality. Light is invisible: we cannot see light, only those objects which emit or reflect it. Matter, motion and light - more generally radiation - existing within space and time comprise Physical Reality.

Energy, momentum, power and so forth are invisible. They always have been and will be because they are not observables: not physically real. They are concepts within the minds of Men, useful in describing and explaining the manifest phenomena of the Physical Realm, but not a part of it.

Those who insist that such concepts are 'things' - manifest realities - are incapable of differentiating between physical reality and imagination, and so live in delusions of their own creating. This insistence is modern mysticism, part of the religion of Scientism that Modern Western Science has become.

The greater the delusion, the greater the anger, arrogance, conceit and conviction of the deluded, as plainly evidenced by many replies on other forums.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7452
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: There is no such 'thing' as energy.

Post by Greta » June 5th, 2018, 10:34 pm

Everything that we can measure is apparently energy - whether energy be defined as work, action or the fabric of the cosmos. Hence the atom bomb. Matter and energy can change into each other.

However, the romantic notion that everything is energy, as you suggest, is a kind of fundamentalism. It's misleading because fundamentalist thinking - the idea that all is energy - does not take emergences much into account. Fundamental thinkers simply posit one particular state of reality - energy in the universe from the big bang - to be fundamental, the starting point. The idea of an initial, fundamental state is an assumption and underlines the OP's contention that energy is a valuable model rather than the most fundamental aspect of reality.

More likely, energy itself was emergent, spawned from something else. What came before energy? What might be more fundamental from which energy emerged?

Seemingly the most universal and durable things are not "things" as such that break down and are endlessly recycled, but the configurations of those things. Think of the old concepts of archetypes, but without the mystical baggage.

For instance, in any population of entities - from asteroids to people - there will be some that are the largest and they will tend to become ever larger as they absorb and destroy smaller entities around them. There are also relatively neutral entities that don't appear to be readily affected in themselves but act more as conduits and catalysts. There will be the fastest, the slowest, the heavier and thinner, the complex and simple, reactive and inert, young and old, active, still, flexible, brittle, and so on.

Whatever configurations energy takes, the above archetypes seem to be fairly consistent. Whether that reflects on actual reality or our perceptions and existential situation is another matter. However, it calls to mind Plato's theory of forms and the possible configurations that might have been present in pre-big bang reality.

User avatar
Thinking critical
Posts: 1793
Joined: November 7th, 2011, 7:29 pm
Favorite Philosopher: A.C Grayling
Location: Perth, Australia (originally New Zealand)

Re: There is no such 'thing' as energy.

Post by Thinking critical » June 6th, 2018, 8:15 am

QUOTE author="vitency" post_id="312661" time="1528183747" user_id="48322">
vitency wrote:
June 5th, 2018, 3:29 am
Summary response after one week.
Energy, momentum, power and so forth are invisible. They always have been and will be because they are not observables: not physically real. They are concepts within the minds of Men, useful in describing and explaining the manifest phenomena of the Physical Realm, but not a part of it.
Those who insist that such concepts are 'things' - manifest realities - are incapable of differentiating between physical reality and imagination, and so live in delusions of their own creating. This insistence is modern mysticism, part of the religion of Scientism that Modern Western Science has become.

The greater the delusion, the greater the anger, arrogance, conceit and conviction of the deluded, as plainly evidenced by many replies on other forums.
This is a gross misrepresentation of the fundamental nature of reality described by the natural laws of physics, this use of dialogue is intended to intentionally miss lead.
By your own logic, gravity does not exist and nor does heat and the nature of Helium has no natural explanation.
Does Spacetime exist, the very fabric that encompasses physical reality? It can't be physically seen, it is not observable nor can it be manipulated as far as we are aware, however in the absence of Spacetime, the entire physical reality, the very fabric which allows the processes coordinated by the fundamental laws of physics, the basic building blocks of life, could not and would not exist.
The same can be said for energy in regards to the existence of matter, in the absence of energy there would be no force to drive the process which causes particles to interact with each other. Energy is experienced via heat and force, Energy can be observed to interact with physical objects and it's presence experience by physical beings.......this being the case, by what method do you deduce to conclude energy does not exist?
You appear to accept that energy can account for the behaviour of matter within the physical realm while at the same time you go on to assert that energy does not exist within the same physical realm? This appears to be fallacy of logic in your attempt at explaining the interaction of particles. You accept that such process a exists yet reject the idea that a causal force which drives the process exists.
The accusations of delusional, aimed at those who understand the necessity of what is described as energy in order to account for the structure of the observable and measurable reality, displays a genuine lack of intelectual integrity which certainly discredits your position as an amateur philosopher.
This cocky little cognitive contortionist will straighten you right out

User avatar
Barely existing
New Trial Member
Posts: 4
Joined: July 30th, 2018, 12:07 am

Re: There is no such 'thing' as energy.

Post by Barely existing » August 3rd, 2018, 2:04 am

Please remember all is theory. But I like to think on everything in the beginning was sound maybe

User avatar
Thinking critical
Posts: 1793
Joined: November 7th, 2011, 7:29 pm
Favorite Philosopher: A.C Grayling
Location: Perth, Australia (originally New Zealand)

Re: There is no such 'thing' as energy.

Post by Thinking critical » August 3rd, 2018, 3:14 am

Barely existing wrote:
August 3rd, 2018, 2:04 am
Please remember all is theory. But I like to think on everything in the beginning was sound maybe
Sound is what is experienced by beings such as ourselves. Our ear drums detect waves which send information to the brain which the mind experiences as sound.
In other words "sound" did not exist until something was their to hear it.
This cocky little cognitive contortionist will straighten you right out

Post Reply