# Entities and attributes in science

My point is that the rose is not its mass. The rose is not its redness. The rose is not its beauty. Those are all attributes. The rose is the entity.
A subtle, possibly meaningless distinction; where is the rose if it isn't its mass, or color, or anything you can call an attribute (and that entirely artificial, a distinction you choose to make between what a thing "is" and what it "looks like")

How do you know there's still a rose left if you discount all the "attributes"?

It remains to be seen whether arfa brane is capable of taking your point about the meanings of words and being reasonable, or whether he is going to keep insisting that there's no conceivable way I could be right when I say energy is just a number.
As for the meanings of words: In mathematics, terminology is closely constrained to mean a single thing. In physics, that has to apply too, maybe that's because of the mathematics.

I fail to see the usefulness of distinguishing between things that can go in bottles (what kind of bottles) and things that can't.

--give me a definition, a description, is the bottle physical etc. So far, it's "just bottles". I think that's far too vague for actual physics.

A question for anyone who might be thinking this is all just overblown semantics, overthinking a subject.

What are the attributes of, and where is the entity in a distance? Measuring a distance means what?

Yes James, this includes you, sunshine.

Would a physics teacher consider explaining what distance is, and what would they say?

It's something that has a rather ingrained existence, we all understand measuring a distance and where rulers and measuring tapes come from.

Answering the first question in my last post: measurement is an attribute of distance(s); information is also an attribute since information is read and written--measurement is an operation on a store of information.

How this information is represented by a number leads to the syntactic requirement that the number must be identified by an additional label, like a data type. So we write metres, centimeters in abbreviated (compressed or simplified) form m, cm, to constrain the logic. Or likewise with any units of distance which measure real . . . physical distances.

I recall an article by a young-ish professor of physics, about measurements and why they are always approximate. Measurements are statistical, you sample a system (resp. a store of information), you repeat a measurement until a useful statistic appears, in the input data.

Which is to say, you search for a pattern and recognise one.

Now since measurements need not be exact, and actually can't be, you don't need a fixed unit of distance, you can use an approximate distance, like steps as you walk along a surface (or a substrate if you like). If you leave footprints on the surface, there is your statistical pattern and a way to measure distances. The pattern is information--all patterns are.

Ergo, using a fixed unit of distance to measure another distance (note the self-reference), is generating a pattern which is the information.

I say that charge does something in a mathematical model of the behaviour of a physical system. But when we look at a proton and an electron and see them attract one another electrically, we don't see any charge. All we see is that the proton and the electron move towards one another. Our explanation for why they move involves the concept we call "charge". But it is mistake to think of charge as a "real physical thing" that is in the electron. (This is using my understanding of a "real physical thing" being things like rocks and apples, not arfa branes definition of them as "anything with physical units".)
I say that this is all pointless and ultimately yields nothing useful. There are no insights, no new ideas. It's equivalent to waving your hands around.

Then you're in agreement with me that the "attribute" we call "color" is not something that is somehow contained in the rose. There's something else to it. Charge is no different.
Ah yes, the "something else" argument. An electron's charge exists, there isn't any "something else".

Otherwise you might as well listen to crickets chirping.

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A thing that is is precisely what arfa brane insists that a Coulomb of charge is. He says that charge is a "real physical thing". It's right there in his posts. Why aren't you accusing him of "pretending"?

Reading comprehension, James, that's all. Stop whining. In order to answer Arf you describe extracting a fraction of a whole thing and containing it a bottle; that is your pretense. And it's one thing if you can't pull a Coulomb out of an electron the way you might pull an egg out of a chicken, but holding the charge in a bottle is the wrong analogy.

Go back and read the rest. It just isn't helpful when you take things out of context, like that, in order to complain.

Look at what I wrote:

• In that sense, your question is fallacious: You pretend the Coulomb as a thing that is, in order to ask your question. But the answer is in the word "is". In what sense is the charge a physical thing? In the sense that it is. In this case, in the sense that it does something.​

You missed a lot of context when you skipped out on context. Thus: You raised a pretense of a Coulomb as a thing that is in order to ask your question. That's it; that's all it means to pretend something in order to answer the question. The answer to the question, however, has to do with what it means to be. Or, as you have it, what constitutes a thing. Part of a thing's existential realness is that it does something. And part of the difference is in your words: "But when we look … we don't see …". Well, what are we supposed to see? Some little veil around the electron? Some arc between electron and nucleus? And if it occurs to you to remind me of science, that we can't always "see" things directly, and must observe the effects of their presence and interaction and all that, yes, that's kind of the point.

(This is using my understanding of a "real physical thing" being things like rocks and apples, not arfa branes definition of them as "anything with physical units".)

—is that they are a bit more subtle than what you insist. Okay, you know that bit about gravity holding people down on the planet, and it's all well and fine except for the part where people seem to think that's all it does? Well, as frustrating as that can be to explain to people over and over again, it only gets more complicated when we consider that gravity is not a real thing—oh, right, it's not a "real physical thing". Rocks and apples? Don't you think that's a bit broad? Gravity isn't a real physical thing; the lightning that just struck that person right there might have caused severe injuries, but it wasn't a real physical thing.

I think you're insisting on artifice when hewing to your "understanding of 'a real physical thing'". Thus:

Then you're in agreement with me that ....

Oh, actually, first, we need to make a certain point about this rhetorical form, which is, stop doing that, please. You're either not very good at it, or else you are actually pretty good at it, and in either case it just isn't helpful.

Anyway ... oh, right, insisting on artifice, understanding of a "real physical thing". Thus:

Then you're in agreement with me that the "attribute" we call "color" is not something that is somehow contained in the rose. There's something else to it. Charge is no different.

Okay, so, the reason red is red is bcause that's what we call it. We are the "something else to it". Perdurabo↱ was actually on about something else, but refers to something real: The red we see is what the rose casts off. And, sure, it has its reasons for doing so, but, yes, Perdurabo is correct that it is reflected light that we perceive, i.e., what the rose refuses. Red is the one color it is not, but also the color by which we identify it, because it is what remains for us to perceive.

But what we call red represents something. It corresponds to a range of wavelengths describing blackbody radiation. The rose does not actually refuse the red; its redness is not an explicit act of will. But it reflects those wavelengths of light, and those reasons depend entirely on the rose. Beyond rocks and roses, cell structure, and even the pigment molecules themselves, what we are looking at is inherent to the structure of the rose. Why does the anthocyanin in the red rose look red insteda of blue? Because that is the molecule present, and its structure is such that it reflects those wavelengths. Calling the "color" "red" is something we do; what results in the reflection of those wavelenghts is part of the structure of the rose. That "color" is a fundamental part of the rose.

Yes, even "components" like the red colour of the rose (although maybe not, because "red" might not have units). Certainly the velocity of the rose is something arfa brane considers to be "part of" the rose, in some sense. I do not.

But that depends on our reason for looking. Let's try this part:

For the rose, it seems obvious to me that "red" and "fast" and "200 grams" are attributes, not entities

Those words describe different kinds of attributes, as such; the attributes they describe do different things.

Perdurabo aside, the reason that red is there for us to perceive is part of the rose. That we describe "red" corresponds to a real thing in the Universe. Inasmuch as some of our speculative neighbors might be shifting contexts, I don't think yours are necessarily consistent.

Still, the idea that the object is a rose, and red at that, speaks nothing of its velocity. But what do we mean by "fast"? Again, even the Reticulan can figure out that the roots are not normally airborne. But both a normal rose and I are moving at a velocity of about a thousand miles an hour. Oh, wait, that's sixty-seven thousand miles per hour. Or ninety thousand. Or a half-million. That would be axial rotation, solar orbital, galacitc central attraction, and galactic orbital velocities.

Notice how relativistic these measurements are? Again, if God could have done differently, or, more scientifically, if the math of the Universe could have worked out differently, then it would have. Whatever I'm describing as I ask you what we mean by fast, the fact remains that the rose, presently, has those velocities, and that also includes the vectors of those velocities. Because here's the thing, if the rose had a different velocity, the question remains why. What are we describing. If someone has yanked a rosebush out of the ground and thrown it at me, how fast is fast; if it was blown off the side of an erupting volcano, it would probably be going faster. If I'm on the moon and the Earth has just exploded, sending that rosebush toward me at whatever velocity, it probably doesn't matter how fast is fast.

More realistically, as I stand here beside the rosebush, I share its velocity. If one of those vectors was ninety degrees different, I probably wouldn't notice for the simple reason that the math works out, i.e., if the Universe was supposed to be different, it would be. However, compared to the Universe, yes, as long as the math works out it's all good, but a full existential accounting of that rosebush in the math of the Universe would describe a different circumstance. Maybe the same equations apply, but the variables resolve differently, so any mathematical descripition of the circumstance will resolve differently.

To a certain degree, the redness of the rose, or even the fact of the rose as an object, is entirely inconsequential. We would think more of the velocity of the rose if it was somehow unusual, such as hurtling through the air in our general direction. But as we stand there next to the rosebush in the park, we share a certain velocity and vector near to a thousand miles per hour on our axial rotational course. If the rosebush had that same velocity on a vector ninety degrees different, but we did not, I assure you, sir, it would be an unusual circumstance. Especially if it was still firmly rooted in the ground. Even you would not fail to notice.

But compared to what you or I expect of a rosebush, or why we even have expectations of a rosebush, an aphid cares more about the context of a rosebush as an object than the math does.

We see a rose or a rock; the math operates at a much more fundamental level.

Two hundred grams is a different sort of attribute, and most people don't use the word "mass" when they mean "weight" even if they are not aware of the difference. Think of it this way; the mass of the rose is the rose, its redness is inherent to the way in which its mass exists, and its velocity is an imposed attribute or characteristic, i.e., something that depends on external influence. They're not strong comparisons. Again, the rose as an object is our classification, and for as many reasons as red is what we call red.

This is important because—

My point is that the rose is not its mass. The rose is not its redness. The rose is not its beauty. Those are all attributes. The rose is the entity. Notice that attributes are concepts, first and foremost. You can't bottle redness or beauty or mass. Don't confuse that idea with bottling an entity that has attributes of redness, beauty and mass, which you can certainly do. Where is the beauty of the rose after you put the rose in a bottle? The beauty isn't in the bottle; it's in the eye of the beholder.

—it's one thing if we use familiar objects for the sake of familiarity. But that is not the limit of our precision.

[(cont.)]

[2/2]

Moreover, "beauty" is utterly fallacious in this context. Let's talk about science for a moment: "Beauty"? No. The rose is not its redness? That's a different discussion than whether the color is contained in the rose. And it's one thing if there is a difference between mass and weight, but you went with "insidious example", instead.

And what actually makes "200 grams" an insidious example is not what makes mass and weight different, but an underlying inaccurate presupposition of similarity to color. Whatever the mass of the red rose, its redness is found, contained, fundamental to that particular mass. The mass will not be similarly found in the redness. The attributes do different things; they have a different relationship to the rose and to us. The mass and color of the rose are not an appropriate juxtaposition.

The components of a rose can be seen as its stem, leaves, flower, &c., whether for horticulture or just because we think it is pretty and thorns are sharp. Or it can also be seen according to its cells. And that biology can also be accounted for as chemistry and physics. At some point, the components of a rose are its molecules and the atoms that make them up.

… then I want to see him produce the bottle full of energy (or full of redness, or full of charge) that would clinch the deal and prove once and for all …

Well, that depends on what you mean. Inasmuch as it can be done, I would expect you will say that doesn't count, but only because you're already aware that one can produce energy inside a bottle, so to speak. Just like putting tha red petal or the anthocyanin in the bottle wouldn't count. So that's not what you mean.

Thus, how long must the "energy" last?

Also, is a thing that cannot exist stably on its own truly a real physical thing?

Because this whole idea of a "real physical thing" seems almost arbitrary; inasmuch as it seems a thick and broad shield against ... well, that's the thing, against what?

But, still, why would we stop at a rock or a rose? It's not a question of why we would identify either rock or rose as objects, but, rather, why that would be the limit of our precision. Again, molecules and atoms, just for instance.

And for subatomic particles, it's not quite the same as half-life decay; some do not exist stably on their own for very long, so the question of how long something in the bottle or container must last is important.

Your definition of "thing" seems narrow, and relies on a particular definition of "physical". Subatomic partcles, hell, they're things. Blackbody radiation is also a thing. And that's the thing about bottling red for you. You want energy in a bottle, fine, I'll wind a watch spring and leave it locked. And while we all know that's not what you mean, to what degree is any form of energy contained in such a manner as you ask? To what degree can that energy exist under the circumstances you suggest?

And maybe those questions are, under other circumstances, excessive. But your entire post operates at the scale of rose and rock. And that works if we're talking about how we relate to those objects, but at the point that we are to consider fundamental definitions of energy and things, it's not so much imprecise as nearly useless; there is so much more going on with stuff like atoms and molecules.

Like, "Difficult, yes. Fallacious - I hope not!" That's probably not the right definition of "difficult". It's like you're going out of your way to make things more difficult than they need to be.

The thing is, ninety nine and a lot of nines say Arf is, ultimately, wrong. But about what, I have no idea because the discussion never really gets that far along.

Even if it is just Arf's juke and twirl to step around the obvious roadblock along his way to potterscrack, your sleights of scale and context are unnecessary, overcomplicating, and counterproductive.

It's kind of like religion, James, in a couple ways. One is that it doesn't actually matter what Arf is on about insofar as you don't actually know and don't really care; it's kind of like how it doesn't matter what a given religious person might believe, because you argue against models and projections. Also, it's worth reminding that another being wrong does not automatically make you right.

Sure, ninety-nine and nines tells me he's wrong. But about what? Even at this point, you don't seem to know.

Think of it this way: The most substantial effect of what you said in #81↑ is that I did, in fact, experience a weird moment of existential doubt about gravity, which was easily enough reconciled by recognizing that my own definition of a word might be too vague, which in turn is easy enough to accept because that definition derives from a colloquial retort to a particular range of supernatural belief; more directly, I did in fact need to reconsider the parameters of how I define a thing. That is, the colloquy disagrees with my present argument, but I have plenty of time to repair the old line before I need it again.

After all, you're not about to go off preaching the Universal oneness of all.

Well, unless you are.

The sort of difficult you're being is something of a curiosity. Rose gardens are nice, and all, but whether it's as an educator, scientist, or mere skeptic, it makes no sense that you're out in the weeds like this. Regardless of anybody's pretense that they might know something special about the math of the Universe, even you are aware it needs to be more precise than rock and rose. And you already know the reasons why the reflected wavelengths are ... look, you already know the red of the rose is part of its its physical structure. Why should I have to remind you of that? In what way is that inherent redness insufficiently "contained in the rose"?

Remember, "red" has an objective, verifiable, reliable definition. As it happens, so does a gram. So, yeah, dorkjoking the difference between weight and mass might be something one in twelve American high school physics teachers might try, but your usage didn't really go anywhere.

Moreover, on the point of choosing "a unit of charge such that the electron had a charge of +1 charge unit instead of -1.6 x 10^-19 Coulomb", was that a typo or were you trying to be clever, because I still don't know what to do with that, especially as you already know the punch line.

And then there is the bit about "beauty", and, come on, convince me you're not dicking around. All in all, it would have been less effort for you to come right out and do the chewbacca argument.
____________________

Notes:

Perdurabo, Fr. "The HIMOG". The Book of Lies. 1912. BibliotecaPleyades.net. 8 April 2023. http://bit.ly/2sbb4Q7

[fin]

The thing is, ninety nine and a lot of nines say Arf is, ultimately, wrong. But about what, I have no idea because the discussion never really gets that far along.
Where did that come from? Who says I'm wrong, and yeah, about what?
Studying physics, which is something I did quite a while ago, is not like studying philosophy. Nonetheless you form your own philosophy of physics in lieu of the one they don't give you.

What then, is wrong with the "naive" assumption that physical units are physical, ergo any well-defined thing in physics which has units is also physical--like say, a charge in Coulombs in a capacitor, or a magnetic field in Gauss in a fixed magnet, or, anything with physical units.

I noted how measuring a simple distance (what do you need to abstract here? What's the key, or do you need one?), involves the use of a fixed distance. There is self-reference, there is a copying process.

What's the problem?

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Tiassa:

Reading comprehension, James, that's all. Stop whining.
That's rich, coming from the guy who decided to join arfa in his whining.

Look, you wrote a lot of words in your reply. There are more than a few comprehension errors in evidence on your end, which suggests that you didn't really understand the post you replied to.
Gravity isn't a real physical thing; the lightning that just struck that person right there might have caused severe injuries, but it wasn't a real physical thing.
I was quite careful in talking about "real physical things" in my previous post. That term is problematic, and was introduced by arfa brane. Both you and he are using the term as if its meaning is self-evident. However, it actually requires careful definition, to make sure that when you and I say "real physical thing" we aren't talking at cross purposes. You have yet to define what you mean by it. arfa's definition, as I explained previously, is that a "real physical thing" is "anything with physical units".

For myself, I prefer not to use that term, because I think it just opens large cans of philosophical worms that require too much unpacking.

Your two examples here: gravity and lightning, are two quite different types of things. Lightning is an electrical discharge in air. Essentially it is a rapid flow of electrons from one place to another. I have never claimed that lighting is not a "real physical thing", so don't try to put words in my mouth.

"Gravity", on the other hand, is essentially a model that we use to describe, primarily, why lots of things attract each other, seemingly "at a distance".

You can put electrons in a bottle (create lightning in a bottle), but you can't put gravity in a bottle.
I think you're insisting on artifice when hewing to your "understanding of 'a real physical thing'".
I don't think you're in any position to accurately describe my understanding of a "real physical thing". You shouldn't pretend to know what I think. You should, instead, pay some attention to what I write, and take a little time to try to understand it before shooting your mouth off.
But what we call red represents something.
This is something I explicitly accepted in my previous post. There is no value in your retreading common ground. The fact that you thought it necessary shows that you didn't understand what I told you.
Calling the "color" "red" is something we do; what results in the reflection of those wavelenghts is part of the structure of the rose. That "color" is a fundamental part of the rose.
You just contradicted yourself in those two sentences. Think about it. If "red" is "something we do", then "red" cannot be "a fundamental part of the rose". Before you start up again, consider that this is not a mutually-exclusive thing. Even if "red" is partly something the rose does and partly something we do, it is still wrong to claim that "red" is "fundamentally" (solely) part of the rose.
That we describe "red" corresponds to a real thing in the Universe.
Yes. We - the describers of "red" - are real things in the Universe.
Whatever I'm describing as I ask you what we mean by fast, the fact remains that the rose, presently, has those velocities, and that also includes the vectors of those velocities.
There is no way, without an observer specified, to extract a "velocity" from a rose. Ergo, the "velocity" cannot be something that is "fundamentally a part of the rose". Getting the picture yet?
Two hundred grams is a different sort of attribute, and most people don't use the word "mass" when they mean "weight" even if they are not aware of the difference. Think of it this way; the mass of the rose is the rose...
On the first point: most people use the words "mass" and "weight" approximately interchangeably.

As for the second point, you're just wrong. "Mass" and "rose" are not synonyms. This ought to be an obvious point. But maybe that was just a silly rhetorical flourish on your part.
Moreover, "beauty" is utterly fallacious in this context.
The context was entities vs attributes. Beauty is an attribute. Rose is an entity. There is nothing fallacious about it, in the context in which I raised beauty as an example. Your characterising this as an "insidious example" is just you trying to dismiss it without attempting to engage with the argument I have put to you - or without understanding it.
The attributes do different things; they have a different relationship to the rose and to us. The mass and color of the rose are not an appropriate juxtaposition.
You are raising a straw man, again. I have not claims that mass and colour don't do different things. On the other hand, I do claim that both mass and colour are attributes of a rose (an entity). You're lost in the weeds. This isn't difficult.
At some point, the components of a rose are its molecules and the atoms that make them up.
Molecules and atoms are entities - at least, in the simple sense in which I have been explaining the distinction between entity and attribute to arfa brane and yourself. You can put molecules and atoms in a bottle. It's a simple but useful rule-of-thumb thought experiment you could use to distinguish entities from attributes. arfa could, too, in principle. But, for some reason, neither of you seems to get it. What's your problem? Where's the blockage on understanding such a simple distinction? Is it just that you feel you need to oppose this distinction, because it's me who's making it? Or what? Can't you at least admit that you understand the distinction - or is even that a step too far for both of you? Or is it really the case that neither of you can grasp this?
Also, is a thing that cannot exist stably on its own truly a real physical thing?
Ask arfa. He's the one who introduced that term. I think he'd say if it has units, then it's a real physical thing, regardless of how stable it is.
Because this whole idea of a "real physical thing" seems almost arbitrary; inasmuch as it seems a thick and broad shield against ... well, that's the thing, against what?
But, still, why would we stop at a rock or a rose? It's not a question of why we would identify either rock or rose as objects, but, rather, why that would be the limit of our precision. Again, molecules and atoms, just for instance.
Rule of thumb test: ask yourself - can I put it in a bottle (isolated, on its own)? If the answer is "yes", then it's probably a "physical thing", in some relevant sense. If the answer is "no", then it just might be a concept in your head. So, think: red, rose, molecule, mass, beauty. Ask the question. What are your answers?
And for subatomic particles, it's not quite the same as half-life decay; some do not exist stably on their own for very long, so the question of how long something in the bottle or container must last is important.
It's irrelevant to the point I put to you. Why is it important to you? What's your argument (if you have one that isn't just to pointlessly nay-say anything I might write)?
Your definition of "thing" seems narrow, and relies on a particular definition of "physical".
Yes. I agree 100%.

If somebody seemingly can't understand the basics, there's no point complicating things unnecessarily, in the first instance. Here, we have two people who can't seem to get to first base on this. So, I'm leaving out all nuance and qualification for now, to try to get the basic idea across. You can't possibly run before you have demonstrated the ability to walk.
Subatomic partcles, hell, they're things. Blackbody radiation is also a thing.
Blackbody radiation is photons. Photons are things, insofar as they can be put in bottles.
You want energy in a bottle, fine, I'll wind a watch spring and leave it locked.
Here's the crux - the part of my argument that you completely failed to grasp: energy is not a "thing", in the relevant sense, because you can't isolate it in that bottle, in the absence of the watch spring. The energy is an attribute of the watch spring, in this example, whereas the spring itself is an entity. Moreover, if you think about it, the "energy of the coiled spring" is just a number in your head or - if you're not a physicist - some kind of very vague concept in your imagination.

Do you understand the distinction I have been making, yet? Surely, you must, if you've read this far.
Like, "Difficult, yes. Fallacious - I hope not!" That's probably not the right definition of "difficult". It's like you're going out of your way to make things more difficult than they need to be.
My point is very simple - childishly so. When you said I was being "difficult", I assumed you meant something along the lines of "obstinate". Now, it seems that the concept of entity vs attribute itself is actually difficult for you, for some reason - possibly in a similar way that it is so difficult for arfa.

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(continued...)
It's kind of like religion, James, in a couple ways. One is that it doesn't actually matter what Arf is on about insofar as you don't actually know and don't really care; it's kind of like how it doesn't matter what a given religious person might believe, because you argue against models and projections. Also, it's worth reminding that another being wrong does not automatically make you right.
I can't read minds, Tiassa. As far as understanding you or arfa goes, all I have to work with is the words you write here. I have cared enough to engage with both of you, to try to explain what I think is a simple point. I have honestly tried to understand where your respective roadblocks are.

It seems to me that you haven't offered much in the way of models of projections for me to argue against - other than the one I've specifically addressed in this post and previously.

I have never set up a false dichotomy of my having to be right if I show that you're wrong, or that arfa's wrong, so I take it that your "reminder" is just more pointless rhetoric.
The sort of difficult you're being is something of a curiosity.
How much time have you spent previously, discussing this kind of thing with people who are highly educated in science? If this is your first time, maybe it is a bit of a shock to find yourself out on a limb you didn't previously know was a limb.
Rose gardens are nice, and all, but whether it's as an educator, scientist, or mere skeptic, it makes no sense that you're out in the weeds like this.
There's a failure of perspective, right there. Too much time on the internet, maybe?
look, you already know the red of the rose is part of its its physical structure. Why should I have to remind you of that? In what way is that inherent redness insufficiently "contained in the rose"?
There is no inherent redness in a (red) rose!
Remember, "red" has an objective, verifiable, reliable definition.
Well, sort of. That definition says that when photons with a certain range of wavelengths hit the human retina, thus producing a particular sensation in the mind of some human being, then by convention that sensation is generally described as "red". What this means is that there is some consistency when different individuals report seeing "red".

There are certainly objective ways to measure the wavelengths emitted by a light source, but none of those produce "red"; they just give us some numbers. We say that the number 600 nanometres corresponds to human beings' generally agreeing that the light produces in them, under appropriate conditions, the sensation we label "red".

So, "red" is a repeatable, testable, semi-objective concept, which can be assigned as an attribute to certain things.

But none of that is of much consequence for my dispute with arfa brane, or with you. On that note, the simple truth is that "red" is not an entity, as I have carefully defined that term (using a simple empirical test).
Moreover, on the point of choosing "a unit of charge such that the electron had a charge of +1 charge unit instead of -1.6 x 10^-19 Coulomb", was that a typo or were you trying to be clever, because I still don't know what to do with that, especially as you already know the punch line.
I don't understand your difficult with what I wrote there. Please explain. There is no typo. As for cleverness, maybe it's too clever for you. Who knows?

arfa brane:

I see that you are continuing to be dismissive and ignorant. Please read my replies to Tiassa, above, because you and he seem to share the same bizarre inability to comprehend a simple test. Let me know how you go with yet another explanation. I don't hold out high hopes for you, at this stage.
And all of that is summed up by the physical evidence, there are two kinds of electric charge, we say positive and negative charges exist because it's a handy way to remember, there are two kinds, so there are two ways the charges can interact--attraction and repulsion.

Are the interactions between charged particles just numbers? I don't see how that can be assumed, especially in an electronics lab.
I have not claimed that interactions between charged particles are just numbers.

However, note that interaction are not entities. Arguably, they aren't attributes, either, but that's another topic.
I say this because charged electrons can flow like a fluid, in a conductor. You can say, ok, the electrons are real and there is a real flow, a current. Or you can ignore the electrons and say a current of charge in Coulombs per second is flowing.
That "current of charge" is something in your head. The electrons, on the other hand, can be bottled.
When you get a spark jumping between you and the car you just got out of, is it real? Is it physical?
Is it made of electrons? Can you put electrons in a bottle?
What about the pain you usually feel? Or is that just some numbers interacting?
Pain is a bit like "red" and "beauty". Not a number. Can you put pain in a bottle?
where is the rose if it isn't its mass, or color, or anything you can call an attribute (and that entirely artificial, a distinction you choose to make between what a thing "is" and what it "looks like")
The rose is still right there, only now you can't describe it, because for that you'd need attributes.
How do you know there's still a rose left if you discount all the "attributes"?
This is the old "if a tree falls in a forest and nobody is watching..." debate. Another one for the philosophers.
I fail to see the usefulness of distinguishing between things that can go in bottles (what kind of bottles) and things that can't.
Well, recognising the problem is a good start, I guess. :shrug:
--give me a definition, a description, is the bottle physical etc. So far, it's "just bottles". I think that's far too vague for actual physics.
For now, to keep things simple until you get to first base, you can take a "bottle" to be something that can contain atoms. That will suffice.
What are the attributes of, and where is the entity in a distance? Measuring a distance means what?
Distance is not an entity. It is an attribute. Measuring it can happen in many different ways, but all of them end up producing a number in your head.
Would a physics teacher consider explaining what distance is, and what would they say?
They would most likely appeal to the direct experience of their students, and refer to metre sticks, rulers and so on, as you suggest.
Answering the first question in my last post: measurement is an attribute of distance(s); information is also an attribute since information is read and written--measurement is an operation on a store of information.
You are introducing your own, different, usage of the word "attribute" here. This is very different to how exchemist and myself have used that term, above. Your usage only serves to confuse things, at this point. I would like to know that you understand my usage, before proceeding to examine the problems in your usage.
I say that this is all pointless and ultimately yields nothing useful.
You have failed to actually engage with the ideas that have been presented to you, throughout the discussion. Despite that, you continue to post, as if you thought that this wasn't pointless. Why do you continue to post on the topic if, as you claim, there is no point?
There are no insights, no new ideas. It's equivalent to waving your hands around.
It's not surprising you believe there's nothing you can learn from this, because you have yet to demonstrate any grasp of the material that has been presented to you. To you, I guess it all seems like random noise or mumbo jumbo. What happened you, man? This isn't hard.
An electron's charge exists, there isn't any "something else".
I have never disputed that the electron's charge exists.

Again, you demonstrate your failure to grasp the topic of discussion.

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I see that you are continuing to be dismissive and ignorant. Please read my replies to Tiassa, above, because you and he seem to share the same bizarre inability to comprehend a simple test. Let me know how you go with yet another explanation. I don't hold out high hopes for you, at this stage.
James, I have no intention of doing any of that.
I can't even understand what you're trying to say about all this. It just doesn't seem necessary when all I "really" need to know is that in physics, there are things with physical units--physical units don't exist by themselves.

Whether there are attributes or entities doesn't alter this. Beyond the bare physics it seems, people like you want to mess it all up with weird ideas about what you can put in a bottle. I have never seen this, or heard it in any lectures, it isn't outlined in any textbook I've encountered. Hell, it just doesn't come up; you have to spend time studying the relations between these units, the closest you get to what they are, as I mentioned, is when you get up close and personal with physics in a lab.

And even there, there aren't any questions posed about attributes, entities, or about any particular point of view or philosophy.
So, why are you here, insisting that this is this and that is that? Who or what told you you need to do this thing? It seems like such a waste of time, you see.
An example:
That "current of charge" is something in your head. The electrons, on the other hand, can be bottled.
See, that's kind of ridiculous. You say electrons pass the "bottle test", but not their charge. Are you really saying the bottle test only works for particles with mass? What does electron spin have to do with this? Let me guess--nothing.

So put some electrons in a bottle and you can ignore their spin and their charge? I don't think so.
That would mean not being able to write down an actual description--tsk tsk, no marks for you pal.

I don't need to think about attributes, entities, whether a physical thing is a concept. Nope, all I need to think about in a lab is if I can measure something; I can think about what it is later. Or I can think that thinking about what physical units really are, isn't going to really get me anywhere.
Not trying to answer the "but, what is it" question didn't stop me from understanding the math, or from understanding measurements. I did once ask myself what Newton's constant represents, but apart from "a constant of proportionality, which has the required physical units", I haven't gotten that far with the answer.

So, you learn how to manipulate symbols and preserve certain physical relations, and you learn how to measure and calculate with a certain amount of accuracy. That's what you get.

They don't tell you anything else, really, so it's up to you to decide if you need to fill in the gaps. Strangely, I felt no real need to plug any gaps, perhaps I didn't see any. I still see no need to put together anything resembling what you think you have--a rather confusing and not very consistent explanation. A not very useful explanation.
A nothing burger.

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arfa brane:

It seems you've lost track of where this conversation started. It started when I said that energy is "just a number" - the salient point being that energy is a concept in your head, not an entity that exists and can be bottled.

Your response was to flat out deny this, and you have been consistent in denying it ever since.

The reason you're having this problem in the first place is because, for whatever reason, you have apparently never learned how to distinguish entities from attributes (as exchemist put it) or physical objects from concepts (as I put it).

It seems to me that I've done about as much as I can to try to raise your awareness of the difference, but you're implacably resistant to learning something new.

There is little more I have to say to you on this matter. I've tried several ways to get through to you, but it never sticks.

I suppose I'll respond to your latest post as a courtesy, but I'm sure it won't make any impact on you. Nothing else has.
James, I have no intention of doing any of that.
I can't even understand what you're trying to say about all this.
I have to wonder why you can't even understand. I've been more than clear. I've explained things to you in different ways. I can only conclude that the problem must be on your end. What happened to you, man? When did you lose the ability to process new ideas?
It just doesn't seem necessary when all I "really" need to know is that in physics, there are things with physical units--physical units don't exist by themselves.

Whether there are attributes or entities doesn't alter this.
Physical units are concepts. They describe attributes. The arbitrariness of physical units ought to be a hint to you that those units aren't "contained in" the entities they describe. But, for some reason, you claim you can't understand this point.
Beyond the bare physics it seems, people like you want to mess it all up with weird ideas about what you can put in a bottle.
There's nothing weird about the simple idea that concepts aren't something you can put in a bottle. Most primary school kids can grasp it, I'm sure.
I have never seen this, or heard it in any lectures, it isn't outlined in any textbook I've encountered.
I thought you'd read Feynman's lectures, for one. But, as you have already demonstrated, you didn't understand him any better than you understand me when I explain the same point he made.
And even there, there aren't any questions posed about attributes, entities, or about any particular point of view or philosophy.
You seem to think that our discussion has been about physics. It hasn't been. It isn't about that. Maybe you have a blind spot to philosophy; maybe that's the problem here.

Our dispute is a philosophical one about the ontological status of things like energy and mass and velocity. You call these "real physical things". I say they are concepts and not the same as "real physical things" (as I have defined them). I say that you're mixed-up definition of "real physical things", by which you mean anything with physical units, is a fundamental category error - you're treating attributes as if they are entities, which is a mistake.
So, why are you here, insisting that this is this and that is that? Who or what told you you need to do this thing? It seems like such a waste of time, you see.
Clearly, the time is wasted on you. We'll see if Tiassa can do any better, I suppose, if he replies.
See, that's kind of ridiculous. You say electrons pass the "bottle test", but not their charge. Are you really saying the bottle test only works for particles with mass? What does electron spin have to do with this? Let me guess--nothing.
You're correct on all counts, except the one that claims it is ridiculous. You have not made any substantive argument to show that it is ridiculous. On the contrary, all you have said is that you don't understand the distinction or the test. Therefore, your argument - such as it it - boils down to "arfa brane doesn't understand it, so it must be ridiculous". Very weak.
So put some electrons in a bottle and you can ignore their spin and their charge? I don't think so.
It happens 99%+ of the time, whenever you open a bottle of wine or a carton of milk.
That would mean not being able to write down an actual description--tsk tsk, no marks for you pal.
You're unable to describe a carton of milk without talking about the spin and charge of the electrons in it? Really?
I don't need to think about attributes, entities, whether a physical thing is a concept. Nope, all I need to think about in a lab is if I can measure something; I can think about what it is later.
You're trying to change the parameters of the discussion, now. We weren't talking about what you do in a lab. We were talking about the ontological status of "energy", at the start. To determine that, you can't just proclaim "It's ridiculous" and think you've made a watertight argument. No, you have to actually think about it - and understand what you're thinking about.
Or I can think that thinking about what physical units really are, isn't going to really get me anywhere.
Clearly it doesn't get you anywhere. The mystery is: why?
Not trying to answer the "but, what is it" question didn't stop me from understanding the math, or from understanding measurements.
Completely beside the point.

Are you really saying that, after all this time, you really haven't got a clue what this discussion is about? Despite all your whining and insults and angry outbursts? How disappointing that you choose to have a hissy fit over something you later admit you don't even understand.
I did once ask myself what Newton's constant represents, but apart from "a constant of proportionality, which has the required physical units", I haven't gotten that far with the answer.

So, you learn how to manipulate symbols and preserve certain physical relations, and you learn how to measure and calculate with a certain amount of accuracy. That's what you get.

They don't tell you anything else, really, so it's up to you to decide if you need to fill in the gaps. Strangely, I felt no real need to plug any gaps, perhaps I didn't see any.
Says it all, really. Why are you unable to think outside the narrow box you've constructed for yourself? Is there a reason?
I still see no need to put together anything resembling what you think you have--a rather confusing and not very consistent explanation.
So now you're claiming my explanation is not very consistent, while simultaneously saying you are confused by it and don't understand it.

Sounds to me like you're in no position to judge.

It seems you've lost track of where this conversation started. It started when I said that energy is "just a number" - the salient point being that energy is a concept in your head, not an entity that exists and can be bottled.

Your response was to flat out deny this, and you have been consistent in denying it ever since.
How do you know energy is a concept in your head? How would you try to prove energy doesn't exist, and why does not being able to bottle energy mean it isn't real?
I deny it because it sounds like there's something wrong with it. It doesn't explain, for instance, why energy has physical units. I think we managed to establish that physical units are not numbers (or did we?). So what's your explanation? Why do physical units become numbers in the case of units of energy? What's the big secret?
You seem to think that our discussion has been about physics. It hasn't been. It isn't about that.
Yes it is about physics, which as I've pointed out, does not come with a philosophy attached. Physics is so not about philosophy, that many people struggle with that particular lack. But not you, eh James?
You're unable to describe a carton of milk without talking about the spin and charge of the electrons in it? Really?
This is you desperately trying to rescue your donkey.
Are you really saying that, after all this time, you really haven't got a clue what this discussion is about? Despite all your whining and insults and angry outbursts? How disappointing that you choose to have a hissy fit over something you later admit you don't even understand.
This is you having a hissy fit, and looking angry about something. I'm not angry James. I'm bored.
This "discussion" with you in it, is about the most boring thing I've done lately. It's truly pathetic watching you defend a useless set of arguments that go nowhere.

Because I've never seen energy in a bottle.
How would you try to prove energy doesn't exist, and why does not being able to bottle energy mean it isn't real?
I have never claimed that energy is not real. Clearly, you're still missing the point.
I deny it because it sounds like there's something wrong with it. It doesn't explain, for instance, why energy has physical units. I think we managed to establish that physical units are not numbers (or did we?). So what's your explanation? Why do physical units become numbers in the case of units of energy? What's the big secret?
As I explained previously, "just a number" is a bit of a simplification. If you prefer "just a number with some units", I have no problem with that. Units, like numbers, are concepts in your head. As I have previously pointed out, many physical units are arbitrary inventions of human beings. There is nothing magical about a metre, for example. The length of a metre is a completely arbitrary choice made by human beings. If we meet aliens tomorrow, they won't have a clue what a metre is, until we explain it to them.
Yes it is about physics, which as I've pointed out, does not come with a philosophy attached.
You're quite wrong. I suggest you take this point up with Yazata, who I'm sure will fill you in on a few of the many philsophical assumptions you take for granted when you do physics.

Is this your first encounter with the philosophy of science? Maybe this is the problem.
Physics is so not about philosophy, that many people struggle with that particular lack. But not you, eh James?
You're correct that physics is not "about" philosophy. Physics is a science. But if we're talking about the ontological status of energy, or charge, or mass or velocity, we're necessarily having a discussion about the philosophy of physics, rather than discussion about how physics is applied in the lab. You seem to be having trouble looking outside of your little box.
I'm not angry James. I'm bored.
Fine. I think I've taken you as far as you're able to go, anyway. Maybe something will click months or years down the track. I'm happy to leave this discussion here. But no more complaining from you that energy is not a number, okay? Because in the last few months you have come up with nothing to refute that contention.
This "discussion" with you in it, is about the most boring thing I've done lately. It's truly pathetic watching you defend a useless set of arguments that go nowhere.
Typical of you, when at a loss, to resort to personal insults. Do you wonder why people lose respect for you?

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Is the energy in a bottle thing ... still a thing?

Is the energy in a bottle thing ... still a thing?
Depends what you mean by "thing", I guess. Is this a serious question, or are you just giving the pot a stir?

Depends what you mean by "thing", I guess. Is this a serious question, or are you just giving the pot a stir?

Hmm. Well air pressure can be stored in a a bottle and it is invisible! *cute grin*

Hmm. Well air pressure can be stored in a a bottle and it is invisible! *cute grin*
No. The entity is air. Its pressure and its energy are both attributes of the air.