Saturday, October 29, 2005

Virtual objects (and absolute space)

A point I'd like to make is that all proofs regarding absolutism about space require objects. Are there any proofs (that are both valid and sound) that do not require the use of objects. For example, one that involves a universe made solely of spacial vacuum. I can't really be opposed to relationism until I am sure that a massless universe can exist.

And here's a thought (not one I prescribe to persay...but I just want to get some input), concepts themselves do not occupy space, but a midpoint is a conceptual thing in our minds. Does giving a massless point a name make it a virtual object? Is there any way to describe space without using anything that involves points, names, or objects?

Another way to put it is, how do you tell how far apart two points are in an empty space without referring to either one in relation to the other? Using a third point doesn't count. Absolute space (in my opinion) requires that, like absolute time, a measurement of space exist.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Newton's argument against relationism

At the end of class Chris had proposed a spinning disc, like a washer instead of the rope and ball setup as a counter to using the center point as a point of reference. In order to truly eliminate the center point as a point of reference, then the universe itself must consist entirely of the washer and nothing else. I have a couple of arguments against this setup.
First, there's the fact that there are centrifugal forces which push things outward. This would result in the inner surface of the washer moving ever so slightly away from the center. But if this happened then a point on the inner surface would be moving relative to the other points on the inner surface.
The next argument is that if there was nothing else in the universe there would be no way to know that the disc was actually spinning. Given that the washer is the entire universe there would be no "room" for absolute space to exist and things could only be defined in terms of the disc itself which appears to not be moving. If you allow for absolute space to exist somewhere and the disc is moving relative to it, you've expanded the universe and that space could be explained relative to the disc and so relationism 2 is not in trouble.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ch 10- how do we know what actually happened in the past?

I just read chapter 10 today and as I was reading pages 171-172, the part about how what determines what the past is caught my interest and got me thinking about an article I just read for my psych class. On page 172 Le Poidevin says that, "Statements about the past are true only in virtue of facts about present evidence." The evidence that he refers to would be records and memories. Records seem to be a pretty solid way of determining what happened as long as they are not altered, but memories are not as reliable. In the article I read it discussed how your memory can play tricks on you. When given a list of words that were all closely related to sleep, but without sleep actually being a word, the participants of the study said they remembered seeing or hearing the word sleep more than half of the time. This shows that your memory is not completely reliable. Also, when there are multiple eye witnesses of a crime or some event, there are usually a number of very different acounts of what happened based on the witnesses' own personal experiences in life. So, how can we be sure of what actually happened in the past?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ask Philosophers

There is a new link in the sidebar. It's called 'Ask Philosophers Some Stuff'. You can click it and ask a panel of professional philosophers any question you'd like.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A-series or B-series

After reading chapter 8, which deals with A-series and B-series, I was immediately reminded of the scene in Spaceballs where Lord Helmet and Colonel Sandurz are watching the actual movie. This seems to me to have both A-series and B-series and I was wondering what you guys think. I have provided the movie lines.

The movie stops at the exact same thing that is actually happening now. HELMET looks at the camera, then he turns back to the monitor. SANDURZ looks at the camera when HELMET looks back at the monitor, then he looks back at the monitor. HELMET looks at the camera when SANDURZ looks back at the monitor. When HELMET turns back, he waves his hand. He turns back to the camera.

HELMET What the hell am I looking at? When does this happen in the movie?

SANDURZ Now. You're looking at now, sir. Everything that happens now, is happening now.

HELMET What happened to then?

SANDURZ We passed then?

HELMET When?

SANDURZ Just now. We're at now, now.

HELMET Go back to then.

SANDURZ When?

HELMET Now.

SANDURZ Now?

HELMET Now.

SANDURZ I can't.

HELMET Why?

SANDURZ We missed it.

HELMET When?

SANDURZ Just now.

HELMET When will then be now?

CORPORAL rewinds the tape. He stops at the point when LONE STARR, BARF, VESPA, and DOT are walking through the desert.

SANDURZ Soon.

HELMET How soon?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Relationism vs Absolutism on Space

I've read this chapter about three times now, and I'm a little confused. Intuitively, I'm trying to figure out how absolutism about space would work. Le Poidevin never answers it well enough, he avoids the issue in my opinion. I think obviously that relationism about space is correct. If you take the example of the planets and the sun. If the sun is stationary and the planets orbit the sun but they all orbit in different lengths. Wouldn't the planets be in relative motion to the sun and the other planets? Even if there was only one planet and the sun, the planet would be in relative motion to the sun because the orbit would cause the planet to be a different distance from the sun at certain times. If you guys can think of a logical way to explain absolutism about space with a simple example that would be greatly appreciated.