How Mathematics displaced Metaphysics
Late 1500’s and Galileo’s experiments challenged the 2000 year held view of Aristotle in which heavier objects fell to earth faster than lighter ones. They showed that objects accelerated to earth at the same rate, arriving there with velocities whose squares were related to the height of their fall. Galileo may upset the church with his sun centred solar system but he, like many philosophers that followed him, sought a metaphysical reality believed to be the work of God.
In 1644, a French philosopher, Rene Descartes introduced a “quantity of motion” and claimed it was conserved. It was a product of mass and speed and responsible for the actions it caused. Some 20 years later his Cartesian followers replaced speed with velocity as direction was clearly significant. This mv product of mass and velocity came to be known as momentum and in 1687, Newton’s second law of motion described its rate of change as proportional to the force impressed on it and in its direction.
In 1676, a German philosopher, Gottfried Leibniz argued that his “motive force”, a product of mass and velocity squared (mv2), later called “vis viva” or living force, was the true conserved quantity explaining that its apparent loss in inelastic collisions was due its contributing to minute unseen parts in the whole. The “vis viva” controversy over what was conserved lasted near 50 years.
Newton (1642 -1726) viewed forces as impressed. He saw matter and light as hard, indivisible, corpuscular balls and saw “gross bodies and light convertible into one another”.
Newton’s status was such that his ideas were much accepted, but his instant “force at a distance law” of gravity attraction had its critics only gaining credence as the work of Coulomb, Faraday, Ampere and Maxwell involved similar forces at a distance and based them on the idea of force fields.
Émilie du Châtelet (1706 –1749) a French noblewoman and philosopher corresponded with and invited many philosophers to her chateau. She had an extensive library and much scientific apparatus, supported Leibniz’s “vis viva” but yet also endorsed Newton’s work and translated his Principia into French.
Emilie had views of her own. She did not agree with Newton’s ideas of force and matter and instead viewed forces as either active or passive and playing an equal part in matter. Her views on matter were much as those of Leibniz. She saw it as highly divisible, internally active and striving for change, yet also constrained in activity.
Bernouli, a Swiss physicist had added the 1/2 to mv2 in 1741 and related it to work done, yet it was still mv2 in 1802 when Thomas Young called it energy, commonly becoming 1/2 mv2 in 1829 in a book by Coriolis. Thermal heat was now seen to deliver work done and it, as in the boring of canons, produced thermal heat, so Lord Kelvin in 1849 renamed 1/2mv2 kinetic energy. Also a professor at Glasgow University, an engineer named William Rankine then coined the term “conservation of energy” and introduced the idea of potential energy.
All of the above tells us how our concepts of momentum, of energy, of work done, of external forces and of actions at a distance as implemented by force fields were all in place before :-
1. The 1897 discovery of the electron and subsequent discoveries of the proton and neutron.
2. Planck had linked energy to light frequency when trying to resolve the ultra violet catastrophe as revealed in black body radiations.
3. Einstein had linked energy radiated to mass lost in his E = mc2.
4. Before Einstein had drawn attention to the absence of an external force in a downward fall and given us his gravity mathematics of curved space-time that solved some problems Newton’s laws couldn’t.
Can these historical concepts, like the 2000 year held view of Aristotle, be misleading us as to reality? We still have no explanation of gravity. Einstein didn‘t explain it; he saw a gravitational field as “remarkably imparting the same acceleration to all bodies”. Now, in quantum field theory a myriad of particle related fields is the fundamental of everything.
Should not our atomic and quantum discoveries have led us to rethink the metaphysical reality of everything? Could it be that Emilie du Chatelet’s view of force as an integral part of matter was right? Why are so many responses to enquiries answered mathematically and students encouraged to shut up and calculate? It is because the mathematics works but the thoughts behind them are a “house of cards” built on concepts that are wrong.
The living, proactive stuff of our universe
Living structures like ours are fundamentally of the same interacting atomic particles that make for supposedly non living structures. So, ought we to think of such particles, not as ones responding to external pulls and pushes but as able to self determine how they will behave
A structure seen as at rest by an observer is in no way different when that observer moves at a steady speed relative to it. Yet in physics that observer now regards it as having both a momentum and a kinetic energy store. What sort of reality is that? By contrast, when structures begin to engage in supposed collisions, something real and observable starts to happen, not because forces are externally impressed but because forces or, as I prefer to call them, desires, are as per Du Chatelet, an equal and essential part of matter.
A cricket bat and ball part, not because the one exerts an external force on the other, but because the internal desires of their particles are intent on limiting structural distortions. Deliberately moving away from one another enables the start of their return to the more stable arrangement they had.
We have failed to realise that desires reside in the particles of all structures. We, humans are just more advanced structures evolved to better satisfy particle desires.
We are also wrong in thinking that the earth provides the attraction for things above it and that the sun provides the attraction that influences earth’s motion. In reality, particles in objects above the earth are aware of and desire earth’s radiated energies. They will move toward them if free to do so. Similarly the earth’s particles are aware of, desire and move toward the sun’s emitted photons.
Objects above the earth accelerate at the same rate toward it because the desire for earth energies is a per particle desire. The same objects above the moon accelerate at a lesser rate because the per particle desire in that case is for a lesser moon radiation.
Leibniz and Du Chatelet both saw such matter activities as constrained. Indeed, particle structures do not want an energy overload; but instead want energy stability. It is why structures of particles in a gravity fall proactively find rest close to the earth and why the earth settles into an orbit around the sun.
History has taken scientific thinking along a false path. In reality the photon, and other bosons are not force carriers and the much sought after graviton is the photon. The non-existent gravity force is weaker than the supposed coulomb force, not because they are the result of different fields mediated by different boson particles, but because the desires that particles have for photon energies in stable structures is less than the desire that some particles have in unstable structures.
Force is not carried in space by force fields; desires for energies of the environment reside in atomic particles and may be attractive or repulsive. Particles cooperate as structures because they better and more stably satisfy their desires. Vibrating motions of particles are how they self regulate their energy desires. Photons don’t knock electrons between locations; electrons encountering photon energy excesses proactively move toward resisting protons that cause them to bounce to another suitable energy gathering and distributing location.
Existing mathematics may align with experimental results but it fails to explain the why of change. Living particle desires explain the why of change and invite us to re-think, correct and better explain the realities of what we observe.