- Education and Science
Physics - What is SHAPE and Why Does it Define an Object?
Physics is the study of objects (entities); specifically, objects that exist. In Physics, we must have an object for else there would be nothing to study, nothing to perform activities or motion. Only an object can serve as a valid noun in a sentence of Physics with the capability to perform actions.
So it goes without saying that in Physics we need to distinguish between objects and concepts. Only objects can facilitate motion and act as mediators for phenomena. As such, they necessarily comprise the Hypothesis stage of the Scientific Method. The Theory stage uses our hypothesized objects as participating actors that mediate phenomena (i.e. light, gravity, magnetism, electricity).
In Physics we don’t formulate hypotheses with alleged entities that don’t qualify as objects. For example, “love” is not an object. Love is the action that two or more objects mediate with each other. If you’ve ever been in a Love Triangle, like I have, you will understand this all too well.
In similar fashion, we can’t formulate theories with hypothesized entities that qualify as objects, if their existence cannot be justified by a theory. For example, “Superman” is a valid object. We can certainly illustrate it or make a mock-up. But there is no theory that can be formulated using Superman as a mediator to rationally explain any phenomenon. The proposed existence of Superman cannot be rationally justified as even a possibility. This is how the Scientific Method works.
So before we can do any Physics we naturally ask: What is an object?
Since there is an obvious qualitative difference between “love” and “Superman” we need to zero in on what that difference is.
What criterion can be used to determine whether any word in language qualifies as an object or not?
WHAT CRITERION CAN BE USED DEFINE AN OBJECT?
Words which designate objects are qualitatively different than those which designate concepts. So there’s obviously a uniquely defining quality that only objects have in common. But what quality, property or attribute do objects have which concepts don’t? Let’s first investigate some popular options available to us so we can get an idea of what we are dealing with. Which of the following criteria are we going to choose to define the strategic word OBJECT for the purposes of Physics?
Criteria 1 to 5 (see/touch/smell/taste/hear)
Is an object “that which we can see, touch, smell, taste, hear”?
Is an object going to be defined on the basis of our ability to interact with it? Do we need to run an experiment to prove whether the subject in question is an object or not? Is an object that which is dependent on our subjective and limited sensory system? If we cannot see/touch it, does it not exist? We cannot see the objects that mediate light, gravity and magnetism – does that mean they don’t exist?
Since seeing/touching/etc. necessarily invokes another object (the observer) to do the seeing/touching, then any definition predicated on such criteria is inherently circular (i.e. by requiring the word ‘object’ to be defined on the basis of a test where another object sees/touches it). So even after you unwittingly define an object as “that which can be seen/touched”, the question still remains: what is an object?
Obviously our inability to sense objects has nothing to do with their reality/existence. An object just is….and it is independent of any observer evolving in the Universe to bear witness or run an experiment in a futile attempt to “prove” its definition. Definitions are conceptualized as relations and not amenable to observers, evidence, truth, proof or other subjective activities.
Criterion 6 (composition)
Is an object “that which is composed of something”?
Does having parts qualify as a criterion to define an object? Aren’t those parts (i.e. molecules, atoms, etc.) objects too? I mean, they can’t be concepts! Indeed, the term ‘something’ is a synonym for ‘object’.
This is the irrational definition of ‘object’ provided by Wikipedia:
“In physics, a physical body or physical object (sometimes simply called a body or object) is a collection of masses, taken to be one. For example, a football can be considered an object but the ball also consists of many particles (pieces of matter).” - Wiki
Obviously, any definition predicated on composition is inherently circular (i.e. by requiring the word ‘object’ to be defined on the basis of its parts being objects). So the question still remains: what is an object?
Criteria 7 to 13 (mass/weight/energy/volume/motion/color/temperature)
Is an object “that which has mass, weight, energy, volume, motion, color or temperature”?
The definition of ‘object’ precedes the definition of all these criteria because they necessarily require a second object in order to establish these properties. This means that such properties are not intrinsic to the object itself, but are rather extrinsic properties requiring us to establish relations with external objects before we can conceive them. Concepts such as mass, energy, volume, motion, color and temperature establish a dynamic relation between a minimum of two objects. This necessitates for our test object to move in relation to another object before these dynamic concepts can be related and conceived. Objects precede motion. All dynamic concepts necessarily invoke at minimum two objects in different locations. Therefore, any of these proposed criteria for objecthood are inherently circular because they necessitate the invocation of two objects within the definition of ‘object’.
We also need to consider that the term ‘object’ defines a category which is inherently static. Whatever is designated to fall under the category of OBJECT will not be required to move before it can be an object. For example, if the Universe was comprised of a single solitary object, that object would not be amenable to motion. And yet it is an object nonetheless! So it’s not only contradictory, but also IMPOSSIBLE to define a static concept (i.e. the category known as 'object') by invoking dynamic concepts.
Furthermore, quantitative concepts such as mass, weight, volume, and temperature designate quantities we invented by relating them to a pre-defined standard. If we decree any of these notions as a defining criterion for an object, we are saying in no uncertain terms that the definition of object requires another object called a ‘human’ to discern it by defining standards and running an experiment. But the Earth and Moon were already objects before we evolved here and began running experiments on them to calculate their mass, weight, volume, etc. Is the star that you cannot see or measure an object? Is a tree not an object before you cut it? Do you prove definitions by running an experiment? Obviously not! Definitions are conceptual and not dependent on empirical verification. So it’s clear that whatever the rational criterion for objecthood is, it is necessarily divorced from any observer dependency!
These criteria fail to define the term ‘object’ because they exhibit circularities, static/dynamic contradictions and observer-dependency. Any definition for ‘object’ predicated on such criteria would summarily be rendered unscientific. So the question still remains: what is an object?
THE ONLY PROPERTY COMMON TO ALL OBJECTS IS: SHAPE
What did we learn from our previous exercise in futility?
Aside from failing to define a real object that exists, the criteria analyzed in the previous section also failed to define any of the objects of Geometry: circles, cubes, triangles, cylinders, etc. Such objects are conceptually abstract and don’t exist, but are nonetheless objects (i.e. we can illustrate, measure, quantify and relate them). How about Napoleon and the 2025 Corvette? Sure, they don’t exist; but aren’t they objects? Can’t we use our Napoleon object in our Hypothesis to Scientifically Theorize why he lost the battle at Waterloo? Of course we can! But none of the aforementioned failed criteria will allow us to do that.
Obviously, we need to develop a broad definition of the category OBJECT which universally applies to all types of objects. Consistency is key here, irrespective if the objects in question are:
a) Abstract objects (i.e. point, line, plane, circle, cube, tribar).
b) Hypothesized objects (i.e. Rutherford’s Planetary version of the atom, gods, aliens, Big Foot).
c) Non-existent objects (i.e. Aristotle, Napoleon, World Trade Center towers, dinosaurs).
d) Real objects (i.e. Moon, Sun, air, this car, your arm, the White House).
All objects are conceptually static. Not a single object occupies two locations. Hence not a single object requires two conceptual movie frames in order to be visualized. All objects can be visualized within a single conceptual frame (i.e. a photograph). Consequently, there is no provision for motion or any dynamics in the definition of object.
You will notice that all the object types above have only one property in common: SHAPE.
Shape is a static concept. It cannot be measured and consequently has no units. You don’t need to see a movie in order to conceptualize shape. It can be conceptualized in a single frame or a static relation. We can now rationally define ‘object’ as follows:
Object: that which has shape.
This definition of ‘object’ doesn’t take into consideration what the shape of an object is. This is irrelevant to the issue before us: Does an alleged object have shape…Yes or No? Either an alleged object has shape or it doesn’t – there is no other option.
Shape is the only intrinsic property that all objects have, whether they are real, abstract, hypothesized, non-existent or invisible to us. But the devil’s advocate will say:
“How do you know? You haven’t seen/experienced all the possible objects in the Universe!”
This is not an issue of evidence, validation, knowledge or proof. This is strictly a conceptual issue we have critically reasoned and rationally justified to be the case. All definitions are necessarily conceptual. If the devil’s advocate doesn’t like it, he could simply produce an object which doesn’t have shape. In the alternative, he is welcome to contradict our reasoning and definitions. Let’s have it or quit whining!
But as it turns out, the devil’s advocate is nothing but a Bimbo after all: the only way to experience objects is if they have a surface; that is, they must have shape. No matter what tricks the fanatic tries to employ to sidetrack the issue of shape, they will always lead him to shape.
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF SHAPE?
Like all words in language, shape is a conceptual relation we objectively define as follows:
Shape: a term that relates what is bounded from the immediate surrounding. (Synonym: form)
Take the terms ‘apple, ‘love’ and ‘government’ and plug them into the definition of shape. Only the term ‘apple’ can resolve to what can be bounded in a relation that embodies what we call shape. The terms ‘love’ and ‘government’ are not amenable to such a relation.
Relations can either establish artificial associations between objects or they can identify certain inherent properties, aspects or descriptions about objects. Relations can either be static or dynamic, intrinsic or extrinsic, innate or artificial. Shape is the only intrinsic, static and innate relation that can possibly be conceptualized for any and all objects. A lonely object in the Universe is bounded and separated by space. No observer is required to invent such a relation because it is not artificial, like love and justice are. Humans came along, instantly identified this relation, and when they invented their languages they gave it the name: shape. Without shape, there would be no objects and no relations whatsoever, just absolute nothingness – a Universe of space!
A lonely object in a single-object Universe has a single intrinsic property and no others: shape. Such an object definitely has no mass, weight, energy, volume, motion, color or temperature. Those who disagree will need to explain to the audience how a lonely object can possibly have relations to other objects for the purposes of establishing said attributes. But they can’t because such attributes are extrinsic and thus necessitate another object to establish a comparative relation.
Shape is the only fundamental irreducible criterion which conceivably distinguishes objects from concepts. Dictionaries in all languages can organize their words into only two categories: objects and concepts. There is no other possible category. Those terms which can resolve to have shape will fall under the category of ‘objects’, while all the rest under ‘concepts’. Object and Concept are categories of words that enable us to distinguish Physics from Philosophy & Religion. Only objects are amenable to motion, not concepts like spirits, souls, spacetime, energy, 0D particles, love, justice, etc. Otherwise we would be committing the Fallacy of Reification. It's this YES or NO sense of shape that readily allows us to distinguish objects from concepts without putting much thought into the issue.
The term ‘shape’ is not synonymous with the terms ‘likeness’ or ‘similarity’. Such terms invoke shape from an observer’s perspective; one who will compare an object’s architectural likeness with another object to determine whether it is spherical, squarish, triangular or any other relational pattern. So in this case, the question still remains: what is an object? Simply comparing one object’s architectural pattern to another’s doesn’t define an object. Furthermore, such subjective definitions have nothing to do with Physics. Reality is observer-independent.
Our definition of shape is observer-independent and static. There are no comparisons made to other objects. All our definition sets out to do is to be utilized to answer the simple question:
Is there shape? Can this relation be embodied in the scenario under question? YES or NO?
If yes, then we have an object amidst our proposed scenario. And this is all we need to answer to determine if the subject of our inquiry is an object or not. A planet’s shape is unique in that it is its own property. A planet does not have shape simply because the human conferred it upon the planet. Shape is not a pattern that the observer visualizes, but an intrinsic property of an object irrespective of any observers. Shape is not what we see. We can only see objects, not concepts like shape. Shape is what we conceptualize in a relation! But more importantly, shape is what an object has before light even reaches our eyes from the object.
PHYSICS HAS TO DO WITH VISUALIZATION & ILLUSTRATION!
The Scientific Method demands illustration. In all disciplines of Science, whether we talk about Biology, Evolution, Astronomy, Chemistry, Geology, Botany, etc. you must illustrate the actors of your Hypothesis (i.e. cell, ape, star, molecule, volcano, flower) before invoking them in your Theory to explain a natural phenomenon like, cell division, transitional forms, star death, photosynthesis, pyroclastic flow, plant growth, etc. It goes without saying that a Scientist should be able to make a movie of these events in order to visualize the mechanisms as explained by their Theories.
And Physics is NO exception!
Just as in all branches of Science, in Physics we need to Hypothesize what object can possibly mediate natural phenomena such as light, gravity, magnetism and electricity. Even though these objects are invisible to us petty humans -- just like air, molecules and atoms are -- it doesn’t mean that we can’t use our critical thinking skills to conceptualize how they could possibly look like in their microscopic reality.
To conceptualize is to relate; and you do so by imagining objects and associating them in a relation. The term ‘imagine’ comes from ‘image’ which necessarily invokes shape and visualization. We have the naturally inherent capacity to imagine objects – any object! In Physics, “to imagine” means “to visualize" an object; specifically, an object that will be used as a mediator in, say, our Theory of Light for example. There is not a single invisible entity we cannot form a mental image of by utilizing our innate critical thinking skills.
If you can’t visualize what you are talking about and can’t illustrate it for your audience, then you’re NOT doing Physics. You are at best doing Religion!
In reality, concepts have no ability to serve as physical mediators of phenomena. Love is not what attracts two lovers. Love is the action performed by two lovers to mediate their attraction. In similar fashion, justice does not prevent a prisoner from escaping. It’s the prison and supporting infrastructure that prevents his escape. Those who ascribe motion to concepts are doing poetry if not Religion. Such reifications have no place in Physics.
Concepts are used to define our key terms for the purposes of facilitating understanding and communicating ideas. Concepts are used to describe phenomena, formulate Hypotheses and rationally explain Theories to each other. It is impossible to use concepts as actors that can perform phenomena in reality. This is called REIFICATION or RELIGION! In reality only objects can perform actions.
The bounty of reality is comprised of objects, and only objects with location. There are no spirits, souls, incorporeal entities, supernatural entities, non-physical entities, objectless entities, or any other incoherent magic that a human ape’s sneaky brain can invent. If you utter a word you don’t understand within your dissertation, then you’d better go back to the drawing board and brainstorm a definition before inventing a Religion around your nonsense. Ascribing motion to the concepts of space, time and energy are prime examples of reification. But more importantly, such notions are prime examples of those who haven’t a clue what these words even mean, but won’t hesitate to use them with authority nonetheless.
Reality can only be critically reasoned and rationally explained using objects. Physics is all about explaining natural phenomena using the visualizations of objects as actors that mediate such events. If you can’t make a movie to illustrate how your proposed actors mediate such phenomena, then your proposal has nothing to do with Physics. It has to do with Philosophy or even Religion.