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Author Topic: Does a scalar quantity have any existence other than in the mind ?  (Read 405 times)

Offline David Reichard

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Does a scalar quantity(I refer to "number") have any existence other than in the mind of an intelligence,or in some recorded mode? If it does have an existence in our universe,must it not follow some rules which apply to physical objects?Can it be defined without referring to physical comparisons?
« Last Edit: 20/09/2016 16:43:40 by neilep »


 

Offline neilep

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I've just modified your post so that the heading/title reveals the question.

cheers

Neil
 

Offline alancalverd

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There is no compulsion on any object to follow "rules". The laws of physics are descriptions, not prescriptions.

That said, I'm suddenly unsure about the status of the rules of mathematics!
 
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Offline evan_au

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Quote from: David Reichard
Does a scalar quantity(I refer to "number") have any existence other than in the mind of an intelligence
Many quantum effects produce small numbers and simple fractions.
For example, the energy levels in an atom can be counted, as can the emission lines in a spectrum. These are scalars.

The air pressure at a point on Earth's surface is a quantity (number). It doesn't have a "direction", so it is not a vector - it is a scalar.

Many animals (including schooling fish) have an approximate  sense of number - if they can see two groups of fish, they will choose to join the larger group. This is not a precise counting mechanism, but a relative estimation called "subitization".
I don't know if the OP considered fish as an "intelligent mind".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subitizing
 

Offline alancalverd

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I think the word the OP was looking for is "number" rather than scalar.

The concept of "more" or "bigger" applies to all levels of complexity. If you joint two soap bubbles, the smaller one shrinks and the larger one grows - no numbers but a definite comparison of quantity. Same applies to nuclei trapping neutrons until the total number of nucleons exceeds a stable ratio of n to p, except here the critical numbers are defined. No intelligence is involved.
« Last Edit: 21/09/2016 15:37:44 by alancalverd »
 

Offline David Reichard

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Although we "see" these numbers,isn't the actual effect based on an accumulation of a greater force,which follows physical laws?If the quantum effects occur in scalar ratios,which we "see" by a counting process,wouldn't the scalars also have quantum properties,since they are a basic part of the universe?Perhaps this seems like inferring properties by association,but I sense there is a principal here.It is too subtle for me to be able to state clearly.Perhaps the approach should be information,a scalar answers a question.
 

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