Essay XIII: The Ubiquitous Nature of Matter
“Space-as-relationship is not a single relationship. Rather, it is a threefold relationship, describable by three parameters, known as dimensions. This is primarily deduced not from the nature of the relationship “space”, but from the natures of all entities as such.
Here we find the need to define several qualities which must be possessed, in some quantity, by any entity. We shall call these the ubiquitous qualities of entities.
Matter – Matter is otherwise known as the constituent quality of entities. Matter is simply that, which entities are made of, and without which they cannot have any other qualities .”
Indeed. Matter is the “stuff” making up physical entities. As opposed to mental entities, that is abstractions. Matter is the most fundamental kind of existent there is. Should we find the most fundamental thing in physics, it will be a form of matter. And ultimately, physics describes the behaviour of matter.
Matter is therefore clearly important to physics and finding some of its ubiquitous qualities should prove quite useful.
Are there qualities which all matter must possess? Regardless of what “kind” of matter it might be? Be it the smallest subatomic particle or the largest star?
Yes, there are. And as the author discusses, length, width and depth are three such qualities.
The most fundamental existents in the universe, the most fundamental particles (or whatever) are certainly a form of matter. And will possess these ubiquitous qualities.
Of course, it is not the role of philosophy to determine what the most fundamental “building blocks” of nature are. It is the role of Physics to try to figure that out.
We will move away from discussing the most fundamental things and keep in mind that whatever these fundamental things are, they will possess these qualities.
“It may be asked here, ‘What, then, are such things as freedom, beauty, and peace, which are not in themselves composed of matter?’ But these are not things as such! They are not entities, but rather relationships between entities that are composed of matter.”
Freedom, beauty, peace and the like are abstractions. They are abstractions which describe relationships of entities or qualities of entities. But these do not refer to ubiquitous qualities of matter.
There would be very few of these ubiquitous qualities. And many so-called “qualities” are not qualities!
For instance, colour is not a quality of matter. Colour is not “in the object”. Colour is a means of perceiving how different objects interact with light. But colour is not a quality of anything.
You can read more about our view of colour in this subscription article.
So, what would qualify?
Length, width, height, volume would all be good candidates. All matter possesses these measurable qualities.
Essay XIV: The Ubiquitous Qualities of Length, Width and Height
” [W]e now proceed to consider other qualities which are universal to all entities: volume, length, width and height.”
That is true, all entities must possess all these properties. They must possess length, width and height and therefore this implies that they have a measurable volume.
These are measurements of its spatial extension. That is, the “space” taken up by that object. Length, width and height measure different aspects of this space, each performing a measurement along a different spatial dimension. One can combine all three of these values to produce a numerical measurement of how much space something occupies, which we call volume.
“There are three independent linear measurements, which are mutually perpendicular. Any other linear measurement is, in fact, some combination (a vector sum) of any or all of these three mutually perpendicular linear qualities, which are known as length, width, and height (or, in the three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, as values along the x, y, and z-axes). Length, width, and height, as qualities, can also be termed dimensions.
It is important to note that these dimensions do not exist independently, but rather pertain to the entities that exhibit them. Each entity must have a certain maximum length, width, and height, though these measurements may vary in some relation to one another, i.e., depending on the particular region of the entity one examines.”
Dimension is a mathematical concept which applies to objects. But not to empty space, that is, “space” separate from entities. Dimension is a conceptual method allowing the measurement of matter.