What about Fields and Forces?
What about fields and forces? Does the wireless keyboard not interact with the computer via means of the electromagnetic field? Is this physical? If not, does this disprove the claim that physical objects must interact via physical means?
What is a field? Modern physics presents a field as a set of mathematical equations. What do the mathematical equations describe? Do they correspond to physical entities or the properties or actions of physical entities?
Yes, they do. A field is a mathematical description of the relationships between entities. It describes the relationships between the properties of entities and the various kinds of actions various entities take. For instance, the concept of the electromagnetic field describes the relationships between the properties of charged particles and describes the actions they will take in the presence of other charged particles.
A field is merely an abstract description of the properties and actions of entities. As an abstraction, it is not the cause of anything. Abstractions are not the cause of anything. Physical entities and their actions are the causes of things.
So, when we say that the electromagnetic field causes electrons to move around, what does this mean? We simply mean that the electromagnetic field describes the relationships of charged particles. The properties of physical entities and their actions are described by the abstraction of the “electromagnetic field”.
We do not mean that the electromagnetic field, the abstraction, causes anything.
Abstractions do not cause physical effects; the actions of physical objects do.
Abstractions like “fields” are merely abstractions that include the actions of physical objects within them.
We can say something similar about forces. For instance, the force of gravity is an abstract description of the interaction of objects with mass. When we say that the force of gravity pulls objects with mass together, we are not saying that an abstract description of the interaction of objects pulls objects together. We are saying that there is some kind of physical interaction between these two objects which we describe with the abstraction known as “the force of gravity”.
To conclude, fields and forces are not the causes of anything. Fields are not how anything interacts with something else. A field simply describes certain types of physical interactions between physical objects. Objects do not interact via forces. No, forces are merely abstract descriptions of physical interactions between physical objects.
So let’s now answer the questions we asked at the beginning of this section “What about fields and forces? Does the wireless keyboard not interact with the computer via means of the electromagnetic field? Is this physical? If not, does this disprove the claim that physical objects must interact via physical means?”
Now we know that fields and forces are not physical things, they are merely abstractions that describe interactions between physical things. Therefore, fields and forces do not disprove the claim that physical objects must interact via physical means. On the contrary, they must describe some kind of physical interaction taking place between physical entities.
What about the Principle of Locality?
Does the principle of locality require that objects be close to one another? No, not really. The Principle of Physical Interactivity does not require two objects to be near to one another to interact with one another.
The Principle of Physical Interactivity does not consider distance and nor is distance relative to the principle. Objects may interact over any distance they want, as long as it is possible for there to be some kind of physical interaction between the two objects.
But the principle of locality says that for two objects to interact they must be nearby! Firstly, does it say that? Not really. It says that for two objects to instantly or near-instantly interact, they must be nearby. This is because it is assumed that any interaction between these particles must occur at light speed.
However, objects most certainly cannot interact with one another instantly. That is, in zero time. That is without motion, change or any other kind of action. So, instantaneous action is out of the question.
Philosophy has nothing to say about whether faster than light speed is possible. That is for physics to decide, not philosophy.
However, let us say that nothing can travel faster than light. Therefore, no physical actions can occur at faster than light speed and therefore two objects cannot interact at greater than light speed.
The principle of locality does not say that objects need to be nearby. It means that since the speed of light is a limiting factor, then either object must be sufficiently close that the speed of light is not an issue. Or the interaction must take however little time allowed by the speed of light.
It certainly does not say that two objects must be nearby to one another or that they have to touch.