Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dan Toma

faculty page

Mentioned at the conference as being someone who would be interested in its mission.

Impetus and inertia

Dr. McLaughlin gave a paper for the ISN conference on inertia, and argued for the reality of inertia by appealing to gravity fields. It wasn't clear how much I would have disagreed, except for the proposition that something in motion tends to stay in motion, and would continue to do so, unless acted upon by something else. He did say that the modern conception of the universe was more of an open-system, and that local motion involved a relationship between the object moving and the other object to which it was moving (or to which it was "attracted", my words, not his). I brought up the pure Aristotelian solution of a relation between a thing and its proper "place"--hence, in the Aristotelian conception, according to Dr. McLaughlin, where a thing was going was more bound up with what it was, or formally.

I still think that aspect of inertia (a tendency to stay at rest seems to be separate, since I think it is linked to natural motion and place) contradicts the conception of change as an imperfection, and the terminus of that change is the perfection, or the actualization to which it is ordered.

locomotion = change of place

Unless one wants to see locomotion as a separate category of being unto itself, which Dr. McLaughlin suggested though I wasn't sure how fully he endorsed this position.

The line of thought I would like to work out, instead of relying on inertia or impetus:
locomotion involves displacement; and an object moved must move other objects in order to take their place; some things are more susceptible to being displaced while others are not

immobility = resistance to being moved; and different things may have different tendencies to their proper places?

The question is whether this can explain "loss of energy" or continued motion...

We also talked about whether the universe is expanding or not, and if it is expanding, whether it would be for a purpose. He did think that an endless expansion would seem to be meaningless, pointless. He also recalled that many of the difficulties that Halton Arp had brought up regarding redshift had beeen resolved. It is not clear to me still that redshift is adequate evidence for the expansion of the universe.

And of course, there is the question of void/space and whether it is real or merely a mental construct. (Or more precisely, a mathematical abstraction.)