Half a Bucket of Water

We all see and feel space, but what is it really? Space is one of those fundamental things that a philosopher may consider anintuition.When philosophers look at anything, they get a bit technical. Is space relational, soos in, defined in terms of relations between objects? A relational entity is like your familyyou have your parents, siblings, spouse, kids etc. forming what you consider your family. But your family itself is not a physical entity, but only a collection of relationships. Is space also something like that? Or is it more like a physical container where objects reside and do their thing?

Jy kan die onderskeid tussen die twee net nog een van daardie filosofiese hairsplittings oorweeg,,en,maar dit is regtig nie,,en,Wat ruimte is,,en,en selfs watter soort entiteit ruimte is,,en,het enorme implikasies in fisika,,en,As dit is relasionele aard,,en,dan in die afwesigheid van materie,,en,daar is geen ruimte,,en,Baie soos in die afwesigheid van enige familielede,,en,jy het geen familie,,en,As dit is 'n houer-agtige entiteit,,en,die ruimte bestaan, selfs as jy weg alle materie neem,,en,wag vir 'n paar saak te verskyn,,en,jy vra,,en,Kom ons neem 'n halwe emmer water en draai dit rondom,,en,Sodra die water binne vangste op,,en,die oppervlak sal 'n paraboliese vorm te vorm,,en,sentrifugale krag,,en,oppervlakspanning en alles wat,,en,stop die emmer,,en,en draai die hele heelal rondom dit plaas,,en,dit is moeiliker,,en,Maar dink jy doen dit,,en, but it really is not. What space is, and even what kind of entity space is, has enormous implications in physics. Byvoorbeeld, if it is relational in nature, then in the absence of matter, there is no space. Much like in the absence of any family members, you have no family. Aan die ander kant, if it is a container-like entity, the space exists even if you take away all matter, waiting for some matter to appear.

So, wat, you ask? Wel, let’s take half a bucket of water and spin it around. Once the water within catches on, its surface will form a parabolic shape — jy weet, centrifugal force, swaartekrag, surface tension and all that. Nou, stop the bucket, and spin the whole universe around it instead. Ek weet, it is more difficult. But imagine you are doing it. Sal die water oppervlak paraboliese,,en,Ek dink dit sal wees,,en,want daar is nie veel verskil tussen die emmer draai of die hele heelal spin rondom dit,,en,Kom ons dink dat ons leë die heelal,,en,Daar is niks anders as hierdie halfvol emmer,,en,Nou is dit draai rondom,,en,Wat gebeur met die water oppervlak,,en,As die ruimte is relasionele,,en,in die afwesigheid van die heelal,,en,daar is geen ruimte buite die emmer en daar is geen manier om te weet dat dit draai,,en,oppervlakwater moet plat wees,,en,dit moet sferiese wees,,en,maar ignoreer wat vir 'n tweede.,,en,En as ruimte is houer-agtige,,en,die spin emmer moet lei tot 'n paraboliese oppervlak,,en,ons het geen manier om te weet in watter rigting dit gaan wees nie, want ons het geen manier om leegmaak die heelal en die spin van 'n emmer,,en? I think it will be, because there is not much difference between the bucket turning or the whole universe spinning around it.

Nou, let’s imagine that we empty the universe. There is nothing but this half-full bucket. Now it spins around. What happens to the water surface? If space is relational, in the absence of the universe, there is no space outside the bucket and there is no way to know that it is spinning. Water surface should be flat. (In werklikheid, it should be spherical, but ignore that for a second.) And if space is container-like, the spinning bucket should result in a parabolic surface.

Natuurlik, we have no way of knowing which way it is going to be because we have no way of emptying the universe and spinning a bucket. Maar dit beteken nie dat ons uit die raai die aard van ruimte en die bou van teorieë wat daarop gebaseer is,,en,Newton se ruimte is houer-agtige,,en,terwyl hulle hart,,en,Einstein se teorieë het 'n relasionele begrip van ruimte,,en,filosofie maak nie saak,,en,ruimte en tyd Argiewe,,en. Newton’s space is container-like, while at their heart, Einstein’s theories have a relational notion of space.

So, jy sien, philosophy does matter.

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One thought on “Half a Bucket of Water

  1. Hallo Manoj, Glad to see a post from you again after a long time. Whatever you write is inspiring and occupies my mind for some time.
    Where can I order a copy of your book, Die onwerklik Heelal, to get it here in Kerala?
    Thanks and with great appreciation for the way your brain works,
    ZN

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