Thursday, January 14, 2016

Scattered Objects

There is no reason to boggle at water as a single though scattered object,  the aqueous part of the world.  Even the tightest object, short of an elementary particle, has scattered substructure  when the physical facts are in.
-- W.V.O. Quine, Word and Object (1960), p. 98

In support of this:

(1) “the aqueous part of the world”:  cf. “empty space”, an anything but simply-connected entity (object).
(2) “scattered substructure”:   Unsure quite what he meant by this -- quarks are substructure of hadrons, but were unknown -- nay, unhypothesized -- in 1960, the publication-date of Quine’s classic.   However, a “smeared-out” (not really ‘substructural’)  nature of something so tiny-tight as the electron (still regarded as truly elementary) was suggested already by the double-slit experiment.

For the full essay, to which this is a footnote:

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