Entities and attributes in science

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by James R, Mar 23, 2023.

  1. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Oh what?
    The universe I live in has electrons in it; hence, in this universe, any complete description of the universe will include a description of electrons.
    Where do you get this stuff?
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    You should have read through the earlier parts and thought about them, instead of skipping over them rapidly and not bothering to try to understand.
    No. A rose has mass because, at some point in time, human beings invented an idea they chose to call "mass", as a means to quantify (a) the observed resistance of roses to being accelerated, and (b) the "amount of stuff" contained in a rose.
    You have it backwards. Without atoms, molecules etc., we wouldn't need the concept of mass.

    Attributes describe entities.
    Exactly. Which is why you can't bottle a rose's mass, without bottling the rose. And even then, you're only metaphorically bottling the mass, because mass is a concept not an entity.
    That's what they are. You're the one of us who is having all the trouble separating them out. (Admittedly, Tiassa can't do it either, so you're not entirely alone.)
    Until you understand the point, you're in no position to comment on whether it is a waste of time. It has to make sense to you before you can be in a position to make an educated value judgment.
    Charge is part of a conceptual model.

    Can't you see that when you talk about charge interacting, you're using a metaphor - without even realising it? (Silly question: it's quite obvious you can't see that.)

    As for that electric field you mentioned, how do you know it's there? It can't be seen, photographed or directly measured by any apparatus. You can only infer its existence from observations of how things like electrons behave in it. And even then, you're only using the field concept to describe/explain what the electrons are doing. You're not confirming that some special kind of "real stuff" (i.e. an electric field) is "really" in the space where the electrons are, or anything like that.
    Oil drops are entities.

    As for measurements, you'll need to unpack what you're talking about. Using a ruler is using an entity to find a number. That number can be called a "length". But a length is a concept, not an entity.
    No. Electrons just do what electrons do. We describe how they repel one another using a theory. That theory uses a concept called "charge", and has theoretical postulates like Coulomb's law, which states that the observed force of repulsion will be proportional to the charge of each electron and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them, etc. The theory is a model that allows us to make and test predictions about how electrons will be observed to behave under various conditions.

    Your mistake is to think that, because we have a theory like Coulomb's law, therefore the parameters used in that theory must be "real entities" that are to be found in the physical universe. But you can't bottle charge. You can't bottle distance. You can't bottle force. Charge is a (conceptual) attribute of electrons (among other things). It is not an entity.
    If he was measuring something, then he was in the business of using concepts. The act of making a measurement requires a concept: the attribute being measured.
    Yes. And so?

    Clearly you didn't understand what I told you.
    exchemist likes this.
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Arfa wouldn’t be much good at data modelling.

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    Here’s an example: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/c...cal-definitions#entities-and-their-attributes

    But it’s fair to say that in the project we used to argue, sometimes, about whether something was an entity or an attribute, so it can be easy to get them confused on occasions.
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    But this current discussion is Entities and Attributes 101, not Advanced Entities and Attributes.

    I have tried to keep things very simple, in explaining to arfa and Tiassa. Hence the simple test I suggested: if you can put the thing in a bottle by itself and look at it (i.e. do something to confirm it's actually in the bottle), then it's an entity; if not, then it could be an attribute.

    Neither of them have given any indication that they even understand what I've been talking about. Until they get to that point - if they ever do - they have no hope of ever actually starting to critique the ideas in any meaningful way.
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Tiassa is not a paragon of lucidity, and I've always believed clarity of expression reflects clarity of thought.

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  9. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    • Please do not flame other members. Moderate your use of expletives. Do not insult other members.
    There it is again. Why do I need to believe what you say about a subject I learned the hard way? I also know a few things about communications and how important the electric field is in that context.

    I simply can't accept that because charge is an attribute of electrons that means its a concept. It doesn't follow at all. But you believe it.
    No. A rose has mass because matter, ordinary matter, has mass. This ordinary matter appeared much earlier in the universe than humans. It cannot possibly be just an idea about atoms.
    Ridiculous. The universe does have atoms in it; so we do need a concept of their mass. It looks like you tried to disagree with what I said.
    What I said was, we have this concept of the mass of atoms because atoms have mass, They have always had mass, it doesn't depend on human minds. That's just crazy talk.
    Actually you can measure the strength of electric fields directly. There is a very strong inference, particularly in communications theory, about being able to transmit signals by modulating an electric field.

    What, you're going to try to tell me electronics is based on a bunch of concepts? Field-effect transistors work because concepts can interact with real physical electronic devices? It sounds crazy; but I bet you also try to convince me I haven't understood you, I haven't read what you posted carefully. I'm "not thinking".
    Fuck off, you fucking idiot.
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Moderator note: arfa brane has been warned for flaming and for insulting another member of the forum.

    There are several separate instances in this thread when arfa brane has done this. These are obvious breaches of our posting guidelines.

    As a general piece of advice: if you cannot keep things civil in a discussion, it might be better to back away.
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Believe whatever you like. No skin off my nose.
    This is not something I have disputed.
    You need to do better. You need to try to explain why it doesn't follow at all, and what does follow.

    Mere denial gets you nowhere.

    Try explaining what is wrong with my simple test to distinguish entities from attributes. Then, maybe, we can progress this discussion.

    Note that substituting personal insults for an argument won't help you.
    No. Try to do better. Tell me what's wrong with the explanation I gave you as to why a rose has mass.

    You're begging the question. Ask yourself: why does "ordinary matter" have mass?

    Much more importantly, you need to directly address the matter of whether mass can be put in a bottle, on its own. Do you think it can, or not? If you think it can't, then tell me why you're not in agreement with me.
    I agree that "ordinary matter" was in the universe long before humans. I'm not so sure about "mass". Bear in mind, I'm referring to "mass" the attribute, not "mass" the synonym for "an entity that has the attribute called mass". Read back through the thread if you still can't tell the difference between entities and attributes.
    Not on that. I agree both that the universe has atoms in it and that the concept of their mass is very useful.
    Show me an example of where "1 kilogram" existed, before any human minds.
    Really? How? Please outline one method I could use to measure the strength of an electric field directly (i.e. no calculations required or built-in to whatever apparatus is being used).
    All radio and TV tranmitters I'm aware of use oscillating electrons to generate photons.

    Can you show me an electric field in a bottle?

    Can you show me an electric field I can modulate?
    Of course it is. It's a field of study, after all.
    All the FETs I'm aware of are physical devices (apart from simulated ones).They work because of the physics of the device. We explain why they work using conceptual models.

    You need to dig down into that word "interact". What does it mean? Depending on your meaning, it could well be that concepts "interact" with physical devices, but then again, on another reading of that word, there's no way they could possibly do that.

    So, tell me what you mean by "interact"?

    See, the recurrent problem we've having in this discussion is that you don't actually know what you're talking about. You have these vaguely-formed ideas about things, but no framework for even telling the difference between entities and attributes. So you just keep mooshing them together in unspecified ways, and then you imagine you're somehow addressing the basic point I have carefully tried to explain to you, when in fact, most of the time, you're saying something I agree with, or saying something irrelevant, or saying something whose meaning is too ambiguous to decide what you're actually talking about.

    How much longer will you waste your time, before you admit to yourself that there's a meaningful distinction to be made between entities and attributes, objects and concepts?

    Or is all this just sheer bloody-mindedness from you at this point, because you just can't bear to admit that I was right about something and you were wrong?

    Can I expect another insult from you in response? Or is the ability to come up with insults, within a very limited range, the limit of your intellectual capacity?
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    :turns off troll-blocker for a moment:
    Wowsers. It's a dumpster fire out here.
    :turns troll-blocker back on:
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Just a confused mess. On both sides. For a philosophical discussion it is also almost entirely absent discussion of any coherent philosophy, which is a shame. I'm inclined to bring up Ding an sich about here, but even that may be too much for this thread to handle.
    Maybe later.
  14. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    James I have some questions for you. I'm pretty sure you won't provide any satisfactory answers, because you don't seem to know very much.

    So here we go.

    1) Is measurement an operation or a concept?
    2) Is entanglement of quantum particles a concept?
    3) Can two charged particles be charge-entangled, and how is this measured?
    4) Is measurement physical? Explain your answer.
    5) Are entities measurable or only their attributes? Does anything happen to an entity if it has an attribute measured?

    Enjoy, you smug self-entitled waste of my time. I'd say using your bottle test here is going to be--no use at all!
  15. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Ha! This is one of the reasons that James entity/attribute model goes pretty much nowhere.
    A ruler is an entity but the length of the ruler--marked by each end--is a concept, not an entity. Unpack that if you can.

    Ridiculous, clearly.
  16. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Nice of you to chime in to assert, rather than demonstrate, your intellectual superiority.

    I look forward to reading your erudite analysis, if you ever post one.
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    As usual, you have given no reasons to think it ridiculous. You have still completely failed to demonstrate that you even know what this discussion is about.
    How about we go with no answers, then.

    You're a rude individual, arfa brane. I have no interest in prolonging this conversation with you any further.

    Toddle off and insult somebody else, somewhere else.
  18. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    • Please do not insult other members
    Not only is James unable to even begin answering any of my questions, he now says he's lost interest.

    What a twonk.
  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Moderator note: arfa brane has been warned (again) for personal insults.

    Substituting insult for argument has been a consistent feature of this man's behaviour throughout this thread. This is in clear breach of sciforums posting guidelines.

    [For those who are unfamiliar with the term, "twonk" is apparently an archaic word that means "idiot".]
  20. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    On the contrary, it makes perfect - and obvious - sense. The marks are just marks. The idea of a quantitative distance between them is a human conceptual construction.
  21. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    On the contrary, that seems self evident. The ruler is a thing/entity, and it's length is an attribute of that thing. (And the chosen units of measurement are entirely arbitrary.)
  22. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    • Please do not insult other members.
    When you walk along a beach and leave marks in the sand, these marks are just your footprints. The distance between them is a human construction, a human is walking along a sandy beach and doing something physical. What you think is happening when you walk and leave footprints does not affect what happens. The distance between each footprint could easily be measured in another way instead of "steps by a human".

    Now try to convince me that's all conceptual. Walking is conceptual. Footsteps have a conceptual distance between them, constructed by the mind of the animal doing the walking. What a load of insane bullshit, you pack of idiots.
  23. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Moderator note: arfa brane has been warned again for personal insults directed at other forum members.

    Due to accumulated warning points, arfa will be taking some time out from sciforums. Let's hope he uses this time to calm down and reflect on his appallingly rude behaviour towards other people.

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