This is Essay IX of Mr. Stolyarov’s series, “A Rational Cosmology,” which seeks to present objective, absolute, rationally grounded views of terms such as universe, matter, volume, space, time, motion, sound, light, forces, fields, and even the higher-order concepts of life, consciousness, and volition. See the index of all the essays in “A Rational Cosmology” here.
Before we explore the properties of homogeneous entities, mention must be made of the fact that man does not yet know of any homogeneous entity that really exists! Even the smallest subatomic particle currently perceptible is thought to possess distinct components that can be studied as entities in themselves. The qualifications for being a homogeneous entity are the following:
1) Uniform distribution of every quality possessed. For example, the density of a homogeneous entity must be uniform throughout.
2) Impossibility of complete spatial separation. Neither a homogeneous nor a heterogeneous entity can have its components separated by distances over which parts of the entity are not encountered.
Were a homogeneous entity thus separable, this would imply that the measurements of its qualities would necessarily not be uniform throughout. Thus, every component of a homogeneous entity must be spatially connected to every other component by stretches of distance that encompass the same homogeneous entity. (A more comprehensive discussion of space and distance will follow in further essays.)
3) Inability to act to alter itself. A thing that is something cannot spontaneously become something else without undergoing definite physical transformations. These physical transformations entail nothing more than an alteration in a given entity’s qualities. (Such qualities could change in their measurements or in the very fact of their applicability to the entity.)
But the only way an existing set of qualities can be affected is by some entity that has a somewhat different set of qualities from the original. An entity that affects its own qualities on the basis of those same qualities would be doing nothing; the qualities could only affect themselves by remaining precisely what they were originally. Thus, to be altered, a homogeneous entity would need some outside entity to interact with it.
It becomes evident from these qualifications that only Democritus’s “atomos” entities, the postulated basic “building blocks” that comprise all more complex entities, could conceivably be homogeneous entities.
It is the task of physics and the specific-observational sciences to verify whether or not such indivisible basic building blocks exist, and what their specific set of qualities is. In the present, the existence of homogeneous entities is a mere hypothesis; cosmology cannot tell us that such entities do indeed exist, but it can inform us what qualifications must be met by an entity that could be termed homogeneous.
It is clear, however, that the entities ubiquitously experienced by human beings are heterogeneous. Indeed, every human individual is a heterogeneous entity. A heterogeneous entity need not have uniform distribution of all of its qualities and, because it has distinct component parts, it is able to act to alter itself. Like homogeneous entities, every heterogeneous entity must be spatially continuous in order to be legitimately classified as an entity. A thorough discussion of this requirement takes place in “Entities and Spatial Continuity.”
Read other parts of “A Rational Cosmology” by clicking here.