This is Essay XCIII 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.
Rational cosmology’s definition of matter as the constituent quality of entities is superior to the post-Classical physicists’ definition of matter as whatever has mass and exists as a solid, liquid, gas, or plasma, because it is more fundamental. It encompasses all entities in existence and does not beg the question of what the lesser, “immaterial” entities are made of. It also conveys useful knowledge: the fact that all entities have a measurable mass, which is a manifestation of their quality of matter.
It is futile to speculate about the causes or constituents of matter itself. The very question is absurd. Matter itself is an irreducible primary; it can be neither created nor destroyed. It is simply there, and it can be measured. Matter is always a quality, and a quality cannot exist apart from the entities which it comprises. We can legitimately ask whether a given entity, thought to be “fundamental,” can be divided into further smaller entities. But each of the subdivisions will always be smaller entities, composed of the fundamental quality, matter.
Now, we proceed to the physicists’ prevailing definition of “mass,” and how said definition is flawed.
Matter as Primary to Inertia and Gravitation
For the reader’s convenience, I will again present the conventional post-Classical definition of mass: “A property of matter equal to the measure of an object’s resistance to changes in either the speed or direction of its motion. The mass of an object is not dependent on gravity and therefore is different from but proportional to its weight.”
The problem with this definition is, again, the reversal of essentials. One aspect of material entities is resistance to changes in speed or direction. This is Newton’s undeniable First Law. However, it is not primary to matter, but rather derivative from it.
Resistance and change are relationships, and they imply material entities that resist and change. The material entities are primary to the resistance and change, and matter is the quality which enables them to resist and to change. Furthermore, matter is the quality which enables objects to attract each other with a gravitational force. This is why matter itself is unaffected by gravity. It is the cause of gravitation, and the effect (gravitation) can never cause its own cause (matter).
To put resistance and change as primary to matter is to beg the question, “Resistance and change, of what?” The modern scientists’ answer? Blank-out.
Alexander on The Autonomist Forum was right to suggest that, in my view, mass is the measurement of the “stuff” entities are made of, if this “stuff” is considered to be a quality of entities. The “stuff” that mass measures is matter, which all entities are composed of. The way one measures that “stuff” is by using instruments that measure mass.
One cannot “explain” matter further, except by pointing out that it exists, it is measurable, and that all entities are comprised of it. One can explain the effects of matter, such as inertia and gravitation, but always as derivatives, not as primaries. Material entities cause inertia and gravitation by virtue of their matter, not the other way around. Matter itself just is; it is an irreducible primary.
The Philosophical Error
In their flawed definitions of matter and mass, the post-Classical scientists have erred because they have neglected logic and philosophy. Logic and philosophy take great care not to confuse derivatives with primaries. The derivatives follow from the primaries, and are defined in terms the primaries. The primaries cannot be defined in terms of the derivatives. They can either be defined in terms of further primaries, or, like matter, be irreducible primaries that cannot be further dissected.
Because matter is such a primary, defining it in terms of its effects is absurd. If matter is defined in terms of its effects, and its effects can only be defined in terms of matter, we have an irresolvable circularity. On the contrary, if matter is defined as the fundamental, constituent quality of all entities, then all its effects follow cleanly from such a definition.
Read other parts of “A Rational Cosmology” by clicking here.