# Philosophical Duels and Antagonisms

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The history of philosophy is strewn with problems that have not yet been completely resolved. Among them are:

Being and Becoming

Instantaneous Rest and Motion or equivalently Now and Interval

Heisenberg Indeterminacy

Aristotle invented the duality of matter and form to deal with being and becoming. This was his answer to Pamenides and Plato. How is change possible? If something is changing, then how can the thing changing -be- anything?

Zeno of Elea put forth the riddle or conundrum of the moving arrow. If at each instant of time the arrow is in a fixed place then how can it move? Aristotle dedicated two books of his -Physics- just to deal with that question.

Then there is Heisenberg and his Indeterminacy Principle. My insight of the day is that the Heisenberg Principle is a revisiting of Zeno's Arrow Paradox (so-called). Heisenberg tells us that if a point particle is HERE right NOW, we nave no way of associati9ng a definite velocity and direction to the motion of the particle. On the other hand if we know how the particle is moving, say with a definite velocity (which means definite speed and direction) how can we fix an instantaneous position to the particle. Heisenberg says (like Zeno) that we cannot. We have to settle for a somewhat fuzzy position and a somewhat fuzzy velocity with a definite bound in precision, the well know Heisenberg Relation.

Indefiniteness of position X Indefiniteness of velocity >= some constant factor * Planck's constant.

In short we cannot get the product of the indefinite quantities to be zero so the factors cannot BOTH be definite.

I wonder if it occurred to Heisenberg (who liked to read philosophy) just how close to Zeno he was. I have not seen any references in the literature on this specific question. Maybe some of you scholars have some information to share.

In any case the more it changes the more it stays the same. The old dues, antagonisms and tensions are still with us today, as much as they were 2500 (or more) years ago. Maybe it is the fate of the human intellect to have to juggle pairs of hot potatoes and not get burned too badly.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf
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Zeno of Elea put forth the riddle or conundrum of the moving arrow. If at each instant of time the arrow is in a fixed place then how can it move? Aristotle dedicated two books of his -Physics- just to deal with that question.

The arrow doesn't move from one static position to another during flight. This simply a semantic confusion of orders of abstraction. The correct way to express this is IF we were to STOP the arrow at time t, we THINK it would be at point p.

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• 5 weeks later...

How are you defining that which the word 'arrow' stands in the place of. The word is not what the thing being described is. If the description held by the word 'arrow' does not do justice to the thing being described by it, then the description being offered is wrong.

This has nothing at all to do with what we know. It only deals with how well we are able to describe what we know.

Since the thing being described exists in-reality; then, the description of what it is must address that. Its impossible to remove the thing being described from reality or to ignore part of reality when describing what it is and end up with a definition which fully explains what it is.

Edited by UncleJim

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