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Skill 4 of 14
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Fundamental properties

In the Existence discipline we called time $t$, position $\vec s$ and quantity $n$ fundamental properties. ‘Fundamental’, because we can’t explain or describe them from anything else – there doesn’t seem to exist anything more fundamental to explain them with.

  • Velocity $v$ is then not a fundamental property, because it can be described from other properties, namely from length and time, when we write $v=\frac{\Delta s}{\Delta t}$.
  • Area $A$ and volume $V$ likewise are not fundamental. They were just chunks of space – “groups” of positions – in multiple dimensions (e.g., a square’s area was $A=s^2$).

As far as we know, only seven fundamental properties exist in this world:[1] 1

Fundamental properties
PositionWhere it is
TimeWhen it is
QuantityHow many there are
Mass5How much there is
Temperature4How warm it is
Charge3How electric it is
Luminosity2How bright it is

So far, we have meet the first three.2

As far as we know, these seven can be used to describe (derive) all other properties, to explain everything technical that exists. Take a moment to grasp that… Every technical discipline in the world, all existing technical things, can be understood if just these seven properties are understood.3 Force, energy, acceleration, density, entropy; northern lights, geysers, volcanic eruptions, morning dew, paper cuts. It all comes down to these seven.4

It is impossible to prove, however, that a property truly is fundamental. All we can do is to continue to look for more fundamental properties,5 and as long as we haven’t found any, these seven are our best bids.6

Note that it evidently is difficult to explain fundamental properties: try if you can avoid circular terms like ‘how far’ or ‘when’ when explaining ‘position’ and ‘time’. It feels impossible.


References:

  1. Sears and Zemansky’s Univesity Physics with Modern Physics’ (book), Hugh D. Young & Roger A. Freedman, Pearson Education, 13th ed., 2012
  2. Newsflash: Time May Not Exist’ (web page), Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, 2007, www.discovermagazine.com/2007/jun/in-no-time (accessed May 1st, 2019)