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  1. #11
    Infinite Bubble
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Not sure I understand correctly. Are you asking if the universe is infinite? Einstein believed it was, personally Im not sure, but I think its a safe bet to say no human can or could explore the whole thing in their own lifetime.
    Well, the main question was asking if quantity is just an illusion, e.i. there's 1 chair over there, or 5 oranges in the bowl. All physical entities are assigned a finite value. I was wondering if this was just the way our brains work, as an ordering system, rather than the universe's fundamental nature. If at quantum levels there's superposition, maybe stripping that down, quantity itself breaks down. Our brains would convert possibility waves from some sort of infinite essence of into information and what is perceived is quantifiable objects. Of course it's all speculative, but it's still interesting.

    The other part was if something like this exists in physical reality (should have been in the OP):




    So a conceptual infinite fractal can be simulated, but how about matter or some entity having this property? Science says no, but who knows.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Bubble View Post
    I was thinking the other day that perhaps only our perceptions order the universe such that we merely perceive limited and set quantities to objects and information - so we can cope and survive easier, cutting outside data into sizable chunks - but in fact everything is of an infinite nature.


    Or that infinite and finite are just conceptions of ours, and both exist simultaneously in tandem and we just happen to separate them.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post


    Or that infinite and finite are just conceptions of ours, and both exist simultaneously in tandem and we just happen to separate them.
    Hmm, indeed, and it would certainly be interesting to know how the brain actually processes the information and organizes it. Perhaps neuroscience will tell us one day. Or not, if being outside of our perceptions is the only way to truly understand its nature.

  4. #14
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    I think 'Infinity' is a purely mathematical concept; one that people can only tangentially grasp through the use of limits, i.e. "As I approach a distance of infinity.."
    Despite physics being the field right after pure mathematics that uses it the most, I don't think Infinity makes any sense in the physical world. It's mostly used in the following way: The gravitational effect of the Sun approaches 0 as the distance between the point of measurement and it approaches infinity. So in theory if we travelled to roughly the centre of the Milky Way, Andromeda or anywhere else the Universe, and we measured the total gravitational effect, our Sun would theoretically contribute to that quantity. But depending on the distance its contribution would be very, very close to zero - so close we could say it is zero. It isn't from a purely theoretical perspective, but it is from a practical one. It's an assumption that is made in the process of applying the theoretical model to reality; for example, if R >> R_0 (if R is much, much larger than R_0), then F = 0 (assume that F = 0). This illustrates the only role I remember having seen Infinity take on in physics: One of being used to discover the theoretical nature and failing points of various models. That, and being added to the premise of a model in a dubious manner as something of an "afterthought" or "tweak" to make a theory spit out accurate results - like the dimensions in String Theory - but then it becomes very esoteric/abstract.
    My experience and knowledge are quite limited, though, so I think input from @ygolo could be valuable in this discussion.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Bubble View Post
    Do you believe that infinity exists in physical reality, rather than just as a concept created by the human mind? I was thinking the other day that perhaps only our perceptions order the universe such that we merely perceive limited and set quantities to objects and information - so we can cope and survive easier, cutting outside data into sizable chunks - but in fact everything is of an infinite nature. Or that there are an infinite amount of universes or that scaling in the universe is never-ending e.i there are no true fundamental particles because they just break into smaller and smaller pieces endlessly, and vice-versa; if you could 'zoom out' on the universe, it would also be never-ending. Maybe quantification itself is just a survival or filtering mechanism.

    Anyway, the real question is, do you think it's more than a mere concept, or just something created as a by-product from the type of reasoning and logic the human brain uses?
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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmileyMan View Post
    I think 'Infinity' is a purely mathematical concept; one that people can only tangentially grasp through the use of limits, i.e. "As I approach a distance of infinity.."
    Despite physics being the field right after pure mathematics that uses it the most, I don't think Infinity makes any sense in the physical world. It's mostly used in the following way: The gravitational effect of the Sun approaches 0 as the distance between the point of measurement and it approaches infinity. So in theory if we travelled to roughly the centre of the Milky Way, Andromeda or anywhere else the Universe, and we measured the total gravitational effect, our Sun would theoretically contribute to that quantity. But depending on the distance its contribution would be very, very close to zero - so close we could say it is zero. It isn't from a purely theoretical perspective, but it is from a practical one. It's an assumption that is made in the process of applying the theoretical model to reality; for example, if R >> R_0 (if R is much, much larger than R_0), then F = 0 (assume that F = 0). This illustrates the only role I remember having seen Infinity take on in physics: One of being used to discover the theoretical nature and failing points of various models. That, and being added to the premise of a model in a dubious manner as something of an "afterthought" or "tweak" to make a theory spit out accurate results - like the dimensions in String Theory - but then it becomes very esoteric/abstract.
    My experience and knowledge are quite limited, though, so I think input from @ygolo could be valuable in this discussion.
    I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about here, and frankly, I don't think you want us to.

    All I have to say is that explaining infinity with equations for gravity and ginormous words that don't mix well is a setup for infinite disaster!

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmileyMan View Post
    I think 'Infinity' is a purely mathematical concept; one that people can only tangentially grasp through the use of limits, i.e. "As I approach a distance of infinity.."
    Despite physics being the field right after pure mathematics that uses it the most, I don't think Infinity makes any sense in the physical world. It's mostly used in the following way: The gravitational effect of the Sun approaches 0 as the distance between the point of measurement and it approaches infinity. So in theory if we travelled to roughly the centre of the Milky Way, Andromeda or anywhere else the Universe, and we measured the total gravitational effect, our Sun would theoretically contribute to that quantity. But depending on the distance its contribution would be very, very close to zero - so close we could say it is zero. It isn't from a purely theoretical perspective, but it is from a practical one. It's an assumption that is made in the process of applying the theoretical model to reality; for example, if R >> R_0 (if R is much, much larger than R_0), then F = 0 (assume that F = 0). This illustrates the only role I remember having seen Infinity take on in physics: One of being used to discover the theoretical nature and failing points of various models. That, and being added to the premise of a model in a dubious manner as something of an "afterthought" or "tweak" to make a theory spit out accurate results - like the dimensions in String Theory - but then it becomes very esoteric/abstract.
    My experience and knowledge are quite limited, though, so I think input from @ygolo could be valuable in this discussion.
    Didn't really have much to add really.

    Philosophically, one may distinguish between a potential infinity and and actualized infinity.

    For me, I use infinity when I consider things too big to really worry about.

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  8. #18
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    Yes, I believe it does. It means (for me) impossible to measure in a finite amount of time.
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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmileyMan View Post
    I think 'Infinity' is a purely mathematical concept; one that people can only tangentially grasp through the use of limits, i.e. "As I approach a distance of infinity.."
    Despite physics being the field right after pure mathematics that uses it the most, I don't think Infinity makes any sense in the physical world. It's mostly used in the following way: The gravitational effect of the Sun approaches 0 as the distance between the point of measurement and it approaches infinity. So in theory if we travelled to roughly the centre of the Milky Way, Andromeda or anywhere else the Universe, and we measured the total gravitational effect, our Sun would theoretically contribute to that quantity. But depending on the distance its contribution would be very, very close to zero - so close we could say it is zero. It isn't from a purely theoretical perspective, but it is from a practical one. It's an assumption that is made in the process of applying the theoretical model to reality; for example, if R >> R_0 (if R is much, much larger than R_0), then F = 0 (assume that F = 0). This illustrates the only role I remember having seen Infinity take on in physics: One of being used to discover the theoretical nature and failing points of various models. That, and being added to the premise of a model in a dubious manner as something of an "afterthought" or "tweak" to make a theory spit out accurate results - like the dimensions in String Theory - but then it becomes very esoteric/abstract.
    My experience and knowledge are quite limited, though, so I think input from @ygolo could be valuable in this discussion.


    I must commend you for an informative post which indicates that you think seriously, and you have learning in math and in physics.

    I don't claim to have much learning in math or in physics.

    But I seek to think seriously.

    The title of the thread is "Does the concept of infinity exist in physical reality?"

    Do you notice that the author of the thread in his draft of the title is asking whether the concept of infinity could exist in physical reality.

    The way I see it, concepts do not exist in physical reality, if they exist at all we can say that they exist in our thinking mind as we think; but that brings in the question whether concepts have existence even if there is no thinking mind like ours thinking of them, and not in physical reality but in a reality that is of the world of ideas, what we might call the realm of concepts?

    So that even though we don't exist and the physical universe does not exist, there is still the existing realm of concepts.

    The way I understand the mind of the thread's author, he is asking whether there is anything physical i.e. in physical reality that represents the concept of infinity.

    As we take the universe to have a beginning according to the great majority of scientists, then I can say that the concept of infinity is not represented by anything in the physical universe, because the physical universe itself is not infinite, for it has a beginning and that makes it and everything in it finite.

    However, I like to ask you whether the concept of infinity itself is a real, genuine, valid concept.

    What do I mean by a real, genuine, valid concept, is that it must have a representative example at least possible in some realm of existence even though not physical, because the physical is already ruled out for having a beginning as to be essentially bereft of any potentiality for infinity.

    So, I like to hear from you whether you might see that there is something physical that corresponds to the concept of infinity, and if at all the concept itself of infinity is a real, genuine, valid concept.

    The way I see the second part of my question, my answer is there is no such real, genuine, valid concept as that of infinity: because a real, genuine, valid concept must be about at least something that can exist definitively.

    Now, as the concept of infinity is about existing things that are endlessly still getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger..., or smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller…, or a process that is repeating itself endlessly, then such an entity cannot exist in any realm of existence because it has no definitive form, but is endlessly still in development or in change.



    Amsus

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