The “Particles in Void” Framework

ReferenceA Logical Approach to Theoretical Physics

Here is an interesting commentary on the logical framework of physics 1.

Several early Greek philosophers, including Democritus, imagined the universe as consisting of a multitude of irreducible particles moving in an empty void. On the other hand, Aristotle (c. 350 BC) denied the existence of a “void” (a region of space containing no substance), believing instead that the universe is filled continuously with substance… From this point of view it’s possible for a continuous substance to possess variable density, so the compressibility of air does not imply the existence of empty spaces.

The modern physics is based on the “particles in void” framework. It does not believe that the universe is filled continuously with substance.

“Particles” represent isolated bits of matter that are separated by void. Therefore, there is no continuity among the particles. They are never directly in contact.

Particles have properties that we may perceive. But void is perceived only as a gap among particles. Void has no properties of its own that may be perceived.

There is nothing that continues across the boundary between a particle and void except for geometry. The measures of geometry exist even when there is no substance to measure. Therefore, any possibility of continuum of substance is replaced by geometry in the “particles in void” framework.

Common to particles and void is the mathematical abstraction of geometry.



Astronomy considers stars and planets as point particles in the sky separated by vast distances. The obvious relationship among them is provided by Geometry. The other consideration is the motion of the moon around the earth, and planets around the sun, which requires the presence of some kind of force between them.

The success of Newton’s universal law of gravity raised the importance of geometry and mathematics, and established “particles in void” as the logical framework of physics. But with this framework arose the problem of “action at a distance”. It required the presence of some mechanism in the void.

This revived the concept of aether as the substance, which permeated the void. Newton wrote 2,

A most subtle spirit which pervades all bodies…by the force and action of which spirit the particles of bodies mutually attract one another, at near distances, and cohere, if contiguous; and electric bodies operate at greater distances, as well repelling as attracting the neighbouring corpuscles; and light is emitted, reflected, refracted, inflected and heats bodies; and all sensation is excited, and the members of animal bodies move at the command of the will, namely, by the vibrations of this spirit, mutually propagated along the solid filaments of the nerves, from the outward organs of sense to the brain, and from the brain into the muscles.

But the possibility of aether and its actual nature was yet to be corroborated with reality.

Geometry alone could not explain how force got communicated across the void. It then led to the postulate of aether as a substance permeating the void.


Electricity and Magnetism

The phenomena of electricity and magnetism were being studied extensively during the 18th and 19th centuries. During this period the atomic theory was being used to explain the chemical structure of matter. The phenomena of electricity and magnetism seemed to explain how force was communicated through the void between atoms.

From his experimental investigation into electricity and magnetism, Faraday formed the view 3 that an atom is not a supposed little hard particle separate from the powers around it. An atom is constituted of the powers it has, and it extends as far as its powers extend.

… where is there the least ground (except in a gratuitous assumption) for imagining a difference in kind between the nature of that space midway between the centres of two contiguous atoms and any other spot between these centres? a difference in degree, or even in the nature of the power consistent with the law of continuity, I can admit, but the difference between a supposed little hard particle and the powers around it I cannot imagine…

Hence matter will be continuous throughout, and in considering a mass of it we have not to suppose a distinction between its atoms and any intervening space. The powers around the centres give these centres the properties of atoms of matter; and these powers again, when many centres by their conjoint forces are grouped into a mass, give to every part of that mass the properties of matter. In such a view all the contradiction resulting from the consideration of electric insulation and conduction disappears.

Thus, in matter the atoms touch each other and there is no void among them.

But is there a similar situation with the bodies in the heavens? Do these bodies touch each other with their power of gravity that is extended as aether?


Light and Gravity

The phenomena of light and gravity were studied extensively by Newton himself in the 17th century. This study was carried forward in 18th and 19th centuries, but no connection was ever made between light and gravity.

Faraday, however, stated the following 4:

The view which I am so bold to put forth considers, therefore, radiation as a kind of species of vibration in the lines of force which are known to connect particles and also masses of matter together. It endeavors to dismiss the aether, but not the vibration …

The aether is assumed as pervading all bodies as well as space: in the view now set forth, it is the forces of the atomic centres which pervade (and make) all bodies, and also penetrate all space. As regards space, the difference is, that the aether presents successive parts of centres of action, and the present supposition only lines of action; as regards matter, the difference is, that the aether lies between the particles and so carries on the vibrations, whilst as respects the supposition, it is by the lines of force between the centres of the particles that the vibration is continued.

According to Faraday, there was no separate substance, such as, aether. Matter itself extended as lines of force filling all space between the material bodies. Radiation was the vibrations in these lines of force.

Faraday looked at radiation, such as, light, to be the extension that carried the force of matter.

In short, the idea of “void” was unsustainable. First, the theoretical concept of “aether”, and then, a more realistic idea of “force carrying radiation” were simply the attempts to discover the nature of “space”, which was thought to be void of matter.


1Continuity and the Void” by Kevin Brown
2Newton’s Principia” (1686) Translation by Andrew Motte, American edition of 1846, p. 26
3 A speculation touching Electrical Conduction and the Nature of Matter” by Michael Faraday (1844), Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, Vol. XXIV, p. 136
4 Thoughts on Ray Vibrations”, Lecture by Michael Faraday (1846),  Experimental Researches in Electricity, Vol III, M. Faraday, p447-452


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  • bacreator  On January 23, 2019 at 1:55 AM

    I agree, this is a big stumbling block!

    • vinaire  On January 23, 2019 at 8:11 AM

      Yes. It is taking a long time, but physics shall ultimately accept the reality of continuum of substance.

      Then it will be a whole new ball game.

  • bacreator  On January 26, 2019 at 2:04 AM

    I would be comfortable with the electrical field as the substance, nothing short of the field would satisfy me. Nor would I accept any field definition which was not directly observable. Gauss addressed this issue which he referred to as his Gordian Space Kott. Understanding Gauss’ Gordian Knot (in my opinion) is paramount to making any progress in physics theories. Gauss made the same observation that time of transmission was lacking in electromagnetic theory.

    Gauss’ Knot was not recognized by other mathematicians in his generation and the generations which followed. Mathematicians have totally dismissed the notion of reality as being the twin brother of necessity. They believe they have no relation to each other.

    There is a problem with the mathematical definition of continuity in its use, both in physics and mathematics. It has its existence for the mathematician due to geometrical construction within space, this is purely the construct of the mind, as such it qualifies only as a process of delusion. Both in physics and mathematics the space is never given existence by necessity (observable measure). In physics the field exists in reality to the physicist by measuring its effects with instruments and his own vision through his eyes.

    Existence in mathematics is oxymoron for mathematics for time is always used a parametric association to link various theories, Time must be used in physics for existence to transpire, this is not so for the mathematician. However physis has never defined time. The best they have proffered is “it is what you read from your clock”. This is not sufficient qualification for definition. Its simply akin to a point which can not be seen or observed due to lack of necessity in mathematics.

    I propose a new real mathematical system be constructed for use in physics “call it theoretical mathematical physics” which only involves observables, as in Gauss’ sense of real geometry with real observable measure (Gauss actually made this his reason for not accepting his own work in geometry). Such a system would attach real observable measure to the geometry. This would potentially not only unify the fields in physics but also the QM observations with Mechanics. Since the mechanics would only be observable within one revolution, it integrates the statistical formulation of a quantum statistical theory which is akin to Gibb’s statistical thermodynamics.

    I propose that time be defined as the count of an adiabatic rotation of an object (one which does not lose energy to another). Such as the rotation of the earth or a photon. I am writing a paper on how to cut Gauss’ Gordian Knot, which utilizes some of Gauss’ suggestions and the above definition of time.

    I intend to follow it with a publication which demonstrates that Gauss’ Gordian Knot can not only be neatly cut with this technique, it can be untied in stepwise fashion.

    • vinaire  On January 26, 2019 at 8:27 AM

      Electrical field shall appear only in the gamma range. It is just a form of substance, just like matter is a form of substance. There are many other forms of substance which make a whole spectrum of substance. Please see

    • vinaire  On January 26, 2019 at 4:13 PM

      I am trying to understand what you wrote.

    • vinaire  On January 26, 2019 at 8:05 PM

      The Aristotelian dictum is: whatever possesses dimensionality is body.

      Descartes equated the defining property, or “essence”, of material substance with three-dimensional spatial extension: “the extension in length, breadth, and depth which constitutes the space occupied by a body, is exactly the same as that which constitutes the body”. Consequently, there cannot exist a space separate from body, since all spatial extension simply is body (and he rejects the possibility of a vacuum that is not extended).

      With modern understanding, this may be expressed as follows:

      Substance extends from matter into surrounding space as radiation (light). There is no empty space. Physics is dealing with space that is actually a substance of almost no quantization. Mathematics should also treat space as a substance of little quantization.

    • vinaire  On January 26, 2019 at 8:10 PM

      Time is the property of duration of substance. For space “substance” time is ephemeral. The unit of time may be sub-divided ad infintum. There is no smallest division of time.

      Space and time are not abstractions. They are as real as the extents and durations of the substance they describe.

    • vinaire  On January 26, 2019 at 8:15 PM

      I look forward to your paper.

  • vinaire  On January 26, 2019 at 11:37 AM

    “Gauss’s religious consciousness was based on an insatiable thirst for truth and a deep feeling of justice extending to intellectual as well as material goods. He conceived spiritual life in the whole universe as a great system of law penetrated by eternal truth, and from this source he gained the firm confidence that death does not end all.” ~ Dunnington

    I like this.

  • vinaire  On January 26, 2019 at 11:39 AM

    Gauss believed “that one is not justified in disturbing another’s religious belief, in which they find consolation for earthly sorrows in time of trouble.”

    This is beautiful.

  • vinaire  On January 26, 2019 at 11:50 AM

    “It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment. When I have clarified and exhausted a subject, then I turn away from it, in order to go into darkness again. The never-satisfied man is so strange; if he has completed a structure, then it is not in order to dwell in it peacefully, but in order to begin another. I imagine the world conqueror must feel thus, who, after one kingdom is scarcely conquered, stretches out his arms for others.” ~ Gauss

  • vinaire  On January 26, 2019 at 12:12 PM

    A mathematician looks for patterns and relationships that occur naturally.

  • vinaire  On January 26, 2019 at 1:31 PM

    Geometry seems to be strongly related to astronomy. The planets describe a parabola around the sun under the influene of gravity. The astronomical space is made up of gravitational force. Force acts as the substance filling the space.

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