iSoul In the beginning is reality

Category Archives: Knowing

epistemology, science, kinds of knowledge, methodology

Motion vs. movement

The English words motion and movement are similar. They both have to do with “changing position or going from one place to another.” (Collins English Dictionary)

Then what’s the difference? Here are a few ways of putting it:

motion is used to describe physical properties, while movement is used to describe the qualities of motion. Ref.

motion doesn’t always imply a purpose, and movement usually does. Ref.

The difference is very fine. I would say that movement is déplacement d’un lieu à un autre [displacement from one place to another] whereas motion is le fait de ne pas rester immobile [not to stand still]. But usage and context are crucial. Ref.

People may not be consistent about it but for the purposes here they can be distinguished. Motion is the general term in kinetics, the study of motion. It says nothing about the purpose of a motion, or its origin and destination. Something just happens to change place.

However, movement includes some purpose, some origin and destination. A movement is a complete motion, from beginning to end. So movement would be preferred in the arts and social sciences and motion in the natural sciences.

Physics studies motion. Transportation studies movement. They may both speak about something changing position but there is a different perspective.

A movement is an entity, a thing, not just a change as a motion is. A motion can be studied abstractly but a movement is not fully abstract because it is an entity.

A body has its motion and a movement has its figure. A body is flesh-and-blood 3D, with motion only adding a thin 1D time perspective. A movement has 3D animation and life, with a figure only adding a thin 1D space perspective.

Bodies and motions

For kinematics and dynamics, one can begin with a body – something that takes space – and apply a motion to it. Or one can begin with a motion – something that takes time – and apply it to a body. In either case the result is a body and a motion – either a body with a motion or a motion with a body.

That, in a nutshell, is the difference between the spatiocosm and the tempocosm, that is, 3D space with 1D time and 3D time with 1D space. They are two ways of saying the same thing with a different emphasis.

Yes, a motion can be a “thing” – an entity of its own – the motion around a race track, for example. Applied to different contestants such a motion produces different timings. That is what the race is all about.

A body applies to different motions, too – a body such as a projectile, for example. When launched in different ways such a body travels different lengths, as in a contest for the longest length.

Compare the von Neumann computer architecture in which instructions and data share the same address space. Whether an address represents data or instructions depends only on the interpretation.

Different situations call for different perspectives. A race against time calls for a tempocosmic vew. A contest for distance calls for a spatiocosmic view.

Is there a combined perspective? Yes, in a relativistic sense, but it collapses to one or the other perspective as soon as a measurement is taken. If spatial position is measured, it’s a spatiocosmic view. If time and direction are measured, it’s a tempocosmic view.

Space-time duality

Space and time are dual concepts. They are complementary to one another as an inverse binary symmetry. They go together as space with time in classical physics or time with space or spacetime as in relativistic physics.

Parallel terms:

Space Time
3D space +1D time 3D time + 1D space
vector space + scalar time vector time + scalar space
spatiocosm tempocosm
reference frame reference timeframe
space position time position
particle moticle
a body with a motion a motion with a body
waypoint instant
odologe clock

For further details see here and other posts on this blog.

Temperament and explanations

The temperament of science exists within the typology of philosophy. Aristotle’s typology of causes (explanatory factors) provides a fourfold typology, which provides the basis for each twofold scientific temperament. The four causes/factors are the final, formal, efficient/mechanism, and material.

Final Cause or Teleology Formal Cause
Efficient Cause or Mechanism Material Cause

The scientific temperaments are:

hylomorphic – material and formal (Aristotle)

dynahylic – efficient/mechanism and material (lower; modern)

dynamorphic –and formal (design)

dynatelic – efficient/mechanism and final (transportation)

teleomorphic – final and formal (upper)

The teleomorphic is the inverse of the dynahylic. Each temperament is a explanatory axis of the full explanation.

These explanatory factors address why and how. There are also other factors to consider: who, when, and where.

Singular and regular

There is a basic distinction between what is singular, unique, non-repeating and what is regular, usual, natural. The latter is the domain of science, both natural and social science, whose premise is that if something repeats, it is characteristic of the way things are. What if something does not repeat? Then science cannot deal with it, except perhaps as an outlier that becomes a footnote or is simply removed.

History is different. It is the singular, the unique that stands out and needs explaining. Why did someone not do the culturally usual thing? Why did the singular characters of history arise instead of the many other common characters? Why did war break out here but not there or there?

History goes beyond science to investigate singular people and events. In fact, these are the most important things about history. The common appearances of the sun and moon, the regularity of the tides and seasons, the life-cycles of countless humans and other organisms are not the core of history.

What’s history is what happens that’s different. As the old newspaper line has it, “When a dog bites a man, that is not news. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.”

Some people say that anything that is not natural is “supernatural”. That implies it must be something beyond or against nature, but that is not necessarily so. Something unexpected is not necessarily beyond or against nature. It may be that a unique set of circumstances called for a unique response. It may be that an unusual individual rose to the top at a unique time in history.

A balanced knowledge of reality requires taking into account both sides, the singular and the regular. If we only look to science, we will miss the singular things. If we only look to history (or the news), we will miss the regular things. Science needs history and history needs science. A science or history that monologues is deficient. They need to dialogue to be balanced.

Wasmann on biology and evolution

From Modern Biology and the Theory of Evolution by Erich Wasmann, S.J.

Translated from the Third German Edition by A. M. Buchanan, M.A. London, 1910

Excerpts from Chapter IX, Thoughts on Evolution (with most footnotes omitted)

Note: creatio e nihilo means ‘creation from nothing,’ a slight variation on creatio ex nihilo, ‘creation out of nothing’.



For over forty years a conflict has been raging in the intellectual world, which both sides have maintained with great vehemence and energy. The war-cry on one side is ‘Evolution of Species,’ on the other ‘Permanence of Species.’ No one could fail to be reminded of that other great intellectual warfare regarding the Ptolemaic and the Copernican systems, which began about three hundred and fifty years ago, and raged with varying success for over a century, until finally the latter prevailed. Perhaps the present conflict between the theories of evolution and permanence only marks a fresh stage in that great strife, and, if so, how will it finally be decided?

The contest that we have to consider was stirred up by Charles Darwin, when he published his book on the ‘Origin of Species’ about the middle of last century. The theories advanced by Lamarck and Geoffroy St. Hilaire at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries may be regarded as causing preliminary skirmishes, but Cuvier’s powerful attacks soon succeeded in overthrowing the new ideas of evolution (see p. 28). It was not until the year 1859 that the great battle began, which has received its name from the commander-in-chief of the attacking army, Charles Darwin. The warfare with which we are now concerned centres round Darwinism, so-called.

I say, so-called Darwinism. A few words of explanation are absolutely necessary. The thick smoke of the powder, which hid the battlefield from our gaze, is gradually dispersing,

Read more →

Linear, radial, and scalar space and time

In 3D space the distance between points is the magnitude of the displacement vector, which is a scalar length. In 3D time the duration between instants (time points) is the magnitude of the distimement vector, which is a scalar time.

Radial space is space with radial coordinates, 2D polar or 3D spherical, in which the distance from or to a point is the magnitude of the radial displacement. Radial time is time with radial coordinates, 2D polar or 3D spherical, in which the duration to an instant is the magnitude of the radial distimement. The radial space and time are “as the crow flies,” with the imaginary crow flying at a constant rate.

The distance between two points along a path (or curve) is the arc length (scalar space) between them. The duration between two instants along a path in time is the arc time (scalar time) between them. Each of these may be conceived of as one rectilinear dimension.

A measuring wheel can measure the arc length along the space path between points. An odologe can measure the arc time along the space path between events. An odologe is equivalent to a measuring wheel operating at a fixed rate. A stopwatch with a conversion speed is effectively an odologe.

The result of a measuring wheel operated throughout a region or network is a (spatial) linear referencing system (LRS or SLRS), which produces a set of physical wayposts or conceptual waypoints.

The result of an odologe operated throughout an event region or network is a temporal linear referencing system (TLRS), which produces a set of physical eventposts or conceptual eventpoints/eventicles. A visual or audible signal synchronized with an event would be an example of an eventpost. This might be a train conductor’s “all aboard!” or a signal at the stops of an automated transit system.

General and special knowledge

General knowledge is based on common experience and is available to everyone. No special training or vocabulary are necessary for general knowledge. It is also called ‘general revelation’ and ‘common knowledge’. This is the knowledge that realist philosophy builds on.

General sciences are the areas of general knowledge. In philosophy these are ontology, epistemology, and ethics. Since the existence of God and creation may be demonstrated from general knowledge, there is a general science of theology. General creation is general knowledge of creation.

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Special knowledge is based on uncommon experience that is available only to those who make a special study of them and learn their special vocabulary. The special sciences such as chemistry and physics are forms of special knowledge. They begin with general knowledge but then add special studies of particular aspects of general knowledge. This is the knowledge that anti-realist philosophy builds on.

Special revelation is another form of special knowledge; it requires knowledge of revelatory texts and faith in their message. Special creation is special revelation or knowledge about creation such as the special status of humanity.

Special knowledge in the light of special revelation is different from special revelation in the light of special knowledge. Here is a diagram of their relationship:

General knowledge/revelation ⇒ special knowledge1 ⇒ special revelation2 vs.

General revelation/knowledge ⇒ special revelation1 ⇒ special knowledge2

~ ~ ~

Examples of general revelation in the Bible:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

Examples of special revelation in the Bible:

Genesis 1:2 – 3:24; Romans 16:25; I Corinthians 14; II Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 3:3; Revelation 1:1

Terms for rates of motion

The scalar space of a motion is the arc length along the curve it traces out. The scalar time of a motion is the travel time along the route it traces out.

The time rate is “The rate at which something takes place over time.” The space rate is the rate at which something takes time over a route.

A quantity at an instant of time is instantaneous. A quantity at a point in space is punctaneous, from Latin punct(us) + (instant)aneous.

Speed is the time rate of motion, the scalar space per unit of scalar time. The speed at an instant of time is called the instantaneous speed, which equals the differential scalar space per differential scalar time or the magnitude of the instantaneous velocity.

Pace is the space rate of motion, the scalar time per unit of scalar space. The pace at a point of space is called the punctaneous pace, which equals the differential scalar space per differential scalar time or the magnitude of the punctaneous allegrity. A gradient is the space rate of change of a function or scalar field.

Displacement is the directed distance or vector difference between two points in three-dimensional space. Distimement is the directed duration or vector difference between two instants in three-dimensional time.

Velocity is the time rate of change of distimement, which consists of the speed and direction of motion. The average velocity is the displacement per scalar time of motion. The velocity at an instant of time is called the instantaneous velocity, and is the differential displacement per differential scalar time. The instantaneous velocity equals the time rate of change of the displacement.

Allegrity is the space rate of change of distimement, which consists of the pace and direction of motion. Allegrity is the rate of progress on a trajectory or path. The average allegrity is the distimement per scalar space of motion. The allegrity at a point of space is called the punctaneous allegrity, and is the differential distimement per differential scalar space. Allegrity is from allegr(o) + ity (cf. velocity).

Acceleration is the time rate of change of velocity. Modulation is the space rate of change of allegrity.

The first moment of mass is mass times distance. The momentum is the time rate of change of the first moment of mass. The first moment of vass is vass times duration. The space rate of change of the first moment of vass is the celentum, from Latin clim(a), slope + (mom)entum.

Power is the time rate of change of energy. Force is the space rate of change of energy.


An odologe (o′∙do∙loje) a constant-rate length-measuring device symmacronized with a common waypoint. It is a new coinage from the Greek odo(s), way/path + (horo)loge, clock. In short, it is a clock that shows length or angle instead of time.

The simplest odologe takes time from a clock and multiplies it by a conversion speed to produce a length or angle. This is commonly done in relativity with c, the speed of light: ct equals time multiplied by the speed of light, resulting in a length. A device which output such a length would be an odologe.

Given a starting point the Moon could be considered an odologe that travels at the rate of 3,683 kilometers per hour, since that is its speed around the Earth. The Earth itself could be considered an odologe that travels at its orbital rate of 107,000 km/h. Another odologe is the distance of the Pioneer 10 spacecraft from the Earth and Sun, which is tracked here.

A circular analog clock is also an angular odologe of the angle made by each hand, as below:

Clock angles

Each minute is represented by 1/60 of a 360° circle, or 6° of arc. Each hour is represented by 1/12 of a circle, or 30° of arc.

There are 24*60 = 1440 minutes in a day, which equates to 360 = 1440/4 degrees, so the apparent mean speed of the Sun along the ecliptic is one degree every four minutes. The Sun provides an approximate angular odologe.

A kind of virtual odologe comes from using the typical speed for a vehicle in a metropolitan area to convert travel time into travel distance. So, for example, one might estimate that a traveler has progressed 20 kilometers since they have been gone a half hour and the typical speed is 40 km/h.

Another virtual odologe is an app that displays an odometer that increases at a constant rate, as illustrated below.