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Physics of Life

Object - definition of the concept


An object is a separate element of reality extracted by the observer. It could be physical (a car, a house) or abstract (a thought, an idea, a process). It has: identity (Mike), defined set of properties (hair on head, teeth) and state of these properties (Hair on head = {5%, ginger,...}; teeth = {30, white, pristine} ).

The concept of an object is wider than that of the body, which we learnt in school and also less mysterious than the concept "being" used by philosophers. The physical body is part of the material, while the object can be both physical and abstract. Since the concept of an object is the key concept of the physics of life, let's discuss, in detail, each element of its definition and derivatives:

O b s e r v e r – is a very important word, which indicates that the object is a subjective concept. It is the observer who determines what they perceive as an object. (One of the main precepts of physics of life is: there is no such thing as total objectivity, only complied subjectivity)

S e p a r a t e   e l e m e n t – is something that is a characteristic of the whole. The object can be virtually anything that can be placed within the framework of a whole. For example: a cloud, a drop of water, a political party, a country, a kidney, a union, a missile, a bicycle, an electric pulse, a computer programme, a fish, a school of fish, an idea, mathematics..

P h y s i c a l   or   a b s t r a c t – in the list above, a kidney and a bicycle are examples of physical objects, whilst a country and a computer programme are both physical and abstract objects, and such objects as mathematics and the idea of self are purely abstract. The Greek philosopher Parmenides of Elea (ca. 540-470 BC) was probably thinking about objects, when he introduced the concept of being into our language.

I d e n t i t y – is a concept capable of distinguishing two objects from each other. Synonyms of this word can be: "ID" or "name". With identity, one can distinguish a given object from others in the area, regardless of where they are and what is the state of their properties. In one particular case, all objects can be identical, but due to identity they remain distinguishable.

D e f i n e d   s e t   o f   p r o p e r t i e s – each object has a specific set of properties. From the object "person" one can extract thousands, millions and more properties (remembering subjectivity, it is the observer who decides what they consider as a property). Examples could be: eye color, the number of fingers, the hairstyle, response to touching a hot kettle, reaction speed. Please note that we are not talking about the colour of eyes, but that one of the properties of our eyes is the colour. The concept of property is very general. It not only includes the features that can be expressed in a single parameter (such as eye colour, as previously mentioned), but more complex properties (language, for example) the descriptions of which require many different attributes and parameters. The properties may also include other, even more complex, features, such as the current state of education (for example the knowledge of languages is described by number, list of spoken languages, level of performance, accent, vocabulary, knowledge of grammar, pronunciation, confidence of use,...) anatomy and fixed action patterns. The synonym of property could be "feature".

S t a t e   o f   p r o p e r t i e s – a defined set of values for each property. Let's use a table to record the difference between object properties and their conditions:

Property State of property
Eye colourBlue
Hair styleDyed blonde, shoulder length, slightly curly,...
Number of fingers9
Response to touching a hot kettleQuick withdrawal of hand after contact, reaction time 0.15 sec. and grimace of pain
Characteristic behaviourWariness, fear, comedic
Knowledge of languagesFrench, Portuguese, Bulgarian
Reaction speed0.17 sec.

Note that the condition of some properties may change and some do not. An example of a relatively constant property is the number of fingers. Usually the state of this property, except in specific cases, remains constant for the whole human life. In contrast, the knowledge of languages is an example of a variable property, which can be shaped in several directions: increasing their number and raising performance.

The concept of an object is closely related to several other concepts not explicitly mentioned in the definition. These are:

C r i t e r i a   o f   o b j e c t i v i t y – the criteria under which the observer states whether what he has described as an object is still the same object or is already a new one. These criteria are neither objective nor universal, because they are, as the object itself, determined by the observer, and we must just accept it. If we wonder if the fence, after the removal of a railing, is the same fence, the answer is given from citeria of objectivity. "No, it is not a fence (as an object we defined) because the cat next door can come into our garden" OR "Yes, it is a fence (as an object we defined) because the big dogs can't attack us in our garden".
If you are wondering whether you are still the same object you were 11 years ago, the answer you seek lies in criteria of objectivity. Traditionally, it is considered that you are what you have always been, but you can also come across a different opinion. The matter with which we are built is completely replaced, on average, every 15 years. So, the question whether it is still the object defined before or it is a different object depends entirely on the subjective criteria of objectivity. Therefore, the criteria of objectivity tells us whether the object is still the same object, or it has become a new one.

L i f e   t i m e   o f   a n   o b j e c t   (LTO) – Plato (427-347 BC) introduced the division of objects into variable and constant in time. For us, this distinction is not important - all objects are treated as variables, because nothing lasts forever. Constant objects are also variable, but the time after which the change occurs is unable to be observed.

T r a n s f o r m a t i o n   o f   a n   o b j e c t – the process of transformation (conversion) of the object into another. As a result of transformation, the object changes. A material object, for example, can be broken down into sub-objects, can be transformed into another object or can just change some of its properties. For an observer, signs that the object has been transformed is due to the fact that it no longer fulfils the criteria of objectivity.

The fact that the object is transformed is due to the effects of different causal factors, which, in the most general way, can be classified into one of four categories:

i n i t i a t o r s –   factors referring to the bringing into existence of an object. In the previously discussed case of the fence, the initiators will be: the thought of the owner "I should build a fence";

c o n s t r u c t o r s -   prolongs the LTO, ensuring the criteria of objectivity is met. If we can measure the fulfillment of criteria of objectivity, the constructors improve this fulfillment. The set of constructors for the object "fence" includes: maintenance and repair, all kinds of activities related to the selection of the best paint, which prolongs the life (LTO) of the rails;

d e s t r u c t o r s -   shortens the LTO, ensuring the criteria of objectivity is not met. If we can measure the fulfillment of criteria of objectivity, the destructors worsen this fulfillment. The set of destructors for the object "fence" includes: children, wind and rain, woodworm, poor workmanship;

t e r m i n a t o r s -   cause the object to permanently cease to be what it was. An example is the decision to dismantle and demolish the fence itself.

Finally, we introduce another very important concept: b e h a v i o u r – is a sequence of states of the object's properties.