more from R.D. Ingthorsson

Single Idea 22630

[catalogued under 27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 4. Standard Model / a. Concept of matter]

Full Idea

We may wonder whether the fact that physics has calculated (and for some, confirmed) the decay rate of elementary particles can be a reason to think that they cannot really be ‘elementary’ in the philosophical sense of ‘indivisible’.

Gist of Idea

If particles have decay rates, they can't really be elementary, in the sense of indivisible


R.D. Ingthorsson (A Powerful Particulars View of Causation [2021], 7.6)

Book Reference

'Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time', ed/tr. Callender,Craig [OUP 2013], p.122

A Reaction

I don't think anything can ever conclusively be labelled as 'elementary', but this idea offers a reason for doubting whether a candidate particle is so basic. Does decay imply having parts?