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    #1

    A theory BEHAVES?

    Dear all,

    "Newton's second law of motion behaves for those committed to Newton's theory very much like a purely logical statement that no amount of observation could prove wrong..."

    Do you use "behave" for a theory in physics? What does it mean? Or is it just personified? Or a typo?

    Thank you!

    OP

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    #2

    Re: A theory BEHAVES?

    Personification. Also a bit of shorthand. The theory doesn't actually behave. If anything, physical objects behave in the way the theory would describe them behaving.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: A theory BEHAVES?

    Thanks for that.

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    #4

    Re: A theory BEHAVES?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    The theory doesn't actually behave. If anything, physical objects behave in the way the theory would describe them behaving.
    But this is not a statement about objects. It's about the theory. The theory behaves "very much like a purely logical statement". The meaning is not that physical objects behave like logical statements.
    Also, I'm not really sure it's personification. I think the statement, "An apple on a piece of string behaves like a pendulum" is literal. And one could conceive of a theory behaving in certain typical ways. So I don't have a problem with the original sentence.

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    #5

    Re: A theory BEHAVES?

    Dear all,

    SoothingDave, bhaisahab, Raymott, thanks for your replies

    Now I know it's not a usual way of using "behave".

    If you paraphrase it in the context, how would you do that?

    My best guess is "exist". Is it close?

    Thank you"

    OP

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    #6

    Re: A theory BEHAVES?

    I think it's more like works/functions than exists- the believers take it as a fact and their belief will not be shaken by any observation that questions its accuracy.

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