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Physical property

From Academic Kids

1) A physical property is an aspect of an object that can be experienced using one of the five human senses: touch, taste, smell, sight or sound, or, in an extended sense, detected through any measuring device.

2) Properties can be isotropic or anisotropic.

3) In Quantum mechanics, physical properties are referred to as observables.

4) Philosophically speaking, it is actually quite hard to pin down what correctly consitutes a physical property. Color, for example, can be "seen", however, what we perceive as color is really an interpretation of the reflective properties of a surface. In this sense, many ostensibly physical properties are termed as supervenient. A supervenient property is one which is actual (for example, color does depend on the reflective properties of a surface - it is not simply imagined), but is secondary to some underlying reality.

This is similar to the way in which objects are supervenient on atomic structure. A "cup" might have the physical properties of mass, shape, color, temperature etc, but these properties are supervenient on the underlying atomic structure, which may in turn be supervenient on an underlying quantum structure.

In the common sense, physical properties can be separated from nonphysical properties. Typically a nonphysical property is associated with a living being. Anger, love, etc, are not things which are part of the mechanics of the universe, but terms we use to discuss mental states.

Literally, the physical properties of an object are defined by the theory of physics being used in context. In a traditional Newtonian sense, the physical properties of an object are mass, shape, velocity and location. There may be more (a physicist might care to enhance the accuracy of this section). In an Einstein-relative model, the physical properties of an object might be different.

The common sense understanding of a physical property is roughly Newtonian.

zh:物理性质

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