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Who? What? Where? When?


All of physical reality is subject to certain laws, whether of motion, radiation, or diffusion. Matter and energy are the stuff of the universe and exist in physical space. Matter and space are definitely both subject to what we might call the law of excludability - the same molecule or set of molecules cannot occupy two different spaces at the same time, and two molecules or sets of molecules cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

Excludability is the single most universal observed characteristic of reality.

We aggregate objects, points in space and points in time into so-called quantities, and we summarise these quantities into compact rationalised symbols called numbers.

The four attributes that I think are most helpful in describing change I have placed below;



Catalyst - pre-existing cause of the Change.

Change - a process that has a cause (the Agent) and a consequence (change of state / condition / situation).

Location - point of physical space (which is subject to excludability and so rivalrous).

Time - position in chain of Changes to identify which Changes precede and succeed each other, and which are caused by which.



There is a somewhat zoomed-in way to think of this four-attribute system; human action. I say specifically human action cos we're the only ones who exhibit any moral agency. As the attributes above are to purely practical observation of the universe so the four below are to establishing which humans should let which other humans do what things at what times;



Who? - identity of the Moral Agent who takes an action.

What? - nature of the Action and its immediate consequences.

Where? - location in physical space in which the Moral Agent performed the Action.

When? - position in time at which the action took place.



Using these four attributes the rightness or wrongness of any action can be determined and legal judgements passed in a way that is consistent forever. In logic as in mundane reality as in jurisprudence, who does what where & when matters.

This is apodictic because for it to be otherwise reality has to function on a completely different basis from the excludability that is its actual fundamental nature. Since individuals, actions, locations and points in time are all discrete they are the attributes humans use by default to assign moral significance to people's actions.

This may well be done imperfectly; in the absence of conclusive evidence a crowd of people may agree with each other that a particular individual has done a things that the individual in question knows they did not do, say a murder.

But the drive is there, nevertheless; who, what, where, when. And this outgrowth of basic excludability and subjectivity opens another can of worms; who gets to have what?

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