more from Peter van Inwagen

Single Idea 17559

[catalogued under 27. Natural Reality / E. Chemistry / 2. Modern Elements]

Full Idea

A physicist once told me that of course a gold atom was a piece of gold, and a physical chemist has assured me that the smallest possible piece of gold would have to be composed of sixteen or seventeen atoms.

Gist of Idea

Is one atom a piece of gold, or is a sizable group of atoms required?


Peter van Inwagen (Material Beings [1990], 01)

Book Reference

Inwagen,Peter van: 'Material Beings' [Cornell 1995], p.17

A Reaction

The issue is at what point all the properties that we normally begin to associate with gold begin to appear. One water molecule can hardly have a degree of viscosity or liquidity.