Physics Proves The Existence not of Matter
The scorn with which the scientist utters the word “metaphysics” shows that he does not think the worse of physics for refusing to embark upon the arguments so entitled.
And yet surely the physicist cannot suppose that it makes no difference to physics whether matter exists or not.
Nor is it strictly true to say, as is often said, that he assumes matter to exist; that is to say, begs the metaphysical question in his own favour.
His real position is quite different from this. “How can I prove the existence of a thing” (he might say) “whose nature is totally undefined ? Did Newton first prove to a mystified world the existence of fluxions, and only afterwards deign to explain what he meant by the word ? If you will listen to me and hear what I have got to say about matter, you can then go on to criticise it, that is, to ask whether the thing which I call matter really exists. But this metaphysics, arguing about the reality or unreality of a thing you have never tried to describe, seems to me a waste of time.”