What makes something a cloud?

Posted: February 9, 2012 by alephnaughty in Philosophy
Tags: ,

When you observe a cloud in the sky, it certainly seems like you’re observing one thing–namely, the cloud. And yet, if you were to zoom in on it, you might not even notice the cloud. Instead you’d see lots of individual water droplets, some closer to the center of the cloud, some further away. If you look at the edges of the cloud, the water droplets are so spread out that some of them probably are not even part of the cloud in any meaningful sense. And yet there is no hard and fast point at which we’d say this droplet is part of the cloud–that one next to it is not. As a result, there are many groups of water droplets that have just as much claim to being that cloud as any other group of water droplets. It would seem, then, that there are many clouds. And yet it also seems that there is just one. What makes one group of water droplets qualify as that cloud, rather than another? Or is there no cloud at all?

  1. Above The Clouds

    the clouds,
    the sun shines

    Though to me,
    things may seem dark and drear,
    God sees things in
    a different way.

    On earth,
    from my perspective,
    things may be dark
    and drear indeed…

    the clouds,
    God sees things

    Constance V. Walden

  2. pleonasty says:

    Pilots have a similar perspective. Just sayinnnnn

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