I have a question about this motto used by Sean Carroll in his blog:
In truth, only atoms and the void.
Can you explain what this sentence means? My interpretation is that the sentence does not makes sense because in physics, "atom" has multiple meanings, the same goes for "void". These words have so many meanings that, used without qualification, they mean nothing. The word truth is also a notoriously loaded and undefined word. Does he mean the absolute truth (which has no place in physics) or is he using it colloquially, we don't know.
Let's assume that he is using "atom" to mean "absolutely indivisible unit" and "void" to mean "absolutely empty space that contains nothing but atoms". This view is absurd because defines "void" to be "empty" and "not-empty" at the same time. But besides that, if in truth, there is nothing but atoms and the void, does Sean Carroll deny the existence of fields?
Here are a few meanings that physicists give to "void" (a search of titles in arxiv containing "void"): rigid void, relativistic void, magnetic fields in voids, empty voids, nano void, dynamics of void and so on. So, in physics void can mean anything but "void".
Then, what does "In truth, only atoms and the void" mean? Does it really have such a deep meaning to included as a motto of a blog?