Mar 02 2014
What's Left? What's Right?
Was watching this Vsauce video and noticed he never answered the question. He talks about left-handedness, sleeping in space, and helium. So what is the definition? Sure enough, left is defined in relation to right, which in turn, is defined in relation to other special concepts, in this case north.
One could define left and right relative to center. Left is counter-clockwise of center and right clockwise of center. But this logic only works for 180 degrees. Eventually left becomes right if you keep going clockwise. Also, this definition is defined in relation to clocks, which is still unsatisfying.
Using two relative objects, like the two pieces of fruit (to the left - har har), one could point out which object is "on the left". But this seems to be a subtle extension of the "relative to center" idea. If I simply point at the left fruit and say "left", you might think that "left" means "smaller" or "a slight reddish hue". Even with two objects that are exactly the same, you might think I "north", "east" or some other directional concept. In order to deduce the meaning of left from two objects, you must somehow know that I mean "a way relative from center from your perspective looking forward".
So, I was wondering, is there any absolute way to define left and right? Or will it always be bound relative to spacial concepts.
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