We accept that, via observations that an electron possesses a negative charge and a proton a positive charge, both of which attracting each another. My dilemma lies here, what is the reason for the force of attraction or repulsion? If it may be due to the desire to become more stable and is logically comprehensible via mathematics of potential energy – but why does a body seek the desire to become more stable at all in the first place?

Though this question may be silly, and some might say this goes into metaphysics, but does anyone know why, or do we assume that everything – or the universe to be more precise, acts as it is, accepting it as a fact, and construct our calculations and laws above it? Are all chemical and physical knowledge based on taking the mechanics of the universe for granted?

The question was bothering me for sometime and finally decided to ask in search of an answer.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is closer to metaphysics, and is better suited for Philosophy.SE. $\endgroup$ Jun 8, 2018 at 16:28
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    $\begingroup$ Electromagnetism just is. Its a fundamental interaction: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_interaction You've reached the bottom of why in terms of chemistry. Why is metaphysics, not chemistry/physics. $\endgroup$
    – ericksonla
    Jun 8, 2018 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ @pentavalentcarbon Possibly Physics.SE instead, but yeah, definitely not on our site. $\endgroup$ Jun 9, 2018 at 0:36

2 Answers 2


You have it a little backwards. We don't observe charge, and then infer the existence of a force. It's the other way around. We observe forces between objects -- they repel or attract each other -- and then build models which explain which objects are attracted or repelled by which other objects, and by how much. That leads us to invent the idea of charge and assign it to objects, and later still to connect charge to other properties of the objects.

If your question is why is there an electromagnetic force at all, the answer is probably that it is easier to imagine a universe in which there are forces between degrees of freedom than one in which there are not. Our current understanding of the universe is that can best be described as a set of fields, like the surface of the sea, and everything we see is some kind of ripple or wave in that field. It's easy to see why ripples on the surface of the ocean should interact with each other -- exert "forces" of some kind on each other -- and hard to see how they could just totally ignore each other. That's how it is with nature.

Granted, it looks like there exist wholly separate bodies (particles, objects, things) and we wonder why they should interact with similar things far away. But that may be because our perception is severely limited, and the underlying fields are much more complex than the surface of an ocean. If you want to explore the topic further, start by googling "wave-particle duality in quantum mechanics."


First of all, I encourage you too see this short video, where Richard Feynmann answers, partially, your first question.

Secondly, as other answer said, charge is not observed. I would add forces aren't observed also; we believe we see forces because we took that framework as true.

It is even better to forget truth. Science works or it doesn't. So, some theories work, some doesn't. Some explanations work, some doesn't. What we might call true, I suppose, are the facts, but not its explanations. So, even scientific laws aren't true, but they work.

Interestingly, scientific explanations and theories can correct itself, that's called falsfiability, and it's possibly the best characteristic of science.

Why we use so much scientific method? It may have to do with evolution and fear of dead... But, how would you investigate it? Oops, we consider this method as the only possible. Are there more methods? Are there more ways to make sense of the world? I don't know.

We born in some world partially made and accept lot of frameworks, one of those is this point of view of science, where we create even ways to measure things.

In your example, if you accept the explanation that when something accelerates there is a force, and you measure it, you'll find something like Coulomb's Law. Then if you ask why again, we can talk about molecules, but you can continue asking why forever. Finally, if the answerer is honest, will say: 'I don't know'. That's in some sense the field.

Why things want to diminish its energy? Take your facts and look for the cause, if there is a way, or read, or learn to convive with that uncertainty of knowledge.

That's all I can say at least. Forget truth, look how it works.


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