The demonstration of a loophole-free violation of Bell's inequality by Hensen et al. (2015) leads to the inescapable conclusion that timelessness and abstractness exist alongside space-time. This finding is in full agreement with the triple-aspect monism of reality, with mathematical Platonism, free will and the eventual emergence of a scientific morality.
It is often contended that the special sciences, and even fundamental physics, make use of ceteris-paribus law-statements. Yet there are general concerns that such law-statements are vacuous or untestable or unscientific. I consider two main kinds of ceteris-paribus law-statement. I argue that neither kind is vacuous, that one of the kinds is untestable, that both kinds may count as scientific to the extent that they form parts of conjunctions that imply novel falsifiable statements which survive testing, but that one kind (...) has an affinity with ad hoc manoeuvres that are unsatisfactory from a scientific point of view. I show that the contemporary debate about ceteris-paribus law-statements is afflicted with error and confusion because of a general failure to disentangle the notions: non-vacuous, testable, scientific, verifiable, falsifiable, and ad hoc. (shrink)
In this chapter, we see one way that time flow may force us to develop our physical theory if we add it back into physics proper. Now of course this is speculative in this context, and should be thought of as a model. The two following extracts are from introductions a more complete unified theory. They explain the basic mathematical models that are required to illustrate the point that such models may be plausible. The second extract, ‘the parable of the (...) ants’, introduces us to the ideological-philosophical conflict that prevents such a development being considered in the present generation, which we will go on to next. (shrink)
A potentially new interpretation of quantum mechanics posits the state of the universe as a consistent set of facts that are instantiated in the correlations among entangled objects. A fact (or event) occurs exactly when the number or density of future possibilities decreases, and a quantum superposition exists if and only if the facts of the universe are consistent with the superposition. The interpretation sheds light on both in-principle and real-world predictability of the universe.
A number of general theories of physics provide a model for the fundamental rules that govern our universe, becoming a structural framework to which the new discoveries must conform. The theory of relativity is such a general theory. The theory of relativity is a complex theoretical framework that facilitates the understanding of the universal laws of physics. It is based on the curved space-time continuum fabric abstract concept, and it is well suited for interpreting cosmic events. More so, a general (...) theory based on abstract concepts and imagination facilitates the emergence of countless new extravagant theories. A new simplified theory of the natural world is necessary, a simple theory that provides a verifiable framework on which new discoveries can be integrated. The paper describes a view of the abstract time/space concept, and also a very simple model of our ever-changing universe. Views of physicists, mathematicians, chemists, engineers and of course philosophers have to be all in harmony with such a theory. We leave in a beautiful, uniform, and logical world. We live in a world where everything probable is possible. Contact email: [email protected] . (shrink)
We leave in a beautiful and uniform world, a world where everything probable is possible. Since the epic theory of relativity many scientists have embarked in a pursuit of astonishing theoretical fantasies, abandoning the prudent and logical path to scientific inquiry. The theory is a complex theoretical framework that facilitates the understanding of the universal laws of physics. It is based on the space-time continuum fabric abstract concept, and it is well suited for interpreting cosmic events. However, it is not (...) well suited for handling of small, local topics as global warming, local energy issues, and overall common humanity matters. We now forward may fancy theories and spend unimaginable effort to validate them, even when we are perhaps headed in a wrong direction. For example, in our times matters of climate changes are debated by politicians based on economical considerations that are as illogical as they come. The venerable paths of scientific method developed during centuries by prominent scientists and philosophers has been willingly ignored and abandoned for various and prejudiced purpose. Contact email: [email protected] . (shrink)
For two reasons, physics occupies a preeminent position among the sciences. On the one hand, due to its recognized position as a fundamental science, and on the other hand, due to the characteristic of its obvious certainty of knowledge. For both reasons it is regarded as the paradigm of scientificity par excellence. With its focus on the issue of epistemic certainty, philosophy of science follows in the footsteps of classical epistemology, and this is also the basis of its 'judicial' pretension (...) vis-à-vis physics. Whereas physics is in a strong competitive relationship to philosophy and epistemology with respect to its position as a fundamental science - even on the subject of cognition, as the pretension of 'reductionism' shows. It is the thematic focus on epistemic certainty itself, however, that becomes the root of a profound epistemological misunderstanding of physics. The reason for this is twofold: first, the idea of epistemic certainty as a criterion of 'demarcation' between physics and metaphysics obscures the view of the much deeper heuristic differences between the two kinds of knowledge. The second, related, reason is that epistemology does not ask the question of the reason for the epistemic certainty of physics; instead, it sets itself the task of 'legitimating' physical knowledge, and this, crucially, with reference to the interpretation of the process of cognition. Thus, as a matter of course, all epistemological assumptions about this process – including the common descriptive understanding of knowledge and its ontological premises – flow into the interpretation of physics as a science. Consequently, this undertaking is not only doubtful from the ground up, because it presupposes for its meaningfulness nothing less than certainty of knowledge concerning (the interpretation of) the process of knowledge, thereby relying on mere convictions; moreover, by projecting the descriptive, 'metaphysical' concept of knowledge onto physics, it leads to unsolvable epistemological problems and corresponding resignative conclusions concerning the claim of knowledge of physics. In other words, epistemology itself builds, due to its basic assumptions, a major obstacle for an adequate understanding of physics. Physics' cross-object, deconstructive approach to knowledge implies a completely different, non-descriptive understanding of its concepts, with consequences that extend far beyond itself due to its status as a basic science. (shrink)
Following the 26th General Conference on Weights and Measures are fixed the numerical values of the 4 physical constants ($h, c, e, k_B$). This is premised on the independence of these constants. This article discusses a model of a mathematical electron from which can be defined the Planck units as geometrical objects (mass M=1, time T=2$\pi$ ...). In this model these objects are interrelated via this electron geometry such that once we have assigned values to 2 Planck units then we (...) have fixed the values for all Planck units. As all constants can then be defined using geometrical forms (in terms of 2 fixed mathematical constants, 2 unit-specific scalars and a defined relationship between the units $kg, m, s, A$), the least precise CODATA 2014 constants ($G, h, e, m_e, k_B$...) can then be solved via the most precise ($c, \mu_0, \alpha, R_\infty$), with numerical precision limited by the precision of the fine structure constant $\alpha$. In terms of this model we now for example have 2 separate values for elementary charge, calculated from ($c, \alpha, R_\infty$) and the 2017 revision. (shrink)
The mathematical constructions, physical structure and manifestations of physical time are reviewed. The nature of insight and mathematics used to understand and deal with physical time associated with classical, quantum and cosmic processes is contemplated together with a comprehensive understanding of classical time. Scalar time (explicit time or quantitative time), vector time (implicit time or qualitative time), biological time, time of and in conscious awareness are discussed. The mathematical understanding of time in special and general theories of relativity is critically (...) analyzed. The independent nature of classical, quantum and cosmic physical times from one another, and the manifestations of respective physical happenings, distinct from universal time, are highlighted. The role of a universal time related or unrelated to origin, being etc., of universe or cosmos as common thread in all happenings is reviewed. The missing of time is identified and concept of absence of time is put forward. The complex nature of time and the real and imaginary dimensions of physical time are also elaborately discussed together with human time- consciousness as past, present and future. (shrink)
Plato's theory of everything is an introduction to a Pythagorean natural philosophy that includes Egyptian sources. The Pythagorean Table and Pythagorean harmonics from the ancient geometry of the Cosmological Circle are related to symbolic associations of basic mathematical constants with the five elements of Plato's allegorical cosmology: Archimedes constant, Euler's number, the polygon circumscribing limit, the golden ratio, and Aristotle's quintessence. Quintessence is representative of the whole, or the one in four, extraneously considered a separate element or fifth force. This (...) relationship with four fundamental interactions or forces also involves the correlation of constants with the five Platonic solids: tetrahedron, hexahedron, octahedron, icosahedron, and dodecahedron. The values of several fundamental physical constants are also calculated, and a basic equation is given for a unified physical theory in the geometric universe of Plato's natural philosophy. (shrink)
I propose a gentle reconciliation of Quantum Theory and General Relativity. It is possible to add small, but unshackling constraints to the quantum fields, making them compatible with General Relativity. Not all solutions of the Schrodinger's equation are needed. I show that the continuous and spatially separable solutions are sufficient for the nonlocal manifestations associated with entanglement and wavefunction collapse. After extending this idea to quantum fields, I show that Quantum Field Theory can be defined in terms of partitioned classical (...) fields. One key element is the idea of integral interactions, which also helps clarifying the quantum measurement and classical level problems. The unity of Quantum Theory and General Relativity can now be gained with the help of the partitioned fields' energy-momentum. A brief image of a General Relativistic Quantum Standard Model is outlined. (shrink)
Four initial postulates are presented (with two more added later), which state that construction of the physical universe proceeds from a sequence of discrete steps or "projections" --- a process that yields a sequence of discrete levels (labeled 0, 1, 2, 3, 4). At or above level 2 the model yields a (3+1)-dimensional structure, which is interpreted as ordinary space and time. As a result, time does not exist below level 2 of the system, and thus the quantum of action, (...) h, which depends on time (since its unit is time•energy), also does not exist below level 2. This implies that the quantum of action is not fundamental, and thus e.g. that the physical universe cannot have originated from a quantum fluctuation. When the gravitational interaction for the model is developed, it is seen that the basic ingredient for gravity is already operating at level 1 of the system, which implies that gravity, too, is not fundamentally quantum mechanical (since, as stated, h only kicks in at level 2) --- perhaps obviating the need for a quantum theory of gravity. Further arguments along this line lead to the conclusion that quantum fluctuations cannot be a source of gravity, and thus cannot contribute to the cosmological constant --- thereby averting the cosmological constant problem. Along the way, the model also provides explanations for dark energy, the beginning and ending of inflation, quark confinement, and more. Although the model dethrones the quantum, it nevertheless elevates an idea in physics that was engendered by quantum mechanics: the necessary role of "observers" in constructing the world. (shrink)
This paper aims to clarify some conceptual aspects of decoherence that seem largely overlooked in the recent literature. In particular, I want to stress that decoherence theory, in the standard framework, is rather silent with respect to the description of (sub)systems and associated dynamics. Also, the selection of position basis for classical objects is more problematic than usually thought: while, on the one hand, decoherence offers a pragmatic-oriented solution to this problem, on the other hand, this can hardly be seen (...) as a genuine ontological explanation of why the classical world is position-based. This is not to say that decoherence is not useful to the foundations of quantum mechanics; on the contrary, it is a formidable weapon, as it accounts for a realistic description of quantum systems. That powerful description, however, becomes manifest when decoherence theory itself is interpreted in a realist framework of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
The Kolmogorov-Sinai entropy is a fairly exotic mathematical concept which has recently aroused some interest on the philosophers’ part. The most salient trait of this concept is its working as a junction between such diverse ambits as statistical mechanics, information theory and algorithm theory. In this paper I argue that, in order to understand this very special feature of the Kolmogorov-Sinai entropy, is essential to reconstruct its genealogy. Somewhat surprisingly, this story takes us as far back as the beginning of (...) celestial mechanics and through some of the most exciting developments of mathematical physics of the 19th century. (shrink)
There is a vast amount of research data accumulating from space exploration on the topics of impacts, symmetries, habitable zone, chemical compositions, atmosphere, climate and geology. The related facts, sayings and relations need to be evaluated by a theory of decision based on strategies of reflection on empirical research and cooperation. More and more suitable technological applications, appropriate inventions and innovations are being introduced for the implementation of the objective to find interstellar habitat. A logic of space science and technology (...) is being, therefore, continuously articulated and innovated through focusing on efficiency, computability, polyvalence, feedback control etc. This effort needs also to be assisted by a reevaluation of conceptual and mathematical frameworks, with the adoption of new physical definitions and new units of measurement. Otherwise, the whole effort remains impeded by its own entitlement. An example of the requirement for conceptual reevaluation is the increasing significance of astrobiology, on account of the quest for water, life and habitable planets. Hereby philosophy of physics meets the philosophy of biology, so far as the concepts of life and non-life could plausibly be reconsidered by space exploration, while ethical problems on the value of space medicine, health and information arise, as well. An example of the urgent requirement for reflection and reevaluation of mathematical frameworks is the task for an efficient motion of spacecraft to the interstellar medium, to Proxima Centauri b and other exoplanets. Such a task should require the adoption of new units of measurement, for instance, of the magnitude of ~6.000 km/s (30 times faster than the Parker Solar Probe), being thus better comparable to the speed of light (since ~6.000 km/s equals to 1/50 or 2% of the speed of light). However, the most significant instant of the challenge to reflection is the role of the magnetosphere, the magnetic fields and dynamos for the development and the motion of the planets of our solar system and exoplanets. A successful procedure to explaining the contribution of the magnetic field to planetary dynamics may help us answer serious scientific questions and probably may crucially contribute to the discovery of a new unified physical theory of everything. -/- . (shrink)
This is a review of The Turing Guide (2017), written by Jack Copeland, Jonathan Bowen, Mark Sprevak, Robin Wilson, and others. The review includes a new sociological approach to the problem of computability in physics.
I show how Sir William Rowan Hamilton’s philosophical commitments led him to a causal interpretation of classical mechanics. I argue that Hamilton’s metaphysics of causation was injected into his dynamics by way of a causal interpretation of force. I then detail how forces are indispensable to both Hamilton’s formulation of classical mechanics and what we now call Hamiltonian mechanics (i.e., the modern formulation). On this point, my efforts primarily consist of showing that the contemporary orthodox interpretation of potential energy is (...) the interpretation found in Hamilton’s work. Hamilton called the potential energy function the “force-function” because he believed that it represents forces at work in the world. Various non-historical arguments for this orthodox interpretation of potential energy are provided, and matters are concluded by showing that in classical Hamiltonian mechanics, facts about the potential energies of systems are grounded in facts about forces. Thus, if one can tolerate the view that forces are causes of motion, then Hamilton provides one with a road map for transporting causation into one of the most mathematically sophisticated formulations of classical mechanics, viz., Hamiltonian mechanics. (shrink)
The book's purpose is to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between physics and philosophy in the historical context of the 19th century. Through an elaborate examination of the influence of mechanistic philosophy, the evolution of ontology, and the emergence of energy, the author aims to explain the phenomenological laws of thermodynamics in the framework of the mechanical approach. Additionally, the book delves into the introduction of field theory and the beginning decline of the mechanical approach. In (...) essence, this book is a journey that takes you through the most significant milestones of the 19th century in the realm of physics. It illuminates a theoretical framework, i.e., critical rationalism, that facilitates examining the interaction between physics and metaphysics. With the unraveling of history and the preparation of philosophical thought, the book prepares the reader for the eventual abandonment of the 'ether' and paves the way for the birth of the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. (shrink)
Als sich die Denkschulen der anglo-amerikanischen Philosophie des 20. Jahrhunderts formierten, wurden Whitehead und Russell zu Symbolfiguren der spekulativen Denkrichtung auf der einen und der analytischen Ansätze auf der anderen Seite. Der eine beschäftigte sich mit der Konstruktion einer umfassenden Metaphysik; der andere betonte das Streben nach begrifflicher Klarheit mit den Mitteln präziser logischer und linguistischer Analyse. Die antithetische Beziehung dieser beiden widerstreitenden Parteien ist allerdings weniger offensichtlich, wenn wir die Ziele in den Blick nehmen, die Whitehead und Russell teilten, (...) unmittelbar nachdem sie in ihrem Monumentalwerk Principia Mathematica an den Grundlagen der Mathematik zusammengearbeitet hatten. Beide waren nun mit einem anderen grundlegenden Projekt der Philosophie der Physik befasst. Whitehead und Russell entwickelten, als offensichtlichste Konsequenz aus den revolutionären Fortschritten der modernen Physik, jeder für sich eine Ereignisontologie, doch waren sie unterschiedlicher Ansicht darüber, wie diese Ontologie als metaphysische Grundlage der Physik zu interpretieren sei. Das Ziel meines Essays ist es daher, die Affinitäten und Gegensätze in Whiteheads und Russells Ansichten darüber herauszuarbeiten, wie das ausgedehnte Universum, bestehend aus Materie und „leerem“ Raum, als eine Mannigfaltigkeit von Ereignissen zu denken sei. Ich zeige außerdem, wie viel von Russells Metaphysik von Whiteheads früher Arbeit beeinflusst war. Während Russell selbst diesen Einfluss großzügig anerkannte, wird er von Kommentatoren seiner Philosophie selten zur Kenntnis genommen. (shrink)
Experiments in particle physics have hitherto failed to produce any significant evidence for the many explicit models of physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM) that had been proposed over the past decades. As a result, physicists have increasingly turned to model-independent strategies as tools in searching for a wide range of possible BSM effects. In this paper, we describe the Standard Model Effective Field Theory (SM-EFT) and analyse it in the context of the philosophical discussions about models, theories, and (bottom-up) (...) effective field theories. We find that while the SM-EFT is a quantum field theory, assisting experimentalists in searching for deviations from the SM, in its general form it lacks some of the characteristic features of models. Those features only come into play if put in by hand or prompted by empirical evidence for deviations. Employing different philosophical approaches to models, we argue that the case study suggests not to take a view on models that is overly permissive because it blurs the lines between the different stages of the SM-EFT research strategies and glosses over particle physicists' motivations for undertaking this bottom-up approach in the first place. Looking at EFTs from the perspective of modelling does not require taking a stance on some specific brand of realism or taking sides in the debate between reduction and emergence into which EFTs have recently been embedded. (shrink)
The Great Divide in metaphysical debates about laws of nature is between Humeans, who think that laws merely describe the distribution of matter, and non-Humeans, who think that laws govern it. The metaphysics can place demands on the proper formulations of physical theories. It is sometimes assumed that the governing view requires a fundamental / intrinsic direction of time: to govern, laws must be dynamical, producing later states of the world from earlier ones, in accord with the fundamental direction of (...) time in the universe. In this paper, we propose a minimal primitivism about laws of nature (MinP) according to which there is no such requirement. On our view, laws govern by constraining the physical possibilities. Our view captures the essence of the governing view without taking on extraneous commitments about the direction of time or dynamic production. Moreover, as a version of primitivism, our view requires no reduction / analysis of laws in terms of universals, powers, or dispositions. Our view accommodates several potential candidates for fundamental laws, including the principle of least action, the Past Hypothesis, the Einstein equation of general relativity, and even controversial examples found in the Wheeler-Feynman theory of electrodynamics and retrocausal theories of quantum mechanics. By understanding governing as constraining, non-Humeans who accept MinP have the same freedom to contemplate a wide variety of candidate fundamental laws as Humeans do. (shrink)
Now it’s the time to hear lots of talks about crisis of philosophy and disappearance of humanities. One can assume that the trend of such dialogues is related to a culture that conviction on the modernistic absolute truth is waning and belief’s on postmodernistic pluralism gets strong. How could postmodoernism gain such a strong momentum? I could offer a hypothesis for the question, that is, that philosophy of quantum mechanics played an important role. In my mind, Zhang Hwe-Ik’s book explains (...) how postmodernistic quantum philosophy can replace Newton’s modernistic mechanics and it tries to offer a philosophical paradigm by his own Seoul interpretation on the quantum mechanics, paradigm which is comparable to the role of Kant’s philosophy toward Newton’s classic mechanics. Zhang seems to be successful to lead to be able to get a holistic world view and yet to have tasks to struggle with, one of which is how to offer a grammar of understanding of quantum mechanics without employing Newton-Kant’s notions like individual, identity, causality. -/- Philosophy (CHEOLHAK, Korean Philosophical Association), 150(2022.02): PP. 333-343. (shrink)
Why is gauge symmetry so important in modern physics, given that one must eliminate it when interpreting what the theory represents? In this paper we discuss the sense in which gauge symmetry can be fruitfully applied to constrain the space of possible dynamical models in such a way that forces and charges are appropriately coupled. We review the most well-known application of this kind, known as the 'gauge argument' or 'gauge principle', discuss its difficulties, and then reconstruct the gauge argument (...) as a valid theorem in quantum theory. We then present what we take to be a better and more general gauge argument, based on Noether's second theorem in classical Lagrangian field theory, and argue that this provides a more appropriate framework for understanding how gauge symmetry helps to constrain the dynamics of physical theories. (shrink)
El siglo XVIII está considerado como una época en la que el método de investigación newtoniano está bien establecido y su uso no se cuestiona, según autores como Kuhn. Sin embargo, como veremos, esto está muy alejado de la realidad, ya que aquí planteamos los dos objetivos siguientes: por un lado, observaremos como dentro de los propios llamados newtonianos no hay un uso uniforme del método newtoniano y que algunos de ellos incluso lo modifican en sus obras donde exponen la (...) doctrina de Newton. Por otro lado, expondremos el método de Émilie du Châtelet, quien, habiendo leído a Newton y a estos pensadores, siente rechazo hacia la metodología que proponen y se dispone a elaborar lo que se puede considerar un precedente del método hipotético-deductivo utilizado hoy día. Lo que se persigue con el presente estudio, en definitiva, es arrojar luz sobre la situación del newtonianismo del siglo XVIII y mostrar el trabajo de du Châtelet como un puente entre dos épocas en relación a la metodología. (shrink)
This essay explores Kaila's interpretation of the special theory of relativity. Although the relevance of his work to logical empiricism is well-known, not much has been written on what Kaila calls the ‘Einstein-Minkowski invariance theory’. Kaila's interpretation focuses on two salient features. First, he emphasizes the importance of the invariance of the spacetime interval. The general point about spacetime invariance has been known at least since Minkowski, yet Kaila applies his overall tripartite theory of invariances to space, time and spacetime (...) in an original way. Second, Kaila provides a non-conventionalist argument for the isotropic speed of electromagnetic signals. The standard Einstein synchrony is not a mere convention but a part of a larger empirical theory. According to Kaila's holistic principle of testability, which stands in contrast to the theses of translatability and verification, different items in the theory cannot be sharply divided into conventional and empirical. Kaila's invariantism/non-conventionalism about relativity reflects an interesting case in the gradual transition from positivism to realism within the philosophy of science. (shrink)
It is widely thought that there is an important argument to be made that starts with premises taken from the science of physics and ends with the conclusion of physicalism. The standard view is that this argument takes the form of a causal argument for physicalism. Roughly, physics tells us that the physical realm is causally complete, and so minds (among other entities) must be physical if they are to interact with the world as we think they do. In what (...) follows, I raise problems for this view. After an initial review of the causal argument, I begin my case by showing that the totality of physical truths do not deductively entail the causal completeness of the physical realm, using a double-prevention scenario and causation by omission to show that nonphysical causes of physical effects would not need to violate physical conservation laws. I then move on to raise problems for an inductive argument for causal completeness by drawing on the neo-Russellian view that there is no causation in fundamental physics, and so causation must itself be a realized or derived entity. I conclude by suggesting that the underlying problem is that the causal argument has fallen out of touch with the sophisticated understanding that philosophers have developed of the role of causation within physics. (shrink)
PLEASE NOTE: This is the corrected 2nd eBook edition, 2021. ●●●●● _Critique of Impure Reason_ has now also been published in a printed edition. To reduce the otherwise high price of this scholarly, technical book of nearly 900 pages and make it more widely available beyond university libraries to individual readers, the non-profit publisher and the author have agreed to issue the printed edition at cost. ●●●●● The printed edition was released on September 1, 2021 and is now available through (...) all booksellers, including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and brick-and-mortar bookstores under ISBN 978-0-578-88646-6. ●●●●● -/- In light of the length of this book, readers who would like to have a more detailed description of the book's objectives and method may find it helpful to read the detailed and clearly written Wikipedia entry about this work: From the Wikipedia search page, use the search phrase "Critique of Impure Reason". At least at the time of this writing (11/29/2021), the Wikipedia entry is well-researched and accurate. ●●●●● In addition, a "Primer on Bartlett's CRITIQUE OF IMPURE REASON" has been made available by the author. It is available under its title through PhilPapers and other philosophy online archives. ●●●●● -/- COMMENDATIONS OF THIS WORK, from the back cover of the published edition: ●●●●● -/- “I admire its range of philosophical vision.” – Nicholas Rescher, Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, author of more than 100 books. ●●●●● -/- “Bartlett’s _Critique of Impure Reason_ is an impressive, bold, and ambitious work. Careful scholarship is balanced by original analyses that lead the reader to recognize the limits of meaning, knowledge, and conceptual possibility. The work addresses a host of traditional philosophical problems, among them the nature of space, time, causality, consciousness, the self, other minds, ontology, free will and determinism, and others. The book culminates in a fascinating and profound new understanding of relativity physics and quantum theory.” – Gerhard Preyer, Professor of Philosophy, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, author of many books including _Concepts of Meaning_, _Beyond Semantics and Pragmatics_, _Intention and Practical Thought_, and _Contextualism in Philosophy_. ●●●●● -/- “[This work’s] goal is of a unique and difficult species: Dr. Bartlett seeks to develop a formal logical calculus on the basis of transcendental philosophical arguments; in fact, he hopes that this calculus will be the formal expression of the transcendental foundation of knowledge.... I consider Dr. Bartlett’s work soundly conceived and executed with great skill.” – C. F. von Weizsäcker, philosopher and physicist, former Director, Max-Planck-Institute, Starnberg, Germany. ●●●●● -/- “Bartlett has written an American “Prolegomena to All Future Metaphysics.” He aims rigorously to eliminate meaningless assertions, reach bedrock, and place philosophy on a firm foundation that will enable it, like science and mathematics, to produce lasting results that generations to come can build on. This is a great book, the fruit of a lifetime of research and reflection, and it deserves serious attention.” — Martin X. Moleski, former Professor, Canisius College, Buffalo, NY, studies of scientific method, the presuppositions of thought, and the self-referential nature of epistemology. ●●●●● -/- “Bartlett has written a book on what might be called the underpinnings of philosophy. It has fascinating depth and breadth, and is all the more striking due to its unifying perspective based on the concepts of reference and self-reference.” – Don Perlis, Professor of Computer Science, University of Maryland, author of numerous publications on self-adjusting autonomous systems and philosophical issues concerning self-reference, mind, and consciousness. ●●●●● ●●●●● The _Critique of Impure Reason: Horizons of Possibility and Meaning_ comprises a major and important contribution to philosophy. Thanks to the generosity of its publisher, this massive 885-page volume has been published as a free open access eBook (3.75MB) as well as an open access printed edition. It inaugurates a revolutionary paradigm shift in philosophical thought by providing compelling and long-sought-for solutions to a wide range of philosophical problems. In the process, the work fundamentally transforms the way in which the concepts of reference, meaning, and possibility are understood. The book includes a Foreword by the celebrated German philosopher and physicist Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker. ●●●●● -/- In Kant’s _Critique of Pure Reason_ we find an analysis of the preconditions of experience and of knowledge. In contrast, but yet in parallel, the new _Critique_ focuses upon the ways—unfortunately very widespread and often unselfconsciously habitual—in which many of the concepts that we employ _conflict_ with the very preconditions of meaning and of knowledge. ●●●●● -/- This is a book about the boundaries of frameworks and about the unrecognized conceptual confusions in which we become entangled when we attempt to transgress beyond the limits of the possible and meaningful. We tend either not to recognize or not to accept that we all-too-often attempt to trespass beyond the boundaries of the frameworks that make knowledge possible and the world meaningful. ●●●●● -/- The _Critique of Impure Reason_ proposes a bold, ground-breaking, and startling thesis: that a great many of the major philosophical problems of the past can be solved through the recognition of a viciously deceptive form of thinking to which philosophers as well as non-philosophers commonly fall victim. For the first time, the book advances and justifies the criticism that a substantial number of the questions that have occupied philosophers fall into the category of “impure reason,” violating the very conditions of their possible meaningfulness. ●●●●● -/- The purpose of the study is twofold: first, to enable us to recognize the boundaries of what is referentially forbidden—the limits beyond which reference becomes meaningless—and second, to avoid falling victims to a certain broad class of conceptual confusions that lie at the heart of many major philosophical problems. As a consequence, the boundaries of _possible meaning_ are determined. ●●●●● -/- Bartlett, the author or editor of more than 20 books, is responsible for identifying this widespread and delusion-inducing variety of error, _metalogical projection_. It is a previously unrecognized and insidious form of erroneous thinking that undermines its own possibility of meaning. It comes about as a result of the pervasive human compulsion to seek to transcend the limits of possible reference and meaning. ●●●●● -/- Based on original research and rigorous analysis combined with extensive scholarship, the _Critique of Impure Reason_ develops a self-validating method that makes it possible to recognize, correct, and eliminate this major and pervasive form of fallacious thinking. In so doing, the book provides at last provable and constructive solutions to a wide range of major philosophical problems. ●●●●● -/- CONTENTS AT A GLANCE ▪▪▪▪▪ Preface ▪▪▪▪▪ Foreword by Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker ▪▪▪▪▪ Acknowledgments ▪▪▪▪▪ Avant-propos: A philosopher’s rallying call ▪▪▪▪▪ Introduction ▪▪▪▪▪ A note to the reader ▪▪▪▪▪ A note on conventions ▪▪▪▪▪ ▪▪▪▪▪ ▪▪▪▪▪ PART I ▪▪▪▪▪ ▪▪▪▪▪ WHY PHILOSOPHY HAS MADE NO PROGRESS AND HOW IT CAN ▪▪▪▪▪ 1 Philosophical-psychological prelude ▪▪▪▪▪ 2 Putting belief in its place: Its psychology and a needed polemic ▪▪▪▪▪ 3 Turning away from the linguistic turn: From theory of reference to metalogic of reference ▪▪▪▪▪ 4 The stepladder to maximum theoretical generality ▪▪▪▪▪ ▪▪▪▪▪ ▪▪▪▪▪ PART II ▪▪▪▪▪ THE METALOGIC OF REFERENCE ▪▪▪▪▪ A New Approach to Deductive, Transcendental Philosophy ▪▪▪▪▪ 5 Reference, identity, and identification ▪▪▪▪▪ 6 Self-referential argument and the metalogic of reference ▪▪▪▪▪ 7 Possibility theory ▪▪▪▪▪ 8 Presupposition logic, reference, and identification ▪▪▪▪▪ 9 Transcendental argumentation and the metalogic of reference ▪▪▪▪▪ 10 Framework relativity ▪▪▪▪▪ 11 The metalogic of meaning ▪▪▪▪▪ 12 The problem of putative meaning and the logic of meaninglessness ▪▪▪▪▪ 13 Projection ▪▪▪▪▪ 14 Horizons ▪▪▪▪▪ 15 De-projection ▪▪▪▪▪ 16 Self-validation ▪▪▪▪▪ 17 Rationality: Rules of admissibility ▪▪▪▪▪ ▪▪▪▪▪ ▪▪▪▪▪ PART III ▪▪▪▪▪ PHILOSOPHICAL APPLICATIONS OF THE METALOGIC OF REFERENCE ▪▪▪▪▪ Major Problems and Questions of Philosophy and the Philosophy of Science ▪▪▪▪▪ 18 Ontology and the metalogic of reference ▪▪▪▪▪ 19 Discovery or invention in general problem-solving, mathematics, and physics ▪▪▪▪▪ 20 The conceptually unreachable: “The far side” ▪▪▪▪▪ 21 The projections of the external world, things-in-themselves, other minds, realism, and idealism ▪▪▪▪▪ 22 The projections of time, space, and space-time ▪▪▪▪▪ 23 The projections of causality, determinism, and free will ▪▪▪▪▪ 24 Projections of the self and of solipsism ▪▪▪▪▪ 25 Non-relational, agentless reference and referential fields ▪▪▪▪▪ 26 Relativity physics as seen through the lens of the metalogic of reference ▪▪▪▪▪ 27 Quantum theory as seen through the lens of the metalogic of reference ▪▪▪▪▪ 28 Epistemological lessons learned from and applicable to relativity physics and quantum theory ▪▪▪▪▪ ▪▪▪▪▪ PART IV ▪▪▪▪▪ HORIZONS ▪▪▪▪▪ 29 Beyond belief ▪▪▪▪▪ 30 _Critique of Impure Reason_: Its results in retrospect ▪▪▪▪▪ ▪▪▪▪▪ SUPPLEMENT ▪▪▪▪▪ The Formal Structure of the Metalogic of Reference ▪▪▪▪▪ APPENDIX I ▪▪▪▪▪ The Concept of Horizon in the Work of Other Philosophers ▪▪▪▪▪ APPENDIX II ▪▪▪▪▪ Epistemological Intelligence ▪▪▪▪▪ References ▪▪▪▪▪ Index ▪▪▪▪▪ About the author . 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This Element introduces major issues in the epistemology of experimental physics through discussion of canonical physics experiments and some that have not yet received much philosophical attention. The primary challenge is to make sense of how physicists justify crucial decisions made in the course of empirical research. Judging a result as epistemically significant or as calling for further technical scrutiny of the equipment is one important context of such decisions. Judging whether the instrument has been calibrated, and which data should (...) be included in the analysis are others. To what extent is it possible to offer philosophical analysis, systematization, and prescriptions regarding such decisions? To what extent can there be explicit epistemic justification for them? The primary aim of this Element is to show how a nuanced understanding of science in practice informs an epistemology of experimental physics that avoids strong social constructivism. (shrink)
According to the algebraic approach to spacetime, a thoroughgoing dynamicism, physical fields exist without an underlying manifold. This view is usually implemented by postulating an algebraic structure (e.g., commutative ring) of scalar-valued functions, which can be interpreted as representing a scalar field, and deriving other structures from it. In this work, we point out that this leads to the unjustified primacy of an undetermined scalar field. Instead, we propose to consider algebraic structures in which all (and only) physical fields are (...) primitive. We explain how the theory of natural operations in differential geometry—the modern formalism behind classifying diffeomorphism-invariant constructions—can be used to obtain concrete implementations of this idea for any given collection of fields. For concrete examples, we illustrate how our approach applies to a number of particular physical fields, including electrodynamics coupled to a Weyl spinor. (shrink)
In the paper it is demonstrated that Bell’s theorem is an unprovable theorem. The unprovable characteristic has, on the chemical side, repercussions for e.g. spin chemistry and the related magneto-reception studies. We claim that the unprovability of this basic mathematics cannot be ignored by the physics and chemical research community. The demonstrated mathematical multivaluedness could be an overlooked aspect of nature.
Philosophers now seem to agree that frequentism is an untenable strategy to explain the meaning of probabilities. Nevertheless, I want to revive frequentism, and I will do so by grounding probabilities on typicality in the same way as the thermodynamic arrow of time can be grounded on typicality within statistical mechanics. This account, which I will call typicality frequentism, will evade the major criticisms raised against previous forms of frequentism. In this theory, probabilities arise within a physical theory from statistical (...) behavior of almost all initial conditions. The main advantage of typicality frequentism is that it shows which kinds of probabilities (that also have empirical relevance) can be derived from physics. Although one cannot recover all probability talk in this account, this is rather a virtue than a vice, because it shows which types of probabilities can in fact arise from physics and which types need to be explained in different ways, thereby opening the path for a pluralistic account of probabilities. (shrink)
I want to combine two hitherto largely independent research projects, scientific understanding and mechanistic explanations. Understanding is not only achieved by answering why-questions, that is, by providing scientific explanations, but also by answering what-questions, that is, by providing what I call scientific descriptions. Based on this distinction, I develop three forms of understanding: understanding-what, understanding-why, and understanding-how. I argue that understanding-how is a particularly deep form of understanding, because it is based on mechanistic explanations, which answer why something happens in (...) virtue of what it is made of. I apply the three forms of understanding to two case studies: first, to the historical development of thermodynamics and, second, to the differences between the Clausius and the Boltzmann entropy in explaining thermodynamic processes. (shrink)
This book presents a thoroughly empiricist account of physics. By providing an overview of the development of empiricism from Ockham to van Fraassen the book lays the foundation for its own version of empiricism. Empiricism for the author consists of three ideas: nominalism, i.e. dismissing second order quantification as unnecessary, epistemological naturalism, and viewing classification of things in natural kinds as a human habit not in need for any justification. The book offers views on the realism-antirealism debate as well as (...) on the individuation of theories as a thoroughly neglected aspect of underdetermination. The book next discusses a broad range of topics, including the predicates body, spatial distance and time interval, the ontology of electromagnetism, propensities, the measurement problem and other philosophical issues in quantum theory. Discussions about the direction of time and about string theory make up the final part of the book. (shrink)
Most philosophers of physics are eliminativists about causation. Following Bertrand Russell’s lead, they think that causation is a folk concept that cannot be rationally reconstructed within a worldview informed by contemporary physics. Against this thesis, I argue that physics contributes to shaping the concept of causation, in two ways. (1) Special Relativity is a physical theory that expresses causal constraints. (2) The physical concept of a conserved quantity can be used in the functional reduction of the notion of causation. The (...) empirical part of this reduction makes the hypothesis that the transference of an amount of a conserved quantity is a necessary and sufficient condition for causation. This hypothesis is defended against several objections from physics: that amounts of energy do not possess the appropriate identity conditions required for being able to be transmitted, that there is no universal principle of the conservation of energy in General Relativity, and that there are at least two types of physical systems in which causation does not involve any transference: entangled systems in quantum mechanics and the Aharonov–Bohm effect. In order to show that physics provides means to elaborate the concept of causation it is important to avoid certain misunderstandings. In particular, the claim that there is causation in a physical world does not mean that causation is an additional ingredient of the “furniture” of the world, over and above the ingredients identified by physics. (shrink)
L'éternalisme, la thèse selon laquelle les entités que nous catégorisons comme étant passées, présentes et futures existent tout autant, est la meilleure approche ontologique de l'existence temporelle qui soit en accord avec les théories de la relativité restreinte et de la relativité générale. Cependant, les théories de la relativité restreinte et générale ne sont pas fondamentales si bien que plusieurs programmes de recherche tentent de trouver une théorie plus fondamentale de la gravité quantique rassemblant tous les enseignements de la physique (...) relativiste et de la physique quantique. Certaines de ces approches soutiennent que le temps n'est pas fondamental. Toutefois, si le temps n'est pas fondamental, quelles en sont les conséquences pour l'éternalisme et les débats sur l'existence dans le temps ? Premièrement, je soutiendrai que la non-fondamentalité du temps que l'on rencontre dans la théorie des cordes mène à l'éternalisme standard. Deuxièmement, je soutiendrai que la non-fondamentalité du temps rencontrée dans la gravité quantique à boucles implique l'éternalisme atemporel, à savoir une nouvelle position qui demeure fidèle à l'esprit de l'éternalisme standard. (shrink)
The relevance of analytic metaphysics has come under criticism: Ladyman & Ross, for instance, have suggested do discontinue the field. French & McKenzie have argued in defense of analytic metaphysics that it develops tools that could turn out to be useful for philosophy of physics. In this article, we show first that this heuristic defense of metaphysics can be extended to the scientific field of applied ontology, which uses constructs from analytic metaphysics. Second, we elaborate on a parallel by French (...) & McKenzie between mathematics and metaphysics to show that the whole field of analytic metaphysics, being useful not only for philosophy but also for science, should continue to exist as a largely autonomous field. (shrink)
Many physicists have thought that absolute time became otiose with the introduction of Special Relativity. William Lane Craig disagrees. Craig argues that although relativity is empirically adequate within a domain of application, relativity is literally false and should be supplanted by a Neo-Lorentzian alternative that allows for absolute time. Meanwhile, Craig and co-author James Sinclair have argued that physical cosmology supports the conclusion that physical reality began to exist at a finite time in the past. However, on their view, the (...) beginning of physical reality requires the objective passage of absolute time, so that the beginning of physical reality stands or falls with Craig's Neo-Lorentzian metaphysics. Here, I raise doubts about whether, given Craig's NeoLorentzian metaphysics, physical cosmology could adequately support a beginning of physical reality within the finite past. Craig and Sinclair's conception of the beginning of the universe requires a past boundary to the universe. A past boundary to the universe cannot be directly observed and so must be inferred from the observed matter-energy distribution in conjunction with auxilary hypotheses drawn from a substantive physical theory. Craig's brand of Neo Lorentzianism has not been sufficiently well specified so as to infer either that there is a past boundary or that the boundary is located in the finite past. Consequently, Neo Lorentzianism implicitly introduces a form of skepticism that removes the ability that we might have otherwise had to infer a beginning of the universe. Furthermore, in analyzing traditional big bang models, I develop criteria that Neo-Lorentzians should deploy in thinking about the direction and duration of time in cosmological models generally. For my last task, I apply the same criteria to bounce cosmologies and show that Craig and Sinclair have been wrong to interpret bounce cosmologies as including a beginning of physical reality. (shrink)
Jill North offers answers to questions at the heart of the project of interpreting physics. How do we figure out the nature of the world from a mathematically formulated theory? What do we infer about the world when a physical theory can be mathematically formulated in different ways? The notion of structure is crucial to North's answers.
In this paper I challenge two widespread convictions about unification in physics: unification is an aim of physics and unification is driven by metaphysical or metatheoretical presuppositions. I call these external explanations of why there is unification in physics. Against this, I claim that unification is a by-product of physical research and unification is driven by basic methodological strategies of physics alone. I call this an internal explanation of why there is unification in physics. To support my claims, I will (...) investigate the actual practice undertaken in physics in paradigmatic examples of unification. (shrink)
Mark Wilson argues that the standard categorizations of "Theory T thinking"— logic-centered conceptions of scientific organization (canonized via logical empiricists in the mid-twentieth century)—dampens the understanding and appreciation of those strategic subtleties working within science. By "Theory T thinking," we mean to describe the simplistic methodology in which mathematical science allegedly supplies ‘processes’ that parallel nature's own in a tidily isomorphic fashion, wherein "Theory T’s" feigned rigor and methodological dogmas advance inadequate discrimination that fails to distinguish between explanatory structures that (...) are architecturally distinct. One of Wilson's main goals is to reverse such premature exclusions and, thus, early on Wilson returns to John Locke's original physical concerns regarding material science and the congeries of descriptive concern insofar as capturing varied phenomena (i.e., cohesion, elasticity, fracture, and the transmission of coherent work) encountered amongst ordinary solids like wood and steel are concerned. Of course, Wilson methodologically updates such a purview by appealing to multiscalar techniques of modern computing, drawing from Robert Batterman's work on the greediness of scales and Jim Woodward's insights on causation. (shrink)
From the beginning of time, humans believed they were the center of the universe. Such important beings could be nowhere else than at the very epicenter of existence, with all the other things revolving around them. Was this an arrogant position? Only time will tell. What is certain is that as some people were so certain of their significance, aeons later some other people became too confident in their unimportance. In such a context, the Earth quickly lost its privileged position (...) at the center of the universe and along with this, the ideas of absolute motion and time became unbearable for the modern intellect, which saw nothing but relativeness in everything. After years of accepting the ideas of relativity at face value without doubting them, scientists are now mature enough to start questioning everything as any true scientist would do, including their own basic assumptions. And one would be surprised to see that the basic assumptions of today’s science in physics (and cosmology alike) are based on philosophically dogmatic beliefs that humans are nothing more than insignificant specks of dust. These specks cannot be in any privileged position in the cosmos, nor can their frames of reference. These specks cannot be living on a planet that is not moving while everything else is. There can be no hint of our importance whatsoever. Hence, the Copernican principle that has poisoned scientific thinking for aeons now. When one analyzes the evidence provided by science to support the idea of relativity though, he would see that the same evidence can more easily and simply fit into a model where the Earth stands still. Yet, scientists preferred to revamp all physics by introducing the totally unintuitive ides of relativity – including the absolute limit of the speed of light – than even admitting the possibility of humans having any notion of central position in the cosmos. True scientists though should examine all possible explanations, including those that do not fit their beliefs. To the dismay of so many modern scientists who blindly believe the validity of the theory of relativity at face value, the movement towards a true and honest post-modern science where all assumptions are questioned, necessarily passes through a place where the Earth we live in stands still. Non-relativistic explanations of the Michelson Morley experiment, related to a motionless Earth or to ether, are viable alternatives that deserve their place in modern scientific thought. (shrink)