Questions tagged [philosophy-of-physics]

If your question is more physics and less philosophy, consider asking it on Physics.SE (possibly with the soft-question tag).

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What is a system?

Informally, a system of the kind I'm asking about is an arrangement of physical components that interact causally with each other and with an external environment. For example: a pendulum, a car, a ...
causative's user avatar
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How could we have defined time, had matter in our universe not been atomic?

A thought occurred reflecting upon SI and its system of units. The definition of the unit meter (the distance a light beam in a vacuum travels in 1/299,792,458 of a second) is a perfect definition of ...
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Under what conditions could all of reality be reduced to a formal system?

It would be very convenient if we had, at least non-constructively, a correspondent formal system that could reproduce any causal event within the universe. The strength would be that naturalism would ...
Wowser's user avatar
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Does space behave like a logical operator that applies rules to its elements?

I am asking due to being inspired by the following: Consider a particle system with uniform motion in vacuum not sensitive towards fluctuations, such that classical mechanics applies. Now, consider ...
Wowser's user avatar
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What system of physics should be used for the subset of reality that is much slower than light, in weak gravity fields, around the scale of 1m?

Before you say "Newtonian mechanics", the question is: how do physicists know that Newtonian mechanics doesn't operate on broken logic? And not just with regards to extreme cases (1 nm ...
Fomalhaut's user avatar
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8 answers
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Do distant stars still exist or are they just images?

This question might sound quite odd and is a mix of philosophy and physics. Suppose we observe a star that is 50 million lightyears away, and suppose it is a type of star that has a lifespan of only ...
Augs's user avatar
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Is causality perpetual? [closed]

Suppose causality were not perpetual, then at some point, it must have been created. Then there was a process that constructed it, i.e. a causal process. But we assumed absence of any causality. ...
Wowser's user avatar
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What is the definition of nothingness?

I am asking this question because I read Lawrence Krauss's book "A Universe from Nothing". I have also read a lot of criticism of that book, saying that Krauss's "nothingness" is ...
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Does necessitarianism imply that every true statement about the physical world is a law of physics?

I am someone who believes that nothing is possible except the actual. In my view, all non-actual possible statements are false. So, for example, the statements "Unicorns could have evolved on ...
user107952's user avatar
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How many dimensions does time have?

As phrased in the title, How many dimensions does time have? If one considers time by itself (in isolation from other putative phenomena such as space or spacetime), what can be said about the ...
pygosceles's user avatar
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What does "fundamental" mean?

Electrons and photons are fundamental, while chairs and tables are not. Some theories of physics also state that space or time or both, are not fundamental. But what does that mean, "fundamental&...
user107952's user avatar
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Metaphysical theories for why physics has the structure it has

The laws of physics have an extremely rich structure. The more fundamental you go, the more complex it becomes (e.g. Quantum Mechanics is more complex (no pun) than Newtonian mechanics). This ...
Ryder Rude's user avatar
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6 answers
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Does Multi-World Interpretation really eliminate randomness in quantum mechanics?

As I understood it, the Multi World Interpretation (MWI) was meant to avoid the problem of resorting to randomness, by replacing the random wavefunction collapse in Copenhagen Interpretation with ...
Lukewarm_cocoa's user avatar
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5 answers
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Falsifiability of Assumptions

Karl Popper maintained that empirical sciences should be based on the principle of falsifiability rather than verifiability for no amount of observations can guarantee veracity but a single ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
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4 answers
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Must physics obey logic?

Must all physical theories conform to the laws of logic, such as being self-consistent? I am asking this because I once had an argument with a friend regarding the physics of time travel. I argued ...
user107952's user avatar
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Question about Boltzmann Brain?

If all the memories contained within a Boltzmann brain were hypothetical, so would be the physical laws that enable its very existence; therefore, a Boltzmann brain wouldn't be able to explain itself?
Marco Fabbri's user avatar
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Can Mathematics Fully Describe the Universe?

To what extent mathematics can capture all physical phenomena? Drawing an analogy from computer science: finite automata can handle regular expressions (does "(([a-z]))" match "((h))&...
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How to explain the cosmic expansion? [closed]

We know from astrophysics that the cosmos expands, i.e. that all galaxies recede from each other. This fact is confirmed by observation. It can also be obtained as a solution of the Einstein equations....
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Is it possible to simulate a reality like ours using other logic than classical logic?

Are there alternative logical systems that could serve as a foundation for simulating a reality similar to ours, given that non-classical logics such as paraconsistent logic, while applicable in ...
Sayaman's user avatar
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Books on the philosophy of quantum mechanics

As the title says, I am looking for books on the philosophy of quantum mechanics; more specifically on ontology and or epistemolgy. So far I've found Tim Maudlin's Philosophy of Physics: Quantum ...
PhysPhil's user avatar
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2 answers
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Tautological Many Worlds?

this is my first question here so I hope I'm following the guidelines correctly. I recently found a relatively obscure physicist/philosopher who asserts that the concept of Many Worlds is ...
user's user avatar
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Does quantum mechanics rule out the principle of sufficient reason?

The Principle of Sufficient Reason is a philosophical principle stipulating that everything must have a reason, cause, or ground. My question is: does quantum mechanics serve as evidence against it as ...
thinkingman's user avatar
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Quantum probability theory and the idea of a "truth-value sphere"

A while ago I asked a question about using imaginary numbers as truth-values for a peculiar concept known as "the square root of negation"; I just found out that apparently this concept is ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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3 answers
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Positivism in search for truth

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positivism The notion that scientific theories must be tested experimentally is fundamental to the doctrine of positivism, which also requires that theories must always ...
quanity's user avatar
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What kind of physical complexity is related to the axiom of regularity for sets?

Augenstein's exploration in Links between physics and set theory mentions Ulam relating complexity and regularity: There are several sources for appreciating Ulam’s ideas and interests. A collection ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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1 answer
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Are there similar theory to Nikolay Bugaev's idea of "emergent morality"?

I need someone's insight to put into perspective the thoughts of an author I discovered only recently. Although this author's idea seems very intuitive - the kind of idea you might have as a child or ...
user21102's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
270 views

Causation in physics

Electromagnetic radiation phenomena exhibit a temporal asymmetry: we observe radiation coherently diverging from a radiating source, such the light emitted by a star, but we do not observe radiation ...
quanity's user avatar
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Are there any sources linking Schopenhauerian metaphysics (will as thing-in-itself) with our contemporary understanding of physics?

I'm especially interested if there are any attempts at reconciling Schopenhauer's metaphysical will with the seeming indeterministic nature of quantum physics. Thank you.
TCL's user avatar
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Can we make nontrivial predictions about the potential future usefulness of specific forms of math, or is it too easy to manipulate math?

This question is motivated by something from the set-theorist Hugh Woodin, a prediction he has made and styled as empirical, according to which a subtheory that he uses will not be shown inconsistent ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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0 answers
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Models and theories following Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright introduced an interesting distinction in the context of her study of the history of the evolution of our understanding of superconductivity. She emphasized the distinction between ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
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Under metaphysical naturalism, does everything boil down to Physics?

If metaphysical naturalism is true, would that mean that Physics is the ultimate discipline that can sufficiently explain everything, and that all other disciplines, including Chemistry, Biology, ...
Mark's user avatar
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Where does the canon event theory of identity formation come from?

There is an idea in the new Spider-man movie Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, where spider-men through different dimensions have to deal with inter-dimensional problems. In it, one critical part ...
tryst with freedom's user avatar
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4 answers
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What would happen if the universe had no global symmetries and conservation laws?

I am asking this question in this site as it involves some philosophy of physics... I am trying to understand what would happen to the universe if it had no global symmetries (including those that ...
vengaq's user avatar
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4 answers
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Is there a level at which energy and matter are indistinguishable?; viz. can space exist without perception?

My larger question is this: "Can (physical) space exist without perception?" I'm especially interested in a smaller question that I believe addresses the larger question, which is: "Is ...
40EridaniB's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
203 views

What did Kant mean by "pure physics"?

Early in the Prolegomena, Kant says that both pure mathematics and pure physics are examples of a priori cognition. What exactly did he mean by "pure physics"?
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Is it possible for the universe to be deterministic at one level, but not at a higher level?

I know that it is certainly possible for the universe to be stochastic at one level, but deterministic at a higher level. For example, I have read that while quantum mechanics is a stochastic theory, ...
user107952's user avatar
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-1 votes
3 answers
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Is thermodynamics science? [closed]

Areas of science are defined by what they study. Electromagnetism studies electric / magnetic forces, astronomy studies stars etc. The thing studied by thermodynamics is entropy. What is interesting ...
Dennis Kozevnikoff's user avatar
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2 answers
276 views

Is special relativity immune to the paradox of Achilles?

According to the entry "Proper Time" in Wikipedia, for an object in a SR spacetime traveling with velocity v for a time interval Δ T c2Δ T 2 = c2 Δτ2 + v 2 Δ T2, where Δ T is the coordinate ...
Morteza's user avatar
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2 answers
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Does the Universe have a boundary? [closed]

We see that the Universe is also called (sky) when Aristotle talks about it. But I thought about it and I came to the conclusion when someone asked the question about my belief in what Aristotle said ...
Simerarion's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
238 views

Time as a transition from a whole which is constitutable by each of many sets of parts to the set of parts that generates the shortest path?

Summary: Any entity E which is constituted by extrinsically indiscernible parts A and B remains extrinsically the same, in all stages of the change, even if A changes to B and B to A (concurrently). ...
Morteza's user avatar
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What is the "fabric" of spacetime if it is not a relational entity?

This is an interdisciplinary (philosophical physics) question. In Newton's absolute spacetime model, spacetime is described as a physical entity. However, in the relational spacetime model (supported ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
118 views

Are information, matter and energy improper concepts?

In Proper and Improper concepts (1927) Carnap argued for the distinction between proper concepts (the ones that are explicitly defined) ”It is essential to a proper concept that for any object it is ...
Eauriel's user avatar
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7 answers
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Determinism vs prediction

What is the difference between determinism and predictable. I have heard classical mechanics is both predictable and deterministic , chaos theory is deterministic but unpredictable , quantum mechanics ...
quanity's user avatar
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-1 votes
3 answers
142 views

What is the definition of a physical thing?

Physicalism is the view that only the physical exists. But that raises the question, what is the definition of a physical thing or object? Has any philosopher defined physicality? I would like some ...
user107952's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Ballentine on the concept of state (ensemble interpretation of quantum mechanics)

Early in Chapter 2 of Ballentine's Quantum Mechanics, he gives what I will call Statement 1: The empirical content of a probability statement is revealed only in the relative frequencies in a ...
EE18's user avatar
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Mathematics and the observer in Wolfram Fundamental Physics Project...?

In this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrnteM9E2tI&t=6633s) about mathematics in the Wolfram Physics Project, Stephen Wolfram says at minute 1:49:37 something that seems contradictory: He ...
vengaq's user avatar
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0 votes
6 answers
373 views

Why are the laws of the universe so perfect and consistent?

First of all, for the premise of this question, let's disregard quantum mechanics and relativity (whose existence is another big question ─ why did either of these very complicated sets of physical ...
Max's user avatar
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Are there in fact no laws of nature?

Are there in fact no laws of nature? This thought just occurred to me. Let me explain. We call certain true statements about the physical world laws of nature. But maybe the distinction between true ...
user107952's user avatar
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6 votes
4 answers
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What is a physical quantity in science?

The Wikipedia article on Physical Quantities, says that: The meaning of the term physical quantity is generally well understood (everyone understands what is meant by the frequency of a periodic ...
Harshit Rajput's user avatar
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4 answers
190 views

Is butterfly effect always happening?

You are sitting at front of house with warm tea. Right when you drinking it with glass, there is vehicle accident at street of front house. If you didn't drink it at that time before, will the ...
Muhammad Ikhwan Perwira's user avatar

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