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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We know Classical Mechanics is wrong. But can we also say every other theory is wrong except the Theory of Everything?

Classical Mechanics (CM) or Quantum Mechanics (QM) is technically wrong. That doesn't mean they are irrelevant or have less significance, but they are wrong regardless of how accurate they are. Can we ...
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2 answers
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On physical existence. Do virtual particles of QFT exist?

Existence is a polysemic and difficult word to define. Almost certainly numbers (and other well-defined mathematical objects) exist in a different way than a real physical object (the chair I sit in, ...
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Proper Philosophical Texts on the Philosophy of Science

I am a college freshman majoring in Philosophy and Physics. I am interested in the Philosophy of Physics, but before that, I would like to get an idea of general philosophical issues in the sciences. ...
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10 votes
6 answers
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Is there "empirical" distance without "mathematical" distance?

Mathematicians since antiquity have been thinking about length and angle, including doing things with straight-edges, rulers, compasses, and protractors. Fast-forward to modern physics, and you'll see ...
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The relationship between energy and information

I read that the Inuit consider the caribou and the wolf to be complimentary parts of an inclusive, larger entity. I am curious whether it is useful to view the relationship between energy and ...
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2 answers
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Does modern science and physics support solipsism?

Does modern physics and science support solipsism? Does modern physics and science have any evidence that solipsism is true? Do physicists and scientists support solipsism?
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What is meant by a more "general" theory?

It is often said that special relativity is more general than Newtonian mechanics. Is there any precise meaning of what is meant by more "general"? I would consider a theory A more general ...
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Does the universe obey the laws of physics?

Is it the case that the universe obeys the laws of physics? I believe there is a misunderstanding about what the laws of physics actually is. I believe that the laws of physics merely describe what ...
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If I pushed a rod that would be so long it connected Earth to Mars and I would be strong enough to push Mars, what would happen? [closed]

Imagine I am here on Earth, I have a rod that connects me to Mars: I now push the rod, how long will it take before Mars is pushed by the rod? When we do this here on Earth with sticks pushing stones ...
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Do scalar fields satisfy Kant's indefinitely-divisible matter thesis?

So Kant concluded vs. the Second Antinomy that matter is indefinitely divisible, so he would have taken issue with the idea that the Planck scale is the absolute limit, here. At first, I was thinking ...
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3 answers
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Is our Universe physics the only physics

“What really interests me is whether God could have created the world any differently; in other words, whether the requirement of logical simplicity admits a margin of freedom.” This is a quote from ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Causality and Modal concepts

I am a physics student but very interested in some topic of philosophy (specially in analytic philosophy). A question which have been struggled me for some time is the relation between modal concepts ...
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Do breakthroughs in mathematics lead to breakthroughs in other scientific disciplines, vice versa, both, or is there no relationship?

I asked this question in the Mathematics StackExchange, but I was told it might be better posted here in the Philosophy StackExchange. I heard a professor say once that Einstein's mathematics led him ...
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What is the difference between Humeans and primitivist approaches in relation to the laws of nature?

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 (primitivists) who think that laws ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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How would Focault's Archaelogy of Sciences view Physics which just attempts to describe physical reality and not turn humans into subjects?

His work i believe is great with Biology and Psychiatry etc. since it elucidates how humans are turned into subjects, but how does he reject grand theories derived from Physics which simply describes ...
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If there is no more gap, is the existence of God the logical conclusion?

The god of the gaps is used to fill the last gap in front of a fundamental explanation of the physical world. Fundamental physical constants, like the masses of the elementary particle families (or ...
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Emergence and status of the wave function, do any philosophers define physics and physicalism in 21st Century?

Emergence not as the antithesis of physical reduction, more the realization every level can be wildly different. This view of emergence supports reduction, that things are just quarks and fields after ...
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Leibniz's Relational Philosophy and Boundaries?

Leibniz stated: "Thus committed to maintaining that if there were nothing more to motion than relative change of position, then, since motion could be ascribed with equal right to, say, Train A ...
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2 votes
6 answers
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Is energy a physical property of material objects?

I found this assumption in this paper: 'Energy: Between Physics and Metaphysics', Mario Bunge. I am intrigued as to what is the latest on this approach. As a practicing scientist, it is hard to put ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What does Alain Connes think of Tegmark's hypothesis?

The mathematician and mathematical physicist Alain Connes has expressed in many occasions that he is a Platonist and he thinks that mathematics itself does exist in the same level (or even in a "...
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Extending Leibniz’s Relational Philosophy of Physics from Bodies to Fields

Leibniz stated: "Thus committed to maintaining that if there were nothing more to motion than relative change of position, then, since motion could be ascribed with equal right to, say, Train A ...
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4 votes
3 answers
586 views

The shape and extension of the fundamental particles

You could say that particles are just 0-dimensional points. But point particles are just an idealization. If particles are taken to exist physically, and anything which has physical existence has ...
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2 answers
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Heisenberg, Copenhagen and probability in QM

My question is about The Copenhagen interpretation of QM. I am confused about what entities this interpretation of QM presupposes. Heisenberg says that quantum states represent the knowledge an ...
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0 answers
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What type of subjective probability is adopted by Quine?

I am wondering what type of subjective probability is adopted by Quine. Is Quine sympathetic towards de Finetti's probability or Bayes'ones?
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Particle ontology and quantum fluctuations

I have been reading about ontologies in quantum physics recently and I came across Bohmian mechanics. If I understood it correctly BM endorses Particle ontology. Particle ontology claims that point-...
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Examples of physicists who are platonists?

Max Tegmark is perhaps the best example, with his idea which basically proposes that every mathematically possible universe exists. Are there any other examples of physicists with a similar line of ...
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Are physicalists at all in agreement what happens to conciousness if the rate of time is changed?

For the sake of ease of imagination, maybe it's good to use a Machian defintion of time, time is the relative configuration of all physical bodies+fields. I also want to be agnostic about the flow of ...
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Does Shape Dynamics use Space relationalism?

(Already posted this on Physics Stack Exchange, hope it's okay) On Wikipedia it says Shape dynamics is an implementation of Space relationalism however I don't see how this can be true. In general ...
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Is String Theory compatible with Presentism?

Maybe if it was formulated using Neo-Lorentzian interpretation of Special relativity instead of Minkowski spacetime? I don't know Thank you for answer!
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Scientists do not know why speed of light is the same for all observers? [closed]

It has taken me sometime to even understand what this speed of light is all about. I have simply heard that the speed of light is constant in all inertial or in all reference frames without really ...
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2 answers
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Since spacetime can bend and form waves, does this mean it must be made of sub-units of matter? How can something bend if it does not have sub-units?

I posted this question in Physics StackExchange, but it was closed because it was considered "non-mainstream physics", not sure why. Here's the description I wrote for it: My question is ...
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3 votes
2 answers
299 views

Quine's naturalism and the interpretations of Quantum Mechanics

I am wondering what does Quine's naturalism amount to. Specifically, Quine believes that our best scientific theories tell us what exist. This means that science determines our ontology. In the case ...
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Opposing Wolfgang and the species

I've read some summaries of Smith's thinking, which I haven't yet adhered to, here The aim of philosophy is the good life or the best regime, the aim of theology is knowledge of God, and that of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Working in academic philosophy as a physicist

I'm a theoretical physicist who largely works in areas relating to gravity. I also have some formal training in (philosophical) logic from taking some grad level classes. Other than that, though, I ...
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4 votes
4 answers
234 views

Space and time in Kant and space and time in physics

From the Kantian perspective, what would be the relationship between our intuitions of space and time (which form the structure of subjective experience and are not things that exist outside of human ...
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How can we formally define the laws of a physical universe?

Have any philosophers come up with a workable formal, mathematical definition for what the laws of an arbitrary physical universe might be? Such a definition would need to allow specification of ...
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4 answers
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Can there be different laws of physics which hold elsewhere?

Can the laws of physics change from time to time or place to place? My argument is that they can't, simply by definition. Because, by definition, the laws of physics are statements which hold true ...
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1 answer
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What is the best way to model reality if it is a simulation?

Erwin Schrödinger proposed the quantum mechanical model of the atom, which treats electrons as matter waves. So... Quantum mechanics is a model, but it was not created on the assumption that the ...
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2 answers
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What are other elements other than time and space that are said to have dimensions?

What are other elements other than time and space that are said to have dimensions? Most laypeople would say that only space can have dimensions since when we say 3d we immediately think of space, but ...
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Why is there a (modern) debate between absolutists and relativists in (neo-)Newtonian spacetime? [closed]

I'm reading "Time and Space" by Dainton, and it gives a lengthy discussion on the different views on Newtonian and neo-Newtonian spacetime, arguing that absolutists and relativists (or ...
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1 vote
2 answers
367 views

Did the past occur or is it occurring relatively, and will the future occur or is it occurring relatively?

Did the day I was born occur already, or is it occurring relatively to me in the past? Will the day I die occur or is it occurring relatively to me in the future? I know that some physicists are ...
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1 vote
3 answers
256 views

Why is the universe governed by very few laws of high generality instead of lots of particular ones?

The universe has a very wide variety of phenomena. However, there is not, similarly, a zoo of physical laws. Instead, it appears that the universe is governed by a small number of laws that are valid ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Is Fourier transform a human made tool or an act of nature? [duplicate]

I am a PhD students in physics, and my father is a Math researcher. One time, I asked him "Doesn't the fact that we can use math to explain things that happen in front of us, tell us that math is ...
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Are some mathematical truths contingent on the laws of physics?

Are there at least some mathematical truths that would have been different had the laws of physics been different? Probably most mathematical truths would not change, but are there some that would? Or ...
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Is there a difference between 'exists' and 'theoretically possible'?

For the purpose of this questions let's assume that the physics of our universe can be fully described by a complete non-contradictory theory (i.e. that theory of everything exists). Then our universe ...
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How touch occurs in a simulation hypothesis or in a brain hypothesis in a vat?

The point is that it doesn't matter whether these hypothesis are correct or not. The only thing that worries me is how the touch happens if in the real world it is the interaction of atoms (in ...
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Theory of Everything: simple but repetitive or complicated by efficient?

Which of the following criteria is more persuasive for choosing a Theory Of Everything: A very simple theory that requires an enormous amount of calculation to compute the universe (e.g. 10^(10^(10^(....
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8 votes
4 answers
2k views

A distinction between knowledge of laws of physics and the actual laws

What exactly is a law of physics? Suppose, for an hypothetical example, that high-energy light travels ever-so-faster than low-energy light. Then it would turn out that in fact light does not always ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is probability in classical physics always bayesian?

I am wondering how probability is intended in classical physics. I have read a number of articles where it is said that probability in classical physics is generally intended in subjectivist terms as ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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What exactly is Time and Space? [closed]

Question description so that anyone can evaluate and answer accordingly I don't know what is the formal process for a theory to get accepted by the science community, please guide me on how to proceed ...
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