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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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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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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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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133 views

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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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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1answer
79 views

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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345 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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3answers
233 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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102 views

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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228 views

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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172 views

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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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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1answer
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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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117 views

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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148 views

Why is time travel not possible at all?

Time: It is a mathematical dimension to measure the change of state (any motion) of Existence (includes universe/multiverse/entire creation). In order to travel in Time, one has to change the state of ...
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247 views

Physics, “the beginning of time” and common sense

If we accept the result of big-bang theory that time does not indefinitely extend back in the past, how can this result be smoothly integrated with the common-sense view that for every time-instant ...
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102 views

Mathematical Analyticity Within Context of Physical Theory [closed]

Postulate: Mathematics is constructed. We construct the syntax, grammar and assign semantics to mathematical statements artificially. Lemma: There is no constraint on what constructed mathematical ...
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129 views

Do really all mental states exist in some universe according to Many-Minds Interpretation?

According to the Many Minds interpretation of quantum mechanics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-minds_interpretation), the distinction between worlds in the Many Worlds interpretation should be ...
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1answer
112 views

Is information the foundation of reality? [closed]

More and more philosophers and scientists speculate that the basis of reality could be information, however there is something that does not come back to me in this line of reasoning: information is a ...
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208 views

Validity of physical laws and observation

I am placing this question on philosophy stack exchange because a mathematician wouldn't care, and a physicist would be extremely insulted. Consider Newton's Law F=ma. First, I am observing this as ...
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Non-Computability And Randomnes

I once thought (tweeted) that physics is 'explaining the explainable (computable) part of the universe' as the rest can be seen as random. Now I'm not sure about this anymore. The simplest example ...
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123 views

How/Why is the explanation/prediction of physical phenomena not deductive?

Why is the explanation of the triboelectric effect or the electrostatic effect(indicative examples) not deductive? How so we have a set of premises and from them follows the conclusion which is what ...
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74 views

Axiomatic system and symbolic, formal, mathematical language

Is there any need for axiomatic systems to be in a symbolic, formal, mathematical language? Equivalently is there any prohibition of axioms in axiomatic systems being in natural language? In other ...
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Methodological universalities in Physics

Is there any methodological characteristic universal in Physics? Even if some branches of Physics lose their reproducibility, their experimental testing, their deterministic predictivity isn't some ...
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335 views

Relation of reproducibility and the lack of contigencies with the scientific method

What is the relation of reproducibility and the lack of contigencies with the scientific method? Quantum mechanics and Statistical physics/mechanics are vurnerable/suspectible to contigencies. We ...
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Is the idea of a causal chain physical (or even scientific)?

I am aware that the idea is venerable, going back through Lucretius to the Stoics and Epicurus, and even to Aristotle with his prime mover argument. But isn't this a pre-scientific notion? The ...
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Why Are Physical Observations Mathematical?

Why does Newton's law of gravitiation look the way it does? Why is the Gravitiational Consntant this specific value? Why do Maxwell's Equations look the way they do? Why is it that abstract quantities ...
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101 views

Would it be trivial to think the physical as those entities which are necessary for a maximally complete physics?

I've been studying physicalism for a presentation I'll be doing on Shelly Kagan's book Death. One of the slides is on its problems, and one of those problems is that we don't have a clear definition ...
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191 views

Why is it not necessary to to tell what force is?

In his book, "Science and Hypothesis" on page no. 98, Henri Poincaré write on subject of defining force: [.....When we say force is the cause of motion, we are talking metaphysics; and this ...
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172 views

About Wigner's view on the relation between mathematics and physics?

Physicist Eugene Wigner argued that the enormous usefulness of mathematics in the natural sciences is something bordering on the mysterious and that there is no rational explanation for it ...
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Did Stephen Hawking think that logic is contingent on physics?

According to this book*: Extrasensory Perception: Support, Skepticism, and Science, it says that Stephen Hawking thought that logic was contingent on physics, i.e that logic depends on the physics of ...
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Physical correlates of consciousness

The term neural correlates of consciousness is well established (~ 277,000 Google results, one Wikipedia article), but I'd like to ask for more general physical correlates of consciousness (~ 6,000 ...
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If Newton's Principia / similar does not impose a rigid approach, then is physics rigorous?

I read from the Wikipedia site regarding the concept "paradigm" that: The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy attributes the following description of the term to Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of ...
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Did physicist Erwin Schrödinger propose that reality could have contradictions?

Did Schrödinger believe that contradictory or inconsistent things could exist in reality? Was Schrödinger some kind of dialetheist?
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What were the arguments Hawking considered naive against imaginary time?

background So I recently I read this. I believe that you are correct; I think an inclusion of that might make the article a bit clearer. Hawking used that explanation to rebuke a naive ...
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Non-demarcation between internalist and externalist accounts?

Question Are the internalist and externalist accounts of perception such as vision possible? Background Philosophers distinguish internalist accounts, which assume that perceptions of objects, ...
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166 views

What does it mean to say that physics is a 'masculine' subject (in the West) and not in Palestine? [closed]

According to Dr. Kate Shaw, a British physicist: It is a known phenomenon in the Arab world that the number of women studying physics surpasses that of men, and in Palestine, I saw this most ...
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Is a quantum theory that is indigenously quantum mechanical a real possibility?

The general approach to Quantum Mechanics is that one first takes a classical system and then quantise to obtain a quantum mechanical system. This holds for QM itself, and QFT such as QED and QCD and ...
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Boltzmann brain - how are the laws of physics presented?

Does the Boltzmann brain scenario also assume that the laws of physics are presented consistently for each individual brain? In other words: 1) Why do we assume that the types of brains fluctuated ...
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What kind of philosophy of the foundations of physics can there be?

I'm currently trying to read into topos foundations for theories of physics and I wonder if we are really able to give a philosophical foundation for what a possible future theory of physics should ...
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What kind of questions can science answer?

Please bear with me, as I am self-studying philosophy as a beginner. My questions are about the limitations of empirical science. During my reading of some books, I've come across statements of the ...
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How influential was “galvanism” on philosophy, and was it rightfully so?

I'm currently reading F. W. Schelling's "First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature". Schelling, a late 18th-early 19th century philosopher, was very well-informed about contemporary ...
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Removal of the distinction between the “initial condition” and the “laws of physics”?

Background and Question Here's something I was wondering: The (known) laws of physics can be formulated in such a way that one say: "initial condition" + "laws of physics" gives us a "final solution."...
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235 views

A comprehensive introduction to relationship between math and experience

I am a mathematician with interest in physics and pure logic and exists one problem: the connection between math and physics. Math concerned on pure universal truths and physics concerned on ...
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Did physicist Eugene Wigner think that every mathematical structure existed as an isolated universe?

I have read that Eugene Paul Wigner thought that all mathematical structures had physical existence. Does that mean that he believed in a multiverse containing all mathematical structures as separate ...
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252 views

Max Tegmark's Mathematical Universe

Max Tegmark believes the universe to be a mathematical structure, and he further claims any mathematical structure with self-aware substructure will perceive itself in a physical world. What exactly ...
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Did physicist Max Born think that mathematical structures are platonic entities?

It seems that prominent physicist Max Born (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Born) believed in some kind of Platonism. We can infer this, for example, from the book "The Innermost Kernel" (https://...

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