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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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In moral philosophy, how do researchers perceive what is right and wrong (and why)? (For humanity, as a whole) [closed]

My question considers what our definition of right and wrong is (i.e. what's the basis of deciding what right and wrong), along with the origin of right and wrong. In other words, what is the most ...
Kimaya Deshpande's user avatar
9 votes
11 answers
3k views

Is evolution anti-entropic?

Evolution seems to be the tendency for a system to gradually increase in order. Even if the universe globally tends towards disorder (like the “inevitable heat death of the universe”), can we say that ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
1 vote
6 answers
4k views

Does physical reality exist without an observer?

This question also considers principles of quantum physics. When electrons or any other subatomic particles are "observed" or "measured", their wavefunction collapses to a certain ...
Kimaya Deshpande's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
99 views

Is Decision making based on the measured outcome the only way a single elementary particle can make future uncertain in large macroscopic scale?

Richard Feynman wrote: "It is not our ignorance of the internal gears, of the internal complications, that makes nature appear to have probability in it. It seems to be somehow intrinsic. Someone ...
SURYABARTA SAHA's user avatar
-2 votes
4 answers
539 views

Why is the "where are all the Xs?" argument considered strong when X = "time travelers" but weak when X = "aliens"?

Stephen Hawking was considered wise when he performed an antic where he hosted a party for time travelers and send the invites the next day, reasoning that if there were time travelers, receiving the ...
Fomalhaut's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
345 views

Is it possible for some being to violate the laws of physics?

Is it possible for some being to violate the laws of physics? My belief is that it isn't possible for any being, no matter how powerful, to violate the laws of physics. Because, simply by definition, ...
user107952's user avatar
  • 7,706
0 votes
6 answers
1k views

Why is time, when viewed objectively, in reverse from when it's viewed subjectively?

Consider the following sentence: (Example A) "We need to go into the future and away from the past." Every physicist sees time like Example A. The observer is moving towards some point in ...
Fomalhaut's user avatar
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3 votes
4 answers
73 views

Does any interaction necessarily imply emergence in physics and chemistry?

I would prefer to limit the discussion by the fields of classical (not quantum) physics as well as chemistry. I wonder if the concepts of «emergence» and «emergent properties» bring anything new into ...
S. N.'s user avatar
  • 131
5 votes
3 answers
109 views

Idealization and Abstraction of Space

I found myself pondering about space and realized that aside from the general notion of dimension (that being the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify an entity in the space under ...
Max Maxman's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
608 views

Static Eternity Model (SEM) - Thoughts, Ideas and Criticism?

I would welcome any thoughts, ideas and criticism on the following hypothesis/thought experiment, especially if you notice inconsistencies or that it contradicts current physical theories: Static ...
JustPassingThrough's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
85 views

On the simultaneity of cause and effect?

So I understand the physicists framing of casuality as follows: given an initial value of a system, say a cart on a piece of land. I add a fictitious (and privileged) initial condition, say a push. ...
More Anonymous's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
144 views

Nature of objects and their location in space [closed]

Suppose we know that there is a pointlike object moving around in space. We want to know or measure it's location, so we attempt to find the object. This is done my looking around. We get a point ...
Location's user avatar
  • 142
1 vote
2 answers
381 views

What does modern physics hold to be the “base ontological system” of reality?

Modern physics defines fundamental forces and particles as particular “fields”. I have read some things like “gauge symmetry” play an important role in these theories. I have looked up a good ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
4 votes
6 answers
460 views

Is the principle of uniformity of nature an abduction or an analogy?

Is the principle of uniformity of nature an abduction or an analogy? To what type of reasoning does the principle of uniformity of nature belong? Is it abduction, analogy, deduction? Here they refer ...
Arnold's user avatar
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4 votes
5 answers
771 views

How do physicists talk about spin of individual particles when the universe is massively entangled?

The following two things seem to be true: (1) The universe is massively entangled because the wave function that describes the entire universe has measure 1 of being entangled. Further, given how ...
zzz's user avatar
  • 354
0 votes
2 answers
90 views

A thought process: understanding infinite density (black hole) from a temporal stance using a hypothetical Ouroboros [closed]

The two main focus questions: Could a snake theoretically devour itself whole? Does a black whole actually have infinite density and zero volume? Everything below is just extra explanatory steps on ...
How why e's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can the laws of physics and the constants of nature exist in a fundamental sense without mathematical realism?

Can the laws of physics and fundamental constants of nature exist without fundamental mathematical constants, operators, and equations also existing? In other words, can there be fundamental physical ...
user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
104 views

Is there a partly physical nature to infinitesimal limits that connects the utility of calculus with the quantized nature of small-scale physics?

One argument against calculus being physical is that since quantum mechanics has a quantized discrete nature, then physics does not truly have infinitesimal quantities. Yet, calculus and its ...
William Solomon's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
70 views

Why things don't happen all at once?

Why was there a time between Big Bang and now? Why it did not happen all at once? Why is there a delay between two changes? Why delay (time) exists? Why are not all changes compressed into extremely ...
Alexa's user avatar
  • 37
4 votes
1 answer
57 views

Reference request for texts on causation

I have been very interested in causation lately. I am especially interested in whether it can be defined at all, or it must be taken as a brute fact. I would love to read some texts on causation, and ...
user107952's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
458 views

How can quantum field theory contribute to clarifying the ontological nature of objects, mereologically?

How can physics, particularly Quantum Field Theory (QFT), contribute to clarifying the ontological nature of objects, in light of different mereological positions such as mereological nihilism, ...
Marco Fabbri's user avatar
4 votes
9 answers
706 views

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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2 votes
2 answers
607 views

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 ...
Fomalhaut's user avatar
  • 689
4 votes
1 answer
83 views

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
  • 213
2 votes
2 answers
98 views

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
  • 213
1 vote
3 answers
107 views

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
  • 689
9 votes
8 answers
3k views

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
  • 193
2 votes
5 answers
100 views

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
  • 213
1 vote
2 answers
102 views

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 ...
user107952's user avatar
  • 7,706
0 votes
0 answers
20 views

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
  • 7,706
2 votes
10 answers
2k views

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
4 votes
3 answers
256 views

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
  • 7,706
2 votes
3 answers
280 views

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
1 vote
6 answers
143 views

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
8 votes
5 answers
708 views

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
5 votes
4 answers
354 views

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
  • 7,706
3 votes
2 answers
172 views

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
11 votes
16 answers
8k views

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))&...
PHV's user avatar
  • 113
2 votes
5 answers
269 views

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....
Jo Wehler's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
156 views

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
  • 4,249
2 votes
1 answer
147 views

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
4 votes
2 answers
119 views

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
  • 41
3 votes
6 answers
316 views

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 ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
259 views

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
4 votes
3 answers
173 views

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
  • 1,567
4 votes
0 answers
54 views

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
5 votes
1 answer
112 views

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
5 votes
2 answers
306 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
  • 1,567
2 votes
2 answers
110 views

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
  • 21
2 votes
1 answer
81 views

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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