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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66 views

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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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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176 views

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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3answers
568 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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1answer
104 views

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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1answer
36 views

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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2answers
200 views

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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1answer
73 views

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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56 views

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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200 views

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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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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2answers
283 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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1answer
265 views

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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2answers
137 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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1answer
100 views

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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4answers
156 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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1answer
173 views

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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2answers
135 views

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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1answer
88 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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2answers
358 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
245 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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2answers
112 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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3answers
242 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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1answer
94 views

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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2answers
204 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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150 views

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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4answers
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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1answer
226 views

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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1answer
123 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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1answer
154 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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1answer
264 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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1answer
104 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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2answers
139 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
123 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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1answer
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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1answer
98 views

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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2answers
130 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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75 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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45 views

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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336 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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513 views

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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4answers
140 views

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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1answer
110 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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203 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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257 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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234 views

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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