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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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1answer
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Would this experiment establish whether wave function collapse is caused by consciousness?

I'm currently writing an article on the philosophy of physics. Part of the article, involves an experiment which would substantiate whether or not consciousness causes wave function collapse. Many ...
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0answers
24 views

What is Quine’s reductionism?

I am especially interested in how reductionism is related to the fact that even though science broadly comprehends a number of subjects, physics is paradigmatic.
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0answers
74 views

What is the meaning of using a mathematical structure to describe physics?

I'm trying to understand the meaning of using a mathematical structure in order to do physics, what does this really mean? My idea is that first we performs experiments on a physical system in order ...
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0answers
132 views

Multiverse and the anthropic principle?

I put this question here since the anthropic principle is more a philosophical argument than actually a physics concept, so I thought that since this may not have much to do with mainstream physics ...
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1answer
61 views

Is it there any specific and well known continous/analog alternative to Wheeler's discrete “It from Bit”?

Physicist John A Wheeler (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Archibald_Wheeler) suggested the concept of "law without law" and "it from bit" which suggested that the universe did not have any laws ...
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1answer
131 views

Examples of theories that assume the existence of an “External Reality”?

In this paper written by physicist Max Tegmark (https://arxiv.org/pdf/0704.0646.pdf) it talks about "External Reality Hypothesis". Specifically, he says: Although many physicists subscribe to the ...
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1answer
315 views

What is the relevance of applicability to the natural sciences in pure mathematics?

I think I am coming to a good, new understanding of the relationship of pure mathematics to the natural sciences. A major concern of mine is just how reliable is rigorous (characteristically "pure") ...
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3answers
137 views

Why do some physicists countenance a mind-dependent reality?

Bernard D'Espagnat in this article in Scientific American writes: Of the three premises realism is the most fundamental. Realism can be stated formally as the belief that a mere description of data ...
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2answers
101 views

What's the difference between logical modalities and physical modalities?

I am just wondering what's the difference between the two. I would say that there is something different, but honestly I can't define what it is exactly. What do you think?
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3answers
164 views

Do forces really exist?

In physics there are 4 fundamental forces the EM force, the weak and strong forces and gravity. Now gravity is already a bit declassified as a force by the curved spacetime theory of Einstein. But ...
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2answers
87 views

Must the physical phenomenon of the universe be differentiable?

The use of Calculus for the analysis of real-world phenomenon depends entirely on our universe not only being continuous, but being differentiable. By "real-world phenomenon" I mean things like the ...
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1answer
7k views

Why didn't Thales say the water is principle of matter, but the originating principle, according to Russell?

If I remember Russells Short History of Western Philosophy correctly, Russell unequivocally maintains that Thales was the first philosopher of note. He said: The world is made of water Russell ...
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3answers
469 views

Why are the laws of nature 'always and everywhere the same'?

Spinoza wrote in his Ethics that: the laws and rules of Nature…are always and everywhere the same This so as to deny a categorical difference between man and nature; Spinoza affirms that man is ...
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0answers
37 views

Is this transposition principle justified? [closed]

Say the universe its infinite. How does that infinity compare to the infinity of microstates available to an arbitrary volume? Lets say it's a larger ordering, though I invite any experienced ...
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1answer
396 views

Is the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics philosophically untenable?

I saw this: http://aeon.co/essays/is-the-many-worlds-hypothesis-just-a-fantasy In this article the author raises a number of intriguing philosophical challenges against the so-called "many worlds" ...
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0answers
45 views

About the advantages of the propensity perspective on probability

I am wandering what are the advantages of the propensity perspective on probability. Why would it be better to explain probability in physics? Except for the fact that it solves various problems of ...
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2answers
69 views

What is the relation between the propensity interpretation of probability and probability in physics?

I would like to know what physicists think about the propensity viewpoint.If this latter one is in line with physics and especially Quantum Mechanics. Otherwise, what is the most coherent ...
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5answers
4k views

What is the opposite of the reductionist approach?

I am searching for two opposite words in philosophy of science to describe two opposite approaches in physics. To illustrate what I am searching for I will use statistical physics and particle physics ...
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2answers
424 views

Is a law of nature a universal?

Newton described his theory of gravity as universal. I take this to mean that this theory was universally valid, that it brought together both terrestrial and celestial phenomena under one rubric. It ...
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5answers
211 views

If we can't experimentally prove a fundamental law of physics due to human limitations, does that make it false?

The title is worded a bit vaguely so let me expand a bit on it. Say there is some sort of law of physics that's quite obvious if you had more than our basic 5 senses and lived in more dimensions, ...
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1answer
224 views

If our world is mathematical، Does not this increase the probability of being complex as well?

Tegmark's mathematical universe hypothesis, posits that reality is a mathematical structure. This mathematical nature of the universe, Tegmark argues, has important consequences for the way ...
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10answers
5k views

Interpretation of the butterfly effect

It is said that in certain circumstances, a tiny change, like the flap of a butterfly's wings, can lead to enormous changes, like a tornado somewhere. However, it should be clarified what "change" ...
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3answers
141 views

Are the Bohmian and Copenhagen interpretations of QM isomorphic?

I'm writing an essay comparing Bohmian Mechanics to the standard Copenhagen interpretation and came across the notion that Bohmian mechanics implies a fundamental epistemic uncertainty to how we can ...
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1answer
107 views

Random Emergence

In De Caelo 300b, Aristotle introduces the idea of the random emergence of the natural: "it is possible that with this disorderly motion some of the elements might have unified in those combinations ...
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1answer
83 views

What is the philosophical originary thought for the empirical category of the wave?

Atoms, as is well known, were originated by Democritus to fend off Parmenides' challenge of an unchangeable, eternal one. The other large category of thought in modern physics is that of the wave. ...
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1answer
147 views

Are there examples of when verificationism doesn't hold in Physics?

Are there examples of when verificationism doesn't hold in the context of Physics? I intend to relate this to some discussion of Einstein's use of verificationism to discard Ether in the magnet ...
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0answers
100 views

Imaginary part of the world behind the event horizon [closed]

Outside the event horizon of a black hole, quantum field theory and General Relativity are completely sufficient for understanding the physics of what occurs; that is what Hawking radiation is. But ...
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0answers
88 views

Is everything in the universe made of 0s and 1s? [closed]

Qubits are the quantum counterpart of the bits used in traditional computing. While traditional bits represent data as 0s or 1s, qubits are distinguished by what's known as superposition, or the ...
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2answers
243 views

Is a theory of physics possible with no constants?

The Standard Model of Physics has a number of constants. Obviously the fewer the better - simply in terms of there being less fundamentally inexplicable constants to explain. It seems to me, in as ...
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3answers
255 views

If nature is inherently imprecise, how is it so easy for us to conceptualize mathematical certainties?

In modeling any real physical system, we are required to employ inductive reasoning. We can never be completely certain about the state or properties of any system or of any future observation we will ...
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0answers
81 views

Why do the limits to the computation of the universe appear to us as fundamental physical constants? [closed]

According to the Estakhr's Principle of Physical Constants Physical Constants are Computational limits or vice versa. Why do the limits to the computation of the universe appear to us as fundamental ...
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3answers
179 views

Are There Alternatives to Determinism and Stochasticism?

From my physicist's point of view, there are basically two ways of seeing the world: The world can be fundamentally deterministic or fundamentally stochastic (see also indeterminism). I believe that ...
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2answers
703 views

If Parmenides denied the reality of void, would he then have affirmed the reality of space?

Lucretious, in his poem de rerum natura had atoms moving through the void. It seems at least from a modern perspective that his void is what we would call space. The interesting question, which I ...
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4answers
259 views

Is potential real?

It might be an odd question to some, but to me it strikes quite obviously as something I should've asked a long time ago :-) In physics, potential energy stands for the energy that could be realized ...
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3answers
817 views

Can “nothing” have size?

If "nothing" is encapsulated by "something", does this imply it has size? For example; imagine I have a 1 meter by 1 meter by 1 meter box which encloses a complete vacuum. Does the vacuum have a size ...
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2answers
69 views

Is there a scenario before the formation of the world? [closed]

Energy turns into hydrogen atoms, and then the stars are born.، So maybe there was a scenario before the formation of the world. Could this be a sign of a pre-designed scenario? Has this topic (the ...
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1answer
675 views

What does Heidegger mean by saying that Bergson's concept of time is essentially spatial?

In Being and Time, Heidegger writes: This task as a whole requires that the concept of time thus gained be distinguished from the common understanding of it. The latter has become explicit in an ...
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1answer
86 views

Can physics be approached from a worldview that's not naturalistic?

This is both a theoretical and practical question. Physics (at least university-taught physics) is often based upon Newton's basic worldview, a naturalistic worldview that's said to be the ...
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7answers
658 views

Are infinities in physics (or in any other materalist philosophy) actually possible?

Aristotle made a distinction between infinities that were in potential (dunamis) and in actuality (energia); and stated that actual infinities did not obtain in the physical world. This is the basis ...
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3answers
67 views

Any references for answering the question: “why does nature seem to follow so simple human-conceived patterns?”

Something that I've been thinking lately (motivated by the simple explanations given in crystallography, which I interpret as a complex phenomenon), are there any references (books, papers) that ...
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8answers
3k views

Does Popper's theory of falsification apply to mathematics?

Mathematics is generally & popularly judged a science in the basic duality: science - humanities. As enemies and collaborationists. The border heavily & fiercely policed. However, it seems to ...
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1answer
69 views

Looking for Sources on Philosophical Discussion of Modern Atomic Theory

I'm currently planning a research project which tracks the development of atomic theory in the physical sciences (though mainly physics since that's my subject). In the last section I want to discuss ...
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3answers
248 views

Should one consider the topology of spacetime for non-local theories to be radically different from the standard one?

Famously, one of the objections against Newtons theory of Gravity was that it instantaneously acted at a distance. The question here is a physically philosophical one - one expects an influence to ...
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1answer
37 views

Is a relativistic particle 'Kantian'?

Newton, in the Principia, conceived time as flowing everywhere at the same rate (this was anticipated also in Aristotle's Physics). Time here is independent of bodies and particles. In a sense it is ...
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0answers
185 views

What is the relationship between Al-Ghazali's Occasionalism, Whitehead's occasions and QM?

In 1993, Karen Harding, a philosopher wrote a paper, Causality then and now: Al-Ghazali and QM. She remarked: In both cases, and contrary to common sense, objects are viewed as having no inherent ...
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3answers
782 views

Axioms in science and the scientific method

Do axioms exist in the scientific method like in physics, chemistry, biology, …? E.g. Ockham's Razor for picking the best theory – is it an axiom? Another example is that science gathers data, ...
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12answers
9k views

Why is the complex number an integral part of physical reality?

In modern physics, the quantum wave distribution function necessarily uses complex numbers to represent itself. If physics defines the physical reality, then what we are saying by the statement above ...
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5answers
273 views

Why do physicists increasingly seek to understand more fundamental pieces of matter?

Why do physicists seek to study and explain more fundamental qualities of matter as opposed to stopping at a certain point and testing more predictions of macro-level models? What benefit does the "...
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3answers
360 views

Is there a fundamental ontology in Physics? What is the universe fundamentally “made of” according to Physics?

Is there a fundamental ontology in Physics? According to Physics, what are the fundamental "things" (whatever they may be) that in combination define the whole universe, such that they are not ...
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4answers
95 views

Can you objectively determine if a given system has free will (according to compatibilism)?

Given some system, can you objectively determine if it has free will? In particular, you can examine the system to any extent that you want, but you are told nothing about its purpose. If so, what is ...