Questions tagged [philosophy-of-physics]

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What does Weyl mean by this remark?

In the Philosophy of Mathematics & Physics, Weyl writes: The coordinate system is, as it were, the residue of the annhilation of the ego. What does he mean by this?
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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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Where did Husserl say that in quantum mechanics spatial localisation is no longer a principle of individualisation?

According to Philosophy & Physics edited by Bernard d'Espagant: I am thinking of a text by Husserl, who was quite removed from physics, who said that the fundamental problem posed by QM is that ...
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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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Are there contemporary philosophers of nature that don't accept 20th century science?

Are there any 20/21th century philosophers that talk about a different approach to the study of nature other than science? Are there any that criticize science?
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Black hole information paradox implications

What are the philosophical implications of the black hole information paradox? Would the creation of a small super dense residue of the black hole evaporation give rise to a philosophical issue anyway?...
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Being transcendental and contingency of constants of nature

Given an arbitrarily chosen constant of nature (say, the speed of light c), we can confidently say that the fact that it is equal to 299 792 458 meters per second is a contingent fact about our ...
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Does this argument by Aristotle show that identity is not fundamental?

Atomism remains the paradigm for physical explanations: There are only atoms and the void within which they move. And the All is made up of their collisions and their combinations. In this picture, ...
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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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Is identity an emergent concept?

In the world in which we live, a chair remains a chair - it does not turn into a table; and if there were two chairs in this room, I could distinguish one from the other and I would have no trouble in ...
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Is Whiteheads 'occasions of experience' fundamentally relational?

Shimon Malin writes in Nature Loves to Hide: According to Whitehead, the ultimate blocks of reality are discrete items which he calls 'throbs of experience', 'occasions of experience', 'actual ...
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Is 'collapse of the quantum state' conceptually misnamed?

Take the description of the collapse in Nature Loves to Hide, by physicist Shimon Malin: In this chapter we zero in on the mystery at the heart of Quantum Mechanics. 'The collapse of the quantum ...
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Do wholes tell us what the parts are?

According to one reading of the atomic hypothesis it is parts that are fundamental and they tell us what wholes are, and in fact, what wholes are possible. For example: A tree is made up of roots, ...
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One big theory of Everything (TOE) or multiple “domain specific” theories?

It's common to hear that physicists are trying to find a Theory of everything (TOE). We "logically" consider the more elegant / concise theory as true ... because beauty is thruth ... or is it ? What ...
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Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics - Argument explanation

I would be grateful if someone could explain me this argument from Philosophy of Physics in plain English. I'm not sure how Albert arrives at his conclusion and I lack the mathematical skills to ...
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What is less than a bit? [closed]

I mean a bit of information (data). Some say (do not know exactly who) everything on its smallest level consists of information. What does the information consist of?
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Do any contemporary philosophers say “physical” space is ideal, just not the rest of it? Is it possible to?

Do any contemporary philosophers say "physical" space is ideal, just not the rest of it? Is it possible (I guess, consistent) to say that, even? I do not know what space is in physics.
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Is eternalism notion of time consistent with quantum mechanics (all of its interpretations)?

Is it consistent with quantum mechanics to think that:"We live equally in all past, present and future events" which is suggested by Einstein's relativity?
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Is our civilization based on a illusion?

I have not studied philosophy although find interesting reading about. According to new theories in modern physics the concept of matter is an illusion. Matter is just a wave. We understand materials ...
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Has any philosopher stated that time and space begin in the present moment, and then become the fixed state we observe in the past? [closed]

We have a cultural bias based on the arrow of time that strongly implies a lack of free will, and a high probability of a pre-existing future. I'm interested in finding prior thinking based on the ...
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How do we learn math and science?

I have very little experience in philosophy, so I am not sure if this question is common (I could not find anything on it). This site seemed to be most fitting for the question, but if this question ...
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Is Popper correct on Anaximanders theory?

In the books of essays by Popper, titled the The World of Parmenides, he writes the following: However this may be, Thales beautiful theory of the support and suspension of the Earth and of ...
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At what prediction level do we call a physical world theory true?

Alright, I am in a bind. I know that prediction is the ultimate test of a theory in the physical world. You can make any assumptions, you can come up with useless things like the math in string ...
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How can hard atheism & physicalism be adhered with confidence given quantum mechanics? [closed]

This is something I've wondered about. At first it didn't seem to be a problem and everything seemed nice and clear but as I read more, clarity of course gave way to mud, again. I am not sure whether ...
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Is 'interpretation' in quantum mechanics the same as 'interpretation' in probability? [closed]

I heard all 'interpretations' of quantum mechanics give exactly the same answer to every measurement so they are all equally correct. Is that the same 'interpretations' as in probability? Context: ...
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Physical reality cannot be defined

This question was allowed by this meta answer. What are references (preferably free and online) to the following philosophical idea (and related ideas). Note that this is my own idea, so in principle ...
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Is the reasoning behind this proof that a unified scientific theory of everything in physics is impossible correct?

I wrote this originally as a response to another question posed on Quora as to whether or not but I was wondering if someone could reexamine this and find any possible possible gaps in logic or ...
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Is entropy a circular reasoning concept?

After reviewing several texts about the second law of thermodynamics and the concept of entropy, from a systemic point of view, it seems to me that entropy is only a circular reasoning concept. ...
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What is the definition of a law of physics, really?

In physics class we learn of many laws of physics, but it is never explained what a law of physics actually is. Is it simply a true statement about the physical world? If so, then why aren't most ...
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How can Aquinas' argument from motion to mover be reconciled with Newton's law of inertia?

A common objection to Thomas Aquinas' first way, the argument from motion (which means rather something like change), is that the second premise is flawed: It is certain, and evidence to our ...
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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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Time as a physical dimension

What is the intuition behind time being a physical dimension? I read the phrase "in cosmology terms, far away means long ago" somewhere and I got to thinking what if time is an emergent property of ...
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Aristotle's natural motion and general relativity

In Aristotelian physics there is the concept of natural motion (when there are no forces, just gravity), differing from so-called violent (enforced) motion. From my cursory knowledge of general ...
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What is the tradition of reasoning behind Archimedes's “a priori” derivation of the law of the lever?

Today we get the law of the lever by empirical experiment or see it as a special case of the principle of least action. Assuming only gravity acts, with weights of masses m₁, m₂ and corresponding ...
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Immoveable object and irresistible force are from the same thing [closed]

I think that the immovable object and the irresistible force are two sides of the same thing. If all the mass in the universe was in one place it would be the immovable object. There would be no ...
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On the axiomatization of physics; why do we think it's even possible?

As a disclaimer, I come from a pure math background, and I've only done a minimal amount of mathematical philosophy and epistemology, so the philosophy of physics is certainly not my strong suit. That ...
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What proportion of Math is grounded in Physics?

This came up as a tangential in relation to whether math is a thing we're discovering, or inventing: Suppose we meet with an alien race: their symbols, and even ways of computation might be ...
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How can we take the ontologies of our best physical theories seriously?

It seems to me that numerous features of our best physical theories thus far (most notably in my humble and near-meaningless opinion: the whole notion of renormalization in quantum field theory) ...
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Best books on philosophy of physics

I'm looking for recommendations on graduate level books concerning philosophy and physics, or preferably the philosophy of physics. I'm currently reading 'After Physics' by David Albert, and 'The ...
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How do you resolve the issue: logically reasoning about 'god' (or even physics; mathematics) when sometimes logic is not valid or is partially broken?

Granted, the start of the following discussion may use some common everyday common sense logic, and therefore may not be valid in some new paradigm. However, the question is, in the face of Russel's ...
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Are artificially synthesized chemical elements natural?

Humans have synthesized elements that do not exist in nature, at least not around here. This strikes me as a serious philosophical hairball: where does a philosophical naturalist put these critters? ...
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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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Schrödinger's cat being “both dead and alive”

Famously, Schrödinger's cat is found to be both dead and alive within a closed system - at the mercy of quantum mechanics. But why is the cat "both dead and alive"? For the Copenhagen interpretation, ...
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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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How to argue for physical continuity, positivistically?

Consider the following quote from Dirac's book, The Principles of Quantum Mechanics (4th ed., p. 36): When we measure a real dynamical variable ξ, the disturbance involved in the act of measurement ...
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How is existence in presentism reconciled with relativity of simultaneity?

There is a famous question by Einstein which was reported by his biographer, the physicist Abraham Pais, and which expresses his concern with quantum physics: We often discussed his notions on ...
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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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A discrete time: impact on philosophical aspects

Time is a major topic in philosophy. I wonder if there are philosophical works that have digged into the possibilities and impacts of discrete time instants. Present theories in physics suggest that ...
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Are “mathematically possible universes” the same as “logically possible universes”?

I recently watched this interesting interview with physicist Paul Davies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqZN_LGYHJc In the first couple of minutes he outlines some of the problems with a multiverse ...
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What are the philosophical consequences of a relativised ontology?

According to this article on relational QM: the properties of a system exist only in reference to another system And the variable for a system can have a well determined value for one observer ...