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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Does a quantum system change in-itself or by contact?

Aristotle divides change in two ways, change by contact, and change in-itself; for example, I hold a cup and move or rotate it - this is change by contact; or a rose grows by itself - it has some ...
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What books offer a philosophical interpretation of contemporary physics?

What books which offer a philosophical interpretation of contemporary physics? Something just like Russell's Analysis of Matter but not horrid out of date.
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Must everything in time be subject to time?

Take Lucretian atoms, are they subject to time? For how they arrange themselves, when they move and collide; they are subject to time; but this is in relation to other atoms, or to the place they ...
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Literature on Mathematical Universe Hypothesis beyond Tegmark?

I'm looking for further reading about the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis. I'm intrigued and would like to know to which degree this has been discussed. I'm aware and have been looking at Tegmark's ...
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What are the minimal requirements of a “measurement”?

Surprisingly, I have not yet found a good philosophical work on the concept of "measuring" things. Though I assume one exists. In quantum theory, of course, we encounter measurement problems, and ...
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What are some arguments against the brain-in-a-vat thought experiment?

I read this article about how this guy in Switzerland did an experiment that he thought proved the Simulation Hypothesis of reality (link: http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.1847). I have also been reading ...
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When was the earliest concept of 'inertial' motion thought through?

Following this question, there is the following in Physics VIII.2. Second, it is evidently possible for an object to change although it is not already changing, either as a whole or in its parts. ...
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Is there a school of thought that addresses an engine behind every physical aspect of the universe? [duplicate]

First of all, this question also relates to physics but goes beyond it, into the phylosophical field. After dealing with physics engines in computer engineering, an idea of something similar crossed ...
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1answer
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Does Aristotle have anything to say about the interpretative paradoxes of QM?

This follows this question The same question, angled a little differently suggests a family resemblence with the measurement paradox in QM: First and most broadly, QM is standardly said to have an ...
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Is Aristotle's resolution of Zeno's paradoxes vindicated by motion in the intuitionistic continuum?

In Physics VIII.8, Aristotle refers to his usual resolution of Zeno's paradox of motion: We should make the same response to anyone who uses Zeno's argument to ask whether it is always necessary to ...
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On travelling through a void, constantly [closed]

I posted a question some time ago on how SR conceptualised space in the 'frame' of a photon - which appears as a kind of void - even though admittedly standardly its a move not allowed; but it was a ...
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What developments prompted Cliffords picture of spacetime?

In 1870, Clifford, the English mathematician and sometime philosopher wrote the following in his book, On the Space theory of Matter; I hold as a fact: That small portions of space are in fact of a ...
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Should it be the String Hypothesis rather than String Theory?

The question here is what is signified by the lexical token 'theory' in String Theory. It's something of a rhetorical question because it is, I think, used in a special sense by physicists; for ...
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What is the relation between calculus and Aristotle's view of infinite divisibility?

According to an article by Rowan, Aristotle very practically, pointed out that there was a threshold to get something moving when there is resistance to friction: 'one man cannot move a ship' as ...
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1answer
114 views

Is Buridan's impetus the same as velocity in Aristotle?

According to the SEP Buridan was the first to develop the physical motion of impetus: a force applied for a certain time; it is silent, however on just where and how Buridan took this notion - ...
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Are physical measurements constructs?

This question was provoked by my knowledge of the kochen specker theorem, which if I am correct is a theory that states measurements sometimes, within a system, do not exist until it is consciously ...
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About Criticism of Dualtistic Theories

According to my knowledge, a main criticism to dualistic theories is that they give the mind a special characteristic in contrast to matter. But is this true, since matter is also split up in several ...
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Isn't anti razor as valid as Occam razor in explaining the Universe and things in it? [closed]

I give an example where this question is important: There are 2 explanations of how the Universe came into existence: The Universe come out of nothing or something similar to nothing like quantum ...
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Is there a theory of time consistent with Heraclitus?

Heraclitus is recorded as saying: Upon those who step into the same river, different and again different waters flow (Arius Didymus, Dox. Gr.) It is not possible to step twice into the same river......
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Presentism and simultaneity

Presentism is the position that all that exists, exists in the present. Though one can speak of the past, and of events in the past, strictly speaking (in this position), there is no temporal event ...
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Which substance is time associated with in Descartes' philosophy, mental or corporeal?

Descartes asserts that all that there is that is directly cognisable to us, by mind or by eye, are modifications of two substances: res cogitans and res extensa, mental and corporeal. How does he ...
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482 views

How does Descartes justify his supposition that 'motion' is conserved?

In Newtonian physics the law of the conservation of momentum is deduced from the three laws - and it is specific and quantitative; which follows from the specificity and quantitiveness of the three ...
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Is an electron a bundle of properties?

Classically, particles are described by mass, spin, and charge. Can we consider then that particles are bundles of properties? For all particles which have the same value for these properties ...
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1answer
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On the objective concept of time and/or grounding absolute time

A discussion on this question on 'grounding absolute time' prompted the following possibly clarifying, possibly unclarifying thought: In Newtons Principia, he defined two concepts of objective time: ...
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What is the difference between Lucretians concept of mass and Galileos?

It's generally taken that Galileo established the concept of mass; and usually this is illustrated by the apocrophyl story of two cannon-balls of differing size thrown simultaneously from the top of a ...
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Was the conservation of matter law proposed in antiquity?

Lucretius in his description of the atomic theory is not generally held to demonstrate a conservation law of matter - the first and most basic conservation law of physics because it relies on the ...
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How is the Parmenidian “One” related to atomism?

Consider the classical conception of atoms in a vacuum in a box - the perfect gas; they collide and it this impulse of force that is their only interaction; and thus their dynamics; and this comes ...
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Is there a Kantian a priori deduction (post-hoc) of Newtons Second Law?

Kant provided an a priori analysis or deduction of Newton's third law - the law of action and reaction. This leaves the first and second law; it's an easy observation that the first law follows from ...
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Are there necessary truths in physical theories, more or less strictly speaking?

There are such things as mathematically necessary truths: 1=1, say; and logically neccessary truths: the law of modus ponens, say. But can there be one in physics? In Lewis's plural worlds where ...
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Who first proposed the homogeneity of physical law?

Its taken as granted that physical law does not vary in space and time; everywhere and at everytime it is the same. When was this properly suggested? My first inclination would be Newtons physical ...
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1answer
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Zeno and the denial of plurality [closed]

Zeno is well-known as the storyteller of Achilles and the Tortoise and how the tortoise never catches Achilles; which is against our experience; the question of how to square these two notions ...
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Have David Wolpert's findings really “slammed the door” on scientific determinism?

I recently read an article describing how mathematician/physicist David Wolpert's research closed the door on scientific determinism. I have huge doubts about the implied conclusion, considering the ...
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To tense or not to tense?

In The Nature of Existence [Volume II: Reality - 1988 paperback edition, p.10] McTaggart distinguished between two senses of time: The A-Series, to 'that series of positions which run from the far ...
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What is the philosophical origin of waves?

It's a truth universally acknowledged that a theory in possession of the notion of atoms founds itself in the atomos theorised by Democritus et al. For example the corpuscules of Gassendi, Hobbes and ...
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Must time flow?

In Newtons Principia he wrote: Absolute, true and mathematical time, of itself, and from its own nature flows equably without regard to anything external, and by another name is called duration. ...
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How to harmonise Empedocles theory of perception

In White Mythologies, in part a disquisition on poetics, Derrida quotes Du Marsais on metaphor: When we speak of the light of the mind, the word light is to be taken metaphorically; for just as light ...
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Leibniz, physics and the best of all possible worlds

Liebniz as a scientific thinker is known as a codiscoverer of the Calculus, along with Newton; as a philosopher he is also known for his phrase 'best of all possible worlds', which was apparently an ...
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What is the philosophical counterpart of gravity? [closed]

Say we take the position that everything in this Universe is dual, everything has an opposite (I prefer counterpart). Now physicists come along and show that matter is both particle and wave on a ...
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Schopenhauer and space-time

Consider the following, fairly famous statement (amongst the cognoscenti of natural philosophy) of Minkowski, a collaborator of Einsteins on the new conception of space and time that Einsteins theory ...
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Is a world of only time a world without intelligible order? [closed]

We live in a world of three spatial dimensions and one of time; what this means is now obvious given the extent science and mathematics has entered popular discourse. Whenever we have a number we ...
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Can Zenos paradox of motion be applied to a flashing blue light?

Zenos paradoxes of motion generally refer to actual motion through space; however for Aristotle this is motion in only one sense; an other sense could be alteration, for example change in shape and so ...
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Why is there no absolute rest?

It's clear and evident that no particular place in space is special, and nor any particular direction. It is also true (ignoring relativity) that there is no absolute rest; we cannot determine ...
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Is isotope dating falsifiable?

I'd like to ask if the dating " saying something has existed for XXXX years " is scientific ? When i try to apply the criterion of being falsifiable i find that the dating fails to satisfy that ...
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How does one measure the world?

Suppose one took our universe and divided everything in half; mass, space, time and so on - would we notice? And if we don't doesn't this mean that there is no intrinsic notion of length - despite ...
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766 views

What is physics as a Hegelian Concept?

Hegel, in the preface of the phenomenology calls the concept of mathematics, magnitude; what would the concept of physics? The Res Extensa of Descartes and Spinoza? But Liebniz, in an *Essay on ...
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Can a priori principles be applied to deduce 'Principal Bundles' as principles in Modern Physics?

Kant supplied a priori arguments for Newtonian Physics in his Metaphysics of Natural Science Has something similar been done for Modern Physics; which in its geometrical intepretation are concieved ...
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Why doesn't Parmenides argument hold for fields - or does it?

The SEP points out For Descartes argued in his 1644 Principles of Philosophy (see Book II) that the essence of matter was extension (i.e., size and shape) because any other attribute of bodies ...
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Was the reappraisal of time, space and motion by Einstein, in Kantian terms, a transcendental deduction?

According to the SEP a Transcendental Deduction is: In Kants conception, an argument of this kind begins with a compelling premise about our thought, knowledge or experience and then reasons to a ...
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Should uniform motion be distinguished from rest?

Aristotle distinguishes motion and rest. For him rest is simply the potential of motion but not motion itself. So a seed before it blooms into becoming and being is at rest; a football before being ...
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How can one justify Newton's third law?

In one sense it is justified by the overall success if Newtonian Mechanics; still, one can ask are there arguments that can justify it from other principles; ie principle that are * a priori* in ...