Skip to main content

Questions tagged [physics]

Physics is the natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
34 votes
12 answers
11k 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 ...
Dheeraj Verma's user avatar
32 votes
16 answers
6k views

Do fundamental concepts in physics have any logical basis?

After years of studying physics I am suddenly struck by the question - What is energy? Wikipedia defines it thus: Energy is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on ...
Green Noob's user avatar
19 votes
12 answers
16k views

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 ...
Josh Zmijewski's user avatar
18 votes
12 answers
14k views

Is time a physical factor or just a concept?

When thinking of cycles and myths, one cannot pass the idea of Kronos or Kali. That brought me to form some questions about the nature of time. Three definitions for time: Time is a measure of the ...
MarkokraM's user avatar
  • 319
17 votes
1 answer
561 views

Are mathematical suppositions of physical theories determined uniquely according to Aristotle and Plato?

Does mathematics apply to physics in one way or multiple ways? What do Aristotle and Plato think? It would seem that Aristotle thinks mathematics can be applied to physics in one way only because, ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 8,024
15 votes
10 answers
2k views

How much philosophy should a physicist know?

I began to read Hawking's recent book 'A Grand Design' some time ago and noticed that he savages philosophy. He says '...philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
15 votes
9 answers
3k views

What distinguishes cause from effect when they are simultaneous?

At a high level, distinguishing cause and effect is typically easy enough: the cause comes first. I drop a ball off a roof; therefore, it falls and hits the ground. But on a fundamental level, physics ...
Toph's user avatar
  • 259
13 votes
12 answers
4k views

How could our universe suddenly appear out of nothingness?

How could our universe suddenly appear out of nothingness? I understand that the big bang created all things but how could it when nothingness is purely the absence of everything?
Dan's user avatar
  • 141
12 votes
10 answers
16k views

Was Einstein a philosopher?

Albert Einstein described the fact that he believed in 'god'; yet, he did not define that god as a personal god who actually existed as a separate being. He used the concept to describe everything ...
Jez's user avatar
  • 2,039
12 votes
7 answers
7k views

How can I develop my critical thinking skills?

I am a freshman engineering student going to college. I want to learn how to think critically and to become a critical thinker and a sharp arguer. I am interested in philosophy, because I am curious ...
11 votes
2 answers
934 views

Euler's 1746 philosophy paper

In 1746, Euler, a famous mathematician, published what I believe to be a little-known philosophy paper. It seems interesting, but it is difficult for me to follow as I lack adequate philosophy ...
glebovg's user avatar
  • 380
10 votes
10 answers
3k views

The problem of Motion

I recently heard that motion, the observation that things move, or rather change, was considered a real philosophical problem. What is the status of that question? Can someone e point me to an essay ...
Mike M's user avatar
  • 394
10 votes
5 answers
4k views

Can we be Boltzmann brains? Or, how can we be sure there is no conspiracy about the past?

The way things are traditionally presented about time, there is the present, the past is fixed, and the future is open. The second law of thermodynamics is invoked. But how can we be so sure the past ...
user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
807 views

Does free will require an event to occur without a predecessor (thereby violating causality)?

From my understanding, a Mixed Quantum State defines the set of all probable outcomes for a system, but isn't there still only one outcome determined through the succession of factors leading up to it ...
John LaMontagne's user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
1k views

Are "'why' questions" useful in or applicable to the study of science?

Based on the lively discussion of this question over at physics.stackexchange, I thought it might be useful to ask it here as well. The kernel of the debate is whether or not "why" questions are ...
Geoffrey's user avatar
  • 776
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

Can the observer be the observed?

As a supplement to this question as to whether particles can be observers, supposing that the answer is yes. One could suppose a setup where particle A is observing particle B, but what to stop us ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
663 views

What is the ontological status of information that is permanently inaccessible to any conceivable observer?

Rovelli & others, in Relational Quantum Mechanics (RQM) take the simple ontological picture of the Copenhagen Picture and relativise it. This is what I was suggesting in this question, though I ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
9 votes
5 answers
893 views

Is there a known limit to relationship between physics and mathematics?

I am much interested in discussions such as Wigner's "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences". It's quite amazing that mathematics so well applies to our universe, and ...
Alex Nye's user avatar
  • 223
9 votes
1 answer
639 views

How did materialists historically fit magnetism into their model?

Going by its Wikipedia page, materialism has been largely discredited due to advances in physics as it cannot explain phenomena such as gravity which apparently exist without the connivance of matter. ...
coleopterist's user avatar
8 votes
5 answers
922 views

Can anything truly be simultaneous?

I was looking at a discussion about simultaneous causation and something that came up was that all physical processes take time. So nothing can truly be simultaneous. And yet, we have philosophers ...
Bob D.'s user avatar
  • 81
7 votes
7 answers
3k views

Is the delayed choice quantum eraser a refutation of principle of causality? How does contemporary philosophy make sense of it?

Causality, as per Wiki Is the relation between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the first event is understood to be responsible for the second. For this relationship ...
Graviton's user avatar
  • 341
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are There Any Hegelian Approaches to Modern Physics?

In his section on Force and the "inverted world" in "Phenomenology of Spirit," Hegel provides a dialectical account of Newtonian physics and gravity that I find very interesting, ...
Nelson Alexander's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
658 views

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? ...
user avatar
6 votes
7 answers
1k views

Is something physical if and only if we can perceive it (directly or indirectly) with our bodily senses?

What is the relationship between the physical and our senses? If something is physical, must it necessarily be the case that we should be able to perceive it, at least in principle, directly with our ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 5,369
6 votes
8 answers
2k views

Is all change movement?

Is there a change in the universe that cannot be reduced to movement? One counter-example should be enough. :) Heat is a type of change that was once thought to be qualitative, but is now realized to ...
Olle Härstedt's user avatar
6 votes
8 answers
5k views

Is it theoretically possible for a bottomless pits to exist in a finite universe?

Assuming that our universe is finite, is it still theoretically possible to have a bottomless pit? This all really depends on the definition of bottomless pit. I don't know that I can accurately ...
C. Tewalt's user avatar
  • 209
6 votes
5 answers
1k views

On the connection between science and reality

My question is basically targetting various sciences that we use to understnad the real world and how we form laws in them. For example, in physics, we first see sometthing in the real world. Let it ...
Aveer Singh's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
660 views

What philosophical problem did Newton solve?

In a philosophy 101 lecture I listened to recently, the lecturer said that if a philosopher is successful and is able to solve a philosophical question for good, the topic of that question branches ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
6 votes
9 answers
338 views

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 ...
kondor's user avatar
  • 183
6 votes
4 answers
468 views

Does Aristotle inspire late-20th or 21st century physicists?

Is there anything a late-20th or 21st century physicist can learn from antique philosophy of nature as stated by Aristotle? Is there any new inspiring notion or thought? Note. I do not ask about the ...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
  • 33k
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why can the human mind perceive things that are not reality, despite being born from it?

If man is born from the universe, we are a product of the universe. This much is certain. However we as people have the ability to fabricate thoughts and ideas that are completely fictional and ...
James Manes's user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
3k views

Can 'Nothing Exist before we measure it'?

Bohr famously said in relation to quantum systems: Nothing exists until we measure it This can't be right, for how can we measure Nothing, something that doesn't exist. It seems it must come into ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
288 views

Must time pass in order for causality to operate?

Motivation; It is perhaps quite well known that things in a faster moving frame of reference perceive time as passing slower. (This is in fact special relativity and it doesn't account for behavior ...
Jekowl's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes
6 answers
309 views

Order/disorder and complexity

What is the relation between order/disorder and complexity ? Sometimes I found the terms confusing and ambiguous. And higher entropy implies low complexity, does not implies low entropy implies higher ...
quanity's user avatar
  • 1,365
6 votes
1 answer
847 views

Why do philosophical discussions of the teleportation paradox seem to ignore the physics involved?

When I read philosophy treatments of the teleportation paradox and related subjects like swampman, they seem to focus primarily on drawing analogies to various entirely different scenarios (...
Kevin's user avatar
  • 2,038
6 votes
2 answers
815 views

Where does Aristotle's Posterior Analytics disagree with modern philosophy of science?

Aristotle's Posterior Analytics is the basis of the modern scientific method of arguing from effects to the causes of things ("demonstration quia" or "a posteriori"). The ideal [of a unified ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 8,024
6 votes
3 answers
270 views

What kind of philosophy of the foundations of physics can there be?

I'm currently trying to read into topos foundations for theories of physics and I wonder if we are really able to give a philosophical foundation for what a possible future theory of physics should ...
fweth's user avatar
  • 189
6 votes
3 answers
594 views

What would the existence of the multiverse mean for theology?

The multiverse seems to be gaining traction of the scientific community, even becoming the prevalent worldview. It seems some types of the multiverse theory, such as the many-worlds interpretation, ...
APCoding's user avatar
  • 789
5 votes
5 answers
725 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
  • 176
5 votes
5 answers
2k views

How to understand numbers that become really large?

If we begin with a notion of number N that we denote F(N) as a function of time, can a decidable procedure exist on definability of the growth of numbers? Inspired by Tipler's Omega point and Thomson'...
Sniper Clown's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
332 views

Which physical phenomena are not objects?

I come from the world of OOP programming and I find OOP terms convenient to describe everything that has properties or fields and possibly some actions that may be applied to its properties/fields. ...
a1111exe's user avatar
  • 219
5 votes
5 answers
460 views

How do non-theist idealists account for laws of physics?

Berkeley has a god that forces regularity of sensations/perception on all other minds. So a super-mind is the source of the laws of physics. I assume it's the same with any theistic idealism. But I ...
Ameet Sharma's user avatar
  • 3,083
5 votes
3 answers
354 views

Are variational principles/Heron's principle final causes?

[EDIT: My question can be refined to, how does Heron's account of the behavior of light fit into a classical causal account of nature? Especially, is his account a kind of natural locomotion in ...
gnarledRoot's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
1k views

Can the continuum hypothesis be settled in physics?

Can the continuum hypothesis be settled in physics? In a lecture mathematician Woodin considers the possibility: Develops the mathematical physics of a mathematical understanding of the physical ...
More Anonymous's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
3k views

What would a fractal universe tell us about Time?

To begin with let's look at what is known as the coastline paradox. Briefly it goes like this: If you measure the circumference of Britain with a 1km long stick, and then do the same with a 100m long ...
christo183's user avatar
  • 2,467
5 votes
2 answers
170 views

Discovering inter-atomic forces or taking Newtons law seriously

I've already asked this question on Physics.SE, but it got no response; its not a conventional physics question, but really on how to interpret physical equations and physics. Newtons law of gravity ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

Deterministic or stochastic universe?

Just a little bit before my graduation from computer science, I attended a course about computational intelligence, and my professor then challenged us to debate on whether the world/universe follows ...
GGEv's user avatar
  • 159
5 votes
3 answers
333 views

How do we learn math and science?

I was wondering how we actually learn math and science (physics). Some people say that it is important to "understand" the formulas/equations. However, if anyone were asked what 5 divided by ...
dts's user avatar
  • 247
5 votes
2 answers
302 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
  • 1,365
5 votes
2 answers
148 views

If we aren't approaching the final theory, does it mean there's an infinite number of natural laws?

A lot say that with every next step we make in science comes always a set of new questions. I think this means there's an infinite number of questions we can ask about the natural laws. And that means ...
Probably's user avatar
  • 711

1
2 3 4 5