111

I think part of the problem is: Science doesn't prove anything. Science, at its core, is simply a method of generating testable hypothesis that explain events, which are valued because of their use in predicting future results. Let me give an example. Based on observations, science came up with a theory for an orbital period, correlating orbital speed and ...


57

I say it's not that the universe acts according to "scientific laws," but rather that these laws are a tool for people to use to quantify how the universe works. In other words, the universe works how it works. Not according to any laws or conventions, but because "that's how it is." The fact that the observable universe is consistent allows us to create ...


35

I like immortal squish's answer, but I'm going to take it a step further. Physics (and other science) as we know it is a way to describe how the universe behaves. If gravity worked in reverse, but it was consistent about it, that would be the physics. It's perfectly valid to say that the universe has a set of physics, for example. A different universe ...


28

Like you, I think most uses of the terms 'probable' and 'random' are just epistemic, i.e. they relate to how much information we have. We say of a toss of a coin that it is random, and that there is a probability of (approximately) one half of it falling heads, but this just reflects the information we possess. Tell me more about the force and vector of the ...


24

In the sections leading up to that claim Carnap discusses a first class of what he calls 'pseudo-statements', which are all sentences characterized by having in them some 'meaningless' word. The sentence "kjdfho is great" is a pseudo-statement of that first class, because it includes the presumably meaningless expression 'kjdfho'. Then, in §4 Carnap ...


20

Here is Cantor in his own words (from his influential 1887 letter to Weierstrass): "I begin from the supposition of a linear magnitude ζ which is so small that its product by n , ζ · n, for every finite whole number n however great is smaller than unity, and then prove, from the concept of a linear magnitude and with the help of certain propositions from ...


20

You already seem to know the scientific perspective on this, but perhaps it's still worth elaborating a bit on it. You can define a second as the amount of time that passes between two ticks of the second hand of a clock. Our modern definition of the second is essentially a more precise version of the same idea, where the oscillations of the radiation ...


20

Memorably, Feynman in his Lectures on Physics states: It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is. Energy, the Subtle Concept. The discovery of Feynman’s blocks, from Leibniz to Einstein by Jennifer Coopersmith (Oxford UP, 2010) is a book that substantiates Feynman's claim. It begins by recalling the context, ...


19

Let us consider the being named Hpf. Like God, Hpf is eternal by definition. Hpf created the universe and will destroy it on Monday, August 9, 2021. Something whose existence is impossible cannot be conceived in the mind. Let's make an assumption that there is no Hpf. Since it will be eternal by definition, it did not exist in the past or in the future, ...


18

There are a number of quantities that physics has found to be conserved. "Conserved" means that if you take a situation, and you measure what is in it, then something happens in it (where you measure all inputs and outputs), the measure of those quantities doesn't change. These include: Mass-Energy Linear Momentum Angular Momentum Center of ...


17

Attempts to show that God exists by looking at nature such as the Kalam Cosmological Argument can only assert "generic theism", as you rightly point out. If the argument holds, then how does anybody know anything about this god/God? The answer is revelation or prophecy. When theologians talk about revelation, they are talking about ways that God ...


17

Logically, if we could prove that God healed amputees then it would as a corollary prove the existence of God. (it is simply the argument that; "if X is specifically observed to do Y, then X must exist"). But in practice that has two problems: Either, if science demonstrates God's existence, in what sense is He then "super"natural and not ...


17

First, to speak very broadly, information (in the mathematical sense of information theory) is a quantity calculated from a probability distribution. In the Bayesian interpretation of probability, probability is a person's subjective degree of belief in a proposition. The consequence is that information is also subjective, and is relative to an individual's ...


17

I disagree with your assertion that physics has nothing to say about this. There was a time when "nothing" was thought of as a box with no contents. Then it was discovered that it contained air, and air had certain properties- so the box full of nothing actually contained "something". "Nothing" was redefined to be a box ...


14

The lawfulness of the Universe originated with the philosophy of the Stoics. Prior to the Stoics, there were many philosophies that were rooted in religion and religious ontology. In these, the Universe was lawful because the gods and cosmic scheme operated as they did. In contrast, the Stoics asserted that the Universe was lawful, regardless of the nature ...


14

The OP asks the following questions: Does the minimum unit of time coincide with the smallest change? Does time dissolve without differences between things? Bradley Dowden surveys two perspectives, substantivalism and relationalism, with regards to the question whether time requires change: Substantivalism is the thesis that space and time exist ...


13

First of all, one must be careful about the use of the word "theory" in "String Theory". Theory here is used closer to the restricted mathematical sense of the word, as a set of propositions based on a formal set of rules, like set theory or complexity theory, as opposed to the theory of evolution. Seen from this point of view, one can say that String theory ...


12

I don't think this is correct. Formal logic, like mathematics, is typically atemporal, it deals with structural relationships, not progressions. For example, the logical statement IF A THEN B may sound like something that takes place in time, with A happening first and B happening second, but in actuality it just means that in the case that A is true, B ...


12

Both definitions are outdated. As Husserl put it already back in 1901: "Only if one is ignorant of the modern science of mathematics, particularly of formal mathematics, and measures it by standards of Euclid and Adam Riese, can one remain stuck in the common prejudice that the essence of mathematics lies in number and quantity". In antiquity ...


12

Quine does not subscribe to scientism, i.e. the epistemological primacy of the scientific method, but he is often taken to because his repudiation of scientism is non-traditional. Quine does consign epistemology to a "chapter of psychology", which would be scientism if he also preserved the traditional understanding of epistemology, as scientism does. But ...


12

There are ways to reconcile libertarian free will even with classical physics. One could say (as was common position in 19-th century) that the laws of nature are only approximations and do not prescribe future events in every detail, free will is constrained only as far as the metaphysical margin of error. Non-Lipschitz forces (gravity, resistance) produce ...


12

Attributes, for Aristotle, scholastics, Descartes, and Spinoza alike, are the non-accidental qualities/properties expressed in language by predicates, as substances are expressed in it by subjects, to which they are predicated. Taken together, they make a substance what it is, hence they are essential (unlike accidental properties), constitute its essence. ...


12

Your proposed solution does not solve the paradox. The whole point of the paradox is that the term 'pile' is vague. That is, given an object (e.g. a collection of grains of sand) it is indeterminate whether the term applies to this object or not. It is indeterminate since it's not clear just how many grains constitute a heap (for any number n, you can ...


11

Let's take the counter-proposal. Suppose the world does not act in accordance with any laws. What would this mean? It would mean that there are no observable regularities ever. Then the sun may or may not rise tomorrow. Today you might speak English at 3 o'clock and at 5 o'clock you are a Donald duck. This spoon I am holding might fall up towards the sky ...


11

John Searle apparently asked Michel Foucault, and Pierre Bourdieu, why they wrote so badly. (Apparently they were both much clearer in conversation or when lecturing, and Searle respected them both greatly.) He says that Foucault told him, If I wrote as clearly as you do, people in Paris wouldn't take me seriously, they would think it's child-like, it's ...


11

Per Russell's "mysticism and logic", the difference between mysticism and logic (He uses the term logic as a tag for reason and the scientific method in general) is purely epistemic. They are two different epistemic methods, even if they both have the same objective of acquiring (metaphysical) knowledge about the world. So to answer your question: ...


11

The concept of infinitesimal small and infinitely large numbers has been been formalized by the mathematical domain of non-standard analysis. The field of rationals (QQ,+,*) embedds into the ring (Omega_QQ,+,*). Elements of the latter are the equivalence classes of sequences of rational numbers; two sequences are considered equivalent when their ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible