35 votes

We know Classical Mechanics is wrong. But can we also say every other theory is wrong except the Theory of Everything?

Asimov's "The Relativity of Wrong" has a lot to say about this. John, when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. ...
causative's user avatar
  • 11.8k
34 votes

Interpretation of the butterfly effect

I think you might be confusing determinism with what’s called ‘chaos.’ Chaotic systems are deterministic, nonlinear systems, which are characterized as ‘chaotic’ because of their extreme sensitivity ...
njs's user avatar
  • 934
33 votes

We know Classical Mechanics is wrong. But can we also say every other theory is wrong except the Theory of Everything?

It is not a coincidence that you ask this here at philosophy SE, and not over at physics: The vast majority of physicists would simply reject your question and readily admit that their theories are ...
Peter - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
22 votes

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

The short answer: Your premise is not correct. Quantum Mechanics is not necessarily complex-valued. Here is a primer from Physics.SE if you are solid on the math. An explanation that is light on math:...
Geoffrey's user avatar
  • 756
20 votes
Accepted

What are some arguments against the brain-in-a-vat thought experiment?

Your question is about metaphysical realism and skepticism. There are indeed radical sceptic arguments against realism such as Descartes's demon, brain in a vat or the idea that one is actually ...
Quentin Ruyant's user avatar
18 votes

Interpretation of the butterfly effect

You have clarified that you understand some descriptions of physics are about hypothetical well-isolated systems with different initial states. However, when it comes to the Butterfly Effect you ...
Oddthinking's user avatar
15 votes

Interpretation of the butterfly effect

The butterfly effect is formally captured mathematically. Consider a chaotic system (such as a mathematical equation of the weather) and an initial state. If we use those equations, we can calculate ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
  • 17.7k
14 votes

Can Mathematics Fully Describe the Universe?

Clearly, no mathematics is ever going to describe redness and pain and love to any reasonable person's satisfaction. To describe something is to say what you think this something is by using a subject-...
Speakpigeon's user avatar
  • 6,777
14 votes
Accepted

Do distant stars still exist or are they just images?

The conventional answer in physics is that "right now far away" is a phrase that doesn't quite mean anything. As soon as you define what it means in some way that seems intuitively natural - ...
g s's user avatar
  • 4,962
12 votes

What is the "fabric" of spacetime if it is not a relational entity?

You are wrong to state that Einstein considered spacetime to be just a mathematical tool. For a good perspective on this, have a look at Minkowski's writings on the nature of spacetime, and Einstein's ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Why do we want to achieve Unified Theory of Everything?

At the present time, we do know not 2, but 4 kinds of physical interaction forces: Gravity Electromagnetism Weak interaction (explaining phenomena from radioactivity) Strong interaction (...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
  • 28.2k
8 votes

Interpretation of the butterfly effect

The "butterfly effect" appears to be a modern variant of the ancient philosophical axiom "Parvus error in principiis, magnus in conclusionibus" or "Parvus error in principio, magnus est in fine": A ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 7,877
8 votes

Do naturalists think that only microscopic physical things exist?

The view OP is alluding to is called mereological nihilism (mereology is a branch of metaphysics that studies relations between parts and wholes). It is the view that only "simples" (...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 42.8k
8 votes

A distinction between knowledge of laws of physics and the actual laws

The physicist and historian and philosopher of physics Pierre Duhem defines—in Aim & Structure of Physical Theory pt. 2, ch. 5 ("Physical Law"), p. 168—a physical law as a symbolic ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 7,877
8 votes

What is meant by a more "general" theory?

In physics theory B is more general than theory A, if B explains all results which A explains and some additional results. According to this definition Special Relativity is more general than Newton’s ...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
  • 28.2k
8 votes

Is there "empirical" distance without "mathematical" distance?

The mathematical concept of distance is an abstraction of the physical experience of distance. As such, we can use the mathematical concept to discuss 'distance' between things that are non-physical ...
Ted Wrigley's user avatar
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8 votes

Is there "empirical" distance without "mathematical" distance?

Are formal notions our best models of that experience of what we see with a ruler, or can we go further by saying that they are the same thing? Many people used to believe that empirical distance ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 2,092
8 votes

What is a physical quantity in science?

Physical quantity is something that one measures. In other words it is defined by the measurement procedure/protocol. Then one can form an abstract view of such a quantity, as something that can be ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
  • 1,535
8 votes

Can Mathematics Fully Describe the Universe?

Mathematics can be used to make a model of the universe. All models are necessarily simplifications of the thing they model - if they weren't they would be of no use as they would be no easier to ...
Dikran Marsupial's user avatar
7 votes

What are some arguments against the brain-in-a-vat thought experiment?

In my opinion, the best response to ontological uncertainty is to strive to live in a way that is meaningful regardless of the true nature of reality. While it may seem implausible, it may be less so ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 29.4k
7 votes

Where did Husserl say that in quantum mechanics spatial localisation is no longer a principle of individualisation?

I suspect that Petitot is misremembering and interpolating. Husserl did generally consider (formal) metaphysics to be the doctrine of individuation. For example, in a 1918 letter to Weyl, thanking him ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 42.8k
7 votes

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

In my opinion you are mixing up different points: Physics does not use complex numbers to count entities. It is sufficient to count mangos by non-negative rational numbers, i.e. 1 mango, 1.5 mangos, ...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
  • 28.2k
7 votes

A distinction between knowledge of laws of physics and the actual laws

In practice, the term "law of physics" refers to things we already know to be wrong more often than not. For instance, Newton's law of gravitation is wrong, it has been superseded by general ...
ACuriousMind's user avatar
7 votes

Determinism vs prediction

Determinism means that what happens in the future is unambiguously determined by what happened in the past. Predictability means that you can figure out what will happen next based on what happened ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 17.8k
7 votes
Accepted

Is thermodynamics science?

Thermodynamics is not just the study of entropy. It is what you get when you apply the laws of motion to statistically large ensembles of particles undergoing random collisions. There is no "...
niels nielsen's user avatar
7 votes

Do distant stars still exist or are they just images?

Lorentz Transformations, I believe, still maintain a certain sense of realism, and I don't believe the "truth of the matter" of a question like "is this star still alive?" in ...
TKoL's user avatar
  • 892
7 votes

How could we have defined time, had matter in our universe not been atomic?

A few observations... A second is a unit of time, not time, so the definition of a second is not a definition of time any more than a kilogram is a definition of mass. The advantage of using atomic ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 17.8k
6 votes
Accepted

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

Bergson's thesis was not that time is space-like, but that time understood "in the common way" is space-like. Bergson argued that practical reasons cause us to regard time as space, but that strictly ...
Ram Tobolski's user avatar
  • 7,331

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