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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:...
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18 votes
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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 ...
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17 votes

The problem of Motion

I recommend to start with the arrow paradox by the Greek philosopher Zeno, see https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/paradox-zeno/#ParMot Afterwards you could study how calculus formalizes the limit ...
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9 votes
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Is it theoretically possible for a bottomless pits to exist in a finite universe?

A universe having a finite volume can be unbounded in length and have unbounded cross-sectional area. The example I have in mind is mathematical, not physical. It's called Gabriel's Horn. It's a ...
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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" (...
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7 votes
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Is the delayed choice quantum eraser a refutation of principle of causality? How does contemporary philosophy make sense of it?

One of the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics is the principle of superposition. Its most simple application reads: If two paths exist to move from state A to state B, then the transition ...
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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 ...
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7 votes

What philosophical problem did Newton solve?

The problems of motion and gravity were philosophical problems before the scientific revolution. People followed Aristotle's teachings. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotelian_physics Look at how ...
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7 votes
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What philosophical problem did Newton solve?

A science is a well-defined systematic way of organizing and extending a body of knowledge. What makes it a science is its reliability, not its subject. Philosophy explores subjects that are outside ...
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7 votes
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Euler's 1746 philosophy paper

1st premise : No body can have a force contrary to inertia. Based on [Engl.transl.,page 2] analysis of "current" (still quite incomplete) understanding of matter and bodies and of knowledge of only a ...
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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, ...
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7 votes

The problem of Motion

To enlarge upon Jo Wehler's answer, Zeno's Paradox was only a paradox for philosophers, not for Zeno's neighbors who sailed boats, walked down roads, built buildings, plowed the earth or carried rocks ...
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7 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 ...
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6 votes
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Epicureanism and speed of light

I've found in Norman Wentworth DeWitt, Epicurus and His Philosophy (1954), page 163 : Lacking a unit for the denotation of extremely high velocity, Epicurus describes it as follows: "...
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6 votes

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

I am not sure that saving phenomena can be used to argue that Plato and Aristotle admitted or did not admit that different suppositions might be consistent with them. At the time Plato posed the ...
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6 votes
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How could our universe suddenly appear out of nothingness?

Look at what Peter van Inwagen says in his book "metaphysics" (an excellent read) on this issue. He accuses physicists who claim to have solved the philosophical problem of origin or creation of ...
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6 votes

Shouldn't Last Thurdayism be able to be proved wrong by Physics?

I think you're misunderstanding the idea behind "Last Thursdayism" on two fronts. First, as can be seen from the selection of "Thursday", the main point of the posit is to point out a problem in ...
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6 votes

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

Complex numbers are ordered pairs of numbers that have an extended definition of multiplication that is useful for representing circular motion in two-dimensions. (The definition of multiplication ...
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  • 1,692
6 votes

"v = 1 m/s": predicate or relation? Any literature?

The statement "The ball is red" can be rewritten with subject-predicate form: "Red(ball)" where "Red( )" is a predicate (a property predicated of something) and "ball" is the subject (an object of ...
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6 votes

To what extent is mathematics a tool to grasp the world beyond human intuition?

this is a complex topic, but I want to present a counterexample to one of Nikos M.'s points. When Maxwell formulated his four equations of unified electromagnetism, he noticed afterwards that they ...
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5 votes
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What is the difference between determinism and superdeterminism?

"Normal" determinism — or at least, the way that people normally approach the notion of determinism — in the face of apparently random events is the position that the randomness is due to ...
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5 votes

Was Einstein a philosopher?

Yes, Einstein was a philosopher, as well as a scientist. My entire answer to Physics, Theoretical Understanding and the Limits of Human Knowledge/Understanding is relevant here, so I will simply list ...
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5 votes

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

Delayed choices undermines past to future causality only if one assumes that the initial state of a system must directly determine measurement results, and that wave functions represent our ignorance ...
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5 votes

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

Discussions of philosophical issues can often benefit from taking into account what we know about physics. In this case this may not be as pronounced because the teleportation paradox is more about ...
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5 votes
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Shouldn't Last Thurdayism be able to be proved wrong by Physics?

As virmalor pointed out, last Thursdayism is not that literal. It is the assertion that the universe came into existence in a preconfigured state, at some point in time, as opposed to developing from ...
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5 votes

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

Are we answering the right question? You touch upon an interesting point, but I have the feeling that your question isn't specific enough yet to reach a proper resolutions. Others have argued that '...
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5 votes
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What's the "opposite" of emergence?

Emergence isn't necessarily about smaller to bigger, although it is a property of groups or interactions. It is something that happens in intermediate states between absolutely chaotic behaviour and ...
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5 votes

The shape and extension of the fundamental particles

This is one of the reasons why we switched to quantum field theory. Instead of referring to individuated particles and waves otherwise operating in a quasi-void, we took this quasi-void to be the ...
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4 votes
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Where does Aristotle's Posterior Analytics disagree with modern philosophy of science?

The historiographical debate about the medieval origins of modern science is a long one (Duhem, Crombie, Koyré) but modern science (from Galileo on) is not at all aristotelian. Modern science is based ...
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