Well, what is your reader supposed to conjecture that you might mean by "a problem for philosophy"? If you're pointing out that QM raises philosophical problems, this seems to be an entirely trivial observation. The only alternative interpretation that I can think of is that you're claiming that QM poses a threat to the existence of philosophy as an activity. Is this latter what you're suggesting? If so, Jeeprs doesn't seem to me to have suggested this, and I'd like to see a supporting argument.
I was in the water, and something brushed up against me. I may not know what to call that which brushed up against me, but I do know that whatever it's called, there was definitely something there. Assuming that it was made of either particles or waves and not both, then there was definitely something there.
I don't know what the word "particle" means, and I don't know what the word "wave" means, but at the moment, I don't care what those words mean. I do care, however, whether or not those words refer.
We were taught to believe that the word "particle" has a referent, and for many years, we have continued to believe that which we were taught to believe, but now a new theory has surfaced that purports to tear apart that which we have learned and come to accept. Could it be that the word "particle" has no referent?
Could it be that there are no particles but instead only waves? The implications would be staggering! But, be that as it may, and supposing (for giggles) that there are no particles, then we still ought not forget that where we thought there were particles but were none still doesn't render it so that there was never anything where we thought particles were, for there [is] definitely something there.
Twirlip, instead of trying to calm everyone down, just tell us what you mean.
Fast, you do know quantum mechanics describes how particles interact at a subatomic level, right?
If quantum mechanics does in fact do what you say, then there really shouldn't be any question about the existence of particles.
You say particles, but you mean energy and matter, right?
So, I guess I don't know that quantum mechanics describes how particles interact at a subatomic level.
I would be VERY VERY careful making such extrapolations from physics. As far as I know this is only speculation made on the peculiar Copenhagen interpretation of QM. I also believe there is much confusion in taking the Copenhagen interpretation to macroscopic conclusions about the observer independence of reality.
Okay. I will calm down. I always get like this after smoking crack. Anyway, I don't get the whole phylosophy thing. What is the connection with what we are talking about?
Well, this is sort of off topic because we were discussing it in another thread. But jeeprs, you see what happens when you use a word in a way that doesn't match the common usage definition? A page of arguing, insinuations of UFO belief
jeeprs (or anyone), what is the Zen way to respond to this? I'm serious. I'm completely at a loss. It is clear that anything I might say in response will be wilfully misconstrued. I have discarded several possible replies, all of which promise only to lead further into a wilderness of bickering sidetracks, all heat and noise, and no light
There is only one particle in the entire universe - It is responsible for all energy and all matter, it only appears to be many different things at once because of it's ability to locate itself at all available locations.
...the inherent difficulties of the materialist theory of the atom, which had become apparent even in the ancient discussions about smallest particles, have also appeared very clearly in the development of physics during the present [20th] century.
The difficulty relates to the question of whether the smallest units are ordinary physical objects, whether they exist in the same way as stones or flowers. Here, the development of quantum theory...has created a complete change in the situation. [This theory shows] clearly that our ordinary intuitive concepts cannot be applied to the smallest particles. All the words and concepts we use to describe ordinary physical objects ...become indefinite and problematic. ...But it is important to realise that...the language of mathematics is still adequate for a clear-cut account of what is going on. .....
I think that on this point modern physics has definitely decided for Plato. For the smallest units of matter are, in fact, not physical objects in the ordinary sense of the word: they are forms, structures, or - in Plato's sense - Ideas, which can unambiguously be spoken of only in the language of mathematics.
I don't think I posted anything rash, other than my 'scare headline' about atoms not existing, which I proceeded to explain. I am not confused about the Copenhagen interpretation. I don't say I understand it completely, but I am certain that it is incompatible with naive realism, at the very least. In fact I think the only people who are 'confused' about it are those who won't admit that point.
I don't speak math, but have just spent a few weeks laboring through On Physics and Philosophy by Bernard D'espagnet, and I think he would agree that QM defeats naive realism (I have returned it to the library so can't quote from it.)
Now note this phrase that sub-atomic particles don't 'exist in the same way' as macroscopic objects. There was a big debate a few months ago as to whether 'things can exist in a different way'. The naysayers, led by Kennethamy, insisted that existence cannot be modulated; a thing either exists, or it doesn't. It is a binary value. Those for the case, including yours truly, argued that there are different modes of existence and that some things exist only in an intelligible or intellectual way. Classical metaphysics recognizes modes of existence; materialism does not.
I'll state outright that I am downright suspicious of anyone speaking about physics that understands the subject matter only through analogies and simplifications doled out by writers of popular science books. Myself being trained in mathematics and logic, I can easily conceive of a description of a mathematical relationship exhibited by physical entities being very skewed when described in plain English without any specialized language.
That being said, I would ask whether the word 'exists' is being used correctly here. Sub-atomic particles may not behave in the world in a way that is consistent with how macroscopic objects do. That does not mean that they exist in different ways, only that they behave in different ways.
I also read a bit of that debate. It seems to me that your position treats expressions that speak of the relationship between other objects and relations as objects in their own right. A mathematical formula is not something to which the predicate 'Exists' applies. 'X^2 -2 = 0 exists' Has no meaning. Mathematics is a language that can describe the relationships between interacting objects or interacting sub-relations. It is not itself an object. I see the confusion here arising from the conflation of descriptions of relationships with objects that can or cannot exist. A relationship is a potential state of being between a group of objects or other relationships between objects, it does not 'exist' in the colloquial sense of the term unless it is confused with an object.
Whether the world is made of atoms and, if not, what. Whether discovering a 'basic unit of reality' is philosophically plausible.
Turbolung: I am asserting that the fact that you place theoretical physics above international affairs and global issues is nothing more than a personal preference.
Both of these aspects of scholarship can affect humanity profoundly; you just have a bias towards one over the other. If you disagree, I would like to see your argument.
You are falsely assuming I care about the "affect on humanity". In fact, even if we one day discover "the meaning of life", I don't think it matters one bit whether it helps us or not. The mere fact that we understand the meaning of life would be the greatest feat of human achievement forevermore.
Science is necessary in a fundamental way to the improvement of our quality of life as a species. Medical science continually improves the duration and quality of our lives. Physical science is called on in many medical technologies. Space exploration is another area of great importance. Maybe of ultimate importance in terms of ensuring humanity survives for the longest period possible.
Possibly. This does not refute my claim though, but, I appreciate your thoughts.
Why would the vigilant eye of a political analyst that exposes actualities of foreign policy and blatantly agenda-driven ideological positions taken by those in power be less relevant to society than experimentally vindicating theoretical physics? Certainly public policy directly affects each and every one of us. Certainly such issues can have direct affect on the quality of life of many, many persons.
Comparing trivial matters like politics to the meaning of life is like comparing a creationist to Einstein, or, a turd to a chunk of gold.
In terms of material progress, science is only relevant insofar as it allows us to manipulate nature to acucomplish a practical goal.
A well informed political public that is self critical and critical of the power structures that govern it is a highly desirable thing, and so political science is relevant insofar as it can aid the accurate analysis of current and past events by such a vigilant public, and insofar as it can facilitate the mobilization of the public as a political force.
I am lost as to the direction you are taking in politics. I don't care about politics. It does not rate to the discovery of the meaning of life.
In physics, the curiosity driven research is what the more 'practical' applied research is built on. So there is a direct link to the progress of scientific knowledge and the progress of technological achievement.
In political science, more theoretical and rigid structures are suspect as they often try to encapsulate the laws of interaction at the top level, and hence risk broad inaccuracies. That doesn't mean that studying scholarship related to political science will impede you in making a careful analysis of a political issue. Quite the opposite. So there is direct societal worth to political science.
No offence, but I don't follow.
I see importance and relavance in many academic areas, and I find it quite difficult to take seriously the claim that theoretical physics has more relevance, in it's current stage, than any of those other academic areas. I have certainly heard nothing sound enough to allow anyone to reasonably take the title of physicist as some mantle signifying moral superiority over those who choose to pursue other disciplines.
I would agree, but again, this is irrelevant to my initial post.
ant to my claim.
Sorry, I am flabagasted by your question. Yes, there are atoms. They are 100% proven in a myriad of ways. They are particles and not waves.
Some of the implications of quantum physics, however, are even more radical than this. Traditionally, one of the aims of physics has been to provide an ontology, by which is meant a description of physical reality - things as they 'really are'. A classical ontology is based on the concepts of particles, forces and fields interacting under known laws. In contrast, in the standard interpretation of quantum physics it is often impossible to provide such a consistent ontology. [...] So crucial is this that some people have been led to believe that it is the actual human observer's mind that is the only reality - that everything else, including the whole physical universe, is an illusion. To avoid this, some have attempted to develop alternative theories with realistic ontologies but which reproduce the results of quantum physics wherever these have been experimentally tested. Others have suggested that quantum physics implies that ours is not the only physical universe and that if we postulate the existence of a myriad of universes with which we have only fleeting interactions, then a form of realism and determinism can be recovered. Others again think that, despite its manifest successes, quantum physics is not the final complete theory of the physical universe and that a further revolution in thought is needed.
Do try to inform yourself about a subject before presuming to condescend to someone better informed than yourself. Ignorance and arrogance are both excusable, but their combination is not.
Alastair Rae, author of the standard textbook Quantum Mechanics, now in its 5th edition, writes, in his popular exposition Quantum Physics: Illusion or Reality? (page 3 of the second edition, 2004):
(And there's not only quantum ontology, there's quantum logic as well! I find all this very disturbing myself, because I'm a dyed-in-the-wool realist who believes in classical logic. But a real, logical realist has to be realistic enough to face the reality of even a real threat to his beloved realism.)
Even the most cursory research on the Internet would turn up countless similar statements, all made by respected authorities. For God's sake, do some homework before shooting your mouth off!
TurboLung: You think that at CERN, they're trying to find the "meaning of life"?
Huh? Tell me in one plain, comprehensible sentence what you are saying. What do I need to "inform" myself about? :sarcastic:
The whole search for the Higgs and other particles, the graviton etc are all because we want to unify Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity.
The whole reason we want to unify the two areas is that once we do, we can know what happened prior to the Big Bang
Of course, our quest could be like opening up those little Russian dolls. Once we open this one, another will present itself.
There is no unifying theory, as far as I'm aware, so there are no experimental results that can confirm such a theory. In any case, a unified theory is not "the meaning of life", as far as I'm concerned, do you think that it is?Please cite your sources for this claim.
I absolutely agree with you on this. Can we define the 'russian dolls' parallel, by the way? Infinite interiors and infinite exteriors - potentially fractilian too...
And, in SS-theory, should we perceive the strings as we perceive galaxies? I do - That's how I relate to and expand from... There's more, by the way, but I'm still drawing conclusions - so wont submit until complete.
Thank you, and have a great day.
Mark, from what I have read about SS-Theory, there is nothing smaller than a "string". If you went smaller, its meaning would be the same as asking, "Is the number 9 happy?" So, physisits believe that space and time are not infinitely divisible. Also, just as a thought, we know as a fact that time does NOT flow. It is just there like a block of ice.