Philosophy of Physical Science


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Electromagnetism or gravitomagnetism?
[See also
Halley's "Synopsis of the Astronomy of Comets", 1705, is an ingenious mathematical proof of the parabolic shape of a comet's path and fits those cosmic wanderers right into Newtonian Physics, but it does not explain how such paths are possible. We understand now the why of the famous "hypotheses non fingo", Newton could simply not start to imagine what such an explanation would have looked like. The only thing he could say was that his equations seemed to work. A cosmologist's nightmare.]

Ever since Faraday it has been understood that electricity and magnetism are inseparable. Electric current influences the magnetized needle of a compass, and the motion of a magnet can create an electrical current in a metal coil.
Gravity seems different not only because it always is attractive, but also because it is understood to be the reason why bodies not only move towards each other, but also orbit each other. And that i ... (read more)
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We all know Mother Nature’s gradualist ways and have coined phrases for them: “Rome was not built in a day”; “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a step”, “little drops of water make a mighty ocean”, etc. Unfortunately, some cosmologists would prefer that the universe become wealthy overnight. The universe is now 1052kg rich (i.e. about 1069J) and they want to force this wealth, our current mass estimate into the very beginning (time zero), the Planck epoch and the other early times.  Of course, Mother Nature has resisted this get-rich-quick attitude and has inflicted such versions of our Big bang model with riddles, like the flatness and singularity problems for example.

In this post, I quote from Steven Weinberg’s popular book, The First Three Minutes,

 “As the explosion continued the temperature dropped …but the temperature continued to drop, finally reaching one thousand million degrees (109K) at the end of the first three minutes. It was then cool enough for the protons and neu ... (read more)

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After the publication of this paper, I enjoyed personal communication with Aloysius Martinich and discovered that I misused if and only if in several places of this paper. The corrections are below:

The formula indicates the following:
1. A is relatively identical to the value, but A is not absolutely identical to the value.
2. B is relatively identical to the value, but B is not absolutely identical to the value.
3. The value of A is absolutely identical to the value of B.
4. A is not identical to B.
(page 135)

1. The expression 1 + 3 is relatively identical to the value 4, but 1 + 3 is not absolutely identical to 4.

2. The expression 2 + 2 is relatively identical to the value 4, but 2 + 2 is not absolutely identical to 4.
3. The value of 1 + 3 is absolutely identical to the value of 2 + 2.
4. The expression 1 + 3 is not identical to the expression 2 + 2.
(page 135)

1. The triumvir was relatively identical to Lepidus, but the triumvir was not absolutely identical to Lepidus.
2. The pontifex maximus ... (read more)

I have come across a strange discrepancy between the claims of Simon Stevin and Einstein concerning gravitation. Well, the first is a classic thinker of the 16-17th century, while Einstein is a prodigy of the 20th. So, why should it be a problem? But then, this is not my area of expertise and I would like very much to hear from people on the know.I would greatly appreciate comments on the following post:

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If you have any questions or comments on "The Zygote Argument is Invalid", I would enjoy discussing them on this thread!

I understand the philosophical and scientific conversations about space and time have shifted toward conversations about spacetime. Instead of following that model, I prefer to ask a common sense question about space that impacts directly on the more technical conversations we are likely to have theses days.

The question is: What, if not space, is between you and the other things around you right now? I'm talking about the furniture, objects, devices, flora or fauna or whatever happens to be about. Between you and those things there is also the atmosphere, the air that surrounds us. Air has oxygen, nitrogen and various other gasses and pollutants that compose it but we can also ask about what is between these molecules? Or inside them even? Without getting too technical, I think we all know enough about atoms to ask what is between, say the nucleus and their orbiting electrons? Or between the protons and neutrons in the nucleus? 

No matter "how far down" you might go into smalle ... (read more)
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I am posting an explanation of this on my blog. It's drawn from my eprint

The Many Computations Interpretation (MCI) of Quantum Mechanics

but I expect to make a shorter paper just on this more limited topic.

My question is: is the explanation I give and purpose of what I am doing clear? Comments on the validity of the ideas are also welcome. Thanks.

So far I have the following posts on it (and see the main blog for more context related to QM):

Basic idea of an implementation

The Putnam-Searle-Chalmers Theorem

Restrictions on mappings 1: Independence and Inheritance

Dear all,

Lately I was wondering if there is any check on quality of review in e.g. Foundation of Physics.

A paper can be rejected on  

1. Stated dislike of the philosophy by the reviewer.
2. Claim that a proof is 'not convincing' while giving no further spoecification at all.

Does this kind of reviewing practices sound familiar to any of you?

Han Geurdes

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I ask this question from a position of profound ignorance of physics.

I would have answered the question in the title with a reflexive "of course not" until just a few minutes ago when something occured to me.

As far as I know, it's entirely possible that it was [i]physically possible[/i] for all the constants of nature could have turned out to be different. This, in turn, would have made for worlds in which the laws of physics would have appeared quite different to creatures inhabiting those worlds than ours appear to us, up until those creatures had succeeded in completing a full and correct theory of everything.

So what constraints are there on these basic constants? Are there any but mathematical constraints? If not, isn't this tantamount to saying there are none but logical constraints? If that's so, then, doesn't this imply that the physical possibilities are exactly the same as the logical possibilities?

Another way to put it: If a multiverse theory turns out to be correct in physic ... (read more)
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