David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
The present work is focussed on the completeness of physics, or what is here called the Completeness Thesis: the claim that the domain of the physical is causally closed. Two major questions are tackled: How best is the Completeness Thesis to be formulated? What can be said in defence of the Completeness Thesis? My principal conclusions are that the Completeness Thesis can be coherently formulated, and that the evidence in favour if it significantly outweighs that against it. In opposition to those who argue that formulation is impossible because no account of what is to count as physical can be provided, I argue that as long as the purpose of the argument in which the account is to be used are borne in mind there are no significant difficulties. The account of the physical which I develop holds as physical whatever is needed to fix the likelihood of pre-theoretically given physical effects, and hypothesises in addition that no chemical, biological or psychological factors will be needed in this way. The thus formulated Completeness Thesis is coherent, and has significant empirical content. In opposition to those who defend the doctrine of emergentism by means of philosophical arguments I contend that those arguments are flawed, setting up misleading dichotomies between needlessly attenuated alternatives and assuming the truth of what is to be proved. Against those who defend emergentism by appeal to the evidence, I argue that the history of science since the nineteenth century shows clearly that the empirical credentials of the view that the world is causally closed at the level of a small number of purely physical forces and types of energy is stronger than ever, and the credentials of emergentism correspondingly weaker. In opposition to those who argue that difficulties with reductionism point to the implausibility of the Completeness Thesis I argue that completeness in no way entails the kinds of reductionism which give rise to the difficulties in question. I argue further that the truth of the Completeness Thesis is in fact compatible with a great deal of taxonomic disorder and the impossibility of any general reduction of non-fundamental descriptions to fundamental ones. In opposition to those who argue that the epistemological credentials of fundamental physical laws are poor, and that those laws should in fact be seen as false, I contend that truth preserving accounts of fundamental laws can be developed. Developing such an account, I test it by considering cases of the composition of forces and causes, where what takes place is different to what is predicted by reference to any single law, and argue that viewing laws as tendencies allows their truth to be preserved, and sense to be made of both the experimental discovery of laws, and the fact that composition enables accurate prediction in at least some cases
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Renat Nugayev (1991). The Fundamental Laws of Physics Can Tell the Truth. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 5 (1):79 – 87.
Leonard Angel (2010). The Importance of Physicalism in the Philosophy of Religion. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 67 (3):141 - 156.
Eric Marcus (2005). Mental Causation in a Physical World. Philosophical Studies 122 (1):27-50.
David Jon Spurrett (1999). Fundamental Laws and the Completeness of Physics. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (3):261 – 274.
Sophie Gibb (2010). Closure Principles and the Laws of Conservation of Energy and Momentum. Dialectica 64 (3):363-384.
David Yates (2009). Emergence, Downwards Causation and the Completeness of Physics. Philosophical Quarterly 59 (234):110 - 131.
D. Gene Witmer (2000). Locating the Overdetermination Problem. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (2):273-286.
Leonard Angel (2004). Universal Self Consciousness Mysticism and the Physical Completeness Principle. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 55 (1):1-29.
Scott DeVito (1996). Completeness and Indeterministic Causation. Philosophy of Science 63 (3):184.
Matthew C. Haug (2009). Two Kinds of Completeness and the Uses (and Abuses) of Exclusion Principles. Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (4):379-401.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads41 ( #47,478 of 1,413,163 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #35,115 of 1,413,163 )
How can I increase my downloads?