The success of particle detection in high energy physics colliders critically depends on the criteria for selecting a small number of interactions from an overwhelming number that occur in the detector. It also depends on the selection of the exact data to be analyzed and the techniques of analysis. The introduction of automation into the detection process has traded the direct involvement of the physicist at each stage of selection and analysis for the efficient handling of vast amounts of (...) data. This tradeoff, in combination with the organizational changes in laboratories of increasing size and complexity, has resulted in automated and semi-automated systems of detection. Various aspects of the semi-automated regime were greatly diminished in more generic automated systems, but turned out to be essential to a number of surprising discoveries of anomalous processes that led to theoretical breakthroughs, notably the establishment of the Standard Model of particle physics. The automated systems are much more efficient in confirming specific hypothesis in narrow energy domains than in performing broad exploratory searches. Thus, in the main, detection processes relying excessively on automation are more likely to miss potential anomalies and impede potential theoretical advances. I suggest that putting substantially more effort into the study of electron–positron colliders and increasing its funding could minimize the likelihood of missing potential anomalies, because detection in such an environment can be handled by the semi-automated regime—unlike detection in hadron colliders. Despite virtually unavoidable excessive reliance on automated detection in hadron colliders, their development has been deemed a priority because they can operate at currently highest energy levels. I suggest, however, that a focus on collisions at the highest achievable energy levels diverts funds from searches for potential anomalies overlooked due to tradeoffs at the previous energy thresholds. I also note that even in the same collision environment, different research strategies will opt for different tradeoffs and thus achieve different experimental outcomes. Finally, I briefly discuss current searches for anomalous process in the context of the previous analysis. (shrink)
entry for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) This entry will attempt to provide a broad overview of the central themes of Leibniz’s philosophy of physics, as well as an introduction to some of the principal arguments and argumentative strategies he used to defend his positions. It tentatively includes sections entitled, The Historical Development of Leibniz’s Physics, Leibniz on Matter, Leibniz’s Dynamics, Leibniz on the Laws of Motion, Leibniz on Space and Time. A bibliography arranged by topic (...) is also included. A working draft is available here (comments, as always welcome): draft. (shrink)
The Physics is one of Aristotle's masterpieces - a work of extraordinary intellectual power which has had a profound influence on the development of metaphysics and the philosophy of science, as well as on the development of physics itself. This collection of ten new essays by leading Aristotelian scholars examines a wide range of issues in the Physics and related works, including method, causation and explanation, chance, teleology, the infinite, the nature of time, the critique of atomism, (...) the role of mathematics in Aristotle's physics, and the concept of self-motion. The essays offer fresh approaches to Aristotle's work in these areas, and important new interpretations of his thought. The book also contains an extensive bibliography. (shrink)
A modest proposal concerning laws, counterfactuals, and explanations - - Why be Humean? -- Suggestions from physics for deep metaphysics -- On the passing of time -- Causation, counterfactuals, and the third factor -- The whole ball of wax -- Epilogue : a remark on the method of metaphysics.
According to an increasing number of authors, the best, if not the only, argument in favour of physicalism is the so-called 'overdetermination argument'. This argument, if sound, establishes that all the entities that enter into causal interactions with the physical world are physical. One key premise in the overdetermination argument is the principle of the causal closure of the physical world, said to be supported by contemporary physics. In this paper, I examine various ways in which physics may (...) support the principle, either as a methodological guide or as depending on some other laws and principles of physics. (shrink)
In their recent book Every Thing Must Go Ladyman and Ross (Ladyman et al. 2007) claim: (1) Physics is analytically complete since it is the only science that cannot be left incomplete (cf. Ladyman et al. 2007, 283). (2) There might not be an ontologically fundamental level (cf. Ladyman et al. 2007, 178). (3) We should not admit anything into our ontology unless it has explanatory and predictive utility (cf. Ladyman et al. 2007, 179). In this discussion note I (...) aim to show that the ontological commitment in (3) implies that the completeness of no science can be achieved where no fundamental level exists. Therefore, if claim (1) requires a science to actually be complete in order to be considered as physics, (1), and if Ladyman and Ross’s “tentative metaphysical hypothesis […] that there is no fundamental level” (178) is true, (2), then there simply is no physics. Ladyman and Ross can, however, avoid this unwanted result if they merely require physics to ever strive for completeness rather than to already be complete. (shrink)
Rudyard Kipling, the famous English author of The 'Jungle Book', born in India, wrote one day these words: 'Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet'. In my Essay I show that Kipling was not completely right. I try to show the common ground between Buddhist philosophy and quantum physics. There is a surprising paralelism between the philosophical concept of reality articulated by Nagarjuna and the physical concept of reality implied by quantum (...) class='Hi'>physics. For neither is there a fundamental core to reality; rather, reality concists of systems of interacting objects. Such concepts of reality cannot be reconciled with the substantial, subjective, holistic or instrumentalistic concepts of reality that underlie modern modes of thought. (shrink)
In this sequence of philosophical essays about natural science, the author argues that fundamental explanatory laws, the deepest and most admired successes of modern physics, do not in fact describe regularities that exist in nature. Cartwright draws from many real-life examples to propound a novel distinction: that theoretical entities, and the complex and localized laws that describe them, can be interpreted realistically, but the simple unifying laws of basic theory cannot.
Newly updated study surveys concept of space from standpoint of historical development. Space in antiquity, Judeo-Christian ideas about space, Newton’s concept of absolute space, space from 18th century to present. Extensive new chapter (6) reviews changes in philosophy of space since publication of second edition (1969). Numerous original quotations and bibliographical references. "...admirably compact and swiftly paced style."—Philosophy of Science. Foreword by Albert Einstein. Bibliography.
I provide a comprehensive metaphysics of causation based on the idea that fundamentally things are governed by the laws of physics, and that derivatively difference-making can be assessed in terms of what fundamental laws of physics imply for hypothesized events. Highlights include a general philosophical methodology, the fundamental/derivative distinction, and my mature account of causal asymmetry.
Niels Bohr, founding father of modern atomic physics and quantum theory, was as original a philosopher as he was a physicist. This study explores several dimensions of Bohr's vision: the formulation of quantum theory and the problems associated with its interpretation, the notions of complementarity and correspondence, the debates with Einstein about objectivity and realism, and his sense of the infinite harmony of nature. Honner focuses on Bohr's epistemological lesson, the conviction that all our description of nature is dependent (...) on the words we use and the ways we can unambiguously use them. (shrink)
Although the stated purpose of Physics viii 8 is to prove that only circular locomotion is infinitely continuous, it is generally recognized that a major sub-theme of the chapter has to do with the unity of change and centers on Zeno’s dichotomy paradox. According to one influential account of this sub-theme, Aristotle returns to the dichotomy paradox in Physics viii 8, primarily to engage in a defensive maneuver. In Physics vi, while focused on the infinite divisibility of (...) change instead of its identity conditions, Aristotle left open the possibility that occurrences that are ‘one change’ could have infinitely many parts that are also ‘one change’.1 By Physics viii 8, however, Zeno has brought Aristotle to realize that if this possibility is admitted, then what one chooses to call ‘one change’ is to a large extent arbitrary. But this Aristotle cannot countenance, because his entire theory of change is built upon the concept of a change as a thing uniquely definable as the passage from a particular state to a particular state. In Physics viii 8, then, Aristotle seeks to avoid this result by ‘refining’ the definition of ‘one change’ so that ‘one change’ can no longer have parts that are also ‘one change’ and by invoking the metaphysical machinery of the act-potency distinction to give a positive characterization of the difference between change parts and change wholes.2 According to Michael White, Aristotle ‘refines’ his definition of ‘one change’ in Physics viii 8 by strengthening the criteria of Physics v 4; criteria, which, White is correct to point out, do nothing to prevent this result on their own.3 According to White, this ‘refinement’ consists in adding, to the criteria of Physics v 4 (i.e., the criteria that ‘one change’ must be in a continuous time, have a single subject throughout, and proceed throughout from a terminus of the same species to a contrary terminus of the same species), the additional condition that an occurrence that is ‘one change’ must be bracketed by periods of rest and contain no periods of rest.. (shrink)
Highlighting main issues and controversies, this book brings together current philosophical discussions of symmetry in physics to provide an introduction to the subject for physicists and philosophers. The contributors cover all the fundamental symmetries of modern physics, such as CPT and permutation symmetry, as well as discussing symmetry-breaking and general interpretational issues. Classic texts are followed by new review articles and shorter commentaries for each topic. Suitable for courses on the foundations of physics, philosophy of physics (...) and philosophy of science, the volume is a valuable reference for students and researchers. (shrink)
This paper is the first of a two-part reexamination of causation in Descartes's physics. Some scholars ? including Gary Hatfield and Daniel Garber ? take Descartes to be a `partial' Occasionalist, who thinks that God alone is the cause of all natural motion. Contra this interpretation, I agree with literature that links Descartes to the Thomistic theory of divine concurrence. This paper surveys this literature, and argues that it has failed to provide an interpretation of Descartes's view that both (...) distinguishes his position from that of his later, Occasionalist followers and is consistent with his broader metaphysical commitments. I provide an analysis that tries to address these problems with earlier `Concurentist' readings of Descartes. On my analysis, Occasionalism entails that created substances do not have intrinsic active causal powers. As I read him, Descartes thinks that bodies have active causal powers that are partly grounded in their intrinsic natures. But I argue ? pace a recent account by Tad Schmaltz ? that Descartes also thinks that God immediately causes all motion in the created world. On the picture that emerges, Descartes's position is both continuous with, and a subtle departure from, the Thomisitic theory of divine concurrence. (shrink)
The ambition of this volume is twofold: to provide a comprehensive overview of the field and to serve as an indispensable reference work for anyone who wants to work in it. For example, any philosopher who hopes to make a contribution to the topic of the classical-quantum correspondence will have to begin by consulting Klaas Landsman’s chapter. The organization of this volume, as well as the choice of topics, is based on the conviction that the important problems in the philosophy (...) of physics arise from studying the foundations of the fundamental theories of physics. It follows that there is no sharp line to be drawn between philosophy of physics and physics itself. Some of the best work in the philosophy of physics is being done by physicists, as witnessed by the fact that several of the contributors to the volume are theoretical physicists: viz., Ellis, Emch, Harvey, Landsman, Rovelli, ‘t Hooft, the last of whom is a Nobel laureate. Key features - Definitive discussions of the philosophical implications of modern physics - Masterly expositions of the fundamental theories of modern physics - Covers all three main pillars of modern physics: relativity theory, quantum theory, and thermal physics - Covers the new sciences grown from these theories: for example, cosmology from relativity theory; and quantum information and quantum computing, from quantum theory - Contains special Chapters that address crucial topics that arise in several different theories, such as symmetry and determinism - Written by very distinguished theoretical physicists, including a Nobel Laureate, as well as by philosophers - Definitive discussions of the philosophical implications of modern physics - Masterly expositions of the fundamental theories of modern physics - Covers all three main pillars of modern physics: relativity theory, quantum theory, and thermal physics - Covers the new sciences that have grown from these theories: for example, cosmology from relativity theory; and quantum information and quantum computing, from quantum theory - Contains special Chapters that address crucial topics that arise in several different theories, such as symmetry and determinism - Written by very distinguished theoretical physicists, including a Nobel Laureate, as well as by philosophers. (shrink)
It is shown that if quantum physics is interpreted according to the philosophy of monistic idealism--that consciousness is the ground of all being--then some of the important dualisms of philosophy can be integrated.
This is an updated (25 April 2013) and revised version (after one iteration with referees) of a draft of the book on the notion of fundamental length I have been writing for the last couple of years, covering issues in the philosophy of math, metaphysics, and the history and the philosophy of modern physics, from classical electrodynamics to current theories of quantum gravity.
The basic theme of Popper's philosophy--that something can come from nothing--is related to the present situation in physical theory. Popper carries his investigation right to the center of current debate in quantum physics. He proposes an interpretation of physics--and indeed an entire cosmology--which is realist, conjectural, deductivist and objectivist, anti-positivist, and anti-instrumentalist. He stresses understanding, reminding us that our ignorance grows faster than our conjectural knowledge.
Statistical mechanics is one of the crucial fundamental theories of physics, and in his new book Lawrence Sklar, one of the pre-eminent philosophers of physics, offers a comprehensive, non-technical introduction to that theory and to attempts to understand its foundational elements. Among the topics treated in detail are: probability and statistical explanation, the basic issues in both equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, the role of cosmology, the reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics, and the alleged foundation of the (...) very notion of time asymmetry in the entropic asymmetry of systems in time. The book emphasises the interaction of scientific and philosophical modes of reasoning, and in this way will interest all philosophers of science as well as those in physics and chemistry concerned with philosophical questions. The book could also be read by an informed general reader interested in the foundations of modern science. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that if physics is to become a coherent metaphysics of nature it needs an “interpretation”. As I understand it, an interpretation of a physical theory amounts to offering (1) a precise formulation of its ontological claims and (2) a clear account of how such claims are related to the world of our experience. Notably, metaphysics enters importantly in both tasks: in (1), because interpreting our best physical theories requires going beyond a merely instrumentalist (...) view of science and therefore using our best metaphysical theories; in (2), because a philosophical elaboration of the theories of the world that are implicit in our experience is one of the tasks of analytic metaphysics, and bridging possible explanatory gaps or even conflicts between the physical image and the manifest image of the world is a typical philosophical task that involves science and metaphysics. (shrink)
Steven French and Decio Krause examine the metaphysical foundations of quantum physics. They draw together historical, logical, and philosophical perspectives on the fundamental nature of quantum particles and offer new insights on a range of important issues. Focusing on the concepts of identity and individuality, the authors explore two alternative metaphysical views; according to one, quantum particles are no different from books, tables, and people in this respect; according to the other, they most certainly are. Each view comes with (...) certain costs attached and after describing their origins in the history of quantum theory, the authors carefully consider whether these costs are worth bearing. Recent contributions to these discussions are analyzed in detail and the authors present their own original perspective on the issues. The final chapter suggests how this perspective can be taken forward in the context of quantum field theory. (shrink)
Murdoch describes the historical background of the physics from which Bohr's ideas grew; he traces the origins of his idea of complementarity and discusses its meaning and significance. Special emphasis is placed on the contrasting views of Einstein, and the great debate between Bohr and Einstein is thoroughly examined. Bohr's philosophy is revealed as being much more subtle, and more interesting than is generally acknowledged.
The study of the physical world had its origins in philosophy, and, two-and-one-half millennia later, the scientific advances of the twentieth century are bringing the two fields closer together again. So argues Lawrence Sklar in this brilliant new text on the philosophy of physics.Aimed at students of both disciplines, Philosophy of Physics is a broad overview of the problems of contemporary philosophy of physics that readers of all levels of sophistication should find accessible and engaging. Professor Sklar’s (...) talent for clarity and accuracy is on display throughout as he guides students through the key problems: the nature of space and time, the problems of probability and irreversibility in statistical mechanics, and, of course, the many notorious problems raised by quantum mechanics.Integrated by the theme of the interconnectedness of philosophy and science, and linked by many references to the history of both disciplines, Philosophy of Physics is always clear, while remaining faithful to the complexity and integrity of the issues. It will take its place as a classic text in a field of fundamental intellectual importance. (shrink)
A magisterial study of the philosophy of physics that both introduces the subject to the non-specialist and contains many original and important contributions for professionals in the area. Modern physics was born as a part of philosophy and has retained to this day a properly philosophical concern for the clarity and coherence of ideas. Any introduction to the philosophy of physics must therefore focus on the conceptual development of physics itself. This book pursues that development from (...) Galileo and Newton through Maxwell and Boltzmann to Einstein and the founders of quantum mechanics. There is also discussion of important philosophers of physics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and of twentieth-century debates. In the interest of appealing to the broadest possible readership the author avoids technicalities and explains both the physics and philosophical terms. (shrink)
The book is drawn from the Tarner lectures, delivered in Cambridge in 1993. It is concerned with the ultimate nature of reality, and how this is revealed by modern physical theories such as relativity and quantum theory. The objectivity and rationality of science are defended against the views of relativists and social constructionists. It is claimed that modern physics gives us a tentative and fallible, but nevertheless rational, approach to the nature of physical reality. The role of subjectivity in (...) science is examined in the fields of relativity theory, statistical mechanics and quantum theory, and recent claims of an essential role for human consciousness in physics is rejected. Prospects for a 'Theory of Everything' are considered, and the related question of how to assess scientific progress is carefully examined. (shrink)
R.I.G. Hughes presents a series of eight philosophical essays on the theoretical practices of physics. The first two essays examine these practices as they appear in physicists' treatises (e.g. Newton's Principia and Opticks ) and journal articles (by Einstein, Bohm and Pines, Aharonov and Bohm). By treating these publications as texts, Hughes casts the philosopher of science in the role of critic. This premise guides the following 6 essays which deal with various concerns of philosophy of physics such (...) as laws, disunities, models and representation, computer simulation, explanation, and the discourse of physics. (shrink)
Universally recognized as bringing about a revolutionary transformation of the notions of space, time, and motion in physics, Einstein's theory of gravitation, known as "general relativity," was also a defining event for 20th century philosophy of science. During the decisive first ten years of the theory's existence, two main tendencies dominated its philosophical reception. This book is an extended argument that the path actually taken, which became logical empiricist philosophy of science, greatly contributed to the current impasse over realism, (...) whereas new possibilities are opened in revisiting and reviving the spirit of the more sophisticated tendency, a cluster of viewpoints broadly termed transcendental idealism, and furthering its articulation. It also emerges that Einstein, while paying lip service to the emerging philosophy of logical empiricism, ended up siding de facto with the latter tendency. Ryckman's work speaks to several groups, among them philosophers of science and historians of relativity. Equations are displayed as necessary, but Ryckman gives the non-mathematical reader enough background to understand their occurrence in the context of his wider philosophical project. (shrink)
Most recent work on the nature of experiment in physics has focused on "big science"--the large-scale research addressed in Andrew Pickering's Constructing Quarks and Peter Galison's How Experiments End. This book examines small-scale experiment in physics, in particular the relation between theory and practice. The contributors focus on interactions among the people, materials, and ideas involved in experiments--factors that have been relatively neglected in science studies. The first half of the book is primarily philosophical, with contributions from (...) Andrew Pickering, Peter Galison, Hans Radder, Brian Baigrie, and Yves Gingras. Among the issues they address are the resources deployed by theoreticians and experimenters, the boundaries that constrain theory and practice, the limits of objectivity, the reproducibility of results, and the intentions of researchers. The second half is devoted to historical case studies in the practice of physics from the early nineteenth to the early twentieth century. These chapters address failed as well as successful experimental work ranging from Victorian astronomy through Hertz's investigation of cathode rays to Trouton's attempt to harness the ether. Contributors to this section are Jed Z. Buchwald, Giora Hon, Margaret Morrison, Simon Schaffer, and Andrew Warwick. With a lucid introduction by Ian Hacking, and original articles by noted scholars in the history and philosophy of science, this book is poised to become a significant source on the nature of small-scale experiment in physics. (shrink)
Probability plays a crucial role regarding the understanding of the relationship which exists between mathematics and physics. It will be the point of departure of this brief reflection concerning this subject, as well as about the placement of Poincaré’s thought in the scenario offered by some contemporary perspectives.
The book demonstrates a new method for reading the texts of Aristotle by revealing a continuous line of argument running from the Physics to De Caelo. The author analyzes a group of arguments that are almost always treated in isolation from one another, and reveals their elegance and coherence. She concludes by asking why these arguments remain interesting even though we now believe they are absolutely wrong and have been replaced by better ones. The book establishes the case that (...) we must rethink our approach to Aristotle's physical science and Aristotelian texts, and as such will provoke debate and stimulate new thinking amongst philosophers, classicists, and historians of science. (shrink)
Underpinning all the other branches of science, physics affects the way we live our lives, and ultimately how life itself functions. Recent scientific advances have led to dramatic reassessment of our understanding of the world around us, and made a significant impact on our lifestyle. In this book, leading international experts, including Nobel prize winners, explore the frontiers of modern physics, from the particles inside an atom to the stars that make up a galaxy, from nano-engineering and brain (...) research to high-speed data networks. Revealing how physics plays a vital role in what we see around us, this book will fascinate scientists of all disciplines, and anyone wanting to know more about the world of physics today. (shrink)
This book is a state-of-the-art review on the Physics of Emergence. Foreword v Gregory J. Chaitin Preface vii Ignazio Licata Emergence and Computation at the Edge of Classical and Quantum Systems 1 Ignazio Licata Gauge Generalized Principle for Complex Systems 27 Germano Resconi Undoing Quantum Measurement: Novel Twists to the Physical Account of Time 61 Avshalom C. Elitzur and Shahar Dolev Process Physics: Quantum Theories as Models of Complexity 77 Kirsty Kitto A Cross-disciplinary Framework for the Description of (...) Contextually Mediated Change 109 Liane Gabora and Diederik Aerts Quantum-like Probabilistic Models Outside Physics 135 Andrei Khrennikov Phase Transitions in Biological Matter 165 Eliano Pessa Microcosm to Macrocosm via the Notion of a Sheaf (Observers in Terms of t-topos) 229 Goro Kato The Dissipative Quantum Model of Brain and Laboratory Observations 233 Walter J. Freeman and Giuseppe Vitiello Supersymmetric Methods in the Traveling Variable: Inside Neurons and at the Brain Scale 253 H.C. Rosu, O. Cornejo-Perez, and J.E. Perez-Terrazas Turing Systems: A General Model for Complex Patterns in Nature 267 R.A. Barrio Primordial Evolution in the Finitary Process Soup 297 Olof Gornerup and James P. Crutchfield Emergence of Universe from a Quantum Network 313 Paola A. Zizzi Occam's Razor Revisited: Simplicity vs. Complexity in Biology 327 Joseph P. Zbilut Order in the Nothing: Autopoiesis and the Organizational Characterization of the Living 339 Leonardo Bich and Luisa Damiano Anticipation in Biological and Cognitive Systems: The Need for a Physical Theory of Biological Organization 371 Graziano Terenzi How Uncertain is Uncertainty? 389 Tibor Vamos Archetypes, Causal Description and Creativity in Natural World 405 Leonardo Chiatti . (shrink)
Classical physics states that physical reality is local--a point in space cannot influence another point beyond a relatively short distance. However, In 1997, experiments were conducted in which light particles (photons) originated under certain conditions and traveled in opposite directions to detectors located about seven miles apart. The amazing results indicated that the photons "interacted" or "communicated" with one another instantly or "in no time." Since a distance of seven miles is quite vast in quantum physics, this led (...) physicists to an extraordinary conclusion--even if experiments could somehow be conducted in which the distance between the detectors was half-way across the known universe, the results would indicate that interaction or communication between the photons would be instantaneous. What was revealed in these little-known experiments in 1997 is that physical reality is non-local--a discovery that Robert Nadeau and Menas Kafatos view as "the most momentous in the history of science." In The Non-Local Universe, Nadeau and Kafatos offer a revolutionary look at the breathtaking implications of non-locality. They argue that since every particle in the universe has been "entangled" with other particles like the two photons in the 1997 experiments, physical reality on the most basic level is an undivided wholeness. In addition to demonstrating that physical processes are vastly interdependent and interactive, they also show that more complex systems in both physics and biology display emergent properties and/or behaviors that cannot be explained in the terms of the sum of parts. One of the most startling implications of non-locality in human terms, claim the authors, is that there is no longer any basis for believing in the stark division between mind and world that has preoccupied much of western thought since the seventeenth century. And they also make a convincing case that human consciousness can now be viewed as emergent from and seamlessly connected with the entire cosmos. In pursuing this groundbreaking argument, the authors not only provide a fascinating history of developments that led to the discovery of non-locality and the sometimes heated debate between the great scientists responsible for these discoveries. They also argue that advances in scientific knowledge have further eroded the boundaries between physics and biology, and that recent studies on the evolution of the human brain suggest that the logical foundations of mathematics and ordinary language are much more similar than we previously imagined. What this new knowledge reveals, the authors conclude, is that the connection between mind and nature is far more intimate than we previously dared to imagine. What they offer is a revolutionary look at the implications of non-locality, implications that reach deep into that most intimate aspect of humanity--consciousness. (shrink)
This bibliography aims to gather together studies in the philosophy of literature by Finnish researchers. It consists of articles and monographs which treat i) philosophical literary theory, ii) philosophical literature, or iii) literary philosophy and philosophers’ use of literary devices. The bibliography, collected by requests of publication data and from several Finnish publication databases, is not intended inclusive. Nevertheless, it is being throughout updated, and all kinds of suggestions, updates and corrections are most welcome.
Quantum physics is believed to be the fundamental theory underlying our understanding of the physical universe. However, it is based on concepts and principles that have always been difficult to understand and controversial in their interpretation. This book aims to explain these issues using a minimum of technical language and mathematics. After a brief introduction to the ideas of quantum physics, the problems of interpretation are identified and explained. The rest of the book surveys, describes and criticises a (...) range of suggestions that have been made with the aim of resolving these problems; these include the traditional, or 'Copenhagen' interpretation, the possible role of the conscious mind in measurement, and the postulate of parallel universes. This new edition has been revised throughout to take into account developments in this field over the past fifteen years, including the idea of 'consistent histories' to which a completely new chapter is devoted. (shrink)
While scientific realism generally assumes that successful scientific explanations yield information about reality, realists also have to admit that not all information acquired in this way is equally well warranted. Some versions of scientific realism do this by saying that explanatory posits with which we have established some kind of causal contact are better warranted than those that merely appear in theoretical hypotheses. I first explicate this distinction by considering some general criteria that permit us to distinguish causal warrant from (...) theoretical warrant. I then apply these criteria to a specific case from particle physics, claiming that scientific realism has to incorporate the distinction between causal and theoretical warrant if it is to be an adequate stance in the philosophy of particle physics. (shrink)
Philosophy of physics is a small but thriving research field situated at the intersection between the natural sciences and the humanities. However, what exactly distinguishes philosophy of physics from physics is rarely made explicit in much depth. We provide a detailed analysis in the form of eleven theses, delineating both the nature of the questions asked in philosophy of physics and the methodology with which they are addressed.
Research on academic cheating by high school students and undergraduates suggests that many students will do whatever it takes, including violating ethical classroom standards, to not be left behind or to race to the top. This behavior may be exacerbated among pre-med and pre-health professional school students enrolled in laboratory classes because of the typical disconnect between these students, their instructors and the perceived legitimacy of the laboratory work. There is little research, however, that has investigated the relationship between high (...) aspirations and academic conduct. This study fills this research gap by investigating the beliefs, perceptions and self-reported academic conduct of highly aspirational students and their peers in mandatory physics labs. The findings suggest that physics laboratory classes may face particular challenges with highly aspirational students and cheating, but the paper offers practical solutions for addressing them. (shrink)
Most "art and science" books focus on the science of perspective or the psychology of perception. Hidden Harmony does not. Instead, the book addresses the surprising common ground between physics and art from a novel and personal perspective. Viewing the two disciplines as creative processes, J. R. Leibowitz supplements existing and original research with illustrations to demonstrate that physics and art share guiding aesthetics and compositional demands and to show how each speaks meaningfully to the other. Leibowitz widens (...) our experience and understanding of both domains by exploring how concepts such as balance and re-balance, coherence and unity, and symmetry and "broken" symmetry affect and are affected by artistic vision and scientific principle. He reveals shared themes and understandings in each field and adroitly illustrates the parallels between the dabs of color and layers of images in a work of art and the particles of matter and packets of energy that compose the observable, physical world. Featuring examples of art images and complementary examples of physics concepts, this contemplative work helps us see art and physics as artists and physicists do. (shrink)
This book is the first to offer a systematic account of the role of language in the development and interpretation of physics. An historical-conceptual analysis of the co-evolution of physics and mathematics leads to the classical/quantum interface. Bohr's interpretation is analyzed and extended to the interpretation of the standard model of particle physics.
This paper is a summary of a lecture in which I presented some remarks on Gödel’s incompleteness theorems and their meaning for the foundations of physics. The entire lecture will appear elsewhere. doi: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.5007 / 1808-1711.2011v15n3p453.
With over 150 alphabetically arranged entries about key scientists, concepts, discoveries, technological innovations, and learned institutions, the Oxford Guide to Physics and Astronomy traces the history of physics and astronomy from the Renaissance to the present. For students, teachers, historians, scientists, and readers of popular science books such as Galileo's Daughter, this guide deciphers the methods and philosophies of physics and astronomy as well as the historical periods from which they emerged. Meant to serve the lay reader (...) and the professional alike, this book can be turned to for the answer to how scientists learned to measure the speed of light, or consulted for neat, careful summaries of topics as complicated as quantum field theory and as vast as the universe. The entries, each written by a noted scholar and edited by J. L. Heilbron, Professor of History and Vice Chancellor, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, reflect the most up-to-date research and discuss the applications of the scientific disciplines to the wider world of religion, law, war, art and literature. No other source on these two branches of science is as informative or as inviting. Thoroughly cross-referenced and accented by dozens of black and white illustrations, the Oxford Guide to Physics and Astronomy is the source to turn to for anyone looking for a quick explanation of alchemy, x-rays and any type of matter or energy in between. (shrink)
Astroparticle physics is a recent sub-discipline of physics that emerged from early cosmic ray studies, astrophysics, and particle physics. Its theoretical foundations range from quantum field theory to general relativity, but the underlying “standard models” of cosmology and particle physics are far from being unified. The paper explores the pragmatic strategies employed in astroparticle physics in order to unify a disunified research field, the concept of observation involved in these strategies, and their relations to scientific (...) realism. (shrink)
Why does time pass and space does not? Are there just three dimensions? What is a quantum particle? Nick Huggett shows that philosophy -- armed with a power to analyze fundamental concepts and their relationship to the human experience -- has much to say about these profound questions about the universe. In Everywhere and Everywhen, Huggett charts a journey that peers into some of the oldest questions about the world, through some of the newest, such as: What shape is space? (...) Does it have an edge? What is the difference between past and future? What is time in relativity? Is time travel possible? Are there other universes? Huggett shows that answers to these profound questions are not just reserved for physics, and that philosophy can not only address but help advance our view of our deepest questions about the universe, space, and time, and their implications for humanity. His lively, accessible introduction to these topics is suitable for a general reader with no previous exposure to these profound and exciting questions. (shrink)
The paper takes issue with a widely accepted view of mental causation. This is the view that mental causation is either reducible to physical causation or ultimately untenable, because incompatible with the causal completeness of physics. The paper examines, first, why recent attempts to save the phenomena of mental causation by way of the notion of supervenient causation fail. The result of this examination is the claim that any attempted specification of the most basic causal factors which supposedly underlie (...) a causal transaction cannot account for the counterfactually necessary connections with the effect in question. By contrast, the specification of these factors at a higher-level would allow establishing such connections. The paper closes with a discussion of how this view of autonomous ligher-level causation grounded on counterfactual relations can be made compatible with the physicalistic commitment to a complete specification of the particular causes of any physical effect exclusively in physical terms. (shrink)
Recent work suggests that people predict how objects interact in a manner consistent with Newtonian physics, but with additional uncertainty. However, the sources of uncertainty have not been examined. In this study, we measure perceptual noise in initial conditions and stochasticity in the physical model used to make predictions. Participants predicted the trajectory of a moving object through occluded motion and bounces, and we compared their behavior to an ideal observer model. We found that human judgments cannot be captured (...) by simple heuristics and must incorporate noisy dynamics. Moreover, these judgments are biased consistently with a prior expectation on object destinations, suggesting that people use simple expectations about outcomes to compensate for uncertainty about their physical models. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive discussion of complexity as it arises in physical, chemical, and biological systems, as well as in mathematical models of nature. Common features of these apparently unrelated fields are emphasised and incorporated into a uniform mathematical description, with the support of a large number of detailed examples and illustrations. The quantitative study of complexity is a rapidly developing subject with special impact in the fields of physics, mathematics, information science, and biology. Because of the variety of (...) the approaches, no comprehensive discussion has previously been attempted. This book will be of interest to graduate students and researchers in physics (nonlinear dynamics, fluid dynamics, solid-state, cellular automata, stochastic processes, statistical mechanics and thermodynamics), mathematics (dynamical systems, ergodic and probability theory), information and computer science (coding, information theory and algorithmic complexity), electrical engineering and theoretical biology. (shrink)
These articles and speeches by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist date from 1934 to 1958. Rather than expositions on quantum physics, the papers are philosophical in nature, exploring the relevance of atomic physics to many areas of human endeavor. Includes an essay in which Bohr and Einstein discuss quantum and_wave equation theories. 1961 edition.
Introduction -- Light and life -- Biology and atomic physics -- Natural philosophy and human cultures -- Discussion with Einstein on epistemological problems in atomic physics -- Unity of knowledge -- Atoms and human knowledge -- Physical science and the problem of life.
Quantum physics and philosophy--causality and complementarity -- The unit of human knowledge -- The connection between the sciences -- Light and life revisited -- The Rutherford memorial lecture 1958 -- The genesis of quantum mechanics -- The Solvay meetings and the development of quantum physics.
After a quarter of a century in print, Capra's groundbreaking work still challenges and inspires. This updated edition of The Tao of Physics includes a new preface and afterword in which the author reviews the developments of the twenty-five years since the book's first publication, discusses criticisms the book has received, and examines future possibilities for a new scientific world.
This book examines a selection of philosophical issues in the context of specific episodes in the development of physical theories. Advances in science are presented against the historical and philosophical backgrounds in which they occurred. A major aim is to impress upon the reader the essential role that philosophical considerations have played in the actual practice of science. The book begins with some necessary introduction to the history of ancient and early modern science, with major emphasis being given to the (...) two great watersheds of twentieth-century physics: relativity and, especially, quantum mechanics. At times the term 'construction' may seem more appropriate than 'discovery' for the way theories have developed and, especially in the later chapters, the question of the influence of historical, philosophical and even social factors on the very form and content of scientific theories is discussed. (shrink)
Using an original approach, Mauro Dardo recounts the major achievements of twentieth-century physics--including relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, the invention of the transistor and the laser, superconductivity, binary pulsars, and the Bose-Einstein condensate--as each emerged. His year-by-year chronicle, biographies and revealing personal anecdotes help bring to life the main events since the first Nobel Prize was awarded in 1901. The work of the most famous physicists of the twentieth century--including the Curies, Bohr, Heisenberg, Einstein, Fermi, Feynman, (...) Gell-Mann, Rutherford, and Schrödinger--is presented, often in the words and imagery of the prize-winners themselves. Mauro Dardo is Professor of Experimental Physics at Amedeo Avogadro University. He has served as Dean of the new Faculty of Sciences at the University of Turin in Alessandria, Piedmont, and has also served as Director of the university's new department of Sciences and Advanced Technologies. (shrink)
We give a overview of the main areas in theoretical physics, with emphasis on their relation to Lagrangian formalism in classical mechanics. This review covers classical mechanics; the road from classical mechanics to Schrodinger's quantum mechanics; electromagnetism, special and general relativity, and (very briefly) gauge field theory and the Higgs mechanism. We shun mathematical rigor in favor of a straightforward presentation.
Introduction: Historical background.--The law of causality and experience (1908)--The importance of Ernst Mach's philosophy of science for our times (1917)--Physical theories of the twentieth century and school philosophy (1929)--Is there a trend today toward idealism in physics? (1934)--The positivistic and the metaphysical conception of physics (1935)--Logical empiricism and the philosophy of the Soviet Union (1935)--Philosophical misinterpretations of the quantum theory (1936)--What "length" means to the physicist (1937)--Determinism and indeterminism in modern physics (1938)--Ernst Mach and the unity of (...) science (1938). (shrink)
This history of physics focuses on the question, "How do bodies act on one another across space?" The variety of answers illustrates the function of fundamental analogies or models in physics as well as the role of so-called unobservable entities. Forces and Fields presents an in-depth look at the science of ancient Greece, and it examines the influence of antique philosophy on seventeenth-century thought. Additional topics embrace many elements of modern physics--the empirical basis of quantum mechanics, wave-particle (...) duality and the uncertainty principle, and the action-at-a-distance theory of Wheeler and Feynman. 1961 ed. (shrink)
The pioneering work of Edwin T. Jaynes in the field of statistical physics, quantum optics, and probability theory has had a significant and lasting effect on the study of many physical problems, ranging from fundamental theoretical questions through to practical applications such as optical image restoration. Physics and Probability is a collection of papers in these areas by some of his many colleagues and former students, based largely on lectures given at a symposium celebrating Jaynes' contributions, on the (...) occasion of his seventieth birthday and retirement as Wayman Crow Professor of Physics at Washington University. The collection contains several authoritative overviews of current research on maximum entropy and quantum optics, where Jaynes' work has been particularly influential, as well as reports on a number of related topics. In the concluding paper, Jaynes looks back over his career, and gives encouragement and sound advice to young scientists. All those engaged in research on any of the topics discussed in these papers will find this a useful and fascinating collection, and a fitting tribute to an outstanding and innovative scientist. (shrink)
Appearance and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics addresses quantum mechanics and relativity and their philosophical implications, focusing on whether these theories of modern physics can help us know nature as it really is, or only as it appears to us. The author clearly explains the foundational concepts and principles of both quantum mechanics and relativity and then uses them to argue that we can know more than mere appearances, and that we can know to some (...) extent the way things really are. He argues that modern physics gives us reason to believe that we can know some things about the objective, real world, but he also acknowledges that we cannot know everything, which results in a position he calls realistic realism. This book is not a survey of possible philosophical interpretations of modern physics, nor does it leap from a caricature of the physics to some wildly alarming metaphysics. Instead, it is careful with the physics and true to the evidence in arriving at its own realistic conclusions. It presents the physics without mathematics, and makes extensive use of diagrams and analogies to explain important ideas. Engaging and accessible, Appearance and Reality serves as an ideal introduction for anyone interested in the intersection of philosophy and physics, including students in philosophy of physics and philosophy of science courses. (shrink)
The appeal of materialism lies precisely in this, in its claim to be natural metaphysics within the bounds of science. That a doctrine which promises to gratify our ambition (to know the noumenal) and our caution (not to be unscientific) should have great appeal is hardly something to be wondered at. (Putnam (1983), p.210) Materialism says that all facts, in particular all mental facts, obtain in virtue of the spatio- temporal distribution, and properties, of matter. It was, as Putnam says, (...) “metaphysics within the bounds of science”, but only so long as science was thought to say that the world is made out of matter.1 In this century physicists have learned that there is more in the world than matter and, in any case, matter isn’t quite what it seemed to be. For this reason many philosophers who think that metaphysics should be informed by science advocate physicalism in place of materialism. Physicalism claims that all facts obtain in virtue of the distribution of the fundamental entities and properties –whatever they turn out to be- of completed fundamental physics. Later I will discuss a more precise formulation. But not all contemporary philosophers embrace physicalism. Some- and though a minority not a small or un-influential one- think that physicalism is rather the metaphysics for an unjustified scientism; i.e. it is scientistic metaphysics. Those among them that think that physicalism can be clearly formulated think that it characterizes a. (shrink)
‘The Union of Cause and Effect in Aristotle: Physics III 3’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 32, pp. 205-232, May 2007. Abstract: I argue that Aristotle introduced a unique realist account of causation, which has not hitherto been appreciated in the history of philosophy: causal realism without a causal relation. In his account, cause and effect are unified by the ectopic actualization of the agent’s potentiality in the patient. His solution consists in the introduction of a property that belongs (...) to one subject but is realized in another subject on whose state this realization depends. I identify and analyze the multiple ontological dependencies between the causal state of the agent and that of the patient during their causal activity. (shrink)
We examine cases of emergent behavior in physics, and argue for an account of emergence based on features of the phase space portraits of certain dynamical systems. On our account, the phase space portraits of systems displaying emergent behavior are topologically inequivalent to those of the systems from which they ‘emerge’. This account gives us an objective sense in which emergent phenomena are qualitatively novel, without involving the difficulties associated with downward causation and the like. We also argue that (...) the role of complexity in emergence has been overstated: emergent behavior can occur in very simple systems, and even when it occurs in complex systems it is the qualitative novelty of that behavior, rather that the complexity of the system, that matters for emergence. (shrink)
By exploring principles found in psychology, math, physics, and shamanism, it becomes possible to link a cosmic perspective with ordinary life. This comprehensive work ventures into that challenging junction, journeying through the universe on paths of reason and magic, math and myth, bringing together humanity's traditional wisdom and shamanism with contemporary science.
Physics, once known as “natural philosophy,” is the most basic science, explaining the world we live in, from the largest scale down to the very, very, very smallest, and our understanding of it has changed over many centuries. In Black Bodies and Quantum Cats , science writer Jennifer Ouellette traces key developments in the field, setting descriptions of the fundamentals of physics in their historical context as well as against a broad cultural backdrop. Newton’s laws are illustrated via (...) the film Addams Family Values , while Back to the Future demonstrates the finer points of special relativity. Poe’s “The Purloined Letter” serves to illuminate the mysterious nature of neutrinos, and Jeanette Winterson’s novel Gut Symmetries provides an elegant metaphorical framework for string theory. An enchanting and edifying read, Black Bodies and Quantum Cats shows that physics is not an arcane field of study but a profoundly human endeavor—and a fundamental part of our everyday world. (shrink)
Reading Bohr: Physics and Philosophy offers a new perspective on Niels Bohr's interpretation of quantum mechanics as complementarity, and on the relationships between physics and philosophy in Bohr's work, which has had momentous significance for our understanding of quantum theory and of the nature of knowledge in general. Philosophically, the book reassesses Bohr's place in the Western philosophical tradition, from Kant and Hegel on. Physically, it reconsiders the main issues at stake in the Bohr-Einstein confrontation and in the (...) ongoing debates concerning quantum physics. It also devotes greater attention than in most commentaries on Bohr to the key developments and transformations of his thinking concerning complementarity. Most significant among them were those that occurred, first, under the impact of Bohr's exchanges with Einstein and, second, under the impact of developments in quantum theory itself, both quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. The importance of quantum field theory for Bohr's thinking has not been adequately addressed in the literature on Bohr, to the considerable detriment to our understanding of the history of quantum physics. Filling this lacuna is one of the main contributions of the book, which also enables us to show why quantum field theory compels us to move beyond Bohr without, however, simply leaving him behind. (shrink)
Why is the future so different from the past? Why does the past affect the future and not the other way around? What does quantum mechanics really tell us about the world? In this important and accessible book, Huw Price throws fascinating new light on some of the great mysteries of modern physics, and connects them in a wholly original way. Price begins with the mystery of the arrow of time. Why, for example, does disorder always increase, as required (...) by the second law of thermodynamics? Price shows that, for over a century, most physicists have thought about these problems the wrong way. Misled by the human perspective from within time, which distorts and exaggerates the differences between past and future, they have fallen victim to what Price calls the "double standard fallacy": proposed explanations of the difference between the past and the future turn out to rely on a difference which has been slipped in at the beginning, when the physicists themselves treat the past and future in different ways. To avoid this fallacy, Price argues, we need to overcome our natural tendency to think about the past and the future differently. We need to imagine a point outside time -- an Archimedean "view from nowhen" -- from which to observe time in an unbiased way. Offering a lively criticism of many major modern physicists, including Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking, Price shows that this fallacy remains common in physics today -- for example, when contemporary cosmologists theorize about the eventual fate of the universe. The "big bang" theory normally assumes that the beginning and end of the universe will be very different. But if we are to avoid the double standard fallacy, we need to consider time symmetrically, and take seriously the possibility that the arrow of time may reverse when the universe recollapses into a "big crunch." Price then turns to the greatest mystery of modern physics, the meaning of quantum theory. He argues that in missing the Archimedean viewpoint, modern physics has missed a radical and attractive solution to many of the apparent paradoxes of quantum physics. Many consequences of quantum theory appear counterintuitive, such as Schrodinger's Cat, whose condition seems undetermined until observed, and Bell's Theorem, which suggests a spooky "nonlocality," where events happening simultaneously in different places seem to affect each other directly. Price shows that these paradoxes can be avoided by allowing that at the quantum level the future does, indeed, affect the past. This demystifies nonlocality, and supports Einstein's unpopular intuition that quantum theory describes an objective world, existing independently of human observers: the Cat is alive or dead, even when nobody looks. So interpreted, Price argues, quantum mechanics is simply the kind of theory we ought to have expected in microphysics -- from the symmetric standpoint. Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point presents an innovative and controversial view of time and contemporary physics. In this exciting book, Price urges physicists, philosophers, and anyone who has ever pondered the mysteries of time to look at the world from the fresh perspective of Archimedes' Point and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, the universe around us, and our own place in time. (shrink)
This provocative and critical work addresses the question of why scientific realists and positivists consider experimental physics to be a natural and empirical science. Taking insights from contemporary science studies, continental philosophy, and the history of physics, this book describes and analyzes the metaphysical presuppositions that underwrite the technological use of experimental apparatus and instruments to explore, model, and understand nature.
Art interprets the visible world, physics charts its unseen workings--making the two realms seem completely opposed. But in Art & Physics, Leonard Shlain tracks their breakthroughs side by side throughout history to reveal an astonishing correlation of visions. From teh classical Greek sculptors to Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, and from Aristotle to Einstein, aritsts have foreshadowed the discoveries of scientists, such as when Money and Cezanne intuited the coming upheaval in physics that Einstein would initiate. In (...) this lively and colorful narrative, Leonard Shlain explores how artistic breakthroughs could have prefigured the visionary insights of physicists on so many occasions throughtout history. Provacative and original, Art & Physics is a seamless integration of the romance of art and the drama of science...and exhilarating history of ideas. (shrink)
After 1905, Einstein's miraculous year, physics would never be the same again. In those twelve months, Einstein shattered many cherished scientific beliefs with five extraordinary papers that would establish him as the world's leading physicist. This book brings those papers together in an accessible format. The best-known papers are the two that founded special relativity: On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies and Does the Inertia of a Body Depend on Its Energy Content? In the former, Einstein showed that absolute (...) time had to be replaced by a new absolute: the speed of light. In the second, he asserted the equivalence of mass and energy, which would lead to the famous formula E = mc 2 . The book also includes On a Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light , in which Einstein challenged the wave theory of light, suggesting that light could also be regarded as a collection of particles. This helped to open the door to a whole new world--that of quantum physics. For ideas in this paper, he won the Nobel Prize in 1921. The fourth paper also led to a Nobel Prize, although for another scientist, Jean Perrin. On the Movement of Small Particles Suspended in Stationary Liquids Required by the Molecular-Kinetic Theory of Heat concerns the Brownian motion of such particles. With profound insight, Einstein blended ideas from kinetic theory and classical hydrodynamics to derive an equation for the mean free path of such particles as a function of the time, which Perrin confirmed experimentally. The fifth paper, A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions , was Einstein's doctoral dissertation, and remains among his most cited articles. It shows how to calculate Avogadro's number and the size of molecules. These papers, presented in a modern English translation, are essential reading for any physicist, mathematician, or astrophysicist. Far more than just a collection of scientific articles, this book presents work that is among the high points of human achievement and marks a watershed in the history of science. Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the miraculous year, this new paperback edition includes an introduction by John Stachel, which focuses on the personal aspects of Einstein's youth that facilitated and led up to the miraculous year. (shrink)
What are the laws of physics? -- The stuff that kicks back -- Point-of-view invariance -- Gauging the laws of physics -- Forces and broken symmetries -- Playing dice -- After the bang -- Out of the void -- The comprehensible cosmos -- Models of reality.
Fearful Symmetry brings the incredible discoveries of contemporary physics within everyone's grasp. A. Zee, a distinguished physicist and skillful expositor, tells the exciting story of how today's theoretical physicists are following Einstein in their search for the beauty and simplicity of Nature. Animated by a sense of reverence and whimsy, the book describes the majestic sweep and accomplishments of twentieth-century physics. In the end, we stand in awe before the grand vision of modern physics--one of the greatest (...) chapters in the intellectual history of humankind. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: It is pointed out that the organisation of an organism necessarily involves fields which are the only means to make an approximately simultaneous tuning of the different subsystems of the organism-as-a-whole. Nature uses the olfactory fields, the acoustic fields, the electromagnetic fields and quantum-vacuum fields. Fields with their ability to comprehend the whole organism are the natural basis of a global interaction between organisms and of collective consciousness. Evidences are presented that electromagnetic potential fields mediate the collective field of (...) consciousness. This result offers for the first time experimental access to the study of collective consciousness by measuring the field-related information-carrying potentials and their derivatives, the electric and magnetic fields between different individuals. The electrodynamic interaction of different brains/minds generates induction and in this way excitement, enhancement in the baseline of the interacting brains? activity. A list of empirical evidences is presented here proving the existence of this "interactive excitement" effect in the known phenomenon of collective consciousness. The fundamental phenomenon of the collective consciousness is known as "social facilitation" or "group effect". The character and completion of consciousness are outlined in the frame of this picture, and the role of the "group effect" or "social facilitation" as a primary factor in developing consciousness is described. A quantum-physical model of a multi-layered consciousness is presented, where the layering is expressed by the subsequent subtlety of the masses of the material carriers of information. I show that as the mental levels get deeper and more sensitive the couplings are on more and more global scales of their environment. I point out that direct, immediate action in distance actually exists in the electromagnetic field, which is the coupling, mediator field between waves and particles. I show how the environmental, natural and cosmic fields are determinative sources of our consciousness. The results presented point out that the Collective Field of Consciousness is a significant physical factor of the biosphere. I show that the morphogenetic field has an electromagnetic (EM) nature. EM fields are vacuum fields. Different basic forms of vacuum fields exist, and all kinds of fields, including the particle-mediated fields as well, when overlapping each other, seem to be in a direct resonant coupling, and form a complex, merged biofield. The vacuum model of consciousness presented here points to the inductive generation of consciousness, and to its self-initiating nature. Individual and collective methods, as well as the experimental possibilities of a global healing and improving the consciousness field of mankind are suggested. Keywords: olfactory, acoustic, electromagnetic, vacuum fields, generation of consciousness, evolution of collective consciousness, social evolution, completion of consciousness, healing. (shrink)
According to a widespread view, which can be traced back to Russell’s famous attack on the notion of cause, causal notions have no legitimate role to play in how mature physical theories represent the world. In this paper I first critically examine a number of arguments for this view that center on the asymmetry of the causal relation and argue that none of them succeed. I then argue that embedding the dynamical models of a theory into richer causal structures can (...) allow us to decide between models in cases where our observational data severely underdetermine our choice of dynamical models. (shrink)
Quantum theory is one the most important and successful theories of modern physical science. It has been estimated that its principles form the basis for about 30 per cent of the world's manufacturing economy. This is all the more remarkable because quantum theory is a theory that nobody understands. The meaning of Quantum Theory introduces science students to the theory's fundamental conceptual and philosophical problems, and the basis of its non-understandability. It does this with the barest minimum of jargon and (...) very little mathematics in the main text. Readers wishing to delve more deeply into the theory's mathematical subtleties can do so in an extended series of appendices. The book brings the reader up to date with the results of new experimental tests of quantum weirdness and reviews the latest thinking on alternative interpretations, the frontiers of quantum cosmology, quantum gravity and potential application of this weirdness in computing, cryptography and teleportation. (shrink)
An example is presented of a model of consciousness based on a description of the world which integrates the material and psychological aspects from the start. An indication is given of work under way to test the model.
One of the major philosophical problems in physical sciences is what criteria should determine how scientific theories are selected and justified in practice and whether, in describing observable physical phenomena, such theories are effectively constrained to be unique. This book studies the example of a particular theory, the S-matrix theory. The S-matrix program was initiated by Heisenberg to deal with difficulties encountered in quantum field theories in describing particular phenomena. Since then, each theory has at different times been favored as (...) the explanation of observed phenomena. Certainly the S-matrix theory was adequate, feasible and fertile. However, the quantum field theory interpretation is now widely accepted and the study of alternative theories is all but abandoned. By examining the philosophy which influenced the turns in this story, the author explains how an adequate and viable theory fell out of favor and concludes with a critique of different methodologies in the history of science. (shrink)
Neuroscience is an important component of the scientific attack on the problem of consciousness. However, most neuroscientists, viewing our discussions, see only conflict and discord, and no reason why quantum theory has any great relevance the dynamics of the conscious brain. It is therefore worthwhile, in this first plenary talk of the 2003 Tucson conference on “Quantum Approaches to the Understanding of Consciousness,” to focus on the central issue, which is the crucial role of “The Observer,” and specifically, “The Mind (...) of The Observer” in contemporary physical theory. I shall therefore review here this radical departure of present-day basic physics from the principles of classical physics, and then spell out some of its ramifications for neuroscience. (shrink)
There is a huge chasm between the notion of lawful determination that figures in fundamental physics, and the notion of causal determination that figures in the "folk physics" of everyday objects. In everyday life, we think of the behavior of an ordinary object as being determined by a small set of simple conditions. But in fundamental physics, no such conditions suffice to determine an ordinary object's behavior. What bridges the chasm is that fundamental physical laws make the (...) folk picture of the world approximately true in certain domains. How? In part, by entailing that many objects are approximately isolated from most of their environments. Dynamical laws yield this result only in conjunction with appropriate statistical assumptions about initial conditions. (shrink)
This paper, which is based on recent empirical research at the University of Leeds, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Bristol, presents two difficulties which arise when condensed matter physicists interact with molecular biologists: (1) the former use models which appear to be too coarse-grained, approximate and/or idealized to serve a useful scientific purpose to the latter; and (2) the latter have a rather narrower view of what counts as an experiment, particularly when it comes to computer simulations, (...) than the former. It argues that these findings are related; that computer simulations are considered to be undeserving of experimental status, by molecular biologists, precisely because of the idealizations and approximations that they involve. The complexity of biological systems is a key factor. The paper concludes by critically examining whether the new research programme of ‘systems biology’ offers a genuine alternative to the modelling strategies used by physicists. It argues that it does not. (shrink)