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Eise

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Eise last won the day on September 8

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    the old world
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    Physics, Astronomy
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    University degree philosophy, subsidary subject physics
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    Database administrator, a bit of Linux too

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  1. I think one should not see philosophy too much as a separate subject, but looking in a special way to a subject. When a physicist is trying to find a particle at CERN he is doing physics. When a physicist is trying to find a new theory he is doing physics. Both activities are about physical reality. However, when it e.g. turns out that a conceptual framework does not work anymore (e.g. rise of quantum theory in the 1920s), when there are questions about the validity of certain methods, or about a demarcation criterion for science (e.g. string theory, multiverse) then one is doing philosophy. And one does not necessarily need a philosophical education for that: the interest in conceptual clarity and the intellectual capacity to do so, are enough. Latter should not be a real problem for physicists. First of course is really a question of what one is interested in. It's not everybody's thing. So not philosophers should push scientists to philosophical questions, so to speak from another discipline; the need for doing philosophy should arise in themselves because e.g. methodological or conceptual problems. Philosophers might be helpful in methodological and conceptual discussion, they are well trained in such discussions.
  2. It has an easy answer: consciousness has no influence for a given setting of the experiment. Consciousness might decide what kind of experiment you are doing (e.g. a 'which way' experiment, or a 'phase' experiment), but once chosen the experimental setup, consciousness has no influence whatsoever. The only 'real problem' I see is the problem of QM at large: the measurement problem. (± collapse of the wave function). Right. Physics present basically 2 options: classical determinism or quantum probability. Both do not work together with the idea of libertarian free will. Whatever free will 'really is', that your actions are random does not belong to any reasonable concept of free will. So QM is no help here. But one can define free will pretty clearly. One of the reasons however that these discussions are so difficult is that people often refuse to stick to a single definition. Above I mentioned one kind, libertarian free will, but there are other definitions. Just to clarify Incompatibilism: determinism and free will are incompatible a. Hard determinism: determinism is true. therefore we have no free will b. Libertarian free will: determinism cannot be completely true, because we have a direct experience of free will Compatibilism: there is no contradiction between determinism and free will a. Conceptual compatibilism: mind, motivations, beliefs, actions, etc are a complete different way to look at our human world than looking with a physical (chemical, biological, neurological) eye to humans. Both are valid in their domains, and you shouldn't mix them up. b. 'Hard compatibilism' (I never found a real name for this): Determinism is a necessary condition for free will. This means for 'real free will' that the world must be 'sufficient determinism'; with other words too much randomness will make our character and with that our actions to chaos. 1b is inconsistent (we would need non-physical causes: what would those be? The soul?) 2a might hide an inconsistency. But 1a and 2b seem consistent to me. But both must be explained in much more detail before one can start a fruitful discussion. But predictability has nothing to do with free will. Free will means just that I am able to act according my motivations and beliefs (to the latter belong justified true beliefs, i.e. knowledge). You mean "Where does that leave libertarian free will?" Yep, nowhere. But there is no contradiction with the compatibilist concept of free will. And btw, I think libertarian free will would be worse than wrong from a none-dualistic viewpoint.
  3. You're welcome. Therefore my reactions. But before I start, until now I never declared what my position is: I only defended that Davy asked reasonable questions and also had reasonable arguments. So, here we go: I have no idea what 'true nature' of anything means. For me it is the believer in the 'true nature' of anything, who should tell me what the method is by which she can declare this is a justified claim. I am pretty sure that most philosophers would shoot holes in such a justification. So my answer would be the same as in the Zen koan 'Does a dog has Buddha nature?'. I agree only with the first part of your sentence: the minimum one can say about scientific theories is that they are useful. I think one could say that science also aims for truth, but surely not in the sense of 'The Truth', but for a simpler concept of truth: that they can predict observable phenomena. 'Reality' cannot be an aim, that is a category error. Theories are 'language entities', not the reality they describe. See my answer on 1. We simply cannot know. So, no. Here we agree, as long a we do not fall for the illusion of 'absolute certainty'. In limited contexts we can have absolute certainty, but not if we start talking about the 'true nature of things', or the 'Truth about the Universe'. No, see my reaction at 4. True propositions are surely possible, 'reality' only as far as it appears to us. It is impossible to determine that we found it. It presupposes that we can look' behind the scenes'. We can't. Ah, well. It is because of what you wrote before: These are all more or less practical results. And that is not trivial for me. The use humanity makes of technology has given us very much, no question. But it also gave us a lot of problems, and some of them might kill us all (but that would be another discussion). See it as an ambiguity in my position about science: on one side we are on the brink of destroying ourselves because we do not make reasonable use of the results of science; on another side, science is warning us about this fact, and shows us possible ways out; and on still another side, as I said before, I love the insights science gives us about the world we live in.
  4. Don't get me wrong, I am highly interested in physics and astronomy, why else would I have taken them as subsidiary subjects in my study? A difference between you and me is that I like the deep insights that physics deliver (I think my notorious winner is Noether's theorem, but there is more of course), less the results. Technology, the immediate child of science, has also given a lot of problems, for which we should not close our eyes. In Einstein's words: Davy's question, and why I chimed in, aims, as I said several times, on the selfunderstanding of physics. He wanted to discuss that with physicists here.
  5. He doesn't in this case, at least not literally. Philosophy could give rise to valid results (like the 'scientific method') on one side, and spout nonsense on the other. He obviously sees Davy's point as philosophical nonsense. I am just wondering a little that he accepts people who studied physics as authorities in the area of physics, but people who have studied philosophy not as authorities on philosophy. Surely that does not mean that my opinions are always better (truer?) than other's, including not-philosophers, but it means that I very well know what is done in philosophy, and what is qualitative good philosophy, and what isn't.
  6. Self claimed? Must I send you a copy of my certificate from the university of Utrecht, the Netherlands? (Subsidary subjects, btw, physics, astronomy and mathematics). I'll stop here. You are simply not interested in a substantive discussion.
  7. I am wondering why you do not answer dimreepr's questions. You are just, rather aggressively, refusing to answer them. You are just one step away from saying 'I am right because this is the way I think'. That cannot become a fruitful discussion. I am especially surprised about [1]: you could just have copy/pasted this 'old argument' from the article, and we would know at least what you are talking about. Ah you know the truth! I havn't yet had time to read the whole article, as even in lockdown, I do have other interests and things to do. Yes, you are right, I don't believe the arguments put forward are valid and find far more logic in the reasons put by Krauss and others. My aim, as you put it is simply to express my lay person's opinion, that the practical nature of science, and the theoretical physics aspect, has crossed over into regions that were once the sole domain of philoosphy. Why do you see that as sneering at philosophers? Yes, I have been provocative, and I make no apologies for that, as the same can be said for others here that have taken the opposite stance. I will attempt to read the whole article later today or tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure it won't change my mind, just as I'm pretty sure if I scrounged the Internet and dug up all the arguments and more reputable people agreeing with Krauss, won't change your PoV either. You see: you do not exchange arguments. You share your gut feelings. And I do not expect you to change you PoV: I want an exchange of arguments. Your position "the practical nature of science, and the theoretical physics aspect, has crossed over into regions that were once the sole domain of philoosphy" is a perfectly sensible viewpoint, and we can discuss that. (Even if I think that the metaphorical language you use leaves much room for interpretation, and it would be interesting to flesh that out). That has nothing to with your sneers and 'bon-mots', and these help nothing in an exchange of arguments. Yes, I know the word, And it introduces an ambiguity that you obviously did not notice. This is what you said: Possible readings: science has historically grown from philosophy Being foundational to science, science is (logically/conceptually/..) dependent on philosophical premises. I know you adhere to 1, therefore I assume this would be the correct reading. However, the word 'still' makes it to a pretty open door. When it yesterday was true that Caesar crossed the Tiber, then it still is true today. That is normal with historical facts. And because it is an open door, interpretation 2 seems a more viable interpretation. E.g. you could mean that the scientific method is a product of philosophy, and therefore philosophy is still the foundation of science. What is it? 1 or 2? Or maybe even both? Nope, it is not dishonest. Nobody suggested that different opinions about the relation between science and 'reality' has something to do with scientists being wrong ('mavericks') and those that are correct. They don't. But you can't blame somebody with a philosophical background, like Davy, to be interested in this tension, and asking scientists here what their take is. Throwing your truths at him does not help much. I think something like sarcasm and provocation. dimreepr also noted that you are defending your scientismic (somebody who adheres to some form of scientism) views with a nearly religious zeal. As long as they are also unknowledgable about philosophy that won't help. e.g., I reacted on your Weinberg citation, but I have not seen that you reacted on it. Are you just going to use the argument of authority? First, I used this video snippet already several times, but against 'physics-crackpots', especially when they say something like 'I can't accept it' about QM. And it is really very humorous. But! You nearly see how Feynman is wrestling with the correct formulation: first he says 'this is how nature works'. Then later on he says 'we looked at it, and this is what it looks like'. So first he sounds like a realist, but then he takes a more careful stance, as e.g. in his magnetism video (that if I remember correctly you also have linked in at least on posting).
  8. Well, at least it was not my intention to suggest something like that. Of course. I am also not continuously thinking about the basics of relational databases. Only when somebody asks me. (Did you know relational databases can meta-describe themselves? No Gödelian problems.) I have nothing against people doing their work. It is just that I like them a bit more when they also reflect on what they are doing. I stand corrected. It is true, when thinking about physics I (as possibly many others) are thinking about the 'front lines'. With dimreepr I ask: which argument? I assume you think the argument is not valid: so why not? And why don't you really read the whole article? (Or my posting). Are you überhaupt interested in the topic? Or is your only aim to present sneers to philosophers? With foundation I assume you mean 'historically grown out of philosophy'? I have some problems with your word 'still' in the last sentence. Now I think you have not understand one single word of what I am saying. I'll tell you, the physics community will never speak with one voice. Not while there are 'mavericks' but simply because they are coming to different conclusions. And that is because they are philosophical questions. And if they are good thinkers, they will give nuanced answers, that possibly do not conform to answers of other good thinkers. Some might even say "I don't know", but have much more insight than the simple-minded who just shoots from the hip, or even refuse to think about it. Sorry for calling your god for what he simply is: a (very?) good physicist, with no understanding of philosophy. Please read the article you linked yourself. If you think that a philosopher (I at least am one by education) is not capable to see that Krauss is a lousy philosopher, then you cannot be helped. No. Only 1m 14s. I think I am saying the same, just in another way. I just wanted to point out that because of that philosophy is not useless: some of the best physicists are also good philosophers, when they are concerned with the basic problems of their discipline. (But not all...)
  9. Now it would be nice if you would comment on the arguments in that link. Or on my old posting I linked to. Then we could get a real discussion, instead of making sneering remarks to each other. Just to note: one of the most important viewpoints in this article is the answer on the OP question I began with: philosophy and physics have different topics. And, as I hope you also really read the article yourself: Albert really is a philosopher and a physicist. So it would be worth to read his criticism on Krauss, who is 'just' a good physicist. Just to be clear: I do not approve of the cynical remarks of Davy ('seemingly crazy' as just one example). But I think he laid his finger on a sore point: physicists do not speak with one voice in this matter, sometimes even a single physicist spouts contradicting views. I don't know if somebody noticed in a previous posting of mine in this thread: in the 'Magnetism' video of Feynman makes very good points about such 'what is' questions. On the other side, in his QED series, he states clearly: 'This is how nature really works'. If he would have been consistent, he should have said something like 'this description really works'. From your Weinberg quote: To answer the question: in first order, no, of course not. Different topics, y'know. Physicists study nature, and try to develop theories that in the end describe physical observations. However, in second order, sure they can profit from philosophy. Not just by knocking on the doors of the philosophy department and ask for help, but by reflecting on the basics of their methods. Is there no heavy discussion among physicists if the idea of the multiverse is still science? Is there no heavy discussion among physicists if it useful to spend so much resources on string theory, because it has not made one single empirically testable prediction? These are not discussions about how nature 'really works' or 'correctly described' or how you want to name it. These are philosophical discussions. I can only add, that from my experience, one can profit having some philosophical background when discussing such topics. Not because one finds ready answers in philosophy, but because it gives a mindset to improve the quality of the discussion. I do not plead that physicists should simply hear on what philosophers have to say; I plead to name some activities of physicists for what they really are: philosophy. Eise says 'might be'. This is a very ill quantified statement. A Philosopher's statement (no offence intended) I think you misunderstood my point. The sentence is an introduction to a simple thought experiment, which is described in the sentence thereafter.
  10. The one with no bias throweth the first stone. You do not know about philosophy, but you recognise the chaff? Sorry, but now you stretched your neck too much. This is hubris, beecee. If philosophy or semantics is not your thing, all right. But be honest about it: because you are more interested in physics and cosmology, not all arguments that modern philosophers bring are worthless. Funny... no philosopher between them, only people with an 'astro-physical' background. Yes, back to the topic! My answer to dimreepr, if you remember, was that they have different topics. Did you read the link to my posting? If you read it, we can go on.
  11. Yes. And please, no funny meant bon mots anymore. I think it is a word, but I am not a native English speaker... And yes, many people have their philosophical phases, in which they reflect on their basic assumptions. I don't see any pedantry here. (Except maybe someone who thinks he contributes to a discussion by dropping (the same) bon mots again and again). And philosophy (and most of the sciences) are impossible if we do not clearly define our concepts. 'Beliefs' can be true or false. Knowledge is true as per definition. So you correctly use 'belief' here: You said that we that 'we still do not know the true nature of gravity'. Which implicitly means we might one day. But how will we recognise we did? Therefore I introduced my example of the electron, of which we seem to know very much (Dirac equation, QED), of which Feynman proudly tells us that the anomalous magnetic dipole moment of the electron can be calculated until an unprecedented precision, and in the same lecture says 'this is how nature really works'. So, if there is nothing to discover about the electron anymore, do we know its true nature? I ask you, because you seem to adhere to the idea that we can know the true nature of (at least certain) things. I expect arguments (this is the philosophy forum!), not just be mentioned pedantic or a semantic ant fucker (OK, last two words are mine, but I assume you know what I mean.) There certainly exists a spectrum of opinions on what exactly science 'delivers': knowledge, models of reality, descriptions of reality, truths, insight, just calculation tools, etc. It is clear as day that different views about it also exist under physicists. Or even worse, some people might even speak with more than one voice, not noting that these voices are contradicting each other. And then such a irritant philosopher comes along and points them at that...
  12. You said: That what you call 'philosophy of how to build an atom bomb' is just a higher level description of how an atomic bomb works. It explains the basic physical principles of the atomic bomb. It is definitely not philosophy.
  13. I think the problem is that many physicists think about old fashioned, classical metaphysics. If you read a history of physics (and/or astronomy) you partially read about the same bunch of people as when you read a history of philosophy: Thales, Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle, ..., Kant, just to name a few. There we have explicit 'explanations' about the physical world, and in the light of modern physics they are mainly wrong. On the other side, there are philosophers who seem to think that they can talk about physics as peers of real physicists. That can cause some irritation with physicists of course. And then there are the irritations here in the thread, and having a background in philosophy and in physics (a background, @MigL, I am definitely not a physicist (as I use to say, I am at most a 'half-cooked physicist')), I would say that beecee does not understand what exactly you are aiming at. Again and again he comes with the same (kind of) 'bon mots' about philosophy, that are taken out of context (Russel), are just nice sounding one pointers (Shaw), or have themselves no idea what modern academic philosophy really does (Krauss). @beecee, for all clarity: Davy is not aiming his arrows at science itself; they are aimed at its self-understanding. And this self-understanding is hopelessly naive in the 'shut up and calculate camp'. The other camp, that of the 'what is it exactly all about camp' have an inclination to become philosophers: reflecting on basic premises and methods of their science, eventually developing new concepts or methods. And there philosophers can learn just as well something from these kind of physicists as some physicists can learn something from philosophy. It's not all just black and white.
  14. Really? I know a little philosophy and physics. Enough to recognise crackpots in both disciplines. And where Krauss surely is a good physicist (cosmologist?) at the terrain of philosophy he is a crackpot. Of course I stumbled over the few lines where he talks pejoratively about philosophy. But by the quality of the arguments, one recognises the value of these remarks: none. If you do not like semantics, then philosophy is definitely not your thing. So it once was true that sun orbited earth? But when it was true, i.e. a perfect fitting model of reality, then once the sun really orbited the earth. And it stopped at the day Copernicus came with his heliocentric model? Davy (and I) are not confused. We see how complicated it is to give a correct account what happens in science. And as said earlier, I believe that the problem is grounded in the difficulty to account for the relation between language and 'reality', i.e. what is talked about. I am not 100% sure if I can also speak for Davy, but it is not about the praxis of science, the value of its insights, or its undeniable value for developing new technologies. Science works, that should be clear. It is about the selfunderstanding of science. Do you know the true nature of anything? (I am afraid I don't). I think a better criterion for'approaching the truth' is the increasing domain of theories: Ptolemy was OK for predicting celestial observations (but we would never have been able to send New Horizons to Pluto...), with Kepler the picture was greatly simplified, with Newton a connection with earthly phenomena was made (same explanation for falling objects and orbiting celestial bodies), and Einstein, making gravity Lorentz invariant (if this is a good description of GR) was even able to predict new phenomena. What we see is continuing extension of the domain of application theories. One could say, the more encompassing a theory is, the better it is. But if that means that we are 'closer to the truth' would suppose that we know there is some truth out there (how would we know that) and we are closing in. Another kind of example: we have a very extended theory of the electron. We know how it behaves in all kind of situations. It might be that there is nothing more to add to it. Suppose this is the case, do we then know the true nature of the electron? I would translate that, conform my musings above, that we know we do not have a complete theory of gravity: GR fails for the centre of black holes and the big bang. But when we have one (empirically validated), would we then know the true nature of gravity? Or are we a bit more humble, and say we have a pretty good understanding of gravity, because we can calculate through every possible situation we know of in which gravity is essentially involved?
  15. Hmm, I do not think so. Physicists solve physics problems, philosophers philosophical problems. However, sometimes physicists stumble on limits where they do not come further (best example is the beginnings of quantum physics). That means it are physicists themselves who 'go philosophical'. Questions about reality, objectivity, what measurements are etc come up. At that point physicists might find it useful to have some overview of what philosophers have to say, or maybe even better, just have some philosophical training. But philosophers saying what physicists have to do is not something they are waiting for, especially not of philosophers who have no idea about physics (oh yes, during my study philosophy I heard the most abstruse ideas about physics from my fellow students. Not so much from teachers/professors, luckily enough)). But just hear what post-modernists have to say about science... Just in support of Davy: truth belongs to the very definition of knowledge. In this case I have to agree mostly with Davy. There is a, maybe unsolvable, tension between what scientists do, ('acquiring knowledge') and their understanding of it. My educated guess (therefore the 'maybe unsolvable') is that it might be impossible to understand the relation between language and 'reality'. I would not say 'overlap', even if the border between science (do not just think physics here) and the 'philosophy of that science' can be vague. That is definitely not philosophy. Different topics, y'know. What you seem to mean is that there are higher level descriptions which do not suffice to actually build an atomic bomb.
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