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Posts posted by Eise

  1. What Studiot is aiming at, is that a space-time diagram is not a plot, but a map.

    However, you cannot put time into a drawn map. So it makes sense to use time multiplied by a velocity to get a distance. 'c' is used because we already know from relativity the importance of 'space-time distance', which is similar to the normal 3-D distance in space, but not the same: instead of the 'space version' of Pythagoras (s2 = x2 + y2 + z2 ) we have s2 = x2 + y2 + z2 - (ct)2, or in just one space dimension s2 = x2 - (ct)2, which means that distances are distorted compared to a normal map of Euclidian space.

    Still, it can be use to create a mechanical device that transforms distances in space.time correctly (see e.g. the space-time globe).

  2. 21 hours ago, 34student said:

    This is very interesting.  I did not know that there was a distance that all observers can agree on.  Is this an absolute distance or something?

    Yes, for the simple reason that the space-time distance between two events is the same for all observers.

    However, there are many combinations of x, y, z, and t that give the same space-time distance. What the values of the coordinates are depends on the movement of the observer relative the train. So asking what the length of the train is without knowing how the observer moves relative to the train, is impossible.

    BTW, that you did not know about this space-time distance, tells me you do not understand what is meant with the 'block universe'. And if you have a wrong picture of it, your conclusions will be wrong too.

    Otherwise you would also not say something like this:

    18 hours ago, 34student said:

    The universe in a given moment in time.

      There is no 'given time of the universe' is a block universe.

  3. On 10/26/2021 at 5:22 PM, 34student said:

    Aliens from another dimension are looking at our block universe from 2050 to 2100.  Will they see a 100 meter train or a 1 meter train or something else?

    What I am about to say was probably already said in several variations, but you did not get it yet. So here my try:

    You cannot simply imagine the 'block' universe as a simple extension of a 3-dimensional block: just add another dimension and voila. The block universe is not a block with just 4 space dimensions instead of 3. Time stands in relation with the space dimensions, but in another way. This is especially true for Pythagoras theorem. So the metric of the block universe is not:

    s2 = x2 + y2 + z+ t2 (Invalid!)

    When this were the case you would be probably right. But you are then just extending the Euclidian metric with one dimension. Instead you must use the Minkowski metric, in which 'Pythagoras' is:

    s2 = x2 + y2 + z - ct2 

    This is the so called 'space-time' distance, and it is a distance all observers agree upon: all observers in the block universe agree on its value. Now a god-like high-dimensional alien creature, looking at our block universe would take that as the distance between two events (e.g. the train's passing of a point, first event is the passing of the locomotive, second event is the passing of the last wagon). However when an observer in the block universe prays to the alien, and asks 'how long is that train really in my 3 dimensional space?', the alien must first ask (or look) how the observer is moving in respect to the train. Only then he can answer the question. But the answer will be different for another observer. This is also true for an observer that is in the same inertial frame of reference as the train.

    There are conventional reasons to take the length of the train as the length measured in the frame of reference of the train, but these are not physical reasons. 

  4. 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. 

  5. On 10/7/2021 at 10:47 AM, bangstrom said:

    I have been searching for the answer to the question of whether either observation or consciousness can influence the outcome of the double slit experiment for several years now and I feel I have made a lot of progress in understanding the problem but I have possibly reached the limits of my expertise to come to any definite conclusion except to say that this is an extremely thorny issue with no easy answers.

    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).

    23 hours ago, Brian King of Trolls said:

    Isn't the quantum realm a strange place to look for answers about free will? The mind is a better place. Quanta is so small, it is so distant from significant human experience.

    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.

    20 hours ago, MigL said:

    Free will ( and consciousness ), on the other hand, is not clearly defined, nor consistant.

    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

    1. 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
    2. 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.

    12 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

    It’s far more complex than that, because determinism does not imply predictability; and determinism+predictability don’t imply computability. 

    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). 

    13 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

    That means the brain physically initiates motor action before you ever become aware of any decision-making to act. Where does that leave free will?

    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.


  6. 13 hours ago, beecee said:

    And thanks for the reasonable approach. 

    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:

    13 hours ago, beecee said:

    [1] So do you believe we know the true nature of gravity? [NO]

    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?'.

    13 hours ago, beecee said:

    [2] Do you accept that sciencetific theories are useful models that do not necessarily aim for truth and reality? [yes]

    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.

    13 hours ago, beecee said:

    [3]Do you agree that perhaps if there is a truth and/or reality that science may one day accidentley discover it? [possibly]

    See my answer on 1. We simply cannot know. So, no.

    13 hours ago, beecee said:

    [4] Do you accept that the further any scientific model matches our observations, and keeps making successful predictions, it does get ever more certain? [yes]

    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'.

    13 hours ago, beecee said:

    [5] Do you think perhaps if  that  "certainty" is reached, it could be this truth/reality?[possibly]

    No, see my reaction at 4. 

    13 hours ago, beecee said:

    [6] Is there any truth or reality to be found? [dunno]

    True propositions are surely possible, 'reality' only as far as it appears to us.

    13 hours ago, beecee said:

    [7]Might it be impossible to find? [dunno but in reality, and until we have one all encompassing theory, it may as well be]

    It is impossible to determine that we found it. It presupposes that we can look' behind the scenes'. We can't.

    14 hours ago, beecee said:

    I'll surprise you now....

    Ah, well. It is because of what you wrote before:

    21 hours ago, beecee said:

    Let me make a final comment on the above...I don't adhere to any particular form of science. I follow science to the best of my ability, because of its phenomenal success rate...afterall it affects our lives everyday. It has given us much, and answers many questions, and is  trying to answer more...it took us to the Moon, and has sent our probes to every planet, minor planet in our system...

    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.



  7. 8 minutes ago, beecee said:

    Let me make a final comment on the above...I don't adhere to any particular form of science. I follow science to the best of my ability, because of its phenomenal success rate...afterall it affects our lives everyday. It has given us much, and answers many questions, and is  trying to answer more...it took us to the Moon, and has sent our probes to every planet, minor planet in our system...zeal?

    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:


    Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem–in my opinion–to characterize our age. If we desire sincerely and passionately for the safety, the welfare, and the free development of the talents of all men, we shall not be in want of the means to approach such a state.

    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. 

  8. 16 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

    White man speak with forked tongue.

    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.

  9. 1 hour ago, beecee said:

    It's only your opinion that they are unknowledgable about philosophy, coming from an online self claimed educated philsopher.

    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.

  10. 11 hours ago, beecee said:

    [1] the same old argument that other philosophers have put up.

    [2] You can dress it up to fit your agenda, and exaggerate his remarks to your little heart's content, but it changes nothing. Reminds me errily of the justice/jail merry-go-round. Let me tidy it up for you. He expressed an opinion on the hypocrisy of religion and also expressed an opinion on philosophy that other notable and reputable people have. And I more or less agree ith his views, and dismiss yours.

    [3] Tell me, what is your truth and reality? Are you again making a poor attempt to practice your psychoanalysis of me? 🤮 That question has been answered a hundred times, and will not change no matter how many times you act so pretentiously in asking it again.

    [4] More pretentious nonsense, if not a blatant misinterpretation. I have never said philosophy is invalid, that's just you once again, making a piss poor attempt at trying to sound like a reasonable philosopher. 

    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.

    11 hours ago, beecee said:

    Yes, thanks for that, and yet we still have so called philosophers like dimreeper still overlooking the truth and instead practising the politics of philosophy, and rather poorly I add.

    Ah you know the truth! 

    11 hours ago, beecee said:
    17 hours ago, Eise said:

    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?

    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.

    11 hours ago, beecee said:

    Yes. "Still" has a simple everyday meaning, so stop being all pretentious and playing the poor philosopher in trying to read something into it that is not there.

    Yes, I know the word, And it introduces an ambiguity that you obviously did not notice. This is what you said:

    19 hours ago, beecee said:

    philosophy is rather astract in its dealings, while still being the foundation of science

    Possible readings:

    1. science has historically grown from philosophy
    2. 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?

    11 hours ago, beecee said:

    Please refrain from taking the one sentence out of context, it could be construed as dishonest.

    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. 

    11 hours ago, beecee said:

    And since when have philosophers always spoke with the one voice? 

    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.

    11 hours ago, beecee said:

    😊 Perhaps you can practise some of your semantics and pedant with me now. Your inference of calling Krauss "your god" is that an example of sarcasm? Facetiousness? provocation? or stupidity? 

    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. 

    11 hours ago, beecee said:

    Again, I'm in total agreement with Krauss, Feynman, Hawking, Degrasse-Tyson, and Weinberg. I may see when I have time, if I can dig up some more reputable physicists that see it the same way.

    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? 

    11 hours ago, beecee said:

    I cant see anything too controversial in what Feynman says in your video.

    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).


  11. 2 hours ago, swansont said:

    This suggests physics as a monolithic effort, and it's not.

    Well, at least it was not my intention to suggest something like that.

    2 hours ago, swansont said:

    Some work is basic research, other work is applied research. I wouldn't be surprised to find that there's a significant chunk of physicists that don't speak at all on the matter, because their attitude is "meh"

    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.

    2 hours ago, swansont said:

    "So much resources" sort on string theory? What level is that, and what fraction of the budget for all physics does it represent?

    I stand corrected. It is true, when thinking about physics I (as possibly many others) are thinking about the 'front lines'. 

    1 hour ago, beecee said:

    I read part of Albert's argument, and found it the same old argument that other philosophers have put up.

    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?

    1 hour ago, beecee said:

    Yes we both made cynical remarks, and Everyone is a philosopher, and in saying that, I also have my views, and while they are not terribly complimentary of philosophy in general, I have never claimed science is better, or greater, simply that science is  the practical search for knowledge, while imo philosophy is rather astract in its dealings, while still being the foundation of science.

    With foundation I assume you mean 'historically grown out of philosophy'? I have some problems with your word 'still' in the last sentence. 

    1 hour ago, beecee said:

    And with regard to physicists not speaking in one voice, there are mavericks in every profession.

    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.

    1 hour ago, beecee said:

    I also find it rather disappointing, that you still chose to throw barbs at him with your condescending remark "just a good physicist"

    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.

    1 hour ago, beecee said:

    On your Feynman comment, all I can say is there you go again! Don't you think you are taking one word out of context?


    Only 1m 14s.

    1 hour ago, beecee said:

    What Krauss was effectively saying, and Degrasse Tyson from memory, is that areas that once were the domain of the philosopher, are now more the domain of the theoretical physicist.

    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...)

  12. 9 hours ago, beecee said:

    Sure. http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2012/04/lawrence-krauss-another-physicist-with.html

    Let me say that I certainly believe that Krauss over stepped when he called Albert a  “moronic philosopher,” On the up side, Krauss later did also apologise for his remark...

    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:

    9 hours ago, beecee said:

    Physicists get so much help from subjective and often vague aesthetic judgments that it might be expected that we would be helped also by philosophy, out of which after all our science evolved. Can philosophy give us any guidance toward a final theory?

    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.

    17 hours ago, studiot said:


    22 hours ago, Eise said:

    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? 

    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.

  13. 26 minutes ago, beecee said:

    I may mot be a philosopher old friend, nor a scientist, but I'm pretty good at sorting the wheat from the chaff, be that philosophers or scientists, and as such of course, am able to approach things without bias. 

    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. 


    7 minutes ago, beecee said:

    While philosophy has laid the ground work for the scientific methodology and most other disciplines, in the case of science, it seems that it [science]  is now by necessity encroaching on areas that were once only covered by philosophy. This is what many scientist of late now believe, starting with of course Professor Krauss, Professor Degrasse Tyson and the late Professor Stephen Hawking smf sd [rt links given previously. 

    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.

  14. 10 minutes ago, beecee said:

    Is he?


    And please, no funny meant bon mots anymore.

    11 minutes ago, beecee said:

    We all philosophise [is that a word? ☺️]

    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.

    13 minutes ago, beecee said:

    It's the silly extent some see the need to go to, indugling in pedant and semantics.

    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:

    20 minutes ago, beecee said:

    The actual belief of the day, was that the Sun and everything else, in fact the whole universe, orbitied the Earth...While with regards to the solar system,  it is a useful model, it was not seen as a model in that era...


    22 minutes ago, beecee said:

    I believe we have some idea about certain things, but obviously not others. Again you need to talk to Dave about that.

    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...


  15. 2 hours ago, studiot said:

    Sorry I don't understand your comment, please expand.

    You said:

    20 hours ago, studiot said:

    The philosophy of how to build an atom bomb can be found in several boys own and other popular magazines.

    Yes the principles are all there but the articles would not enable anyone to build a successful bomb.

    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.


  16. 11 hours ago, Davy_Jones said:

    It seems, however, that certain scientists (including some here) labor under the misapprehension that they can wax lyrically on philosophy--having read little or nothing on the subject--and not sound woefully naive. (ask Eise -- he/she appears to be philosophically literate)

    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.

  17. 11 hours ago, beecee said:

    And you are doing exactly  what you are accusing Krauss of.

    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.

    11 hours ago, beecee said:

    I'm really not that interested or concerned with your's or Davy's pedantic and semantic take on the subject

    If you do not like semantics, then philosophy is definitely not your thing. 

    11 hours ago, beecee said:

    Nup, but you like Davey, are confusing the fact that through the ages, the belief in any particular system, was true knowledge, and as per Ptolomy, taken quite literally as true and real. It was essentially false knowledge and false belief in that knowledge.

    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.

    12 hours ago, beecee said:

    So just to recap over a couple of threads, while we are pretty near certain of the geography of the solar system, galaxy and observable universe, most scientific theories/models do not have truth/reality as their goal, whatever that truth and reality is. eg: we still do not know the true nature of gravity.

    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? 

    12 hours ago, beecee said:

    we still do not know the true nature of gravity.

    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?

  18. On 9/7/2021 at 4:43 AM, MigL said:

    According to Eise, Philosophy can help direct the thought process in order to solve a Physics problem, and, as such, is a valuable discipline.

    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...

    On 9/7/2021 at 4:43 AM, MigL said:

    Our knowledge of the way things work, the mechanisms of the universe, is increasing; I don't know what that has to do with 'truth'.

    Just in support of Davy: truth belongs to the very definition of knowledge. 

    On 9/7/2021 at 4:43 AM, MigL said:

    Maybe you should ask a Philosopher to help guide your thinking 

    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'.


    18 hours ago, studiot said:

    Yes Philosophy (got it spelled right this time) overlaps many other disciplines.

    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. 

    17 hours ago, studiot said:

    A fine example of the difference that arises around the overlap between Physics and Philosophy would be the construction of an atom bomb.


    The philosophy of how to build an atom bomb can be found in several boys own and other popular magazines.

      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.

  19. Hi Studiot, yes, I was intentionally a bit short, because dimreepr does not like long answers (Oh, am I mean...).

    I once wrote a  long post about what philosophy is, maybe I'll try to find it again. Edit: found!

    31 minutes ago, studiot said:

    In respect of data I hold that (modern) philosophy is interested in/about the broad/core/underlying principles.
    It is not interested in all the fine detail.

    Science on the other hand is dedicated to observing/recording/correlating/catelogueing all the detail, no matter how fine.

    I think it is not a question of detail. But with the 'core/underlying principles' you surely have a point. (Yes, I left out 'broad').

    31 minutes ago, studiot said:

    As regards the truth of knowledge, I have some knowledge of Harry Potter.

    Is that true of false ?

    I don't know, so let's ask a question: 'Who was the head master of Hogwards, when Harry Potter became a student there?'

    If you know, you have at least some knowledge of Harry Potter. You see, for the question to make sense, you have to take the context into account. And the context is a story. But because the story is well known, and published, above question can be answered. 

    31 minutes ago, studiot said:

    Finally I have observed that both Science and Philosophy need qualifying to be complete

    In studying the core principles of other disciplines, Philosophy overlaps many which Science does not

    For example the  the Philosophy of the Arts, Moral Philosophy , Relious Philous Pholosophy and so on.

    Well, every discipline (I prefer that above just 'science': there also is theology, morality, as you notice) has its own basic methods, beliefs, and problems. When people are reflecting on that, they are doing philosophy. 

  20. 15 hours ago, beecee said:

    I'm with Lawrence Krauss' recent critique of philosophy, which had the philosophers strangely jumping up and down in dismay.

    Of course, but it is not strange. When a well known physicist makes such denigrating remarks about philosophy, where it is clear as day that Krauss knows next to nothing about what is actually happening in academic philosophy.

    13 hours ago, beecee said:

    Perhaps you need to read Krauss's book.

    From a philosophical point of view: no. For those interested in cosmology, of course, it is a good read (yes I read it). beecee, to understand the qualities of philosophy you must know what actually is being done at philosophical faculties. And to be honest, I think you have no idea. 

    11 hours ago, beecee said:

    Ptolemy also had "supposed" knowledge of the universe that stood for millenia.

    There is of course also "false knowledge"

      I am afraid Davy_Jones is exactly on point: knowledge is commonly taken to mean 'justified true belief'. So false knowledge does not exist. What exists is people believing they have knowledge, and which turns out to be mistaken for knowledge. What Ptolemy beautifully shows: to make precise predictions of solar system events, Copernicus was a step back. So he had other grounds postulating his heliocentric model. Only when Kepler, based on precise astronomical observations by Tycho Brahe, came with his ellipses, the predictions really improved.

    9 hours ago, beecee said:

    Stop being so obtuse. It was knowledge at the time. Until science and Copernicus/Galileo.

    The earth was for all intents and purposes certainly flat, for billions of people. That was there knowledge [false as we now know it] and poor philosophy.


      So, no. You confuse 'having knowledge' with 'believing to have knowledge'.

    8 hours ago, beecee said:

    Your "married Bachelor" nonsense is known for what it is, and for all intents and purposes, obviously would not stand up where a marriage certificate is designated or required. They are a single couple living together as a married couple.

      Nope. Given the definition of knowledge (justified true belief) false knowledge is a contradiction in terms. 'False beliefs' exist, but not false knowledge.

    I think it really would be interesting to go into detail about the Ptolemy-Copernicus topic. Why do we say Copernicus' view is closer to the truth than Ptolemy, whereas the concrete predictions that followed from Ptolemy were more precise than those of Copernicus?




    On 9/6/2021 at 2:13 PM, dimreepr said:

    What is the real difference between science and philosophy?

    The topic, of course.

    23 hours ago, MigL said:

    One is based on evidence/observation; the other on mental gymnastics.
    ( no offense meant, Eise )

    When it is no offense, what is it?

    I always wonder how physicists could say philosophy is useless, during them making philosophical remarks or ponderings.  Take the famous Feynman video about 'what is magnetism'. He nearly does not talk physics: instead he is pondering what such 'what is ...' questions factually mean, and what physics can say about it (not what physics says about it). In another video he explains the role of experiment in science. But that is not physics either. So what is it? To give a hint: it starts with 'ph' but ends with 'y'... To repeat my disclaimer:


    There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.

    Maybe it is a bit too harsh: I think the great minds examine this philosophical baggage, can explain it, maybe even justify it. Feynman is a fine example, even where he ridicules philosophy. It must haven been the quality of the philosophy lectures he visited.


  22. I read the sentence as 'Dennett discovered that it is impossible to explain consciousness to people without a spiritual basis'.

    To say that Dennet discovered he does not understand consciousness is absurd: he surely believes he does understand consciousness (why would he otherwise write a book with the title 'Consciousness Explained'?). So how could he have discovered that that he cannot understand consciousness because he has no spiritual basis? It just makes no sense. The only conclusion can be that Dennett discovered that others, who lack a spiritual basis, cannot understand consciousness, they do not understand his explanation. But given that Dennet at least thinks he understands consciousness, it must be his discovery that others lack the spiritual basis needed to understand consciousness. Therefore, Dennett himself must have this spiritual basis, because he understands consciousness (according to himself). 

    Others may think that Dennett does not understand consciousness, of course, and they may even say it is because Dennett has no spiritual basis. (Needless to say I do not agree.)  But that is not Dennett's discovery. 

    3 hours ago, Gees said:

    You are still misquoting people in order to make yourself look good and make them look bad? I thought you just did that to me.

    First I was not quoting at all, I followed an implication of what jonnobody said.

    And secondly,  between all the arguments we had, I do not remember that you ever blamed me of misquoting you. My main problem with you was that you often used an argument along the lines of  'I researched consciousness many years, so my viewpoint is superior'.

  23. I notice that the display can show min and max temperatures. Maybe you have to do a reset of these values. It could be the lowest temperature during its transport, or, when you yourself had to put the battery in, the lowest temperature it can measure. The flashing is a sign that the values cannot be trusted (think about good old video recorder clocks, flashing continuously with 12:00). 

    So I suggest, read the manual, and find out how you can reset the min/max values.

  24. 3 minutes ago, joigus said:

    I will keep exploring your thinking until I find where exactly your dissatisfaction lies.

    My dissatisfaction lies in the thought that we still do not have all (meta)physical entities we need to understand consciousness. We do not need souls (that would be old-fashioned metaphysics), but also no new basic physical discoveries (no quantumgravity, as Penrose seems to think), nor:

    39 minutes ago, joigus said:

    The spinor mapping --that a space-time point is represented twice in an internal-variable space--, or the holographic principle, or some similar principle that strongly suggests some fundamental mirroring, bi-valued representation, etc, seem to me to be more likely candidates of this deeper level I'm talking about.

    My intuition tells me that behind such ideas (all 3 examples) is a (rest of) a need to explain something that is quite mysterious like consciousness, with something that, well, at least feels as mysterious as consciousness itself. 

    After Dennet presented his 'multiple drafts' theory of consciousness in Consciousness Explained, he discusses many variants of 'something is missing in this theory'. He goes into painstaking detail to show that nothing is missing (qualia, e.g.).

    In general, part of my life view is 'no metaphysical comfort'. Do not build the meaning of your life on how you think the world factually is. No God, no soul, no magical inner connectedness between all living and/or conscious organisms. 

    A nice example here is George Lemaître: he advised the pope not to make the Big Bang as proof for God: for when science would discover some day that there was no Big Bang, or can explain the Big Bang physically, this 'God' would be gone.

    I hope these words will spiritually awake jonnobody, the OP.

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