joigus Posted September 4, 2021 Share Posted September 4, 2021 I think the word we're all fumbling for here when we say 'reality' is in fact 'ontology'. One of the most important lessons of 20th-century physics is, I think, Nature doesn't care a great deal about our entities. I think @swansont, @MigL, @beecee, and myself; and perhaps most eloquently @DrDon have drawn arguments along these lines. Nature is probably connected all the way down to the most fundamental level. That's why such a thing as unification of physical laws is possible in the first place. But distinctions emerge. It is the business of physics to elucidate what connections/distinctions appear/disappear, and when (at what scale) they are relevant. Entities don't present themselves as 'solid' immovable categories; rather, as useful instruments for the scale of description given. Terms as bosonization (a fermion can be seen as a pair of bosons with a 'twist' between them), dualities (a strongly-coupled interaction in one region of space can be seen as a weakly-coupled one on the boundary of that region) etc., strongly suggest that any entities that we may propose are simply instrumental, and what emerges as really robust are physical principles, patterns, rather than 'things'. Lorentz invariance, locality, unitarity, symmetries and conservation laws. Those are the main characters in this play. Weinberg was a master at bringing out how they interplay. Einstein was one of the most brilliant theorists of all time, but this revolution caught him at a point in his life when he was already too set in his --ontological?-- ways. Weinberg was able to take home the lesson much more efficiently for what the 2nd half of the 20th century physics needed. Maybe nothing is, and everything emerges, in some kind of bootstrap mechanism of substantiation of entities in a grand cosmic scheme of which the building blocks are actually patterns and principles, and not things. --I'm getting blah, blah. I'm also glad that professor Lincoln has spent some time among us, be it ever so briefly. 3 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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