Matt O'Dowd is starting to look at a question I find extremely interesting. What is the ontology of spacetime? A lot of physicists have begun to wonder whether its fundamental, or emergent from something else. Quantum entanglement is the one I'm familiar with, but I understand there are other possibilities. (This video is 26 minutes … Continue reading Is the question whether spacetime is real, or whether it’s fundamental?
Tag: Philosophy of science
The debate between scientific realism and anti-realism seems like it’s about theory scope
I've been thinking again about the realism vs anti-realism debate, about what scientific theories actually tell us about the world. Historically in the philosophy of science, the debate is between realists, who see scientific theories being at least an approximate representation of reality, and instrumentalists or anti-realists, who see those theories as mere prediction frameworks … Continue reading The debate between scientific realism and anti-realism seems like it’s about theory scope
It pays to remember that reality is absurd
Last week the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser, and Aton Zeilinger, for their work in testing quantum entanglement, essentially validating that quantum mechanics is correct about the phenomenon, and eliminating, or at least profoundly minimizing, any possible loopholes. https://twitter.com/NobelPrize/status/1577234271546200064 Of course this set off a lot of physicists … Continue reading It pays to remember that reality is absurd
Don’t throw out Occam’s razor just yet
Jim Al-Khalili has an article at OpenMind attacking Occam's razor, at least in the form it's typically articulated, that the simplest explanation should be preferred. Al-Khalili correctly points out that there are a lot of problems with that version of the principle. Simply preferring the explanation we think is the simplest is often just favoring … Continue reading Don’t throw out Occam’s razor just yet
This week, while working through my podcast backlog, I came across an interview of Jacy Reese Anthis. We discussed Anthis' paper on consciousness semanticism a few months ago. Like me, Anthis sees the term "consciousness" as ambiguous, one that has had a variety of different meanings over the centuries, and continues to have a range … Continue reading Philosophical semanticism
A thought about objectivity
The idea of objectivity gets a lot of criticism. One common complaint is that it's a fantasy viewpoint, a God's eye view that doesn't exist, a view from nowhere that we can never take. This is a common complaint I've seen from people who think studying consciousness in a third person manner is misguided. It … Continue reading A thought about objectivity
In one of the final chapters of his book: Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy, David Chalmers asks, have we fallen from the Garden of Eden? "Eden" in this case is a metaphor for living in a world where everything is as it seems, matching our pre-theoretical view of reality. In Eden, everything exists … Continue reading Universal functionalism
Information, computation, and reality
David Chalmers in his book: : Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy, has a discussion on information and reality. He identifies different types of information: semantic, structural, and symbolic. Semantic information is what we colloquially think of as information, it's the patterns that tell someone or something about reality. A map of a city … Continue reading Information, computation, and reality
The benefits of wave function realism?
The central mystery of quantum mechanics is that quantum particles move like waves but hit and leave effects like localized particles. This is true of elementary particles, atoms, molecules, and increasingly larger objects, possibly macroscopic ones. It's even true of collections of entangled particles, no matter how separated the particles may have become. People have … Continue reading The benefits of wave function realism?
John Horgan recently wrote a column which has received a lot of attention. Horgan's thesis is that when it comes to three topics: the existence of God, the mind-body problem, and the measurement problem in quantum mechanics, science can't provide the answers and may never be able to. Horgan advises that the only responsible position … Continue reading Clarifying agnosticism