cladking wrote:Surely you aren't suggesting that philosophy, natural philosophy, or metaphysics can begin progressing if we simply employ "formal logic".
No. What I'm suggesting is that our observations of nature must be interpreted in such a way that the conclusions which we draw from then are compatible with the rules of formal logic. If they aren't then these conclusions are false.
Getting over a little hump in cosmology or getting physics back on track seems child's play
If the philosophers weren't such a supine and self-indulgent gang of navel-gazers then physics would never have got off-track in the first place. The spacetime paradigm was logically unsustainable from the very outset, even before QM was derived from it, and yet barely a single philosopher has raised a voice in protest for the past century. The historians of science will be left to write leaned dissertations on this distressing fact but neither the physicists nor the philosophers of the 20th century will be favourably represented in these histories, history always having a tendency to be wise after the event.
PoeticUniverse wrote:What we find in mathematics is a peerless body of conceptions of the most general relations among features of the world, robbed, however, of all phenomenal particularity and temporal depth: a lifeless and faceless terracotta army.
Nicely phrased. I have my own phrase for this, which I've also become quite fond of. Physics examines the universe as if it were a cadaver on a slab being presented for dissection. It is a dead universe because a dead universe is exactly what the observer observes. This fact is scale invariant and completely explains the so-called "quantum weirdness". There's nothing weird going on inside the atom. Effects are merely being preceded by causes in an orderly and generative fashion, but because the relativistic motions of the particles are taking place at very close to light-speed some effects are being raised to a power of their causes. This is basic GR but this is also how the principle of emergence works and it is these emergent effects which the physicists are misinterpreting as causes. When we look backwards down the arrow of time at our cadaver on the slab we're simply getting cause and effect arse-about. We imagine we see a reality being made according to a suite of physical "laws" but this is a Platonist fantasy. Reality simply makes itself because the relativistic motion of every single physical entity in the universe is causally determined by the relativistic motion of every other. It is this self-organising behaviour of matter and energy which physics then attempts to codify mathematically in the language of physical "laws" but the laws themselves have no ontological status.
There is no valid reason to suppose that one way of codifying such a self-generating reality should be in any way preferable to another. All that matters is that it works until we find a way of doing it which works better. This is the point that the philosophers need to be driving home to the physicists because this is simply the basic Kantian metaphysic. We are modelling Noumena as Phenomena and conflating the two.
(There are no pre-established laws to the universe because there is is no point for them to have been handed down, given that time had no beginning.)
Once again this is a basic metaphysical first principle. Either the universe had a beginning or it didn't. If it didn't then it must have always existed and if it did then it must have had an external causal agent. There exists no third option but only a universe which has always existed is accessible to the tools of the philosopher and the scientist. A universe with an external causal agent lies beyond the scrutiny of human knowledge and is therefore neither a scientific nor a philosophical hypothesis.
PoeticUniverse wrote:…violates the principles of recip-rocated action: we imagine that part of nature – the laws, symmetries, and constants – acts without being acted upon.
These principles are explored in great depth by two of the greatest theoretical physicists of the 20th century, Lars Onsager and Ilya Prigogine. Although both won Nobel prizes for their work they have gone largely ignored by the broader community of academic physics. However in theoretical chemistry and theoretical biology they are held in the very highest of esteem because these two sciences are exclusively about reciprocated action between different hierarchies of emergent causal domains. All matter and energy is both ACTOR and ACTED UPON but the nature of such emergent behaviour is specified in embedded hierarchies of informational complexity. For example, the behaviour of the electron within the atom will effect the behaviour of the emergent atom, which in turn will effect the behaviour of the emergent molecule of which the atom forms a part. This chain of causation cascades all the way up to the largest of physical structures in the cosmos but it works BOTH WAYS. The molecule has properties which its constituent atoms don't have and these molecular properties also cause a change in the behaviour of the constituent atoms which then cause a change in the behaviour of the electrons within the atom which then cause further changes at the Planck scale.
This is the basic mechanism for a dissipative structure
, which is exactly what our universe is. It is an entirely self-generating system which spontaneously evolves from the simple to the complex. Our planetary biosphere is the most obvious example of such a system as it operates in nature.
…that regularities do not antedate the structures manifesting them.
I've already made this point but it's worth stressing again. It is nature which makes what the observer defines as the "laws of physics", not the other way around.
PoeticUniverse wrote:For a preferred cosmic time to have a legitimate cosmological role, the universe must also be so arranged, by virtue of its relative isotropy and homogeneity, that it provides a clock of cosmic time, in the twin forms of its equal recession in all directions from preferred observers, situated in positions expressive of that homogeneity and isotropy, and of the equal temperature with which its cosmic microwave radiation background strikes these same preferred observers from all directions in the sky. The clock of cosmic time is the universe itself, viewed with regard to some of its features. We have reason to believe that we live in such a universe: one in which cosmic time can in principle be recognized and measured, not simply asserted as a theoretical pre-commitment or dissolved into the many-fingered time of the predominant interpretations of general relativity.
I'm not crazy about the way this has been phrased, although I agree with the general principle. The universe is neither perfectly homogeneous nor perfectly isotropic, although this will almost certainly never be measurable by using the temperature of the CMB. However it is measurable by the phenomenon of gravitational lensing, which in a spaceless universe is no more mysterious than the bent stick in the water of our high school days. The speed of light becomes the same thing as the speed at which time passes and we already know that the speed at which time passes is determined by gravity. The observer observes the slowing down of light as it passes through a gravitational "field" as bent light but what he's really looking at is a region of the universe where time is passing more slowly. In GR this is called a "curved space" but this notion is nothing more than a mathematical metaphor for a very simple temporal phenomenon.
In this respect, the new physics reinstated what had always been a tradition, although a suppressed or recessive one, within the old physics: the relational view, most famously associated with Leibniz.
Not just Leibniz, PU, although indeed most famously so. There has barely been a philosopher of science since the pre-Socratics who hasn't adamantly insisted that space must never be regarded as physically real. The most enlightened of these philosophers were the philosopher/mathematician/poets of early Islam but Newton simply ignored them all. To Newton the map and the territory were one and the same thing and 300 years later physics is still proceeding from this fundamentally flawed metaphysical assumption. It's well past time to acknowledge this.
General relativity, under its most influential interpretations, was more inclined to spatialize time than to temporalize space, as the geometrical metaphor of time as the “fourth dimension” suggests.
Let me make it clear that I regard GR as a masterpiece of mathematical ingenuity. However it was always conceptually hamstrung by SR and its representation of time as a spatial dimension. Poincare never bought it for a moment and Einstein should never have bought it either. All the clues were there in the Michelson-Morley experiment but nobody could make the conceptual leap which would have given physics the new paradigm it needed. The physicality of the Newtonian space had become so hard-wired into the mindset of the thinkers of that time that even an empirical proof to the contrary was insufficient to redirect their thinking.
Space is not physically real. That's all there is to it. There are NO paradoxes, counter-intuitive conclusions or metaphysical absurdities in physics when the Cartesian space is seen as a mathematical object rather than a physical one. Everything makes perfect sense.