TechnologyCan physics explain our whole reality?

Can physics explain our whole reality?

If only we could reduce the world to an equation, many believe – and preferably solvable (as opposed to what happened in what happened in restaurant at the end of the universe), We will understand life better.

Nancy Cartwright

Durham University Philosopher Nancy Cartwright He goes against this, arguing that the universe is “beautifully laminated, and requires a speckled science to explain it.” She is the author, recently, of A philosopher looks at science (Cambridge University Press, 2022). And she says,

If physics is to have complete control, it must not only help with chemical bonding, signal transmission in neurons, the flow of gasoline in a carburetor, and the like. It should in principle be able to fully take over the disciplines that study these things, to explain and predict the rise in teenage pregnancies, the current level of inflation, the Protestant Reformation, and the fate of immigrants crossing the Channel. In addition, she should be able to keep me from yelling at my daughter: After all, I was only obeying the laws of physics.

Nancy CartwrightPhysics can’t handle the complexity of reality” in IAI. News (October 17, 2022)

Now that I mention it, pop psychology has demonstrated several theories linking meaningless phenomena like inflation, reformation, and yelling at loved ones. It is relatively easy to link very complex events together if we are allowed to choose any link we like. Some might associate Hurricane Ian with the municipal elections in Vancouver and with high-starch diets in Texas. It takes creativity but a lot of people have a lot of that.

Physics sets itself a much more difficult goal: demonstrating numbers (serious numbers, not popular statistics) and a rigorous theory behind them. This necessarily means neglecting a lot, assuming that what has been omitted falls into the theory. But is it so?

The idea of ​​physics as the queen of everything that happens has powerful implications for what the world in which we live should be. It must be a world made entirely of the basic entities of physics – fundamental particles, curved space-time and the like – entities that contain only the mathematical features that physical equations describe, attributes that often have no names of their own other than the names of the mathematical things they are supposed to represent , such as the “quantum state vector” and the “metric tensor” of general relativity. The world should be like this because these are the kinds of features that physics can govern.

Nancy CartwrightPhysics can’t handle the complexity of reality” in IAI. News (October 17, 2022)

Can physics explain our whole reality?

An alternative approach is offered:

Rather than assuming that physics should be the queen of all of our surveying, I recommend that we base our picture of what the ultimate science might be on the basis of what current science will be when it is most successful, from putting people on the moon to devising and implementing a plan for the complete evacuation of a hospital Royal Marsden (which only took 28 minutes when a wildfire summoned it, January 2, 2008) … This is a world where irritability, generosity and social exclusion can affect what happens just as gravity and electromagnetic repulsion can.

Nancy CartwrightPhysics can’t handle the complexity of reality” in IAI. News (October 17, 2022)

As you say, this is the world we actually live in, a world filled with many intersecting little worlds where causes can include anything from basic physics to social psychology.

Physics, after all, does not tell us about morals: whether or not we should stand up to the bully, whether we are the guards of our neighbours, or whether it is profitable to win the whole world at the loss of our souls.

Physics lies at the foundation of things, yes. But beyond a certain level of complexity, things cannot be reduced to their component parts without losing what they are in essence. Ice cream is not only its ingredients. A birthday party is not just cake and decorations. Our homes are not just worth redeeming. Many complexities are simply irreducible. This is why simple philosophies along the lines of “everything goes back to…” don’t really work.

You may also like to read: Why is it so hard for science to answer? Some basic questions. Are we on the edge of the things science can tell us? We can only research and see what happens, because the questions that science is expected to answer become more fundamental and more profound.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Exclusive content

Latest article

More article