On 10/4/2011 4:20 PM, meekerdb wrote:
On 10/4/2011 10:25 AM, Stephen P. King wrote:
The conservation laws come from the requirement that we want our
laws to be the same for everyone at every time and place. This is
our idea of "laws". I'm sure you're familiar with Noether's
theorem and how she showed that conservation of moment comes from
the requirement of invariance under spatial shifts, etc.
That is beautiful and rather convincing.
My friend Vic Stenger has written a book, "The Comprehesible
Cosmos", which shows how this idea extends to general relativity,
the standard model, gauge theories, etc. and provides a unified
view of physics. I recommend it.
The part of physics is interesting, but if he would take more
seriously the mind-body problem, I think he would appreciated the
comp new form of invariance for the physical laws: that is, that the
laws of physics do not depend on the initial universal theory. It
does not depend on the choice of the computation-coordinates (the
I am taking Noether's theorems into account. Furthermore, you
might note that those theorems collapse if there does not exist
spatial and/or temporal manifold.
The manifold doesn't need to be spatial or temporal. Gauge theories
are built on rotations in an abstract space. But my point was just
that the answer to the question of where do the laws of physics come
from is that "We make them up." That answer isn't a surrender to
solipism or mysticism because we make them up so that everybody will
agree on them at every place and time. And as every time and place is
expanded by our use of instruments to extend our range of perceptions
it becomes a very strong constraint indeed.
Yes, gauge theories are built on transformations in an abstract
space but if you examine those theories carefully you will find that not
only is there some form of continuity and smoothness allowing the
construction of analytical solutions, but also there exists a mapping
between behaviors in those abstract spaces and observable phenomena. If
this later mapping did not exist then the theories could not be claimed
to be "physics", at best they would merely be abstract math and might be
considered to be just patterns of abstract games played by imaginative
It is mathematics that needs to be careful not to fall into
solipsism, for if it has no relation at all with the physical then how
does one even consider notions of knowledge of it! Idealism is a very
seductive ontological model but it suffers from a very simple but fatal
flaw: it reduces all aspects of physicality, such as space, time,
solidity, etc. , to mere epiphenomenal descriptions and thus removes any
possibility of a coherent notion of causality, time and location.
Witness how mathematical entities are claimed to exist independent of
physicality, is this not a claim that they have a completely separate
existence. How then does one propose the ability to know of the
properties of such mathematical entities? If you examine Platonism
carefully you will find that it assumes a crude form of substance
dualism. Study Plato's writings about "noesis
and the allegory of the cave...
I demand that our explanatory models be observationally falsifiable
and self-consistent, thus avoiding the pitfalls of mystisism, but when
one is looking into ontological models then one must be careful to have
some form of continuance between the ontological aspects of the model
and some connection to observability (by many independent observers).
My interest in in ontology and cosmogony models, thus my membership to
this List. :-)
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