On 17 December 2013 14:54, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

> You asked where does the unreasonable effectiveness come from.  Maybe I
> should have asked what you thought Wigner was referring to.  I don't think
> he was referring to 'all possible mathematics' like Tegmark was.  Or even
> all computable functions as Tegmark has more recently.  Wigner was probably
> still assuming a continuum.

He obviously wasn't referring to all possible maths, as you pointed out
most of it doesn't have any obvious effectiveness.

> Shannon's theory of channel capacity turns out to use a form of
> Boltzmann's entropy.  Is that 'unreasonable effectiveness' or a real
> relation between transmitting information and randomness in statistical
> mechanics.
> I suspect it shows up a deep connection between the two subjects, which
isn't too surprising in this case.

> It's not all or nothing.  There was mathematics, like Fourier transforms
> and Hilbert space, that had already been invented before von Neumann
> formulated QM in terms of them.  But the subsequent interest in QM inspired
> Gleason's theorem and the Kochen-Specker theorem and the concept of POVMs
> and rigged Hilbert space.  William Thompson proposed a vortex theory of
> matter which could be seen as the forerunner of braid and knot theory which
> developed as 'pure' math and then came back to physics in string theory.
> As to whether they are incommensurate I'm not sure what that means.  They
> may have contradictory axioms so that if you tried to axiomatize Newtonian
> mechanics and quantum mechanics together you'd get contradictions.  But if
> you just take them as pure math, real valued differential equations and
> Hamiltonian functions vs complex Hilbert space and Hamiltonian operators
> then there's no contradiction because they're about different domains.
> Riemannian geometry is a consistent theory which include Euclidean geometry
> as a special case.  But in a physical theory about the geometry of
> spacetime the geometry is either Euclidean or it's not.

My point, such as it is, is that we can use the same maths for both the
Newtonian domain in which things behave "roughly according to common sense"
and the quantum domain in which they very much don't. The fact that the
same maths applies to these domains, which as you pointed out are wildly
different, at least implies that maths has an independent (or at least
physics-domain-independent) existence. Hence it probably isn't just
something we made up to work in one domain (roughly the Newtonian).

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