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Old 24th May 2018, 07:59 AM   #321
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Use those ideas to define the nature of matter with an experimental method. An example, please.
What do you think all the experiments with particle accelerators are doing? How did they discover the Higgs boson?

Those experiments form the bedrock of all modern science, whether someone is studying galaxies or nutrient uptake in wheat or how to mass produce the latest 7nm processors they are all using the results of those experiments - some more directly than others.
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Old 24th May 2018, 08:01 AM   #322
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Heisenberg:

"I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language".

You can work on this basis. Easy, is it not?
Nice bit of poetical language that helps invoke how really strange reality is when we move from human scales. Beyond that of no value and of course we can detect these "forms, ideas" with "physical" based experiments for example the Higgs boson.
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Old 24th May 2018, 08:35 AM   #323
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Heisenberg:

"I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language".

You can work on this basis. Easy, is it not?
As someone who actually studied that part of physics a bit, I can tell you that, no, they're NOTHING like Plato's essences, and much less like the platonic solids that he postulates reality to be made of. (E.g., in his dialogues with his sockpuppet Timaeus.)

Just like modern atomic theory doesn't actually validate Democritus. In fact, Democritus was wrong, and was just trying to propose a compromise where none was needed in the first place.

Etc.

As Darat was saying, some scientists do like a bit of poetic language. Some like to even occasionally take the piss. Some take metaphoric shortcuts that they actually know are nonsense taken literally. (E.g., I could link you to Susskind lectures where he mentions a frame of reference moving at the speed of light, while actually there's no such thing, and he probably knows that better than most.)

What you can say more accurately is that Plato was onto something, but that's about it. Modern physics only decided in his favour in the loosest and vaguest possible sense. And quite not literally, unless someone has totally not actually read Plato.
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Old 24th May 2018, 09:21 AM   #324
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"Something some science guy said taken totally out of context, therefore Woo."
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Old 24th May 2018, 10:10 AM   #325
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Heisenberg was writing about quantum mechanics in the 1920's, that's a whole century ago. He was the product of a very different academic era. It was a time when university postgraduates were mainly the children of privileged families, and a time when postgraduate science students, and no doubt all sorts of other postgraduate students, sat around in great university dining halls and plush lounges, smoking cigars, drinking fine wine & and debating endlessly about an interest in philosophy as much as their actual science. In Victorian and Edwardian times, young academics were very often interested in what they regarded as the “sophistication” of the great philosophers & philosophical ideas of the day.

As others have pointed out – that sort of quote attributed to Heisenberg is just an example of poetic language, to say that the smallest parts of atoms (i.e. “matter”) are in fact just “thoughts and forms in mathematics”. I don't know what date that quote has, but it was not until around the 1960's that some theoretical physicists (people that most others outside of research science would probably regard as pure mathematicians working in very obscure exotic areas of maths) began to realise that the smallest so-called subatomic “particles” are actually better thought of as various specific types of disturbances in certain energy fields that compose the entirety of space-time …

… so for example the so-called “Higgs particle” is actually treated as a “Higgs field”. The point being that, in that sense, it came to be understood that solid particles do not really exist in the sense that almost everyone had imagined solids to be for thousands of years. Instead what appears to be the case, is that a new from of QM was required, and that is what we now call Quantum Field Theory (“QFT”).

OK, without going further into that, one of the points is that even in Heisenberg's time, it was already realised that it was probably a mistake for anyone to say that what we think of as solid objects (e.g. a table or a brick wall), was actually almost entirely "empty space" (because, they thought that atoms mostly consisted of empty space with a few tiny solid-like particles whizzing round & round (i.e. protons, neutrons and electrons). Instead what became clear from at least the earliest days of QFT, is that there is no such thing as “empty space” … the so-called “space” (i.e. "space-time") is actually composed of various interacting energy fields (e.g. gravitational field, electromagnetic field, the Higgs field, etc.) all of which behave mathematically according to the rules for quantized wave equations …

… it's those quantized energy fields that actually exist, not mere intangible “thoughts and forms” in someones mind.

And lets be clear – it is science (mathematical physics) which has studied and explained all of that re. QFT and the nature of “matter”, NOT any philosophers (nor Heisenberg trying to get all mysterious, mystical and philosophical about it).

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Old 24th May 2018, 10:26 AM   #326
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Only if you think that all babies are born as instant philosophers on the basis that from day one they automatically begin thinking for themselves and making logical considered decisions.

IOW - you are just trying the perennial philosophers dodge/deceit of trying to claim that scientists and everyone else are all relying on philosophy merely because we have the brain capacity (and sensory system) to be consciously aware of our surroundings (like all other mammals) and to make logical reasoned decisions about all that we do from one moment to the next ...

... if that is all that philosophy is, then it's not something that any of us ever needed to be taught in a university degree course.

And nor do scientists need any philosophy professors to tell them what questions they should be asking about the nature of the universe. However, on the contrary, all philosophy professors have been in 100% need of scientists explaining to philosophers (and to everyone else) literally hundreds of thousands of important questions and hundreds of thousands of the most astonishingly detailed answers, explanations & solutions, none of which any of those philosophers had even foggiest notion of or any comprehension of at all.
You sound like you've had a bad experience with undergraduate philosophy. I've heard angry philosophy graduates saying similar things. It wouldn't surprise me if there are terrible philosophy departments.

But as bad as the state of philosophy might be in philosophy departments, it might at least be assuring to think that there is probably even worse understanding of philosophy in scientific departments, where scientists fancy themselves to be revealing "Necessary truths", "Eternal Laws", "Secrets of Consciousness", "Mirrors of Reality", "Nature's Essence" etc, rather than merely creating and archiving history in a compressed format.

I suppose the difference is, bad philosophy from a scientist is at least excusable collateral damage. His superstitious fantasies are to some extent necessary to motivate him to go the extra mile.
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Old 24th May 2018, 10:58 AM   #327
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Mate, science is about making predictions, not about archiving history, or whatever other misapprehension you might be under.
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Old 24th May 2018, 11:12 AM   #328
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Originally Posted by 8Sime8 View Post
You sound like you've had a bad experience with undergraduate philosophy. I've heard angry philosophy graduates saying similar things. It wouldn't surprise me if there are terrible philosophy departments.

But as bad as the state of philosophy might be in philosophy departments, it might at least be assuring to think that there is probably even worse understanding of philosophy in scientific departments, where scientists fancy themselves to be revealing "Necessary truths", "Eternal Laws", "Secrets of Consciousness", "Mirrors of Reality", "Nature's Essence" etc, rather than merely creating and archiving history in a compressed format.

I suppose the difference is, bad philosophy from a scientist is at least excusable collateral damage. His superstitious fantasies are to some extent necessary to motivate him to go the extra mile.

Well on each of those points - No ... No ... and , No!

No I have not had any particularly bad experience in undergraduate philosophy. So it's certainly not, as you are surely trying to imply, some sort of bitter revenge being displayed by anything I say here about academic philosophy (particularly regarding the utterances of famous philosophers of the distant past).

No, I don't know if there is an even worse understanding of philosophy amongst real research scientists. They may not have studied philosophy, but nor do they have spare research time to do that ... the vast majority cannot be bothered to have their time wasted by being drawn into quite silly debates about subjects like philosophy which are actually no part of serious research in core science.

And, No - research scientists most deffinitely do not operate upon "superstitious fantasies" (and that sort of remark just shows the depths to which philosophy proponents need to sink when trying to defend their subject against science).
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Old 24th May 2018, 12:38 PM   #329
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Originally Posted by 8Sime8 View Post
"Necessary truths", "Eternal Laws", "Secrets of Consciousness", "Mirrors of Reality", "Nature's Essence" etc

I've never seen any of those phrases in a scientific paper. They do appear occasionally in articles and books written by science writers and journalists.

Quote:
...rather than merely creating and archiving history in a compressed format.

If that's all scientists are doing, then it's also all anyone is doing (or can ever do), including philosophers. The question in that case is, who's doing it better? Whose histories are more useful for predicting and negotiating our interactions with the world?

For instance, in the last few thousand years, there must no doubt have been numerous scholars who took Plato's advice, expressed in the famous cave allegory, to disregard empirical study of the mere "patterns in the appearances of the shadows on the cave wall" and instead seek for truth in contemplation of the world of ideal forms. Good for them, if so. Now tell me, what have they come up with? I want to read those histories. Where can I catch up on the thousands of years worth of revelations they've produced about the world of ideal forms and its implications for the world of our experience?
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Old 24th May 2018, 01:01 PM   #330
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I've never seen any of those phrases in a scientific paper. They do appear occasionally in articles and books written by science writers and journalists.




If that's all scientists are doing, then it's also all anyone is doing (or can ever do), including philosophers. The question in that case is, who's doing it better? Whose histories are more useful for predicting and negotiating our interactions with the world?

For instance, in the last few thousand years, there must no doubt have been numerous scholars who took Plato's advice, expressed in the famous cave allegory, to disregard empirical study of the mere "patterns in the appearances of the shadows on the cave wall" and instead seek for truth in contemplation of the world of ideal forms. Good for them, if so. Now tell me, what have they come up with? I want to read those histories. Where can I catch up on the thousands of years worth of revelations they've produced about the world of ideal forms and its implications for the world of our experience?
Related to your last point, this recent article in The Atlantic tickled my fancy:

Visiting the Mysterious Fairy Circles of the Namib Desert.

Fascinating competition of ideas, perhaps both correct, one a top-down exercise of mathematical principle (meh, very, very loosely, analogous to "ideal forms"), the other an inductive search for local causality. Recommended.

***
On topic: Mind is what the brain does. Duality is an illusion. Fun one, though.
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Old 24th May 2018, 04:01 PM   #331
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
There is not a single scientific study about the nature of the whole universe.
Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
There is no unified scientific concept of matter.
Are you trying to just literally make the wrongest possible statements?

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I think to use "philosophy" is such a way is to render it meaningless, it isn't really just a synonym for "I believe" or "my worldview is".
Whenever we have one of these Philosophy Cheerleader discussions it very quickly becomes obvious that "Science" is just a dirty word to some people so they define "science" as just labcoats and beakers and Bunsen burners and describe philosophy as "pretty much everything."

That's why every time, every single time, we do this dance someone drops the "But what you're doing is a type of philosophy!" mic drop as if what they said was the single mostest cleverest thing evar and act all shocked it didn't end the discussion there.
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Old 24th May 2018, 10:03 PM   #332
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Old 24th May 2018, 11:59 PM   #333
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
What do you think all the experiments with particle accelerators are doing? How did they discover the Higgs boson?

Those experiments form the bedrock of all modern science, whether someone is studying galaxies or nutrient uptake in wheat or how to mass produce the latest 7nm processors they are all using the results of those experiments - some more directly than others.
Mass is not the unique element of matter. See my previous list. I have not seen that the discovery of the Higgs’ boson will solve the problem of definition of nature.
Anyway: “the particle also has nothing to do with God, leaves open numerous questions in fundamental physics, and does not explain the ultimate origin of the universe”.
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Nice bit of poetical language that helps invoke how really strange reality is when we move from human scales. Beyond that of no value and of course we can detect these "forms, ideas" with "physical" based experiments for example the Higgs boson.
Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
As Darat was saying, some scientists do like a bit of poetic language. Some like to even occasionally take the piss. Some take metaphoric shortcuts that they actually know are nonsense taken literally.
I don’t see any poetic language in Heisenberg’s quotation. It is just that you don’t like it and don’t know how to attack it. I think that Heisenberg’s radical proposition is the outcome of inner difficulties to find a unified definition of matter. Some scientists of the past such as Descartes maintained a similar definition. No need to go to Plato.


I don’t know if Heisenberg is right but I recognize that my knowledge of physics —almost null— doesn’t allow me making more comments. Surely you are better physicists than I am.

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Old Yesterday, 12:06 AM   #334
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Heisenberg was writing about quantum mechanics in the 1920's, that's a whole century ago. He was the product of a very different academic era. It was a time when university postgraduates were mainly the children of privileged families, and a time when postgraduate science students, and no doubt all sorts of other postgraduate students, sat around in great university dining halls and plush lounges, smoking cigars, drinking fine wine & and debating endlessly about an interest in philosophy as much as their actual science. In Victorian and Edwardian times, young academics were very often interested in what they regarded as the “sophistication” of the great philosophers & philosophical ideas of the day..
A pretty variant of argumentum ad hominem. I could say that quantum theory is also a product of Victorian age. I don't believe in quanta.
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Old Yesterday, 12:07 AM   #335
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Are you trying to just literally make the wrongest possible statements?



Whenever we have one of these Philosophy Cheerleader discussions it very quickly becomes obvious that "Science" is just a dirty word to some people so they define "science" as just labcoats and beakers and Bunsen burners and describe philosophy as "pretty much everything."

That's why every time, every single time, we do this dance someone drops the "But what you're doing is a type of philosophy!" mic drop as if what they said was the single mostest cleverest thing evar and act all shocked it didn't end the discussion there.
You have a serious problem with philosophy. It doesn't look good.
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Old Yesterday, 12:40 AM   #336
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I don’t see any poetic language in Heisenberg’s quotation. It is just that you don’t like it and don’t know how to attack it. I think that Heisenberg’s radical proposition is the outcome of inner difficulties to find a unified definition of matter. Some scientists of the past such as Descartes maintained a similar definition. No need to go to Plato.
Mate, actually I DO know what he's talking about and I DO know how to attack it. And in fact I just did: those particles he describes behave NOTHING like Plato's ideal shapes.

Nature is not made in their imperfect likeness (cf Plato's Dialogues), for a start. They're not a more perfect essence of anything that exists at a macro level. An electron isn't a perfect ideal of a sphere, or whatever, and its orbit isn't the perfect ideal of a circle, or whatever. It's something that isn't even remotely like a sphere or a circle, and anything you may have seen at a macroscopic level is not only not an imperfect approximation of it, but it's NOTHING like it.

In fact the whole POINT that Heisenberg actually makes is that they don't look or behave ANYTHING like macroscopic stuff you may have ever seen, and can only be described by mathematics.

ADDITIONALLY, what QM itself had done, including, yes, Heisenberg, was exactly turn Plato's cave on its head. They had just proven that you CAN actually study those shadows on the walls and arrive at a very accurate understanding of what's causing them, so to speak. (And again, it's not some more perfect shapes that look like that.) You don't need to be able to go out in the sun and see the real reality, which in fact is not even possible when talking QM. You CAN jolly well sit in the cave and study those shadows scientifically and arrive at a very exact mathematical understanding of what's causing them.

Hell, I can even extend that allegory even further: since we know in the meantime that, as IanS already said, the most elementary particles are just quanta of various kinds of oscillations, it turns out that the guys sitting in the cave and saying that the shapes are caused by the oscillations bouncing on the walls were RIGHT. The dumbass was the Plato cameo who thought there are more perfect versions outside the cave/universe causing them.

Just because you don't know what he's talking about, doesn't mean nobody else does. And just because you conveniently skipped the part where I had hinted at what's wrong with his statement, doesn't make it disappear.

The fact is: either Heisenberg is being VERY metaphoric and inaccurate there, or he hasn't read Plato. And in fact, since being tactful and subtle doesn't seem to work, let me be blunt: what I actually think is the latter. I think Heisenberg had only heard some second hand talk of Plato at best. There is no way to know both QM AND Plato, and actually think with any degree of seriousness that the former vindicates the latter.
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Old Yesterday, 01:15 AM   #337
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Heisenberg:

"I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language".

You can work on this basis. Easy, is it not?

Mybe this add:
A list of different scientific objects that would fall under the concept of matter (difficult to encompass in a single concept):

Waves of probability
points of singularity in space-time
corpuscles
mass
energy
force fields
atoms and subatomic particles
electromagnetic waves
photons
antiparticles
black holes
vacuum
etc., etc., etc., etc.
Plato is one of the first to take up the illusion provided by language: that the mind manipulates "things," so those things must be real. Like taboo words, it conflates symbol with referent. "Mind first, then stuff" has been a tempting illusion ever since.

Your list is an overly-mixed bag. I submit to you that your issue may be more with the limitations of language than with physics. Human language can abstract and isolate where no firm dichotomies exist in nature. Case in point: "tree" vs "bush." By using classes instead of instances, we get very far, but may at times pay the price of losing a fundamental connect. That is, were concepts more liquid, more overlapping with the conceptual space around them, all abstractions would retain a clearer relation with the whole, and not fool us with our own singling out of features. I can imagine a class of animals on some planet, or our own, using bioluminescence, with each and every "expression" always being a unique symbol with just enough commonality to give it identifiable denotative semantic valence, but retaining its own highly connotative "visual style" (+/-analogous to phonetics, as opposed to phonemics).

Regardless, the existence of multiple perspectives and approaches to the most basic building blocks of nature relates to taking some aspect, to which we have given a term, and running with that to see how far we can go. Does not mean a disconnect, but results from the method of analysis and, further, is only a limitation of language. So, yes, there is room for philosophy in interpreting what the heck it is we are doing. However, this does not suggest that abstractions have no relation to that which we observe, and their shortcomings must be taken as both a feature and a bug.

tl;dr: Or back to physics: See QFT, in which fields, waves, and "particles" come together conceptually as aspects of a seamless whole.
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Old Yesterday, 01:54 AM   #338
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Mass is not the unique element of matter. See my previous list. I have not seen that the discovery of the Higgs’ boson will solve the problem of definition of nature.
Anyway: “the particle also has nothing to do with God, leaves open numerous questions in fundamental physics, and does not explain the ultimate origin of the universe”.

I don’t see any poetic language in Heisenberg’s quotation. It is just that you don’t like it and don’t know how to attack it. I think that Heisenberg’s radical proposition is the outcome of inner difficulties to find a unified definition of matter. Some scientists of the past such as Descartes maintained a similar definition. No need to go to Plato.


I don’t know if Heisenberg is right but I recognize that my knowledge of physics —almost null— doesn’t allow me making more comments. Surely you are better physicists than I am.
I think we are talking past one another.

I'll try to be clearer.

We do now have a very good model via science of what "reality" is "made of" and by "very good" all I mean is that it makes incredibly accurate predictions which empirically turn out to be correct.

It turns out that our human scale perceptions do not allow us to "see" what reality is composed of. In that slight sense you can talk about the "shadows on the cave walls" of Plato being akin to how our human scale perceptions don't allow us to see all of reality however we learned that we do not have to simply observe the world using our human scale perceptions, and as Hans says what we did find was the shadows were indeed there, that they were real things just not quite what we thought they were.

The problem we have in everyday communication is that our everyday language can't describe what reality actually is - so far the only language that we have that can describe these incredible accurate predictive descriptions and models is mathematics and even then it is very difficult maths!

When we talk about the quantum nature of reality in English or any other language bar mathematics we have to use analogies and at best we can convey some points but usually even those will be inaccurate at best.

If we want to talk about the "Higgs boson" we would really need to drop into some very esoteric mathematics to describe accurately what a "higgs boson" is, any description of it in English is always going to be inaccurate.
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Old Yesterday, 02:39 AM   #339
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I have not seen that the discovery of the Higgs’ boson will solve the problem of definition of nature.
AIUI, it has. It's fields.
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Old Yesterday, 02:48 AM   #340
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Dear Darat, Hlafordlaes, HansMustermann:

I think you are speaking about things that you don’t know and losing sight what we are discussing.

We are discussing if science has a unified concept of matter.

I don’t know too much about Heisenberg’s statement on the mathematical nature of reality and his vindication of Plato. I only know some lines. I am sure that he was not defending the whole Plato’s doctrine with the myth of the cavern included.
I suppose that he was only vindicating the old Pythagoric theory of the mathematical essence of nature that some Plato’s writings mention. He could have mentioned Descartes or Locke, but I suppose that Plato is a more prestigious reference.

I suppose that Heisenberg’s challenging theory about what matter is is due to the theory of quanta and the strange behaviour of subatomic particles that are sometimes mass and sometime waves, that sometimes are here and there and sometimes are nowhere. I think that the unique common property of matter that he was able found out was mathematical: movements, numbers and volumes.

This is a philosophical theory. Philosophy of science. But this one is promoted by one of the greater genius of contemporary Physics. It merits some more that five inconsiderate lines from some persons that are many light years away of him —with Einstein’s permission for the metaphor.

Let us focus the question: Is there a scientific concept of matter that encompasses all the diverse scientific objects? Can this concept be uniquely mathematical?
I am aware that it is an embarrassing proposal to those that don't want making metaphysical theories.
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Old Yesterday, 02:50 AM   #341
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
...snip...

When we talk about the quantum nature of reality in English or any other language bar mathematics we have to use analogies and at best we can convey some points but usually even those will be inaccurate at best.

If we want to talk about the "Higgs boson" we would really need to drop into some very esoteric mathematics to describe accurately what a "higgs boson" is, any description of it in English is always going to be inaccurate.
Sorry for being so vain to quote myself but I think the above may get at the heart of why philosophy is past its prime. Philosophy uses our everyday language, for example English to try and make profound statements about the world and our place in it. (Yes I know some subsets do use such things as logical notation and so on.)

But we now know you cannot do that. If you want to "talk" about actual reality in detail and accurately and make statements about it you have to use mathematics, there is simply no way (at least so far) to create an accurate model of reality without using mathematics.
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Old Yesterday, 03:02 AM   #342
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Dear Darat, Hlafordlaes, HansMustermann:

I think you are speaking about things that you don’t know and losing sight what we are discussing.

We are discussing if science has a unified concept of matter.
Matter is the human macro level experience of the underlying forces/fields that is reality.

We know what matter is "built from".
Originally Posted by David Mo View Post

I don’t know too much about Heisenberg’s statement on the mathematical nature of reality and his vindication of Plato. I only know some lines. I am sure that he was not defending the whole Plato’s doctrine with the myth of the cavern included.
I suppose that he was only vindicating the old Pythagoric theory of the mathematical essence of nature that some Plato’s writings mention. He could have mentioned Descartes or Locke, but I suppose that Plato is a more prestigious reference.

I suppose that Heisenberg’s challenging theory about what matter is is due to the theory of quanta and the strange behaviour of subatomic particles that are sometimes mass and sometime waves, that sometimes are here and there and sometimes are nowhere. I think that the unique common property of matter that he was able found out was mathematical: movements, numbers and volumes.
Just remember that Heisenberg died over 40 years ago - our understanding of reality and the empirical proof that our understanding is an accurate understanding has been churned out by the lorry load since then. Any comment he made has to be weighed in the light of that new knowledge.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
This is a philosophical theory. Philosophy of science. But this one is promoted by one of the greater genius of contemporary Physics. It merits some more that five inconsiderate lines from some persons that are many light years away of him —with Einstein’s permission for the metaphor.
He was talking about the early and comparatively sparse quantum theories back in a time when we didn't have the technology required to test the predictions of such theories. We've long passed that point. We now know our mathematical theories - no sign of philosophy - are accurate to a degree that is utterly draw-dropping amazing!

We've detected gravity waves! To use Heisenberg's style of poetic language - we heard the screams of dying stars and seen the hunger of the rapacious black hole.
Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Let us focus the question: Is there a scientific concept of matter that encompasses all the diverse scientific objects?
Yes.
Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Can this concept be uniquely mathematical?
I am aware that it is an embarrassing proposal to those that don't want making metaphysical theories.
What does that question even mean? It sounds quite profound but I suspect it is meaningless.
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Old Yesterday, 03:18 AM   #343
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
You have a serious problem with philosophy. It doesn't look good.
Originally Posted by 8Sime8 View Post
You sound like you've had a bad experience with undergraduate philosophy.
Again we've done this dance enough. Painting people who request intellectual standards beyond "Full scale reality denial and the ability to spout off anything and everything at random with no error correction, no falsifiability, and no other standards" as afraid of, angry at, or otherwise against philosophy is tiresome.

Correcting people who look at the entire scope of philosophy and see nothing but an anti-science "gotcha" and falsely claim "Science has no concept of X" over and over and react only with loud, angry incredulity when told they are wrong is not being "Anti-philosophy."

Being corrected that rain is condensed water vapor and not the tears of the Angels is not being anti-philosophy, despite you putting your fingers in your ears and going "La la la la la la I can't hear you la la la la la" when told otherwise.

When you and the other Philosophy Boosters stand here and pontificate on "all the things that science doesn't know" while being 100% completely across the board wrong and can't provide an alternate methodology to get this answers that isn't functionally "Invoke magic and/or think things at random" your opponents are not the ones comes across as being against something.

This sub-strain of trying too hard faux-clever anti-science and anti-intellectual contrarianism in some "Wise Old Man on the Mountain" persona does not get to speak for the whole of Philosophy.
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Old Yesterday, 03:30 AM   #344
HansMustermann
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@David Mo
Well, you're the one who brought up Heisenberg, and apparently you can't still let go of him as an authority figure.

The problem with using Heisenberg as an authority, though is that it's just a slightly more skilled / less obvious argument from false authority. You can say that he is an authority in PHYSICS, and you'd even be correct. The problem that I kept trying to make you understand is that he's not an authority on PLATO, or more generally philosophy. So when he talks about how physics vindicated Plato, he lacks half the authority needed for anyone to take that statement on Heisenberg's authority.

But we could, of course, talk about something else if you want. E.g., sure, we can talk Pythagoreans.
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Old Yesterday, 05:49 AM   #345
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
... We are discussing if science has a unified concept of matter.
Why? Is it needed, and for what, exactly? What is "unified" in this context?

Probably the best quickie lowdown available on QFT for laypeople (like me):
YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


Note that the ending conclusion conforms with Einstein's:

M = E/c2

Matter is an excited point (energy and particle!) traveling in spacetime as a wave in a quantum field. (I'll defer to our resident labcoats improve on that.)
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Old Yesterday, 11:06 PM   #346
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Matter is the human macro level experience of the underlying forces/fields that is reality.
I think this is a little confuse: Is matter “human experience”? Does matter disappear when human experience disappear? This sounds like Berkeley’s subjective idealism!

Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
Matter is an excited point (energy and particle!) traveling in spacetime as a wave in a quantum field. (I'll defer to our resident labcoats improve on that.)
I would like to know if this is a personal opinion or you have some source. The video that you linked was funny, but I am afraid non peer reviewed. In addition it says nothing about matter.

Your answer is important because I am raising the absence of a unified concept of matter among scientists, not laymen or engineers.

Note that there is nothing in your definition that Heisenberg didn’t know in his times. Even so, he believed that the nature of matter was only mathematical. This is so because he was going beyond the concepts of particle, energy, waves, fields, etc. He was asking himself what kind of entities this objects are. Is this a philosophical question? He thought so. But he added that without a change of philosophical point of view he had never developed the quanta theory. According him, he was prisoner of a positivist epistemology that prevented him a true understanding of the nature of the problem. He said to Mario Bunge: “ [The positivists] want only describe and predict. However, I have a Newtonian mind. I want understand facts”.
Unlike that someone has suspected above, his adoption of mathematical Platonism was not improvised. He had read the Thimaeus long time before his conversion.

I am not very convinced with this neo-platonism quantic but I am far to reject it too quickly. In addition is a good example of the limits of the concepto of matter in science. This is not any attack against science itself. It is an attack against scientific dogmatism, that is to say the philosophical attitude that we may call “positivism” or “scientism”.

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Old Today, 12:44 AM   #347
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I think this is a little confuse: Is matter “human experience”? Does matter disappear when human experience disappear? This sounds like Berkeley’s subjective idealism!



I would like to know if this is a personal opinion or you have some source. The video that you linked was funny, but I am afraid non peer reviewed. In addition it says nothing about matter.

Your answer is important because I am raising the absence of a unified concept of matter among scientists, not laymen or engineers.

Note that there is nothing in your definition that Heisenberg didn’t know in his times. Even so, he believed that the nature of matter was only mathematical. This is so because he was going beyond the concepts of particle, energy, waves, fields, etc. He was asking himself what kind of entities this objects are. Is this a philosophical question? He thought so. But he added that without a change of philosophical point of view he had never developed the quanta theory. According him, he was prisoner of a positivist epistemology that prevented him a true understanding of the nature of the problem. He said to Mario Bunge: “ [The positivists] want only describe and predict. However, I have a Newtonian mind. I want understand facts”.
Unlike that someone has suspected above, his adoption of mathematical Platonism was not improvised. He had read the Thimaeus long time before his conversion.

I am not very convinced with this neo-platonism quantic but I am far to reject it too quickly. In addition is a good example of the limits of the concepto of matter in science. This is not any attack against science itself. It is an attack against scientific dogmatism, that is to say the philosophical attitude that we may call “positivism” or “scientism”.


All I can say is, try getting into the topic, and I'm sure you'll find the video does no disservice to the basic science whatsoever, and generally avoids philosophy. Nevertheless, perhaps a line from Weinberg serves to best illustrate my take on your complaints about "understanding" or the meaning of things, such as mass:

Quote:
The Trouble with QM (review): There is no argument about how to use quantum mechanics, only how to describe what it means, so perhaps the problem is merely one of words.
In short, measuring and sense-making are two different things, and are sometimes hard to reconcile, which is really just a partial restatement in complaint form of "what is science." Note that in the link we get a nice discussion referring to realism and instrumentalism, which are, golly, used with special definitions, so not exactly the same as in philosophy (my take on it, at any rate). But certainly Weinberg shares your unease with the lack of clarity one gets from "all this stuff." I don't have a link, but I can still recall a mini-rant (nice one) of his to the effect that, for ethics, "we have no foundational postulates." (This was in a roundtable on the topic chaired by Sean Carroll.) For anyone wishing to argue from first principles in any field or topic, foundational postulates are essential, acting as ground zero or base premise. In physics (all of science, really), this means one is constantly going back and forth between observation and interpretation to get a handle, and given the enormity of nature and the size of human brains, this is often problematic.

ETA: As for positivism, etc, that's philosophy, or making "bigger sense" of the sense we get from science, and a different kettle of fish from getting a working scientific definition of mass.
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Old Today, 02:22 AM   #348
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Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
In short, measuring and sense-making are two different things, and are sometimes hard to reconcile, which is really just a partial restatement in complaint form of "what is science." Note that in the link we get a nice discussion referring to realism and instrumentalism, which are, golly, used with special definitions, so not exactly the same as in philosophy (my take on it, at any rate). But certainly Weinberg shares your unease with the lack of clarity one gets from "all this stuff." I don't have a link, but I can still recall a mini-rant (nice one) of his to the effect that, for ethics, "we have no foundational postulates." (This was in a roundtable on the topic chaired by Sean Carroll.) For anyone wishing to argue from first principles in any field or topic, foundational postulates are essential, acting as ground zero or base premise. In physics (all of science, really), this means one is constantly going back and forth between observation and interpretation to get a handle, and given the enormity of nature and the size of human brains, this is often problematic.
There are two kinds of scientists: the one who does science and the one who wonders what he is doing. The first is the standard scientist. The second is the one who gets into philosophy, even if it is only philosophy of science.

There are also two kinds of philosophers: the one who tries to base what he thinks and the one who tries to understand the reasons of those who do not think like him.

The first scientist and the first philosopher are usually quite dogmatic. They believe they have the truth and don't admit criticism easily.
The second scientist and the second philosopher are usually more flexible. They are not sure they possess a seamless truth.

I'm not saying that sometimes the former aren't necessary, but I like the latter better.

PS: In morality, as in other things, including science, there are no absolute principles. All those who have attempted a scientific or thought revolution are aware or this. The problem with morality is how to achieve a broader consensus that is not manipulated by power relations. A serious matter that cannot be solved by a single solution. I mean, a philosophical and political one.
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Old Today, 05:10 AM   #349
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
There are two kinds of scientists: the one who does science and the one who wonders what he is doing. The first is the standard scientist. The second is the one who gets into philosophy, even if it is only philosophy of science.

There are also two kinds of philosophers: the one who tries to base what he thinks and the one who tries to understand the reasons of those who do not think like him.

The first scientist and the first philosopher are usually quite dogmatic. They believe they have the truth and don't admit criticism easily.
The second scientist and the second philosopher are usually more flexible. They are not sure they possess a seamless truth.

I'm not saying that sometimes the former aren't necessary, but I like the latter better.

PS: In morality, as in other things, including science, there are no absolute principles. All those who have attempted a scientific or thought revolution are aware or this. The problem with morality is how to achieve a broader consensus that is not manipulated by power relations. A serious matter that cannot be solved by a single solution. I mean, a philosophical and political one.
OK, well, I find most physical scientists a lot more flexible than most any other profession, knowing as they do that "truth" is a fairly useless term as commonly used, while most social scientists are in need of a good whack with a shovel, to get them off the "truth" high.

But posted just to agree that grounded and reasoned ethics, to have foundational postulates and avoid the "should" trap, starts by recognizing the great divide between matters of fact and those of opinion, then recognizing the role consensus plays in identifying preferred stances in both,* and then, also extremely importantly, leaves the God rule book forever behind.

Nevertheless, it is important not to ask cows to fly, meaning, humans to be other than who they are. OK to count on the presence of the the Theory of Mind, hope to engage the associated capacity for empathy, and, say, in the application of ethics, reject the misguided notion that formal stated beliefs are consistently the principal driver of behavior (priests molest, some cops are corrupt, wealth is no sign of holiness (looking at you, GOP)). The last is important so as not to fall into the kind of imperial Calvinism so in vogue in the US and other parts.


(*A scientific fact needs no other confirmation to remain "true," but its independent confirmation, preferred interpretation, and incorporation into the body of accepted science are, as it should be, necessary for knowledge to be valid and reliable.)
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Old Today, 05:38 AM   #350
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Actually, I think you'll find that a lot of social sciences actually have very rigorous methodologies. E.g., most sociologists treat sociology as a sub-discipline of statistics, i.e., of maths.

Of course, then there are the parody "sciences" like Evo-Psych, which doesn't actually DO predictions, evidence or testing, or the Austrian School Of Economics which is pretty much the only kind of economics that doesn't do maths.

But I suppose all disciplines have their own black sheep. E.g., philosophy has post-modernism.
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Old Today, 05:55 AM   #351
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That said, I still don't get the, so to speak, argument from "but science doesn't know EVERYTHING." As Dara O'Briain put it: "Science KNOWS it doesn't know everything. Otherwise, it'd stop. But just because science doesn't know everything doesn't mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you."

But some people seem to go even beyond the kind that Dara was talking about. They're not just taking the smallest gap as an excuse to fill just that gap with fairy tales. They're taking it as an excuse to treat something that has even less answers, or indeed none at all, as a perfectly good alternative to the whole, even to the parts that aren't actually gaps. Or in fact as even better .

To get back to matter, though, sure we currently have a bit of a gap between QM and GR. Well, technically as Hlafordlaes already said, QM is enough to explain matter, but GR does get needed to explain what matter does at really big scales, and why it does it, so I'm gonna include it into the explanation of matter. And nevertheless, there's a fuzzy bit where the two meet. It's not even a clearly defined gap, as just a fuzzy zone where it's not clear how to apply both at the same time.

And sure, we know it's there. And we're working on it. But either way, we still got more explanation out of it than out of contemplating Plato's cave.

I'll even give you an example that happened recently, and it's EXACTLY in that fuzzy domain where both apply. Namely evidence mounts up that the upper limit for entropy in an arbitrary zone of space, i.e., the maxiumum amount of information in it, is actually limited by the outer surface of that zone in Planck units. Which is important because in classical thermodynamics there is no upper limit for entropy. Here we showed that it does, and in fact even put a number on it.

You may have heard it in the press as the "OMG, the universe is a hologram" thing, but really that's what it is: it's applying both QM and GR to show that past a point, if you shove even one more bit of information in, it collapses into a black hole. And that black hole STILL can't hold more information than the surface of its event horizon. It's a hard limit of nature.

And incidentally I'll even give you an immediate application for it, in fact even for the arguments in this very thread: it's also what makes the simulation-inside-simulation-inside-simulation argument a complete idiocy. Because if you calculate how much information the computer needs to hold to simulate our universe, it becomes itself universe-sized or bigger. And the energy needed to run even the first level of simulation is. again, comparable to what the actual universe puts out. Making it a simulation-in-a-simulation-in-a-simulation gets increasingly ridiculous. So basically that's an argument that can only make sense to people who don't know physics.

See? We actually solved even a philosophical question by studying the overlap of those two.


But anyway, the argument that we must look down on everything if we find even the smallest gap, is IMHO equivalent to the following proposition: "Sure, we know about beds, from carpentry, and about duvets from weavers, but do you have a unified theory of both beds and duvets? No? Then everything in your bedroom is an illusion."
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Old Today, 09:50 AM   #352
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
<carefree snip of most excellent text> ... I'll even give you an example that happened recently, and it's EXACTLY in that fuzzy domain where both apply. Namely evidence mounts up that the upper limit for entropy in an arbitrary zone of space, i.e., the maxiumum amount of information in it, is actually limited by the outer surface of that zone in Planck units. Which is important because in classical thermodynamics there is no upper limit for entropy. Here we showed that it does, and in fact even put a number on it.... <another most unfortunate snip>
There's too much in your post to do justice, so just the above, for starters. Let me formulate my question carefully: Huh? Fleshing that out, what are we talking about, measurement, or capacity to measure, or hard limits of spacetime (Plank length and, time?).

tl;dr: More on the above, if you do not mind, and source.

ETA: Yes, I did a most lazy throw-away on beleaguered social scientists. Since it includes a couple of often guess-work-in-tweed fields - some domains of psychology come to mind - I tend to dump on everybody. My bad. (Enjoyed it, tho.)
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Old Today, 12:20 PM   #353
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
And incidentally I'll even give you an immediate application for it, in fact even for the arguments in this very thread: it's also what makes the simulation-inside-simulation-inside-simulation argument a complete idiocy. Because if you calculate how much information the computer needs to hold to simulate our universe, it becomes itself universe-sized or bigger. And the energy needed to run even the first level of simulation is. again, comparable to what the actual universe puts out. Making it a simulation-in-a-simulation-in-a-simulation gets increasingly ridiculous. So basically that's an argument that can only make sense to people who don't know physics.
It seems to me that shows that a simulation of our universe would need to exist in a universe that operates by different physical laws than our own. It doesn’t prove it to be impossible unless you can also show that universes that operate by different rules are impossible.

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