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The scientific value of materialism Comrade 05/12/2020 (Tue) 21:20:53 No. 1572
Hello comrades. I have doubts about materialism since the philosophical part of Marxism isn't my strength, but I want to be able to understand it better since materialism is the foundation of marxist theory and the communist movement. I've had arguments in the past with people who claim that modern science doesn't prove materialism or that materialism cannot explain things like the origin of the universe or quantum mechanics. Well, where do I begin with this? Is materialism the truth? The most basic part of marxist philosophy is the assertion that matter is objectively real, right? How do I prove this then? Maybe one of you STEMlords around here can help me out with this. Any resources on this is appreciated.
>>1572 I'm going with this assumption of the fundamental assertion of materialism > The most basic part of marxist philosophy is the assertion that matter is objectively real So I had a look at the critiques of materialism from physicists, some were kind of spooked but one that was fairly interesting >"The ontology of materialism rested upon the illusion that the kind of existence, the direct ‘actuality’ of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range. This extrapolation, however, is impossible…Atoms are not things". Since the advent of quantum mechanics we now know that quantum particles behave in a very bizarre way: the uncertainty principle states that we cannot know a particle's position and momentum at the same time. Because of this uncertainty it is impossible to say, find every piece of information which creates an apple, and then copy it, then recreate that apply (provided we have control over every individual atom of course). Quantum mechanics explains how the small (atomic) scale functions, and general relativity explains 'large' scale things, there is a bit of a disparity between these two theories though, as we've covered 'small' particles don't really play by the same set of rules (as it seems). The big question of physics right now is tying these two theories together into one big unifying theory. Now back to materialism, I know very little about this, but if we have materialism being consistent with the non-quantum-scale, then we can use it to apply communist thought still, no? If someone could point out if I've gone wrong with my understanding of materialism that would be great. Now going off a bit, I see no reason why materialism HAS to be right for Marx to still be accurate and communism to still be correct. Marx was alive pre-Einstein, the physics world here was living off the work of Newton, who gave some models of the universe which (we now know are simplified versions) describe the way planets move, particles interact etc, but Einstein worked on Newton's ideas and added the extra complication of spacetime, and this theory of relativity holds up well in experiments, and is mathematically very beautiful. Newton was never 'wrong' since his simplifications are mathematically sound under the axioms he used, and analogously materialism can be edited slightly to take quantum effects into account (physicalism).
>>1572 I ran into the same dilemma as you a while back. This isn't the reassurance you're looking for, but I ended up disillusioned with metaphysical materialism (mostly the reductive kind). Still think historical materialism is a useful methodology for studying history, though. >Is materialism the truth? Well, if you ask a materialist, it is.
>>1573 Thanks for the response >Quantum mechanics explains how the small (atomic) scale functions, and general relativity explains 'large' scale things, there is a bit of a disparity between these two theories though, as we've covered 'small' particles don't really play by the same set of rules (as it seems). The big question of physics right now is tying these two theories together into one big unifying theory. I've found Cockshott videos on materialism, and there's one on quantum mechanics where he explains that "whether atom particles are probabilistic or deterministic does not matter for materialism" and a bunch of other things. https://youtu.be/cOe-7GH83Us Also here's an excerpt from a 1978 soviet textbook on philosophy I've been checking out >When these and other unusual laws of the microcosm were discovered, scientists evolved, in the mid-20th century, a new branch of physics, the quantum theory. Again, the idealists hastened to take advantage of its unusual character and insisted that quantum objects and processes did not really exist, being merely concepts invented by scientists to explain their experiments. That was, however, rejected by leading physicists. One of the authors of the quantum theory, Louis de Broglie, wrote that whether he studied macro-objects or micro-objects a physicist was sure of their objective existence, for "it is doubtful that he would be able to pursue his research usefully, by abandoning all belief in objective reality". Einstein pointed out time and again that the certainty of the external world existing independently of the researcher underlay the whole of natural science. Planck and Born, who made significant contributions to quantum theory, held the same view. Concerning microparticles, Born wrote: "I maintain that we are justified in regarding these particles as real in a sense not essentially different from the usual meaning of the word' As for the ambivalent opinion accepting the reality of things of everyday experience (macrocosmic objects) while denying the reality of microcosmic objects, Born wrote that "there is a continuous transition.... Where does that crude reality, in which the experimentalist lives, end... and where does the atomistic world, in which the idea of reality is illusion and anathema, begin? There is, of course, no such border; if we are compelled to attribute reality to the ordinary things of everyday life including scientific instruments and materials used in experimenting, we cannot cease doing so for objects observable only with the help of instruments. And, Born concludes, quantum theory "calls for new ways of describing the physical world, but not the denial of its reality https://archive.org/details/ABCDialecticalHistoricalMaterialism I guess I could go and ask Cockshott the questions in this thread later. >Now going off a bit, I see no reason why materialism HAS to be right for Marx to still be accurate and communism to still be correc I've thought about that. So that would make marxism a sort of methodological materialism, which would still make it correct but my mind tells me we must go deeper and prove that materialism is the ultimate reality. >>1610 Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't materialism at its core nothing more than an observation, that the world is made up of matter and atoms? This was pointed out first by Leucippus/Democritus and hundreds of years later proven to be correct by the natural sciences. Doesn't this mean that materialism is at least partially right? Like I said, I have doubts on materialism but idealist counterarguments seem unconvincing .
>>1573 >The most basic part of marxist philosophy is the assertion that matter is objectively real lol what. No one denies "that matter is objectively real". That would be absolutely silly. Do you think non-materialists go around believing they are in some sort of simulation? Materialism states that our ideas are a reflection of the material world and that the world is knowable. Knowable in the sense that the laws we identify about the world are a reflection of actual processes in the world. Idealism is kind of the opposite. Idealists believe the world we know is a reflection of our ideas. They don't believe the world is "not objectively real", they just believe we can never know the truth about the world because we project our ideas onto it. That's the quick and dirty on it, there's more to it of course, I just wanted to jump in on the claim that non-materialists belive the world isn't real. I'm a materialist, btw.
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>>1572 There is a materialist explanation of quantum mechanics, it's called pilot wave theory or Bohmian mechanics, it's probably better than idealist explanations of quantum-mechanics because it uses fewer assumptions, like you don't need an Observer, which does has some theoretical advantages like not going into solipsistic territory, and also some practical advantages like it's not inspiring quantum woo woo charlatans to distort scientific understanding with mysticism There's another thing, you can still propose that the physical world is composed of fundamental indivisible components, even if atoms turned out to be divisible after-all and not the end of the search for the most fundamental component of matter: You can consider that we have to go deeper yet. I don't see how you can at this point do science from anything other than a materialist point of view, while you can find a number of scientists that will proclaim to not be materialists, all of the work that is being done towards producing theory that underpins actually functioning technology assumes the materialistic monism, that matter physically exists and that there is nothing beyond it, there simply is no other game in town. Obviously pop-science media does not adhere to this, and you get explanations that include stuff like a cosmic consciousness creating the material world, but try using this to derive to build a machine, and you'll quickly find out that it's at best decoration that is not necessary, and at worse it can obfuscate reality to stifle innovation.
>>1619 >That would be absolutely silly. Do you think non-materialists go around believing they are in some sort of simulation? You think there aren't people who think we live in a simulation? I mean religion isn't far from that. Idealism can be a hell of a drug >Idealism is kind of the opposite. Idealists believe the world we know is a reflection of our ideas. They don't believe the world is "not objectively real", they just believe we can never know the truth about the world because we project our ideas onto it. Even some scientists believe natural phenomena isn't determined by nature but by the consciousness of scientists. Like, we look at their interpretation of nature and just "choose" to call it science. I'm looking for ways to refute this line of thought, and general scientific arguments for materialism being ultimately the truth.
>>1614 Thanks for these resources. What are your thoughts on the video? It would seem if he is to be trusted (I'm more of a mathematician or physicist than a philosopher) he answers your question of 'does quantum mechanics disprove materialism'. This is interesting for me, as a mathematician I would tend towards concepts not actually existsing, but just being concepts to explain experiments (or perhaps the other way around). Like I mentioned earlier, Newton's equations explained experiments very well on the human scale. But when we began to look out on astronomical scales, the equations did not hold up. It would be quite difficult to prove that the theory of relaitivty is the 'truth'. The only way we know that relativity is consistent is because of advanced mathematics, and those are just based off arbitrary axioms. We then look to experiments to validate theoretical claims. It was years before we actually measured the light bending from far away stars, proving Einstein's theories correct. Ignore this if you're familiar, but I'd recommend reading about Kurt Godel for this (more specifically his incompleteness thoerems), he proved the limitations of axioms and mathematics as a whole, basically some problems may be unsolvable, and we could never know which are or aren't, quite Earth shattering results. >>1619 While I am no expert on materialism, I think you have it a little wrong here, it's not that non-materialists think reality isn't really 'real'. Depending on what smallest building block makes up the univerise, the world may not be 'knowable'. We are still discussing it, but it seems some (quite reputable) physicists believe that the recent studies of atoms pretty much being a probability distribution, in the abstract mathematical sense, implies that materialism is wrong. From the Cockshot video posted above >Classical materialism had been based on the idea that the atom was indivisble If atoms were just probabilistic waves then would you call that 'objectively real'? When people created materialism they figured there was some building block of which all things are made (the atom) in a literal sense. This isn't trivially true so is worthy of discussion. >>1620 For the record, as we understand it currently, atoms are divisible, since protons and neutrons are made up of quarks, unless we're talking about the same thing here, but yes I agree this doesn't imply materialism is wrong. I'm not super familiar with all the different intepretations of quantum mechanics so I'll go research that, but in regards to science and materialism: like I mentioned earlier, I think mathematicians tend to look at it from a idealist view, with physicists more materialist, since mathematicians are usually the first people to discover anything, they don't have much 'functioning technology' to look to do base their work off.
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>>1572 I also have these doubts and I think that although the question may seem, academic, detached from practical matters, it is actually a necessary hurdle for a successful communist revolution on a global scale. My opinion on this is pretty heterodox and based on my own limited reading of primary sources. Materialism for Marx and Engels is not the same thing as metaphysical materialism. In Anti-Duhring, the opposition Engels sets up is not between materialism and idealism, but materialism and metaphysics itself. However, what he means by metaphysics is not "philosophical inquiries into the fundamental nature of reality". As far as I can tell, metaphysics for Engel's means both of the following things: >1. A mode of inquiry in which a thing or system is understood in isolation from it's environment and/or from the subject. >2. A mode of inquiry that fails to take into consideration the conditions that created and sustain the subject and/or of the inquiry itself. From the perspective of Marx and Engels, metaphysical materialism is just another type of metaphysics. What I think Marx and Engels whee after is better thought of as a particular type of science than a metaphysical doctrine. Within his description of this new materialism is an embryo of the scientific method, complete with a gesture towards falsifiability. This may be a drastic oversimplification, but my working definition of this kind of materialism is science which is non-metaphysical. I must make clear that both Marx and Engels do make assertions which conform to a more traditional understanding of what materialism is, but it is my assessment that they are unsupported, and do not follow from the definitions laid out in Anti-Duhring. It makes perfect sense to me that Marx and Engels conflated idealism with metaphysics and with bourgeois academics in general, since at the time, German idealism was dominant, and materialism was seen as antiquated. Today, materialism is dominant and idealism is seen as antiquated. Marxist's today love to call out the implicit idea many people have that social change is a consequence of changes and ideas and opinions. They call it"idealism". There is nothing wrong with this exactly; unscientific theories of social change need to be challenged. However, the slur has lost much of it's effect. In the 1800's using "idealist" pejoratively was a statement against the trends and trappings of bourgeois sensibilities. Today, it is only really useful if both parties not only know what idealism is, but also know the special Marxian use of the term. I think if we are to continue the project of scientific socialism in the 21st century we need to be willing to subject our core assumptions to scientifically rigorous scrutiny. That means we must base our theory on what is empirically falsifiable, or logically deducible. Does "the world is at base made of matter" fit this bill? I don't think so. It could be true, but I don't think it can be determined through deduction, and I don't think it is falsifiable. Why is it not falsifiable? Well, the 64 dollar question for materialists to answer is the question of consciousness. The existence of consciousness is self evident, but it is unclear whether or not it has a material basis. The answer in vogue right now is that consciousness is an emergent property of information processes. There is really no evidence for this claim aside from some interesting symmetries in micro-tubules, and there is also no proposed mechanism for this kind of "strong emergence". Limiting our view of metaphysics to idealism and materialism for the time being, I think it is pretty clear that one of these theories is falsifiable and the other is not. The discovery of a mechanism by which consciousness can arise from matter would disprove idealism. There is no way to disprove materialism. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consciousness/ https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/properties-emergent/ www.consc.net/papers/emergence.pdf
>>1572 Scientific value of materialism is that it guides the process of scientific research further. Philosophy cannot replace concrete science, but it assist science tremendously. Let see an example of materialism vs idealism in science: Wave particle duality 1. Materialism: There is no smoke without fire. If there is wave phenomenon, there must be a vibration of somekind of material environment. Even it's not vibration, there must "something" (materially) causing the phenomenon. A scientist who under the influence of materialism will focus his research effort to find the underlying hidden kind of matter 2. Idealism: The smoke existed by itself. There is no need for underlying cause, it's only the laws of nature that govern the phenomenon. A scientist under the influence of idealism will focus his researching on perfecting the existing known knowledge. Another historical struggle is between Ptolemy's model vs Newton's model. The scientists followed Ptolemy just assumed the orbits of celestial bodies must be formed from circles, without further materialistic explanation. In Newton's model, he explained the orbits by interactions between bodies. Therefore, Newton is more materialistic than the old scientists
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>>1630 >since mathematicians are usually the first people to discover anything Is there disciplinary rivalry in this regard ? Also are you sure mathematicians are actually the ones lead ? I mean calculus which is an entire branch of mathematics was invented specifically for astronomy to be able to calculate planetary motions.
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>>1847 >The existence of consciousness is self evident, but it is unclear whether or not it has a material basis. I have never seen a consciousness without a brain, also sleeping pills, alcohol, various psychoactive drugs and anaesthetics can have dramatic effects on your consciousness, all those are material. You can't really say that material causes can lead to immaterial effects, because that's claiming magic. As far as materialists having to explain consciousness, how about Daniel C. Dennett - Consciousness Explained he's got YouTube lectures if you're to lazy to read the book As far you complaining about emergence being hand-wavy, that's a fair criticism but we don't actually have the brain scanners to be able to see the level of detail be able to figure out the exact mechanisms of conscious experiences, and there's not going to be just one, there's going to be loads of different brains-mechanisms that produce different aspects of conscious experiences.
Thanks for reviving the thread guys. >>1854 I don't understand your first question. Calculus was invented by Newton, in those days great mathematicians were usually also physicists, chemists, sometimes philosophers etc (polymaths). The ability to abstract in an extremely philosophical way is very closely tied to maths, in the old days this wasn't as prevalent though (e.g. infinity wasn't taken seriously as a concept until very recently, now it is absolutely vital). Calculus was invented to help explain the world around Newton, but it is still mathematics, and a mathematician who invented them. For example a biologist may see how calculus helps explain how plants grow, but it is the mathematicians who created calculus rigorously so that other fields can explore their consequences. The maths predict many things in the field of science, for example it is a lot easier to run the numbers (if you know how particles work) than it is to build a hadron collider.
>>1620 I don't understand the implication that Bohmian Mechanics is somehow "more materialist" than the Copenhagen Interpretation, or even better the Minimal Interpretation (i.e. ascribing "reality" only to "the preparations, transformations and measurement devices" - [Audretsch - Entangled Systems, Chapter 2]). The very fact we accept that physical processes exist apart from us, which we do when we measure stuff and create corresponding mathematical frameworks. I can't talk, measure or predict spin if I can't in some sense at least, accept its "reality". Again, I've heard this idea of Bohmian Mechanics being "materialist", and while it's pretty cool that you can keep physical particles, I'm not really convinced that "this is what's really going on" because I think that's a stupid way of looking at qm - the entire point is we can't "really know what's going on". Don't get me wrong, this also applies to "many worlds" etc.
>>1856 You are right, mathematics is valuable, however, a mathematician should know that mathematics is just a concrete science like physics, with clearly defined researched objects, which are quantities. As with every other concrete sciences, mathematics must also started with some basic assumptions. How to choose those assumptions, the role of philosophy is necessary. Old philosophy will inevitably hold back concrete science, and the new discovery in concrete science will lead to new philosophy. The materialist viewpoint is that the concrete will often go ahead of the abstract, not the other way around. We also see that in relation between physics and mathematics. Often the science of physics is ahead of mathematics, due to its experiment-focused nature, just similar to how engineering often goes ahead of physics. However, to perfecting an existing engineering method, the role of physics and mathematics are indispensable. That's the dialectics between different sciences. tldr; Materialism is the philosophy of the new, Idealism is the philosophy of the old. Both of them have their values. >>1858 Can you explain the Minimal Interpretation for the non-physicists? so we can explain to you we think about it, because there cannot be dialogue without understanding. Anyway, here is my opinion. You say you accept its "reality", but accept its "reality" without further examining it, how it's different from "God" (or gods)? The problem isn't to posit the existence of "God", but to discover that "God" depended on other things different than "God", and by changing and controlling those things, we finally "seize our destiny" from "God" (of course not completely). By this sense, every science in its advancement is materialistic. Only when it refuse to further research the underlying cause behind current science, it's idealistic. I don't know much about spin to voice my opinion (aside from knowing it's the analog of angular momentum in quantum physics). I, however, firstly, want to ask your view about the cause of gravitation, and secondly, what is nature of light?
>>1858 > the entire point is we can't "really know what's going on" Aha, now I understand your point. Everything you talked before is on the realm of concrete science, so I don't know to answer it exactly, but here is a philosophical statement, good, now we can talk on a common ground. Why we can't really know what's going on? In the viewpoint of materialist, there is no such thing as limit in nature. There's limit of concrete thing, but nature as a whole don't have any limit. So how to solve the problem of quantum mechanics? How to truly observe the electron and the quantum world? Let see by example how we observe the macroscopic world first. The most common instrument is light. Why we choose light but not sonic wave? It's that the effect of light is small enough to not considerably influence the orbits of macro objects, and light is fast enough that we can observe without significant delay. If light is slow, then the image we capture is full of ghosting. Hence the solution for our annoying electron. Let find a more fundamental physical phenomenon, of which effects are small enough to impact quantum objects considerably, and with very very high speed when comparing to the existing phenomena. Moreover, we need a tool to accurately enough measure our newly discovered phenomenon. By such method, the old "ghostly" images of quantum world will be replaced by newer and clearer images. We can finally saying what is the electron for sure, just as when the first astronomer saw the globe Earth from the outer space. But that means we must wait for long time, until our next engineering breakthrough, to finally settle this matter at all.
>>1866 When we reach the subject of axioms and assumptions, the line between philosophy and mathematics are blurred, but it is largely still mathematics. Mathematics isn't just another science, it is the foundation, physics is a mere flavour of maths. Logic, a philosophical field technically, but something all mathematicians must learn to execute 'mathematics', and something pioneered by polymaths. When does physics go beyond math? When does engineering go ahead of physics? I find it very difficult to believe the creation of building isn't using mathematics already found. Perhaps the problems a particular building creates leads to new discoveries, but these discoveries will be done by mathematicians or physicists. Technically we can't describe the flow of liquids perfectly yet, so when I observe some water flowing, am I conducting physics which is ahead of modern mathematics? No, it isn't actually discovered until we can verify it by mathematics, which yeah is backed by mathematical and philosophical foundations. >>1858 So it is 'more materialist' since for the Copenhagen Interpretation, >the system does not have definite properties prior to being measured unlike the Bohm theory which postulates that there is some properties without observation. Which in my opinion would be 'more materialist' since the particle is given to exist materially and have properties, regardless of if there is an observer or not. I'm not a quantum physicist but how I see it there is no reason to believe quanta make intuitive sense to the human mind, we can only look at what mathematics and experiments tell us.
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Hey guys, OP here, thanks for reviving this thread. I've been trying to read a lot on materialism and dialectics lately in an effort to understand all this. I hadn't really studied quantum physics before becoming interested in materialism, so I'm still trying to process all this information. But I think Cockshott is a brilliant guy. I’ve been checking out a bunch of books he's recommended on materialism: Daniel Dennett's works (like the book someone posted above), Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point by Huw Price, Alan Turing's article Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Plus I've found some marxist books dealing with science, which is something I was looking for: Reason in Revolt Volume I and II, and The Revolutionary Philosophy of Marxism by Alan Woods (these are all on libgen if anyone's interested). But damn there's a lot to read. I still haven't found much more than that, unfortunately there seems to be a big idealist bias online >>1847 >The existence of consciousness is self evident, but it is unclear whether or not it has a material basis. The answer in vogue right now is that consciousness is an emergent property of information processes. There is really no evidence for this claim aside from some interesting symmetries in micro-tubules, and there is also no proposed mechanism for this kind of "strong emergence I've recently read this on pic related: >"We are beginning to acquire a scientific understanding of how the human body and brain function (...) The action of nerve cells is both electrical and chemical. At the ends of each nerve cell there are specialized regions, the synaptic terminals, which contain large numbers of tiny membranous sacs that hold neurotransmitter chemicals. These chemicals transmit nerve impulses from one nerve cell to another. After an electrical nerve impulse has traveled along a neuron, it reaches the terminal and stimulates the release of neurotransmitters from their sacs. The neurotransmitters travel across the synapse (the junction between the neighboring neurons) and stimulate the production of an electrical charge, which carries the nerve impulse forward. This process is repeated over and over again until a muscle is moved or relaxed or a sensory impression is noted by the brain. These electrochemical events can be considered the “language” of the nervous system, by which information is transmitted from one part of the body to another. This scientific explanation immediately does away with the mystical-idealist view of thought and consciousness as something mysterious and inexplicable, something divorced from the normal workings of nature and other bodily functions" That consciousness comes from the brain seems clear at this point. I think it's just a matter of time until science solves these problems.
>>1872 >When does physics go beyond math? When does engineering go ahead of physics? I find it very difficult to believe the creation of building isn't using mathematics already found. Perhaps the problems a particular building creates leads to new discoveries, but these discoveries will be done by mathematicians or physicists. For example the inventions and proliferation of steam engines was in the XVIII century, however the theoretical physicists still stubbornly held into the outdated concept of caloric fluid, rather than considering thermal phenomenon as a type of motion. The practice of alchemists and the use of gunpowder in practical application was thousand years before the perfection of modern chemistry. The discovery of electricity and its usage was before the modern theory of electricity. Hence the plethora amount of old terms (fluid-based view of electricity) in electrical engineering, compare to the modern physical understanding of electricity. The idea of EM fields, was discovered by Michael Faraday, who isn't mathematician, but a self-learned experimenter. While the idea of infinitesimals fell into disusage in modern mathematics, the physicists, especially the classical mechanists, still stubbornly use them in the form of dx/dy, because it was their rightfully discovery, not the mathematicians. Most theoretical mathematicians were disgusted by the lack of mathematical rigorous of infinitesimals, but the physicists wholeheartedly embraced them, due to their powerful application. The practice of metallurgy was very advanced during the times of ancient Qin state of ancient China (2200 years ago), they could make bronze swords up to 110cm (a technical feat of that times), but they lacked any scientific knowledge to explain their practices. I suggest you talk more with handicraft masters and your fellow lowly engineers, I guaranteed that they know many interesting knowledge that modern scientists haven't think about yet. Scientific knowledge is important, but not all knowledge are scientific. It's refreshing to leave the ivory tower from time to time
>>1876 From my last post: >Technically we can't describe the flow of liquids perfectly yet, so when I observe some water flowing, am I conducting physics which is ahead of modern mathematics? No, it isn't actually discovered until we can verify it by mathematics, which yeah is backed by mathematical and philosophical foundations. The existence of an EM field can be found yes, but it isn't actually found and explained until we have done the mathematics for it. Yes physicists use dy/dx crudely, but that's the nature of abstraction. As a mathematician I use it poorly, it is clunky to always have to think about it as a infinite limit, therefore I think of it as a fraction and can get my job done quicker. dx/dy was formulated by Newton in the first place and it was mathematically proved, it's not a physicists rightful invention in the slightest (again, in Newton's time a mathematician/philosopher/physicist would usually be very similar similar occupations, I can list many polymaths that excelled in all fields, but today that is rare because basically, these fields are harder now and require more time to master). >Physicists wholeheartedly adopted infinitesimal before mathematicians I hate to be that guy but do you have any source on this? This is how I understand it: I don't think it was that easy, David Hilbert was disgraced for his ideas (that are currently the fundamentals of modern mathematics) and I feel this is what you're talking about, but I don't think physicists loved his work at the time either. Unless you are in fact talking about infinitesimal like in calculus, Newton laid the foundations for this in calculus, and we've already established he's a mathematician and worked this stuff out rigourously. I think I worded things poorly in my original post which sparked your response. Now, since maths is working so far ahead of other fields, it is such that we look to verify things we can predict with experiments. But if we're looking to the past where we had no mathematical foundation, we still need mathematics to prove our theories correct. For example, Newton laid out equations of motion to describe how things move, we now know this is a vast over simplification. Einsteins' relativity equations are extremely intense pieces of mathematics, the idea was there from Einstein as a physicist, but the field of differential geometry was built on to actually prove his ideas had merit. Maybe historically you are correct here, but in general I believe maths to be far ahead of its contemporaries (in the present day). I guess historically mathematicians have been driven by physical applications, for example the heat and wave equation are the at the heart of differential equations but they only exist as a way to describe what we witness the real world. Is this physics first? I don't think observing a wave is 'doing' any physics, but when one sits down to explain it mathematically that is both maths and physics. Same goes for your EM field example, just with a slightly more complicated concept. Again the line between physics and maths is actually quite blurred, many people work interchangeably in both fields, not to mention the Mathematical Physicists out there. You seem to think I'm stating that engineering doesn't exist, of course engineers have their own science and methods, much like psychologists or painting, they are just working on different levels of abstraction from the fundamentals which we define and study using mathematics. The only reason a painter can know which paints to mix to get a colour is due to chemistry, these particles move according to physics, and the language of this physical study is spoken in mathematics. This is not contradictory to the fact that a painter will still have to learn skills and gain knowledge to enact their craft. >I guaranteed that they know many interesting knowledge that modern scientists haven't think about yet. What does this mean?
>>1572 "materialism" is kind of outdated or doesn't really mean anything IMO. I feel like it could easily be replaced by atheism, naturalism, and scientism without really jeopardizing marxist theory.
>>1872 > The existence of an EM field can be found yes, but it isn't actually found and explained until we have done the mathematics for it. In our discussion, it's all come down to the philosophical assumptions. Fundamentally, you are saying that "I don't care about the existence of phenomenon, if there are no mathematics for it. I will make no hypothesis". However, from the viewpoint of practical men, knowledge must start from the inexact and experimental knowledge. You say mankind cannot actually find and explain a phenomenon if they don't know the mathematics behind it, however, is it really true? I don't need mathematics to predict that the sun will rise from the east each day, and that when the sky is dark with clouds, the chance of raining is high. They are partial knowledge, crude and imprecise, however, is it justified to deny partial knowledge and to say that partial knowledge are not real knowledge? Is the lack of mathematics enough to disregard those partial knowledge? This is actually one of the most important differences between the philosophical viewpoint of Hegelian dialectics and the traditional metaphysics viewpoint of medieval era. For the metaphysicians, we either know the truth or not know the truth, knowledge is either right or wrong, and the development of science to replace the false knowledge with the true knowledge. Hence it explained the violent crackdown of pagan beliefs during the medieval era. For most medieval philosophers, the most basic assumption was "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me". But in the viewpoint of dialecticians: > Thus the history of philosophy, in its true meaning, deals not with a past, but with an eternal and veritable present: and, in its results, resembles not a museum of the aberrations of the human intellect, but a Pantheon of godlike figures. These figures of gods are the various stages of the Idea, as they come forward one after another in dialectical development. https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/help/mean06.htm About infinitesimals, the philosophical struggle behind it is quite complex. As you can see from: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/continuity/#3 The first advocators of infinitesimals often were physicists employing infinitesimals in their calculations, it's by the fact that their main field was physics that they didn't feel disturbed by the lack of rigorous. The main idea was that the calculation worked, therefore the idea was valid. For example, Galileo's pupil Bonaventura Cavalieri thought that: > for the “method of indivisibles” to work, the precise “number” of indivisibles involved did not matter In other words, they considered the question of precise definition was not neccessary. In the middle ground, was Descartes, who used infinitesimals in calculation with restraints. Newton was also quite similar to Descartes. Newton didn't use the notation dx/dy, but an notation form similar to our modern f'(x). The notation dx/dy was invented by Leibniz, in which we can see the infinitesimal nature of the differential dx. However, the motivation of Leibniz was not for the sake of practical calculation, but for vindicating his philosophical idea of monadism, so I place him into the middle ground. The staunchest opponents of infinitesimals, were the old theoreticians (philosophers), such as Hobbes and Berkeley. Hobbes believed true mathematical knowledge must stem from strict definition and logical reasoning, hence the idea of infinitesimal was unacceptable. Berkeley condemned infinitesimals as illusion, by pointing out its contradictory nature. Finally, as you have stated, by the development of the limit concept in XIX century, mathematicians finally conceded with the theoreticians, and put the idea of infinitesimal to death. However, is it truly dead? Recently, a applied mathematician and computer scientist, Yaroslav Sergeyev has developed a theory of Grossone numbers, effectively try revive the idea of infinitesimal as a proper mathematical object. It seems that the practical scientists will never give up their fight, even being condemned as heretics will not stop them. As we remembered, people even died for the sake of protecting their knowledge, such as irrational numbers or heliocentric theory. (tbc.)
>>1884 wrong reply, this post was for >>1879
>>1879 (cont.) > I think I worded things poorly in my original post which sparked your response. Now, since maths is working so far ahead of other fields, it is such that we look to verify things we can predict with experiments. But if we're looking to the past where we had no mathematical foundation, we still need mathematics to prove our theories correct. For example, Newton laid out equations of motion to describe how things move, we now know this is a vast over simplification. Einsteins' relativity equations are extremely intense pieces of mathematics, the idea was there from Einstein as a physicist, but the field of differential geometry was built on to actually prove his ideas had merit. Maybe historically you are correct here, but in general I believe maths to be far ahead of its contemporaries (in the present day). I guess historically mathematicians have been driven by physical applications, for example the heat and wave equation are the at the heart of differential equations but they only exist as a way to describe what we witness the real world. Is this physics first? I don't think observing a wave is 'doing' any physics, but when one sits down to explain it mathematically that is both maths and physics. Same goes for your EM field example, just with a slightly more complicated concept. Again, I understand your viewpoint. But as practical scientists, we do not use mathematics as something to evaluate the merit of a theory. We accepted Einstein theory not because of its mathematical soundness, but of its agreement with experimental data and its practical application, and only to that extend, nothing more, nothing less. If we are talking about mathematical soundness, then both epicycles of Ptolemaic system and Keplerian orbits are right, both of them can be used to accurately predict the orbits of celestial bodies. But why we choose the Keplerian orbits? Is it due to the Occam's razor? No, Occam's razor is only a heuristic method. Let say we have two theories, one simple, one complex, the complex one actually is closer with reality than the simple (for example, the sun rises from the east vs. the earth rotates itself), but at that moment, we have no mean to verify both of them. Is it valid to apply Occam's razor in this case? Sometimes Occam's razor can lead us to the truth, sometimes not. In my opinion, the reason we accept Kepler's theory is that all latest images of planetary orbits are showing elliptical orbits and the epicycles cannot be seen. That's all, nothing more, nothing less. You often said, maths is working so far ahead of other fields, but from my viewpoint, it's because that's the development of practical sciences had come to an standstill that we must rely on maths as our final salvation. At least, we can still do experiments by calculating numbers in computers, but is doing experiments in computer better than doing experiments with real things? The true main motive force of scientific advances is by inventing new tools. Mathematical theory is essential and helpful, but only when it is assisting the practical sciences. It isn't the main motive force of history (of knowledge) and it often lagged behind practice, rather than the other way around. People used the number "zero" in calculation well before the concept of number zero being accepted as a proper number with mathematical rigour. Generally, people were doing calculation well before they had a clear mathematical theory for that calculation. There is actually a materialist reason for this lag, as mathematics is a science of pure quantities (those quantities are not existing in some world of ideas, but actually in our brain) and their transformation. Therefore, it is of course possible for mathematicians to discover something correlated to outside world well before the experimental scientists, but what would be the chance for it to happen? It is very small, as most mathematicians focus their efforts solely on pure quantities and not directly working with the outside world. Moreover, mathematicians work with an internal set of rules and laws, rather than conforming with the actual outside world. But where did that internal set of rules and laws come from? From materialist viewpoint, it came from the distillation of old practices of mankind => the tendency to be lagged from the new reality. The reason we don't feel this lag in our era is that we haven't discover any radically new phenomena yet. (2/3)
>>1879 > You seem to think I'm stating that engineering doesn't exist, of course engineers have their own science and methods, much like psychologists or painting, they are just working on different levels of abstraction from the fundamentals which we define and study using mathematics. The only reason a painter can know which paints to mix to get a colour is due to chemistry, these particles move according to physics, and the language of this physical study is spoken in mathematics. This is not contradictory to the fact that a painter will still have to learn skills and gain knowledge to enact their craft. Again, this is the matter of our philosophical difference. You hold the viewpoint that chemistry is identical with the chemical phenomena. I, on the other hand, hold the viewpoint that chemistry is the knowledge of chemical phenomena. From my viewpoint, the painter can mix paints to get a colour is due to chemical phenomena, but not chemistry. He doesn't need the knowledge of chemical phenomena to mix paint. However, the chemists can gather data from the practice of painting, in order to develop a chemistry of painting. And then, by understand the chemistry of painting, the painters can refine his theory and practice of paints mixing. That's how the concrete sciences work together and there is nothing such as science of every science. If by someday, the painters discover a new paint colour that is in contradiction with the results of chemists, can the chemists have the right to say that the discovery of painters are wrong or not real? Moreover, from your viewpoint, the chemical phenomena are working according to the laws of chemistry, the physical phenomena are working according to the laws physics. However, from my viewpoint, the laws of chemistry describes the chemical phenomena, the laws of physics describes the chemical phenomena. Our viewpoints are totally in opposite of each other. Your philosophical assumption is that everything can be reduced to a fundamental essence, and my philosophical assumption is that the totality is fundamental. There is no misunderstanding here. It's just that our philosophical positions are irreconcilable.
>>1884 I care about the existence of phenomenon, but we can't verify any physics phenomenon to be true without mathematics. I agree once it gets to chemistry and softer sciences, the abstractions become so great that I suppose you are correct. Chemistry has it's own set of rules, built off of physical phenomenon proved with mathematics. I was getting hung up on physics I believe, since physics and maths are intertwined in a way I don't think you realise. Thanks for these links, it will take some more time to get through them though. This is a bit of an issue since I still consider these early physicists mathematicians, even if in the present day they are technical physical fields. They are using mathematics to solve their problems in the most cutting edge way at the time. Again search up Descartes, > philosopher, mathematician and scientist The works with infitesimals are mathematical and philosophical works pioneered by these polymaths. The notation they used does not matter, y' is used when you can't be bothered to write dy/dx, but the concept is still the same. I wouldn't consider dy/dx showing the infinitesimals, but showing the variables to which the derivative is acting, this is very important when working within several variable calculus. The limit taken (see image) is where infinitesimals come into the picture. I have not heard of Grossone numbers, thank you for this, however I fail to see how these philosophers affect my position. There was a lot of pushback against infinity too from mathematicians, but I am not saying mathematicians are holy and cannot be wrong, but the task of deciding who is right is ultimately up to the mathematicians and more specifically mathematician/philosophers. Set theory is now a fundamental base of modern mathematics. I agree that we accepted Einstein because of how well his theories adhered to experimental data, but the only reason these theories came to exist was because of the mathematics used to prove them. No one accepted them because of practical applications, they were accepted because they currently seem to be correct, no one who was checking his work thought about satellite usage when asked if he was correct. We can look at his paper on relativity, http://hermes.ffn.ub.es/luisnavarro/nuevo_maletin/Einstein_1905_relativity.pdf Now some may say Einstein was a physicist, and I would agree he wasn't the strongest mathematician in the world, and is more characterised by his ideas, but his work is built on mathematics and none of it could be taken seriously without this rigorous proof. Where do we draw the line between mathematician and physicist anyway? Einstein himself needed help proving his theory of general relativity mathematically, his theory is correct however and consistent with current mathematics, however that doesn't necessarily mean it is THE correct theory since we still have many questions regarding the universe, quantum interactions, dark matter etc, that seem relativity seems to fail to deal with. Your orbit argument is identical to my previous argument about Newtons equations of motion vs Einstein's relativity, like you say we accept the latter since it is more consistent with experimental data, however the only way we can even begin to take it seriously is because it is rigorously proven with mathematics. Both theories are valid (and consistent with each other), but with different assumptions on the nature of space-time. I mean yes you are correct, the main motive of knowledge isn't driven by pure mathematics, it is a niche field after all, and people want inventions which affect their lives practically. But for the last 100 years or so mathematics has been way ahead, just looking at computing, mathematicians had this all figured out before we could even dream of building computers as we know them today. Now computer science has branched off into it's own field, but 50 years ago they would largely just have been mathematicians. The same happened with physics, just a longer time ago. Maybe a farmer counting his sheep to find there are zero is ahead of mathematics, but I'm not really talking about that time period since there wasn't really 'mathematics' as a concept as we know it. >There is actually a materialist reason for this lag, as mathematics is a science of pure quantities (those quantities are not existing in some world of ideas, but actually in our brain) and their transformation. Therefore, it is of course possible for mathematicians to discover something correlated to outside world well before the experimental scientists, but what would be the chance for it to happen? It is very small, as most mathematicians focus their efforts solely on pure quantities and not directly working with the outside world. Moreover, mathematicians work with an internal set of rules and laws, rather than conforming with the actual outside world. But where did that internal set of rules and laws come from? From materialist viewpoint, it came from the distillation of old practices of mankind => the tendency to be lagged from the new reality. The reason we don't feel this lag in our era is that we haven't discover any radically new phenomena yet. Most mathematicians I know personally work pretty directly with the outside world. Applied mathematics which engulfs maybe half of all mathematics is just that. Have experimental scientists found infinity yet? Again how simple are we talking? If a 'physicist' touches a hot rod and realises it is hot, is he actually ahead of Fourier who discovered the heat equation? It seems almost too trivial to call it knowledge, much like the counting zero sheep. Yeah, again I concede that knowledge about mixing paint is so far abstracted from chemistry that it becomes it's own set of knowledge. But my position is that the painter would be making a revolutionary breakthrough in physics if he found a new colour, as opposed to the science of painting, since it is way more fundamental and important as a physics or chemistry discovery. Much like the first guy to count zero maybe wasn't doing rigorous math as we know it, but since it is a breakthrough of the time we can view it as such. When Sun Tzu was figuring out how to divide his armies efficiently he made a breakthrough in mathematics, it wasn't such to them, but that doesn't change the deeper meaning that came with his discovery.
>>1867 >Why we can't really know what's going on? Because you can't know about something before you "measure" it in some way. You don't know what colour my umbrella is until you see it, or hear about or in some way get a signal, a piece of information that answer's the questions "what colour is anon's umbrella?" >In the viewpoint of materialist, there is no such thing as limit in nature. There's limit of concrete thing, but nature as a whole don't have any limit. There is no such thing as a limit of any thing, because both the concepts "thing" and "limit" are ill-defined. We don't really know if the Universe is finite or infinite in any meaningful sense of the words (i.e. spatially/temporally). >So how to solve the problem of quantum mechanics? How to truly observe the electron and the quantum world? You don't. Looking an electron means shooting a photon at it, which bounces off it and returns to our measurement device - but since the electron is comparable to the electron, the photon bouncing off it makes the electron move, so the measurement has actually changed the system. >Let find a more fundamental physical phenomenon, of which effects are small enough to impact quantum objects considerably When you find a more fundamental physical phenomenon that electron-photon interaction, please invite me to your Nobel Award. >By such method, the old "ghostly" images of quantum world will be replaced by newer and clearer images. >But that means we must wait for long time, until our next engineering breakthrough, to finally settle this matter at all. No, because there is no way around the uncertainty principle, which is what I said about looking at something on the quantum level meaning interacting with it and changing its state. It's not a limitation on our ability to see things due to shitty technology, even in the idealised case you cannot pinpoint an electron without affecting its momentum.
When quantum physics becomes the focal point of a philosophy discussion it’s time to quit
>>1908 When someone seems to inherently misunderstand the uncertainty principle by implying that better measurement devices will circumvent it, it's not time to quit the discussion, but time to point out that that assumption is wrong.
>>1908 why?
>>1914 because ontology shouldn’t rely on it. you can take it into account but using it as evidence to justify a version of the absolute without epistemic humility and transcendental analysis is how you end up with the naive Greek type thought that predates the Renaissance.
I do not understand how these issues of changing scientific knowledge, death of traditional atomism and so on can be considered as a serious attack on materialism. First, the lack of solid information about the working of our material reality doesn't mean that it doesn't function by rules yet unknown to us. I would go so far as to say that literally every single phenomena in the universe is theoretically predictable. The processes that cause them might very well be outside of the understanding of the human mental capabilities, however they exist. Pure randomness can be defined by the fact that it is perfectly random for instance. No metaphysics is needed. Or more accurately, I do not believe that metaphysics as a concept is real. If it impacts the universe, it is just a natural physical phenomena. Another argument that mystifies me is the claim that scientists being wrong or not 100% correct somehow proves idealism. Just because these errors make us understand the world differently than it is, that does not change the world it self. Race science being widely accepted in 19th CE didn't make every non-white inferior. Corpuscular or wave theories of light didn't change the nature of light being a combination of both. The epicycle astronomical theory didn't make planetary orbits perfectly round. To say otherwise is to claim that anything you don't see isn't real, and just so happens to materialize when you look at it. I don't know if anyone mentioned this yet, but then you get arguments like "this new discovered particle acts differently under observation then when not under observation, thus reality is idealist". How is this an argument? The atomic structure of a table is different when I press on it a bit than when I leave it alone. My action to press (or observe) is what makes the change, and this action is still going to be determined by material conditions. Then the atomism argument. Well first, atoms as a philosophical ancient Greek conception isn't the same as atom the particle, they just share a name. Atom in philosophy is the hypothetical building block of everything. Atom the particle being divisible, or it's own building blocks being divisible, doesn't disprove the concept. Though also it should be mentioned that atomism might be a bit idealist in it self, as it does imply that the building block is universal, when it might be possible that different objects will have different ultimate building block. And finally I'd argue that even if the universe was idealist, materialism would still be correct. In my mind, far above the assertion that material conditions shape the world, the most important part of materialism is the empirical and rational analysis of the natural phenomena. While the aforementioned determinism is the most important takeaway from this principle, it would have been just as silly and irrational to claim that or universe was like that without an analysis of it first. That probably is the biggest mark of idealism - the arbitrary assumption that the world works in a specific way.
>>1938 >And finally I'd argue that even if the universe was idealist, materialism would still be correct. In my mind, far above the assertion that material conditions shape the world, the most important part of materialism is the empirical and rational analysis of the natural phenomena. While the aforementioned determinism is the most important takeaway from this principle, it would have been just as silly and irrational to claim that or universe was like that without an analysis of it first. That probably is the biggest mark of idealism - the arbitrary assumption that the world works in a specific way. The word you're looking for is probably "naturalism" - one could imagine a world where ghosts and magic spells existed, and were not reducible to anything like matter, but where we could still understand and predict them through the scientific method. That said the more important framing distinction of this discussion is between metaphysical and historical materialism. Historical materialism just does not depend on metaphysical materialism (or visa-versa), full stop. What kinds of things there are, ultimately, is a super interesting discussion but it's basically orthogonal to social-scientific questions.
>>1939 >>1938 > The word you're looking for is probably "naturalism" - one could imagine a world where ghosts and magic spells existed, and were not reducible to anything like matter, but where we could still understand and predict them through the scientific method. What you guys discussed are interesting. I think the materialistic viewpoint is based on the assumption that for any two different phenomena, no matter which kinds, you could find a common (material) background that forming them. Second, on the materialistic viewpoint, there is no one-sided action, impact, influence, etc. If A influences B, then B also influences A back. For example, if "God" exists then: 1. He is from the same material background as us 2. To create our world, he must use the materials from the bigger outside world. In other words, there is no free lunch, there is no creation from nothing 3. There always exists the possibility that we can someday become "Gods", as "God" will allow it. Even if he does not allow, to control an experiment you must have energy (motion of other matter). The resources he can use are not unlimited (limited by his ability), not to mention that his life can be ended. From that viewpoint, ancient mythology is much more materialistic than medieval theology. >>1907 >When you find a more fundamental physical phenomenon that electron-photon interaction, please invite me to your Nobel Award. Our fundamental difference can be reduced to this sentence. Possibility vs Impossibility >>1892 Sorry for not answering sooner, as it's exam season :) Thank you for clarifying the difference. I don't evaluate the trueness of each science according to mathematics, but according to it internal quality. The development of physics is the discovery of physical forms, phenomena and causes, a physical theory without physical forms and causes is incomplete, now matter how much mathematical formula it had or how useful it was in practical application. Mathematics and engineering can be used to verify the correctness of physical theory, but not its trueness. A physical theory without mathematics can be more true than a physical theory with mathematics. The reason most people in the past believed the earth is flat, was because of most of land measurements of that time pointed to the fact that the earth is flat rather than curved. The same can be said with mathematics. Physics can be used to verify the correctness of mathematics calculation and formula, not its trueness. A calculation can be correct, but not true in mathematical sense, if it didn't have any mathematical forms support it. There can be physicists who work in mathematics, or mathematicians who work in physics. I detect them by using this rule: do they put the primary value on the integrity of their working field? If a person who works in physics, but places the importance of physical forms below mathematical forms, then I consider him a mathematician who works in physics. His works are still useful to physics, but cannot replace the true knowledge of physical world. I also differentiate experimenters from physicists. The job of experimenters is to discover new phenomena in nature. For example, if a 'physicist' touches a hot rod and realises it is hot, then of course he is not a physicist yet, but only an experimenter. He just discovered the phenomenon of 'hot'. In order to become a true physicist, he must build a underlying physical model to explain the mechanism behind phenomenon 'hot'. In the past we have the theory of caloric fluid, and now the theory of molecular motion. For example, when Fourier worked on the heat equation, he evaded the question of the nature of heat (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02842327) >Essentially, Fourier moved away from discontinuous bodies and towards continuous bodies. Instead of starting with the basic equations of action at a distance, Fourier took an empirical, observational approach to idealize how matter behaved macroscopically. In this way he also avoided discussion of the nature of heat. Rather than assuming that the behavior of temperature at a point was influenced by all points in its vicinity, Fourier assumed that the temperature in an infinitesimal lamina or element was dependent only on the conditions at the lamina or element immediately upstream and downstream of it. He thus formulated the heat diffusion problem in a continuum. So the physical content of Fourier equation is higher than mere observation of experimenters, but I think it's not enough to participate in the "heated" arguments about the nature of heat at that time. That's why the main attacks against Fourier method, were on mathematical aspects, but not physical. In the book "The Tragicomical History of Thermodynamics, 1822–1854" p.78, the author even said that: >A theory of temperature differences he did give, but not a theory of heat Of course, it's too harsh a criticism, but essentially the idea is as such Again, there is no need to concede on any point, as what you see is inherently not wrong, it is totally right from your viewpoint. Our differences are due to the fact that we are seeing the same problem from different viewpoints. The difference between true philosophers and non-philosophers is that the philosophers are conscious of their assumptions and the limitation of their viewpoints and striving to overcome them. We should all strive to be a true philosopher, a true lover of knowledge. I just found a very interesting article for you, but it's in Russian (I don't know much Russian but I just used Google Translate to read it :)) ) I hope it will clarify the viewpoint of dialectics much better than me, as professor Popov is a professional philosopher: http://rpw-mos.ru/dialektika-matematicheskij-metod-politiko-ekonomicheskix-issledovanij/
>>1958 >Our fundamental difference can be reduced to this sentence. >Possibility vs Impossibility No, our fundamental difference is that you are willing to assume that "more fundamental interaction" than the ones we know of exist, and assume things about their character, based on your own philosophical (quasi-religious) conceptions, while also being completely illiterate in relation to the subject, to the degree that you believe that better measurement will circumvent the uncertainty principle. I on the other hand, choose not speak of that which I don't know, and try to gain knowledge about it studying it, and not my preconceptions of it.
>>2008 Arrogance does not make you more convincing.
>>1958 I will write a response to this tomorrow, I've been thinking a lot about this and you have given me some revelations on the topic, so thank you. Good luck with your exams :)
>>2008 And quickly: assuming string theory is the 'truth', and we figure it all out nicely, why wouldn't this lead to us removing the fog that currently shrouds quantum mechanics? and why wouldn't we eventually find measurements to confirms these suspicions?
>>2099 the way I understand it, all string theory does is make quantum mechanics consistent with relativity. I don’t think it will disprove the uncertainty principle or anything like that. In other words string theory wouldn’t even be considered necessary if it weren’t for the uncertainty principle.
>>2099 >>2008 Well you actually me temporary stop my current works, in order to research physics for real. I don't know whether to thank you or blame you anymore. Uncertainty principle is real, but modern physics mystified the physical causes of it. Modern quantum physics is just staying at the level of mathematical (information) models and refusing to proceed to a new physical models of the world. Wave function, momentum eigenfunction, etc. okay, every calculation is correct. But in the end, wave and momentum of WHAT? From the viewpoint of dialectical materialism, it's necessary to assume the existence of a material environment, of which physical form we don't know yet, but it must exist and our (known) physical phenomena happen in it (one could go farther and even say that there could be a place without this kind of environment, and the physical phenomena in that place will be quite different from the ones in our environment, but that's the job of future generations because we haven't reach the border of our environment yet) So if we hypothesise the existence of quantum particles as wave in the environment, then it is easily to understand the uncertainty principle, as the more localised the wave is, the more spread-out in wavelengths of component waves, which forming it. And wavelength is directly related to momentum by Planck constant, done. But another question is that can waves truly have momentum (impulse)? Maybe if we consider the waves of appearing and disappearing i.e. wave with min valley as non-negative energy level. For normal compression wave, there is period of decompression after compression, so the total impulse is zero, but for waves of appearing and disappearing, the range of value is from 0 -> positive value, therefore the integral area is positive (which means directed impulse exists). However, as I researched further, the problem is indeed more complex. If we view quantum particles as waves (non-localised entities), then how to explain the quantum collapse phenomena? When an electron collided with the measurement surface, we only received one single dot instead of a faint spread-out image. Therefore, the Copenhagen viewpoint has a grain of truth, as they say the wave here is a wave of probability, of where electron will appear. The recent discover (1980s) of single photon, that is when lowering the intensity of light gradually, at one point we will achieve only single photon. If lower than that intensity, there will be no light, no photon. So it is the all or nothing situation. Anyway, that means we cannot discard the idea of Copenhagen school. So this makes me think that the pilot wave theory is one that will resolve this problem. There is actually two part of a quantum phenomenon. One part is the particle-part we capture in the screen, the other is the wave part in the environment. In my opinion, the E = hf part is actually only the particle, while the wave part energy is the remainder part < hf. For example, E = 5*hf + R means that the excitation E creates 5 photon in environment and the rest turn into wave part in the environment. As Hegel had said, the limit (degree) exists, doesn't mean it cannot be overcome, but actually, it will and must be overcome and then the old quality will become a new quality. Energy lower than hf doesn't mean there is no excitation, but an excitation of form different than energy higher than hf. As photon is discrete, so E < hf means it is an continuous phenomenon, in other words, a wave. However, of course, one could say that if E = hf exactly then there would be no wave at all! Not so fast. Every discrete phenomenon must grow from another continuous phenomenon and vice versa. To create a photon, the excitation must be accumulate gradually until reaching the breaking point E = hf, so during that gradually accumulation process, some motion energy must be lost in the form of wave in the environment. There is no magical way to achieve efficiency H = 100%, as there will never be absolutely closed system. Now, finally what is the physical meaning of Planck constant? I've found one paper which I think is quite correct on the nature of Planck constant: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1674-1056/26/4/040301/meta Planck constant h, in combination with frequency f, is the necessary excitation needed, in order to create a particle in the environment. Smaller than hf, there is no particle, higher than hf but not so much, there is still only one particle. In order to have more particles, E must be multiple times of hf. So is Planck constant really a constant? No, not at all. From the viewpoint of Heraclitus, everything flows and there is no absolute constant. If we ever found constant in this world, it is actually a relative constant. A constant is actually a property of some environment, as only the aggregation of many many phenomena in an environment could create a somewhat constant phenomenon. Individual property must necessary be varied from one individual to another individual. Therefore, I'm highly suspecting that the mass and electric charge of an electron are actually properties of environment instead of a single electron, if they are property of each singular electron, then the mass and electric charge should be varied instead of being an exact number. By not seeing the role of environment, some physicists even mystified the origin of electron, thought every electron is only a manifestation of one electron exists some where. How is this different from Plato's theory of ideal world? Now let return to our constant h. Why there must be a h constant? As a computer scientist, I think it's quite similar to data communication on noisy channel. The channel is always noisy, therefore, if we want the information to be created and transported on the channel, a certain SNR (signal to noise) level must be reached. Lower than that threshold, we must use a very low density data encoding, so that the noise cannot destroy the signal. A quite similar situation happens with E = hf case. If we only have a low energy excitation, then the only way to create a particle is to lower the frequency f. High frequency particle requires high energy level, there is no exception. Now let translate this into physical model. Noisy channel means that the environment is constantly in chaotic thermal motion, so if an high frequency excitation is too small, it cannot overcome the environment and be drowned out. But that doesn't means the wave doesn't exist, it exists but cannot create a particle and remains undetected because of noise from thermal motion. In a more "easier" environment, such that photon could be formed by using smaller amount of energy, we could say that Planck constant in that environment is smaller than Planck constant in our environment. From that hypothesis, I come up with an new idea to observe the microscopic world. First, we must create an environment in which h constant is very low. Second, we enclose this environment in a box (of special material) in order to isolate it from our normal environment. This will act as an equivalent of dark chamber in our traditional camera. Third, drill a very small hole (we should aim to make the hole as small as electron) in the wall of the box, so that it functions as a lens to filter out low frequency waves and allow very small wavelength waves pass through. Fourth, when the super small vibrations of the outside environment pass through the lens to enter the "dark chamber", they will form photon due to low h constant and leave impact on the film. This way, we can observe the electron without influencing or destroying it, by using light with high frequency but low energy. I think this idea is nothing new, but maybe only in the military that they're actively researching it. The hardest part is to control the h constant of environment. After that is to isolate the environment by very dense material (undiscovered). Finally, we must able to drill a very small hole with very high precision. They are very hard tasks, maybe not achievable in our lifetime. But who knows?
>>2144 Opps, forgot the video of walking droplets https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmC0ygr08tE&t=1s, a clear example of observable pilot wave and particle.
>>2144 Your thought experiment is essentially a rehashed Einstein box underneath all your speculation about the plack constant. Any speculation about variability in this constant is unsupported by evidence - nothing in our current understanding of physics suggests that the value can be changed, and the Planck constant is far from unique in this respect. I suggest you read through the Bohr Einstein debates for a detailed understanding of why your thought experiment will fail to give a measurement of the electron's position to a higher precision than allowed by the uncertainty principle. The debates are based around a series of ultimately unsuccessful attempts to devise thought experiments to overcome the uncertainty principle. For a start you have neglected diffraction of the electron as it passed through the slit - the film will show a diffraction pattern spread over the level of uncertainty in the electron's position, not a point-like marker of the exact position. Even in an experiment where you can bypass this diffraction and narrow down the electron's position to a single point, you are then unable to read this measurement for the same reason you can't read the electron's position directly. In the case of a marker on a piece of film such as in your example, you are now faced with the problem of measuring the position of this marker to a precision smaller than the size of an electron. You cannot specify the exact position of your hole for the same reason. Since the apparatus is stationary and its momentum is constrained to zero with as much precision as your measurements allow, you are again faced with the same violation of the uncertainty principle. Your argument presupposes its own conclusion: in order to produce an experimental setup to measure an electron's position to an arbitrarily high precision, you must already have the ability to make such a measurement of the position of your instruments. However you try to approach the problem it is impossible to devise a method of overcoming the uncertainty principle, and any experiment you suggest will ultimately boil down to the same contradictions exposed in the Bohr Einstein debates. You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the uncertainty principle. It does not arise as a result of our limited technological ability to measure these quantities, but rather as a fundamental property of quantum mechanics itself. Physicists have been attempting to disprove the uncertainty principle for close to 100 years. Any speculation about the philosophical nature of quantum mechanics must incorporate the uncertainty principle fully into its model of reality, unless you have sufficient experimental evidence to overturn one of the most fundamental principles of modern physics. Otherwise your suggestions have all the credibility of a perpetual motion machine. Your assertion that there is variation in quantities such as the electronic mass and charge is also completely unfounded. We have no evidence to suggest any such variation, and this would in fact contradict much of our knowledge of physics. The entire field of statistical mechanics treats quantum particles as fundamentally indistinguishable from each other, with any system remaining completely indentical under any possible rearrangement of its component electrons. From this assumption we can build up a statistical model of the system that predicts measurable quantities such as temperature and entropy that correspond to our experimental evidence. In fact there are entirely different predictions for distinguishable vs indistinguishable particles, with separate models describing the behaviour of particles that fit these two categories. If you would like to make the claim that electrons are in fact distinguishable, then you will need to come up with an entirely new formulation of statistical physics to explain away all of our evidence to the contrary.
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>>2244 No wonder modern physics has come to this state of decay. No evidence doesn't mean it doesn't exist. If from the beginning, you assume it doesn't exist, then you won't pay any effort to find it. It's not a thought experiment, but a matter of practical engineering. First, the environment exists homogeneous everywhere, that's because matter is not solid but full of hole, that's why we cannot isolate the environment inside the box from outside the box. So what we need is a very solid material, that could isolate inside and outside. And also the risk of explosion/implosion, because the difference between outside and inside environment. Therefore it must be a very very strong material. > For a start you have neglected diffraction of the electron as it passed through the slit - the film will show a diffraction pattern spread over the level of uncertainty in the electron's position, not a point-like marker of the exact position. Are you sure? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ-0PBRuthc If what you said is right then the early controversial debate surrounding Copenhagen school made no sense. You should stop a little bit and read carefully what I've written. I never said my box is to receive the electron. My box is to see the flying trajectory of electron (and if possible, seeing the vibration state of the environment surrounding electron) > Your argument presupposes its own conclusion: in order to produce an experimental setup to measure an electron's position to an arbitrarily high precision, you must already have the ability to make such a measurement of the position of your instruments. You're right, but my intention is not to measure an electron's absolute position to an arbitrarily high precision. I just want to see the relative position of electron to the apparatus at a small enough particular moment. >Your argument presupposes its own conclusion: in order to produce an experimental setup to measure an electron's position to an arbitrarily high precision, you must already have the ability to make such a measurement of the position of your instruments. Again, what I need isn't arbitrarily high precision measurement of the apparatus, but ensure that the apparatus must be something very static, so that at high enough time resolution, we cannot see its vibration. If we make the whole apparatus in a rigid enough material, so that in the interaction with environment, the whole apparatus vibrate uniformly together, instead of each part of the apparatus interacting differently with environment. >You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the uncertainty principle. It does not arise as a result of our limited technological ability to measure these quantities, but rather as a fundamental property of quantum mechanics itself. Physicists have been attempting to disprove the uncertainty principle for close to 100 years. Any speculation about the philosophical nature of quantum mechanics must incorporate the uncertainty principle fully into its model of reality, unless you have sufficient experimental evidence to overturn one of the most fundamental principles of modern physics. Otherwise your suggestions have all the credibility of a perpetual motion machine. You again do not grasp the essence of uncertainty principle. Uncertainty principle is simply: the more localised the wave is, the more spread-out in wavelengths of component waves, which forming it. At the latest post, I didn't say that it arise as a result of our limited technological ability to measure these quantities, but as a property of wave phenomena. Elementary particles arise from the combination of many different pilot waves of different wavelengths in the environment, that's why they must follow uncertainty principle. The more localised an elementary particle is, the more spread-out the wavelengths of component pilot waves. In fact, if we adopt this viewpoint then it very easily to explain the double slit single electron experiment. Both Copenhagen and pilot wave theorists had their valid points. The electron is formed from the combination of pilot waves, but the random thermal vibration of environment is also participating in that process, so electron can somewhat "choose" its trajectory. I use MATLAB to test it and see that the difference in position correlated to difference in phase of component waves. Why the elementary particles must be indistinguishable with each other? You said the entire field of statistical mechanics treats quantum particles as fundamentally indistinguishable from each other, with any system remaining completely identical under any possible rearrangement of its component electrons. But that's the modern physics's assumption. What is the explanation for that? Nothing. I hope you at least will make a physical model to explain that assumptions. If we don't question the foundation of our knowledge, then nothing new will be discovered.
That was a good thread. Anybody still feel like discussing this?
>>3914 >That was a good thread. yes lota effortposts >Anybody still feel like discussing this? yes, go ahead
>>3914 Yes
>>3914 Bumping for this guy again

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