Reality Conditions

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Science and Philosophy links

A few links on topics intersecting philosophy and science:

* Matt Leifer argues against the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics from a Quinean philosophical standpoint.

* Lubos points to a paper by Hartle and Srednicki criticizing sharply the way the anthropic principle and related "typicality" ideas are used in cosmology. The gist is that, if we do not know that we were selected as random observers by a physical process, we should not calculate as if we were.

* David Corfield discusses two cultures within mathematics: the theory-builders and the problem-solvers.

* Richard Chapell discusses whether philosophy needs science. He thinks only perhaps in practice, not in principle. I disagree and explain my reasons in a comment there.

* In the latest Philosophers' Carnival there is a special entry featuring Dan Dennett's article "Higher order truths about chmess". I had read it some time ago, and I definitely recommend you to read it as well; it criticizes certain aspects of contemprary philosophy, in a way which could also be applied to contemporary theoretical physics. (It sits well with a remark made by Carlo Rovelli in the talks blogged about previously, that we should focus on problems of physical interest and not in technical investigations about unphysical situations that are good for publishing quick papers. It also links somehow with my comment at Richard's blog.)


  • Hartle and Srednicki call this misstep "selection fallacy" because its essence is to neglect some known data.

    Yeah, it's like extending the principle of relativity to say that the multiverse is copernican-"like", while we are faced with a whole boat full of local data that says just the opposite.

    Closer to home, the "cosmological principle" derives a "mediocre" multiverse-"like" priori statistical distribution of values of observables, but this is not what is observed and is the reason for the anthropic physics that defines the "Goldilocks Enigma", so the combined effect of the cosmological principle with the goldilocks constraint extends to the observed universe to produce a biocentric cosmological principle.

    If we're going to entertain multiverses with anthropic cosmological principles, then we are directed by extension to assume that every universe in it is like this one.

    Yeah, right...

    By Blogger island, at 8:00 PM, April 24, 2007  

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