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Joe Fisher: on 4/15/15 at 15:23pm UTC, wrote Dear Jose, Thank you for commenting on my essay. Do you have a real...

Joe Fisher: on 4/6/15 at 15:38pm UTC, wrote Dear Jose, I think Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein was...

Jose Koshy: on 4/3/15 at 15:03pm UTC, wrote Dear William T Parsons, Thank you for having gone through my essay. I...

William Parsons: on 4/2/15 at 19:58pm UTC, wrote Hi Jose-- I had promised that I would read your essay and I apologize for...

Gary Simpson: on 4/2/15 at 17:25pm UTC, wrote Jose, Physical interpretation is the key to making sense of physics and...

Jose Koshy: on 3/15/15 at 6:42am UTC, wrote Dear Neal Graneau, As stated by you, you have a mathematical relation that...

Jose Koshy: on 3/14/15 at 17:33pm UTC, wrote Dear Christian Corda, Thank you for taking time to read my essay and...

Neal Graneau: on 3/14/15 at 14:51pm UTC, wrote Dear Jose, Regarding your interesting debate between physicalism and...


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October 18, 2019

CATEGORY: Trick or Truth Essay Contest (2015) [back]
TOPIC: A physicalist interpretation of the relation between Physics and Mathematics by Jose P. Koshy [refresh]
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Author Jose P. Koshy wrote on Mar. 4, 2015 @ 17:05 GMT
Essay Abstract

In this essay, I argue that mathematics has a specific role in physics. In the domain of physics, physics defines the properties of bodies. But it is mathematics that decides how bodies (having the given properties) change with time; this is because 'changes can happen by way of motion only' and 'motion follows mathematical laws'. Thus, any property of the physical world is exclusively physical, and any law that governs it is exclusively mathematical. The Reality is thus physical, not mathematical. So, everything in the physical world will be explainable based on some basic properties, but there will not be any basic mathematical law that can explain everything. Or, the Theory of Everything will be essentially physical.

Author Bio

Doing independent research in theoretical physics. Proponent of the hypothesis “Motion at speed 'c' is the basic property of matter”. The overall model is available at A few papers containing details are available at

Download Essay PDF File

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Mar. 4, 2015 @ 21:09 GMT
Dear Jose P. Koshy,

Thank you for your physicalist essay. As a physicalist I found it extremely rewarding. I would quibble only about one point, whether mathematical laws "describe" or "govern" changes in the physical world. I believe the world is self-consistent and self-governing and that mathematics only describes the dynamics. In my essay(s) I attempt to show that the...

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Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Mar. 5, 2015 @ 03:02 GMT
Of course, "anything logical and mathematics is logical and physics" should have read "anything logical in mathematics is logical in physics". My voice recognition software has the most trouble with short words. I have no such excuse.

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Author Jose P. Koshy replied on Mar. 5, 2015 @ 06:16 GMT
Dear Edwin Eugene Klingman,

Thank you for the comments. I have already gone through your essay, and identified you as a 'physicalist'. Quoting you: “While (math) maps of the (physical) territory form the substance of physics, one must apply the right map at the right place. ...To begin, we discard maps that do not represent territory.... This suggests the possibility that when a map conflicts with intuition, it may be the wrong map.” These are indeed physicalist arguments.

I used the word 'govern' because the physical world has no control over the laws (and mathematics does not decide the basic properties). Even if its basic properties were something different, the laws would have been the same, but the physical structure would have been different. That is, the mathematical laws are independent of the properties, and also independent of time. So, it can be said that the properties decide the structures. So the world is self-consistent and self-governing as you argue. My disagreement is with the view that properties “give rise to all math”, if that is what you mean. Math can be argued to be a feature of any 'system', real or imaginary.

Regarding hidden subtleties, I would tend to agree with your statement, “I believe that one such subtlety is that Bell’s focus on ‘hidden variables’ has managed to keep his ‘hidden constraints’ off the radar 50 years!”. I went through the dialogue between you and Tim maudlin, but could not arrive at any conclusion regarding your argument. Because of the subtleties of the arguments involved, I thought I will go through it leisurely. However, I agree with your statement that Bell's mathematics (whether correct or not) does not describe the real nature of the physical world. But it dominates 'present- day' physics, future may be different.

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Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Mar. 5, 2015 @ 19:01 GMT
Dear Jose,

Thanks for reading my essay, which is definitely a 'physicalist' essay. One thing to think about in reviewing my exchange with Tim is how many of his arguments (essentially "it's binary") I respond to versus how many of my arguments he responds to.

I thank you for saying you will go through it leisurely before deciding. I can ask no more of anyone. Since I believe that 'non-locality' or 'no local causality' is today the most significant challenge to an intuitively comprehensible physicalism, I do believe it's worth the effort. The arguments are indeed subtle and the entire issue is very complex. In a nutshell:

Bell's theorem is mathematically correct, but his physics is oversimplified and his model does not represent the actual physics that goes on in the inhomogeneous field. He assumes the physics of a constant field, which will produce null results, and so leads to a contradiction. When one analyzes the physics in a non-constant field, one finds new physics, and no contradiction.

My approach is to explore Bell's conclusion that no local model can produce the QM correlation. I have presented a local model that does produce the QM correlations, unless Bell's constraints are imposed.

This would seem to call Bell's constraints into question, and so I have analyzed the reason why he might have imposed such constraints. My essay offers an explanation, based on his confusion of Dirac and Pauli eigenvalue equations, and assumptions of eigenvalue measurements. If this analysis is valid, then the rationale for entanglement is called into question. This issue should be decidable by experiment, the ideal end result of any such controversy.

Thanks again for your essay, and for your willingness to put some effort into a complex issue.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Ed Unverricht wrote on Mar. 7, 2015 @ 03:24 GMT
Dear Jose P. Koshy,

Enjoyed your essay, very thought provoking "A Theory of Everything will indeed be a physical theory, explaining the physical world in physical terms. Everything will be explainable on the basis of fundamental properties that are stated in unambiguous terms having physical meanings." This is a description of what inspired my work on this essay contest.

I liked your conclusion "The point raised in this essay is this: The physical world should be explained primarily on the basis of physical-logic. Mathematics has only a specific role of deciding how the world changes with time."

Hope you get a chance to look at my essay as I think you will see a fair amount of physical logic with physical meanings in modelling the mathematics behind the fundamental particles.

Many regards and good luck,

Ed Unverricht

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Member Rick Searle wrote on Mar. 8, 2015 @ 02:57 GMT
Dear Jose Koshy,

Thank you for reading and commenting on my essay. I really enjoyed your essay and I completely agree with you on this:

“Thus the question whether the connection between physics and mathematics is a trick or truth is very relevant at present.”

And that the whole issue can be traced back to Newton. I am still left with the question, though, of why Newton’s turn to mathematics was so successful, or why, if the mathematical approach is not the right one, these approaches have been able to give us both precision and sometimes predict unanticipated phenomenon we are only later able to confirm.

Best of luck in the contest!

Rick Searle

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Author Jose P. Koshy replied on Mar. 8, 2015 @ 07:29 GMT
Dear Rick Searle,

I think you missed my crucial point: Changes in this world happen by way of motion only, whatever is the cause for that change; changes cannot happen in any other way. Motion follows mathematical laws. So a changing world follows mathematical laws. And so, we are able to observe so many mathematical relations, even some unanticipated ones. My argument is that we have arrived at wrong conclusions (regarding the properties of the world) from these right mathematical relations. The conclusions should be in agreement with physical reality; or simply the proposed properties should have clear physical meaning.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Mar. 9, 2015 @ 04:37 GMT
Dear Jose P. Koshy,

The word finitenesstheory reminded me of Prof. Mückenheim whose booklet I quoted in my current essay. He is called an ultrafinitist and decided not to take part in this contest.

If I understood you correctly, you ascribed mass to the photon. The only reason for me to wonder is Pentcho Valev who over several years persistently denies the postulate of constant velocity of light. I asked him in vain to check whether the measured limit to the mass of an electron fits to his emission theory.

Please don't mistake these hints as a comment. I am just curious.

Eckard Blumschein

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Author Jose P. Koshy replied on Mar. 10, 2015 @ 10:29 GMT
Dear Eckard Blumschein,

By photon I mean the most fundamental particle of matter (so in general discussion, I do not use that word to avoid confusion). Light contains stream of photon-pairs. The pair rotates as it moves forward, and so the path of each particle is a helix. Thus the particle has two speeds, the speed along the helix and the forward speed. In fields, the speed along the helix is unaltered, but the forward speed decreases, thus kinetic energy is unaffected.

Being particles, light is subjected to dragging by gravitational and electrostatic fields. So the speed of light is affected by moving medium. Due to gravitational dragging, the speed measured on the surface of Earth is independent of the speed of Earth. In my view, light escapes from a body rather than body emitting light; the particle escapes when it acquires its natural energy. The energy of each particle in light is mc2/2. The speed of the source does not affect the energy of the particle escaping from it.

The relative speed of light with respect to the moving source follows classical Newtonian law of motion with due corrections for dragging.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Mar. 14, 2015 @ 14:45 GMT
I beg your pardon. Of course, I asked Pentcho for his (and your) mass of a photon, not of an electron.

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Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 11, 2015 @ 19:38 GMT
Dear Dr. Koshy,

You wrote: “The ultimate aim of all physicists is to explain the physical world completely (or at least as far as possible). Whether we should base our explanations on physical-logic or mathematical-logic is a philosophical question.”

Accurate writing has enabled me to perfect a valid description of untangled unified reality: Proof exists that every real...

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Christian Corda wrote on Mar. 13, 2015 @ 16:02 GMT
Dear Jack ,

As I promised in my Essay page, I have read your peculiar Essay. Here are my comments:

1) You claim that Physicalism and mathematicalism are two distinct philosophies that we can choose. Why don't we choose an "overlapping" of both of them?

2) I like your statement that "Mathematics governs the changes in the physical world", but I am not sure that it implies that the connection between physics and mathematics is very clear, not at all mysterious.

3) You claim that "From a physicalist point of view, if that becomes possible, then the interpretation selected at each step will invariably be the one that agrees with physical reality". But are you sure that physical reality is unique? In quantum theory physical reality depends on the observer.

4) Actually, Newton assumption that bodies move along straight lines or remain at rest arises from Galileo's Inclined Plane Experiments.

5) Your claim that QM and RG properties are mysterious and do not conform to physical reality looks in contrast with their spectacular agreement with observations and experiments.

6) I regret, but your claim that Lorentz transformations are the basic equations of GR is a big mistake. They are the basic equation of the Special Theory, not of the General one.

I wish you best luck in the Contest.

Cheers, Ch.

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Author Jose P. Koshy replied on Mar. 14, 2015 @ 17:33 GMT
Dear Christian Corda,

Thank you for taking time to read my essay and offering your comments. I will put forth my arguments in the points raised by you.

1. I have identified the two different philosophies just to make my stand clear; to indicate that I follow physicalism.

2. I think you missed my point. Why mathematics governs 'the changes' in the physical world? My point is that 'the changes' happen by way of 'motion' only; and 'motion' follows mathematical laws. So a changing world has to follow mathematical laws. That is the basic connection between physics and mathematics.

3. From a physicalist point of view, physical reality is unique. Quantum theory says something different, and based on physicalism I argue that QM view of reality is incorrect. Whether I am sure of it or not has no relevance.

4. The inclined plane experiments only demonstrate that newtons laws are correct. Newton has arrived at the correct laws. Mathematically straight line motion is the most simple form of motion. But that does not imply that motion is not a 'fundamental property' of matter, a possibility that Newton did not consider.

5. The equations of GR and QM are correct, and the agreement with observations and experiments is a fact. I only argue that 'the properties' assigned to 'particles' and 'space/time' by QM and GR respectively are incorrect. With slight modifications, classical particles and classical Newtonian space and time can also lead to the equations of QM and GR.

6. Lorentz transformations can be regarded as the basic equations for both SR and GR because it led to the concept of space-time. In the case of GR, the equations had to be modified to accommodate the curvature of space-time.

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Neal Graneau wrote on Mar. 14, 2015 @ 14:51 GMT
Dear Jose,

Regarding your interesting debate between physicalism and mathematicalism, I enjoyed reading your essay, but I don't think one has to take such a hard line arguing either for one or the other. I think that physical understanding and the fitting of mathematics to controlled experiment should run hand in hand. If the two are deviating, then one must examine whether it is the mathematics or the experiment that is most likely to be in error and then design a better experiment or find a new mathematical theory and stress test it hard.

I think many of the problems we face in modern physics that you describe in your essay as "the present deadlock" stem from the fact that physicists let slip the principle of CONTROLLED laboratory experiment. This is not a new problem and started in around the 1880's with Hertz's claim of finding EM waves when all he actually found was nodes of activity and inactivity in his laboratory. We are now lost in the miasma of trying to find mathematics to fit the unfalsifiable theories of of Maxwell-Einstein EM field theory and GR and somehow make them philosophically united with inherently non-local QM.

I would argue that one should not be too hard on mathematicalism. For instance I don't think I have a physical understanding of how distant objects store mutual potential energy and exert instantaneous forces on each other, but I am happy to have a mathematical theory that works for the time being. However both pictures are bound to change with time and new experiments. So let's accept that all of our physical and mathematical theories are human and fallible and it is great sport in forums such as this to compare which are the most relevant at any time.


Neal Graneau

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Author Jose P. Koshy replied on Mar. 15, 2015 @ 06:42 GMT
Dear Neal Graneau,

As stated by you, you have a mathematical relation that explains the mutual interaction between bodies remaining at a distance. From that you arrive at a conclusion that there is action at a distance. Without physical understanding, that problem remains unsolved. That is your stand, and I agree with it. The problem occurs only when you state that 'the mathematical explanation is enough', 'physical understanding is not required'. By mathematicalism, I mean such an approach.

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Gary D. Simpson wrote on Apr. 2, 2015 @ 17:25 GMT

Physical interpretation is the key to making sense of physics and the observable world. Your thoughts about helical motion are similar to some thoughts of my own. You should study Hamilton's quaternions if you are not already familiar with them.

Best Regards and Good Luck,

Gary Simpson

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William T. Parsons wrote on Apr. 2, 2015 @ 19:58 GMT
Hi Jose--

I had promised that I would read your essay and I apologize for taking so long. Your essay was thought-provoking. I concur with your distinction between mathematicalism and physicalism. And I side with you in the belief that physical-logic is the best way to go. However, I was surprised to see you write that "mathematics is the most fundamental branch of knowledge". I see it as just another language, albeit one that is very useful to physics. What I wish is that you had worked more into your essay about your Finiteness Theory. Perhaps next time!

Best regards,


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Author Jose P. Koshy replied on Apr. 3, 2015 @ 15:03 GMT
Dear William T Parsons,

Thank you for having gone through my essay. I regard mathematics as the most fundamental branch in the sense that it is 'background-free' and has a role in all other branches of knowledge. The basic law of mathematics, the law of addition, is a fundamental rule valid in all domains.

Thank you for having referred to Finiteness Theory. I claim it is a theory of everything in the sense that using a single theory I have tried to explain everything from the particle level to the cosmic level.

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 6, 2015 @ 15:38 GMT
Dear Jose,

I think Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein was wrong about abstract space/time, and Hawking was wrong about the explosive capability of NOTHING.

All I ask is that you give my essay WHY THE REAL UNIVERSE IS NOT MATHEMATICAL a fair reading and that you allow me to answer any objections you may leave in my comment box about it.

Joe Fisher

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 15, 2015 @ 15:23 GMT
Dear Jose,

Thank you for commenting on my essay.

Do you have a real complete skin surface? Does the real room you are presently in have a real complete floor surface, a real complete ceiling surface, and four real complete wall surfaces? Does everything in the room have a real complete surface? Did everything you have ever seen, whether it was real, or seen in a dream, or hallucinated about have a surface? This is not my minority point of view. All of the philosophers and all of the mathematicians and all of the physicists were wrong. Their absurd abstract musings concerned only an abstract universe. Unfortunately, the credentialed people at this site cannot deal with the truth. The majority of them will not vote for truth. The majority of them will not even read the truth.

Joe Fisher

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