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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Jamina Jamina: on 9/29/17 at 9:04am UTC, wrote Knowledge is a matter of science, and no dishonesty or conceit whatsoever...

Sylvain Poirier: on 5/20/15 at 7:53am UTC, wrote In case you didn't notice: I replied to you in my thread last week. Sorry...

Sylvain Poirier: on 4/18/15 at 21:15pm UTC, wrote "it is questionable if we can express the time structure in a clear...

Janko Kokosar: on 4/18/15 at 13:11pm UTC, wrote Dear Luca Valeri About time it is written a lot of in this contest, for...

Luca Valeri: on 4/18/15 at 9:23am UTC, wrote Dear Sylvain, Thanks for your reply. You are of course right. The earth is...

Sylvain Poirier: on 4/18/15 at 5:27am UTC, wrote Dear Luca, I see we have similar ideas on the nature of time (the past is...

Branko Zivlak: on 4/13/15 at 21:45pm UTC, wrote Dear Luca, Your essay regarding the Weizsäcker deserves attention, for...

Joe Fisher: on 4/10/15 at 14:45pm UTC, wrote Dear Luca, I think Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein was...


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FQXi FORUM
October 24, 2019

CATEGORY: Trick or Truth Essay Contest (2015) [back]
TOPIC: Knowledge and time by Luca Valeri [refresh]
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Author Luca Valeri wrote on Mar. 12, 2015 @ 19:03 GMT
Essay Abstract

What is knowledge? How is it possible to know the world? What is time? These and other questions are the basic questions that Karl Friedrich von Weizsäcker asked himself his life long. In this essay I try to give a short summary of his thinking.

Author Bio

I studied physics a long time ago and I try to underystand quantum mechanics ever since.

Download Essay PDF File

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Author Luca Valeri wrote on Mar. 12, 2015 @ 20:48 GMT
The essay has been written in a great rush and has been submitted in the last minute with no time to reread the text and so it is full of errors. I want to apologize for that and I hope the reader can understand the intentions of the arguments. I'm ready to clarify unclear statements in this forum.

Only a few books from Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker have been translated in English. But recently Michael Drieschner, a former student of von Weizsäcker has published two books in English:

- Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker: Major Texts in Physics

- Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker: Major Texts in Philosophy

I'm sure they will be worth reading.

Luca

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Author Luca Valeri wrote on Mar. 12, 2015 @ 21:11 GMT
I have to correct a statement on page 7. The right sentence is

"Von Weizsäcker felt, that if the possibility of failing might be thinkable, it could be enough to say, that his measurement apparatus is not independent of experience."

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David Brown wrote on Mar. 13, 2015 @ 08:53 GMT
Dear Luca Valeri Zimmerman,

In your essay you write, "In quantum mechanics the open future is part of the theory." Let us assume that the future really is open (in the sense of fundamental quantum randomness) and that string theory can be successfully formulated within quantum field theory. Is the following hypothesis compatible with quantum field theory? String vibrations are confined to 3 copies of the Leech lattice.

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Author Luca Valeri replied on Mar. 13, 2015 @ 11:19 GMT
Hi David,

I'm sorry, but I don't know much about string theory. The point in my opinion is, that I don't expect, that any future theory will be able to predict the future exactly given a measurement context, but only be able to predict probabilities for measurement outcomes, despite the deterministic (unitary) dynamics of the wavefunction. The notion of the open future structure of time and time logic would give us a language to talk consistently about this phenomena.

The reasons for this inability are still under debate. It is my personal belief, that reason for this is not because the underlying reality is random.(Which evokes the image of something having definite properties but changing randomly.) But because our knowledge is doomed to be described by complementary arrangements of the measurement apparatus.

Best regards

Luca

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Jonathan Khanlian wrote on Mar. 13, 2015 @ 14:23 GMT
Hi Luca,

All the talk about the truth of sheep being "white" in your essay had me thinking about something that I had wondered before. I wondered what would be the case if every person had their own unique experience of colors. Would we ever be able to know that our subjective experiences are so different? We have come up with tests to determine if someone has color blindness which I think relates to how much distinctions there are between certain colors (a skewed color wheel), but suppose people that were not color blind still had their own unique rotation of the color wheel (i.e. a remapping with various colors being just as distinguishable). Would we be able to ever know this? Is language, in this sense, devoid of any meaning of the underlying reality, similar to a formal symbolic language in mathematics? Is it just something that helps us discuss relationships... Like we would both agree "orange" is a mixture of "red" and "yellow" even though my "orange" is experienced as your "green" and my "red" is your "yellow" and my "yellow" is your "blue". Anyway, just some thoughts. I hope it is not too off topic.

Please check out my Digital Physics movie essay if you get a chance.

Thanks

Jon

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Author Luca Valeri replied on Mar. 13, 2015 @ 16:36 GMT
Hi Jon,

your thoughts are not at all off topic. The perception of colors is what Laurence Hitterdale calls in his essay “the subjective experience … of the realty of the qualia which manifest themselves in consciousness.” As far as this experience is subjective, we will never be able to know whether you and me have the same experience. However there are objective aspects of this very experience, that when you mix your ‘red’ and ‘yellow’ you’ll get your ‘orange’, which corresponds to my ‘blue’ color. The objective part of the experience seems to be the relational or mathematical part of it. We experience the same structure.

Thanks very much for sharing this thought of yours.

I'll certainly will read your essay and comment on it.

Luca

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Author Luca Valeri replied on Mar. 13, 2015 @ 16:57 GMT
Ps.

Hi Jon.

How is your 'orange' color? Mine is beautyfull!

Luca

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Anonymous replied on Mar. 14, 2015 @ 21:11 GMT
Exactly, Luca! The objective part is the relationships between the colors, not the colors themselves. Do you think "physics" could take something away from this idea? Do you think information, like the color "orange", is meaningless at the fundamental level? Information's real power lies in its ability to describe relationships? Does reality need more than the ability to describe relationships? Is it essential that a wall be made up of matter in order for reality to depict a relationship that says other "matter" won't freely flow through it?

Oh, and to answer your question...Orange?! Are you kidding me? It's a mixture of Red and Yellow...Please. That information patter is just...ugghhh

:)

I'd love hear your thoughts on my Digital Physics movie essay

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Conrad Dale Johnson wrote on Mar. 14, 2015 @ 15:28 GMT
Dear Luca,

I was happy to see another essay of yours, and I’m sorry you didn’t have time to develop it more fully, since I think the ideas you’re working with are important. The key issue is how to include possibility as a basic category – that is, how to describe what happens such that each new fact that appears in the world contributes to the physical “process schemes” that...

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Author Luca Valeri replied on Mar. 16, 2015 @ 23:59 GMT
Hi Conrad,

thanks for your comment. The quantum theory part became very short. And surely needs some clarifications.

"The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" has two parts: 1. Why is mathematics the lanquage of objective science and 2. How can we explain, the incredible unity of physics? The first part may be answered by stating that objective knowledge must have a...

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George Gantz wrote on Mar. 15, 2015 @ 14:23 GMT
Luca - Thanks for the insightful essay and the introduction (for me) to von Weizsacker. All of the efforts to build a coherent a priori foundation for knowledge has failed, so his failure should not be a surprise. But the distinctions between actuality and potentiality are critical and may help dissolve some key misunderstandings. You did very well in spite of the time pressure and working in a second language.

Regards - George Gantz

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Anonymous replied on Mar. 17, 2015 @ 00:08 GMT
Thanks for your kind comment. I'm sure you would like von Weizsäcker a lot. As he was very activ in the dialog between the churches and was very relgious man. He also tried to think scientific and religious knowledge together and succeded quite well in my opinion.

But I will try to comment more on that in your forum.

Luca

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Armin Nikkhah Shirazi wrote on Mar. 19, 2015 @ 18:58 GMT
Dear Luca,

Your essay raised some interesting points and had a strong emphasis on the theory of CArl Friedrich von Weizsaecker. The first time I got exposed to his views was in fact through an essay in another one of these contests; you may find it interesting, it was written by Charles Raldo Card, and he set in comparison with some other views:

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1837

Concerning temporal operators, perhaps you may already be familiar with the work of Arthur Prior, but he used the same kind of modal logic to define temporal operators with Kripke Semantics that I am also using. Google him if you are not familiar with him.

Regarding the connection between Logic (and, more generally, philosophy), mathematics and physics, you are certainly correct that time is one of the major pieces that brings such a connection about. I am not convinced by the the currently popular view that time comes out of thermodynamics because it is already present, deeply embedded, as it were, in the structure of Minkowski spacetime, even in the absence of matter, or only a few particles.

Your last point comes close to one of the projects that I intend to tackle next, namely learning Von Neumann's approach of building up the Hilbert Space from orthomodular lattices. I believe this exercise will help me make it much clearer how my model relates to various aspects of standard QM.

Thank you and best wishes,

Armin

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Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 26, 2015 @ 16:08 GMT
Dear Luca Valeri Zimmerman,

I do not wish to upset you, but I honestly feel that abstract mathematics and abstract physics have nothing to do with how the real Universe is occurring.

As I see it, I have a complete skin surface. Every real object appears to have a complete surface of one form or another. one must conclude that all of the stars, all of the planets, all of the asteroids, all of the comets, all of the meteors, all of the specks of astral dust and all real objects have only one real thing in common. Each real object has a real material surface that seems to be attached to a material sub-surface. All surfaces, no matter the apparent degree of separation, must travel at the same constant speed. No matter in which direction one looks, one will only ever see a plethora of real surfaces and those surfaces must all be traveling at the same constant speed or else it would be physically impossible for one to observe them instantly and simultaneously. Real surfaces are easy to spot because they are well lighted. Real light does not travel far from its source as can be confirmed by looking at the real stars, or a real lightning bolt. Reflected light needs to adhere to a surface in order for it to be observed, which means that real light cannot have a surface of its own. Real light must be the only stationary substance in the real Universe. The stars remain in place due to astral radiation. The planets orbit because of atmospheric accumulation. There is no space.

Warm regards,

Joe Fisher

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Author Luca Valeri replied on Mar. 26, 2015 @ 22:54 GMT
Hi Joe,

Not upset at all. Physics and mathematics have nothing to do with reality. If I would have wanted talked about reality, I would have written a poem. Or just been silent. So I tried to avoid the term reality in my essay.

But here the fun starts. How s possible, that mathematical physics is so successful in making predictions?

So I don't know what real objects are, what constant speed means, what time or real space is. But I know, what they mean in classical newtonian physics. And maybe also in special and general relativity. There is some experience how these theories can be applied to explain certain phenomena. Quite successfully.

So if I try to develop a new theory, I will have to explain, why these theories are so successful. And maybe I have to use their understanding to explain my new theory. Otherwise my theory would not be understood. That how I want to proceed in getting an understanding of our physical world view.

Best regards

Luca

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Joe Fisher replied on Mar. 27, 2015 @ 14:35 GMT
Dear Luca,

Thank you for not reporting my comment as inappropriate and have it classified as Obnoxious Spam by the Moderator.

Do you not have a real complete skin surface? Does every natural or manufactured object you have ever seen not have a real complete surface of some sort? The moon has a surface, right? The chair in your room has a real complete surface, right?

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. 10, 2015 @ 14:45 GMT
Dear Luca,

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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Branko L Zivlak wrote on Apr. 13, 2015 @ 21:45 GMT
Dear Luca,

Your essay regarding the Weizsäcker deserves attention, for the portion related to quantum mechanics I am not competent.

Your both references are Weizsäckers. Then please read this http://vixra.org/abs/1303.0008

I agree with Weizsacker that Mathematics is the theory of structures. The structure is also in the title of my essay.

My essay is in accordance with the teachings of Hegel and Bošković and fully meets the Mach principle.

I'd like you to read it, and in this sense to comment.

Regards,

Branko

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Sylvain Poirier wrote on Apr. 18, 2015 @ 05:27 GMT
Dear Luca,

I see we have similar ideas on the nature of time (the past is factual, the future is possible). I find this same kind of time structure both in math/logic and in physics, though I consider these two time flows as only similar but independent of each other. More precisely I consider this time structure of physics as a result of the time structure of consciousness. I explained this in details, and how it gives a coherent interpretation of quantum physics, in my essay.

You ask "How is evolution possible despite the increase of entropy?". There is no mystery here: entropy is continuously created on Earth but then moved away and "accumulated" as infrared radiation in the intergalactic space.

I also added your essay to the list of interesting essays in my review.

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Author Luca Valeri replied on Apr. 18, 2015 @ 09:23 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

Thanks for your reply. You are of course right. The earth is an open system, where free energy from the sun enters the system and high entropic energy in form of the infrared removed from the system. The entropy in this system is decreasing. For closed system evolution might be explained by out of the equilibrium states. This is done by Prigogine. The claim here is that the informational relationships of multilevel system would make the creation of complex structures possible despite (or even because) the entropy is increasing.

As for the time structure: If it is true, that the time structure is a precondition of objective experience and even of logic, it is questionable if we can express the time structure in a clear language. Von Weizsäcker approaches the problem from three sides:

1. The time structure is used to show derive irreversibility from reversible dynamics. And possibly to derive tense logic as logic of time events and possibly the structure of quantum mechanics.

2. From the physical theory he shows that the time structure can be found phenomenologically in our world: The factual past as documents in the present or in our memories as far our cognition is objective describable. And the open future as evolutonary process.

3. Philosophically as the becoming of timely structures from eternal ideas (eidos). See also my comment in Aleksandar Mikovics forum.

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Sylvain Poirier replied on Apr. 18, 2015 @ 21:15 GMT
"it is questionable if we can express the time structure in a clear language."

As I mentioned, I distinguish 2 independent fundamental time structures: one at the foundation of mathematics, and one of consciousness. We are naturally familiar with the time structure of consciousness and its physical effect is known as the thermodynamic time arrow. Just because consciousness is not mathematical, it cannot be described in exact terms, so that in particular the time of consciousness cannot be described in exact terms either. Still I have an intuitive description in these words : it is the order relation of existence between conscious events, where A is before B if A exists for B ; though I only mean it as a fuzzy concept. I consider the concept of conscious (non-physical) memory, extended to the universal scale as collective memory (though it is largely hidden), as foundational for the interpretation of quantum physics and the thermodynamic time arrow (see my essay for details).

However, since mathematics can be formalized and described in exact mathematical terms, I did find ways to precisely describe the time of mathematics that appears in the detailed study of the foundations of mathematics. As I found it, this time of mathematics does not appear as one concept or structure describing one aspect of the foundations (though the hierarchy of ordinals expresses much of it), but takes different forms that mirror and complete each other, between model theory and set theory. This network of aspects of the time of mathematics, is usually not explicitly explained and qualified as a time in the literature, but I see it as implicitly there, essential for the understanding of the main paradoxes of mathematical logic: Russell's paradox, Skolem's paradox and the Incompleteness theorem.

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Sylvain Poirier replied on May. 20, 2015 @ 07:53 GMT
In case you didn't notice: I replied to you in my thread last week. Sorry to have not done it earlier.

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Janko Kokosar wrote on Apr. 18, 2015 @ 13:11 GMT
Dear Luca Valeri

About time it is written a lot of in this contest, for instance Smolin said that logic does not exist without time.

I am not sure if you want to tell that quantum logic is contradictory with our common logic, because superposition of spin exists. This is a discrete version of uncertainty principle, where infinity possibility exists. But, my opinion is that measurement is only realisation of our intention. Thus two spins exist in our head and only one is actualized by measurement. Thus, measurement is like a creation.

Can you tell someting more about your quantum measurement in the last section, before I read something about Neumann measurement sheme?

By chance you mentioned also colors in your comment. I also wrote about this. I suppose that three basic color qualia have something in common, thus that they are three options of one quale. Physiological measurement could tell something of this.

Similarly as you I think that time is more basic than entropy. It is also connected with panpsichism and consciousness.

BTW: Weizsacker explained, why space is three dimensional (3 basic SU(2) matrices etc.) Why this is not more often mentioned in books? Is it speculation?

My essay

Best regards

Janko Kokosar

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Jamina Jamina Jamina wrote on Sep. 29, 2017 @ 09:04 GMT
Knowledge is a matter of science, and no dishonesty or conceit whatsoever is permissible 192.168.1.254

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