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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Peter Jackson: on 3/11/18 at 12:10pm UTC, wrote ..The data was then wrongly interpreted to suggest 'singlet states' but...

Peter Jackson: on 3/11/18 at 12:04pm UTC, wrote ...In 2010 my top 10 finalist essay '2020 vision' used Maxwell's near/far...

Peter Jackson: on 3/11/18 at 12:02pm UTC, wrote Greg, Thanks for your comment on mine. Seems we can't now 'view entire'...

Gregory Derry: on 3/6/18 at 16:25pm UTC, wrote Don-- Thank you for the kind words and interest. Your point is well...

Gregory Derry: on 3/6/18 at 16:19pm UTC, wrote Peter-- Thank you for the kind words, I'm glad you found my essay...

Peter Jackson: on 2/28/18 at 12:12pm UTC, wrote Dear Gregory, Great essay. I agreed pretty well all and it was nicely...

Don Limuti: on 2/27/18 at 1:30am UTC, wrote Hi Gregory, I like your theory of the fundamental. I think of it as a...

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FQXi FORUM
December 9, 2018

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: Fundamentality, Explanation, and the Unity of Science by Gregory Derry [refresh]
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Author Gregory Derry wrote on Jan. 12, 2018 @ 19:33 GMT
Essay Abstract

The four key attributes of a fundamental explanatory structure are: irreducibility, generality, commensurability, and fertility. Because reductionism ultimately fails as an explanation of all things, a mutually commensurable set of fundamental ideas is required, as opposed to a single fundamental Theory of Everything. However, the unity of science is insured by the commensurable interrelationships between these fundamental (and thus irreducible) explanatory structures.

Author Bio

Gregory Derry is a Professor of Physics at Loyola University Maryland, with a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. from Union College. His research interests are in ultrahigh vacuum surface physics, nonlinear dynamics in physiological systems, and epistemological questions in science/religion issues. He has published two books in addition to his scientific research articles.

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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Jan. 12, 2018 @ 20:42 GMT
Dear Gregory,

Thank you very much for your deep essay. Excellent.

Yours faithfully,

Vladimir Rogozhin

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Author Gregory Derry replied on Jan. 18, 2018 @ 01:22 GMT
Thank you Vladimir. I have read your interesting essay, and I will comment on it there when I have a chance. My interests incline more towards epistemology than ontology, but I agree that both are important.

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Scott S Gordon wrote on Jan. 13, 2018 @ 02:53 GMT
Hi Gregory,

Nice essay but you may need to reconsider your position. You say you do not believe that the reductionist verson of a theory of everything is possible and that you favor an emergent theory.

I would urge you to consider reading my essay "The Day after the Nightmare Scenario" It is an introduction to a theory of everything that is BOTH reductionist AND emergent. It starts with the fundamental ingredients - one being the component building block ingredient and the other the energy associated with their initial alignmet. This starting point leads to an inevitable progression of events as everything emerges through a hierarchy of energy creating the particles that exist in spacetime.

All the best to you

Scott S Gordon, MD

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Author Gregory Derry replied on Jan. 18, 2018 @ 01:29 GMT
Scott--

I did read you essay, which I enjoyed. However, I did not see any actual grappling with the nature of emergent phenomena there. I'll have more to say later as a response to the essay, but I'm pressed for time right now.

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John R. Cox wrote on Jan. 14, 2018 @ 01:59 GMT
Professor Derry,

I think your original Community Rating was closer to the mark. jrc

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Author Gregory Derry replied on Jan. 18, 2018 @ 01:34 GMT
Actually, I didn't see the ratings until the same time I saw your comment, so I can't say much in response. Thank you for reading the essay and commenting on it, though.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Jan. 16, 2018 @ 04:45 GMT
Hi Gregory, I like your essay very much. I like that you considered the question before taking a particular approach to answering it. I had not thought of explanatory structure as fundamental. You are absolutely correct that it is explanatory structures that are fundamental to our understanding. I think your arguments are very well set out and the essay very readable.

You thew down a...

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Author Gregory Derry replied on Jan. 18, 2018 @ 01:55 GMT
Georgina--

Thank you so much for your kind words and your enthusiasm for my essay. It was enjoyable to think through the question systematically and try to say something concrete enough to be meaningful but also make it stimulating and interesting. By the way, I have to admit that in my own work, when I attempted to explain the emergence of purpose in complex systems, I eventually was defeated and had to resort to reductionistic methods to approach the problem (but I couldn't solve the problem). Your comment about pruning out older results of dubious validity is interesting--I suppose that happens naturally in critical reviews and revised textbooks, but is there a more efficient way?

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 17, 2018 @ 17:09 GMT
Dear Professor Gregory Derry,

You wrote in the Abstract: “Because reductionism ultimately fails as an explanation of all things, a mutually commensurable set of fundamental ideas is required, as opposed to a single fundamental Theory of Everything.”

I have concluded from my deep research that Nature must have devised the only permanent real structure of the Universe obtainable for the real Universe existed for millions of years before man and his finite complex informational systems ever appeared on earth. The real physical Universe consists only of one single unified VISIBLE infinite surface occurring eternally in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated mostly by finite non-surface light.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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Author Gregory Derry wrote on Jan. 18, 2018 @ 02:03 GMT
Your comment is very intriguing, but I have to admit that I don't really understand it well enough to coherently reply. If you are saying that emergence is illusory because it's grounded in the primordial substance of the universe, then I did offer a brief rebuttal to that argument in the essay.

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Joe Fisher replied on Jan. 18, 2018 @ 16:49 GMT
Dear Gregory Derry,

I am stating as clearly as I can that the visible reality of there only ever being one single unified VISIBLE surface eternally occurring in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated by mostly finite non-surface light could never have possibly had any humanly contrived complex abstract linguistic agency.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Jan. 21, 2018 @ 16:58 GMT
Professor Derry,

You lay out a both broad and incisive argument for a conceptual grounding that seems possible, but still illusive. As someone approaching physics from a philosophic perspective, I would offer up a few observations;

Say reality is a dichotomy of energy and form. Energy manifesting and motivating form, while form defines and consequently constricts energy. For...

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Author Gregory Derry replied on Jan. 21, 2018 @ 18:13 GMT
John--

Thanks for the comments, a lot of things to think about in your post. My immediate reaction, though, based on what you wrote, is to ask you if you are familiar with the idea of using entropy to explain the "arrow of time." If that isn't something you've encountered, take a look at it--I think you may find it interesting. Cheers.

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John Brodix Merryman replied on Jan. 21, 2018 @ 21:25 GMT
Professor Derry,

Yes. Time as a dimension is presumed to be symmetric, in that whichever way it's measured, it would yield the same unit, like a foot is a foot measured from A to B, or B to A, presumably measuring from event A to event B is the same measure of duration as B to A. So it is assumed that the asymmetric effect of time, that it only goes from past to future events, emerges with entropy. My observation is that what is being measured are specific actions and it is the inherent inertia of the action which gives it its asymmetry.

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John R. Cox replied on Jan. 24, 2018 @ 16:54 GMT
Professor,

and a 'Hello again to JBM'.

I had read your essay when it had a single community rating of 10, and as I do not regard myself as professionally qualified to opine at either extreme, contributed a 9 to the public rating. jrc

I would, however, like to differ with conventional thinking about entropy based on my admittedly personal preference for a field continuum...

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 16:13 GMT
Dear Fellow Essayists

This will be my final plea for fair treatment.,

FQXI is clearly seeking to find out if there is a fundamental REALITY.

Reliable evidence exists that proves that the surface of the earth was formed millions of years before man and his utterly complex finite informational systems ever appeared on that surface. It logically follows that Nature must have permanently devised the only single physical construct of earth allowable.

All objects, be they solid, liquid, or vaporous have always had a visible surface. This is because the real Universe must consist only of one single unified VISIBLE infinite surface occurring eternally in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated mostly by finite non-surface light.

Only the truth can set you free.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Gary Valentine Hansen wrote on Feb. 9, 2018 @ 01:11 GMT
Hello Gregory,

Congratulations. It was a pleasure to read your comments. For a scientist with your depth of experience and understanding, you held faithfully to the contest evaluation criterion that essays should be ‘accessible to a diverse, well-educated but non-specialist audience’; a point that some authors appear to have overlooked.

While I had not considered ‘explanatory...

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 06:17 GMT
Dear Gregory,

I highly appreciate your beautifully written essay.

It is so close to me. «I believe that Being will al ways be able surprise us with new mysteries to solve, and the history of science (including recent history) is certainly on my side in this prediction. I don’t regard this as a pessimistic attitude, though, because in our quest for understanding, the journey is more important than the destination».

I hope that my modest achievements can be information for reflection for you.

Vladimir Fedorov

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3080

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 13:52 GMT
Dear Gregory

If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the final days of the contest, will you consider mine please?

A couple of days in and semblance of my essay taking form, however the house bound inactivity was wearing me. I had just the remedy, so took off for a solo sail across the bay. In the lea of cove, I had underestimated the open water wind strengths. My...

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Don Limuti wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 01:30 GMT
Hi Gregory,

I like your theory of the fundamental. I think of it as a checklist for sanity when determining what is fundamental.

Derry's attributes of the Fundamental: Generality, Irreducibility, Commensurability, and Fertility. I would add an attribute: Agreeability Without agreement there would be as many fundamentals as there are individuals. Perhaps this would be just a bookkeeping problem?

Here is how I would rate my essay: "The Thing That Is Space-Time"

Generality: very general

Irreducibility: Yes

Commensurability: Yes, pretty good fit QM and GR

Fertility: Future will tell

So, visit my essay and let me know what you think. And thanks for your excellent essay.

Don Limuti

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Author Gregory Derry replied on Mar. 6, 2018 @ 16:25 GMT
Don--

Thank you for the kind words and interest. Your point is well taken--I just implicitly assumed that the explanations in question are correct (i.e. agree with experiment and observation), but perhaps that should be added explicitly as a criterion so that there is no ambiguity on the point. I am hoping to read your essay in the next day or two, and will leave a comment there after I read it. Thanks.

--Greg

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Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 28, 2018 @ 12:12 GMT
Dear Gregory,

Great essay. I agreed pretty well all and it was nicely argued. I'd missed it as it was 'off the radar' but a great late comeback on the outside to nip at my heels!

Now the contest is over I hope I can persuade you to read my electron OAM based derivation of a classical (non-linear dynamics) ontology reproducing the predictions of QM. It came from testing a momentum exchange model with wider applicability.

Are you familiar with the concept of 2-fluid plasma and Maxwell near/far field Transition Zone? or the Poincare Sphere?, and the Spin Stats theorem?

Anyway I hope you can study it carefully and revert. It need help to bring to light. See also my (top scored) 2015 Red/Green Sock Trick and other finalist essays.

Well done, and thanks in advance. Do contact me direct; pj.ukc.edu@physics.org

Very Best

Peter

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Author Gregory Derry replied on Mar. 6, 2018 @ 16:19 GMT
Peter--

Thank you for the kind words, I'm glad you found my essay interesting. I agree it was "off the radar" and I never did figure out why some essays get a huge amount of attention and others (like mine) seem to be ignored. Even authors that I commented on (and gave pretty good, and substantial, questions and comments to) and had good conversations with did not comment on my contribution. Due to time constraints, I didn't have time to give your essay a close reading earlier, but I have now and left a comment there for you to mull over. Thanks.

--Greg

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Peter Jackson replied on Mar. 11, 2018 @ 12:02 GMT
Greg,

Thanks for your comment on mine. Seems we can't now 'view entire' new posts so my reply is in bite sized chunks;

First; Nothing's 'overthrown'. Dirac's equation stands, so all those finding do to. What it DOES do is remove the need for (EPR paradox) 'non-locality' by reproducing the results from physical mechanism. Many other explanations are implicit; 'Superposition' is simply the Poincare (4 vector) sphere,' 'Measurement' is momentum exchange subject to interaction 'tangent point'. 'Collapse' is just re-quantisation /polarisation, non-integer spins are concurrent z axis rotation, etc etc. It also confirms a far wider model. Viz.

cont..

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Peter Jackson replied on Mar. 11, 2018 @ 12:04 GMT
...In 2010 my top 10 finalist essay '2020 vision' used Maxwell's near/far fields and the 2-fluid plasma we find at field transition zones with speed delta dependent density, only needed re-emission to be at c in each electron centre of mass rest frame to remove all paradox from SR, yet KEEP the postulates! (read that essay and the 3 after). That had the issue you described; how widely powerful was it? It seemed very! It seemed to lift thick mist from many areas, i.e. Stellar aberration was a big one. It even pointed to a solution for the problematic 'excluded middle' in logic, also a cyclic cosmology, natural cosmic redshift, stellar aberration and a tranch of other astrophysics problems! Sounds silly I know, but just look (some in papers not essays).

So QM was simply a test of an extant model that we'd failed to falsify any other way. I say 'simply', but of course it wasn't, needing more research in photonics, plasma etc. etc. I tested all QM's assumptions and found a flaw; the 'no assumption' assumption for pair morphology.... cont

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