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Current Essay Contest


Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation

Previous Contests

Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest
December 24, 2019 - April 24, 2020
Contest Partners: Fetzer Franklin Fund, and The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation
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What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation
read/discusswinners

Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.
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Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American

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How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
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It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
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Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American
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Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American
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What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams
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The Nature of Time
August - December 2008
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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Juan Ramón González Álvarez: on 2/23/18 at 20:24pm UTC, wrote "But that does not mean that we should ascribe a unique, fundamental...

Steven Andresen: on 2/22/18 at 6:55am UTC, wrote Dear Frank If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the...

Satyavarapu Gupta: on 2/13/18 at 12:29pm UTC, wrote Hi Prof Frank Pohlmann You are exactly correct in your OP...."Different...

Dizhechko Semyonovich: on 2/7/18 at 18:58pm UTC, wrote Dear Frank Pohlmann According to the principle of the identity of space...

Joe Fisher: on 2/1/18 at 21:48pm UTC, wrote Dear Frank Pohlmann, FQXi.org is clearly seeking to confirm whether Nature...

Frank Pohlmann: on 2/1/18 at 11:55am UTC, wrote Dear Paul, Thanks for your interesting comment. Yes, I think we agree...

Branko Zivlak: on 2/1/18 at 9:50am UTC, wrote Dear Frank, You're right. "Different physical theories have different,...

Paul Bastiaansen: on 2/1/18 at 7:42am UTC, wrote Dear Frank, I liked your essay. It is well written and it inspires further...


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FQXi FORUM
June 4, 2020

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: One more Copernican Revolution : The World Does not exist by Frank Pohlmann [refresh]
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Author Frank Pohlmann wrote on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 20:32 GMT
Essay Abstract

Different physical theories have different, only partially overlapping domains. Constructing theories with a greater domain of validity in one parameter comes at the costs of shrinking the domain of validity of other parameters. This is necessarily the case because of the ontological plurality of physical reality. ‘The World’ as conceived as an entity with a unique structure does not exist. A fundamental, all comprehensive theory of physical reality does not exist, because The World does not exist.

Author Bio

theoretical physicist, mainly interested in gravitational theories

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Alvina Alvina Ash wrote on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 06:07 GMT
Constructing theories with a greater area concerning validity between some parameter comes at the charges regarding shrinking the area concerning validity about sordid parameters. This is always the law because regarding the ontological plurality on bodily reality.

help with essay

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Paul Bastiaansen wrote on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 07:42 GMT
Dear Frank,

I liked your essay. It is well written and it inspires further thought.

As for your first observation, the role of mathematics in bridging between older and newer theories, I think you miss a point here. The reason that Einstein took care to arrive at the inverse quadratic relation between gravitational force and distance, was not because he wanted to inherit from Newton’s theory but because he wanted his theory to be in line with existing observations. If the theory of general relativity would not find the inverse square law for small gravitational fields, it’s predictions simply would not match empirical data on planetary orbits, which would immediately refute the theory.

I agree with you that most physicists take the isomorphy between phyical reality and mathematics for granted. In my essay, I also arrive at a peculiar relation between physical reality and mathematics, and I might have a little to contribute to this topic as well.

With kind regards,

Paul Bastiaansen

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Author Frank Pohlmann replied on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 11:55 GMT
Dear Paul,

Thanks for your interesting comment.

Yes, I think we agree that new physical theories ( e.g. GR) must retain mathematical structures from older, superseded theoies ( Newtonian gravity), albeit in a different setting ( for example differential geometry). The reason is that the older theory already captured valid empirical relation within a limited domain.

It is precisely this transfer of information about functional dependences from older, limited theories to more comprehensive theories which makes mathematics such an effective tool for physics. This process, the transfer of information between 'generations' of theories is akin to the passing on of genetic information from parents to offspring in phylogenetic biological evolution.

My main main thesis is that there does not exist a single theory comprising all physical phenomena. Observe that any one biological species is adapted to a specific environment and that the genetic material of this species contains information about this special environment. However, it does not exists a biological species which would be adapted to all possible environments. Analogously physical theories are 'adopted' to there specific ' environment ', i.e. there domain of validity.

I further maintain that it does not make sense to speak of the 'The World' as a whole, unique structure. Rather physical reality should be conceived as a network of diverse, local ' environments.

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Branko L Zivlak wrote on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 09:50 GMT
Dear Frank,

You're right.

"Different physical theories have different, only partially overlapping domains."

But this does not apply to the Philosophy of Nature. For example, the first and best TOE (Bošković's Philosophy of Nature…) covers all domains of forces. That's why it anticipated many later discoveries.

With best wishes,

Branko

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Joe Fisher wrote on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 21:48 GMT
Dear Frank Pohlmann,

FQXi.org is clearly seeking to confirm whether Nature is fundamental.

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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post approved


Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 18:58 GMT
Dear Frank Pohlmann

According to the principle of the identity of space and matter of Descartes, space is matter that moves. When Copernicus began to assert that the Earth revolves around the Sun, he had, according to Descarts, was obliged to add that along with the Earth around the Sun, the entire circumsolar space rotates. Space is what the whole world is built of. Space is the source of information. Look at my page, FQXi Fundamental in New Cartesian Physics by Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich Where I showed how radically the physics can change if it follows the principle of identity of space and matter of Descartes. Evaluate and leave your comment there.

Sincerely, Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich.

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 12:29 GMT
Hi Prof Frank Pohlmann

You are exactly correct in your OP...."Different physical theories have different, only partially overlapping domains. Constructing theories with a greater domain of validity in one parameter comes at the costs of shrinking the domain of validity of other parameters.....".

... kindly consider another Gravitation based theory.....Here in my essay energy to mass...

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 06:55 GMT
Dear Frank

If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the final days of the contest, will you consider mine please? I read all essays from those who comment on my page, and if I cant rate an essay highly, then I don’t rate them at all. Infact I haven’t issued a rating lower that ten. So you have nothing to lose by having me read your essay, and everything to...

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Juan Ramón González Álvarez wrote on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 20:24 GMT
"But that does not mean that we should ascribe a unique, fundamental structure to physical reality. On the contrary, we should conceive of reality has having a multitude of irreducible different structures, none more fundamental than the other. Physical theories describe these structures in terms of different irreducible concepts (e.g. Hilbert spaces, differential geometry, etc), none of these...

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