There Is No Theory of Everything

Author: Lars Q. English
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9783319591506
Release Date: 2017-08-14
Genre: Science

The main purpose of this book is to introduce a broader audience to emergence by illustrating how discoveries in the physical sciences have informed the ways we think about it. In a nutshell, emergence asserts that non-reductive behavior arises at higher levels of organization and complexity. As physicist Philip Anderson put it, “more is different.” Along the text's conversational tour through the terrain of quantum physics, phase transitions, nonlinear and statistical physics, networks and complexity, the author highlights the various philosophical nuances that arise in encounters with emergence. The final part of the book zooms out to reflect on some larger lessons that emergence affords us. One of those larger lessons is the realization that the great diversity of theories and models, and the great variety of independent explanatory frameworks, will always be with us in the sciences and beyond. There is no “Theory of Everything” just around the corner waiting to be discovered.“div> One of the main benefits of this book is that it will make a number of exciting scientific concepts that are not normally covered at this level accessible to a broader audience. The overall presentation, including the use of examples, analogies, metaphors, and biographical interludes, is geared for the educated non-specialist.

The Physics of Emergence

Author: Robert C Bishop
Publisher: Morgan & Claypool Publishers
ISBN: 9781643271569
Release Date: 2019-06-04
Genre: Science

A standard view of elementary particles and forces is that they determine everything else in the rest of physics, the whole of chemistry, biology, geology, physiology and perhaps even human behavior. This reductive view of physics is popular among some physicists. Yet, there are other physicists who argue this is an oversimplified and that the relationship of elementary particle physics to these other domains is one of emergence. Several objections have been raised from physics against proposals for emergence (e.g., that genuinely emergent phenomena would violate the standard model of elementary particle physics, or that genuine emergence would disrupt the lawlike order physics has revealed). Many of these objections rightly call into question typical conceptions of emergence found in the philosophy literature. This book explores whether physics points to a reductive or an emergent structure of the world and proposes a physics-motivated conception of emergence that leaves behind many of the problematic intuitions shaping the philosophical conceptions. Examining several detailed case studies reveal that the structure of physics and the practice of physics research are both more interesting than is captured in this reduction/emergence debate. The results point to stability conditions playing a crucial though underappreciated role in the physics of emergence. This contextual emergence has thought-provoking consequences for physics and beyond, and will be of interest to physics students, researchers, as well as those interested in physics.

The Beauty of Physics Patterns Principles and Perspectives

Author: A. R. P. Rau
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191019890
Release Date: 2014-09-25
Genre: Science

The beauty of physics lies in its coherence in terms of a few fundamental concepts and principles. Even physicists have occasion to marvel at the overarching reach of basic principles and their ability to account for features stretching from the microscopic sub-atomic world to the cosmological expanses of the Universe. While mathematics is its natural language, physics is mostly about patterns, connections, and relations between objects and phenomena, and it is this aspect that is emphasized in this book. Since science tries to connect phenomena that at first sight appear widely different, while boiling them down to a small set of essential principles and laws, metaphor and analogy pervade our subject. Consider the pendulum, its swing from one extreme to the other often invoked in social or economic contexts. In molecular vibrations, such as in the CO2 molecule, the quantum motions of electrons and nuclei are metaphorically the pendulums. In electromagnetic radiation, including the visible light we observe, there are not even any concrete material particles, only electric and magnetic fields executing simple harmonic motion. But, to a physicist, they are all "just a pendulum". The selection of topics reflects the author's own four-decade career in research physics and his resultant perspective on the subject. While aimed primarily at physicists, including junior students, this book also addresses other readers who are willing to think with symbols and simple algebra in understanding the physical world around us. Each chapter, on themes such as dimensions, transformations, symmetries, or maps, begins with simple examples accessible to all while connecting them later to more sophisticated realizations in more advanced topics of physics.

Beyond the Dynamical Universe

Author: Michael Silberstein
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192533838
Release Date: 2018-02-02
Genre: Science

Theoretical physics and foundations of physics have not made much progress in the last few decades. Whether we are talking about unifying general relativity and quantum field theory (quantum gravity), explaining so-called dark energy and dark matter (cosmology), or the interpretation and implications of quantum mechanics and relativity, there is no consensus in sight. In addition, both enterprises are deeply puzzled about various facets of time including above all, time as experienced. The authors argue that, across the board, this impasse is the result of the "dynamical universe paradigm," the idea that reality is fundamentally made up of physical entities that evolve in time from some initial state according to dynamical laws. Thus, in the dynamical universe, the initial conditions plus the dynamical laws explain everything else going exclusively forward in time. In cosmology, for example, the initial conditions reside in the Big Bang and the dynamical law is supplied by general relativity. Accordingly, the present state of the universe is explained exclusively by its past. This book offers a completely new paradigm (called Relational Blockworld), whereby the past, present and future co-determine each other via "adynamical global constraints," such as the least action principle. Accordingly, the future is just as important for explaining the present as is the past. Most of the book is devoted to showing how Relational Blockworld resolves many of the current conundrums of both theoretical physics and foundations of physics, including the mystery of time as experienced and how that experience relates to the block universe.

Socio Cultural Perspectives on Science Education

Author: W.W. Cobern
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9789401152242
Release Date: 2012-12-06
Genre: Science

Global science education is a reality at the end of the 20th century - albeit an uneven reality - because of tremendous technological and economic pressures. Unfortunately, this reality is rarely examined in the light of what interests the everyday lives of ordinary people rather than the lives of political and economic elites. The purpose of this book is to offer insightful and thought-provoking commentary on both realities. The tacit question throughout the book is `Whose interests are being served by current science education practices and policies?' The various chapters offer critical analysis from the perspectives of culture, economics, epistemology, equity, gender, language, and religion in an effort to promote a reflective science education that takes place within, rather than taking over, the important cultural lives of people. The target audience for the book includes graduate students in education, science education and education policy professors, policy and government officials involved with education.

Chaos Complexity and Sociology

Author: Raymond A. Eve
Publisher: SAGE
ISBN: 0761908900
Release Date: 1997-06-12
Genre: Social Science

The authors of this volume provide a timely collection of articles which examine the emerging myths and theories surrounding the study of chaos and complexity. In the second part methodological matters are considered. Finally, conceptual models and applications are presented. This perceptive and thorough volume will be useful to sociologists and others interested in chaos and complexity theory.

Positioning the History of Science

Author: Kostas Gavroglu
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781402054204
Release Date: 2007-05-05
Genre: Science

This volume, compiled in honor of Sam Schweber, an outstanding historian of science, physicist and exceptional human being, offers a comprehensive survey of the present state of the history of science. It collects essays written by leading representatives in the field. The essays examine the state of the history of science today and issues related to its future.

Reductionism Emergence and Levels of Reality

Author: Sergio Chibbaro
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9783319063614
Release Date: 2014-05-13
Genre: Science

Scientists have always attempted to explain the world in terms of a few unifying principles. In the fifth century B.C. Democritus boldly claimed that reality is simply a collection of indivisible and eternal parts or atoms. Over the centuries his doctrine has remained a landmark, and much progress in physics is due to its distinction between subjective perception and objective reality. This book discusses theory reduction in physics, which states that the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts: the properties of things are directly determined by their constituent parts. Reductionism deals with the relation between different theories that address different levels of reality, and uses extrapolations to apply that relation in different sciences. Reality shows a complex structure of connections, and the dream of a unified interpretation of all phenomena in several simple laws continues to attract anyone with genuine philosophical and scientific interests. If the most radical reductionist point of view is correct, the relationship between disciplines is strictly inclusive: chemistry becomes physics, biology becomes chemistry, and so on. Eventually, only one science, indeed just a single theory, would survive, with all others merging in the Theory of Everything. Is the current coexistence of different sciences a mere historical venture which will end when the Theory of Everything has been established? Can there be a unified description of nature? Rather than an analysis of full reductionism, this book focuses on aspects of theory reduction in physics and stimulates reflection on related questions: is there any evidence of actual reduction? Are the examples used in the philosophy of science too simplistic? What has been endangered by the search for (the) ultimate truth? Has the dream of reductionist reason created any monsters? Is big science one such monster? What is the point of embedding science Y within science X, if predictions cannot be made on that basis?

Evolutionary Systems

Author: G. Vijver
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9789401715102
Release Date: 2013-04-17
Genre: Philosophy

The three well known revolutions of the past centuries - the Copernican, the Darwinian and the Freudian - each in their own way had a deflating and mechanizing effect on the position of humans in nature. They opened up a richness of disillusion: earth acquired a more modest place in the universe, the human body and mind became products of a long material evolutionary history, and human reason, instead of being the central, immaterial, locus of understanding, was admitted into the theater of discourse only as a materialized and frequently out-of-control actor. Is there something objectionable to this picture? Formulated as such, probably not. Why should we resist the idea that we are in certain ways, and to some degree, physically, biologically or psychically determined? Why refuse to acknowledge the fact that we are materially situated in an ever evolving world? Why deny that the ways of inscription (traces of past events and processes) are co-determinative of further "evolutionary pathways"? Why minimize the idea that each intervention, of each natural being, is temporally and materially situated, and has, as such, the inevitable consequence of changing the world? The point is, however, that there are many, more or less radically different, ways to consider the "mechanization" of man and nature. There are, in particular, many ways to get the message of "material and evolutionary determination", as well as many levels at which this determination can be thought of as relevant or irrelevant.

Annals of Theoretical Psychology

Author: Leendert P. Mos
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781461564539
Release Date: 2012-12-06
Genre: Psychology

This discipline has become more reflective in recent years. It has also become blatantly philosophical, which is itself cause for reflection. The philosophy of psychology has not been exactly a burgeoning field, and yet psychologists and philosophers of all persuasions are writing philosophical psychology. Perhaps all this activity merely reflects the uneasy bifurcation of psychology into biological and cognitive domains. After all, there were similar flurries in the 1920s and 1950s when the discipline assumed new directions. But, before, there were too many things to do; scientific knowing seemed so compelling and so singular in methodology. Today, the entire enterprise is much more uncertain, and not just psychology, but all human scientific inquiry. The fun damental questions remain much the same, of course; what has changed is that philosophers are explicitly addressing questions of psy chology and psychologists are at least implicitly engaged in philosophy. The bounderies are no longer clear cut! Theoretical psychology is as much the doing of philosophy as it is of experimental research. Volume 4 of these Annals attests to this state of affairs. The psychologists' style reflects their philosophical understanding; the philosophers differ according to what they take to be psychological knowledge.

Incomplete Nature How Mind Emerged from Matter

Author: Terrence W. Deacon
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393080834
Release Date: 2011-11-21
Genre: Science

A radical new explanation of how life and consciousness emerge from physics and chemistry. As physicists work toward completing a theory of the universe and biologists unravel the molecular complexity of life, a glaring incompleteness in this scientific vision becomes apparent. The "Theory of Everything" that appears to be emerging includes everything but us: the feelings, meanings, consciousness, and purposes that make us (and many of our animal cousins) what we are. These most immediate and incontrovertible phenomena are left unexplained by the natural sciences because they lack the physical properties—such as mass, momentum, charge, and location—that are assumed to be necessary for something to have physical consequences in the world. This is an unacceptable omission. We need a "theory of everything" that does not leave it absurd that we exist. Incomplete Nature begins by accepting what other theories try to deny: that, although mental contents do indeed lack these material-energetic properties, they are still entirely products of physical processes and have an unprecedented kind of causal power that is unlike anything that physics and chemistry alone have so far explained. Paradoxically, it is the intrinsic incompleteness of these semiotic and teleological phenomena that is the source of their unique form of physical influence in the world. Incomplete Nature meticulously traces the emergence of this special causal capacity from simple thermodynamics to self-organizing dynamics to living and mental dynamics, and it demonstrates how specific absences (or constraints) play the critical causal role in the organization of physical processes that generate these properties. The book's radically challenging conclusion is that we are made of these specific absenses—such stuff as dreams are made on—and that what is not immediately present can be as physically potent as that which is. It offers a figure/background shift that shows how even meanings and values can be understood as legitimate components of the physical world.

Erwin Schr dinger s World View

Author: Johann Götschl
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9789401124287
Release Date: 2012-12-06
Genre: Science

Erwin Schrödinger is one of the greatest figures of theoretical physics, but there is another side to the man: not only did his work revolutionize physics, it also radiacally changed the foundations of our modern worldview, modern biology, philosophy of science, philosophy of the mind, and epistemology. This book explores the lesser-known aspects of Schrödinger's thought, revealing the physicist as a philosopher and polymath whose highly original ideas anticipated the current merging of the natural and the social sciences and the humanities. Thirteen renowned scientists and philosophers have contributed to the volume. Part I reveals the philosophical importance of Schrödinger's work as a physicist. Part II examines his theory of life and of the self-organization of matter. Part III shows how Schrödinger's ideas have influenced contemporary philosophy of nature and our modern view of the world, drawing a fascinating picture of the ongoing synthesis of nature and culture: one of the most interesting developments of modern thought. The volume also contains the most comprehensive bibliography of Schrödinger's scientific work, making it at the same time a book of acute contemporary relevance and a major work of reference.

Advanced Topics in Quantum Field Theory

Author: M. Shifman
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139501880
Release Date: 2012-01-19
Genre: Science

Since the advent of Yang–Mills theories and supersymmetry in the 1970s, quantum field theory - the basis of the modern description of physical phenomena at the fundamental level - has undergone revolutionary developments. This is the first systematic and comprehensive text devoted specifically to modern field theory, bringing readers to the cutting edge of current research. The book emphasizes nonperturbative phenomena and supersymmetry. It includes a thorough discussion of various phases of gauge theories, extended objects and their quantization, and global supersymmetry from a modern perspective. Featuring extensive cross-referencing from traditional topics to recent breakthroughs in the field, it prepares students for independent research. The side boxes summarizing the main results and over 70 exercises make this an indispensable book for graduate students and researchers in theoretical physics.

Measuring the Universe

Author: Kitty Ferguson
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781448167227
Release Date: 2013-01-31
Genre: Science

Suppose you and I still wondered whether all of the pinpoints of light in the night sky are the same distance from us. Suppose none of our contemporaries could tell us whether the Sun orbits the Earth, or vice versa, or even how large the Earth is. Suppose no one had guessed there are mathematical laws underlying the motions of the heavens. How would - how did - anyone begin to discover these numbers and these relationships without leaving the Earth? What made anyone even think it was possible to find out “how far,” without going there? In Measuring the Universe we join our ancestors and contemporary scientists as they tease this information out of a sky full of stars. Some of the questions have turned out to be loaded, and a great deal besides mathematics and astronomy has gone into answering them. Politics, religion, philosophy and personal ambition: all have played roles in this drama. There are poignant personal stories, of people like Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, Herschel, and Hubble. Today scientists are attempting to determine the distance to objects near the borders of the observable universe, far beyond anything that can be seen with the naked eye in the night sky, and to measure time back to its origin. The numbers are too enormous to comprehend. Nevertheless, generations of curious people have figured them out, one resourceful step at a time. Progress has owed as much to raw ingenuity as to technology, and frontier inventiveness is still not out of date.