There Is No Theory of Everything

A Physics Perspective on Emergence

Author: Lars Q. English

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319591509

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 5867


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.

Socio-Cultural Perspectives on Science Education

An International Dialogue

Author: W.W. Cobern

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9401152241

Category: Science

Page: 221

View: 5161


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.

Erwin Schrödinger’s World View

The Dynamics of Knowledge and Reality

Author: Johann Götschl

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9401124280

Category: Science

Page: 239

View: 7164


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.


Digital Narrative, Holism, and the Romance of the Real

Author: Richard Coyne

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262531917

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 398

View: 2015


Technoromanticism pits itself against a hard-headed rationalism, but its most potent antagonists are contemporary pragmatism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, surrealism, and deconstruction--all of which subvert the romantic legacy and provoke new narratives of computing. This book explores the spectrum of romantic narrative that pervades the digital age, from McLuhan's utopian vision of social reintegration by electronic communication to claims that cyberspace creates new realities. Technoromanticism pits itself against a hard-headed rationalism, but its most potent antagonists are contemporary pragmatism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, surrealism, and deconstruction--all of which subvert the romantic legacy and provoke new narratives of computing. Thus the book also serves as an introduction to the application of contemporary theory to information technology, raising issues of representation, space, time, interpretation, identity, and the real. As such, it is a companion to Coyne's Designing Information Technology in the Postmodern Age: From Method to Metaphor (MIT Press, 1995).

The Beauty of Physics: Patterns, Principles, and Perspectives

Author: A. R. P. Rau

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191019895

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 6062


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.

Evolutionary Systems

Biological and Epistemological Perspectives on Selection and Self-Organization

Author: G. Vijver,Stanley N. Salthe,M. Delpos

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9401715106

Category: Philosophy

Page: 438

View: 1348


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: 1461564530

Category: Psychology

Page: 402

View: 8745


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.


A Physicalist Theory of Phenomenal Consciousness

Author: Reinaldo J. Bernal Velásquez

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter

ISBN: 311032556X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 216

View: 4140


This work advances a theory in the metaphysics of phenomenal consciousness, which the author labels “e-physicalism”. Firstly, he endorses a realist stance towards consciousness and physicalist metaphysics. Secondly, he criticises Strong AI and functionalist views, and claims that consciousness has an internal character. Thirdly, he discusses HOT theories, the unity of consciousness, and holds that the “explanatory gap” is not ontological but epistemological. Fourthly, he argues that consciousness is not a supervenient but an emergent property, not reducible and endowed with original causal powers, with respect to the micro-constituents of the conscious entity. Fifthly, he addresses the “zombie argument” and the “supervenience argument” within the e-physicalism framework. Finally, he elaborates on the claim that phenomenal properties are physical and discusses the “knowledge argument”.

Quantum Enigma

Physics Encounters Consciousness

Author: Bruce Rosenblum,Fred Kuttner

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019979295X

Category: Science

Page: 304

View: 5099


In trying to understand the atom, physicists built quantum mechanics, the most successful theory in science and the basis of one-third of our economy. They found, to their embarrassment, that with their theory, physics encounters consciousness. Authors Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner explain all this in non-technical terms with help from some fanciful stories and anecdotes about the theory's developers. They present the quantum mystery honestly, emphasizing what is and what is not speculation. Quantum Enigma's description of the experimental quantum facts, and the quantum theory explaining them, is undisputed. Interpreting what it all means, however, is heatedly controversial. But every interpretation of quantum physics involves consciousness. Rosenblum and Kuttner therefore turn to exploring consciousness itself--and encounter quantum mechanics. Free will and anthropic principles become crucial issues, and the connection of consciousness with the cosmos suggested by some leading quantum cosmologists is mind-blowing. Readers are brought to a boundary where the particular expertise of physicists is no longer the only sure guide. They will find, instead, the facts and hints provided by quantum mechanics and the ability to speculate for themselves. In the few decades since the Bell's theorem experiments established the existence of entanglement (Einstein's "spooky action"), interest in the foundations, and the mysteries, of quantum mechanics has accelerated. In recent years, physicists, philosophers, computer engineers, and even biologists have expanded our realization of the significance of quantum phenomena. This second edition includes such advances. The authors have also drawn on many responses from readers and instructors to improve the clarity of the book's explanations.