[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] A "common basis"

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Kathryn Blackmond Laskey <klaskey@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 02 May 2007 18:47:22 -0400
Message-id: <p06110401c25ea88bce01@[]>
>...It has been *proved* that physics as a whole
>  > does not have a consistent foundation.    (01)

Not true.  Physics is *incomplete* but not inconsistent.  No one has 
yet developed the hoped-for Grand Unified Theory that encompasses 
both quantum theory and General Relativity, but there are perfectly 
good, incomplete theories of each separately, and they are consistent 
with each other.    (02)

Specifically, Tomonaga and Schwinger showed how von Neumann / 
Copenhagen quantum theory can be made consistent with general 
relativity by requiring wave function collapses to occur along a 
timelike separated sequence of spacelike surfaces in spacetime. 
Their theory does not resolve the divergence problems that occur in 
general relativity at high energies, and it does not resolve the 
foundational debates within quantum theory about whether 
wave-function collapses really happen or whether a theory will be 
found that dispenses with them.  Therefore, the theory is incomplete 
-- it doesn't fully describe what happens at very high energies and 
it doesn't explain when or how wave-function collapses occur.  But it 
is consistent.  And very well confirmed empirically.    (03)

>And every field other
>>  than physics is in even worse shape.    (04)

Every other field is less complete.  As for inconsistencies, one has 
to attempt to put everything into a single formalism even to attempt 
to find inconsistencies. To my knowledge no such attempt has been 
made in most fields.    (05)

>...the conceptual
>defining vocabulary will be underspecified in the sense that it will
>not **include** any of the theories of physics that are inconsistent,
>but will be able to **describe** those theories.  I do have protons and
>neutrons as constituents of (most) atomic nuclei in my ontology -- is
>there any serious debate about that?    (06)

Yes, there is.    (07)

In the incomplete foundational physical theory I described above, 
there are no protons.  More precisely, there are no individual 
distinguishable entities possessing the characteristics we associate 
with protons. There is only a proton wave function, which specifies 
probabilities of outcomes of various experiments we can carry out to 
measure phenomena associated with protons.  It is not correct to say 
"Proton P1 is located at L1 and Proton P2 is located at L2."  All we 
can say is "Two proton-localization events were observed: one at L1 
and the other at L2."  For these kinds of events, quantum theory 
gives stunningly accurate probabilistic predictions.    (08)

Kathy    (09)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Subscribe/Config: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (010)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>