Saturday, May 09, 2015

Why Physics Needs Philosophy


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure this guy is right about the twins paradox. He claims that Feynman is incorrect in resolving the paradox by appeal to accelerations, but since acceleration is absolutely necessary to get both twins back in the same inertial frame, and since acceleration is time-dilating in gneral relativity and discernible within either twins' frames, acceleration does solve the paradox. Hans Reichenbach, a philosopher, appealed to acceleration in his solution just as Feynman did. And while the linked author refers to formulations of the twins paradox that do not require acceleration, he does not furnish any examples and I am unaware of any.

Not sure if this guy is the best example of the kind of philosopher that physics so desperately needs.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, I posted without comment, but almost noted that I don't understand the issues, so I can't vouch for the piece.
One way to make the same point is just to back up and say that some explanation of such things is required beyond the math. If that's even true...and I'm not sure it is...

I do find, incidentally, that we get a lot of physics students who take my colleague's philosophy of physics and philosophy of quantum mechanics courses and they frequently say that they're doing so because their profs in physics can do the math but can't explain to them what's going on, whereas my colleague can. Of course that might be a merely pedagogical point, or the students might be wrong, etc...

My own reason for suspecting that physics needs philosophy (which might be done by physicists) is that physicists, left to their own devices, often say really stupid things that they would be a lot less likely to say if they knew some philosophy. Witness that Hawking (and other dude) book...

9:47 AM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Two words: free will.

3:27 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home