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What Does "Physical" Really Mean?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Nous, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    (1) You obviously haven't shown that everything that exists is "physical" according to your definition. As already noted, that is the unscientific nature of all metaphysical monisms. The scientific method cannot be used to determine that "everything that exists is [X]." The scientific method cannot be used to rule out the existence of something that is not tested in any given hypothesis.

    (2) Again, the claim that "everything supervenes on [physical things]" means that "everything" is in addition to the physical things. See: Supervenience (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
     
  2. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    No, what scientists discover about reality are measurements. Sometimes these are expressed as numbers.

    Which, truthfully, is a load of cr**. We discover relationships between our expressions for physical observations. Since many of those expressions are mathematical, many of the discoveries are couched in the language of mathematics. but this does not mean that the universe is mathematical by nature.

    No thing in the universe is a part of an abstract formal system. But that is what it takes to be 'mathematical by nature' because mathematics is simply the study of formal systems.

    Mathematics is 'unreasonably effective' because languages in general are. We express some of our best ideas through mathematics, but that does not mean that all is of a mathematical nature. it just means *we* choose to use mathematics to describe things.

    We predicted the Higg's particle by using a mathematical model that approximates what we observe very well. We used that model to make the prediction. But other models failed in make valid predictions, so they went away. We keep those models that serve to make valid predictions and eliminate those that do not. because math allows for more precision than more natural languages, it allows for more testability of our ideas. But, once again, that doesn't mean that the universe itself is mathematical any more than it means that the universe is English.
     
  3. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Under the Standard model, the down quark has a charge (1/3 that of an electron, to be exact). Every particle that is charged exchanges photons with all other charged particles in the Standard Model. In particular, the down quark exchanges photons with other atoms as well as the electrons and other quarks of the atom it is inside.

    OK, atoms are physical. Quarks and electrons are physical. Photons are physical. Information is an arrangement of physical things and is thereby based in the physical. Whether you want to call an arrangement of physical things as physical is a matter of definition. Does the arrangement interact with its parts? yes! So it is physical!

    As for the wave function. There are two aspects here: one is the mathematical description, which is part of our *model*. The other is the observations, which are physical and are predicted by our model. The wave function is not physical because it is part of the mathematical model.
     
  4. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    And if the physical gives everything that is required to predict 'anything else', I am quite happy with that. If you want to define other things as non-physical even though they are completely determined by the physical, then that is your issue. At that point is is terminology and not that interesting.

    Monism isn't my issue: I really don't care if everything is of one 'substance' because I don't even consider that to be a reasonable format for discussion. The whole philosophical concept of 'substance' is deeply flawed.

    The question isn't just whether something has been tested by some hypothesis, but whether it is possible even in theory to test it. Anything untestable by nature is meaningless. To even talk about its existence is nonsense.
     
  5. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    Cite the examples of physicists "discovering" a non-mathematical measurement. How does one measure something except by quantities?

    What is this but "a load of cr**"? The proposition that is concluded in the Quine-Putnam indispensability argument is at least deduced from facts. You've done nothing but make claims.

    You can't deduce and couldn't predict the existence of the Higgs particle from words.
     
  6. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    The down quark exchanges one-third of a photon with atoms?

    Cite the experiment showing that the down quark exchanges photons (or portions of photons) with other atoms.


    So you do not claim that information is physical according to your definition of "physical".

    "Physical" is an adjective, except when referring to a bodily exam that a physician performs. Define what you are referring to as "the physical".

    [/quote]The wave function is not physical[/QUOTE]Excellent refutation of physicalism.
     
  7. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    So when you say things like "the down quark exchanges photons with other atoms," that's meaningless nonsense. Right?
     
  8. 1AOA1

    1AOA1 Active Member

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    The "natural-o-meter" is found or dubbed, then the "natural."
     
    #148 1AOA1, Nov 29, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
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  9. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    No, how did you get that out of what I wrote? The strength of the interaction is 1/3 that of an electron because the charge of a down quark is 1/3 that of an electron.

    ALL charged particles exchange photons! That is what makes photons the carrier of the E&M force.


    I am claiming that if you know all the physical properties of the system, you can derive all other properties of that system (like the information). Just like you can derive the entropy or the energy, or the angular momentum.

    At that point, it is a matter of labeling. Are such properties physical or not? I'd say yes.

    All things physical.

    [/quote]The wave function is not physical[/QUOTE]Excellent refutation of physicalism.[/QUOTE]

    Why do you think that? It still supervenes on the physical, which is all that is important here.

    Either the wave function is a purely theoretical construct (in our heads, which means it is an idea and physical in that sense), or probability waves are detectable and are physical more directly.

    I generally consider the wave function to be a part of the model, in other words, of our conceptions. That means it is physical simply because our ideas are physical processes.
     
  10. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    No, it has very detectable results because that is the essence of the E&M force on charged particles like down quarks.

    Do you accept that electrons exchange photons with each other?
     
  11. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    So there is no experiment that has tested the hypothesis that the down quark exchanges a photon with atoms? Therefore, your claim that "the down quark exchanges photons with other atoms" is meaningless nonsense, according to your criterion. Correct?

    So apparently that means that you are unable to argue that either information or the wave function is physical according to your definition of "physical".

    So, your metaphysical scheme is that there exists physical things and, additionally, wave functions.
     
  12. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    I have not detected any quark exchanging any photon with any atom. Please show picture.
     
  13. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    It has been verified that down quarks are charged. That means they exchange photons with other charged particles.

    The state of a physical system is physical. That is the information of the system.

    No, I argue that either wave functions are directly physical in the sense that they are measurable (and hence interact) or they are conceptual and are thereby physical because concepts are brain states that are physical.
     
  14. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Do you accept that in the Standard Model of particles, that charged particles exchange photons? And that down quarks are charged?
     
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