Category Archives: Philosophy of Science

The Impossibility of Precisely Measuring Positions of Particles in Quantum Physics

I am not going to go too hard on him, James S. Trefil, because he is such a fine author and I enjoy his work; but I must address an error that this physicist makes in one of his books, From Atoms to Quarks: An Introduction to the Strange World of Particle Physics (1980).  (See my review of the book by clicking on this sentence.)  I have chosen Trefil’s error for discussion, because he is a fine physicist, which makes for a good mark in proving a point, namely, that physics needs philosophy of physics to mind a number of problems that are not central to advancement of the science.  These problems include the kind of conceptual one that will be mentioned —one that I hope other physicists do not err on— and conceptual problems in foundations, metaphysics, and so forth. Continue reading

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Filed under Philosophy, Philosophy of Physics, Physics, Popular Science

General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics: Unity through Metaphysics?

Within the physics community, there seems to be a problematic mode of thought, in trying to figure out how to unify quantum mechanics (QM) and general relativity (GR).  Moreover, this mode is pervasive, unfortunately.  The thinking goes like this: Given QM’s overwhelming success —it is often hailed as the most successful physical theory, to date— GR must be forced into a theoretical and mathematical vessel that exactly reflects QM.  The subtlety contained in this thinking is that the interpretation of QM is independent of the endeavor to unify QM and GR, and, therefore, all problems completely reside in “fixing” GR.  The problem with this mode of thought is that, among all problems, the greatest disparity in the realities of QM and GR resides in the mathematical divide, namely, that non-commutative algebras run rampant in one realm, whereas the other exclusively adheres to commutative algebras.  Continue reading

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Ontology in the Holographic Cave

I wrote “Ontology in the Holographic Cave” while I was studying at Harvard University.  My goal was to challenge the thinking of Dr. Justin Jungé and Dr. Rosa Cao (both formerly post docs under Daniel Dennett), both of whom are materialists, at least to some extent.  My intention was to sway their opinions toward Transcendental Idealism, however so slightly.  The challenge was unique because of all of the necessary prerequisites, before even entering into the rationale of the argument.  As it was, I had spent nine weeks odiously applying —tongue in cheek— Occasionalism arguments to Hume’s problem of necessary causal connection, through Reichenbach’s work on causality (as in The Direction of Time), just for the sake of illustrating the limits of science that’s embedded in material empiricism.  I think that I amused Dr. Jungé, anyway.  Continue reading

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Filed under Kantian Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, Pure Philosophy, Uncategorized

On the Progress of Curing and Preventing Cancer: The Need for More Philosophy

This, my first blog post, is my submission for the Rhio O’Connor Essay Scholarship Competition. As mentioned in the “About David” section of this site, I am interested in the application of philosophy in all intellectual and scholarly disciplines, especially, when there is some additional scientific nuance. Such is the case in dealing with cancer theory and cancer research methodology. Unfortunately, due to length constraints, I could not go into nearly the particulars that I would have liked to, so my thoughts on topics like the application of the Quine-Duhem Thesis on pharmaceutical research must be left aside for another paper. Continue reading

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