A deterministic evolution of a wavefunction is indeed be what his metaphysics would translate to. As far as I know, notions of determinism less general than this do not lie in the domain of metaphysics.GoldenRishi wrote:That depends on what you mean by "refute." If you mean to "refute" in the sense of providing a counter argument to Spinoza's claim that deductively proves Spinoza wrong with a valid polysyllogism, then no, science isn't going to refute Spinoza. That's not the level at which science would attack Spinoza's thesis. But if you mean to question whether or not science can provide enough empirical data so as to make Spinoza's thesis entirely unreasonable in the sense of almost certainly being wrong, then no, I wouldn't, anymore than I'd need to carefully know the arguments of a Biblical literalist's interpretation of the Bible to refute them with the sole knowledge that evolution is true. However, there's two important issues:candyjack wrote:First of all, I'd like to correct myself. I'm not sure whether or not Newton believed in determinism, but I meant Laplace. However, while we're at it, Spinoza is probably a way better example. Spinoza's Ethica provides an a priori deduction for determinism. The claim that physics is more fundamental than metaphysics implies that the soundness of even those a priori arguments is altered by empirical data, but this is simply not how philosophy works. Empirical data might inspire arguments, but in order to refute Spinoza, you'll have to tackle his arguments.
1.) There is a caveat, however, which is important for reading Spinoza before declaring him (or anyone else) to be wrong, and that is the issue of how specific Spinoza's definitions might be or how broadly we construe Spinoza's sense of determinism. If Spinoza used the term "determinism" in a more general sense, then perhaps the deterministic evolution of a wavefunction in QM would be sufficient to make his definition of determinism valid. If that's true, then I don't necessarily have anything to say against his argument.
It is indeed the former that I was talking about. I don't believe we can rationally deduce undeniable synthetic propositions either.GoldenRishi wrote: 2.) I think this gets back to the what you're really trying to get at, but I tend to reject the notion of a priori synthetic statements. Admittedly my readings of metaphysics have been more limited than many other areas of philosophy, but it seems to me that any claim about the nature of reality that comes from pure thought alone is always suspect. For two thousand years people thought that they might make progress in understanding the world around them in this manner, and for two thousand years they failed. Which is not to say that you can't gain insight into the nature of the world by thinking, but the thinking should at least be tethered to corroborated facts of the matter. If this is what is meant by "inspired", then we're in perfect agreement. But if you mean that we can rationally deduce certain synthetic propositions that can never be rendered false by our experience or by an experiment, then I'm all ears on what such a proposition would look like or how one could rationally deduce it with such certainty. I won't go so far as to say such a thing could never done, but I must admit that I'm nonplussed on how anyone could provide such a justification which didn't amount to it actually being an analytic statement.
This is what I find so deceptive. Since the assumption must clearly be rejected, one might feel seducted to simplify the conclusion to "determinism is not true," but the assumption, specifically, was that there is a deterministic theory i.e. a that it can be described by physics, and the only conclusion that can be made is that whether or not we live in a determined world, lies outside of the domain of physics.GoldenRishi wrote:No, they don't disprove them. All theorems start with assumptions, and the theorems are only as wide-ranging as their assumptions are. In the case of the Bell's Equalities and related theorems, they assume:candyjack wrote:In response to the findings of Heisenberg and Bohr and the role of randomness it implied, Einstein hypothesized a hidden variable which could be used to predict the wave-function collapse nonetheless, and of which we simply weren't aware. With this as a possibility, determinism still didn't seem disproven. The reason I brought up the Bell and Kochen-Specker theorems is because they seemed to exclude Einstein's hidden variable.GoldenRishi wrote: [...]
As for the Bell Inequality and the Kochen-Specker theorems, no they are not proofs against determinism, of course, but they add the compounding certainty that determinism is not a tenable position. Technically speaking, there are very old proposals such as Bohmian mechanics which replicates some (it's unknown if it replicates all) of the predictions of QM, but remains deterministic because it contains non-local hidden variables. But it appears to fail to work under any incorporation of relativity, however, and so physicists became very uninterested in it.
There is a deterministic theory with local hidden variables.
If so, then Bell's Inequality cannot hold. Thus, given that the experiments corroborate Bell Inequality to probability P (They aren't entirely experimentally proven yet, but for the sake of argument let's say that they were, so that one can be 99.9999999% sure that Bell's Inequalities hold), then the belief that our universe is deterministic and local holds to .00000001%. In other words, it's a very unreasonable belief.
We can't be 100% sure through experiments, but for the sake of the argument, let's suppose that we could be. If so, then we can be 100% sure that determinism with local hidden variables is false. So most people who want to play this game, although it hasn't gotten them anywhere, instead rely on something like Bohmian mechanics, which makes use of non-local hidden variables.
I'm not assuming that you meant to conflate the two, but don't you agree that physicists should (if they make that claim) revise the statement "determinism is untrue" to "whether or not determinism is true, is outside the scope of physics"?
Electrons are not a good example, because I'm talking about things which we will never be able to measure.GoldenRishi wrote:1.) There might be hidden things that we cannot measure that nevertheless are a part of reality, sure. Cro magnon couldn't measure electrons, but electrons certainly existed. The problem is that metaphysicians aren't anymore qualified to talk about them with authority and certainty than physicists are.candyjack wrote: And here comes the main issue. If physics is more fundamental than metaphysics, those theorems exclude even the possibility of a variable which remains hidden, and which we'll never be able to measure. In other words: we are to make deductions about the world based on what we can and cannot measure. This relies on the hidden assumption that only that exists which we can measure.
I believe that we're in agreement here. If metaphysics says X and observation tells us ~X, the first question I would ask is whether the two fields really talk about the same thing when they talk about 'X'. This is also the theme of my initial post in this thread: much confusion arises because physicists tend to take words with certain definitions, and attribute incompatible definitions to them. That was my whole issue.GoldenRishi wrote:I think you're changing the question. My objection lies mostly with the portion of your claim regarding "even of truth statements", not necessarily with which field is more basic/primitive/fundamental at an assumptions level. The answer to that depends on how you define these things. So if you want to do science, you have to assume a certain kind of metaphysics, then yes you have to assume certain statements about reality. As per above, in order for me to see how it could be true, however, that metaphysics would be more fundamental at a truth-statement level (i.e. metaphysics says X but observation tells us ~X, but we are obliged to conclude X because metaphysics is more fundamental), it seems to hold one-to-one correspondence with providing an a priori synthetic statement. Again, perhaps I'm misunderstanding you and that's not what you mean.candyjack wrote:Rather than arguing that this assumption is incorrect, I'm going to take a different approach and say that the very question (i.e. whether or not there can exist more than what we can measure) lies within the boundaries of metaphysics. Thus, in order to argue for how fundamental physics is, one has to rely on metaphysics. It naturally follows that metaphysics is the more fundamental field.
I'll admit that this is true. In fact, Spinoza made the same mistake of taking Euclid's geometry for unfalsifiable.GoldenRishi wrote: Perhaps you mean that philosophy can point out incorrect thinking of scientists, and that this can have important implications, and in this sense philosophy is more fundamental, including truth statements. Certainly, there's a venerable history in the philosophy of science to support this; of course, failures were also made with, e.g., positivism or mechanism. But if so, then I agree with you. One need look no further than David Hume's discussion of the Problem of Induction, which was completely ignored by physicists/natural philosophers for a century until Newton's laws and Euclidean geometry were falsified (Which prior to this were considered a priori synthetic statements) by Einstein's work and the experiments that later corroborated it. Repeating an experiment doesn't prove that the theoretical model that happens to get the prediction correct is deductively correct, and in fact if one wants to do this correctly one introduces probability theory to account for the problem of induction and one modifies their understanding of what to conclude from scientific experiments and theories. However, none of that seems to support the thesis that science cannot correct or disprove metaphysics or philosophical arguments. Philosophical arguments rely on premises just like everyone else's arguments; if science shows that the premise is wrong (or at least worth questioning), then it seems to me that philosophers have to own up to the failure of their ideas to accord with observation and experience, just like every other discipline does when philosophers point out a flawed or incoherent premise.
Now, I'd like to bring up the issue of time one more time. I appreciate the clarification on special relativity you gave in your other post, but I still have a problem with the idea of time as 'the fourth dimension'. First of all: it still isn't clear to me whether or not special and general relativity lead physicists to believe that it's the fourth dimension. If additional dimensions are discovered, would time necessarily come between them and the third dimension? Or can it still be separate?
If physicists do treat it as the fourth dimension, I will agree that, once again, the physical definition of 'dimension' has diverged from what we intuitively mean by the word. Here are some examples of how time seems to function in a way fundamentally different from the three << regular >> (for lack of a better word) dimensions:
- In the << regular >> dimensions, we can freely move in any direction, or stand still, but we can only move in one way when it comes to time (namely forward), and we necessarily move that way. In addition, we can (under normal circumstances) only move through time with a certain... << velocity >> (This seems like an incorrect term, but I hope you know what I mean). This seems to have a simple explanation, namely that we as three-dimensional beings only have control over our movement in those dimensions, and not others. However, if time really works in the same way as the other dimensions, wouldn't that lead to the possibility of four-dimensional objects which can freely move through time as well?
- The velocity with which we move in the x, y, or z directions are independent of each other (i.e. when steering perfectly, a spaceship may move as fast as he wishes in a certain direction, without it affecting his movement in other directions), but when we approach the velocity c in any direction, it necessarily leads to an increase in the << velocity >> with which we move through time. With the << regular >> dimensions, the axes are perpendicular to each other, but this behaviour leads one to suspect that time's axis has some overlap with the axes of the other dimensions.