Friday, August 10, 2012

Phun Phacts of Physics ‘n’ Philosophy

Click on the link for the essay containing the choice quotes below.

I’ve been sitting on an exploration of the subject for several years, adding a paragraph every few months or so, until (in the fullness of infinite time) it might be ripe (“Pauca, sed matura” -- the motto of Gauss):  thus virtually daring the Reaper not to take me just yet, ere the work be finished.

"It's a bird!"  "It's Balloon Boy!"   "It's the HI-I-IGGS  BOSON !!!"

We each have an innate sense of causality – indeed, rather too robust a one, as it frequently reaches beyond the facts (post hoc ergo propter hoc).  Thus  observed regularities are already partway along towards being conceived as laws, which Nature tends, by nature, to observe.

The profoundly unenquiring mind, if such there be, does not wonder what causes what, but simply takes life as it comes.  One senses such a temper among the ducks.

The whole enterprise of physics, from ancient times to today, is itself in one sense Minimalist, in that it seeks to sweep aside the riot of epiphenomena, and to discover underlying laws, from which that riot derives.

At first glance, “the Importance of Epistemology” would seem scarcely to qualify as an Idea.  It would seem rather to be simply Sage Advice, like “the importance of Education” or even “the importance of flossing”.

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