An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

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growthhormone
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An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by growthhormone » January 31st, 2018, 10:39 pm

An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible? This is also called "Ultimate Theory possible". Is it possible to use a single theory to describe the universe (everything)?

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Frost
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Re: An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by Frost » February 1st, 2018, 1:12 am

growthhormone wrote:
January 31st, 2018, 10:39 pm
An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible? This is also called "Ultimate Theory possible". Is it possible to use a single theory to describe the universe (everything)?
This assumes that the universe is everything. The question remains, "what breathes fire into the equations?" The problem, in other words, is that equations can never describe existence and experience.

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Re: An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by Steve3007 » February 2nd, 2018, 8:33 am

OP:
Is it possible to use a single theory to describe the universe (everything)?
It's not even possible to use a single theory to accurately predict the outcome of a single horse race, let alone everything else. But I appreciate that's not what you meant.

Physics is arguably the most precise of the sciences but it only works in practice on very simple systems. To deal with more complex systems, as we move up through chemistry, biology, psychology and sociology we have to gradually trade precision for the ability to deal with that complexity. The most complex system we know about so far is large collections of interacting human beings (the subject of sociology).

So if we stick to the simple level of physics your question is obviously about whether such things as General Relativity can be united with quantum/particle physics (everything else).

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Re: An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by Frost » February 2nd, 2018, 2:34 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
February 2nd, 2018, 8:33 am
It's not even possible to use a single theory to accurately predict the outcome of a single horse race, let alone everything else. But I appreciate that's not what you meant.

Physics is arguably the most precise of the sciences but it only works in practice on very simple systems. To deal with more complex systems, as we move up through chemistry, biology, psychology and sociology we have to gradually trade precision for the ability to deal with that complexity. The most complex system we know about so far is large collections of interacting human beings (the subject of sociology).

So if we stick to the simple level of physics your question is obviously about whether such things as General Relativity can be united with quantum/particle physics (everything else).
I think it comes down to humans having free will and that physics is not causally closed. In other words, you cannot predict human action, and therefore you cannot predict what happens in the world, because Intentional causation operates in the causal gap found in quantum theory. Fundamental physics is itself a description of a psycho-physical interaction which is not entirely described by the mathematical laws. It makes necessary reference to the observer, both in the selection of experimental setup and in the experiential state of the observer to "collapse the wave function."

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Re: An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by Steve3007 » February 2nd, 2018, 8:07 pm

Frost wrote:I think it comes down to humans having free will and that physics is not causally closed. In other words, you cannot predict human action, and therefore you cannot predict what happens in the world, because Intentional causation operates in the causal gap found in quantum theory.
Why do you link intentional causation to quantum theory? It has been suggested before, for example by Roger Penrose, that quantum randomness is linked to consciousness and free will. Is this what you're talking about?
Frost wrote:Fundamental physics is itself a description of a psycho-physical interaction which is not entirely described by the mathematical laws.
In your view, which parts of fundamental physics are not described by mathematical laws?

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Re: An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by Frost » February 2nd, 2018, 8:19 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
February 2nd, 2018, 8:07 pm
Why do you link intentional causation to quantum theory? It has been suggested before, for example by Roger Penrose, that quantum randomness is linked to consciousness and free will. Is this what you're talking about?
No, Penrose relies upon his proposed modification (NOT interpretation) of quantum theory, which is an objective reduction model using quantum gravity. There are many problems with this model, which I can go into if you would like, but his theory of consciousness relies on this erroneous view, and as a result, his theory of consciousness is also erroneous. He requires the brain be able to sustain states of quantum coherence which seems highly highly unlikely considering the strong decoherence effects found in the brain (granted, quantum biology is demonstrating amazing quantum effects in biology, but not anywhere near this kind of scale). Furthermore, it has the problem that his interpretation is causally closed, making consciousness merely epiphenomenal which does not match various data.

I link Intentional causation to quantum theory because in the orthodox von Neumann formalization it is not causally closed, and the experimental set up is a result of the free choice of the experimenter and is dynamically involved in the evolution of the physical system. The non-commutative algebra itself represents actions rather than numerical quantities.
Steve3007 wrote:
February 2nd, 2018, 8:07 pm
In your view, which parts of fundamental physics are not described by mathematical laws?
The experimental setup, first, which is "process 1" in von Neumann's formalization. The second part is in the actualization of quantum states, which is a result of non-physical experiential states (process 3, or the "choiec on the part of nature"), which is not described by the laws. The calculations are of complex amplitudes transformed into probability predictions but there is a discontinuity since only a single discrete outcome is observed. That is a result of non-physical experiential states, or our conscious observation in the case of man.

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Re: An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by Jklint » February 2nd, 2018, 9:37 pm

That loop will never close. Most scientists would agree that even a so-called theory of everything has its limits. There is nothing philosophical about this question since philosophy can ever make a valid statement regarding it. It's one that science itself would have to ponder and even then it's a waste of time. One naturally gets closer to a conclusion as more of the currently confounding unknowns get to be known...something in which philosophy is totally useless.

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Re: An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by Steve3007 » February 2nd, 2018, 10:16 pm

Steve3007 wrote:In your view, which parts of fundamental physics are not described by mathematical laws?
Frost wrote:The experimental setup, first, which is "process 1" in von Neumann's formalization. The second part is in the actualization of quantum states, which is a result of non-physical experiential states (process 3, or the "choiec on the part of nature"), which is not described by the laws. The calculations are of complex amplitudes transformed into probability predictions but there is a discontinuity since only a single discrete outcome is observed. That is a result of non-physical experiential states, or our conscious observation in the case of man.
I remember very little of von Neumann's work, but I'm pretty sure it still counts as mathematics. I presume the "choice on the part of nature" is the point when an observation is made? From my recollection this whole process is precisely described (at least for very simple physical systems) by an awful lot of mathematics. In fact, it was often difficult to hang on to the fact that the whole thing wasn't simply an exercise in pure mathematics and was actually describing empirical observations.

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Re: An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by Greta » February 2nd, 2018, 10:27 pm

Whether GR and QM can unite may become clearer as the LHC run at higher energy levels.

The uniting of consciousness/information and physicality/energy might yet require a more "gonzo journalism" approach by researchers than the current attempts by experimenters to be as uninfluential as possible.

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Re: An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by Frost » February 3rd, 2018, 1:41 am

Steve3007 wrote:
February 2nd, 2018, 10:16 pm
I remember very little of von Neumann's work, but I'm pretty sure it still counts as mathematics. I presume the "choice on the part of nature" is the point when an observation is made? From my recollection this whole process is precisely described (at least for very simple physical systems) by an awful lot of mathematics. In fact, it was often difficult to hang on to the fact that the whole thing wasn't simply an exercise in pure mathematics and was actually describing empirical observations.
Yes, it is an explicit formalization, but the point is that there is nothing in the mathematics for the choice in the experimental set up. Once you choose that, yeah, you have a lot of math to establish your basis vectors and then go through the formalization.

There really is no mathematical description for process 3, or the choice on the part of nature. We just simply experience a discrete experimental outcome. There is nothing in the mathematics for this, either, which leads to the von Neumann interpretation. His was a logical postulate of the need for a non-physical element to bring out a single outcome, which ends up being the non-physical experiential state of the experimenter. The interpretation has been almost hopelessly muddled due to the ambiguous term "consciousness" and all the confused nonsense surrounding the term in various disciplines.

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Re: An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by Atreyu » March 5th, 2018, 7:14 pm

This post is the same as another on this board titled 'The Theory of Everything'. On that thread I explained that some people in antiquity already knew of two laws which could be applied on any scale - from subatomic particles to galaxies - which I presume is what you mean by 'The theory of everything'...

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Re: An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by Erribert » April 30th, 2018, 11:46 pm

No. The theory of Everything is logically impossible in the same way “the set of all sets” is impossible.

A theory is intended to provide an objective explanation for phenomenon. For a Theory of Everything to exist, it would have to lie outside of everything. A theory of everything would change the theory of everything ad infinitum.

Cheers

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Re: An ultimate philosophical question: is the theory of every thing possible?

Post by Frewah » November 1st, 2018, 4:41 pm

I think it depends on what you mean by ”everything”. The Grand Unified Theory aims to unify all forces of the standard model into one force if understood correctly. It would not explain why there are people that prefer dogs over cats or the other way around if you are a dog lover.

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