Fundamental physics is in a metaphysical mess and needs help

So says Raymond Tallis of The Guardian.

But there could not be a worse time for philosophers to surrender the baton of metaphysical inquiry to physicists. Fundamental physics is in a metaphysical mess and needs help. The attempt to reconcile its two big theories, general relativity and quantum mechanics, has stalled for nearly 40 years. Endeavours to unite them, such as string theory, are mathematically ingenious but incomprehensible even to many who work with them. This is well known. A better-kept secret is that at the heart of quantum mechanics is a disturbing paradox – the so-called measurement problem, arising ultimately out of the Uncertainty Principle – which apparently demonstrates that the very measurements that have established and confirmed quantum theory should be impossible. Oxford philosopher of physics David Wallace has argued that this threatens to make quantum mechanics incoherent which can be remedied only by vastly multiplying worlds.

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He then expands on three points: 1) “the failure of physics to accommodate conscious beings”, 2) the problem of time, the “now”, the failure of physics to acknowledge “the fundamental reality of time”, and 3) “recent attempts to explain how the universe came out of nothing… reveal conceptual confusion beneath mathematical sophistication.”

Read more.

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