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Re: Nothing

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  • existlist
    Wil, You inspired me to do a little reading. I ound a bit of what you re saying here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nothingness/ A proud physicist is
    Message 1 of 77 , Mar 18, 2013
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      Wil,
      You inspired me to do a little reading.
      I ound a bit of what you're saying here:

      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nothingness/
      A proud physicist is naturally tempted to announce these insights through the bullhorn of metaphysics. But philosophers interested in the logic of questions will draw attention to the role of emphasis in framing requests for explanations. `Why did Eve eat the apple?', `Why did Eve eat the apple?', and `Why did Eve eat the apple?' are different questions because they specify different contrast classes (van Fraassen 1980, 127–130). Philosophers read `Why is there something rather than nothing?' tenselessly as in `Why is π an irrational number?'. The philosophers also read `something' as a quantifier ranging over any concrete entity. The quantum vacuum is a concrete entity (in the sense described in sections 4 and 7) and so is in the philosopher's domain of discourse. But for rhetorical effect, physicists anachronistically back-date their domain of discourse to the things of nineteenth century physics. Thus the physicists wind up addressing `Why is there some thing rather than nothing?'.

      Philosophers complain of misleading advertising. They asked one question and the proud physicists answered a different question. Lawrence Krauss defends the switch as an improvement. Often scientists make progress by altering the meaning of key terms. Why stick with an intractable (and arguably meaningless) question? We should wriggle free from the dead hand of the past and rejuvenate our curiosity with the vocabulary of contemporary cosmology.



      h.
    • wsindarius
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/wil_sinda/8751648669/in/photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/wil_sinda/8752770770/in/photostream ... From: hermit crab
      Message 77 of 77 , May 18, 2013
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        http://www.flickr.com/photos/wil_sinda/8751648669/in/photostream

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/wil_sinda/8752770770/in/photostream







        -----Original Message-----
        From: hermit crab <hermitcrab65@...>
        To: existlist <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sat, May 18, 2013 7:23 pm
        Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Building a better nothing (Wil sees Krauss)






        Very interesting, Wil. I kept wondering how it went. Good thing he didn't
        start spouting off about philosophers, eh? :-D Thank you for the update.
        The first link worked but the second one did not.

        h.

        On Sat, May 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM, <eupraxis@...> wrote:

        > **
        >
        >
        > Hello H,
        >
        > Yes, sorry for my silence. The Krauss talk was nearly identical to others
        > of recent vintage that you can see on YouTube, but he did lay off
        > philosophy a bit and concentrate his sarcasm on Republicans, the South (I
        > am in New Orleans) and string theorists. I got some nice photos of him and
        > said hello (I was part of an invited group, NOSHA). He was pleasant, in
        > that almost-smug way.
        >
        > http://www.flickr.com/photos/wil_sinda/8669528519/in/photostream
        >
        >
        > https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152796725025424&set=a.10152392005530424.946669.654825423&type=3&theater
        >
        > Wil
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: existlist <hermitcrab65@...>
        > To: existlist <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
        > Sent: Sat, May 18, 2013 9:04 am
        > Subject: [existlist] Re: Building a better nothing (Wil sees Krauss)
        >
        > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
        > > Response: As I said, I like Krauss' book and I like him, especially his
        > talks. In fact, he will be here in a few weeks to discuss this very book,
        > and I will be present. My problem with his statements has nothing to do
        > with his manner of doing science; it has to do with his unfortunate
        > dismissal of philosophy and his misunderstanding of ontology.
        >
        > ===Wil,
        > I have been waiting patiently to hear how this meetup went.
        > Please report. :)
        >
        > h.
        >
        >

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