Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Physics: Aristotle lost. Did Plato win?

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“In the field of physics, the organic commonsense approach lost out (eventually). And for good reason. The Aristotelean approach, commonsense based and scaled to human existence,  could not explain what was observed. [...]"

I have to add something of my own, because Big Brother sees if a text is copied from elsewhere; once he even erased my polyglot christmas song collection for this reason :-).

The text could mean that it would be part of the Aristotelian approach to try and understand things by looking at them and, for example, to believe that a photo is necessarily more "objective" than a drawing. -- Or think of a cloud. It looks like a big soft thing, a sofa, but what is it really?


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“The kind of physics that did succeed was and is abstract in its approach with mathematics its leading edge. Relativity and Quantum Theory simply defy common sense. The real world happens at the atomic level and at cosmological scales, and neither place is conducive to naturalistic commonsense physics as practiced by Aristotle and the Peripatetics."

So what is known about nature and matter cannot be ascertained by just anybody. Few people can find out whether Einstein was right, and it doesn't matter either way, because the sciences of nature have reached a point where their findings and specualtions  no longer have anything to do with modern life and its problems. 

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”So abstract methodology which puts abstract objects and concepts in the primary position is the way of modern physics. In that sense, Plato won the day. “

In fact, not just Plato, but physics and chemistry appeared for a while to hold the explanation to everything, even to modern existence, while the common sense approach seemed too restrictive to be of any help in dealing with kids, schools, banks, money, jobs, and  the old issue of how to re-organize the world.
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July 2003 RJK at  http://tinyurl.com/2wt4r3 Google Groups

March 2015 Eddington's Two Tables http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Extras/Eddington_Gifford.html