If Davies is correct in saying that laws do not depend on physical processes, does that necessarily imply that laws cannot be explained by physical processes? IOWs laws are irreducible to physical processes?Paul Davies: But what are these ultimate laws and where do they come from? Such questions are often dismissed as being pointless or even unscientific. As the cosmologist Sean Carroll has written, “There is a chain of explanations concerning things that happen in the universe, which ultimately reaches to the fundamental laws of nature and stops… at the end of the day the laws are what they are… And that’s okay. I’m happy to take the universe just as we find it."
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Physical processes, however violent or complex, are thought to have absolutely no effect on the laws. There is thus a curious asymmetry: physical processes depend on laws but the laws do not depend on physical processes. Although this statement cannot be proved, it is widely accepted.
Joel Primack: What is it that makes the electrons continue to follow the laws?
Moreover a bottom-up process from bosons to physical laws would be in need of constraints (laws?) in order to produce a limited set of universal laws — Querius
1) Enumerate the laws that one wishes to discuss and
2) Explain how these laws are invariable through time and are applicable to every possible event.
I have never seen this done. Proponents of such a concept as laws of nature generally prefer to discuss them in gross generalities which I reject. — Rich
1) Is this a complete list?
2) Can you show that each law applies to every event and is invariant through all time (post and future) and are included within each other without contradiction (e.g. reciprocity of Special Relativity)? — Rich
This is an attempt to get a coherent concept of the laws of nature. What are they? What are they made of? How do they work? — Querius
my suggestion is to just roll effective law all the way back to the beginning. — apokrisis
I suggest that the two laws are not laws at all but rather mathematical equations that have been defined to describe a very strict set of behavior of unrelated ideas. In other words they are incomplete, non-specific, and might very well have changed, or will change over time. — Rich
Entry on Nichomachus - Introduction to Arithmetic (Ἀριθμητικὴ εἰσαγωγή, Arithmetike eisagoge), the lesser work on arithmetic. As a Neo-Pythagorean, Nicomachus was often more interested in the mystical properties of numbers rather than their mathematical properties.[citation needed] According to Henrietta O. Midonick (1965), he distinguishes between the wholly conceptual immaterial number, which he regards as the 'divine number', and the numbers which measure material things, the 'scientific' number. He writes extensively on numbers, especially on the significance of prime numbers and perfect numbers and argues that arithmetic is ontologically prior to the other mathematical sciences (music, geometry, and astronomy), and is their cause.
What if there is no beginning? — Wayfarer
the universe is indeed a cyclic process of expansion and contraction, starting from beginningless time. — Wayfarer
It shows you aren't ready to break out of the mental box you have constructed for yourself. — apokrisis
Pity that it has to come down to ad hominems, isn't it? — Wayfarer
I think it's a near-certainty that the universe will turn out to be a cyclical process of expansion and contraction, as is everything in nature — Wayfarer
As history has shown, nature is constantly changing, our knowledge of nature is constantly changing, mathematics is constantly changing, mathematical equations to describe our knowledge of nature is constantly changing, the ideas that the mathematical equations represent are constantly changing and debated. — Rich
After all, if there can be a single 'big bang' event, what 'law of nature' says that it can't happen more than once? — Wayfarer
As history has shown, nature is constantly changing, our knowledge of nature is constantly changing, mathematics is constantly changing, mathematical equations to describe our knowledge of nature is constantly changing, the ideas that the mathematical equations represent are constantly changing and debated. — Rich
If accuracy is defined by a probability wave then accuracy had taken a left turn. Physics is very useful but hardly precise. — Rich
Natural laws are the natural extension of a Cartesian epistemologically-oriented metaphysics... — darthbarracuda
Natural laws are the natural extension of a Cartesian epistemologically-oriented metaphysics, one that rejects teleology in favor of mysterious, immutable forces that exist for whatever reason. One of the alternatives would be a rejection of natural laws as such, in favor of a re-instituted teleology based upon threshold dispositions and power networks. — darthbarracuda
Davies observes that “physical processes, however violent or complex, are thought to have absolutely no effect on the laws” and from this he concludes that “… the laws do not depend on physical processes.” I agree with you that this seems to imply that Davies is thinking of the laws as being prescriptive.When Davies says there is an asymmetry, he is thinking of the laws as being prescriptive, rather than descriptive.
— andrewk
The "laws of nature" seem to be derived from observing many instances of observation from astrophysicists observing the cosmos to nuclear physicists studying sub-atomic particles, and others studying everything in between. So, the laws of nature are descriptive.
— Bitter Crank
The way I would look at it is that the fundamental laws describe mathematical symmetries - which are in effect the limits on un-lawfulness. With a circle, for example, disorder can do its damnedest - spin the circle at any direction at any speed - and the circle will still look unruffledly the same. All that disordering has no real effect as the very form of the circle is indifferent to every kind of action, or attempt to break its symmetry.
— apokrisis
Natural laws are the natural extension of a Cartesian epistemologically-oriented metaphysics, one that rejects teleology in favor of mysterious, immutable forces that exist for whatever reason. One of the alternatives would be a rejection of natural laws as such — darthbarracuda
Do you hold that such a naturalistic explanation must entail a bottom-up explanation from a lower level of, let’s say, bosons? If so, do you hold that this is in principle possible?But with the decline of religion and the growth of naturalism, there has been an (often implicit) assumption that, as the divine origin of the Universe has been dispensed with, then the laws must in some sense be amenable to a naturalistic explanation.
— Wayfarer
What does the fact that the universe is ever-changing — cyclic or otherwise — tell us about the nature of immutable laws? Does the fact of change contradict a purely descriptive nature of those laws?… the universe is indeed a cyclic process of expansion and contraction, starting from beginningless time.
— Wayfarer
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