acespenlaub

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  1. I apologize for dredging up an old thread but no one responded to the last post -- and I think it hit upon something supremely important. That there is "a world out there independent of our will or our presence" is indeed philosophy, especially on this forum!!! It is a statement of Objectivist metaphysics and the primacy of existence. That is, that Existence Exists, over and above the existence of a consciousness to perceive it. What Ba'al consistently rails against as "philosophical prejudice" is simply the frequency with which so-called philosophers get that bass-ackwards, and apply their
  2. After mulling the deBroglie-Bohm style interpretation around for a bit (and taking some final exams ), I have some comments on it. First, I want to state the general idea so that we can make sure we're all on the same page and I'm not misunderstanding it. Instead of the wavefunction being the "particle," there is instead a point particle being transported around by a wave whose shape is given by the wavefunction. If that's all correct, then there is a problem with energy transfer. If the "particle" in the traditional picture has 1MeV of kinetic energy, then in the dBB picture, the point par
  3. Dennis, I see now what the major issue is here. It is in the interpretation of "probability." In the classical sense, probability implies hidden knowledge -- information that the observer lacks, but could collect if they spent enough time at it. The underlying metaphysical assumption here is that the process is deterministic and the observer just doesn't have all the facts (but could). In the Born sense, there is no hidden knowledge...at least not in the sense of anything knowable. The probability is inherent in the metaphysics. The observer has all the facts, but can't avoid the probabi
  4. Ba'al, I never questioned that the interpretation of quantum mechanics is open and never claimed that the probabilistic view is correct. It is an interesting topic to think about and a friend and I are going to ponder hidden variable theories over the holidays. So thank you for posting about them -- I have been meaning to spend some time digging through the existing literature but it keeps getting pushed aside. Other than reminding us all of an interesting debate, I'm not sure if your post was intended to further the discussion. If it was then you should note that von Neumann was wrong abou
  5. Selene, I never knew that about the etymology of 'metaphysics.' I always took it to mean the knowledge we need to understand the physical world beyond physics -- and not the stuff that Aristotle wrote about after physics. --Andrew P.S. - No, I'm of German heritage, but I'm studying Italian and love the food and language. I mostly play computer strategy games now because it is much easier to find opponents and the rules can be much more complex, while at the same time remaining easy to play. As a kid, I did play quite a few board games with my dad, some of which were not easy to play (e.g. -
  6. Mike, Thank you. And yes, sadly that is true. But at least we can try to get the facts straight, so that we at least have more ground to stand on than our opponents. --Andrew
  7. Thank you Stephen. Ba'al, do you think that philosophy and physics should be competing with each other? That they are mutually exclusive? In fact, physics used to be a branch of philosophy, back when the sciences were collectively called "natural philosophy." Philosophy at the time simply meant, as it does in the original greek, "love of knowledge/learning." So, in a sense, after 3000 years philosophy has given us quantum physics!! You should keep in mind that metaphysics, which is a branch of the field of (modern) philosophy you denounce outright, is much more broad in its scope than physi
  8. acespenlaub

    Welcome

    Hello everyone! Just posted in a thread about the philosophy of quantum mechanics and figured I should introduce myself before I post anywhere else since this seems to be a "first-name basis community." My name is Andrew Espenlaub, I'm 21, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh studying physics. I am taking my fourth graduate course now and three more next term and have three-and-a-half years of experience working in a research lab as lab manager/experimenter (that's for potential employers ). I have been a life-long Objectivist though for most of it I didn't know that was what you call i
  9. This discussion could benefit from another person who is familiar with the mathematics of quantum theory I think. First, physicists should not relegate metaphysics to the "domain of the irrelevant!" It is a necessary tool for developing the correct conceptual interpretation of a theory. However, as quantum mechanics shows, it is possible to construct a marvelously precise and accurate theory using mostly physical facts and mathematics. What the implications of this are to the ultimate nature of the universe lies in the metaphysics however! Everyone needs every branch of philosophy, even ph