The Quantum Thomist

Musings about quantum physics, classical philosophy, and the connection between the two.
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The A and B Theories of Time

Last modified on Sun Jul 21 16:56:30 2019


One big debate among philosophers is on the nature of time. The A theory of time states that the division between past, present and future is an objective feature of the universe. The B theory of time views space time as a four dimensional block, and denies that there is a time that we can objectively point to as the present; rather all notions of the present time are either an illusion or merely subjective.

The A theory is the older approach, and was adopted by most people before the twentieth century. It is argued that it is supported by our common experience. The B theory approach found favour after the theory of relativity was introduced, with its support for the four dimensional universe.

In this post I firstly give my own thoughts on the topic, and secondly review the discussion by Edward Feser in his book Aristotle's revenge.

A Universe from Nothing? Part 3: Fine Tuning

Last modified on Sun Jun 16 00:23:25 2019


In this third part of a series discussing Professor Lawrence Krauss' work A Universe From Nothing, I have a look at his eigth chapter, where he discusses the small value of the cosmological constant, fine tuning, and the multiverse.

A Universe from Nothing? Part 2: Particle Physics

Last modified on Sat Jul 13 18:37:57 2019


In this second part of a series discussing Professor Lawrence Krauss' work A Universe From Nothing, I have a look at his fourth chapter, where he takes a break from cosmology and ventures into particle physics. Krauss claims that particles can and do emerge from the vacuum. Is he right? And is the vacuum Nothing?

A Universe from Nothing? Part 1: Introduction

Last modified on Sat Apr 27 23:24:14 2019


I begin a series discussing Professor Lawrence Krauss' work A Universe From Nothing. In this opening post, I introduce the non-contentious physical background, and give an overview of the parts of the book I want to discuss in detail.

Quantum Switches

Last modified on Sat Jul 13 18:37:04 2019


It is claimed that quantum switches allow for indefinitely ordered causality, i.e. that you can't tell in principle whether A is the cause and B the effect, or B the cause and A the effect. This, it is claimed, causes a major problem for Aristotlean metaphysics, which depends on a definite causal order.

I answer that one needs to be careful how one defines causality. The version of causality discussed in these experiments is not the same as Aristotlean efficient causality, and thus the quantum switch says nothing against Aristotle's metaphysics.

Relationships Bill

Last modified on Tue Mar 26 22:28:58 2019


As well as Brexit, the UK government is currently proposing a new sex and relationships education bill, with relationships education aimed for primary school (age 5-11), and sex education for secondary school (12+). Surely this is a long overdue chance to impliment some pro-family policies ...

Plato and why Democracy is doomed to fail

Last modified on Fri Mar 15 00:00:36 2019


Our current democracies are in crisis almost everywhere. Are there any hints about why from a philosopher from the first democracy?

Why Is There Something, Rather Than Nothing? (Part 6)

Last modified on Tue Feb 5 23:13:14 2019


I look at a recent article by the physicist Sean Carroll on why there is something rather than nothing.

In this post, I discuss the sixth section of my review, where I discuss Carroll's final section. Professor Carroll agreed that there were basically five options to explain why there is something rather than nothing: creation, metaverse, principle, coherence and brute fact. In this section, he summarises his arguments before and against each of these options. He thinks that a brute fact is the best explanation.

I will review his discussion of these five possibilities, but focus most on the brute fact and creation explanations.

Why Is There Something, Rather Than Nothing? (Part 5)

Last modified on Sat Jan 12 23:08:40 2019


I look at a recent article by the physicist Sean Carroll on why there is something rather than nothing.

In this post, I discuss the fifth section of my review, where I consider why we have these laws of physics rather than something else. Carroll is right to raise this question, but unable to answer it.

Why Is There Something, Rather Than Nothing? (Part 4)

Last modified on Sat Jul 13 18:31:10 2019


I look at a recent article by the physicist Sean Carroll on why there is something rather than nothing.

In this post, I discuss the fourth section of his article, where Carroll tries to argue that the universe doesn't need an external explanation. He tries to argue from physics, chooing between a Hartle-Hawking model and an enternal universe, neither of which are satisfactory. He also discusses the ontological argument and principle of sufficient reason version of the cosmological argument. I find his discussion unconvincing.

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