On Hume, Simultineity, the Fractal Nature of Reality in Time and Inductivism

  • Thread starter Instine
  • Start date
  • #1
84
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

This came to me in the middle of the night. Literally. I got up and wrote it down at 4:09am. Having lain awake in bed pondering it for at-least an hour. I clearly need to get out more.

Scientific belief is a funny thing...

Inductivism hasn't had it easy in the last century or two. While most people, when asked 'what is scientific reasoning', or 'proof', would explain something along inductivist lines, philosophers of science have, in general, been moving away from it for sometime, to favour falsificationism.

Inductivism:

You observe the world, and make conclusions based on your observations. In its extreme (naive) interpretation, this makes coroberating experimental evidence "proof" of a theory. X is seen therefore A is true.


Falsificationism:

You conjecture, then, if your theory is not disproved by observed facts, it remains valid. Nothing can be proven. Only disproved. If evidence is not observable, the theory is not scientifically 'falsifiable'. Rendering it less scientifically meaningful. X is not seen, therefore A is not true.


It is far easier to argue the case for falsificationism. So its been winning most arguments for a while now.

But one of the arguments against inductivism is questionable...

David Hume raised the issue that there is no logical reason to believe the future will resemble the past. Despite this being incredibly counter intuitive. As such, basing belief of future reality on evidence (i.e. inducing it) is not a sound belief structure. This is often used as evidence against inductivism. Why should reality be temporally fractal (self similar over time)? Why are the laws of physics the same today as yesterday, but more importantly why do we believe them to be the same tomorrow?

While Einstein wasn't as fan of inductivism:

"Physics constitutes a logical system of thought which is in a state of evolution, whose basis (principles) cannot be distilled, as it were, from experience by an inductive method, but can only be arrived at by free invention. The justification (truth content) of the system rests in the verification of the derived propositions (a priori / logical truths) by sense experiences (a posteriori / empirical truths). ... Evolution is proceeding in the direction of increasing simplicity of the logical basis (principles). .. We must always be ready to change these notions - that is to say, the axiomatic basis of physics - in order to do justice to perceived facts in the most perfect way logically. (Einstein, Physics and Reality, 1936)"​


he may help squash this attack. At least little.

My thought that woke me up, was that Einstein's relativistic simulataneity means that one person's future is another person's present. And that events (reality) do not have a universal now. All phenomina are dependent on what some observer references will perceive as future events, and others present. Thus future events must be adhering to similar rules to those we are seeing, else unobservable events would be being observed by those observers.

For and excellent illustration of Einstein's Train/Embankment simulataneity Thought Experiment see: http://www.primacausa.com/relativity/animations/simultaneity_from_embarkment.html [Broken]

Now imagine if Hume were right. When M observes the two events, A and B (to him, occurring simultaneously) and M' has already seen event A' but is yet to see B' (the 3rd Key frame in the above link's illustration). While M knows the two events as fact, if the laws of physics changed for M' between this point in time and the next frame when he sees A' occur, A' would not be the same event (having been subject to different laws) as A (which is already observed fact). This incongruous reality would, to my mind, be paradoxical, and therefore 'evidence' of a fractal reality throughout time. In short a 'reason' to believe that the future will resemble the past.

Thoughts?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
35,538
4,311
Whenever I see something like this, there always seems to be two important aspects that are often either missed, ignored, overlooked, or maybe their existence are not known.

1. The whole point of Relativity is to tell us HOW TO TRANSFORM to all those different systems that appear to make different observations than us. For example, you and I could be looking at the same coin, but see different things. I see heads, you see tails. Relativity tells us what is going on, and that I could reconcile with what you saw by simply turning the coin to see the other side of it. It is still the SAME coin and the two seemingly different observations, really, are not contradictory. The same with "simultaneity", time dilation, length contraction, etc.. etc.. Relativity tells us how to transform to other systems in such a way that all these seemingly different observations are no longer "mysterious" and different. They are, actually, rather consistent! We understand very well why they just appear to be different.

2. The gauge invariant issues are severely neglected in what you wrote. In physics, there are many "items" that are gauge invariant. In special relativity, for example, there is something call an "invariant mass". No matter what reference frame you go to, you will get the SAME value. In physics, we try to find things that are invariant under such-and-such transformation, because then we don't have to care in what frame we are either observing, or solving, the effect - it will all be the same. The fact that these things exist, and we know about them, implies that events and principles can have some "universal" consistency, at least as far as relativistic transformation is concerned.

Please note that in physics, there is very seldom any ambiguity in terms of events being perceived differently in different scenario or frames. We know about them and often, make use of them to simplify our description (example: center of mass frame of a collision dynamics). None of these present an "incongruous reality", not when we know about them and can transform easily to such system.

Zz.
 
  • #3
84
0
Hi

Sorry, you seem to have missed my point entirely. Its not the relativistic effect that I believe would make an "incongruous reality", quite the opisite. I'm suggesting that the simultineity issues raised by relativity mean that an "incongruous reality" can't happen, else unobservable events would be observed. Hume suggests that there is no logical reason for the laws of science to remain similar throughout time. However if time is observed at differing rates for different observers, the 'future' for M has to be following observable (and thereby similar - think week anthropic principle) laws, as M' is already observing it. My problem is with Hume not Relativity.

If this is not clear on the second reading I'll try to reexplain. But you have this back to front.

Chrs
 
Last edited:
  • #4
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
35,538
4,311
Sorry, but I still don't get it.

Hi

Sorry, you seem to have missed my point entirely. Its not the relativistic effect that I believe would make an "incongruous reality", quite the opisite. I'm suggesting that the simultineity issues raised by relativity mean that an "incongruous reality" can't happen, else unobservable events would be observed.
Since this is now an issue, what do you mean by "incongruous reality"? Events that look "different" to different observers? This DOES happen, but it isn't mysterious. Would this qualify as "incongruous"?

Hume suggests that there is no logical reason for the laws of science to remain similar throughout time.
There's no logical reason why it can't either. You cannot use "logic" to argue for various principles of the universe that we observe. Logic cannot derive the speed of light nor the phenomenon of superconductivity.

However if time is observed at differing rates for different observers, the 'future' for M has to be following observable (and thereby similar - think week anthropic principle) laws, as M' is already observing it.
This is highly confusing. A, B, C, and D are all in different inertial frames with respect to each other. Can you tell me what "different rates" of time that they are observing here that you implied in your post?

My problem is with Hume not Relativity.
I wouldn't be so hard on Hume. He didn't live to see what we know of now.

If this is not clear on the second reading I'll try to reexplain. But you have this back to front.

Chrs
I did, but I think it still wasn't quite clear. I tend to see things clearer when "principles" are applied to a particular case as an illustration. This is especially true when one tries to invoke physics principles.

Cheers!

Zz.
 
  • #5
84
0
Would this qualify as "incongruous"?
Spontaniously loosing a dimention. Reality ceasing to exist at all. All masses doubling for no aparent reason... You get the idea. The Laws of physics are broken. Hume speaks of Futures not 'resembling' pasts. This is what has generally been understood by this.

This DOES happen, but it isn't mysterious.
Exactly, Hume is talking about Mysterious differences.

There's no logical reason why it can't either.
True but besides the his point.

You cannot use "logic" to argue for various principles of the universe that we observe. Logic cannot derive the speed of light nor the phenomenon of superconductivity.
No but we're not talking about properties and phenomina, we're talking about much more fundomental issues (which often are dealt with via logic, such as Maths being derived from set theory). You have a point. Most people just accept that physics will hold tomorrow, but Hume's point is that we have no evidence, nore 'reason' to believe this. While past pasts have resembled past presents, this serves as no logical reason to presume the future will resemble the present. I'm suggesting relativistic simulteneity phenomina do offer 'reason'.


I wouldn't be so hard on Hume. He didn't live to see what we know of now.
Of course. Its high praise indeed that he is still puzzling us now is it not. He's very high in my list favoured of thinkers.
 
  • #6
631
0
Hi Zapper, I took notice of you when you commented on my reaction to Rade and read a few of your posts. It is nice to know that some professional physicists are active on this forum (not that I doubted it, but rather that most do not put forth any description of their background). I also note that you must be reading some of my posts as otherwise you would not be aware of my comments to Rade. You ought to make some comments on the rationality of my posts as you should be able to follow the logic. The fundamental flaws in the logic of induction (as commonly presented) is a serious issue worth a little serious thought. Anyway, I thought I might make a comment on this thread concerning induction.

You are quite right, the issue of "transformation" is fundamental to inductive solutions as without those transformations, one would have to consider the different observations as different entities. The fundamental issue of induction is "we are looking at the same thing" so a procedure which converts one observation to another is essential to the "theory" that the two situations are the same (that inductive conclusion): i.e., it constitutes the explanation as to why they appear different.

And yes, invariant quantities are central to that inductive analysis. I would very much like to hear your take on my presentation of symmetry arguments as compared to SelfAdjoint's reactions. Please take a look at my post on symmetry to saviormachine and the reaction of SelfAdjoint (immediately following) plus my answer to selfAdjoint. If you find fault with my presentation please comment on it as I am of the opinion that it is a seriously different perspective than that taught today.
Please note that in physics, there is very seldom any ambiguity in terms of events being perceived differently in different scenario or frames. We know about them and often, make use of them to simplify our description (example: center of mass frame of a collision dynamics). None of these present an "incongruous reality", not when we know about them and can transform easily to such system.
Now my presentation could certainly be classified as "incongruous reality", or at least seems to have been so classified by the professionals, yet it results in a complete transformation into most all of modern physics (the cases where it does not, could very well be errors in modern physics as they turn out to be beyond the accuracy of current experiment).
You have a point. Most people just accept that physics will hold tomorrow, but Hume's point is that we have no evidence, nore 'reason' to believe this. While past pasts have resembled past presents, this serves as no logical reason to presume the future will resemble the present.
Yes, I would agree that we have no evidence; however, given that we have no way to know what the future portends, it is certainly a reasonable guess that it won't be much different than the past. If the present is defined to be a change in the past (which is the definition I use) then the information which constitutes the past is much greater (by many many orders of magnitude) than the information which constitutes the present. Statistically, one should not expect a great change.

In fact, ZapperZ should be interested in something very much related to symmetry arguments. There exists a young man who earned his living measuring failure rates of computer hard drives (which is way out on the edge of the "large number" issue) who has become convinced that the current theory of statistics is wrong. He has presented his theory (which is essentially based on symmetry issues) and been rejected by all professional journals. I suggested to him that he shouldn't try to convince the theorists they are wrong but merely present his experimental results and his "rule of thumb" which yields the correct experimental results. To date he refuses; he wants recognition of his theoretical logic. I think it is a poor approach to convincing people but who am I to say who is using a poor approach. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Make a comment -- please -- Dick
 
  • #7
84
0
Yes, I would agree that we have no evidence; however, given that we have no way to know what the future portends, it is certainly a reasonable guess that it won't be much different than the past
Its precise not 'reasonable', i.e. you can't reason it. There is no reason, as far as I'm aware, which is why I'm putting forward this theory, that relativistic simultineity affords us fractal reality. Saying the future will statistically resemble the present, presurposes that it will exist at all, and that the laws of physics (and probablitity) will hold true in that future... Why? What evidence do you have to this end, other than the past being fractal.

My suggestion is that multiple observers in relativistic reality require a fractal future, so each can observe an 'observable' now.


Thoughts?
 
  • #8
380
0
Instine, tell me if I understand what you are saying. Since relativity says that the concept of "now" is different for different observers, some observers with a different "now" must exist in our future. Since an event already observed by these future observers must follow the same rules as when we later observe it ourselves, we conclude that physical laws cannot change over time.

Is that it?
 
  • #9
84
0
Bingo. Nicely put.
 
  • #10
244
0
David Hume raised the issue that there is no logical reason to believe the future will resemble the past. Despite this being incredibly counter intuitive. As such, basing belief of future reality on evidence (i.e. inducing it) is not a sound belief structure. This is often used as evidence against inductivism. Why should reality be temporally fractal (self similar over time)? Why are the laws of physics the same today as yesterday, but more importantly why do we believe them to be the same tomorrow?

Thoughts?
The laws of physics WILL be the same tomorrow as they are today, and as they were yesterday, unless there is something that changes them--and there is no empirical evidence to suggest that anything exists that can change them.

The human mind is a powerful tool for generating imaginary forces, but imaginary forces do not change the fundamentals of the empirical world.

David Hume was a philosopher and historian. You do not hear much about him as a scientist. Does anyone know a reputable scientist that thinks the fundamental behavior of matter/energy will change anytime in the next 10 billion+ years?
 
  • #11
84
0
His point was that "empirical evidence" is not evidence enough if we are to base everything else (including our belief in empirical evidence) on it. Its this circular argument that Hume had a distaste for. Just as those who say that the bible is right because it says so are often brought to question this, why shouldn't science have to explain itself beyond its 'blind' faith in tomorrow's 'laws'. Obviously we have the past, but saying the future will be like the past because the past was like the further past, is not logical. It appears to be so, but we have no 'evidence' nor 'reason' to argue this. Maybe relativistic simultineity affords us such reason (is my point).
 
  • #12
244
0
His point was that "empirical evidence" is not evidence enough if we are to base everything else (including our belief in empirical evidence) on it. Its this circular argument that Hume had a distaste for. Just as those who say that the bible is right because it says so are often brought to question this, why shouldn't science have to explain itself beyond its 'blind' faith in tomorrow's 'laws'. Obviously we have the past, but saying the future will be like the past because the past was like the further past, is not logical. It appears to be so, but we have no 'evidence' nor 'reason' to argue this. Maybe relativistic simultineity affords us such reason (is my point).
The fundamental laws of physics will only change if something changes them. There is no logical reason they should, could, can, or will change. No empirical reason they should, could, can, or will change. No rational reason they should, could, can, or will change. This leaves only imaginary possibilities and these are infinite and only you can decide for yourself if they are possible, likely, valid or whatever else you decide they are.
 
  • #13
84
0
Not sure I get your point?

Evidence itself is in question here. There should be reason for evidence to 'matter'. If you are to base all reason on evidence. Which is the problem with falsificationism. You're not offering any. That I can see.

I'm suggesting simultaneity is evidence for reason in evidence. If you see what I mean. :)
 
  • #14
244
0
Not sure I get your point?

Evidence itself is in question here. There should be reason for evidence to 'matter'. If you are to base all reason on evidence. Which is the problem with falsificationism. You're not offering any. That I can see.

I'm suggesting simultaneity is evidence for reason in evidence. If you see what I mean. :)
I think that most would agree that the fundamental laws of physics--past, present and future--do not depend on logic, so we can delete Hume from the discussion. It is presumed that everyone experiences the empirical (matter/energy) universe in the 'present' because there is no past or future in the empirical universe. There is only motion of matter/energy--the past is memory of past locations and the future is projections of future locations.

Because there is always a lag time in communications and processing in the brain, it is impossible to empirically verify a common NOW. We can assume rationally that there is a common NOW but each person must accept or reject this without empirical verification. Therefore, comparing observational time differences in observers is not evidence or reason to suggest whether or not the laws of physics will forever remain stable.

We can now postulate that we do not know if the fundamental laws of physics will change in the future--future movement might somehow alter matter/energy. We can know that if the future fundamental laws of physics are different, then something will necessarily have changed. There is, however, no empirical evidence or rational reason to expect a change, and logic has no usuful input to the discussion. I expect no change for at least 110 billion years.
 
  • #15
312
0
I think that most would agree that the fundamental laws of physics--past, present and future--do not depend on logic,
Yes, most who do not go into examining the nature of thinking and history. Contrary to your statement everything you understand depends on your logic and your logic depends on that which you understand. There is no such a thing as fundamental laws of physics or anyother science for that matter. There is only that which we invent within our framework of our circumstance. Your opinion suffers from assumptions of Descard's dualism which has adopted to itself a brother empiricism. :surprised

In other words, as two theories in physics that represent the zenith of dualistic and reductionistic approach to science point out there should not be made distinction between obsrver and observed.

Insitine: do you see how your paradoxical quesiton arrises from assuming this dualism? There is many more paradoxes arrising from this which Descardes himself described. Thats why he invokes God to play the arbiter and ensure connection between observer and observed, since they must remain independent as implied by so well adopted dualism. Since western scinces got away with god, its been strugling with these paradoxex and will strugle with them until it recognizes the assumptions that got itself into the process of thinking itself.
 
  • #16
84
0
"I think that most would agree that the fundamental laws of physics--past, present and future--do not depend on logic"

I for one disagree. Everything, by defintion, must be founded on logic.

"so we can delete Hume from the discussion."

Actually I started it to discuss him, so I'd rather we didn't.


"It is presumed that everyone experiences the empirical (matter/energy) universe in the 'present' because there is no past or future in the empirical universe. There is only motion of matter/energy--the past is memory of past locations and the future is projections of future locations.
"
Not so.

"We can assume rationally "

hmm... A bad start to a statement I'd say

"Therefore, comparing observational time differences in observers is not evidence or reason to suggest whether or not the laws of physics will forever remain stable.
"
I believe it is. As otherwise observers (concious or otherwise) would not coexperience the same events as each other, due to the simultineity issues I mention.

"There is, however, no empirical evidence or rational reason to expect a change, and logic has no usuful input to the discussion. I expect no change for at least 110 billion years."

Why?
 
  • #17
84
0
Nice post sneez. I'll ponder...
 
  • #18
84
0
"since they must remain independent as implied by so well adopted dualism."

I don't see the need to seporate observer and observed. Mass is event, light observation, time and space dimention, Probability, I would argue also dimention. The brain has no part to play in the 'the laws'. You can't think them away. But the laws are real, and logic is real, or science is not. And science seems to be something. Does it not.

Appearence isn't proof. But is it evidence...? And what does that amount to?

I'll keep pondering...
 
  • #19
312
0
To help you with the separation. This is requirement for so called "objective" observation. If observer and observed were not spearated than everything is subjective (including all our laws of nature we think of). Well, it is really not so, but many would argue that if something is not objective it is subjective. This is also a result of dualism.

IF you do not see the need to separate observer and observed, let me point out a fierce fact of that sentence. This really means that the thinking process and the content of that thinking process are linked. Now, you may understand why so many ppl find objections to this, neverthelles the refutation of this are all faulty as far as i know. This is because these refutations spring from the very assumption (of dualism) which itself here is in question.

Just as it is well known that there are other logical systems than aristotelian whicb work, there are other ways of looking at reality than dualistic.
 
  • #20
244
0
Yes, most who do not go into examining the nature of thinking and history. Contrary to your statement everything you understand depends on your logic and your logic depends on that which you understand. There is no such a thing as fundamental laws of physics or anyother science for that matter. There is only that which we invent within our framework of our circumstance. Your opinion suffers from assumptions of Descard's dualism which has adopted to itself a brother empiricism. :surprised
.
I would suggest that everything you understand is BASED on what you experience. My logic textbook defines LOGIC as the science that evaluates arguments. I believe that it is understood that the 'laws of physics' are rational constructs which are based on empirical observations. It is also important to understand that many who have studied Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, and Hegel do not agree with everything they wrote. They were very useful in the past but to understand 'present reality' it is much more useful to upgrade to modern terminology and concepts.
 
  • #21
312
0
I would suggest that everything you understand is BASED on what you experience. My logic textbook defines LOGIC as the science that evaluates arguments. I believe that it is understood that the 'laws of physics' are rational constructs which are based on empirical observations. It is also important to understand that many who have studied Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, and Hegel do not agree with everything they wrote. They were very useful in the past but to understand 'present reality' it is much more useful to upgrade to modern terminology and concepts.
LOGIC may evaluate arguments but if the arguments or rather premises are flawed/wrong than logic is useless. Logic alone is pointless.

Laws of physics are in their essense not empirical observations! (And while being research scientist using these same laws for practical purposes, from philosophical point of view they are not purelly empirical. There is no such a thing as pure observer and pure object which are unrelated. Indeed if you think about it, in such a scenario you will find more deeper contradiction).

I agree with you that we dont have to agree what other philosophers wrote, however, if its gets assumed into general way of our thinking and we are not aware of it, it becomes a problem. Such a problem is empricism and determinism and other beliefs derived from assumptions of those philosopher with which it tries to disagree.
 
  • #22
1,369
0
This came to me in the middle of the night. In short a 'reason' to believe that the future will resemble the past.

Thoughts?
I don't think your paradox really addresses what Hume was talking about.
Your two observer example is not really representative of how human beings acquire knowledge of things. You've set up a situational paradox dependent on a scientific theory, which is based on observations of past events. You're basically just 'stating' that in your example the future does indeed resemble the present, but you're not showing that it must. Its contingent on your understanding of physics and cause and effect.

Hume wasn't talking about whether the future would actually resemble the past in a given situation, but rather, whether an individual (who is not privy to direct knowledge of a second observer) 'can know' that the future will resemble the past. Its about the nature of human knowledge, not the nature of physical reality.
 
  • #23
loseyourname
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
1,749
5
It's worth noting that Hume himself said not to take his arguments too seriously. That is, I think he makes salient points and has identified problems that continue to be unresolved, but he doesn't believe that gravity will stop working tomorrow or that up will be doen. He knows that the laws of physics are going to remain the same and that when he hits a nail with a hammer the following day, it will be driven into wood. Humans have to believe this to go about their daily lives. The sense of the word "know" in everyday life and its sense in rigorous philosophical discourse, however, are different. He is concerned with the limits of what can be known in the second sense, because of the way in which arguments presuppose certain statements or principles. Mill, in particular, presupposed the law of causation, or the constant conjunction of "invariable consequent" with "invariable antecedent" in attempting to devise a science of induction similar to the science of deduction that was being developed around the same time.

The importance of what these guys were doing lies in the success that science has enjoyed as a means of making useful statements about the world. Early modern philosophers wanted to justify this success theoretically, hoping the lessons learned could be applied to other endeavors. There seems to be a suspicion among followers of science that philosophers of science are trying to figure out why science is not successful, and so we get responses like "well, we just know the laws of physics will stay the same, to hell with Hume." Hume wouldn't disagree with that, but he also wouldn't accept that a simple presupposition of truth was a justifiable starting point in the sort of metascientific endeavor he was engaged in. He was interested in demystifying concepts like causation and morals that a lot of discourse relied upon without even demonstrating their existence. Though they serve as useful signposts to guide human behavior, he wanted to know what they really were and ended up seriously challenging a good deal of cherished notions of his time, and to date, I think Kant is the only person to ever give much of a spirited response to his challenges.

So frankly, I enjoy the attempt, but I think it fails for a few reasons. Most importantly, the observer in the other reference frame does not exist in "the" future. My own understanding of relativity is that there exists no such thing as absolute time against which absolute past and absolute future can be measured. Hume's argument regards the knowledge we can have of our own future, and we can't get a preview of that by asking a guy that sees an explosion at 1:28 that occurs at 1:29 to us what happened a minute ahead of time. These clocks readings are rendered meaningless when you try to step outside of the frames to say that one viewer is really ahead of the other and can provide foresight of some sort.

Really, I think Mill had the right idea. You have to presuppose certain principles like constant conjunction and uniformity of nature if science is to work, and Kant had the right idea in that the very fact of our existence presupposes certain principles as well and this is the only confirmation we're going to get and the only confirmation we need. I don't think Hume would necessarily disagree, either. It's fine to presuppose something if it need be done and that's all you can do, but he'd want us to acknowledge that we're doing so. It works fine for science, but that doesn't necessarily hold true in all fields, and the simple exercise in identifying what we can and can't know proves useful time and again.
 

Related Threads on On Hume, Simultineity, the Fractal Nature of Reality in Time and Inductivism

  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
6
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
3K
Replies
15
Views
5K
Replies
3
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
14
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
Top