Physics Without Definitions – “Quantum Field Theory as a Faithful Image of Nature”

One for later, some tough reading (120 page technical PDF), but a philosophical view of “modern” physics by Hans Christian Öttinger that dares suggest:

… in the words of Margenau:

“it is quite proper for us to assume that we know what a dog is
even if we may not be able to define him”

Philosophy shall here serve as
a practical tool for doing better physics.

Very much Dennett’s “hold your definition” stance, and very much the same rejection of definitive objectivity I was referring to here. As Öttinger says:

Emphasis on the importance of beliefs,
even if they are justi ed by a variety
of philosophical and physical ideas,
may irritate the physicist.

Definitions are matters of hindsight, like species in evolution. Objects are simply abstractions – artefacts – of the model we are using, even when we’re doing physics of what we consider to be the “real” world.

[Hat Tip to Sabine on Backreaction.]

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