Meanwhile... the latest issue of Nature, some physicists published an empirical refutation of

'realism' -- a viewpoint according to which an external reality exists independent of observation.

They also advocate considering

the breakdown of [...] Aristotelian logic, counterfactual definiteness, absence of actions into the past or a world that is not [sic] completely deterministic.

As far as I can tell, what they actually found is evidence against certain local hidden-variable theories that survived Bell's inequalities. Aristotelian syllogisms and realism (in the above sense) seem to be thrown out by the principle that if you throw out the bath water, you might as well throw out the whole bathroom.


# on 25 April 2007, 18:50

Is that really all it is? I saw my boyfriend's roommate reading that article the other day and asked her about it. The title claimed that it was at least refuting <i>non</i>-local hidden variable theories as well.

# on 26 April 2007, 02:20

I'm sure there is more to it. But at least within the philosophical community, the objective indeterminacy of certain quantum properties (and thereby of everything that supervenes upon them) seems widely accepted anyway. And from this point of view, I think the findings aren't great philosophical news. Though sadly my physics is not much better than these guys's philosophy. At any rate, I can't see anything in there that would even remotely suggest a magical power of observations to create reality or the inapplicability of certain logical systems.

# on 04 May 2007, 11:28

An amusingly extreme example of a general problem perhaps? I wonder because I've recently noticed that most physicists avoid certain problems (that might otherwise be telling them something about reality) by interpreting quantum-mechanical probabilities as frequencies (50 years after Popper introduced single-case propensities).

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