History and Philosophy of Physics


On Causality and Impossibility

Authors: Roger Ellman

Much of contemporary science treats description and quantification of what happens but fails to treat the causality of the events - how, why, through what mechanism they happen. For example, gas pressure is causally explained by the kinetic theory of gases but the cause of gravitation is not investigated nor presented; only the description and quantification of gravitation is addressed. But, without understanding of the causality of physical processes it cannot be said that they are well understood. Understanding of causality cannot be addressed solely by mathematical analysis and manipulations. It requires insight into the actual physical processes. Related is the issue of impossibility. Sometimes clearly impossible hypotheses or interpretations of observations are seriously proffered. Some examples are contended instantaneous action at a distance involving "entangled" particles' quantum states and contended universe accelerating expansion, which raises problems of conservation of energy and thermodynamic principles of increasing entropy let alone that of anti-gravity. Addressing issues solely by mathematical analysis and manipulations facilitates neglecting the practical possibility or impossibility of the interpretation. These issues apply to the Einstein-Hubble concept of space, the Einstein general relativity treatment of gravitation, quantum mechanics in general, and general uncertainty as compared to the original per Heisenberg.

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[v1] 25 Feb 2007

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