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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Anaximander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
George Berkeley
Isaiah Berlin
Richard J. Bernstein
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Heraclitus
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Jules Lequyer
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
Thomas Nagel
Otto Neurath
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
Parmenides
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Protagoras
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
Isabelle Stengers
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Walter Baade
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Richard Dawkins
Terrence Deacon
Lüder Deecke
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Gerald Edelman
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Philipp Frank
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Donald Hebb
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Art Hobson
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Martin J. Klein
Simon Kochen
Hans Kornhuber
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
John McCarthy
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Abraham Pais
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
John Stachel
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
Max Tegmark
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Giulio Tononi
Peter Tse
Vlatko Vedral
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek
Konrad Zuse
Fritz Zwicky

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Nicolas Gisin

Nicolas Gisin is an experimental physicist who has extended the tests of quantum entanglement and nonlocality (the EPR experiment) to many kilometers from his lab in Geneva. His work has confirmed the correctness of quantum mechanics, and with it the irreducible indeterminacy involved in quantum mechanical measurements.

Gisin is the recipient of the first John Stewart Bell prize. It is Bell's Theorem and the Bell Inequalities that Gisin's work has confirmed.

Despite his critical work that grounds quantum physics, Gisin has been active in searching for alternative mathematical formulations of quantum theory, especially ones that might replace the ad hoc assumption of wave functions "collapsing" when measurements are made.

Alternatives proposed by GianCarlo Ghirardi and his colleagues replace the linear Schrödinger equation for the time evolution of the wave function with a nonlinear equation that includes explicit stochastic terms.

Gisin also has explored the paradoxical interpretations of his nonlocality experiments. The perfect nonlocal correlation of distant spin states suggests that information is traveling between the two widely separated measurements of electrons in an entangled spin state at velocities greater than the speed of light.

This is of course impossible, but Gisin speculates that some "influence" may be affecting both experiments coming from "outside space and time." Gisin says he means by this that "there is no story in space and time" to account for nonlocality. This is of course because the collapse of probabilities is instantaneous (not therefore "in time?") and happens everywhere (surely "in all space?").

If there were such influences, they might provide an explanation for deterministic theories, "some sort of hyper-determinism that would make all Science an illusion," says Gisin. He explains:

We have seen that any proper violation of a Bell inequality implies that all possible future theories have to predict nonlocal correlations. In this sense it is Nature that is nonlocal. But how can that be? How does Nature perform the trick? Leaving aside some technical loopholes, like a combination of detection and locality loopholes, the obvious answer, already suggested by John Bell, is that there is some hidden communication going on behind the scene. A first meaning of "behind the scene" could be "beyond today's physics", in particular beyond the speed limit set by relativity. We have seen how this interesting idea can be experimentally tested and how difficult it is to combine this idea with no-signaling. Hence, it is time to take seriously the idea that Nature is able to produce nonlocal correlations. There are several ways of formulating this:

1. Somehow God plays dice with nonlocal die: a random event can manifest itself at several locations.

2. Nonlocal correlations merely happen. somehow from outside space-time, in the sense that no story in space-time can describe how they happen.

3. The communications behind the scene happens outside space-time

4. Reality happens in configuration space: what we observe is only a shadow in 3-dimensional space (this might be closest to the description provided by standard quantum physics).

Free will
Gisin says about free will,
Determinsim is a physical hypothesis that denies free will, and it is false
I know that I enjoy free will much more than I know anything about physics. Hence, physics will never be able to convince me that free will is an illusion. Quite the contrary, any physical hypothesis incompatible with free will is falsified by the most profound experience I have about free will.

So, would I have rejected Newtonian classical mechanics had I lived before quantum physics? Probably not. Indeed, classical physics leaves open the possibility that free will can somehow interface with the deterministic Newtonian equations: free will could set-up some potential that could slightly influence particles's motion. This would be something like Descartes pineal gland. In standard quantum physics such an interface between free will and physics could be even simpler: free will could influence the probabilities of quantum events. This is, admittedly, a vague and not very original idea; but important is that there is no obvious definite contradiction between free will and standard quantum physics.

Are Real Numbers Really Real?
Free Will Requires Alternative Possibilities
For Teachers
For Scholars
The experimental setup for quantum entanglement tests is theoretically simple but experimentally difficult. Two spin 1/2 electrons are prepared in a state, say with opposing spins so the total spin angular momentum of the electrons is zero. They are said to be in a singlet state. Most recent studies, like Gisin's, used entangled polarized photon pairs.)

Two experimenters (call them A and B) measure the electron spins at some later time.

The conservation of angular momentum requires that should one of these electrons be measured with spin up, the other must be spin down. This is what is described as "nonlocal" correlation of the spin measurement results.

A simpler way of looking at the problem is to consider the conservation of angular momentum, a law of nature that can not be violated. What would the lack of "correlation" between electron spins look like? It would include some spin-up measurements by experimenter A at the same time as spin-up measurements by experimenter B.

But this is a clear violation of the conservation law for angular momentum.

This conservation law in no way depends on supra-luminal communications between particles. Consider two electrons at opposite ends of the Andromeda galaxy, say 100,000 light years apart. As they revolve around the center of the galaxy, they conserve their orbital angular momenta perfectly.

We might say, with Gisin, that conservation laws are "outside space-time."

Note that Einstein's original Maxwell's equations - in his 1931 article "Maxwell's Influence on the Evolution of the Idea of Physical Reality."

A few years later, he again questioned whether continuous theories, with their infinities and singularities, would be the final answer to what is real.

In the Schrodinger equation, absolute time, and also the potential energy, play a decisive role, while these two concepts have been recognized by the theory of relativity as inadmissible in principle. If one wishes to escape from this difficulty, he must found the theory upon field and field laws instead of upon forces of interaction. This leads us to apply the statistical methods of quantum mechanics to fields, that is, to systems of infinitely many degrees of freedom. Although the attempts so far made are restricted to linear equations, which, as we know from the results of the general theory of relativity, are insufficient, the complications met up to now by the very ingenious attempts are already terrifying...

To be sure, it has been pointed out that the introduction of a space-time continuum may be considered as contrary to nature in view of the molecular structure of everything which happens on a small scale. It is maintained that perhaps the success of the Heisenberg method points to a purely algebraical method of description of nature, that is, to the elimination of continuous functions from physics. Then, however, we must also give up, on principle, the space-time continuum...

In view of this situation, it seems to be entirely justifiable seriously to consider the question as to whether the basis of field physics cannot by any means be put into harmony with quantum phenomena. Is this not the only basis which, with the presently available mathematical tools, can be adapted to the requirements of the general theory of relativity? The belief, prevailing among the physicists of today, that such an attempt would be hopeless, may have its root in the unwarranted assumption that such a theory must lead, in first approximation, to the equations of classical mechanics for the motion of corpuscles, or at least to total differential equations. As a matter of fact, up to now we have never succeeded in a field-theoretical description of corpuscles free of singularities, and we can, a priori, say nothing about the behavior of such entities. One thing, however, is certain: if a field theory results in a representation of corpuscles free of singularities, then the behavior of these corpuscles in time is determined solely by the differential equations of the field.

To Leopold Infeld he wrote in 1941,

"I tend more and more to the opinion that one cannot come further with a continuum theory."

Einstein in his later years grew even more pessimistic about the possibilities for deterministic continuous field theories, by comparison with indeterministic and statistical discontinuous particle theories like those of quantum mechanics.

He wrote his friend Michele Besso in 1954 to express his lost hopes for a continuous field theory like that of electromagnetism or gravitation,

"I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept, i.e:, on continuous structures. In that case, nothing remains of my entire castle in the air, gravitation theory included, [and of] the rest of modern physics."

The fifth edition of The Meaning of Relativity included a new appendix on Einstein's field theory of gravitation. In the final paragraphs of this work, his last, published posthumously in 1956, Einstein wrote:

Is it conceivable that a field theory permits one to understand the atomistic and quantum structure of reality ? Almost everybody will answer this question with "no"...

One can give good reasons why reality cannot at all be represented by a continuous field. From the quantum phenomena it appears to follow with certainty that a finite system of finite energy can be completely described by a finite set of numbers (quantum numbers). This does not seem to be in accordance with a continuum theory, and must lead to an attempt to find a purely algebraic theory for the description of reality. But nobody knows how to obtain the basis of such a theory.

Finally, we should note that Einstein was greatly impressed by the work of two great mathematicians, Leopold Kronecker and Richard Dedekind.

Kronecker famously argued that the continuum is a human creation. He said, "God made the integers, all else is the work of man." ( "Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk"). Kronecker gained a measure of control over the infinities and singularities of continua with his "Kronecker delta," which is infinitely tall but infinitesimally wide, like Paul Dirac's later delta function, it integrates to unity.

A few years later, Dedekind echoed Kronecker, saying "the negative and fractional numbers have been created by the human mind." (Essays on the Theory of Numbers, p.4) Dedekind was the source for one of Einstein's most famous phrases, the "free creation of the human mind"

"Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however they may seem, uniquely determined by the external world."

From Information Philosophy

All the fields of physics, gravitation, electromagnetism, nuclear, and even the quantum wave function, are descriptions that enable accurate predictions of the properties of a test particle at a pint in the field. As such, fields are abstract, immaterial, information about concrete, material, objects.

In the case of quantum mechanics, the wave function provides only statistical information about individual particles. Quantum theory is thus a statistical, and therefore incomplete theory, as Einstein knew well, though his colleagues all dismissed his thinking.

See http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/einstein/ for more. -->


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