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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 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
Daniel Boyd
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
Lawrence Cahoone
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Nancy Cartwright
Gregg Caruso
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
Austin Farrer
Herbert Feigl
Arthur Fine
John Martin Fischer
Frederic Fitch
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Bas van Fraassen
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
Frank Jackson
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Walter Kaufmann
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Thomas Kuhn
Andrea Lavazza
Christoph Lehner
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Jules Lequyer
Leucippus
Michael Levin
Joseph Levine
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
Arthur O. Lovejoy
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
Tim Maudlin
James Martineau
Nicholas Maxwell
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
C.F. von Weizsäcker
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

David Albert
Michael Arbib
Walter Baade
Bernard Baars
Jeffrey Bada
Leslie Ballentine
Marcello Barbieri
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Mara Beller
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Jean Bricmont
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Melvin Calvin
Donald Campbell
Sadi Carnot
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Gregory Chaitin
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Rudolf Clausius
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
Jerry Coyne
John Cramer
Francis Crick
E. P. Culverwell
Antonio Damasio
Olivier Darrigol
Charles Darwin
Richard Dawkins
Terrence Deacon
Lüder Deecke
Richard Dedekind
Louis de Broglie
Stanislas Dehaene
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Bernard d'Espagnat
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Gerald Edelman
Paul Ehrenfest
Manfred Eigen
Albert Einstein
George F. R. Ellis
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
David Foster
Joseph Fourier
Philipp Frank
Steven Frautschi
Edward Fredkin
Benjamin Gal-Or
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A. O. Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Dirk ter Haar
Jacques Hadamard
Mark Hadley
Patrick Haggard
J. B. S. Haldane
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Ralph Hartley
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Donald Hebb
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Basil Hiley
Art Hobson
Jesper Hoffmeyer
Don Howard
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
E. T. Jaynes
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Martin J. Klein
William R. Klemm
Christof Koch
Simon Kochen
Hans Kornhuber
Stephen Kosslyn
Daniel Koshland
Ladislav Kovàč
Leopold Kronecker
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Joseph LeDoux
Gilbert Lewis
Benjamin Libet
David Lindley
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
Owen Maroney
Humberto Maturana
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
John McCarthy
Warren McCulloch
N. David Mermin
George Miller
Stanley Miller
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Alexander Oparin
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
Henry Quastler
Adolphe Quételet
Lord Rayleigh
Jürgen Renn
Emil Roduner
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Tilman Sauer
Jürgen Schmidhuber
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Sebastian Seung
Thomas Sebeok
Franco Selleri
Claude Shannon
Charles Sherrington
David Shiang
Abner Shimony
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
Edmund Sinnott
B. F. Skinner
Lee Smolin
Ray Solomonoff
Roger Sperry
John Stachel
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
Max Tegmark
Teilhard de Chardin
Libb Thims
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Richard Tolman
Giulio Tononi
Peter Tse
Francisco Varela
Vlatko Vedral
Mikhail Volkenstein
Heinz von Foerster
Richard von Mises
John von Neumann
Jakob von Uexküll
C. S. Unnikrishnan
C. H. Waddington
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
Herman Weyl
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
Günther Witzany
Stephen Wolfram
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek
Konrad Zuse
Fritz Zwicky

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Benjamin Gal-Or
Benjamin Gal-Or is emeritus professor in Israel's Technion Faculty of Aerospace Engineering

During the 1970's, he published several articles on thermodynamics, cosmology, and the origin of irreversibility, including

"The Crisis about the Origin of Irreversibility and Time Anisotropy," Science, 7 April 1972, Volume 176, Number 4030

"Cosmological origin of irreversibility, time, and time anisotropies. I," Foundations of Physics 6.4 (1976): 407-426.

"The new astrophysical school of thermodynamics." Space Science Reviews, 22.2 (1978): 119-151.

In 1981 Gal-Or published a book, Cosmology, Physics, and Philosophy, a wide-ranging course curriculum that covered topics from classical and quantum physics of small systems out to questions of cosmology, then back to Earth again for philosophical questions.

Gal-Or was especially interested in "arrows of time," what Arthur Stanley Eddington had first called Time's Arrow, which Eddington attributed to the increase in entropy over time demanded by the second law of thermodynamics.

In his 1981 book Gal-Or said that irreversibility can not be deduced from quantum mechanics, that "quantum-mechanical tactics...fall into the trap of assuming that which they set out to prove. One cannot get uncertainty for certainty, nor indeterminism from determinism." (Our explanation of the origin of irreversibility in fact starts with Einstein's 1916 discovery of indeterminism when light quanta interact with the discrete quantum energy levels of atoms.)

Gal-Or wrote...

Over the last decades there have been remarkable developments in thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. Yet many of the basic problems have remained largely unsolved. In the spectrum of opinions expressed by authors who have attempted to solve these problems, one can roughly distinguish three main schools of thought:

1) Traditional axiomatic thermodynamics with some refined modifications, which however, cannot explain the origin of irreversibility and time asymmetries.

2) The statistical school, which generates “man-made irreversibility’’ or “manmade statistical evolution” by imposing asymmetric conditions on symmetric equations (or concepts) in order to describe the observed behavior of (relatively small) local systems (see below).

3) The new gravitational school, which deduces the origin of evolution, irreversibility and electromagnetic and thermodynamic time asymmetries from gravitation and the large-scale (nonequilibrium) dynamics of gravitationally-induced processes. The latter, in turm, are intimately related to the non-static properties of the (time-symmetrical) field equations of the gravitational field. This school includes some new modifications to the physics of time and is part and parcel of gravitism (Introduction).

Because the basic ideas of the first school are by far better covered in the textbooks, and because of the limited length of these lectures, the latter are concerned mainly with the last two schools of thought. We therefore turn now to examine the problems associated with the second school and, in particular, with false ideas that are traditionally associated with the concepts of “statistical evolution’’, “statistical asymmetry’’, etc.

My object in this connection would be to show that, to obtain a consistent mathematical formulation of entropy growth, irreversibility, evolution, and asymmetry in probabilistic theories, one needs ‘to break ’ the symmetric properties of the statistical-probabilistic equations. So far physicists have done this by means of (a priori) imposing on these equations an (often hidden postulate of) asymmetry (which, in itself, is equivalent to the very results that the mathematical analysis is aimed “to prove”). In other words, the (asymmetric) “results” (of classical and quantum-statistical physics) are not really results for they are deliberately enforced on, not deduced from the (symmetric) formalism (§V. 5).

Such quantum-mechanical tactics are, as I shall explain, unacceptable. Moreover, they lead to a highly misleading philosophy of science, which, in turn, has generated a ludicrously jncongruous mode of thinking in education and in general philosophy (see below). Their advocates all fall into the trap of assuming that which they set out to prove. One cannot get uncertainty for certainty, nor indeterminism from determinism (see below).* These conclusions lead to somewhat surprising results, which, in turn, are related to the very core of our physical theories and to the role of time, causality, and determinism in philosophy.

My viewpoint, as expressed in these lectures, stems from my long-time search for an explanation of time asymmetries, evolution, irreversibility and thermodynamics within the various frameworks of quantum mechanics; a search which has systematically disclosed that quantum mechanics is not a universal theory, but rather should be viewed as a practical “tool" in characterizing phenomena on a limited physical scale—a “tool” that must be incorporated into a more universal framework.

In spite of their importance in physics and philosophy alike, the fundamental problems of quantum mechanics have rarely, if ever, been evaluated from the combined points of view of the theories of time asymmetries, thermodynamics, evolution, structure, relativity, cosmology and philosophy. The present study is designed to fill this gap.

Contrary to this viewpoint, most physicists (and non-physicists) possess today an unshakable belief in the ability of quantum mechanics to explain and deduce the origin of thermodynamics, evolution, structure, and time asymmetries from its formalism. This belief stems, perhaps, from the fact that most scientists are today so thoroughly conditioned to the artificial imposition of the quantum-statistical postulates, that they hardly pause to consider their divertive consequences. With the present aversion to physico-philosophical inquiry in physics, an attempt to displace the resulting semi-sacrosanct myth calls for more than a proof of the fallacy involved: for more than the authority of Einstein; perhaps eVen for more than the full impact of a body of new empirical data in a wide spectrum of interconnected fields of study; it calls for an entirely new approach to the methodology of academe (Volume II).

Gal-Or on David Layzer
Cosmology, Information, and the Second Law

Another approach to cosmology, information, and the second law of thermodynamics has been described by Layzer(19). He discusses two paradoxical aspects with interesting implications. Assuming that the initial state of the universe was very simple (and hence required a very small quantity of information for its specification) and noting that the present state of the universe is exceedingly complex (hence requires a large quantity of information for its specification), he points out the contraction with the second law of thermodynamics, which requires, among other things, that the information contained in a macroscopic description of an isolated physical system never increase.

Relatedly, Layzer discusses the evolution in time of a universe whose mean spatial curvature is positive. Here the assumption that the initial state is one of thermodynamic equilibrium at zero temperature makes sense only if the universe returns to this state at the end of each cycle of expansion and contraction. But the identity of the initial and final states seems to contradict the fact that in the course of the expansion an irreversible generation of entropy (loss of information) must occur.

According to Layzer(19), information can always flow from the macroscopic to the microscopic degrees of freedom. Broadly speaking, this necessary condition for the law of increasing entropy to be valid is that the entropy associated with the microscopic degrees of freedom of a system should initially have its maximal possible value (that is, initial microscopic information should be absent). This is considered as an objective property of the universe. Thus, the arrow of time is transferred from the universe as a whole to the astronomical systems that separate out in the course of the expansion. Every newly formed system, no matter how complex its structure may be, is devoid of microscopic information. The justification for applying the second law of thermodynamics to the universe as a whole, according to Layzer, is the additivity of entropy (that is, if the law applies locally, it must also apply globally). The question is, then, whether entropy remains an additive quantity over large volumes of space. Up to a point, the amount of information required to describe the content of a given volume of space undoubtedly increases in direct proportion to the volume. In principle, however, the content of a volume whose dimensions greatly exceed the scale of local irregularities is largely predictable. Thus, the accuracy of predictions generally increases with volume. Since only a finite quantity of information is required to specify the entire universe, the entropy per unit volume approaches zero as the volume increases indefinitely. Consequently, the very concept of additive entropy fails. As to the origin of the electromagnetic arrow, Layzer(19) believes,contrary to Narlikar(20), that it is determined by the thermodynamic arrow of time.

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