Why is the issue of correctness of a notion of what materialism really is and what it means, as a prominent part of our modern physical worldview important for Philosophy of Science?
It is because it sets an important, critical division line between overwhelming scientific paradigms that define and distinguish different scientific epochs and their philosophical foundations of materialism. [Shockingly it included material foundation of theology in most part];
In the history of civilization, at least since creation in classical Greek period, systematized human field of inquiry called early science; two distinct scientific epochs can be discerned.
Following Kant and Schopenhauer concepts of noumenon of “will” one could state that objective reality, the singular unitary thing in itself, all permeating entity beyond our perception capabilities, could be considered as reality that gains its representation as a structured, plural world, only in a form of separate but complementary ideas in our mind. Hence, so-called phenomena i.e. objects+relations, determined by our aesthetics do not objectively exist beyond our awareness of them since they are simply plural concepts incepted into our minds.
And hence fundamental laws of nature we seem to discover “experimentally” may likely be just mathematical/tautological creation of our mind, as D. Hume insisted, the result of already preconceived ideas about structure and processes of what we call universe but rather what we should call the universe of our over-interpreted sensibilities. Our intellectual journey beyond the border of our common sensibilities all too often result in instability, variability or failure of validity of what we understand as fundamental laws of nature, which actually are just consequences of mathematical tautologies i.e. varying expressions of the same singular idea.
In the post “It’s about Time” on this blog, following E. Kant “Critique of Pure Reason” a conjecture was put forward that time-space, may in fact not exist as a part of external objective reality but rather is simply a way, a method of perceiving reality of sensed events. Consequently a question arises. If time and space does not objectively exist but instead they are merely tools utilized to describe sense-perceived phenomena, can we use some other perception tools to replace our built-in time-space aesthetics?
In context of our intelligibility debate, It is only appropriate to address one of most unintelligible theory in history of modern science, theory of relativity (TR) which models and conclusions defy common human comprehension. Does relativity describe objective reality or it is just a mathematical construct conceived in our mind alone, forcing on us into conclusions conflicted with our built-in comfortable, innate understanding of concepts of time and space (see previous posts). The theory of relativity, developed with poor, deficient input from our sense perceptions, challenging us to confront new worldview with nothing absolute or reliable to hold on to. Instead we are forced into “subjective reality” dependent of individual observer.
The Quantum Mechanics (QM) is established branch of physics with about 100 years of history behind it and countless technological implementations. I want to state clearly at the beginning of this post that I am aware and appreciate enormous contribution of QM as well as Solid State Physics to development of truly innovative discrete (digital) technologies in optics (laser, LED, photo voltaic cells, etc.) and electronics (superconductivity, semiconductor components etc.).
I do not intend here to question efficacy of the theory of Quanta but rather aim to question narratives disseminated widely in media, academia, and in many scientific circuits, supposedly explaining foundations of the Quantum theory as closely related to reality of universe. I will attempt to address some more controversial, often characterized as surreal, aspects of theory of QM in context of intelligibility debate continuing on this blog.
The central question here is question of intelligibility of our scientific worldview and whether or not it matters.
Curiously, and unrelated to my own interest in the subject, latest trends in some philosophical circles seem to be directed toward rethinking of modern interpretation of works of founders of modern science and philosophy. Particularly, questions were raised on subject of perception of reality from point of view of intelligibility or our capability of mental comprehension of phenomena (sense-perceived entities) through concepts of mechanical worldview*.
The fact that modern scientific theories are nothing more than linear models, human literary narratives based on conceptualized sense perceptions peculiarly interpreted as external experiences is rarely admitted by scientists themselves, often due to fear of loosing, their strangely perceived universal truth proclaiming, authority. While black-box models are pure constructs of our mind (tautologies of mathematics), they are being incorrectly promoted, by media and educational system, as descriptions of true reality of universe. Moreover, these are models of human perceptions only, organized by processes of abstract thinking, rather than theories addressing underlying objective reality in itself. We have (almost) no perceptual access into objective reality as I mentioned in my previous post (A Note on Objective Reality). What’s worse is that contemporary scientific method, completely abandoned requirement of intelligibility of scientific theory, which successfully guided founders of modern science, and lost emphasis on intelligible mechanisms to describe physical processes. Consequently, 21st century science provides us with mostly unintelligible stories of universe, selectively matched to internal perceptions via subjective interpretations (experiments/experiences) of very narrow scientific community of “experts”.