The field idea: continuous process with discrete interaction

Discussions on the philosophical foundations, assumptions, and implications of science, including the natural sciences.

The field idea: continuous process with discrete interaction

Postby Marshall on February 6th, 2015, 10:00 pm 

As far as I can tell ordinary everyday reality is comprised of processes which proceed continuously and interact discretely: discrete interaction events occur between processes and are observed directly (it is through them that the processes themselves are observed). One such process is the electromagnetic field--there is only one in the whole universe, as far as I know. Photons are defined as the quanta of the electromagnetic field.

A photon is par excellence something that is observed. The observation of a photon is an occurrence. It is an interaction event that occurs. I would rather say occurs than "exists"
The distinction is one of nuance but the nuance may be important. Photons are detected by dye molecules in our retinal nerve endings. That is how you see, the most basic form of observation. Individual photons are detected by sensitive photoelectric devices, not all that different from the dye molecules which, when excited, cause an optical nerve to fire.

The word refers to discrete emission and absorption events. A photon is not itself a process--photons are the quanta of a process that is extensive---that proceeds continuously but interacts discretely. The concept "field quanta" is meant to express the idea that a continuous process extending and vibrating in many modes, when it interacts with something does so in discrete amounts and at a definite times and places. The field proceeds, the quanta occur. The field is an integral process, not MADE of anything.
Marshall
 
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Re: The field idea: continuous process with discrete interac

Postby wolfhnd on February 6th, 2015, 10:58 pm 

Marshall what do you think it is that makes science easier to understand than philosophy?
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Re: The field idea: continuous process with discrete interac

Postby Marshall on February 6th, 2015, 11:11 pm 

Wo, I just saw your post where you mention you are reading:
http://arxiv.org/pdf/1309.0132v1.pdf
http://arxiv.org/abs/1309.0132
Rovelli' s relational quantum mechanics, monism and quantum becoming
Mauro Dorato
(Submitted on 31 Aug 2013)
In this paper I present and defend Rovelli's relation quantum mechanics from some foreseeable objections, so as to clarify its philosophical implications vis a vis rival interpretations. In particular I ask whether RQM presupposes a hidden recourse to both a duality of evolutions and of ontology (the relationality of quantum world and the intrinsicness of the classical world, which in the limit must be recovered from the former). I then concentrate on the pluralistic, antimonistic metaphysical consequences of the theory, due to the impossibility of assigning a state to the quantum universe. Finally, in the last section I note interesting consequences of RQM with respect to the possibility of defining a local, quantum relativistic becoming (in flat spacetimes).Given the difficulties of having the cosmic form of becoming that would be appropriate for priority monism, RQM seems to present an important advantage with respect to monistic views, at least as far as the possibility of explaining our experience of time is concerned.
27 pages
Subjects: Quantum Physics (quant-ph); History and Philosophy of Physics (physics.hist-ph)

I can only respond feebly to your question right now. Empirically, let us look at an example, a paired comparison. Mauro Dorato in his bibliography cites an article called "Relational EPR" (Rovelli and Smerlak)
Let's have a look at Dorato, and then have a look at RovelliSmerlak. Which actually is harder to read? Then one can ask why. One is a philosophy paper and one is science. Oooops, wife calling from kitchen!

You might find the Phil. one easier to read, and be able to give a few reasons why, or you might find the Sci one easier. and again... only read the verbal non-math non-technical parts that make sense in ordinary language. EPR is that "entanglement paradox that Einstein Podolsky&Rosen proposed in the 30s and still seems to puzzle people. Doesn't it look as if info was transmitted instantly between the two entangled particles? R&S try to resolve the paradox. It is, in a way, a Phil paper but presented as a physics one. Try comparing, a few pages of each or whatever of the whole is readable. I'll tell you what I think later. I'm supposed to practice music now.
http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0604064
Relational EPR
Matteo Smerlak, Carlo Rovelli
(Submitted on 10 Apr 2006)
We study the EPR-type correlations from the perspective of the relational interpretation of quantum mechanics. We argue that these correlations do not entail any form of 'non-locality', when viewed in the context of this interpretation. The abandonment of strict Einstein realism implied by the relational stance permits to reconcile quantum mechanics, completeness, (operationally defined) separability, and locality.
10 pages, published in Foundations of Physics
Marshall
 


Re: The field idea: continuous process with discrete interac

Postby wolfhnd on February 6th, 2015, 11:27 pm 

Marshall I will wait for you to get back but I thought I would throw out these quotes from the above paper.

"Recall that in RQM the wave-function is merely a bookkeeping device, while the only reality is given by events that are the outcome of interactions or mutual information between two different systems. With this instrumentalist reading of the wave-function, the dualism in evolution is at least not straightforwardly reflected in a dualistic ontology, despite the fact that interference effects must be regarded as real."

"And since in RQM the state of a quantum system is a codification of outcomes of previous interactions, due to the impossibility of interacting with something of which we are a proper part, it does not make sense to claim that the universe is in an entangled state, but only that a part of it (maybe the largest part of it, but only relatively to the proper part O). If RQM is correct, it cannot be the case that all fundamental properties are properties of the cosmos (the One)"

So what fundamental properties are not properties of the cosmos and what are they properties of?
wolfhnd
 


Re: The field idea: continuous process with discrete interac

Postby Marshall on February 7th, 2015, 12:14 am 

There is no ONE CORRECT account of events. Different observers see things differently and may give different accounts but when they have time to communicate and compare they can resolve their differences. You can't wrap it all up in what he called "the cosmos (the One)"
BTW in Relational, the observers are themselves quantum systems. No wonder they see things differently.
For there to be ONE correct story, there would have to be One Godlike super OBSERVER outside the cosmos who sees it all. Dispense with that and you basically get rid of all the paradoxes .
But that is also what is said in the Rovelli Smerlak paper.

No need to wait for me. I'm interested in what your impressions are so I will wait for you to make the comparison without any more influencing from me. I've said enough. You may very well find the 27 page Phil paper easier to understand!
Marshall
 


Re: The field idea: continuous process with discrete interac

Postby wolfhnd on February 7th, 2015, 12:46 am 

It may be a day or two before I get back to this. I think I need to go for a walk :-)

I did find out that perspectivalists are dangerous when I was looking it up and thought you would enjoy this website hehe

What Is Perspectivalism, and Why Is It Dangerous?

http://www.teachingtheword.org/apps/art ... umnid=5772
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Re: Fielding a question

Postby Faradave on February 7th, 2015, 1:33 am 

Wolfhound wrote:what do you think it is that makes science easier to understand than philosophy?


I thought I understood the thread title and OP but now I'm completely lost. Perhaps that's the difference you refer to?
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Re: Fielding a question

Postby wolfhnd on February 7th, 2015, 1:51 am 

Faradave » Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:33 am wrote:
Wolfhound wrote:what do you think it is that makes science easier to understand than philosophy?


I thought I understood the thread title and OP but now I'm completely lost. Perhaps that's the difference you refer to?


It's a comment that is a hangover from other threads. I'm having a lot harder time following the philosophers than the scientists in general. Marshall is putting a philosophical idea in a language that is easier to understand.
wolfhnd
 


Re: The field idea: continuous process with discrete interac

Postby Marshall on February 7th, 2015, 2:32 am 

Hi Faradave and Wo,

Let's not worry about this particular question!
wolfhnd » Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:58 pm wrote:Marshall what do you think it is that makes science easier to understand than philosophy?


I can't answer for various reasons and Faradave is saying the topic is more clear if we skip the question. I think it would take a lot of work making comparisons before we could confidently say one group of authors is easier to understand. And it would be tempting to attribute all the difference to the reader's background and interest. So in the end it probably wouldn't help us to make the effort.

One thing Wolfhnd just said that I think is right and important is that the field idea is philosophical. It is a kind of ontology.

That is, physical reality does not on the whole consist of little round marbles or pebbles or "corpuscles". That is a poor way to think of it and the wrong thing to expect of nature.
Marshall
 


Re: The field idea: continuous process with discrete interac

Postby bangstrom on February 7th, 2015, 5:48 am 

Marshall » February 6th, 2015, 9:00 pm wrote:As far as I can tell ordinary everyday reality is comprised of processes which proceed continuously and interact discretely: discrete interaction events occur between processes and are observed directly (it is through them that the processes themselves are observed). One such process is the electromagnetic field--there is only one in the whole universe, as far as I know. Photons are defined as the quanta of the electromagnetic field.

A photon is par excellence something that is observed. The observation of a photon is an occurrence. It is an interaction event that occurs. I would rather say occurs than "exists"
The distinction is one of nuance but the nuance may be important. Photons are detected by dye molecules in our retinal nerve endings. That is how you see, the most basic form of observation. Individual photons are detected by sensitive photoelectric devices, not all that different from the dye molecules which, when excited, cause an optical nerve to fire.

The word refers to discrete emission and absorption events. A photon is not itself a process--photons are the quanta of a process that is extensive---that proceeds continuously but interacts discretely. The concept "field quanta" is meant to express the idea that a continuous process extending and vibrating in many modes, when it interacts with something does so in discrete amounts and at a definite times and places. The field proceeds, the quanta occur. The field is an integral process, not MADE of anything.

I can agree with most of what you have said so far about photons and fields. Things like “Photons are defined as the quanta of the electromagnetic field.” and “The field is an integral process, not MADE of anything.” The implications are that photons, like fields, are not made of anything and photons are individual parts of a process. They are more of an occurrence than something that exists.

These views of the photon could even be covered by Kracklauer's definition of a “photon” as “The name of a paradigm for the interaction of charged particles.” Photons in this view do not sound like anything we should be able to “see” which is why I have difficulty with the notion of “seeing” photons.

At low intensities, light appears to be absorbed at a single point but can this be considered “seeing” a photon? Is this occurrence evidence of a photon or is it an artifact of the detection process which converts the thing we call visible radiation be into an electrical current?

An electron current consists of countable electrons which are individually lifted to a level sufficient to reach the threshold of detection by either our eyes or instruments. Our observations are limited to “seeing” only the electron current from which we infer the character of whatever stimulated it.

The occurrence that we “see” in light events is not photons but an electron current and the source of its stimulus is a matter of conjecture so we do not “see” photons. Therefore the conclusion that photons have an existence independent charged particles because we can “see” photons is more indeterminate than valid.
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Re: The field idea: continuous process with discrete interac

Postby bangstrom on February 7th, 2015, 6:42 am 

Science is easier to understand in part because learning the jargon of science consists mainly of learning the names of easily identifiable parts and processes while learning the jargon of philosophy involves learning the names of a lot of nebulous concepts that are not easily grasped.
Science and philosophy are both interested in what is “true” but the bar for what is “true enough” is higher for philosophy than for science and this adds to the complexity. Science is content if the explanation fits the observation and the math works and is forgiving of an occasional paradox or logical inconsistency.
Marshall » February 7th, 2015, 1:32 am wrote: One thing Wolfhnd just said that I think is right and important is that the field idea is philosophical. It is a kind of ontology.

That is, physical reality does not on the whole consist of little round marbles or pebbles or "corpuscles". That is a poor way to think of it and the wrong thing to expect of nature.
I don't see the connection between what Wolfhnd just said and your conclusion from the same.
There are practical necessities in drawing that fine line between the physical reality of marbles and pebbles and what we think to be real but may not be.
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Re: The field idea: continuous process with discrete interac

Postby Marshall on February 7th, 2015, 3:30 pm 

I identify photons with interaction events. If there is no interaction, there is no photon.

How you want to think of it is your business. I don't think of a field as comprised of photons, as if they were "parts" of the field. That would make too many photons for me to imagine. Interaction events are comparatively rare (in my view). But you can if you want.

I think Wo was right to think of the field idea as philosophical, and I would specialize that to say ontological.

It is an ontological idea, which people are gradually learning and assimilating in this era. (200 years A.M. after Michael)

I want to illustrate it in my own way (not derived from Wo). I want to say why this idea is ontological. It is because it contradicts an earlier ontology of existence made out of marbles i.e. particles. The picture, widely shared, that something was physically real if it was composed of little pebble-things. In its day, a great advance.
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