Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

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

Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 13th, 2018, 5:39 pm 

I'd like to start a discussion on whether it would be more appropriate to say that Einstein's general relativity improved on Newtonian mechanics or replaced it.

Now, let's start with a theory like phlogiston and combustion. I think I can safely say (fingers crossed) that it's universally conceded that phlogiston was just plain wrong, even if it may have had a certain explanatory and predictive value. Phlogiston does not exist, and nothing true can be said of a non-existent entity, except perhaps that it does not exist.

When it comes to Newton and Einstein things get a bit trickier. From my own experience, scientists tend to argue -- out of respect for Isaac, perhaps -- that Newton was on the right track, but clearly got a few things wrong.

I'd be inclined to argue the opposite, though don't want to be dogmatic about this: I'm quite willing to be persuaded to the contrary.

Next up: I don't think anyone denies that Newtonian mechanics is predictively accurate (got us to the Moon and all that), but what I'd like to examine here is whether Einstein took us closer to the truth than Newton.

By truth, I mean that a theory is not only empirically adequate to a high degree (I don't deny that Newtonian mechanics is), but that the architecture and furntiture of the theory is a veridical representation of reality. The ontology of the theory actually exists.

Now, perhaps the physicists will be kind enough to correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that gravity, construed under Newtonian mechanics, is an attractive force that acts over any distance instantaneously against a backdrop of absolute time and space. Surely this is no longer considered an accurate depiction of reality?

Now, if that's case, shouldn't we say that Newton simply got the story wrong, accurate predictions notwithstanding. The point I want to impress here is that false theories also yield accurate predictions; Ptolemaic cosmology will fare you well on a yacht journey to Tahiti, but simply untrue.

All insights appreciated. I emphasize this is in no way intended to be disrespectful to Sir Isaac, bless his soul.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby mitchellmckain on July 13th, 2018, 6:09 pm 

Improve.

We still teach Newtonian physics in schools because it still works (we still use it for many applications), and the first check on whether Einstein was correct was that it reduced to Newtonian physics in the same range of situations where Newtonian physics always worked. But the improvement is in the increased accuracy over a greater range of velocities and gravitational forces including situations where Newtonian physics does not agree with the experimental results very well at all.

It is only in the areas of visualization, metaphysics, and philosophical talk about reality, that one might seem to have replaced the other. But as far as the physics goes, it is much more accurate to call it an improvement rather than a replacement.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 13th, 2018, 6:22 pm 

But that wasn't the question, Mitchell.

I'm not denying that Newtonian mechanics "works". We all agree on this.

What I'd like to examine is whether or not Einstein took us closer on the path towards truth than Newton.

Now, if the ontology of Newton's physics does not exist, then we must surely say the theory is untrue. Right?

And if that's the case, it's hard to argue that a true theory (even supposing Einstein got it right) is taking us closer to the truth than a false one.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby someguy1 on July 13th, 2018, 6:59 pm 

Isaac Asimov addressed this very question in his essay, The Relativity of Wrong.

https://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience ... fwrong.htm
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 13th, 2018, 7:16 pm 

someguy1 » July 14th, 2018, 7:59 am wrote:Isaac Asimov addressed this very question in his essay, The Relativity of Wrong.

https://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience ... fwrong.htm



Just been reading it. Thank you.

Now, take this line:

"What actually happens is that once scientists get hold of a good concept they gradually refine and extend it with greater and greater subtlety as their instruments of measurement improve. Theories are not so much wrong as incomplete."

This sounds wrong to me. If a theory posits an ontology that does not exist, then shouldn't we say it is wrong, not incomplete?

If Santa Claus does not exist, then nothing true can be said about him (except, as I said in the OP, that he doesn't exist).

Likewise for Newtonian gravity: if there is no attractive force that acts instantaneously etc etc, then the claim is not incomplete; it's just false.

I know this is controversial and there have been attempts to salvage the "improvement" idea in the philosophy of language by Hilary Putnam. He argues -- or argued (think he changed his mind) -- for fixity of reference through theory change.

In other words, Newton hooked onto something real, even if he had a few wrong beliefs about it. Einstein caught the same fish.

Thank you again for that article.

I admire Putnam enormously, but not quite convinced.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby mitchellmckain on July 13th, 2018, 7:51 pm 

Reg_Prescott » July 13th, 2018, 5:22 pm wrote:But that wasn't the question, Mitchell.

Incorrect. You posted the question "Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?"
It is a choice between two alternatives and I picked "improve."

Reg_Prescott » July 13th, 2018, 5:22 pm wrote:I'm not denying that Newtonian mechanics "works". We all agree on this.

Ahhhhh! so you are not asking a question but making an argument! Then the question is just a rhetorical one then.... I see.

Reg_Prescott » July 13th, 2018, 5:22 pm wrote:What I'd like to examine is whether or not Einstein took us closer on the path towards truth than Newton.

In other words, you are more interested in philosophy:metaphysics than science:physics. I am equally interested in both, so in....
1. the philosophy of science section my answer is as above.
2. In the metaphysics section my answer would be that by conforming our picture of reality to fit the larger scale structure of the universe, Einstein theories are the better basis upon which to found ones understanding of reality.

Reg_Prescott » July 13th, 2018, 5:22 pm wrote:Now, if the ontology of Newton's physics does not exist, then we must surely say the theory is untrue. Right?

Nope. Newton's physics does not address the question of ontology. You might as well argue that Zantac(Ranitidine) is bad because it does not relieve muscle pain. It is ridiculous to judge things according to standards which have nothing to do with the purpose for which they were created.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 13th, 2018, 7:54 pm 

mitchellmckain » July 14th, 2018, 8:51 am wrote:
Reg_Prescott » July 13th, 2018, 5:22 pm wrote:But that wasn't the question, Mitchell.

Incorrect.



Well, at least I tried.

I can see the way this ends.

You're gonna turn me down and say "Can't we be friends?"
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby mitchellmckain on July 13th, 2018, 8:10 pm 

someguy1 » July 13th, 2018, 5:59 pm wrote:Isaac Asimov addressed this very question in his essay, The Relativity of Wrong.

https://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience ... fwrong.htm


You know I suggest you do the following searches because the answers are enlightening.

"Who proposed that the earth is flat?" To this google will give you Samuel Shenton, the founder of the flat earth society, and the year 1956.

"Who proposed that the earth is round?" To this google will give you Pythagoras and the 6th century BC.

This kind of throws a HUGE wrench in the idea that the latter "theory" supplanted the former one.

Another thing these searches are likely to bring up is talk about the "myth of the flat earth" in Wikipedia, which will inform you that prevailing idea that the cosmological view of the Middle Ages is that the earth was flat is a modern misconception. "There never was a period of 'flat Earth darkness' among scholars (regardless of how the public at large may have conceptualized our planet both then and now)" Stephen Jay Gould. I suppose you could say that only the people of the last century are stupid enough to believe something that ridiculous.l
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 13th, 2018, 8:20 pm 

Mitchell, let me try another tack then. Please answer the following questions:

1. Do you believe anything in reality answers to the description of "a horse-like creature with a single horn on its head"?

2. If no, can anything true be said of unicorns? (except that they don't exist)

3. Do you believe anything in reality answers to the description of "an attractive force that acts instantaneously over any distance against a backdrop of absolute space and absolute time"?

4. If no, can anything true be said of Newtonian gravity? (except that it doesn't exist)
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby someguy1 on July 13th, 2018, 8:49 pm 

Reg_Prescott » July 13th, 2018, 5:16 pm wrote:
This sounds wrong to me. If a theory posits an ontology that does not exist, then shouldn't we say it is wrong, not incomplete?


It seems that this question presupposes that there is ANY ontology that's real. That's a question of metaphysics and not science. When we measure the charge of an electron, is that telling us something that's approximately true of the world "out there?" Or only something that's true of our experimental apparatus and our minds?

Nobody really knows. All we know is that our successive theories get better at making more accurate preductions of experiments. Nobody knows if there is any "truth" to them at all, or if the question's even meaningful. The question of truth is about metaphysics and not about science. Science is only about building successively better theories, where "better" means more decimal places in the predictions of experiments and observations. Yes?

General relativity is a "better" theory than Newtonian gravity, and in that sense it's "more true." But is it more true without the quotes? Is there a truth "out there" thats being approximated? Question of metaphysics. It's outside the realm of science.

This is how I understand it, anyway. Newton understood the same thing in his famous remark that "I frame no hypotheses." He said that he's describing nature, not explaining it. He has a model that describes observations. He frames no hypotheses about what's "really" going on. That question is outside of science.

Isaac Newton wrote:I have not as yet been able to discover the reason for these properties of gravity from phenomena, and I do not feign hypotheses. For whatever is not deduced from the phenomena must be called a hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, or based on occult qualities, or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypotheses_non_fingo
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 13th, 2018, 8:59 pm 

someguy1 » July 14th, 2018, 9:49 am wrote:The question of truth is about metaphysics and not about science. Science is only about building successively better theories, where "better" means more decimal places in the predictions of experiments and observations. Yes?



I'd have to disagree here, with all due respect (and I enjoyed reading your thoughtful post)

Scientists routinely make assertions about what exists and what does not.

Don't make me go quote hunting LOL.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby TheVat on July 13th, 2018, 9:00 pm 

Wasn't Isaac himself troubled by the ontic problems of instantaneous force? I don't think Newton or his contemporaries thought the explanation was complete, so far as force propagation was concerned. IIRC scientific community around that time was struggling with the obvious lack of an ontology for a force that would act seemingly instantly. They knew they had something incomplete. Newton himself wrote in a letter....

"That one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum without the mediation of anything else, by and through which their action and force may be conveyed from one another, is to me so great an absurdity that, I believe, no man who has in philosophic matters a competent faculty of thinking could ever fall into it..."


(1692 letter to Richard Bentley)

As soon as better telescopes in the 19th century started to reveal anomalies like Mercurial precession, it paved the path towards better accounts of how gravity functioned. Newton laid a groundwork that was essentially right because it was inductive, and admitted of its own incompleteness.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 13th, 2018, 9:01 pm 

Just think of Galileo.

"That's the way things are. It's real".

Other examples could be adduced pretty much ad infinitum.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 13th, 2018, 9:05 pm 

Braininvat » July 14th, 2018, 10:00 am wrote:Wasn't Isaac himself troubled by the ontic problems of instantaneous force? I don't think Newton or his contemporaries thought the explanation was complete, so far as force propagation was concerned. IIRC scientific community around that time was struggling with the obvious lack of an ontology for a force that would act seemingly instantly. They knew they had something incomplete. Newton himself wrote in a letter....



I completely agree, BiV.

Now, if the Newtonians were making a truth claim (as opposed to an instrumental claim), their ontology was wrong, was it not?

There is no attractive force that acts inst.... you know the rest.

Miss your wattle by the way :-)
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby TheVat on July 13th, 2018, 9:11 pm 

Woof.

See Someguy's post on truth claims. Newton respected the inductive basis of science by NOT making one in regard to the nature of gravity. He ducked metaphysical games because he was sharp enough to see the pitfalls. Ditto Hooke, Kepler, Roemer, et al.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 13th, 2018, 9:16 pm 

Braininvat » July 14th, 2018, 10:11 am wrote:Woof.

See Someguy's post on truth claims. Newton respected the inductive basis of science by NOT making one in regard to the nature of gravity. He ducked metaphysical games because he was sharp enough to see the pitfalls. Ditto Hooke, Kepler, Roemer, et al.



Well, if there were no claims made about reality or truth, then it makes no sense to say Einstein dragged us closer to truth.

Or am I missing something, old pal?
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby TheVat on July 13th, 2018, 9:36 pm 

We're just back to the instrumentalism that SG pointed to. Albert dragged us towards better predictions of experimental outcomes. As SG clarified, science only does truth with quotes on, i. e. a limited form of confidence in future observations, sans metaphysical claims. Science has lots of unspoken disclaimers that save it from total arrogance. Shi--y scientists are the ones that forget that and say crazy things in public. Like "we will have conscious machines in 25 years. " No one has the slightest fucking idea. Cheers, old chum.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 13th, 2018, 9:41 pm 

Braininvat » July 14th, 2018, 10:36 am wrote:No one has the slightest **** idea. Cheers, old chum.


That's all I really wanted to hear. Hahaha!
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby mitchellmckain on July 13th, 2018, 9:50 pm 

Braininvat » July 13th, 2018, 8:36 pm wrote:We're just back to the instrumentalism that SG pointed to. Albert dragged us towards better predictions of experimental outcomes. As SG clarified, science only does truth with quotes on, i. e. a limited form of confidence in future observations, sans metaphysical claims. Science has lots of unspoken disclaimers that save it from total arrogance. Shi--y scientists are the ones that forget that and say crazy things in public. Like "we will have conscious machines in 25 years. " No one has the slightest **** idea. Cheers, old chum.


Which goes to show that scientists are just human beings like the rest of us and we need to separate their scientific finding and other accomplishments from the failings which can be found in all of us somewhere.

Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawkings are good examples in this, hell, even Einstein for that matter. All doing some excellent science and some great writings about science (and other things), but also have writings which are not so great, or other personal flaws worthy of criticism. But none of these change the value of their accomplishments.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 13th, 2018, 10:07 pm 

mitchellmckain » July 14th, 2018, 10:50 am wrote:
Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawkings are good examples in this, hell, even Einstein for that matter. All doing some excellent science and some great writings about science (and other things), but also have writings which are not so great, or other personal flaws worthy of criticism. But none of these change the value of their accomplishments.



Well, NO ONE messes with Einstein, and don't know that much about Stephen Hawking, but is there anyone else out there who thinks Richard Dawkins is about as thick as two planks of wood?
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby mitchellmckain on July 14th, 2018, 1:51 am 

Reg_Prescott » July 13th, 2018, 9:07 pm wrote:Well, NO ONE messes with Einstein, and don't know that much about Stephen Hawking, but is there anyone else out there who thinks Richard Dawkins is about as thick as two planks of wood?


I am sure there are. But that is because there are a lot of very stupid people, who wouldn't know intelligence if it hit them between the eyes.

Richard Dawkins may be annoying, a little intolerant, misogynist, and a bit arrogant at times, but he is not stupid and he has written some brilliantly good books. (No, "The God Delusion," was not one of them)

Frankly I have heard the same sort of nonsense said about Hawkings and even Einstein for reasons which are just as narrow minded and absurd. They frankly reflect more on the stupidity of the person saying them than on the intelligence these three men.

Actually to be truly frank, I think everyone is a bit stupid in some area of life or another. Often the more brilliant we are in one particular area, the more abysmally inadequate we are in a different area. It is just a part of how life works. We make choices to follow some interests and develop one set of skills at the expense of different interests and skills. I am pretty good in science and math, but socially I am a bit of a retard.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 14th, 2018, 5:26 am 

mitchellmckain » July 14th, 2018, 8:51 am wrote:Nope. Newton's physics does not address the question of ontology. You might as well argue that Zantac(Ranitidine) is bad because it does not relieve muscle pain. It is ridiculous to judge things according to standards which have nothing to do with the purpose for which they were created.



This seems a bit far-fetched, to say the least, Mitchell.

Are we supposed to believe that when Newton spoke of gravity, absolute space, absolute time, and all the rest, he was writing (what he took to be) fiction?

Or did he take himself to be describing the way things really are?

And that would be to address ontology.

I do accept that he balked to tell us the essential nature of gravity, for example (hypotheses non fingo and all that), even though he tried to get a handle on it, to no avail, but not that there is no such thing.

Gravity, surely, was a component of Newton's universe, not simply a facon de parler.

And if you concede that, you would have to concede, I think, that he was addressing ontology.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 14th, 2018, 5:31 am 

Reg_Prescott » July 14th, 2018, 9:20 am wrote:Mitchell, let me try another tack then. Please answer the following questions:

1. Do you believe anything in reality answers to the description of "a horse-like creature with a single horn on its head"?

2. If no, can anything true be said of unicorns? (except that they don't exist)

3. Do you believe anything in reality answers to the description of "an attractive force that acts instantaneously over any distance against a backdrop of absolute space and absolute time"?

4. If no, can anything true be said of Newtonian gravity? (except that it doesn't exist)




Mitchell, you haven't answered these questions yet, as far as I can see.

I'd be interested to know how you would address this. Thanks!
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby mitchellmckain on July 14th, 2018, 5:38 pm 

Reg_Prescott » July 14th, 2018, 4:31 am wrote:
Reg_Prescott » July 14th, 2018, 9:20 am wrote:Mitchell, let me try another tack then. Please answer the following questions:

1. Do you believe anything in reality answers to the description of "a horse-like creature with a single horn on its head"?

2. If no, can anything true be said of unicorns? (except that they don't exist)

3. Do you believe anything in reality answers to the description of "an attractive force that acts instantaneously over any distance against a backdrop of absolute space and absolute time"?

4. If no, can anything true be said of Newtonian gravity? (except that it doesn't exist)




Mitchell, you haven't answered these questions yet, as far as I can see.

I'd be interested to know how you would address this. Thanks!

Oh sure... didn't see that one.
1. Yes. Some are genetic anomalies and others are extinct species. Of course it depends on what you mean by "horse-like." Horses do not have horns and so you would not expect an animal with a horn to be like a horses. Many unicorn stories give them goat-like characteristics and there is a well known example of a goat with a single horn by the name of Lancelot. Then there is the unicorn deer. The extinct Siberian unicorn might be considered a bit rhinocerous-like. Sorry but I don't find this kind of thing to be so implausible.

2. Yes. Even if you don't think unicorns exist then a great number of true things can still be said of unicorns other than they do not exist. In fact this is requirement for the claim that they do not exist to be meaningful. If you cannot say anything else about them or claim that no other statement about them is true then the claim that they do not exist becomes completely meaningless. Here are some examples.
1. Unicorns have a single horn in the symmetrical center of their head.
2. Unicorns have four feet.
3. Unicorns are land animals.
If you insist that any claims like these are not true then your claim the unicorn does not exist also becomes untrue because then you start finding animals which fit the description which remains, such as the narwhal.

3. Yes. Your strawman characterization of Newtonian gravity answers to this description, at least. And there is no telling how many universes their might be which have such a thing as you describe also.

4. Yes, because I don't believe your description of Newtonian physics is accurate.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 14th, 2018, 10:11 pm 

mitchellmckain » July 15th, 2018, 6:38 am wrote:
2. Yes. Even if you don't think unicorns exist then a great number of true things can still be said of unicorns other than they do not exist. In fact this is requirement for the claim that they do not exist to be meaningful. If you cannot say anything else about them or claim that no other statement about them is true then the claim that they do not exist becomes completely meaningless. Here are some examples.
1. Unicorns have a single horn in the symmetrical center of their head.
2. Unicorns have four feet.
3. Unicorns are land animals.
If you insist that any claims like these are not true then your claim the unicorn does not exist also becomes untrue because then you start finding animals which fit the description which remains, such as the narwhal.
.


Of course I insist claims like these are untrue.

There is nothing in reality for them to be true of.

You might as well argue it's true that the Tooth Fairy slips a coin under your pillow.

There is no Tooth Fairy therefore the statement is false.

Everyone knows it's BraininVat who does it.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 14th, 2018, 10:16 pm 

mitchellmckain » July 15th, 2018, 6:38 am wrote:

3. Yes. Your strawman characterization of Newtonian gravity answers to this description, at least. And there is no telling how many universes their might be which have such a thing as you describe also.

4. Yes, because I don't believe your description of Newtonian physics is accurate.



I made myself clear in the OP that I ain't no physicist, and if I'm mischaracterizing Newtonian gravity, would the physicists out there please correct me.

This is your big chance.

Would you characterize it correctly now, please?

And if you mention the curvature of spacetime, I'll shoot you. :-)
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 14th, 2018, 10:28 pm 

mitchellmckain » July 15th, 2018, 6:38 am wrote:
2. Yes. Even if you don't think unicorns exist then a great number of true things can still be said of unicorns other than they do not exist. In fact this is requirement for the claim that they do not exist to be meaningful. If you cannot say anything else about them or claim that no other statement about them is true then the claim that they do not exist becomes completely meaningless.



Not sure if you're familiar with philosophy of language. Mitchell, but this is a big deal (sad, I know. LOL): how can we say -- truly! -- of something that does not exist that it does not exist?

Both Frege and Russell lost a lot of sleep over it.

Russell's solution is well known. (see his theory of definite descriptions).
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby mitchellmckain on July 14th, 2018, 11:33 pm 

Reg_Prescott » July 14th, 2018, 9:11 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain » July 15th, 2018, 6:38 am wrote:1. Unicorns have a single horn in the symmetrical center of their head.
2. Unicorns have four feet.
3. Unicorns are land animals.


Of course I insist claims like these are untrue.

There is nothing in reality for them to be true of.

Then I must insist that your claim that unicorns do not exist is likewise untrue.

Reg_Prescott » July 14th, 2018, 9:11 pm wrote:There is nothing in reality for them to be true of.

Incorrect. The word "unicorn" is real, and all the media in which this word can be found are also real.

Reg_Prescott » July 14th, 2018, 9:11 pm wrote:You might as well argue it's true that the Tooth Fairy slips a coin under your pillow.

Incorrect. There is a difference between statements about unicorns and tooth fairies, and statements about them IN RELATION TO myself.

Thus I WILL say instead, "The Tooth Fairy slips coins under the pillows of children in exchange for the lost teeth they place there." And I will say this is a true statement -- but of course like most true statements there is a context and in this case there is the context of all the stories about tooth fairies.

Reg_Prescott » July 14th, 2018, 9:16 pm wrote:I made myself clear in the OP that I ain't no physicist, and if I'm mischaracterizing Newtonian gravity, would the physicists out there please correct me.

This is your big chance.

Would you characterize it correctly now, please?

I am a physicist, that is... I have an MS in physics from the University of Utah. However, why not google? The top three things I find are...
Classical Mechanics (Wikipedia)
Absolute time and Euclidean geometry are assumed largely because we simply had no other way to think of space and time at this point in history. It is not much different than using English or the mathematics we know simply because that is how we know to speak about anything. But taking this to mean that English is the one true language or that the math we know is all that math will ever be is absurd. Classical Mechanics isn't about space, time or reality but about the motion of the objects we can see.
Newton's laws of motion (Wikipedia)
Here you won't even find anything about absolute time and Euclidean geometry because this isn't what Newtonian physics was about. It is only later that we uncovered these assumptions when we understood that there were reasonable alternatives.
Physics: Newtonian Physics (Encyclopedia.com)
This will be more to your liking for it mentions the criticisms of Lebniz. But this cannot change the fact that non-Euclidean geometry wasn't invented for nearly two hundred years.

Reg_Prescott » July 14th, 2018, 9:16 pm wrote:And if you mention the curvature of spacetime, I'll shoot you. :-)

By which you mean shooting off your mouth (figuratively speaking), no doubt. But I have no inclination to mention any such thing.

Newtonian physics is, as we study in school, a set of laws and equations about motion and gravity. You see physics should not be confused with metaphysics. It is not about the nature of reality but about describing the world around us with mathematical equations.

Reg_Prescott » July 14th, 2018, 9:28 pm wrote:
Not sure if you're familiar with philosophy of language. Mitchell, but this is a big deal (sad, I know. LOL): how can we say -- truly! -- of something that does not exist that it does not exist?

Both Frege and Russell lost a lot of sleep over it.

Russell's solution is well known. (see his theory of definite descriptions).

Being familiar or looking this up does not mean I agree. My own solution is different. Mine is that rather having this singular black and white distinction between what does exist and what does not exist, there are as many ways of existing as there are ways of doing. Thus I would say that tooth fairies, planets, Higgs Bosons, monsters, and rocks all exist in different ways according to all the various things they do and roles they play in our lives. A rock might be thrown at us and give us bruise or worse, but not a tooth fairy or a Higgs Boson. An encounter with a monster is likely to be considerably more damaging -- I could only wish that it were limited to having them picked up and thrown at me.
Last edited by mitchellmckain on July 14th, 2018, 11:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 14th, 2018, 11:39 pm 

"Then I must insist that your claim that unicorns do not exist is likewise untrue." - Mitchell



So your position now is that the statement "unicorns do not exist" is untrue?

How come I've never seen one?

And how come I can't get the damn quote function right?
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Re: Did Einstein improve on or supplant Newton?

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 14th, 2018, 11:42 pm 

mitchellmckain » July 15th, 2018, 12:33 pm wrote:Incorrect. The word "unicorn" is real, and all the media in which this word can be found are also real.




Yes, the word "unicorn" seems real enough.

The beast unicorn does not seem very real. Unless you drink a lot. Burp!
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