Threads that laid the path
- The uses of infinity: a philosopher looks at emergent phenomena in physics
- Thoughts about the origins of imagination?
- Chapter 2 The foundations of science are shaking
An extract from 'The uses of infinity: a philosopher looks at emergent phenomena in physics'
"`Emergence', and its contrary reduction, are buzz-words in both physics and philosophy. Both physicists and philosophers disagree about the extent to which we can understand large-scale or complex phenomena in terms of their microscopic parts. Examples include both everyday phenomena like the freezing and boiling of liquids, and fancy ideas like fractals. In this talk, Jeremy Butterfield will pour some oil on these troubled waters. First, he will adopt the philosopher's usual tactic of distinguishing different senses of the contentious terms. Then he will use examples such as freezing and fractals to describe how we understand emergent phenomena by appealing to various kinds of infinity."
what I find interesting, is the appeal to 'various kinds of infinity' for understanding emergent phenomena. The connection with scale is intriguing, coming out from the mention of 'understand large-scale or complex phenomena in terms of their microscopic parts'. Infinities inherent in each scale level, which in sensical(?) terms, points toward infinities of parts that make up the emergent entities, in each successive level.
The infinity, let's say for the sake of following up the thought, of strings which give rise to the quantum particle entities, the somewhat next level up in the scale. Infinities of microscopic parts chunked-up in bundles, easier to handle and the same goes for entities, in each level of emergence organisation, what is referred to as the various kinds of infinities.
It brought into mind thoughts that occurred to me some time ago and recorded them in 'Thoughts about the origins of imagination?' post
"Shrinking to the quantum level, expanding to cosmos, slowing down to Planck time speeding up to eons, journeying back and forth to the beginning and the end of time? The foundations of imagination? Are there no bounds?"
infinities traversed effortlessly? What our mind, our consciousness can handle? Revealed to us, by way of the faculty of imagination? Traces of omnipotence?