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Philosophical Needs in Physics


Great scientists from the past have left us with the most intriguing questions about the origins of the universe (Zinkernagel, 2011). In modern times, we teach in science courses the most outstanding theories such as quantum mechanics, relativity, and electromagnetism. These theories have successfully explained relevant aspects about the nature of light and the four fundamental forces of the universe: the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic field, and gravity. Modern science and engineering advancements that drive the course of human technology and way of living are based on the discoveries of these theories (Genovese, 2005). Although science works to improve and facilitate human life, it still has a certain number of fundamental questions that remain unanswered such as the origin of matter, gravity, time, the Big Bang, and dark matter (Carroll, 2012; Worsley, 2012; Pankaj, 2009; Baez 2006; Brooks 2005; Rynasiewicz, 2004; Callender, 2004; Markosian, 2002; Jammer, 2002; Dowden, 2001; Ferrarese, 2000). Modern theoreticians and philosophers continue to explore new ideas attempting to develop theories that can be corroborated experimentally (Zinkernagel, 2011). One remarkable aspect about new discoveries is that there has been very little advance in theoretical physics since the time in which past scientists such as Lorentz, Bohr, Einstein, Planck, Heisenberg, Maxwell, Dirac, Boltzmann and many others put forth their revolutionary ideas. Fundamental theories are continuously a subject of academic debates and research, daily bread of scientists and philosophers hungry for knowledge of truth. Some trends in modern physics tend to seek help for new ideas from philosophy (Zinkernagel, 2011; Chimisso, 2008; Freire, 2006; d’Agostino, 2003; Richardson, 2003, Schummer, 2003; Butterfield, 2002; Folse, 1995; Dürr, 1995; Honner, 1982).

Any modern scientist who has been deeply searching for answers to fundamental questions may soon have discovered that many theories have been squeezed to the extremes in attempts to provide clearer understanding to fundamental questions, sometimes encountering areas of contradictory “nonsense”. Successful quantum mechanics theories have given understanding into the duality of the nature of light by considering photons as sub-atomic units with properties of both particles and waves. In physics, the rule dictates that nothing is supposed to move faster than the speed of light. Quantum also has extended the classical Newton equations of motion to explain the behavior of atomic and sub-atomic particles in general (Levine, 1991). For example, in the Copenhagen Interpretation, first given by Niels Bohr who is considered one of the fathers of quantum physics, objects have two kinds of observables: some that can be observed simultaneously, and some that cannot (Wolf, 1988). The concept is extended by the Dirac’s equation which sustains that all particles of matter move at the speed of light through jagged patters that produce the illusion that matter moves slower than the speed of light (Wolf, 1988).

One outstanding theoretical discovery is the wavefunction, represented by the Greek letter Ψ, a mathematical expression that describes the state of a quantum system. Because the wavefunction represents mathematically a wave or a representation of vibration, the nature of the wavefunction implies certain mathematical complexities. One most remarkable fact is that a single wave is harmonic, in which it can be represented as the total sum of waves having frequencies that are whole multiples numbers of a fundamental wave. For example, the harmonics of y=sin(x) are y=sin(2x), y=sin(3x), y=sin(4x), and so on. This implies that the vibrations of particles that humans observe are really a superposition of an infinite number of harmonic components vibrating simultaneously. Very interestingly, it has been found that even human brainwaves also show harmonic behavior, a fact also observed in musical instruments (Glassman, 1999). Other scientists have proposed that the structure and dynamics of the DNA molecular helix can be treated mathematically as a wave (Yakushevich, 2001). The wavefunction reality becomes more complex because linear combinations of individual harmonics are also accepted vibrations contributing to the overall wavefunction. Furthermore, the wavefunction becomes weirder because it also includes imaginary values proceeding from the fact that the square root of minus one (√(-1) or i) appears in quantum equations. The model implies that the wavefunction is really the sum of all possible real and imaginary outcomes for the event measured by the wavefunction. The representation of the actual observed outcome of the state of a system is mathematically represented as the square of the wavefunction (Ψ2), a mathematical manipulation that represents a statistical probability that eliminates the imaginary value i (Levine, 1991). In atoms, Ψ2symbolizes the space-time areas called atomic orbitals in which electrons can be found, mathematically known as s,p,d, f, etc. (Levine, 1991).

Modern theories have also led to other several bizarre suggestions, in which two most outstanding are time traveling and parallel universes. In time travel, one is expected to go back or forward in time by moving at or faster than the speed of light. In the parallel universes, there are other universes in which versions of human beings go on with their lives based on the consequences of choices that we did not choose in this universe. Both of these ideas were considered for the first time decades ago and yet none of them has received any evidence of existence or further clarification.

The purpose of this paper is to philosophically contribute to the concept of hidden variables underlying the quantum theory (Dürr, 1995; Bohm, 1980; Bohm, 1957) by proposing a further quantization to the concept of duality. The concept of hidden variables was originated by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen in the famous EPR paradox who argued that quantum mechanics was incomplete (Einstein, 1935). In my words, the concept professes that behind any unexplainable phenomenon there is a variable that scientists still have to discover that would explain the unexplained. This concept appears to be controversial to a theorem known as the Bell inequality (Bell, 1964). The controversies around both concepts continue to be in the actuality a matter of discussions within the physics and philosophy arena (d’Espagnat, 2006; Freire, 2006; Genovese, 2005; Bartels, 2004; Callender, 2004; Healey, 2003).


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