spatial turn

I’m A Spider, So What? – 118

What It Means To Slay A Dragon

Alright, alright, skill time! Paying close attention to how all these new skills work is essential. Extremely essential. Why? Because until recently I had no freaking clue that All-Purpose Silk could have resistances added to it!!

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If they [Lawrence Krauss, Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson] really believe this [that philosophy is a waste of time] they should stop indulging in low-grade philosophy in their own writings. You cannot do physics or cosmology without an assumed philosophical basis. You can choose not to think about that basis: it will still be there as an unexamined foundation of what you do. The fact you are unwilling to examine the philosophical foundations of what you do does not mean those foundations are not there; it just means they are unexamined.

Actually philosophical speculations have led to a great deal of good science. Einstein’s musings on Mach’s principle played a key role in developing general relativity. Einstein’s debate with Bohr and the EPR paper have led to a great deal of good physics testing the foundations of quantum physics. My own examination of the Copernican principle in cosmology has led to exploration of some great observational tests of spatial homogeneity that have turned an untested philosophical assumption into a testable–and indeed tested–scientific hypothesis. That’s good science.

—  George F.R. Ellis