A Critical Point for Science?
(audio plus slides)
Classical Physics failed to deal adequately with the phenomena of the
microscopic domain, and was superseded by Quantum Mechanics. Now, as
high energy theorists struggle to arrive at a proper theory that can
encompass quantum gravity, it seems that quantum mechanics is running
into its own limitations. This lecture
offers both a diagnosis, viz. that the idea that all phenomena can be
fitted to a unique formula is an oversimplification of the complexities
of the real world, and a cure: start afresh from the idea that reality
has the kind of waywardness normally associated with the biological
world, but is able organise itself, in accord with very specific
principles, in such a way as to be able to manifest the more regular
kind of order found in the world of physics. Following on from the
ideas of Kauffman ("Origins of Order"), the idea of 'Smart Systems' is
introduced, and the question raised: what makes smart systems smart?
That question can, it is argued, be placed in a mathematical context:
we cannot have a mathematical account of the whole (the standard
assumption), but we can discuss in mathematical terms what pieces do,
and how they work together in functional ways, manufacturing universes
friendly to life being just one of those functions. Among other
ramifications of these ideas, it is argued that creativity involves
making connections with primitive units of mind, and that space-time
can best be viewed as an enabling utility.
The slides and audio can be controlled using the buttons at the bottom of the window. Buttons are also available to expand the sidebar so that all of the text in every slide is displayed in the sidebar, or alternatively to go to full-screen mode (use the close button to return to normal view, or to control the audio).
Link to lecture
March 9th., 2008