Thursday, November 11, 2004

The View from the Inside, Part 2

I was recently struggling to read some recent papers in physics which discussed interesting ideas for building a cosmology from the bottom up using pieces whose interactions obey quantum rules (for instance this one). Then Huw Price came to my rescue with a great new paper -- Causal Perspectivalism -- which covered similar terrain philosophically (with no math!).

Starting with simple thought experiments, Price steadily builds up a compelling argument that time asymmetric causality arises from our status as an agent with a particular perspective in space-time. Causality is not objective. A God’s eye perspective on the world (if indeed such a thing is a coherent notion) would see connections, but not causality. I should mention that this isn’t an extreme subjective relativist argument, since for a wide range of situations, all humans share a homogeneous perspective.

Looking back at theoretical physics, if you generalize from Price’s focus on human deliberative agents to all of physical reality, I think you have a picture consistent with relational quantum cosmology.

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