Does Physics Need a Second Scientific Revolution? – Christianity Encourages Tackling a Foundational Problem of Physics

Larenz, Rudolf (2013) Does Physics Need a Second Scientific Revolution? – Christianity Encourages Tackling a Foundational Problem of Physics. International Journal of Sino-Western Studies, 4 . pp. 95-116. ISSN 2242-2471 (online version)

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Abstract. This article identifies an inbuilt defect of modern Physics. It consists in not providing enough connection between the two bodies of knowledge that make up Physics: observations of and experiments with material things, on the one hand, and mathematical theories, on the other.
More specifically, the defect consists in that mathematical structures are applied to experiences of the material world, as if they were only in the mind of the physicist. Nevertheless, the success of mathematical Physics suggests that these mathematical structures are somehow related to the material realities they are applied to.
Due to the inbuilt defect, mathematical theories in Physics have to undergo a procedure of approval or disapproval by experiments. However, even if approved, the hypothetical character of such a theory cannot be removed. A theory never becomes definitive.
The roots of the said defect lie in the scientific revolution during the 16th and 17th centuries. This article makes three of them explicit: (i) the dominant view that Nature and human cognitive capacities do not fit together, (ii) most present day ways of understanding Mathematics do not involve the material world, and (iii) the scientific revolution has essentially brought, for Physics, its mathematization.
It is proposed that Thomistic hylomorphism is a suitable tool to show how those mathematical structures that are used in Physics have their root in material things themselves. The “application” of mathematical structures to experiences of the material world thus has an objective foundation. The belonging of mathematical structures to material things is based on that the hylomorphic structure unites organically the singularity of a material thing and its belonging to a species.
Christianity does not endorse any particular solution of that problem. However, Christianity contributes to a solution insofar it supports strongly the genuine intelligibility of our world. The spirit of Christianity thus supports the view of science as a sort of realist knowledge.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Physics – Mathematization – Hylomorphism – Intelligibility - Christianity
Subjects:Q Science > QC Physics > QC00 Physics (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology
ID Code:401
Deposited By: Dr. Rudolf Larenz
Deposited On:23 Apr 2020 12:50
Last Modified:06 Feb 2021 14:42

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