Intelligent People Sometimes Say The Darndest Things!

alex

Just read this NYtimes article and decided to do some shot-gun philosophy.

The NYTimes describes Alex Rosenberg’s book The Atheist’s Guide To Reality as resting on three fundamental principles, one of which is that physics tells “the whole truth about reality.”

I’ll say that again: Alex Rosenberg claims that ‘physics tells the whole truth about reality‘.

Let’s take the statement “physics tells the whole truth about reality,” unpack it, and ask whether it’s a claim that physics, as a branch of science, can make. Can we use ‘physics’ to confirm that the proposition that “physics is the whole truth about reality” is true? No, it doesn’t seem we can. Physics is, from wiki, the study of matter and its motion through space and time. So physics, as conventionally defined, seems to presuppose, rather than establish, that these stuff — matter, motion, space, time — are all that exist. In other words, to confirm whether what physics presupposes does not exist does not in fact exist, we’ll have to go beyond physics.

Therefore the proposition that “physics is the whole truth about reality” is a proposition the truth of which can neither be confirmed nor denied by ‘physics’.

So if the proposition that “physics tells the whole truth about reality” is true, then it’s also false, since if the proposition that “physics tells the whole truth about reality” is true, this would entail another truth, which is that that very statement is true without physics being able to tell us that it is!

Therefore the statement “physics tells the whole truth about reality” is self-refuting.

Therefore physics does not tell us the whole truth about reality.

Therefore Alex Rosenberg is a smart man who’s said a really dumb thing.

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Posted on June 18, 2014, in philosophy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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