Group-theoretic Atemporality in Physics and its Boundaries (Another look at reversibility, irreversibility, and their philosophical implications)

Publication Year:
2016
Usage 212
Downloads 212
Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11984
Author(s):
Punin, Peter
preprint description
French philosopher H. Bergson criticizes general philosophy insofar as it neglects or even ignores the temporality of time. Concerning general philosophy, Bergson's remarks are probably outdated, whereas contemporary philosophy of science does continue to encounter analogous problems. For essentially group-theoretic reasons, physics, despite the presence of a temporal dimension in physical spaces, describes atemporal systems. These group-theoretic reasons being at the origin of physical atemporality also ensure the extraordinary epistemic power of physics based on the possibility of distortion-free partial approaches, symmetry in prediction and retro-diction, experimentation to be repeated under identical conditions, idealization, renormalization, and so on. But the investigation field of physics allowing such group-theoretically founded approaches represents a highly improbable exception. So any tentative to transpose physics beyond the boundaries of its group-theoretically delimited investigation field unavoidably leads to the problem raised by Bergson: a time reduced to something without temporality. This point undermines certain contemporary speculations advanced in the name of physics, such as “chaosogenesis” and, above all, linkages between multiverse approaches based on eternal inflation and the so-called “weak anthropic principle.”