Thursday, February 14, 2008

Physics and Philosophy - Thoughts on the Implications of Quantum Mechanics, and Other Matters #4

4. Science is a search for truth through facts. Philosophy is the search for truth through ideas. Those possessing neither facts nor ideas have no truth. The absence of truth is not necessarily a lie. The very young are innocent. Lies are not an unavoidable part of aging.


Anonymous said...

Deleuze sharply distinguishes art, philosophy, and science as three distinct disciplines, each analyzing reality in different ways. While philosophy creates concepts, the arts create new qualitative combinations of sensation and feeling (what Deleuze calls "percepts" and "affects"), and the sciences create quantitative theories based on fixed points of reference such as the speed of light or absolute zero (which Deleuze calls "functives"). According to Deleuze, none of these disciplines enjoy primacy over the others: they are different ways of organizing the metaphysical flux, "separate melodic lines in constant interplay with one another."

SRL said...

I'm unfamiliar with Deleuze, but I'll make a point of checking him out. His point as presented would appear to be more abstract that my focus. There may be no innate primacy, but when science with technique breaks the "separate melodic lines in constant interplay with one another," science is impoverished.

By the way, where does mathematics fit into this scheme?

Anonymous said...

Deleuze seems to me to be anything but abstract, it's more that he negates any univesal primacy of any form of representation, discourse or thought, each merely betraying advantages in some areas and liabilities in others.

Mathematics today assumes the appearance of a polyglot accumilation of diverse representational structures, not a single body of methods, so in a sense 'mathematics' articulates an illusion.

That being said, some mathematics suits each of the three categories but nothing spans all, there is yet no adequate unified field theory.

You betray a personal bias towatds the empirical. That may be all well and good for yourself but others find it way too restrictive for themselves. Your analysis tends to be deep and well considered, but somewhat narrow in scope. The whole discussion would benefit from a grander vision.

SRL said...

If that is Deleuze's thesis, I can agree with that. I would also add that if one "representation" is neglected, then all others are impoverished as a result.

I personally view mathematics as a tool or language, but it certainly has a place in art (form) & philosophy. It's too bad that, in my experience, most philosophers and artists (especially) fail to explore mathematical formulation and formalisms. An intuitive understanding is great, but it has its limits in terms of communication. (Of course, at least in the US, the educational system does not encourage it. Perhaps, that is why French philosophy is more interesting?)

As an (un-)civil engineer (by trade), I find the empirical more useful and relevant. Water always flows downhill, and concrete needs to cure for 28 days (baring admixtures). It's also what generally makes the world go round (as such), and I have to live in it. (Although, mathematically or scientifically speaking, I find it not very interesting - merely plugging numbers into formulas, but that's another can of worms altogether: I have to make a living and support a growing family.) It may be restrictive, which I agree, but that's the way things are for the most part, and I would not be able to function in a practical sense if I were to focus on less empirical science, philosophy and art. There's only so much time in the day.

As far as narrowness in scope, you should check out a few other things I've written. This sample is hardly exclusively representative. (In fact, this particular series is bases on a paper I wrote as a graduate student in the early 1990s.) Check out a few links on the side bar.

In closing, what exactly do you mean by a "grander vision"? It seems rather vague.