Articles

Objectivity and Time” in FQXi Community (March 2020)
A number of seemingly intractable puzzles in science could be unraveled if the element of time were introduced. It seems strange, in fact, that time is missing at all, considering that it is perceptively ubiquitous. A re-examination of time is needed in order to show its functionality within science and philosophy, laying to rest the notion of objectivity and in so doing will disambiguate the notions of unverifiability, unexplainability, and unpredictability.
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The Fallacy of Time Travel” –  The Electric Agora (December 2019)
The desire to know what will be, to rattle the cage of the future, of time itself, is close to being a human obsession. Of all the dimensions, it is time – a perpetually dangling bait – that we cannot do anything about. Stories of time travel are a manifestation of this frustration and the concomitant belief that it is possible to get to the future “if only.” In science fiction, the ‘if only’ is usually materialized through some sort of mechanical device that allows people to make that time journey. Einstein’s special law of relativity adds theoretical hope to that possibility, since it shows that time runs faster or slower depending on one’s location in space. It is the reason physicist Brian Greene states categorically that “time travel is absolutely possible” (1) and that “relativity lays out a blueprint for time-travel to the future.” (2) Unfortunately, it doesn’t. We can’t slow down or speed up the rate of our personal time. Our clocks and watches do not go slower or faster for us, no matter where we are or how fast we travel. Clocks moves faster or slower, not for each of us, but relative to an observer. Putting it more verbosely, a clock moving relative to an observer ticks more slowly than an identical clock at rest relative to that observer.
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“Approximation is the New Accuracy” – The Philosophical Salon (November 2019)
The aim of all research, in the humanities as well as the sciences, is to arrive at results that are as accurate as possible. The history of Western thought is, in fact, epitomized by a continual shaving of information towards the promise of ever more accuracy, summarized pithily as ‘less is more’. Yet, accuracy is as far as ever, with movement towards it a frustratingly circular path of less being more and more being less. If ultimate accuracy is impossible to attain – and this is exemplified by the search within quantum physics, in which “accuracy” takes on a whole new paradigm of meanings that are linked to measurement and the observer –, the answers may lie in the opposite direction: approximation, rather than accuracy.
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“Time is What We are – Uncertain” in iai news (April 2019)
Time is everywhere we are. Maybe that’s why we take a lot of things about it for granted: for example that the past is fixed and unchangeable, and that the future is open and changeable.
The Present When is now? As crazy as the question seems at first – after all, now is, surely, right this moment in the present – we also realise that any instant of now will be over before the thought is completed. The present is an amorphous period with fuzzy edges within a continuum of past and future, so we don’t know where it begins or where it ends. All we can know is that our now instantly becomes the past.
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The Greeks and nothing: a philosophical perspective” in Neos Kosmos (March 2019)
In virtually every area of research, be it in science, mathematics, philosophy, or theology, the ideas of ancient Greek thinkers are the roots*, having spread deeply as the basis of what is known as Western Civilisation. Even when Greek philosophy was accepted in the West only selectively through its Neoplatonic version during the period that the Roman Empire was turning to Christianity, it was still known in its entirety including Aristotelianism in the Arab world, which later reintroduced it to the West. In my own research on ‘nothing’ that necessarily covered a wide area, I constantly marveled at the insights from over 2,500 years ago that influenced aspects of life throughout the ages to this very day.
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Reality and all that” in Inference Review (Marh 2019)
It has been a while since I read an article about quantum physics that gave more than a passing nod to the human element. It seemed to me that physics was drifting purposefully off into a humanless realm, sterile within its unobservable circularity.It was with particular delight, then, that I came across Sheldon Lee Glashow’s article “Not So Real,” a review of Adam Becker’s book What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics.
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