Worlds, Observers, and Physics

Jeffrey, H.J. / Published 2016 / Presentation

Audio Click here to listen to an audio of this tutorial, with the slides included.
Presenter H. Joel Jeffrey, Ph.D.
Date October 30, 2016
Abstract: Most of us have heard of Newton’s laws, quantum mechanics, and relativity. But where do they come from? Why does F = ma? Why do very tiny particles have to be described by quantum mechanics instead of Newton’s laws? Why does light always travel at the same speed? In physics classes we learn, “That’s just how the universe is.”

This is unsatisfying. It means the physical world, that which sets innumerable limits on us as humans, is arbitrary. It “just turns out” that F = ma. But F = ma governs every single ordinary interaction we have every ordinary object. So it “just turns out” that, e.g., if your car hits a wall at 60 mph you’re dead? Really?

Descriptive Psychologists are generally familiar with Ossorio’s observation that everything can be treated as a (defective) case of a person: dogs, clams, quarks. Using this observation, and asking some unusual questions, reveals that the laws of physics are not arbitrary at all. In this talk we’ll see that asking, “What does a baseball know,” reveals why things have inertia, and that F = ma. By asking, “What do two people, one inside and one outside, of a spaceship see,” we can find out why the speed of light is constant. By asking, “What can we say about what happens to an object when it travels through some area so peculiar that we can in principle say nothing about what happens in that area,” we find that quantum mechanics is forced upon is –it could not be any other way.

The aim of this talk is to provide new understanding and, possibly, appreciation of the relationship between the physical world and the human one. And all without mathematics!
There is no reference list for this presentation.