By Stefan Marinov
Axiomatics, basics and experimental verifications of absolutely the space-time idea.
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Extra resources for Eppur si Muove
All the items in it are, he says, contingent—quite unconnected except by chance (‘blind chance’, which is a piece of illicit anthropomorphism for a start). ’ 7 Hume, however, was merely talking about appearances. Monod claims to be doing something much more ambitious. He is boldly telling us what he takes to be the fact, the essential composition of the physical universe itself. Now to say that this whole concern is due to chance is not clear at all, because so vast and general an idea of chance is scarcely meaningful.
MONOD AND THE CULT OF THE IRRATIONAL The paradoxical, oscillating ambivalent attitude to science just described is well expressed in the work of Jacques Monod, because he was one of the last prophets bold and exuberant enough to express the view freely and without inhibition. Monod contended on the one hand that science was something much larger and more influential than a mere increase in knowledge or understanding. It was the only possible basis for 37 SCIENCE AS SALVATION morality in the modern age, the sole remaining source of value in a world otherwise chillingly value-free.
It is not a mask for a quite different order at the microscopic level, and below that for real contingency, for radical disorder among distinct bricks. It is one set among others of these real patterns—subtle, complex, interconnected arrangements. Elementary particles, as much as ponds or people, are inherently unstable, transient, incomplete entities, deeply dependent for their existence on the contexts around them. But that in no way interferes with either their reality or their meaning. Prigogine and Stengers quote Eddington’s remark: From the point of view of philosophy of science the conception associated with entropy must, I think, be ranked as the great contribution of the nineteenth century to scientific thought.
Eppur si Muove by Stefan Marinov