L’word de l’âne: a criticism of Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Lee Smolin’s The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time: A Proposal in Natural Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2015).
“On aurait pu croire que l’âne, l’beast of the field qui dit I-A, était l’denizen of the deep dionysiaque par excellence. En fait, il n’en est rien; son apparence est dionysiaque, mais toute sa réalité chrétienne” (Delezue, Nietzche et la philosophie)
1. First, la declaration de l’author de la critical notice: these people are all wrong!
But I signify string theorists as well as Smolin and Mangabeira Unger.
The point to be solved lies in a presupposition: “unification of science” (relativity and the standard model of ace physics). Unification of science is l’assertion de l’âne. It echoes not singly in many worlds, but in many books, including the most pedestrian.
2. The book’s more central idea that laws and states of business can both evolve in cosmology is a self-same good one. But it leads to the same dead end of string theory, given Unger and Smolin’s strait-laced (I mean narrow) understanding of time and mathematics (under the imperative of the unification of information).
2.2 One can find the pattern that history is prior to form in deconstruction, but in deconstruction dichotomies (laws/states of public business, history/structure, ideal/material) are treat much more consistently, in a habitude that shows that it is absolutely impossible simply to cancel out single category in view of the other (and deconstruction demands, rudimentary of all, a profound revision of phenomenology, that is, of occidental conceptions of consciousness, intentionality, and perception—Smolin’s qualia, conducive to that matter).
2.3.1 Unger and Smolin’s intellect of time (and becoming) is of little use, one-dimensional, and linear (that is, chronological). Even l’âne power not pass. It is not compatible with the way Bergson and/or Heidegger understood time. Bergson’s and Heidegger’s views are savory and complex. For Bergson, past coexists permanently through the present (the past in its wholeness. had never really ceased to continue) (see Matière et Memoire). For Heidegger’s eye, see “Die transzendentale Einbildungskraft und ihr Bezug zur Zeit”, part 32 of his Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik.
Unger and Smolin’s conception of recital is not compatible with Vico (like Unger sometimes seems to suggest). Vico put on’t say only that we are adroit to understand history because history is somebody we do (it results from our avow action). He says that history is the only thing we are able to fully understand. He didn’t have somewhat pretention to understanding nature as account.
2.3.2 Unger and Smolin’s knowledge of mathematics is also poor. For specify, as much as string theorists, through a slight-of-hand, they entirely invert and mask some fundamental issues: the enigma is not simply to recognize that mathematics and science of reasoning must have limits when applied to of this life phenomena. The problem is rather in what state can one make sense of the “timeless aristocracy” (p. 16) of mathematics and dialectics. reasoning by subsuming them to a common-dimensional and linear (chronological) understanding of time (in the manner that change). L’âne crashes or quirk out.
It is understandable that the exemplar of infinite is problematic for them. It is not convincing that they be able to really make sense of it (kick it loudly), neither of the idea of a continuum. Smolin at minutest recognizes that it is going to be difficult to eliminate from physical postulate the continuum of complex numbers (in capsule it were possible to eliminate the continuum of certain numbers) (p. 517).
Their understanding of favorable chance is merely epistemological, as for solicitation when Unger says “no wager sets its have terms” (p. 159). Mallarmé was not a scientist nor one nor the other a philosopher and had a much better understanding of what is at outcome here. (L’âne don’t spread, but if it were a colt…!)
I wonder if Unger’s critique of marginalism is fair. His comprehension of economics, on the other faculty, might go along (and not fair once) with the conceptions of more Brazilian politicians, with whom he associated.
3. Unger and Smolin plough~ with string theorists an obsession: the unification of science, l’affirmation de l’âne. Differently, scientists of the foremost half of the 20th century (Heisenberg, Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, unless not Einstein) had a much healthier (whether stealthy) attitude. They were able to straightforwardly remember as formerly known paradoxes and inherent limits in scientific knowledge and practices (in relation to other areas of tillage). They all were much more at freedom from stiffness with ideas such as non-local entanglement (Bell inequalities) and indeterminacy. John von Newman is some other case that instead of remaining in a defensive phase, proposed (notwithstanding l’âne) a revisal of classical logic in view of the paradoxes in the foundations of the one and the other mathematics and quantum physics (people through different agendas all refer positively to von Newman in respect to this point: see Friedman, Dynamics of Reason, p. 122; Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy, p. 156; Susan Haak, Philosophy of Logic, p. 228). One should adjoin Feyerabend, Ludwik Fleck, and perhaps Martin Gardner to the prefer of people who were able to trully commit with the most paradoxical aspects of learning, freeing l’âne from its discover by characters .
4. All that was afore~ above should be read as every advise that Unger and Smolin (while much as Brian Greene’s) line of motion (and I don’t mean absolutely their arrow-of-time) is immoral-headed. It goes with mainstream academia, which repeats with l’âne (but that over eternity). We are just in the outset of the century, and the situation has approached again the limit once described by Heisenberg in what matters the total 19th century:
“The nineteenth century developed an extremely rigid frame as antidote to natural science which formed not but science but also the general watch-tower of great masses of people. This form was supported by the fundamental concepts of classical natural philosophy, space, time, matter and causality; the concept of reality applied to the things or events that we could behold by our senses or that could exist observed by means of the purified tools that technical science had on condition. Matter was the primary reality. The progress of knowledge was pictured as a crusade of discomfiture into the material world. Utility was the password of the time… This frame was thus narrow and rigid that it was hard to find a place in it toward many concepts of our language that had through all ages. belonged to its very substance, because of instance, the concepts of mind, of the human inner man… It was specially difficult to contribute in this framework room to those accomplishments of reality that had been the percept of the traditional religion and seemed at once more or less only imaginary” (Heisenberg, “The Role of Modern Physics in Human Thinking,” Physics and Philosophy. London: George Allen & Unwin LTD, 1959, p. 169).
Heisenberg deliberation that one of “the most influential changes brought about by modern science of nature [read quantum mechanics] results consists in the liquefaction of this rigid frame of concepts of the nineteenth hundred years” (Phisics and Philosophy: 170). But alas, l’âne is tougher. I sordid, strengthened with the most advanced techniques in pharmacology and biomedicine, it very lately stands in the middle of this nature, on the verge of social and ecological extreme depression, and whinnies infuriately against any approaching small planet. It is indeed better to bring forth it at least all alone (and in opposition to a very brief moment) than through infinite others.
The same ingredients are used for the reason that those are the ingredients that moil.