Weather

The Weather Station
The Weather Station (Photo credit: Stuck in Customs)

It is a cliché that if two Englishmen meet they will always first talk about the weather. Samuel Johnson once said:

 

“It is commonly observed, that when two Englishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather; they are in haste to tell each other, what each must already know, that it is hot or cold, bright or cloudy, windy or calm.”

When Stanley met Livingtstone and said “Doctor Livingstone, I presume?” they probably then started to discuss the weather.

 

David Livingstone staue near Victoria Falls, Z...
David Livingstone staue near Victoria Falls, Zambia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Noel Coward once sung that “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun“. The song is a reference to the days of the British Empire in what were, in those days referred to as “colonial times” and the self-perceived “sang froid” of the colonial rulers of the time. In these post-colonial times the attitude expressed in the song is embarrassing.

 

Mad Dogs and Englishmen; Marsaxlokk, Malta
Mad Dogs and Englishmen; Marsaxlokk, Malta (Photo credit: foxypar4)

Although the English may care about the current weather to some extent, I think that the initial conversation gives the conversationalists the chance to size each other up, to fit the other person into one’s world-view so to speak. The other person’s way of speaking allow one to decide if they are “posh” or “common” or somewhere in between. Voice and body language would offer other clues during this initial meteorological discussion.

 

All the Leaves are Brown, the Skies are Grey, ...
All the Leaves are Brown, the Skies are Grey, and Someone Wearing a Blue Coat Walked into My Picture (Photo credit: bitzcelt)

The English are proud of their weather which they informal believe is the worst in the world. Of course they are wrong, as their bad weather and their extremely boring weather is neither as bad nor as boring as the weather in other places in the world. They love to complain about the weather, and this has perhaps led somewhat unfairly to the stereotype of the “whinging pom“.

 

English: Earliest known map of the Gulf Stream
English: Earliest known map of the Gulf Stream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most English people don’t realise that the ocean current of the Gulf Stream ensures that the British Isles don’t freeze in winter and boil in summer as it moderates the climate that the English and the other nations of the British Isles receive. A glance at a map will show that the British Isles are several degrees further north than Labrador in Canada, and only a few degrees further north than Moscow.

 

Belle Isle off the coast of Labrador Français ...
Belle Isle off the coast of Labrador Français : Belle Isle, au large du Labrador. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What I remember about the English climate was long weeks of gun-metal grey skies, but however I also remember long warm summer days as a child. I don’t have sufficient real evidence to support these memories, and although the climate is changing, I suspect that my mind is editing my memories somewhat!

 

I’ve moved to the other side of the globe, where weather patterns are distinctly different. (Aside: I originally wrote “the other end of the globe”, but that is a more mathematical topic, I think). Wellington has a temperate maritime climate and the weather is changeable, meaning that we may see “Four Seasons in One Day“. The Crowded House song, though, was not written about Wellington, but was inspired by Melbourne, Australia where Crowded House was based at the time.

 

Four Seasons in One Day
Four Seasons in One Day (Photo credit: horrigans)

The weather in New Zealand originates in and around the eastern parts of Australia. Anti-cyclones spin up off the south coast of Australia, past Tasmania and over New Zealand. High pressure bubbles emerge from the main land mass of Australia, and tropical cyclones can dip far enough south to cover New Zealand.

 

Looking Out over the Sea
Looking Out over the Sea (Photo credit: Jocey K)

It is no wonder with these competing factors that New Zealand’s weather can change from minute to minute. Fronts can sweep rapidly across the country, bringing rapid changes of temperature as they do so. Temperatures can change by ten degrees or more between morning and afternoon.

 

The weather is not always changeable though. If a high pressure area extends from Australia across New Zealand the weather may “stall” and an extended period of warm weather in the summer or cooler weather in the winter may ensue, with clear skies and sunshine across the country.

 

'A Reflective Moment', New Zealand, Tasman Sea...
‘A Reflective Moment’, New Zealand, Tasman Sea Coast (Photo credit: WanderingtheWorld (www.ChrisFord.com))

Wellington is close to the Cook Straight, the gap between the North and South Islands. The Straight acts as a funnel for wind, and Wellington has a deserved reputation for being windy. However the average wind speed is not that exceptional, However, as the linked article says, there are more windy days per year than in most other New Zealand coastal cities. Hmmm. Some gusts can be exceptionally strong lifting roofs and knocking over trees, but the occasional strong blasts also happen outside of Wellington.

 

English: Wellington Airport, New Zealand.
English: Wellington Airport, New Zealand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was at Wellington airport yesterday, seeing my daughter off to Auckland. Several flights were cancelled but fortunately not my daughter’s flight, though apparently it was a rough take off. What we didn’t see was an incoming flight which actually did a touch and go before diverting elsewhere. I did wonder why the crash trucks were speeding about! No wonder New Zealanders, like the English, like to discuss the weather.

 

737 Touch and Go practice
737 Touch and Go practice (Photo credit: Fly For Fun)

The changeable weather in New Zealand often catches tourists out. Mountain weather in any country can change rapidly, and New Zealand is no exception. Bright sunny days can often turn very bad, very quickly. Mist and cloud can suddenly descend and remove all visible landmarks, and if the tramper (hiker) is not well prepared, he or she might well be in trouble, and several foreign tourists do get themselves into trouble every year.

 

Hiking the ridge line
Hiking the ridge line (Photo credit: IamNotUnique)

This is no different from elsewhere of course, but it seems that tourists may underestimate the wildness of the New Zealand “bush”, maybe because they come from countries where the countryside is more benign, or maybe because they overestimate their own abilities. Sometimes tourists venture into the bush, totally under equipped and are caught out by the rapidity of the changes in the weather.

change in the weather
change in the weather (Photo credit: paparutzi)

In spite of my discussion of the bad weather above, New Zealand also has glorious weather. Following the winter storms, in the clear weather under a high pressure system, New Zealanders and tourists alike head for mountains and a number of world class ski fields. In the summer, glorious weather under a high pressure system leads people heading for the beach, or heading to the bush, or merely staying home and firing up the barbecue.

20111130-IMG_2576
20111130-IMG_2576 (Photo credit: vauvau)

There is a saying in Wellington – “You can’t beat Wellington on a good day”, and I would add that the good days outweigh the occasional windy and rainy days!

Update: After writing the above, Wellington turned on a great morning, a crisp autumn sunny day. The first picture below is of the city of Wellington from Petone, framed by a couple of flax plants.

IMG_20140527_135052

The second picture is of Petone Wharf from about the same spot.

IMG_20140527_135059

Of course, in accordance with the principle of perversity and the “four seasons in one day”, the weather has turned grey.

 

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Death of print

English: A stack of copy paper.
English: A stack of copy paper. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s amazing how the world has changed in a lifetime. My lifetime. Phones, TV, the Internet, electronic funds transfers, payment by waving a plastic card.

My parents were paid by their employers in cash and they paid for everything in cash. Most people didn’t have cars and relied on public transport and paid in cash for their tickets. Today cash is endangered.

Money Cards
Money Cards (Photo credit: jacqui.brown33)

A little later, people started to acquire bank accounts, usually in conjunction with a mortgage. Their pay was paid into their bank accounts and the mortgage payments were extracted from the bank account directly. The thing was, the bank account came a lot of paperwork. There were statements and cheque books. To whip out a cheque book and offer to pay for something was a real show of status. Today cheques are almost unused, being almost completely replaced by credit cards, debit cards and charge cards. Some younger people have never seen a cheque and most shops will not accept one. Many banks will supply statements over the Internet these days.

English: 1912 US cartoon by Rollin Kirby, show...
English: 1912 US cartoon by Rollin Kirby, showing George Walbridge Perkins (with a check book symbolizing control of money) and Amos Pinchot (weilding a letter of support from Theodore Roosevelt campaing manager Senator Joseph M. Dixon) battling for control of the U.S. Progressive Party. Figure in the distance presumbably represents Roosevelt coming with his “big stick” to settle things. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most people got their news through newspapers. Paper newspapers, from the rarefied air of the Times to the slightly more foetid air of the tabloids. The network of distribution of news via started from the printing presses and initially was distributed by vans, trains, and more vans. Bundles of papers were dropped off at strategic points, and newsagents picked them up, sorted them and gave them to young boys and girls to distribute, dropping them into letter boxes, countrywide.

Galveston, Texas, 1943. Newspaper delivery boy...
Galveston, Texas, 1943. Newspaper delivery boys with bicycles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A similar distribution network was used for the evening papers. These however were distributed mostly to the streets around business places and railway stations and similar places where people would pick them up on their way home from work. The main headlines would be prominently displayed as teasers to persuade people to buy them.

Checking the headlines
Checking the headlines (Photo credit: gato-gato-gato)

Newsagents existed to distribute the paper that the news was printed on. As a sideline, they would sell other things, like magazines, tobacco, and confectionery. As newsprint volumes have fallen, the old time newsagents had to specialise in something else, like the confectionery that they used to sell as a sideline, or in some cases groceries, particularly the staples such as canned foods and milk. Some might sell books or glossy magazines, but even these versions of print material are under threat.

dakar newsagent
dakar newsagent (Photo credit: noodlepie)

My letter box is still full of paper. Much of it is the ubiquitous junk mail, of course, the flyers and offers which advertisers hope will entice us into buying. It appears that the expense of creating and sending junk mail is still worthwhile, or so the advertisers believe. Some of the paper is comprised of what can loosely be called “community newspapers”. These papers, largely funded by advertising, and run on the cheap, are distributed free, and contain local news only, mainly sports and local politics.

“Letter boxes” in the UK are slots in the front door of a house, not actual boxes on poles as in many other countries.)

English: Letter Box Detail of an old front doo...
English: Letter Box Detail of an old front door which now graces a small shed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What my letter box rarely contains is an actual letter, written by someone, stamped and posted by someone, sorted and delivered to my letter box by a real postman. There are a few firms that still insist on paper invoices and local tradesmen tend to still prefer papers invoices but apart from that and a few real letters from older relatives, I receive little real mail these days. No wonder that postal services world-wide are having issues.

Typical advertising mail
Typical advertising mail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is easy to see the reason for the decline of the print industries world-wide. In a word, the Internet. When it is simple and cheap to sit at a computer and type an email, or finger tap a  message into a tablet or phone, and have a response in minutes, why would anyone manually write a letter, find an envelope, find or purchase a stamp, and find a post box to drop the letter in? Although the vast majority of letters get through safely, there are exceptions, while email is almost certainly going to be delivered and you will get a message if your email doesn’t go through.

Email email email
Email email email (Photo credit: RambergMediaImages)

Similarly in banking. Once every transaction had a paper trail. All transfers and payments were neatly written in books, all ledgers were balanced by hand and banks shifted huge numbers of notes, cheques, coins and other forms of paper money. These days I rarely carry cash, and I haven’t seen or used a cheque in years.

I do all my banking on the Internet, using my computer or phone. I pay for things, even small things like a cup of coffee (actually I drink tea), with a debit card, with a credit card as backup for emergencies. Gas stations, grocery stores, tradesmen, and every other kind of store takes the plastic.

Swipes, Bytes, and Debit Cards
Swipes, Bytes, and Debit Cards (Photo credit: SimpleIllustrations)

More and more our transactions with government departments, like car licensing or tax matters, are conducted online. Even if you have to go in to a government agency for some matter or other, they will scan your documents rather than copy them. If you fill in a paper form, they will transfer the data to their computer systems while you wait.

Picture Scanner
Picture Scanner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In all fields, except possibly the field of junk mail, paper is being used less and less. Even magazines are headed online, with smartphone apps for New Scientist magazine allowing you to read it anywhere that you may be. An added advantage of on-line magazines is that the electronic copy is, in general, cheaper than the paper version.

HTC Aria android 2.2 smart phone review www.li...
HTC Aria android 2.2 smart phone review http://www.liewcf.com/review-htc-aria-android-2-2-6878/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have forgotten, until now, that I was going to mention books. Books are nice objects to hold, and they make a nice addition to one’s decor. I enjoy reading a book and have several shelves full. Maybe 200 books? But on my electronic devices I have maybe 10 times that number. OK, most are old classics, which are out of copyright, but a number I have bought specifically to read on-line. An on-line reader keeps your place, let’s you bookmark passages and allows you to quickly search for something that you read somewhere in your on-line collection.

books
books (Photo credit: brody4)

Books are not yet redundant, but they are slowly heading on-line. While it may not be soon, and while not every book will disappear on-line, printed books may become rare and expensive.

Print is dying everywhere and the amazing thing is that it has happened in a short period of time. The spread of computers first caused volumes of paper generated to increase, but the Internet and the way that it has allowed sharing of documents, plus the smaller and faster computers and hugely capacious hard drives, culminating is the ubiquitous smart phones has saved millions of trees from destruction.

Tree in Fog
Tree in Fog (Photo credit: Photomatt28)

 

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Inequality and equality

Triangle_inequality
Triangle_inequality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Usually, but not always, I have an idea in the back of my mind of the structure of a post before I write it. Well, I have an idea of a few key concepts and how they will fit together. Sometimes it goes much like my skeleton idea and sometimes it turns out completely different. However, today, I have no structure in mind.

Inequality. It’s an interesting concept. The things that are being compared can be practically anything, but have to be of the same sort, hence the saying “you can’t compare apples with oranges”. Like all adages, this saying has more depth than appears at first glance. Of course you can compare apples with oranges if, for example, you are comparing their Vitamin C content or their fibre content. What the saying conveys is that it is incorrect to mix categories when the attribute being comparing is obviously not found in one of the categories, or the attribute is expressed differently in the two categories.

Apples & Oranges - They Don't Compare
Apples & Oranges – They Don’t Compare (Photo credit: TheBusyBrain)

For example, it would be wrong in most cases to compare the tastes of apples and oranges since the tastes of apples and oranges are significantly different. Or one might compare the performance of a truck and sedan car, and someone might object that any comparison is like comparing apples and oranges – while both are vehicles, but they are by nature significantly different.

Apples and Oranges
Apples and Oranges (Photo credit: Automania)

An inequality yields a true or false verdict. In logic and mathematics this is often called a Boolean value after mathematician and philosopher George Boole. In computer languages a Boolean value is usually, but not invariably, given a value of 1 for true and 0 for false.

George Boole, mathematician, 1858-1908
George Boole, mathematician, 1858-1908 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When children learn arithmetic and mathematics the emphasis is usually on equality rather than inequality. They learn that 1 + 1 = 2 and often don’t get taught such formulations as 1 + 1 < 6. When learning algebra they may be taught that y = x² is the equation of a parabola, but they may only learn in passing that y > x² represents all the points in the plane inside the parabola, and that y ≥ x² also includes the points on the parabola.

This is a graph of an inequality.
This is a graph of an inequality. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Computer programmers are usually deft at dealing with inequalities. When programming a payroll for example, the programmer may be required to calculate the tax that an employee may have to pay. Say the first $10,000 is taxed at 5%, and anything between $10,000 and $50,000 is taxed at 7%, and anything over $50,000 is taxed at 10%.

Tax
Tax (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

The programmer has to check if the salary is less than or equal to $15,000 (≤) and if it is he or she taxes the pay at 5%. If the pay is greater than (>) $10,000 and less than or equal to (≤) $50,000 he or she subtracts $15,000 from the salary and calculates 7% of that. He or she then calculates 5% of $15,000 and adds the two numbers to make up the tax for that employee. And so on, for the CEO who obviously exceeds the $50,000 threshold.

"Pay Day! Pay Day!"
“Pay Day! Pay Day!” (Photo credit: JD Hancock)

The simple statement – “Is the pay ≤ $15,000?” hides a complexity that is not obvious. It can be rewritten as – “Is it true that the pay ≤ $15,000?”. Such a statement has a value of “true” or “false”. The sub-statement “the pay ≤ $15,000” has a value of “true” or “false “. If the pay is $9,000 then the sub-statement  has the value “true”. Putting that back in the original statement yields “Is it true that true”. A little ungrammatical maybe, but it can seen that the whole statement is in this case true. This sort of complexity can trip up the unwary.

True/False Film Festival
True/False Film Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Logicians and mathematicians aren’t content with simple “true” and “false”. They have contemplated a third value, neither true nor false. Some versions call it “unknown” but it could be called “fred” or something. It doesn’t make any difference. Of course, mathematicians would not be satisfied with that, so they have derived “many-valued” logic systems.

It’s probably worth mentioning that some computer language allow for a “null” value, which is essentially the value you have when you haven’t set a value. Using the old pigeon hole analogy, if a pigeon hole is called “A”, then when the pigeon hole is empty, its value is “null”. When it contains, say, the integer 3, it’s value can be said to be “the integer 3”, so the statement “A contains a value greater than 1?” can be “true”, “false” or “null” so multi-valued logics can be more than an intellectual exercise.

Graphic for "the present king of France&q...
Graphic for “the present king of France”, a philosophical quasi-paradox from Bertrand Russell’s work on “definite descriptions” (is the statement “The present King of France is bald” true or false if France is a republic?). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another form of inequality relates to societal inequality. There are very poor people and astronomically rich people. Of course people will never be universally equal, but a society that doesn’t recognise the extreme inequalities will not be a good society by most people. We don’t have a working philosophy which can address this inequalities. We have Marxism economics which favours the workers, and the Smithian lassez-faire economics which favours market forces, and Keynesian which has supply and demand economics.

English: The invisible hand of the market. Fra...
English: The invisible hand of the market. Français : La main invisible du marché. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

None of these philosophies (and there are many others to choose from) really deal with the gap between the rich and the poor. Marxists would destroy society to rebuild it, but there is no guarantee that it will be better, and a very large chance that society would easily recover from such a cataclysm. Smithian economics would not admit to there being a problem. Keynesian economics at least considers unemployment but doesn’t directly address poverty.

English: Differences in national income equali...
English: Differences in national income equality around the world as measured by the national Gini coefficient. The Gini coefficient is a number between 0 and 1, where 0 corresponds with perfect equality (where everyone has the same income) and 1 corresponds with perfect inequality (where one person has all the income, and everyone else has zero income). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There does not appear to be a working economic model that deals with poverty as such. Distributing public funds through the dole doesn’t result in a decrease in poverty and merely reduces the self-esteem of the poor. Likewise, reducing support through reduced “benefits” doesn’t drive the poor into employment and doesn’t reduce poverty by providing an incentive to the poor. This is largely because the few jobs available to the unskilled don’t provide a route out of poverty as they are not well paid.

English: Arkwright - Colliery wages office Sho...
English: Arkwright – Colliery wages office Shortly after the pit closed in 1988. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is no doubt that poverty is relative. The poor in the developed countries are well off as compared to the poor in developing countries, but that’s not really a justification for the vast inequality that is seen between the very rich and the very poor, in any country.

Strike Solidarity
Strike Solidarity (Photo credit: Light Brigading)
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The process of Philosophy

Philosophy & Poetry
Philosophy & Poetry (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

Philosophy is a strange pastime. Scientists measure and weigh. Mathematicians wrangle axioms and logical steps. All other disciplines draw on these two fields, which are probably linked at deep level, but philosophy draws from nothing except thoughts and the philosopher’s view of the Universe.

 

Mathematics
Mathematics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, that’s not completely accurate because philosophy has to be about something and the only something we have is the universe. But philosophy does not have to be about the universe as we know it. What if there was no such thing as electrical charge, or, the prudent philosopher thinks, what if there was no such thing as the thing we call electrical charge. At a more basic level, what is electrical charge.

Lichtenberg
Lichtenberg (Photo credit: caddymob)

 

Philosophers are always getting pushed back by scientists as scientists figure what they think is the case. If there is a scientific consensus on what comprises an electric charge then that question no longer interest philosophers to any great extent. Philosophers mentally travel through the lands marked “Here be dragons”.

 

Dragon from PSF D-270006.png
Dragon from PSF D-270006.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philosophy is also interested in less “physical” things like ethics and morals, what comprises identity, predestination or free will, what can we know and what knowing is all about. How did the Universe come to exist, or more basically, why is there something rather than nothing?

 

If you look at this list it comprises extensions to or extrapolations from physics, psychology, physiology, medicine, biology, and other fields of science. Philosophy doesn’t use mathematics (usually), but it uses logical argument or should. It not (usually) built on axioms, so doesn’t have the rigid formality of mathematics.

Illustration of Plato's Allegory of the cave.
Illustration of Plato’s Allegory of the cave. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philosophers are big users of metaphor, such as Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”. A metaphor of the expansion of a balloon was used as a philosophical explanation of the expansion of the Universe discovered by Edwin Hubble. Philosophers also imagine physical machines which do not yet exist and which may never exist, such as the ‘teleporter’ which makes a material object at point A disappear and reappear at point B.

Star Trek - Enterprise D Transporter
Star Trek – Enterprise D Transporter (Photo credit: tkksummers)

Quantum physicists have teleported quantum information from one point to another, but this is not the same as teleporting atoms. So far as I can gather from the Wikipedia article, what is teleported is information about the state of an atom, so the same atoms must already be at point B before the teleportation event, and the event is a sort of imprinting on the target atoms. It sounds like the atoms at point A remain in situ, so it is more of a tele-duplication process really. However I don’t really understand the Wikipedia article so I may be wrong.

Diagram for quantum teleportation of a photon
Diagram for quantum teleportation of a photon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The philosopher is not interested in the quantum nuts and bolts though. He or she would be interested in the process – is a person walks in to the teleporter at point A the same person as the person who walks out of the transporter at point B? Unless his actual atoms are transported by the process, which seems an unlikely implementation, the person at point A shares nothing with the person at point B except a configuration of a second set of atoms. Is the person at point A destroyed by the machine and recreated at point B? What if something goes wrong and the person at point A does not disappear when the button is pressed? Then we have two instances of the person. Which is the real instance?

Unknown Person
Unknown Person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Notice that the philosopher takes a physical situation of travel from point A to point B and considers a special case, that of travelling between the two point without travelling the old slow way of travelling between all the intervening points and doing it quickly. There is no physics which can currently perform this task, but as usual, scientists are working to, one might say, fill in the gaps.

The Sci-Fi Fly!
The Sci-Fi Fly! (Photo credit: Carolyn Lehrke)

Many times the scientist is also a philosopher – he may have at the back of his mind the concept of teleportation when he creates his hypotheses and does his experiments, but he probably doesn’t concern himself with identity. That is still the realm of the philosopher at present, but if a teleportation device were ever created, it would stop being a philosophical matter, and become a matter of law and psychology and maybe some field that does not exist yet, just as the field of psychology did not exist at one time.

General Psychology
General Psychology (Photo credit: Psychology Pictures)

I’m trying to paint a picture of the area that a philosopher is interested in. If the whole of human knowledge is a planet, then physics and maths are part of the outer most layers of the atmosphere, the exosphere, and this merges with the depths of space are the domain of philosophy. At lower levels are things like chemistry, biology, psychology and other more applied sciences. Don’t look too closely at this analogy because I can see two or three things wrong with it, and I’m not even trying.

English: View of the crescent moon through the...
English: View of the crescent moon through the top of the earth’s atmosphere. Photographed above 21.5°N, 113.3°E. by International Space Station crew Expedition 13 over the South China Sea, just south of Macau (NASA image ID: ISS013-E-54329). Français : Photo des couches hautes de l’atmosphère terrestre. Polski: Zdjęcie górnych warstw atmosfery ziemskiej z widocznym przejściem w przestrzeń kosmiczną. Ελληνικά: Η Γήινη ατμόσφαιρα, η φωτογραφία ελήφθη από το διάστημα κι ύψος 335 χιλιόμετρα (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the main point I am making is that philosophy purposefully pokes and prods the areas beyond the domain of current mathematics and physics. Of course the line is not a definite line and there is a grey area. Some physical hypotheses verge into philosophy and some philosophical ideas are one step from becoming physical hypotheses. The suggestion that there be many universe like and unlike ours is one such suggestion that physicists are taking seriously these days.

2-step branching in many-worlds theory
2-step branching in many-worlds theory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of these ideas are not new and many have been used in what has been called “science fiction” for many years, especially the parallel universe theory. Time travel is another common science fiction theme. Although these ideas are used and developed by authors of fiction, physicists have adopted such ideas to advance science, though I don’t mean to suggest that scientists have directly borrowed the ideas of science fiction authors. It is probable that many ideas actually travelled in the opposite direction, from science to fiction.

English: Minkowski diagram of the twin paradox.
English: Minkowski diagram of the twin paradox. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since philosophy is at heart discursive and not rigidly analytical (in most cases), there is more freedom to expand on ideas that are not what is called “mainstream”. Because of this freedom it is likely that (like economists) no two philosophers will agree on anything, but they will have fun arguing about it.

 

The Argument Sketch
The Argument Sketch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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