Mar 10, 2015 | By George Gantz
The Metaphysics of Math and Physics – a Contest Between Physicalism, Idealism, and Platonism.
The 2015 FQXi contest is titled: Trick or Truth: the Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics, and the 150+ essays submitted provide a deep and rich sampling of the key arguments for and against physicalism (the physical world is all there is), idealism (the world is what our minds create) and Platonism (the world is dualist and mathematical order is the highest reality). These are three key threads in western philosophy since the Greeks. It is an eye-opening and mind-numbing collection of essays, some dealing with highly technical issues in quantum physics and cosmology, others delving into the heady frontiers of esoteric mathematics.
My essay is titled “The Hole at the Center of Creation” and is hopefully a readable discussion of key issues in both physics and math. As I noted: “The Truth is that there is a hole at the center of creation, afflicting both mathematics and physics – an infinite void made visible to us in the form of ineluctable paradoxes…. The Trick is that in pursuing fundamental questions on the nature of creation, of logical order, and of consciousness, we are led inexorably to the infinite void, a barrier to our ability to know, one that we cannot cross without reaching for a transcendent metaphysical explanation.” You are welcome to read the essay to find out my conclusion!
As a reminder, last year’s essay The Tip of the Spear garnered a fourth place.
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