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New Contributor III

End of physics? End of reductionism?

Dear all,

As always, please take a break and have some coffee, Sirs.

I am now reading a book "Quantum Divide" written by C.C. Gerry and K. M. Bruno, published from Oxford University Press.

In chapter 8 of the book, the authors explain the readers that the reductionism is the base of modern science.  They say that the property of matter can be explained by its constituent molecules.  Then the property of the molecule can be explained by its constituent atoms.  And the atom can be explained by its constituent elctrons and nucleus.

They are calling this process of iteration as reductionism.  Quantum mechanics can explain the behavior of electron and nucleus.  Then we naturally wish to know more fundamental explanation than the quantum mechanics.  That is, we try to reduce the thing further.  But the authors write that "Perhaps quantum mechanics is the end of the road for reductionism."(page 169)

Can't we ever obtain an understanding of physics that is further deeper than the quantum mechanics?  Is the quantum mechanics the last word of or the end of physics?  How do you think, Sirs?

Thank you for reading

Sincerely

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New Contributor II

Re: End of physics? End of reductionism?

Let me go back to my philosophy of science course. "Reductionism," as applied to science, is a fundamentally flawed idea that was rejected by most philosophers of science. Reductionism, as applied to the sciences, would assume there is nothing in chemistry other than applications of physics, there is nothing in biology other than applications of chemistry, and there is nothing in psychology other than applications of biology. But, this cannot be true. There is nothing in physics that is the equivalent of a molecule, i.e., a combination of atoms held together by forces. There is nothing in chemistry that is the equivalent of evolution. And there is nothing in biology that is the equivalent of emotions in psychology. (To name such as a few examples.)

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