Episode 49: Parallel Philosophies with Christopher Reynaga

Posted Aug 1, 2014 by bn

Imagine you go back in time with a couple measuring cups. And you give it to some premathematical cave men. And you give them time to play with the cups. And suppose that, as a result, the cave men have learned the mathematical laws of addition before they know how to count. Plato_and_Aristotle_in_The_School_of_Athens,_by_italian_Rafael

What incredible stories do you think they would come up with about why 2+3=5 and 3+2=5 but 2+5=7?

The mathematical laws of quantum mechanics were discovered (informed by the mathematical laws of classical mechanics, which dictate things like energy conservation) without an underlying physical model. That is to say, we know how to do the math, and we know how to use the math to make predictions, but we’re not exactly sure what the math is describing.

Today, on the Ti-Phy, we’re going to talk about the schools of philosophy for interpreting quantum mechanics. It’s pretty great.

Our guest is an author named Christopher Reynaga. The author of my favourite story ever “I only am escaped alone to tell thee” where Captain Ahab is obsessed with hunting Cthulhu.  It has a line in it that is so marrow-chillingly good: “He is the Christ come to try and deliver us all, and there’s not enough blood in him to save us” ha.

 If perhaps you would like to listen to a pocast version, it has been masterfully read by Graeme Dunlop on the DrabbleCast.

Physicists: Tia Miceli, Ken Clark


Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

Transcript: Ep_49_Parallel_Philosophies