Fundamental Theories of Physics
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Physical (A)Causality

Determinism, Randomness and Uncaused Events

Authors: Svozil, Karl

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  • Provides a concise overview of the current debate on physical unknowables
  • Discusses how to generate a "truly" irreducibly random number
  • Considers the various counterarguments against claims of absolute physical randomness
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-70815-7
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on link.springer.com
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About this book

This open access book addresses the physical phenomenon of events that seem to occur spontaneously and without any known cause. These are to be contrasted with events that happen in a (pre-)determined, predictable, lawful, and causal way.


All our knowledge is based on self-reflexive theorizing, as well as on operational means of empirical perception. Some of the questions that arise are the following: are these limitations reflected by our models? Under what circumstances does chance kick in? Is chance in physics merely epistemic? In other words, do we simply not know enough, or use too crude levels of description for our predictions? Or are certain events "truly", that is, irreducibly, random?

The book tries to answer some of these questions by introducing intrinsic, embedded observers and provable unknowns; that is, observables and procedures which are certified (relative to the assumptions) to be unknowable or undoable. A (somewhat iconoclastic) review of quantum mechanics is presented which is inspired by quantum logic. Postulated quantum (un-)knowables are reviewed. More exotic unknowns originate in the assumption of classical continua, and in finite automata and generalized urn models, which mimic complementarity and yet maintain value definiteness. Traditional conceptions of free will, miracles and dualistic interfaces are based on gaps in an otherwise deterministic universe. 

About the authors

Karl Svozil studied theoretical physics in Vienna and Heidelberg, and has been visiting many institutions world-wide; including the University of California at Berkeley and the Lomonosov University. He works at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the Vienna University of Technology and holds an honorary position at the Department of Computer Science of The University of Auckland, reflecting his interest in physical aspects of theoretical computer science. He has been president of the International Quantum Structure Association, and has served on various scientific committees, among them the FWO panel for Interdisciplinary research.

Table of contents (22 chapters)

Table of contents (22 chapters)
  • Intrinsic and Extrinsic Observation Mode

    Pages 3-13

    Svozil, Karl

  • Embedded Observers and Self-expression

    Pages 15-16

    Svozil, Karl

  • Reflexive Measurement

    Pages 17-19

    Svozil, Karl

  • Intrinsic Self-representation

    Pages 21-22

    Svozil, Karl

  • On What Is Entirely Hopeless

    Pages 25-27

    Svozil, Karl

Buy this book

eBook  
  • ISBN 978-3-319-70815-7
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on link.springer.com
Hardcover $59.99
price for USA in USD
Softcover $59.99
price for USA in USD
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Physical (A)Causality
Book Subtitle
Determinism, Randomness and Uncaused Events
Authors
Series Title
Fundamental Theories of Physics
Series Volume
192
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-70815-7
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-70815-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-70814-0
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-88995-5
Series ISSN
0168-1222
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIV, 219
Number of Illustrations
8 b/w illustrations, 24 illustrations in colour
Topics