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[Phys-L] Re: Fields etc

I was going to ask if you were from Vienna.

Halliday in his Intro. Nuclear Phys. (2nd ed.) devotes two pages on
Philosophy, mostly LP. He summarizes from The Nature of Physical Theory
and the Logic of Modern Physics


Jack Uretsky wrote:

Michael Edmiston wrote:

Goodness... isn't that what we scientists say we are doing? Scientists
have similar lab exercises in which we ask students to observe something

mental concept, nothing is real. We should not reify anything. (2)
Since we observe things and have learned to communicate these things to
others, and they observe them also, and they measure similar data, and
we all can draw predictive conclusions that we all observe to be born
out... everything that fits this pattern is reality.

_____________________end of quote_____________________________________
A solution -the one that I have adopted - was formulated long ago
by Percy Bridgman and described in his book "The logic of Modern
Physics". A concept is described by a measurement. Both Dick Hake and
I use this notion in our labs where a student defines a concept with a
sketch of a stick figure doing something. Thus, taking an example from
Bridgman, distance in a lab can be defined by someone making
measurements with a meter stick. Distance to the moon has a different
meaning, it may mean timing the delay of a radar pulse echo. The job of
the physicist is to determine the circumstances - and there better be
some - where the two definitions coincide.
Philosophers call this approach "Logical Positism", and some disdain
it. The ones who disdain it are not, to the best of my knowledge,
Measurement has nothing to do with "reification", it does not
involve us in the semantics of "reality", and it always confronts us
with the real challenge of physics: find a way to predict the outcome of
new measurements before they are made.


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