Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Physics, Soup & Legal Reasoning

Anyone with the slightest appreciation of the character of enormous events such as black holes (which might be said to be enormous non-events), see
NYTimes article on the biggest and baddest black hole yet 
Wikipedia article on black holes
Hubblesite on black holes (highly recommended)
understandably hesitates to say anything that might reek to the slightest degree of absurd deconstructionist talk -- such as talk about "decentering gravity" (see the Sokal hoax). With this in mind, I pose several comments and questions seriatim (comments and questions I first posed on Google+):

First: A participant in the BISC list (Berkeley Initiative for Soft Computing list) asked an interesting question: Is human knowledge of causality fuzzy or is causality itself (also) fuzzy?

Second: Is it possible or desirable to combine the precision of, say, special relativity (ignore quantum mechanics, please) with fuzzy logic and probability?

Third: It is fair or accurate to say, yes?, that some or many or all models generated by "real physics" -- models such as Newtonian mechanics and special relativity -- make sense only as universal models (at least in our universe, i.e., putting aside a possible multiverse and the like)? If so, is it logically coherent to imagine (only to imagine, I say!) that such models are mechanisms, processes, or structures that exist in an ocean, or soup, of fuzziness? Or is such an image (an image of quantitatively-specifiable islands in a murky and elusive soup) too close -- fatally too close -- to the excesses and absurdities of deconstructionism, postmodernism, and all that (see the Sokal hoax and ridiculous talk about matters such as "decentering gravity")? Does "real physics" allow for the existence of soup, soup with an ontological status, i.e., "real (fuzzy?) soup"?


[I repeat, here:] Even if I am just speculating, should I be embarrassed to be speculating in this fashion? (N.B. I repudiated Hegelianism, neo-Hegelianism, and all that, decades ago!)

My probable motivation for the speculation found here: I am groping for a way to explain and defend sloppy, soupy (and non-numerical) reasoning (which is prevalent in legal discourse and argument).