The computer may never be so programmed; but the... - Deepstash

The computer may never be so programmed; but the fact that it could is an essential fact about it, without which it would not qualify as a computer. The counterfactuals that matter to science and physics, so far neglected, are facts about what could or could not be made to happen to physical systems; what is possible or impossible. They are fundamental, they express essential features of the laws of physics -- the rules that govern every system in the universe. For instance, a counterfactual property imposed by the laws of physics is that it is impossible to build a perpetual motion machine. 


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The box may be never found; and laden with significance. It would signify, for instance, that a civilization visited the planet, and much about its degree of sophistication. To further grasp the importance of counterfactual properties, and their difference from actual properties, imagine a comput...

4. Albert Einstein called German mathematician Emmy Noether a creative mathematical genius.

4. Albert Einstein called German mathematician Emmy Noether a creative mathematical genius.

Noether’s Theorem is a fundamental idea on which much of modern physics is built. Published in 1918, her theorem states that if an object has symmetry — in other words, if it looks the same regardless of a difference in location or time — this leads to conservation laws in nature.

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However, by thinking hard enough, we can come up with more and better ways of performing a pos­sible transformation -- for instance, that of constructing a steam engine -- which can then improve over time.

"In the prevailing scientific worldview, counterfactual proper­ties of physical syste...

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