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Tag Archives: bertrand russell

… of things relative

There are dozens of tiny green tomatoes on this plant.  Even more exciting, there are dozens more bright yellow flowers….


Currently Reading:  The A B C of Atoms, by Bertrand Russell.  E.P. Dutton & Company, New York, 1923.  Date of first issue, 1908.

“But even if the size of an electron should ultimately prove… to be related to the size of the universe, that would leave a number of unexplained brute facts, notably the quantum itself, which has so far defied all attempts to make it seem anything but accidental.  It is possible that the desire for rational explanation may be carried too far.  This is suggested by some remarks… by Eddington, in his book, Space, Time and Gravitation…  The theory of relativity has shown that most of the traditional dynamics, which was supposed to contain scientific laws, really consisted of conventions as to measurement, and was strictly analogous to the “great law” that there are always three feet to a yard.  In particular, this applies to the conservation of energy.  This makes it plausible to suppose that every apparent law of nature which strikes us as reasonable is not really a law of nature, but a concealed convention, plastered on to nature by our love of what we, in our arrogance, choose to consider rational.  Eddington hints that a real law of nature is likely to stand out by the fact that it appears to us irrational, since in that case it is less likely that we have invented it to satisfy our intellectual taste.  And from this point of view he inclines to the belief that the quantum-principle is the first real law of nature that has been discovered in physics.

This raises a somewhat important question:  Is the world “rational,” i.e., such as to conform to our intellectual habits?  Or is it “irrational,” i.e., not such as we should have made it if we had been in the position of the Creator?  I do not propose to suggest an answer to this question.”

I LOVE skipping to the end of a book!