Space, freedom, and law: maybe space is all that matters
The traditional causal, vectorial approach to formulation of physical law is contrasted to the analytic approach which is based on variational principles. Reviewing the work of Toffoli, these two “paradigms” are considered in relation to the idea of parsimony arising from prodigality. The second law of thermodynamics and Darwinism are taken as further examples of global, non-causal principles similar to the variational principles, which may also be considered as cases of parsimony arising from prodigality, or law arising from freedom. Space is considered in a generalized, or abstract, sense, not as an arena for location of events and application of laws, but rather as that which affords freedom, and hence as that which may be both necessary and sufﬁcient as the ultimate basis of physical laws–i.e. “all that matters”. As a ﬁnal remarkable example of constraint, or law, arising as an epiphenomenon of space, the variational-principle analogue of Bayerlein, Sharp, and Wheeler, from geometrodynamics, is mentioned, which is the basis of Barbour’s theory that time itself arises as an illusory epiphenomenon from a space of all possibilities.
Conference: 19th Annual Colloquium of the Spatial Information Research Centre (SIRC 2007: Does Space Matter?), Dunedin, New Zealand
Keywords: freedom; law; variational principle; parsimony; prodigality; epiphenomenon
Research Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)