Getting to the bottom of reductionism – is it all just physics in the end?
There was some interesting recent discussion on Twitter regarding claims made in a new book by physicist Sabine Hossenfelder , in which she at least seems to assert that everything that happens in the universe is reducible to, and deducible from, the low-level laws of physics. Strikingly, she presents this view as an irrefutable scientific fact, rather than an arguable philosophical position. It’s worth digging into these ideas to probe the notion that the behavior of all complicated things, including living organisms, just comes down to physics in the end. Patrick Baud quoted several passages from the book, “ Existential Physics ”, that argue that reductionist theories are the only game in town. With the important caveat that I have not read the book in full, and granting that some additional nuance is probably added elsewhere, it is worth quoting these passages in full to try and get the gist of these arguments. I’ve interspersed a few brief comments between the quoted sectio