- synthesis by physics duality
- synthesis by superposition of quantum states
- synthesis by complementary views
- synthesis by dialectics
- synthesis by TOE
- synthesis by multiple perspectives
- synthesis by common core
Synthesis by physics duality
The meaning of “duality” in physics is very different from the meaning of “duality” used in spiritual philosophy. There are multiple descriptions of physical reality. These descriptions are not necessarily equivalent but if they are then we call those theories dual theories. We can generalize this approach. When someone presents a collection of “dual” theories as a unification scheme we can call it synthesis by physics duality. The M-Theory of physics is an attempt to form a synthesis of this type. The M-Theory is at the very early stages of development.
Key concept here is “physics duality.”
Here’s good review articles on the concept of duality in physics and mathematics.
- Duality in Mathematics and Physics by Michael Atiyah
- Dualities of Fields and Strings by Joe Polchinski
Here’s what I wrote earlier regarding physics duality: Meaning of Duality in Physics
Synthesis by superposition of quantum states
A quantum system exists in multiple states simultaneously but no vantage point is specified. One might argue that all possible vantage points are included in a quantum superposition. The superposition idea can be generalized as well. In this type of synthesis, instead of a collection of dual theories we have a superposition of states.
One example of this kind of synthesis is the Many-Worlds-Interpretation (MWI) of Quantum Mechanics. MWI talks about the “Universal Wavefunction” which is a quantum superposition of all possible states of the universe.
Key concept here: “no vantage point”
Synthesis by complementary views
Some experiments detect the wave nature of the elementary particles and other experiments detect the particle nature. Neils Bohr suggested that “particle” and “wave” views are complementary and equally valid. The complementarity principle does not restrict itself to just 2 views – particle and wave. Synthesis by complementarity principle can combine multiple “views” into a workable theory.
The key word here: “workable”
Synthesis by dialectics
In the “Dialectic is an attractive solution but…” piece I mentioned that Hegel’s dialectic is a special type of synthesis. I also pointed out that dialactic is different from dualism. As a matter of fact, dialectic is a type of monism in my opinion.
Even though Hegel never used the term “synthesis” (he used the terms Abstract-Negative-Concrete) his followers have been using the Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis construct. There are literally hundreds of different interpretations of the dialectic principle. This is why it is sometimes referred to as “dialectics” – in plural. What you are reading here is my interpretation of the dialectic principle, of course. Dialectic synthesis is based on the unity of polar opposites. The claim is that these polar opposites manifest at every stage of manifestation and one can construct useful theories by considering the interaction of these polar opposites.
The keyword here: “useful”
Synthesis by TOE
In this type of synthesis, we don’t have a collection of dual theories, we don’t have a superposition of states, but we have only one theory which might be called the unified theory of the physical universe or TOE (Theory of Everything). The ultimate unified theory of physical reality, if it ever exists, will be un-computable, in my opinion. We will have to use approximations to predict the outcomes of experiments. I claim that even if you come up with a TOE, in practice, you will have multiple approximations of that theory. So, in this type of synthesis we have a collection of the approximate theories. How is this different from a collection of dual theories? The dual theories are equivalent, the “approximations of TOE” are not equivalent. Different “approximations of TOE” focusing on different aspects of the physical reality can be quite different theories.
The keyword here: “approximation”
Synthesis by multiple perspectives
I mentioned this in my previous posts. We can never know the Reality intellectually. We form various models of Reality in our minds. These models (theories) are just representations of Reality. Reality is One and Unified but there are infinite number of perspectives.
I distinguish the synthesis in the form of multiple perspectives from TOE where we have multiple approximations of TOE. A “perspective” is not necessarily a theory or model. A “perspective” can be more abstract than a theory. A “perspective: is a category bigger than a theory. Within a given “perspective” there might be different theories.
Key concept here: “multiple vantage points”
Synthesis by soul (common reference, common core)
I have been advocating this approach in the context of spiritual philosophy as well as physics. I tried to give some details in the piece titled “The Most Outrageous Hypothesis.”
The assumption that all entities have a common core (soul) which is a reference to the whole is the most feasible way for a unified theory in my opinion. Note that the synthesis of this kind necessarily includes the mental and spiritual realms. If you restrict yourself to the physical realm you cannot come up with a unified theory. I will explain this point in more detail in my next post.
Image credit: spinning springs by Dave Whyte