Naturalizing Physics. Or, embedding physics in the historicity and materiality of the living

Giuseppe Longo
2020 Zenodo  
The rich blend of theories and experiences that made the history of physics possible still now enlightens the scientific method. We stress the need to learn from this method the force of making its principles explicit, while developing a rich diversity of theories, which are often incompatible. Unity is preserved by common founding principles and their mathematical form, such as the understanding of conservation properties (energy, momentum etc.) in terms of symmetries. When moving from the
more » ... t to the living state of matter, new challenges are posed, beginning with biological "heterogenesis", as "genesis of and from diversity" in a changing space of pertinent observables and parameters: the Darwinian ecosystem. The question that is posed is how we may consistently embed the theories of the inert into biology. By naturalization we mean an analysis of physics as part of the sciences of nature, not as the science governing them all. In particular, the founding symmetry principles of physical theories, often used to "naturalize" (but, actually, to "physicalize") other sciences, will instead be framed in more general dynamics which deal with fundamental changes of symmetries, as they apply, in our views, in all historical sciences, beginning with biology. This paper will accordingly explore the notion of (non-)conservative extension of theories in a precise mathematical sense. We stress a perspectival epistemology that promotes a dialogue of theories, in search for bridges or even unity, inspired by the method of "unification" at the core of major theoretical inventions in physics. Our main motivation is the need to go beyond the strong dualistic separation of space (or of the more general "phase space") as a pre-given container of the dynamics of matter, that biased physics from Aristotle to Newton and, in a technically different way, even Einstein.
doi:10.5281/zenodo.3944678 fatcat:sbtontldqnbcxgxw5v6ixmnxde