This small set of papers was a response to a significant change in the position of an establishment group of physicists, as their latest adjustment in coping with the continuing and unresolved Crisis in Physics.
For, though for many years (and even decades) mathematical-physicists have been rummaging through the seemingly endless depths of the World of Pure Form alone (Mathematics) for a solution to their evidently pressing need for a Theory of Everything, their many and varied, speculative journeys have become ever more unbelievable.
Yet, without in any way dramatically changing their avowed stance, these theorists have switched their attention to a very different area in the search for this required “end of the Rainbow”, and it is interesting what their new turn has involved!
For it does seem to acknowledge the real cause of their continuing dilemma – the lack of an appropriate philosophy as a basis for their driving laws!
So, from a purely descriptive/predictive pre-occupation with quantitative Form (equations) they have finally turned to the most “philosophical” of the Laws in their collection, with the purpose of finding there the hoped-for salvation.
They have turned away from trusting only Pure Form to instead address Pure Chaos!
Of course, though Mathematics has been, and still is, used even in this area, it is the Second Law of Thermodynamics that seems to fit their requirements most accurately. For it is not a relational law!
If anything, it is a philosophical Principle: that everything is perpetually running down: all Order is dissociating into all Chaos!
It is certainly appropriate in very many areas (and the engineers, who first thought of it, would insist that it pertains absolutely everywhere).
Two major contributions to this standpoint have recently appeared. One in the pages of New Scientist (2886) by Vlatko Vedral, and the other in a two-part TV series by Jim Al’khalili on BBC entitled Order and Disorder.
Here are my responses to these positions.
Read them here