Re: causes in modern physics

Garry DeWeese (deweese@ucsu.Colorado.EDU)
Fri, 7 Feb 1997 09:13:24 -0700 (MST)

On Fri, 7 Feb 1997 wrote:

> My point about formal causation is that, even though
> modern science is supposedly about only efficient
> and material causation, in fact formal causation is
> still employed extensively, at least in mathematical
> physics. My impression is that scientists don't
> generally see it this way, but that they should.
I would want to make a seemingly minor, but conceptually significant,
adjustment in the above. If one is a realist about natural laws, then it
is the laws which are the formal cause, and the law statements in the
language of mathematics are representations of the laws. That is, in the
context of the currect discussion, the Schroedinger equation causes
nothing, but whatever law (even a nondeterministic law) is represented by
the wave function is the formal cause.