Solution for Approaching Quantum Computing 1st Edition Chapter 1, Problem 2

by Dan C. Marinescu Gabriela M. Marinescu
70 Solutions 6 Chapters 9909 Studied ISBN: 9780131452244 Electrical Engineering 5 (1)

Chapter 1, Problem 2 : 1.3 Present and critically analyze the main ideas...

1.3 Present and critically analyze the main ideas and concepts related to "positivism", "reductionism", and "holism", as approaches to erplaining physical phenomena.  (See D. Deutsch. The Fabric of Reality. Penguin Books, New York, N.Y.,1997, pages 4-28).

Step-By-Step Solution

1.3 Discussion Points:

Positivism ( or logical positivism) is an extreme form of instrumentalism; it hold that all statements other than those describing or predicting observations are not only superfluous but meaningless. It was the prevailing theory of scientific knowledge during the first half of the twentieth century.

The scientific method involves postulating a new theory to explain some class of phenomena and then performing a crucial experimental test for which the old theory and the new theory predict different observable outcomes. The outcome of the crucial test helps to decide between the two theories. The experimental testing is not the only process involved in the growth of scientific knowledge. The overwhelming majority of theories are rejected, most often without testing them, because they contain bad explanations. An instrumentalist thinks that science is about predicting things

Reductionism: a view of the nature of science; science allegedly explains things reductively by analyzing them into components. For example, the mechanical properties of a wall are explained by regarding the wall as a vast aggregation of interacting molecules. The properties of the molecules are explained in terms of their constituent atoms which interact with each other, and so on down to the smallest particle and the most basic force. The foundation stone would be a reductive "theory of everything", a universal theory of particles, forces, space and time, together with some theory  of what the initial state of the universe was. Reductionism is a mistaken view of the nature of science held by many scientists (unfortunately). At present we have only approximations to a reductive "theory of everything". The accurate laws of motion known for individual subatomic particles are supplemented with various ap• proximations schemes in order to be able to predict some aspects of gross behavior of quite large objects. The reason why high-level subjects can be studied at all is that under special circumstances the complex behavior of vast numbers of particles resolves itself into a measure of simplicity and comprehensibility. High-level simplicity emerges from low-level complexity. A reductionist thinks that science is about analyzing things into components

Holism is the opposite of reductionism and supports the idea that the only legitimate

explanations are in terms of high-level systems. Considered as an even greater error than reductionism, it does not recognize the importance of reductive explanations.

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