Theory of Everything?

I’m probably not the first to suggest this, but it seems to me that it might be possible to have a TOE by abandoning the metaphysical claim based on Einstein’s theory of relativity that absolute space doesn’t exist, which was arguably based on the now defunct philosophical view of verificationism, and by abandoning the metaphysical claim based on Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle that momentum and position of quantum objects do not exist independent of measurement, also arguably based on verificationism.

Abandoning those two claims, I think, allows for the possibility of going back at the macro level to a revised Newtonian Mechanics that incorporates Einstein’s equations and observations, and adopting at the micro level pilot wave theory, which now enjoys quite compelling evidence. If such is the case, wouldn’t it seem possible to arrive at a TOE based on this–what seems plausible–classical understanding of both the macro and the micro level of physics?

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To clear up a misconception: there is no evidence for pilot wave theory beyond the evidence for standard quantum mechanics itself. And I say that as a proponent of pilot wave theory. The droplet experiment you reference is a physical model that represents some aspects of pilot wave theory in an extremely limited way. Calling it evidence for pilot wave theory is like building a mechanical model of the solar system and calling it evidence for Newton’s theory of gravity.

It is true that allowing for a privileged frame or foliation of spacetime is a way to reconcile the non-locality of quantum mechanics with relativity, which is a step towards a theory of everything.


As far as I can tell, that would pretty much depend on how you define evidence. I consider any observation that supports a claim to be evidence, and I think by that definition it certainly qualified as compelling evidence.

And I don’t necessarily agree with the way you portrayed it as a mechanical model. I would say it’s an observable experiment that infers quite impressively that what is going on at the quantum realm is indeed represented in the experiment considering all the similarities. But I don’t know if this in particular would matter that much to whether or not my point is valid.

And as I understand it, spacetime is not a Newtonian concept. My point would be to also go back to gravity as a force, not a spacetime continuum.

That is just entirely wrong. If the bouncing drop model can be considered an experiment at all, it is an experiment about certain macroscopic behavior. It is a fluid dynamics experiment, not a quantum experiment.

But the broader point is that there can’t be an experiment that proves pilot wave theory over standard QM even in principle, because they make exactly the same predictions about observable outcomes. (*barring what is called quantum non-equilibrium in the pilot wave literature, which has nothing to do with the bouncing drop model)


Oh, I’m not making a claim that it proves PWT. Simply that it’s evidence that supports it. Both positions are metaphysical claims that cannot be observed. So both can only be inferred by supporting evidence. And I would say that only PWT has observable evidence to support it.

Whereas, as far as I know, the other interpretations don’t at all correspond to observable reality. The idea that momentum and position of quantum objects do not exist independent of measurement is purely a verificationists interpretation.

And just to clarify, as far as I know, the predictions in question are concerning the formulas associated with the interpretation/explanation. They are support for the description, i.e., the formulas, not the interpretations.

Sorry, I should have said “supports” rather than proves. There can’t be any empirical evidence for PWT over standard QM.

But this doesn’t make any sense. PWT has exactly the same empirical support as standard QM. Again, saying the bouncing drop experiment is observable evidence for PWT is like saying that the vibrations of a guitar string are observable evidence that there can be a kind of wave that propagates in a vacuum with no medium. They are just two entirely different domains.


What exactly do you mean here by empirical support?

Very roughly, I think it would be accurate to characterize “empirical support” in this way: it’s when a physical theory makes a certain prediction about something observable, and it accords with what is actually observed.

Would any @physicists agree, or is there a better way to define it?


To bring this thread back on topic, I’ll reiterate what I said above. And I’d agree with you to that

could be another step to facilitate a TOE. (Of course, I think there’s models that go in the other direction, making all forces the result of geometry, if I understand something @PdotdQ told me a while ago.)

But I’ll note that these are only steps and much more is needed to flesh them out.

Yes, I admit I’m clueless when it comes to the physics of it. However, it seems like Newtonian Mechanics, besides a few wrinkles here and there, is on pretty good footing. So I would imagine it wouldn’t take much to incorporate Einstein’s formulas into NM. Or am I wrong about that?

Special relativity sort of is just newtonian mechanics upgraded to account for relativistic effects, and it isn’t too complicated. But special relativity is false.

General relativity and quantum field theory are entirely on another level. You have no idea, man. :smiley:

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I do not have any senior physics, but my understanding is that ALL of Newtonian mechanics can be written in a relativistic formulation.

A theory of what exactly? Most Theories of Everything are theories of almost nothing.

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In physics, I believe it is simply coming up with a way to bring together the macro and micro level in a way there are no conflicts. That’s what I understood it to be. Did I get it wrong?

A theory of everything seems to be a theory of all scales.

No, Newtonian Mechanics has been disproven to at least one part in one thousand billion (10^-12). It is not on pretty good footing.

You are wrong about that.


Not sure that’s what it is, but what I’m concerned with specifically is getting physics to agree at both the macro and micro level.

That’s a pretty minuscule amount. To dismiss it over that seems like throwing out the baby with the bathwater to me. Seems like all that would be needed to correct the small margin of error would be to incorporate what Newton wasn’t aware of at the time, i.e., the problem of clock synchronization and a correction for the minuscule affect of large masses that was responsible for throwing off the orbit of Mercury around the sun.

Care to elaborate?

You misunderstand. This is the precision of the instrument, any smaller difference cannot be detected by our instruments, any larger is easily detectable. The smaller the number, the worst it is for Newtonian physics.

I will elaborate once you understand the previous point.

So what difference does that make? If you know what the problem is, i.e., clock synchronization, and affects of massive bodies on close by objects, seems like it shouldn’t be a problem of how accurate your instrumentation is, but rather correcting the formulas to match the observations. Isn’t that what Einstein did? What part did instrumentation play in providing confirmation of Einsteins calculations concerning large body masses?

Instruments are used to measure how off Newton’s calculations are vs observation. Instruments are also used to measure how off Einstein’s calculations are vs observations. This can only be done up to the precision of the instruments. It was found that Einstein agrees with the observations. Newton is found to not agree with the observations.

Do you agree with this?

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