In his book, "The Grand Design", physicist Stephen Hawking said:

"It appears that the fundamental numbers, and even the form, of the apparent laws of nature are not demanded by logic or physical principle. The parameters are free to take on many values and the laws to take on any form that leads to a self-consistent mathematical theory, and they do take on different values and different forms in different universes."

My question is: What does it mean that laws of nature are not demanded by logic or physical principle?


1 Answer 1


Basically that you cannot just follow logical reasoning and obtain the laws of physics. These laws are deducted by using math to match experimental results. So the laws of physics have a specific form that depends on experimental results and not just based on the rules of logic (this was, however, a program believed to be possible a few centuries ago). Same with the constants of nature that appear into the equations (for instance, the speed of light). These have arbitrary values that need to be determined by experimental measurements and are not obtained by deduction. The speed of light could in principle have any value, to be determined by experiment.


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