Physicist Geoffrey Chew proposed the concept of bootstrap (related to S-matrix theory) where he denied that fundamental laws of nature existed at all, as it is indicated in a writing in his memory written by one of his collaborators 1: ​

The bootstrap philosophy abandons not only the idea of fundamental constituents of matter but accepts no fundamental entities whatsoever — no fundamental laws or equations, and not even a fundamental structure of space and time. The universe is seen as a dynamic web of interrelated events. None of the properties of any part of this web are fundamental; they all follow from the properties of the other parts, and the overall consistency of their mutual interrelations determines the structure of the entire web

​ I see an apparent conflict here that I would like to resolve: ​

If one denies that fundamental laws of physics exist, then we could claim that the universe could have been extremely different (since if fundamental laws do not exist, nothing would have prevented the laws of physics to be extremely different and therefore a universe without e.g quantum mechanics or a very different version of quantum physics could have been born)

​ But then, from what I have read, the bootstrap idea is based on only consistency conditions and therefore we could claim that the universe could not have been different because the only set of possible laws is the one we have.

​ So, according to the bootstrap idea, if there are no fundamental laws of physics, could the universe have been born with completely different laws? Or does it admit only one set of laws, being those which govern all of physics in our own universe?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Does anyone take these ideas seriously anymore? $\endgroup$
    – mike stone
    Sep 10 '20 at 12:42

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