The black hole has always occupied a sort of space in the middle, between science and philosophy. It’s good to see that acknowledged. From ScienceDaily:
Erik Curiel studied Philosophy as well as Theoretical Physics at Harvard University and the University of Chicago, and the primary aim of his current DFG-funded research project is to develop a precise philosophical description of certain puzzling aspects of modern physics. “Phenomena such as black holes belong to a realm that is inaccessible to observation and experiment. Work based on the assumption that black holes exist therefore involves a level of speculation that is unusual even for the field of theoretical physics.” However, this difficulty is what makes the physical approach to the nature of black holes so interesting from the philosophical point of view. “The physical perspective on black holes is itself inextricably bound up with philosophical issues relating to ontological, metaphysical and methodological considerations,” says Curiel.
During the preparation of his philosophical analysis of the concept of black holes for Nature Astronomy, the author spoke to physicists involved in a wide range of research fields. In the course of these conversations, he was given quite different definitions of a black hole. Importantly, however, each was used in a self-consistent way within the bounds of the specialist discipline concerned. Curiel himself describes these discussions as “surprising” and “eye-opening.”
For astrophysicist Avi Loeb, “a black hole is the ultimate prison: once you check in, you can never get out.” On the other hand, theoretical physicist Domenico Giulini regards it as “conceptually problematical to think of black holes as objects in space, things that can move and be pushed around.”Paper. (paywall) – Erik Curiel. The many definitions of a black hole. Nature Astronomy, 2019; 3 (1): 27 DOI: 10.1038/s41550-018-0602-1 More.
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