Constructor theory
Deutsch (David)
Source: Synthese, Vol. 190, No. 18 (December 2013), pp. 4331-4359
Paper - Abstract

Paper SummaryText Colour-Conventions


Author’s Abstract

  1. Constructor theory seeks to express all fundamental scientific theories in terms of a dichotomy between possible and impossible physical transformations – those that can be caused to happen and those that cannot. This is a departure from the prevailing conception of fundamental physics which is to predict what will happen from initial conditions and laws of motion.
  2. Several converging motivations for expecting constructor theory to be a fundamental branch of physics are discussed.
  3. Some principles of the theory are suggested and its potential for solving various problems and achieving various unifications is explored. These include
    1. Providing a theory of information underlying classical and quantum information;
    2. Generalising the theory of computation to include all physical transformations;
    3. Unifying formal statements of conservation laws with the stronger operational ones (such as the ruling-out of perpetual motion machines);
    4. Expressing the principles of testability and of the computability of nature (currently deemed methodological and metaphysical respectively) as laws of physics;
    5. Allowing exact statements of emergent laws (such as the second law of thermodynamics); and
    6. Expressing certain apparently anthropocentric attributes such as knowledge in physical terms.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2017
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



© Theo Todman, June 2007 - November 2017. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page