Synthetic Physics and Nominalist Realism
John P. Burgess
‘Words do not reflect the world, not because there is no world, but because words are not mirrors.’
In mathematical as opposed to philosophical usage, geometry in the style of Euclid and physics in the style of Archimedes are called synthetic, whereas geometry in the style of Descartes and physics in the style of Laplace are called analytic. Analytically formulated theories differ from synthetically formulated theories in two respects. First, they involve the representation of spatial and temporal position by real-number coordinates and of extensive and intensive magnitudes by real-number measures of extent and intensity. Second, they involve ...