1. What’s wrong with semantics?
One of the most powerful scientific arguments physicists use to dismiss non-legal physics is to say “That’s just semantics.” In physics lingo this means
you have just stepped out of legal physics and if you continue to challenge legal physics with scientific skepticism I’ll call you a crackpot, so you’d better stop and listen to what I teach and learn legal physics, the only true science.
Semantics as defined in physics is similar to two other words — philosophy and metaphysics — and refer to the opinions of an unlicensed person on topics owned by physicists. These are propaganda words invented by physicists to defend their monopoly on human reason. But what is wrong with semantics?
2. Don’t confuse semantics with polemics
Looking at physics at the fundamental mathematical level I see that physics is semantics.
Physicists confuse, probably intentionally, semantics with polemics which means
the practice of disputing or controverting religious, philosophical, or political matters. As such, a polemic text on a topic is often written specifically to dispute or refute a position or theory that is widely viewed to be beyond reproach.
Indeed physicists view legal physics to be true beyond reproach. Otherwise physics would not work. Note that there are always legal open questions that physicists can work on but they cannot doubt the absolute veracity of legal physics and remain in the profession. Consequently, physicists will not tolerate any kind of scientific skepticism toward their profession from outsiders.
Semantics, on the other hand, is the “study of meaning in communication.”
3. If physics is meaningful it must be semantics
Unless physicists claim that physics is meaningless then physics must be semantics. The idea that academic physics may be meaningless and absurd or at least allows meaninglessness and absurd should not be dismissed out of hand. But let’s assume that physics is meaningful.
First we posit that physicists who have an absolute monopoly to define new terms with new meanings in the realm of physics have conveniently defined semantics to mean physics in the context of physics:
meaning = physics
So when they say “physics of a problem” physicists mean “the meaning of a problem.” Any meaning physicists will call physics.
4 . Mathematics has no meaning
Let’s look at a mathematical expression:
Since this is a mathematical expression we have no idea what symbols E and p mean but we can manipulate it according to mathematical rules. In mathematics symbols are meaningless only rules exist. Mathematical reasoning
is formal in the sense that the meaning of propositions forms no part of the investigation. The sole concern of mathematics is the inference of proposition from proposition. The justification of the rules of inference in any branch of mathematics is not properly part of mathematics: it is the business of experience or of philosophy. The business of mathematics is simply to follow the rule. In this sense all mathematical reasoning is necessary, namely, it has followed the rule.
In mathematics symbols E and p have no meaning and the integral and equality signs are operational and dp is an integration unit.
Therefore, physicists must give meaning to these symbols if physics is to have a meaning different than mathematics. And the process of giving meaning to symbols is called semantics. Physicists call this process of giving meaning to mathematical symbols physics, ie. they defined semantics as physics.
Calling E, say, electric field, is semantics. The mathematical symbol E is given the meaning “electric field.”
4. Physical quantity and experiment are semantic operators
In physics a symbol is endowed with meaning through physical quantities. Physical quantity is really about semantics because it is a unit with a number and has nothing to do with being physical or not. The adjective physical in front of quantity is a political symbol. So, again,
the justification of the rules of inference in any branch of mathematics is not properly part of mathematics: it is the business of experience or of philosophy.
And it is also the business of physics. And indeed physics is philosophy because it deals with meaning. But physicists consider semantics, philosophy and metaphysics to be all suspect endeavors because they are ultimately about questioning legal physics.
What about the question of experiment, the interface between physics and nature? According to physicists they are not semanticists but experimental scientists who are merely modelling nature objectively by way of experiments. In reality, professional physicists themselves are the interface between nature and physics because they have authority over experiment, e.g., Coulomb experiment.
That physical laws are based on experiments is a professional propaganda. Physics is first semantic then experimental. Experiment in physics is an alternative way to endow symbols with meaning. So either a physical quantity or an experiment can give meaning to a symbol. In either case physics is semantics.
The unit of physics is physical quantity and a physical quantity does not have to have a correspondence in nature. The sign called physical quantity does not need to have a signified but it must be consistent with legal physics, that’s the only requirement.
Physical quantity can be, and most are, arbitrary definitions in agreement with the rest of physics. And in most cases a physical experiment is a definition with an oscillator.
5. Physicists are semantic philosophers who deny being semantic philosophers
Mathematical symbols do not have meaning, physicists give them meaning, usually by reifying them. But physics does not have mathematical rigor because physicists do not respect mathematical meanings of the operators, they endow them too with their own “physical” meanings. So the fundamental operator of physical equation, the equality sign, has at least four different meanings and it is not a mathematical but a polemical sign.
6. How come physics works? If it is semantics it should not work!
What works is not physics. Physics is just a rubric of a vast collection of different semantic fields. What works are “mechanics” that physicists painstakingly fit into observations one paper at a time. It would be really strange if physics did not work. By definition, all physics “theories” are models that are fit into observations. Therefore, by definition, they work. In other words, physics works because it is semantics. All these mechanics contain free parameters, semantic elements (quantity is meaning too), that fit the model to observations.
There is only one way we can know nature. We fit a database of observations into a model. And this is done through semantics. So the method of physics is right. The propaganda of physics is wrong.
7. Admit semantic nature of physics. That’s not a bad thing
It is also known that there is no essential difference between the semantics of natural languages like English and formal languages like mathematics. Physicists abuse this fact as well. What physicists do is to use the authority of mathematics to justify ideology.
What is unscientific is to try to project physics as an “objective” science that transcends ordinary meaning and reveals absolute truths about nature. In other words, religion.