Home » Reflecttion » So what the heck is Hawking’s “Model-dependent Realism?”

So what the heck is Hawking’s “Model-dependent Realism?”

Stephan Hawking and Leonard Mldoinow describe what they term “model-dependent realism” in their book “The Grand Design.”

The cover of the The Grand Design"

The concept intrigues me. I find that their concept is similar to what I wrote about in the Chapter 3, “What do we know?” of Exploring the Gap between Science and Religion.

In this chapter expand and examine the “observer/observed” model, the basis of modern science. (Keep in mind that we are considered to be in the “post modern” science area.)

What I take from the model-dependent realism is that it takes in both the object being observed and the human-generated model resulting from our observations. I made this conclusion because of several statements about how specific capabilities of the observer alters the models that are a product of  the observations being made. Here is one such statement:

Our sun radiates all wavelengths, but its radiation is most intense in the wavelengths that are visible to us. It is probably no accident that the wavelengths we are able to see with the naked eye are those in which the sun radiates most strongly: It’s likely that our eyes evolved with the ability to detect electromagnetic radiation in that range precisely because that is the range of radiation most available to them. (The Grand Design, Page 91)

It goes on to speculate about life forms living within the range a different source of energy source would most likely develop different perception capabilities. Figure 4 of theExploring the Gap”illustrates the relationship between human perception and the electromagnetic spectrum:

The human eye preceives a small percentage of the total electromagnetic spectrum.

An examination of what is “real”

In the following statement Hawkings and Mldoinow describe how model-dependent realism causes us to rethink what is “rea,l” and the role of observation:

Model-dependent realism short-circuits all the arguments and discussion between the realist and the anti-realist schools of thought. According to model-dependent realism, it is pointless to ask whether a model is real, only whether it agrees with observation. If there are two models that agree with observation, like the goldfish’s picture and ours, then one cannot say that was is more real than another. (The Grand Design, Page 45-46)

This diagram provides a graphic representation of model-dependent realism within context of a model of a human observation. It comes from Chapter 3.

A tree on the right, and a representation on the left

When discussing “Exploring the Gap between Science and Religion” I sometimes ask the audience: “What is the philosophical implication of this picture?”

The answer is that there are two trees in the picture: 1) the one that is subject of the observation and 2) the model that our mind creates as a result. The curved arrows represent our on-going observations, which over time cause us to update our model. In this particular example, I point out that when a tree loses its leaves during the winter, we must update our model. The update reflects that our model of the tree is linked the model temperature and seasons.

Which leads us to another insight from The Grand Design. Hawkings and Mlodinow allude to an interlinking of models (theories) in the following statement:

Each theory in the M-theory network is good at describing the phenomena within a certain range. Whenever their ranges overlap, the various theories in the network agree, so they can all be said parts of the same theory. But no single theory within the network can describe every aspect of the universe–all the forces of nature, the particles that feel those forces, and the framework of space and time in which it all plays out.

The “M-theory” network they are talking about is an extension of string theory, so their focus is narrower than mine. I submit that there is wisdom to be gained by their statement that “no single theory” … “can describe every aspect of the universe” when we develop our personal worldviews in this post-modern world.


2 thoughts on “So what the heck is Hawking’s “Model-dependent Realism?”

  1. In a synchronistic field, a dual response is noted as an antagonistic divide to the common sense perception. As intrinsic value, this personification of sense causes the common cause of string theory, as a protagonistic divide between causative and field distribution. The field of distribution becomes the causative effect of our order as a cognisant model. Our field of distribution becomes the causation of super fecundity in a model of temporal assignment, where we distribute the sense of observation through our cognisance. The model of distribution becomes the way we envision our world, as cognisance drives the ambition of super fecundity in a temporal world model. The distribution factor remains to be seen through our advancement in science. Built on the model of a recognisance era, our attribute remains as the common sense that perpetuates division through the cognisance model. As we begin to see the fields of abstraction that consolidate into a congruency of super fecundity, the temporal models on our world become the models on abstraction through a cognisance that determines the common sense through more than the common vision perpetuated by an antithesis of dual projection. The dual reflection is a state that can be enveloped as a purpose for intention, where the cognisance is the deterministic sense for ascertaining field theory in physical abstraction, by the wave doublet. Viewed as the double sense, our ascertaining of fields in their temporal models, will form the physical abstraction for new cognisance models …in the era of re-interpretation. Quantum physics will be the medium of interpretation in a deterministic creationist theory, that advances in science as the one distribution force in a constant relativism of intrinsic sense. The sense of distribution will be the cause of quantitative field theory in science, by measure of sense and its distribution value as an integral correspondent in wave phenomena. No single cause is measured as the distribution value of an observer, without its field of synthesis as the integral value of a common observant view.

  2. Pingback: How are these concepts related? | Dialogs on Exploring the Gap

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