Dialogues on the New Physics: Complexity and Nonlinearity in Nature (Featured Review)

The question of humanity’s connection with and understanding of nature has arguably never been of more importance. The technological revolution has resulted in us becoming more alienated from the natural world than ever before, which in turn only exacerbates the ecological crises the world is currently facing. As a species, most of what we know to be fundamentally true in nature is based on scientific observation and experimentation.

In his new book recently published by Cambridge Scholars, Dialogues on the New Physics: Complexity and Nonlinearity in Nature, Professor J.R. Croca explains that this model is inadequate, and that in order to fully grasp the great enigma and complexities of natural phenomena, and our place within it, we must widen our scope to encompass biological, philosophical, and even social, perspectives.

We’re delighted to share with a recent review of Prof. Croca’s book, which you can read below:

“Dialogue is a literary genre seldom adopted by Physicists or by Philosophers of Nature.

Nevertheless, there are several brilliant exceptions. One can think of Plato’s celebrated Timaeus, or of Giordano Bruno’s On the Infinite Universe and World, or, finally, of Galileo’s Dialogues Concerning two new Sciences, as well as his Dialogues Concerning the two Chief World Systems. All of them were works of breakthrough.

Perhaps, one could join to this short list of breakthrough works the two dialogues by Professor José Croca, whose second volume is now published by Cambridge Scholars.

The main character of the dialogue is Argus. One could think that it would be José Croca’s own pseudonym. Nevertheless, more than to a single character, Argus refers to the ship of the Argonauts and to their journey in quest of the Golden Fleece. Therefore, by the mouth of Argus speaks a multitude of people, namely, all those that, year after year and under the leadership of José Croca, have built an entirely new vison of Nature and, for that very reason, of Physics too.

The Golden Fleece that is searched for is a principle able to understand what a physical entity is, and what is Nature after all. Croca’s proposal is the Eurhythmy-principle. It is a leading-clue that allows for a new understanding of how and why nature brings about all its multitude of beings in an all-encompassing, and finally understandable unity. Using Spinoza’s words, the eurhythmic principle stands, regarding natural beings, as its natura naturans, that is, as the ultimate reason for their being and being so.

Along the eight journeys of the Argonauts new trip, gradually emerges what are the main tasks of this new, eurhythmic physics. It will and should be a physics of complexity and nonlinearity. The Cartesian, modern paradigm stood up, arguably, from its inception in the 17th century till the late 20th century. Electromagnetism and relativity, but also the standard approach to the quantum realm, while diversifying the Cartesian paradigm, did not break up with it. Albeit controversial, this is the main thesis of Croca’s interpretation of the development of modern physics up to quantum mechanics. What Croca is proposing is, thus, not only a fresh vision of Nature under a heuristic principle of generativity – the eurhythmic principle – but also a global revision of the methods, conceptual framework and mathematical apparatus of Physics.

From this new vantage point, one can see retrospectively several insights into the fundamental enigma of reality, such as Fermat’s principle of least time or Maupertius’ principle of least action. Croca’s continuous work of more than forty years which is encapsulated in the Dialogues claims, humbly, to have reached a first understanding of this great and ultimate enigma.

Thereby, José Croca’s Dialogues on the New Physics are not an end point, but just the starting point of a new breath and of a new beginning.”

Our thanks for the review and for allowing it to be reprinted in full go to Pedro Manuel dos Santos Alves, Professor in the Department of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon.

Dialogues on the New Physics: Complexity and Nonlinearity in Nature is available to purchase via our website, where you can also read a short extract and learn more about the author.

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