Implications of Circular Causality at the Quantum Level
1999 marks the year when the first “solar system” apart from our own was “discovered” [Butler et al.]: astrometrical data provide strong evidence that the star Upsilon Andromedae is surrounded by at least three dark companions, i.e., most probably, planets. The evidence is derived from the wiggly path of the star due to its gravitational interaction with the planets. Concerning our own solar system, it was Newton’s third law, which, in principle, first predicted such an effect: to any (gravitational) force there corresponds an opposite force of equal magnitude, or action equals reaction. Previously, a “magnetic” theory of gravity existed (Hooke), which claimed that only the sun exerted a force on the planets. Newton, however, maintained that the sun’s force acting on any one planet must equal an opposite force of the planet acting on the sun. Thus, the sun could not be considered an immovable body in Newton’s theory that would act on the earth: even the sun accelerates toward the earth, and it is only because of its much larger mass that one can consider it approximately “immovable.” In effect, then, Newton’s third law represents the first appearance of a circularly causal model in the history of physics: instead of a monocausal force emanating from the sun and acting on the planets, the mathematically precise model actually provides a systemic treatment of the subject in that the sun and the planets are all involved in a network of mutual influences.
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