Fillingin Illusion See Appendix



FINAL THEORY. The notion of a final theory (also known as: "single theory," "grand unified theory," "theory of everything," and "ultimate theory") is popular among many physicists (cf., Weinberg, 1993) who assert that a unification is imminent (e.g., via - as of yet - a highly untestable "string theory" or "superstring theory") of various separate branches of theoretical physics, including general relativity theory (describing large, telescopic entities such as galaxies and the universe, and involving the concept of gravity) and quantum mechanics/field theory (describing small, microscopic entities such as electromagnetism, subatomic particles, and strong and weak nuclear forces). String and superstring theories, along with M theory and a supersymmetry principle, view the universe as filled with energy entities such as vibrating strings, superstrings, gravitons, membranes, branes, supermembranes, and sparticles, as well as other theoretical constructs/entities, and invoke ancillary phenomena such as parallel universes, and extra-dimensions (totaling eleven). String theory deals with elementary particles and attempts to overcome the problems inherent in general relativity theory that occur when a quantum account of gravity is advanced. String theory states that instead of point-like particles, the basic aspects or entities are finite lines/strings or closed loops (like rubber bands). Advocates of a final theory assume that ultimate natural laws will be discovered and expressed by the same mathematical formalism that is associated with contemporary physics (cf., uniformity of nature theory - refers to a final collection or summary of all laws formulated for natural events/phenomena in a given branch of science, such as physics or chemistry, and which asserts that given the same or similar antecedent conditions, the same or similar consequents always will follow). However, in fields such as evolutionary biology, mathematical logic, and interbehavioral psychology, arguments have been made indicating that certain inconsistencies are inherent in the final theory concept of a "terminal stage" of scientific discovery. For example, the contention made by interbehavioral psychologists (e.g., Kantor, 1938) that science consists of human contact with ever-changing objective events presupposes that scientific theory is tied to a particular stage of organic evolution, including cul tural evolution. Considered in such a biological, psychological, and interbehavioral context, a final theory implies that there will be an abrupt end in the evolution of organisms, as well as culture, on earth. Such a result seems to many social and behavioral scientists to be as imponderable as the difficult problems in physics that a final theory is supposed to solve (cf., Zimmerman, 1996). Thus, the critics of a final theory suggest that it is far more likely -in a future of changing science - that societies, language, cognitive structures, and even brains, themselves, will change with the result that such transformations obfuscate, disarm, or discredit a final theory inasmuch as such changes may be linked to newer and more highly developed scientific theories issuing from the extended contact that humans make with objective environmental events. See also EINSTEIN'S THEORY OF RELATIVITY; INTERBEHAVIORAL THEORY. REFERENCES

Kantor, J. R. (1938). The nature of psychology as a natural science. Acta Psy-chologica, 4, 1-61. Weinberg, S. (1993). Dreams of a final theory. New York: Random House. Zimmerman, D. W. (1996). Is a final theory conceivable? Psychological Record, 46, 423-438. Greene, B. (2003). The elegant universe. New York: W. W. Norton.

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