A common misconception is that all good scientific theory must be based on empirical science and provide ingredients where the theory can be potentially falsified (Karl Popper).
This dogma demands that a hypothesized theory should include something falsifiable, something that could be *possibly observed* and would then refute the theory (here in the words of Lee Smolin).
However, the final theory of everything (ToE) is precisely the theory that is by fundamentally desired definition supposed to take account of and therefore allow all possible observations O. The ToE can therefore by definition not offer something that could be possibly observed yet refute the theory.
Some observation OA may support some specific hypothesis HA about how our particular part of totality happens to be while observation OF may refute that hypothesis, but if the observations OA and OF are both possible observations at all, they are both possible observations according to the correct ToE and so the ToE is consistent with either of the two observations –the ToE is consistent with any observation whatsoever!
The phrase “by fundamentally desired definition” above emphasizes that one cannot dismiss such tautological constructions with “well that just shows that you simply defined ToE badly”, because the definition results as a unique option that must be defined in this way in order to allow a fundamentally satisfying theoretically construct at all.
Fundamentally speaking, “fundamental” means all-inclusive, all-encompassing, not leaving anything out, be applicable to all times, locations, possibilities. “Fundamental” in the sense of “not further reducible”, such as the term “fundamental” is used and somewhat hijacked in high energy particle physics, is included in all-inclusiveness as the “totalitarian or fundamental fundamentality”, because irreducibility is merely one instance of all-inclusiveness, namely to be all-encompassing in the explanatory domain, along the reducing direction, to have not omitted any further possible step “below” the claimed foundation.
We know already that we will never be satisfied with some merely irreducible foundation that however cannot explain itself. Anticipating such theories, we know already that we will demand a more ‘fundamental’ explanation anyway. A good ToE may not immediately provide direct progress on quantum-gravity (although being a quantum-gravity is almost the definition of “ToE” among many physicists).
However, a good candidate ToE must first of all be potentially a true ToE, namely one that not from the get-go must leave us unsatisfied like any falsifiable theory must do. Even after a verification by some OA, a falsifiable theory HA cannot explain why the falsifying observation OF was impossible. If OF is not impossible but realized in some parallel world, then HA is obviously not the ToE that includes all possibilities.
The fundamental theory is therefore not empirical science. Its structure is instead given a priori, based on metaphysical necessity. This is consistent with quantum mechanics allowing low probability ‘freak’ observations, also called “Boltzmann brains”. Quantum mechanics is the empirically found limit of empirical science, because it allows experimental results that are by chance consistent with a non-quantum theory.
Freak observations are empirical records that seem to support non-quantum theories for example, and they are allowed and thus predicted (!) by quantum mechanics. The theory predicts empirical records which support rival theories! A classical substrate ( = single instead of multiple future actualization) cannot violate the Bell inequality, and therefore an experimental violation of the Bell inequality disproves the classical theory. However, a quantum model has worlds where the Bell inequality is not violated either!
A ToE must describe everything “satisfactorily” in a Wittgensteinian sense, resolving precisely those uncomfortable confusions we need answered before we will be satisfied with labeling the remedy ToE. Having to describe everything and itself already fixes the description’s essential properties. For example, we already saw that it is not falsifiable empirical science.
The widely and wildly desired ToE equals the description of it! Whatever it is, it is a (self-)description. Thus, the most immediate way to it goes through describing it directly, thus avoiding the ontological dead end. In my experience, this describes “everything” (totality) almost automatically - this I will try to convince you about.
a) Pointing to outside of the model-cat (the black cat model) may refer to a place near the modeled cat. The outside of the model-cat is not just possibly counted as apart of the model but moreover can belong to the referring bits of the model. b) In the space of all X, nothing is outside of the totality of all X; this is tautologically true. If totality TA includes all possible orthogonal directions, nothing is outside of TA by fundamentally desired definition. Outside of the model-totality is a place in the model, but it does not refer to anything that the model is supposed to refer to. In the model, “nothing” is outside of totality, because “nothing” does not now refer to anything; it does not refer in a modeling way because it is always just a part of the model.If you are like Bertrand Russell and do not think that one can refer to a totality like TA because it is a mistake such as the set of all sets, you may enjoy this argument.
Here is the next article (Part 2) of this series on the ToE.