• Fred Zaman
    Matter and Mind Ontology: A Principle of Energy-Intelligence Equivalence

    The scientific understanding of mind has defied resolution thus far, based on the current mechanistic understanding of science about what is fundamental in nature – energy. The assumption of an energy-intelligence “equivalence principle” in physics, however, provides a radically different approach to mind; because it makes possible a radical transformation of Newton’s laws of motion wherein force, rather than blind, dumb, externally impressed, and serving no purpose whatever, is instead manifestly intelligent, immanent (originates in the self-same body on which it is impressed), and is always in the service of some purpose or end to be achieved.

    Indeed, it can be shown that Newton’s laws of motion actually can be “deconstructed” physico-mathematically, thereby empirically exposing the Derridean “absence” of immanent forces in science that yet are materially internal; by rendering a de facto “inner force” of intelligence in nature that can be called matter’s “object-oriented force” (OOF)—so called because its functionality in nature essentially mirrors the thought processes of the “object-oriented design” (OOD) methodology of computer programming. An energy-intelligence “equivalence principle” in physics thus allows Newton’s laws of motion to be either energy-coded or intelligence-coded. These laws are energy-coded currently, but they become intelligence-coded when, through a principle of energy-intelligence equivalence, these laws are physico-mathematically “deconstructed” Derridean-style, thereby highlighting the current “absence” of immanent force in science.

    The order of this Derridean deconstruction of Newton’s laws for the absence of immanent force in science will be: Law 3, Law 2, and Law 1; with an additional Law 4 for the immanent, object-oriented forces of volition operating in a “sensibility hyperspace” that is the physical body’s empirically unobservable “inner sanctum” of mind. Thus deconstructed, matter’s “hybrid Newtonian” laws of motion are quite suggestive that the computer programmer’s object-oriented programs are technological mirrors of what physically are matter’s internal (immanent) “object-oriented forces.” With the Newtonian laws thus deconstructed, whose hybrid forces remain physical but are immanent, sensibly evoked, and inherently sentient, the evolutionary forces of biology in essence are “objectively” deconstructed as well; but then are manifestly intentional rather than blind and random, as “subjectively” presupposed by evolutionary theory.

    Today is the 331st anniversary of the April 29, 1686 publication of the “first volume” of Newton’s Principia Mathematica. What can possibly be accomplished, henceforth, by replacing Newton’s energy-coded laws of motion with equivalent hybrid laws that are intelligence-coded? The possibilities in science seem virtually endless: One possibility could be an intelligence-coded rapprochement of classical physics theoretically with the apparent “vitalism” of biological organisms. Another could be a theoretical grounding of the social sciences and humanities on hybrid, intelligence-coded laws of “motion” (movement, behavior, action, etc.). Philosophy also, both ancient and modern – including analytic and continental philosophy, could be deconstructed Derridean-style, through the same intelligence-coded laws. And yet another possibility could be the resurrection of a vibrant religious cosmology grounded ontologically on the same laws. It seems that almost all things are possible, when the current energy-coded “laws of motion” are replaced by corresponding intelligence-coded “laws of motion,” which transformation of nature I absolutely believe Isaac Newton would strongly approve.

    L. Frederick Zaman, Hill AFB Utah, USA
  • Wayfarer
    Welcome Fred

    The idea of the fundamental status of energy was one outcome of Einstein's discovery of matter-energy equivalence, which was expressed in his famous equation (possibly the most famous equation in history, E=MC^2). But the mechanistic model of nature - the Universe as machine - came before that, as a consequence of Newtonian mechanics and the views of early modern philosophy. Actually since Einstein, I would think that science overall has become less enamoured of the mechanist paradigm of the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Newtonian physics as science is one thing, but 'the laws of physics' being viewed as the fundamental rules guiding the Universe is another. The latter is really more an historical matter, arising from the Enlightenment attitude that science ought to replace religion. It's still a very influential attitude.

    it can be shown that Newton’s laws of motion actually can be “deconstructed” physico-mathematically, thereby empirically exposing the Derridean “absence” of immanent forces in science that yet are materially internal; by rendering a de facto “inner force” of intelligence in nature that can be called matter’s “object-oriented force” (OOF)—so called because its functionality in nature essentially mirrors the thought processes of the “object-oriented design” (OOD) methodology of computer programmingFred Zaman

    There is a book called Programming the Cosmos, Seth Lloyd, which compares the Universe to a computer. Other people are saying the Universe is a simulation or a hologram. But surely all of this is just analogising. As one combox comment put it

    As far as metaphysical speculation goes it is remarkably unromantic, I mean, your best attempt as a creation myth involves someone sitting in front of a computer running code? what else do those omnipotent gods do, eat pizza? do their taxes?

    Besides, the subjects of Derrida's deconstructive analysis are texts and narratives and the like. I think the idea of 'deconstructing' Newton's laws of motion is at best a category error, putting it charitably.

    To be honest, I don't think your current set of analogies is going to serve as the basis of a new metaphysics. But, I like the sentiment behind your post. It's absolutely certain that we have to break out of the mechanistic paradigm before it consumes us.
  • Metaphysician Undercover

    Hi Fred, do you not recognize a distinction between animate and inanimate things?
  • ernestm
    This is a very common confusion about the issue of a domain of mind existing separate from a domain of matter. While you speak of energy, energy itself may be nascent in potential and causing no movement; therefore it is more sensible, in considering the actual movement in the world, to consider POWER. Of that, there is a distinction between two kinds: the power in the material world, which causes the motion of all physical objects; but that power, though manifest in motion through time, is merely PASSIVE POWER, which acts insofar as we can construe it in an automatic manner, in accordance with the scientific model or material realist we consider controlled by the 'laws of physics.'

    In contrast, movement in the domain of mind is controlled by human volition. While some consider there to be more elemental 'phenomena' and 'energies' in the domain of mind, such as mathematics and experience, their existence is without movement unless acted upon by volition; and the motivation of that volition is the human will, which changes the world in accordance with that we perceive, in our limited senses, as freedom of choice. Whether that freedom exists or not in absolute terms is just as much not the distinction as are the 'phenomena' or 'energies' which might be the basis of such a domain. Rather, the distinction lies in that freedom of choice is an ACTIVE POWER, controlled by mind, and not by rules of physics.

    The general confusion between PASSIVE and ACTIVE power persists, because of how those argue their case who consider only the passive rules of material reality control all change. They consider it sufficient to explain that the mind is made of physical elements, and therefore the appearance of freedom of choice is an illusion, created by limited knowledge; and if the knowledge were perfect, all actions could be explained in accordance with the rules of physics alone.

    Yet that case, whether true or not, does nothing to explain the difference between domains of mind and matter. Consider for example the nature of experience in acting upon one's apparent freedom of choice, whether the apparent freedom is real or not; and if one chooses some action that causes the experience of pleasure, could one describe that experience in terms of the ones and zeroes of software code? And if you think it could, then ask another to consider those many trillions of ones and zeroes necessary to model the human mind's experience; and from their look of consternation, as they read though each line of code, you will appreciate immediately how the experience may be produced by some physical phenomena, but no one can know what the experience feels like by reading lines of code.

    Instead, the experience is some different quality resulting from the exercise of our active power. To understand the movement of our active power in the world, a mechanical explanation is no more than attempting to explain color to a blind man; and attempting to explain the domain of mind in terms of raw physics alone is just as meaningless.

    Notwithstanding, those who persist in explaining the nature of all that exists in terms only of the movement of passive power in the world will continue in their efforts to tell a blind man what it is to see a color. Yet while impressing us all with the extent of our understanding of the physical world (and which indeed has advanced so much in recent years to baffle even the most advanced thinkers with its extent and complexity), for all their efforts, and all their protestations, the blind man still cannot understand the experience of seeing the artistic genius in a dab of paint by Vermeer; a transcendental mural of Michelangelo, or a pastoral scene rendered by vivid eye of Van Gogh; not only in the experience so rendered directly on the senses, but moreover, by recognition of the active power of expression, which drove each and every brush stroke of those who created such masterpieces. For that, the physical explanation, however much written in detailed lines of code, and however accurately described, can never offer knowledge of that experience.

    For which reason, the description of the movement of atoms, and their subcomponents, in all their orders of assembled sophistication, will never amount to any more than an empty description of passive power, over which the human will continues to move and create anew that which could only be described, and never truly appreciated, except in conceiving a domain of mind through which our will navigates the motion of experience.
  • Fred Zaman

    Matter-Mind Intercausality:
    Wayfarer, many thanks for the welcome. Physicist Lawrence Krauss in The Atlantic in April 2012, in the interview “Has Physics Made Philosophy and Religion Obsolete” (Stenger, Lindsay, and Boghossian: “Physicists Are Philosophers, Too,” Scientific American, May 8, 2015), wrote

    As a practicing physicist…I, and most of the colleagues with whom I have discussed this matter, have found that philosophical speculations about physics and the nature of science are not particularly useful, and have had little or impact upon progress in my field.
    Furthermore, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, in a Nerdist (May 2014) podcast interview joined the debate: “His overall message was clear: science moves on; philosophy stays mired, useless and effectively dead” (also in Stenger, Lindsay, and Boghossian: “Physicists Are Philosophers, Too,” Scientific American, May 8, 2015).

    What I introduce here is an apparently new philosophical line of thought that throws new light on what physics is about, philosophically speaking; and conversely also throws new light on what philosophy is about, physically speaking. Consider the known fact in physics that the gravitational field is energy; and that in Newtonian physics, this energy manifests itself as “force,” while in general relativity this same energy isn’t force, but rather some mysterious “fabric” of spacetime whose substance is unknown. Note also that, ontologically, general relativity supersedes Newtonian physics, so that physicists no longer consider the Newtonian forces in classical physics to be real, but rather are simply a useful model or manner of speaking about matter in motion. The mysterious fabric of spacetime in general relativity is somehow physically more real than the intuitive yet much more empirically tangible forces of Newtonian physics, which in general relativity nevertheless disappear into matter’s equally mysterious “generalized inertia.” How can this be possible? What is going on here?

    The overriding question in general relativity ontologically, then, becomes just how does the gravitational field, which actually isn’t force but some quite mysterious spacetime “fabric,” then influence the motion of a gravitating body? Just how does a gravitating body sense the existence of this very mysterious fabric of spacetime, and propel itself internally motivated over said fabric by some equally mysterious generalized inertia? Note that physicists, as scientists, usually are not concerned with such seemingly philosophical issues, but perhaps they should be. Einstein was quite philosophically oriented in his thinking when he came up with the theory of general relativity in the first place. Physicists, concerning the further advance of physics regarding the real, are in their mathematical conjectures clearly “mired, useless and effectively dead” regarding what is reality actually. Their claim that “science moves on” has is not true with regard to understanding what reality is actually. This claim can become true only after scientists – physicists in particular – philosophically reengage in “pure thought” about reality, as both Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein famously did.

    Perhaps only then will we know what general relativity is empirically telling us about reality, concerning that gravitational fabric in the spacetime of general relativity over which a gravitating body moves somehow, propelled internally under the force of its generalized inertia. The fabric of spacetime thus does not act as an external force; so what is it, physically, metaphysically even? How does it work? What is its ontology? How is it related functionally to the gravitating body’s “generalized inertia”? These issues demand clear answers, metaphysically speaking, if physics is to pull itself out of the mathematical “mire” in which it currently is empirically entrapped. Until the issues about ontology – in both classical and modern physics – are resolved, physics itself is “useless and effectively dead” concerning “what is” is, in reality. Scientific progress regarding the real, apparently, is not commensurate with the empirical predictability enabled mathematically. Something is missing, which the touted empiricism of science seems incapable of providing without additional “armchair” philosophizing by those dedicated to such.

    In working toward a resolution of these issues, starting with general relativity conceptually, I consider that general relativity’s fabric of spacetime ontologically manifests a principle of “energy-intelligence equivalence”; so that the energy of the gravitational field isn’t force, as it is in Newtonian physics, but rather distributed over the universe physically as the fabric of a universal intelligence (not analogically but literally as a physical foundation of the universe)—which intelligence somehow dynamically influences the path followed by bodies gravitating in spacetime over the fabric thereof. This principle as stated is not to be regarded as simply a metaphor, or analogy, but rather a hard-core physical existence to be integrated into Isaac Newton’s laws of motion mathematically. And to interpret this principle otherwise simply misses the point being made.

    But how can it be possible for gravitational energy to actually function as the fabric of intelligence in spacetime, to which a gravitating body’s “generalized inertia” (the internal force of intelligence) effectively responds? One answer turns up in a hybrid, matter-mind intercausal “deconstruction” of the mathematical text of Newton’s laws of motion, based on the energy-intelligence “equivalence principle” ontologically postulated for general relativity and mathematically imported into Newtonian physics—a de facto “neo-Greek physics” of matter-mind intercausality; framed in a mathematically deconstructed Newtonian physics that empirically breaks matter’s chain of physical determinism assumed in classical physics to be unbreakable.

    The intercausality of matter and mind here proposed in essence constitutes a “neo-Greek physics” of the inner gravitational force (also electric, magnetic and other forces) of intelligence qua generalized inertia for Newtonian physics. According to this neo-Greek physics of matter-mind intercausality, intentionality, volition, and purposivity are potentialities existing but not functionally operational in non-living matter. These potentialities, existent in all physical matter, are thus made functionally operational during biological evolution. In this deconstruction of Newton’s laws of motion, the mathematical formulas deconstructed literally become the texts and narratives of scientific thought by which immanent force can be empirically understood as being truly “present” in nature; which deconstruction both mathematically and empirically thus uncovers in “neo-Greek physics” what currently is “absent,” in nature presently understood as the permissible curriculum of natural science. Neo-Greek physics thus truly is “neoderridean” in character, for it deconstructs the mathematical texts and discourses of natural science in which the energy-intelligence equivalence principle presently is “absent” from nature, according to the prevailing mechanistic curriculum of science.
  • Wayfarer
    Both Neil De Grasse Tyson and Lawrence Krauss are poster-boy scientific materialists. You really ought to have a look at David Albert's review of Lawrence Krauss' 'Universe from Nothing' in the New York Times. It threw Krauss into a complete tantrum from which Daniel Dennett had to tactfully extricate him. Also have a look at The Metaphysical Muddle of Lawrence Krauss.

    Now to the substance: I think the proposed equivalence of energy and intelligence is off the mark. It's basically like a form of materialist pantheism. There are various philosophies which conceptualise the process of evolution as manifesting the latent intelligence of the Universe, but I think attributing those latencies to matter (or matter-energy) is barking up the wrong tree. To recap, you're only referring to 'energy' because matter itself is ultimately reducible to energy, so your approach is basically materialistic but with reference to energy rather than matter. But matter, in traditional philosophies, is totally inert, in actual fact is very near to complete non-being - how it gets formed into objects and what is the source of the vitality of living beings are the major questions. (Interesting etymological fact: the words 'matter' and 'mother' have the same root [lives on in the expression 'mother earth']. That is because 'matter' is analoguous to the 'feminine' principle of receptivity and inertness which as to be 'fertilised' by the male principle in order to become 'animated'.) And I don't think Jacques Derrida has anything whatever to do with it - what he means by 'deconstruction' (as far as I understand it, which is not much) is textual deconstruction, not analysis of the fundamental constituents of reality. So I'm afraid yours is a metaphysical muddle also, from where I sit.

    However if you have any questions on the above reviews, I will do my best to respond to them.
  • Metaphysician Undercover

    Nice piece ernestm, very down to earth and real.
  • Fred Zaman
    A. P. French’s (MIT Press) undergraduate textbook Newtonian Mechanics de facto enforces the mechanistic curriculum of the “externally impressed” forces mathematically instantiated in classical physics by Newton’s laws of motion. The apparent, common sense validity of such forces, as described by this undergraduate physics textbook and elsewhere, does not obviate their fundamentally metaphysical, rather than empirical, origin. Nor does it obviate the fact that these laws can be deconstructed/ reconstructed metaphysically so that the forces accounted for are immanent and sensibly evoked from intelligence incoming in conformity with the principle of energy-intelligence equivalence.

    Neo-Greek physics, hereafter called hybrid-Newtonian physics, isn’t simply an attempt to shoehorn the old materialism of inert matter into a new metaphysics. The proposed energy-intelligence equivalence principle of nature completely eliminates the metaphysical muddle that currently maintains physics and metaphysics as empirically incommensurate studies. What needs to be accomplished regarding nature’s “matter-mind intercausality,” which the aforementioned equivalence principle points toward, is a deconstruction/reconstruction of Newton’s laws of motion that eliminates this muddle, which is readily accomplished once the completely arbitrary convention of maintaining the separation of physics and metaphysics is given up; which when abandoned leads directly to a “hybrid-Newtonian physics” of matter-mind intercausality; which maintains classical physics in place empirically, but enlarges the domain of theoretical relevance of Newtonian physics thus deconstructed to include the existential phenomena of life that currently – but wrongly – are relegated to an empirically irrelevant metaphysics.
  • Fred Zaman
    Wayfarer wrote: …the subjects of Derrida's deconstructive analysis are texts and narratives and the like. I think the idea of 'deconstructing' Newton's laws of motion is at best a category error, putting it charitably.

    In rebuttal to the above criticism, the seven “axioms” listed below ground a “Derridean deconstruction” of Newton’s laws of motion, whose objective is a “sentient calculus” (here previously called neo-Greek physics) of matter and mind “intercausality”:

    (1) The forces defined mathematically in Newton’s laws of motion are “externally impressed,” which forces therefore – in Derridean thinking – are the forces always “present” in nature.

    (2) Conversely the same laws effectively state, in mathematical notation, that “immanent” forces, which are evoked (stimulated) externally, are – in Derridean thinking – forces always “absent” in nature. Such forces never occur in nature anywhere.

    (3) A “Derridean deconstruction” of Newton’s laws of motion then essentially reverses (1) and (2) above; so that which universally is “present” in nature – force externally impressed – is always “absent” from nature, and that which universally is “absent” in nature – force immanent and evoked (stimulated) – is always “present” in nature.

    (4) However, this deconstruction, of force currently understood as being externally impressed, requires the addition in physics of an energy-intelligence “equivalence principle” in which all such forces (gravitational, electric, magnetic, etc.) instead are intelligence that stimulates matter’s evoked, immanent forces; which then requires a fourth law of motion mathematically stating such.

    5) The equations in this deconstruction of Newton’s laws of motion are mathematical “texts” whose written and oral communication are theoretical “narratives” of a “sentient calculus” of matter’s immanent, evoked forces; the theoretical constructs of which are not mere analogies, but rather are the ontological revision of nature non-mechanistically, in which the physical and mental are co-equal in the “sensibility hyperspace” of law four.

    (6) Matter’s “sentient calculus” thereby grounded, both mathematically and empirically, revokes the mechanistic worldview instantiated in science by Newton’s laws of motion as these are currently understood metaphysically.

    (7) The benefits to be obtained by this non-mechanistic deconstruction of Newtonian physics include a subjective validation and scientific verification for the objective, physical reality of personal subjectivity, the sense of self, intentionality, volition, and other intuitively validated aspects of mental life.
  • Fred Zaman
    Such a revision, obtainable through a “Derridean deconstruction” of Newton’s laws of motion, points toward a sentient calculus of the intercausal dynamisms of matter and mind, whose immanent, evoked forces are identically physical and mental. According to this panpsychic scenario, all things physical in the universe, including for example our solar system, are precursors of a fundamentally sentient calculus in nature that creates/evolves higher forms of intelligence. Are Newton’s laws of motion the finished work that physicists currently believe them to be? Or are there changes to come in the future, which will expand their application after revision to include new phenomena not currently anticipated? Because these laws are mathematically underdetermined with respect to the actual physical origin of the forces calculated thereby, as indicated by Newton’s declaration “hypotheses non fingo,” there indeed are other forces yet to consider, in addition to the “externally impressed forces” conventionally interpreted, as in some way being “Newtonian.” One possibility yet to be considered are forces that are materially immanent, meaning they (1) somehow originate in the selfsame body on which they are impressed, (2) possess sensibility to external intelligence incoming, and (3) are evoked (stimulated) thereby according to laws of motion thus reconstructed; "which is a double mvement of simultaneous affirmation and undoing."
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