• Gnomon
    3.5k
    Furthermore, the observing mind-brain-body is physically entangled with the object of its observationucarr
    Yes, but the Mind can be philosophically & categorically dis-entangled from the body-brain. That's why I prefer to avoid getting tangled-up in materialistic physics, on a forum designed for discussion of meta-physics. The object of a physical experiment is a material Object, external to the Brain, but the object of mental "observation" is a Subject, internal to the Mind. The "Hard Problem" of consciousness is only made more complicated by including the entangled neurons in the definition of Mind. Unfortunately, the philosophy of Materialism does not allow us to make such categorical distinctions. :smile:

    Metaphysics might include the study of the nature of the human mind, the definition and meaning of existence, or the nature of space, time, and/or causality. The origin of philosophy, beginning with the Pre-Socratics, was metaphysical in nature.
    https://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/gengloss/metaph-body.html
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    inferred PhotonsGnomon

    or

    infra-red PhotonsGnomon

    ...the photons, while moving at lightspeed are massless, and electrons are both non-local and massless while "flowing".Gnomon

    I see online that photons are paradoxical with regard to their wave/particle status. Speaking paradoxically, photons are matter without mass. As you know, they don't exist at rest.

    Electrons have mass and they're only stationary at wavelength infinity, so under natural conditions electrons are matter with mass.

    So, in its (photon) normal invisible & massless state, does it qualify as materially Absent"?Gnomon

    Photons and electrons, being particles, hold place as parts of presential materialism.

    The strategic constraints of upwardly evolving dynamical processes, in contrast to photons and electrons, exemplify absential materialism.

    The neuronal circuitry of the brain, acting as the platform for the mind, connects with the furture states of being of end-directed design through physically caused contraints on higher-order dynamics. These constraints are contra-grade forces impelling emergence of mind, a dynamical process substrated by but independent from brain.

    Let me make a distinction between materially absent and materially absential. The difference is parallel to the difference between 2 - x versus 2i = 0 + 2i. In verbal grammar this is the difference between something simply distanced, as in the first example versus something distanced-yet-complexly-connected, as in the second example.ucarr

    The mind, like an imaginary number, has a distanced-yet-complexly-connected-with-its- base relationship: imaginary number to real number and mind to brain. In both instances, the distanced thing, because it has parameters that violate its substrate, seems therefore necessarily separate from it and thus the perplexing bifurcation of things implicitly connected. Understanding emergence as a phenomenon that imparts category transgression within the domain of inter-dependence between the transgressor and the transgressed lies at the heart of understanding absential materialism.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    Furthermore, the observing mind-brain-body is physically entangled with the object of its observationucarr

    I say that mind in philosophical thought exists emergent from brain-body. I think this position lies closer to the truth than the position claiming mind in philosophical thought exists independent from brain-body.

    That's why I prefer to avoid getting tangled-up in materialistic physics, on a forum designed for discussion of meta-physics. The object of a physical experiment is a material Object, external to the Brain, but the object of mental "observation" is a Subject, internal to the Mind.Gnomon

    Your above quote expresses the crux of our disagreement about the correct approach to practicing philosophy. You say, "Do philosophy by avoiding materialistic physics." I say, "Do philosophy by embracing materialistic physics."

    I think you're ensnared within a self-defeating struggle in your efforts to straddle materialistic science and metaphysical philosophy. That's your actual approach to doing philosophy: inhabit the middle position, not avoidance. I cite the following as an example of the most recent evidence of this internal conflict:
    The "Hard Problem" of consciousness is only made more complicated by including the entangled neurons in the definition of Mind. Unfortunately, the philosophy of Materialism does not allow us to make such categorical distinctions.Gnomon

    You want to make metaphysical discoveries about abstract thought while skipping over the discoveries of neuroscience? This attitude parallels an automotive engineer saying, "Hey, man. Those mechanics with their heads stuck under a hood can't tell me anything."
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    If end-oriented constraints compel self-organizing reciprocal processes, with constraint bottom-up and supervenience top-down, then the physical products of these nested processes of higher-order dynamics are absentially tied to these absent contraints because without them, these products wouldn't exist. Physically compelled strategic constrainsts via design constructs the bridge linking physical dynamics with physical things. This blockchain of interwoven dynamical causes examples absence, i.e., non-physicality causally linked to physicality.
    This seeming break between mind and body is in reality absential materialism. Below is Deacon's blockchain of nested dynamical systems bi-directionally linked across space and time:
    ucarr
    A lot of your technical terminology is not in my personal word-stock, or in Deacon's glossary ; making communication difficult. Please give me a functional definition (what it does) and a real-world example (what it is) of the following terminology : a> "end oriented constraints" ; b> "absentially tied" ; c> "Physically compelled strategic constrainsts via design" ; d> "blockchain of nested dynamical systems". An explanation in terms of (what it is not) may also be acceptable, since Deacon often begins with a negative definition for some of his counterintuitive concepts.

    Also, a more detailed discussion of "seeming break between mind and body is . . . ." would be helpful. Descartes expressed his understanding of those distinctive categories in terms of dual substances : one material and the other experiential. But your Absential Materialism seems to imply that Matter & Mind are "bi-directionally linked" by some mysterious force or power "across space and time". I have my own ideas about what that interactive Link might be. But I'd like to hear your description, in terminology that I might be familiar with. But remember, I have no formal training in Philosophy, so my vocabulary is limited to a few commonly used words. :smile:



    The Deactionary :
    Deacon loves his neologisms and his redefinitions of existing terms.
    https://axispraxis.wordpress.com/2020/08/17/the-deactionary-a-glossary-of-terms-from-terrence-deacons-incomplete-nature/

    Absential : a state of things not yet realized
    https://absence.github.io/3-explanations/absential/absential.html

    Potential : the power to actualize a possibility ; to transform Absential into Real. (gnomon)
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    In a functional relationship, there's an operator that transforms input into output. . . . .
    Still furthermore, the medium propagating the object/observer relationship is material-physical spacetime. . . . .
    Absential materialism, possessing both properties of waves and of particles, presents itself as a knot of complexity fostering the-glass-is-half-full-half-empty debates.
    ucarr
    Do you have a scientific name for this transforming "operator", other than mundane Energy? You say that this mysterious "medium" is a space-time phenomenon. How is it detected, and is there a conventional name for the propagator of this Body/Mind or Object/Observer relationship? You say that Absential Materialism possesses the properties of both Waves and Particlesas in Wave-Particle Duality.

    Therefore, AM is a Wavicle*1 --- yes? Hence, a combination*2 of a non-local (but entangled) Force or Field, and simultaneously a local (disentangled) Particle? That counter-intuitive notion does not work in classical Newtonian physics, but is accepted as as "the central mystery of quantum mechanics"*3, and described by you as "a knot of complexity" --- perhaps a Gordian's Knot, that can't be disentangled by mechanical physics, but may be resolved by a philosophical compromise?*4ab :wink:


    *1. Wavicle : an entity having characteristic properties of both waves and particles.

    *2. BothAnd :
    The BothAnd Principle of Complementarity is a corollary to the thesis of Enformationism, in that it is a mashup of both Materialism and Idealism, of both Science and Religion, of both Empirical and Theoretical methods. The novel concept of Enformation is also a synthesis of both Energy and Information.
    https://bothandblog2.enformationism.info/page29.html

    *3. the central mystery of quantum mechanics :
    I don't actually find quantum mechanics to be much more mysterious than classical mechanics is. It is counterintuitive and very surprising, yes, but it is actually a resolution of a mystery, which was: how do particles on atomic scales behave?
    https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-central-mystery-of-quantum-mechanics
    Note --- Wavicles behave like a child : sometimes proper, but sometimes mis-behaving.

    *4a. EnFormAction :
    Ententional Causation. A proposed metaphysical law of the universe that causes random interactions between forces and particles to produce novel & stable arrangements (forms) of matter & energy.
    https://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page8.html
    Note --- this hypothetical precursor of Matter & Energy & Mind could be described as a Mind/Matter "link", or "medium", or "propagator", or "knot of complexity".

    *4b. Raw En-Form-Action has few, if any, definable perceivable qualities. By itself, mental Information is colorless, odorless, formless, and imaginary. Unlike colorless, odorless, and formless water though, EnFormAction gives physical form to whatever is defined by it.
    https://bothandblog2.enformationism.info/page29.html
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    Please give me a functional definition (what it does) and a real-world example (what it is) of the following terminology : a> "end oriented constraints" ; b> "absentially tied" ; c> "Physically compelled strategic constrainsts via design" ; d> "blockchain of nested dynamical systems".Gnomon

    An everyday example of an end-oriented constraint comes in the example of a woman who decides she'll eliminate dairy products from her meals. By constraining her eating behavior to exclude dairy products over an extensive interval of time she drops quite a few pounds, the end her constraint was forwardly directed towards. Weight loss is what it does causally. A non-dairy diet is what it is.

    Absential binding is exampled by a controlled burn in a forest. During the spring season at a national park, park staffers do a controlled burn to eliminate dead leaves, tree limbs and debris. During the summer season, park visitors enjoy enhanced safety bound to what's absent, dangerous kindling strategically removed. Hazardous materials removal is what it does. Land clearance is what it is.

    A physically compelled strategic constraint via design is exampled by encrypted data communications protecting online money transfers. Transmission of currency value signifiers (bits) via open/closed gate sequences astronomical in their possible permutations proceeds to receptors with matching open/closed gate sequences extremely resistant to random duplication (due to improbability). Biasing towards far from equilibrium probability statistics is what it does. Privatized monetary data is what it is.

    Blockchaining of nested dynamical systems is exampled by human metabolism. Ingested food is
    broken down from starches to sugars. This thermodynamically released energy in turn is aggregated from the cellular level to a morphodynamic distribution across a network of chemical complexes regulating the major organ systems. Next, the neuronal networks of the brain's hemispheres alert the individual to the slaking of hunger in the presence of a surplus of necessary nutritional supplies. Finally, the teleodynamically empowered feedback looping of the brain's memory modules informs the individual of his happy feeling while resting before going to bed. Vertical stacking of higher-orders of Shannon Information is what it does. A successfully prepared supper is what it is.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    An everyday example of an end-oriented constraint comes in the example of a woman who decides she'll eliminate dairy products from her mealsucarr
    Thanks for the "everyday" examples. But I was hoping for more general philosophical or physical principles behind each of those neologisms.

    For instance, I can interpret "end oriented constraint" as functionally similar to a Natural Law : a limitation on the freedom of Causation. In a teleological sense, the as-if Lawmaker opposes positive Energy with negative Entropy, so that, working together, those freedoms & constraints will guide the as-if mechanism of Evolution toward some desired end state. Without constraints, total freedom would be chaotic & directionless. The "End State" is Aristotle's Final Cause : the as-if Purpose of the Universe.

    Likewise, "absential binding" is like an unobstructed channel of emptiness --- the path of least resistance --- within a concresence of Matter (e.g. the center hole of a wagon wheel) that makes room for orderly movement of the whole arrangement of spokes & rims. The hole is not a material thing, but it has a physical function : to bind the spokes into an operational mechanical system.

    Similarly, a "strategic constraint" works like a "constitutive constraint" to forge an unobstructed path toward a future state that is deemed desirable by the planner. For example, horse rounders used to build a fence with a carefully-placed opening to allow the driven horses in, but to block their exit. A strategy is a plan of action that takes into account useful options and possible setbacks.

    Regarding "nested blockchains" within "dynamical systems", I imagine a decentralized-but-intertwined network of interrelations that function as rule-restricted paths of interaction within a constantly changing apparatus of disparate parts. The "chains" are not material or physical, but functional in the service of a specified overall system goal. For a cryptocurrency blockchain, the purpose is to allow exchange of metaphysical value without physical money.

    All of these "constraints" & "chains" & "bonds" are metaphysical in the sense of Absence of Matter, but they play a key role in the operations of physics. :smile:

    Deacon's Absent Constraints :
    By "constraint" he means "the property of being restricted or being less variable than possible." By "absence" he means that constraint is a negative property qualifying a collection or ensemble of constituent parts or members: "It is a way of referring to what is not exhibited, but could have been, at least under some circumstances" . By "constitutive absence" he means what is the case "irrespective of whether this is registered by any act of observation". So constraint thus understood is metaphysically grounded in something constitutive of the way nature works. This kind of constraint is not externally imposed by some outside agency but internally by reason of "the dynamical organization of a somewhat diverse class of phenomena which share in common the tendency to become spontaneously more organized and orderly over time due to constant perturbation". Deacon cautions that these processes of internal organization have been called "self-organizing," but that in fact there is no self to do the organizing of their inanimate components
    https://muse.jhu.edu/article/675195/summary
    Note --- no actual Self, but the appearance of an as-if absential Self.


    NESTED SYSTEMS & SUB-SYSTEMS OF PERMITTED PATHS
    b3d-feature-flow.png
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Your above quote expresses the crux of our disagreement about the correct approach to practicing philosophy. You say, "Do philosophy by avoiding materialistic physics." I say, "Do philosophy by embracing materialistic physics."ucarr
    I gradually realized that our communication problem stems mostly from our different ways of doing philosophy. We are talking about Deacon's radical scientific & philosophical Worldview, which does not yet have an official label of its own : can we call it Absentialism? Absence is like Zero*1 in that it is a metaphysical concept with no material instances. So, a materialistic approach is like shooting at ghosts.

    One thing that makes his metaphysical thesis difficult, yet admirable, is that it introduces novel terminology that often sounds paradoxical. He is both criticized & blamed for straying from conventional scientific & philosophical language*2. But then, he is a linguistic anthropologist, so what would you expect? Linguistic philosopher Wittgenstein*3 famously aphorized : "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent". Ironically, he himself spoke of arcane topics, and his works have been characterized as "inscrutable" by critics. That may be due to his attempt to speak of unspeakable (metaphysical) concepts.

    In the Philosophy Now magazine (159), Slavoj Zizek noted that "Wittgenstein himself said that there are things impossible to talk about, such as metaphysical speculations". And that may be why modern Materialists try to avoid speaking of such non-things. Yet, Zizek suggested an alternative to dogmatic religious or doctrinal scientific language. "Poetry is an attempt to put in words what cannot be said --- to evoke it". And that seems to be how modern philosophy treads the line between physical Reality and Metaphysical Ideality, on topics such as Consciousness. An old admonition to young writers was: "don't say, show!". Meaning, don't describe appearances in ordinary words, but illustrate essences in images. That's also why, in Poetry and Philosophy, what can't be described materially, must be evoked metaphorically. Which may require novel word associations, that are called "neologisms".

    Deacon didn't include a glossary of his ad hoc new-words in the book, but a few others have posted their own Deactionaries on the net to supplement their own interpretations of his unconventional meanings*4. Although his title topic, Absence, is not an acceptable notion in Materialistic Physics, it is essential to Mathematical Physics*1. Also, the notion of Evolution as Teleological crosses the taboo line between Physics and Metaphysics. You seem to interpret his Absentialism as-if it remains safely within the orthodox metaphysics of Materialism, while I view it as supporting the novel metaphysics of Informationism*5, which is amenable to both Science and Philosophy, both Physics and Metaphysics.

    The main reason I & others have had difficulty understanding your Absential Materialism worldview, is that it seems to be a vain attempt to squeeze a metaphysical philosophical concept into a physical scientific box, and to describe intangibles in materialistic language. Deacon himself skirted the line between philosophy and science, but he was often forced by his own reasoning to include unscientific concepts, such as end-directed "Teleology" of Evolution*4 to convey his metaphysical interpretations of "hidden connections" that exist right in front of us. They are hidden to our physical senses, but apparent to our metaphysical reasoning. For me, a more "correct approach" to practicing philosophy is to accept both physical and metaphysical evidence, not to reject one or the other. :smile:

    PS___My approach to doing Philosophy does not "avoid materialistic physics", but it does recognize that 19th century Physics and 17th century Mechanics have little to offer for perennial philosophical questions. On the other hand, my thesis does lean heavily on the insights of semi-material (wave-particle) Quantum Physics regarding Mind & Consciousness questions.*6


    *1. Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea :
    The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. Now it threatens the foundations of modern physics. For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. For zero, infinity's twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything.
    https://www.amazon.com/Zero-Biography-Dangerous-Charles-Seife/dp/0140296476?source=ps-sl-shoppingads-lpcontext&ref_=fplfs&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    *2. Terrence Deacon's Metaphysics of Incompleteness :
    Thus, as noted above, deacon is not a materialist who believes that the human mind is reducible to complex neural activity in the brain. but he also believes that human subjectivity is not based on the presupposition of a soul or immaterial principle of self-organization at work within a human being. --- Joseph Bracken
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/amerjtheophil.38.2-3.0138

    *3. Ludwig Wittgenstein :
    By showing the application of modern logic to metaphysics, via language, he provided new insights into the relations between world, thought, and language and thereby into the nature of philosophy. . . .
    Starting with a seeming metaphysics, Wittgenstein sees the world as consisting of facts (1), rather than the traditional, atomistic conception of a world made up of objects. Facts are existent states of affairs (2) and states of affairs, in turn, are combinations of objects.

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/wittgenstein/
    Note --- Facts & States are not material things, but mental snapshots of reality. As such, those Ideas do not exist in the same sense as Real things, and can't be adequately described in materialistic language --- although some may try. That's why your real world examples (post above) of your own neologisms seemed superficial to me, and missed the philosophical essence of the concept.

    *4. Deacon's Glossary :
    Teleological (Teleology): Purposive, or end-directed (the study of such relationships). Philosophically related to Aristotle's concept of a "final cause"
    https://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/deacon/#glossary

    *5. Metaphysics :
    Physics refers to the things we perceive with the eye of the body. Meta-physics refers to the things we conceive with the eye of the mind. Meta-physics includes the properties, and qualities, and functions that make a thing what it is. Matter is just the clay from which a thing is made. Meta-physics is the design (form, purpose); physics is the product (shape, action). The act of creation brings an ideal design into actual existence. The design concept is the “formal” cause of the thing designed.
    https://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page14.html

    *6. Is quantum physics materialistic?
    Quantum mechanics, which developed in the early twentieth century, has been a serious blow to materialism. There is no way to make sense of it if immaterial entities like information, observation, or the mind are not real. Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder struggles against the effects of this fact.
    https://mindmatters.ai/2022/11/quantum-physics-axed-materialism-many-hope-the-world-wont-know/
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    This is a useful assessment of both the phyics/metaphysics dialogue and Deacon's role within it.

    Deacon didn't include a glossary of his ad hoc new-words in the book, but a few others have posted their own Deactionaries on the net to supplement their own interpretations of his unconventional meanings*Gnomon

    In my edition of Incomplete Nature Deacon's glossary does include his neologisms. I don't know if the list is complete, but he does define those he uses in the book.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    You seem to interpret his Absentialism as-if it remains safely within the orthodox metaphysics of MaterialismGnomon

    What is the metaphysics of materialism?

    The main reason I & others have had difficulty understanding your Absential Materialism worldview, is that it seems to be a vain attempt to squeeze a metaphysical philosophical concept into a physical scientific box, and to describe intangibles in materialistic language.Gnomon

    Never mind my absential materialism label. Is the gist of your response to Deacon the assertion that mind DID NOT emerge from matter?

    ...he was often forced by his own reasoning to include unscientific concepts, such as end-directed "Teleology" of Evolution... to convey his metaphysical interpretations of "hidden connections" that exist right in front of us.Gnomon

    Please elaborate your refutation of his unscientific concepts of end-directed "Teleology" of Evolution. Also, please check out this conversation re: its pertinence to teleodynamics:

    Emergency

    Ideas do not exist in the same sense as Real things, and can't be adequately described in materialistic language --- although some may try. That's why your real world examples (post above) of your own neologisms seemed superficial to me, and missed the philosophical essence of the concept.Gnomon

    Here's another notable difference between us. Whereas you see my examples of ententional properties as being superficial due to a lack of philosophical essence, I see them as being substantial due to their mundanity. Understandings of the highest value tend to seep into the lexicon of the general public because of their ready application to the familiar things of the everyday world. Most people have some notion of relativity without deep immersion into either science or philosophy.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    What is the metaphysics of materialism?ucarr
    Any generalization of principles (all things are . . . .) from less than comprehensive experience is considered a metaphysical concept, not a physical or empirical fact*1. Also, portraying some principle as universal, implies either a First Cause or Eternal Being. :smile:

    *1. Metaphysics of Materialism :
    Materialism, is a causal theory of scientific reality. It is the argument that when we pronounce anything in our sense-experience to be real we imply an independent cause of it. According to the principle of relativity, the inference is entirely unnecessary and to insist on it unscientific.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/108400a0


    Never mind my absential materialism label. Is the gist of your response to Deacon the assertion that mind DID NOT emerge from matter?ucarr
    No. I have repeatedly denied that unwarranted implication. However, I do assert that Matter is not the primary cause of all phenomena in the world. My thesis goes into great detail to support the idea that Causal Information is prior to both physical Energy and malleable Matter.*2 :cool:

    *2. Mind/Body Problem :
    Philosophers and scientists have long debated the relationship between a physical body and its non-physical properties, such as Life & Mind. Cartesian Dualism resolved the problem temporarily by separating the religious implications of metaphysics (Soul) from the scientific study of physics (Body). But now scientists are beginning to study the mind with their precise instruments, and have found no line of demarcation. So, they see no need for the hypothesis of a spiritual Soul added to the body by God. However, Enformationism resolves the problem by a return to Monism, except that the fundamental substance is meta-physical Information instead of physical Matter.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind%E2%80%93body_problem
    https://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page15.html


    Please elaborate your refutation of his unscientific concepts of end-directed "Teleology" of Evolution. Also, please check out this conversation re: its pertinence to teleodynamics:ucarr
    I was not "refuting" his notion of Teleology/Teleonomy, but instead noting that most scientists would say it's a religious concept, not a scientific principle*3. For me, Teleology is a legitimate philosophical inference from the observation of direction in evolution. For those, who find the notion of Ententional Evolution*4*5 unacceptable, Deacon offered the alternative term : Teleonomy, which attempts to avoid the implication of Design in Nature. However, Darwin's phrase "Natural Selection" (for fitness criteria) implied intentional Choice, but attributed it to Nature instead of to God. :wink:

    *3. Teleological Misconceptions :
    Teleology, explaining the existence of a feature on the basis of what it does, is usually considered as an obstacle or misconception in evolution education. Researchers often use the adjective “teleological” to refer to students' misconceptions about purpose and design in nature.
    https://evolution-outreach.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12052-019-0116-z

    *4. Ententional :
    Jeremy Sherman writes on ententionality, "Deacon coins the term 'ententional,' to encompass the entire range of phenomena that must be explained, everything from the first evolvable function, to human social processes, everything traditionally called intentional but also everything merely functional, fitting and therefore representing its environment with normative (good or bad fit) consequences."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entention

    *5. Teleology :
    Philosophical term derived from Greek: telos (end, goal, purpose, design, finality) and logos (reason, explanation). Philosophers, from Aristotle onward, assumed that everything in the world has a purpose and a place in the scheme of history. As a religious concept, it means that the world was designed by God for a specific reason, such as producing sentient beings to stroke His ego with worship & sacrifices.
    Enformationism theory observes that Evolution shows signs of progressing from past to future in increments of Enformation. From the upward trend of increasing organization over time, we must conclude that the randomness of reality (Entropy) is offset by a constructive force (Enformy). This directional trajectory implies an ultimate goal or final state. What that end might be is unknown, but speculation abounds.

    https://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page20.html


    Here's another notable difference between us. Whereas you see my examples of ententional properties as being superficial due to a lack of philosophical essence, I see them as being substantial due to their mundanity.ucarr
    Your mundane examples may be "substantial"*6 enough for scientific endeavors, but lack the essential "qualities" or general principles necessary for philosophical purposes. :smile:

    *6. Substance
    substance, in the history of Western philosophy, a thing whose existence is independent of that of all other things, or a thing from which or out of which other things are made or in which other things inhere.
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/substance-philosophy
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    What is the metaphysics of materialism?ucarr

    Any generalization of principles (all things are . . . .) from less than comprehensive experience is considered a metaphysical concept, not a physical or empirical fact*1. Also, portraying some principle as universal, implies either a First Cause or Eternal Being.Gnomon

    Do you accept that each discipline of study has a database governed by principles organized logically, and that that logical organization of principles is its grammar? I'm asking if you accept "grammar" as a synonym for "metaphysics."

    Do you acknowledge embracing the realist doctrine abstract concepts have an objective experience inhabiting its own reality?

    Is the gist of your response to Deacon the assertion that mind DID NOT emerge from matter?ucarr

    No. I have repeatedly denied that unwarranted implication. However, I do assert that Matter is not the primary cause of all phenomena in the world. My thesis goes into great detail to support the idea that Causal Information is prior to both physical Energy and malleable Matter.Gnomon

    Is Causal Information a label for metaphysics as a whole, or is it a subdivision of general metaphysics?

    Enformationism resolves the [mind/body] problem by a return to Monism, except that the fundamental substance is meta-physical Information instead of physical Matter.Gnomon

    Are you claiming top-down causation from Enformation to matter_mass_energy?

    Your mundane examples may be "substantial"*6 enough for scientific endeavors, but lack the essential "qualities" or general principles necessary for philosophical purposes.Gnomon

    You're saying you don't see connections between my examples and philosophically engaging metaphysical principles?
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    I'm asking if you accept "grammar" as a synonym for "metaphysics."ucarr
    No.

    Do you acknowledge embracing the realist doctrine abstract concepts have an objective experience inhabiting its own reality?ucarr
    No.

    Is Causal Information a label for metaphysics as a whole, or is it a subdivision of general metaphysics?ucarr
    No. It's merely a description of the power to enform (Potential) in the physical world.

    Are you claiming top-down causation from Enformation to matter_mass_energy?ucarr
    Yes. But by means of natural laws, not divine intervention.

    "The downward . . . causation (from whole to part) is in this sense not causation in the sense of being induced to change . . . but is rather an alteration in causal probabilities".
    Deacon, Incomplete Nature p161

    You're saying you don't see connections between my examples and philosophically engaging metaphysical principles?ucarr
    Yes.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Your above quote expresses the crux of our disagreement about the correct approach to practicing philosophy. You say, "Do philosophy by avoiding materialistic physics." I say, "Do philosophy by embracing materialistic physics."ucarr
    I have been enjoying the philosophical exercise of our on-going give & take dialog. Too many threads on this forum quickly descend into polarized name-calling : e.g. Materialism = Objective Truth vs Idealism = Subjective Fantasies, or vice-versa. You mentioned that I seem to be straddling those poles, but I view it as encompassing both "incomplete" worldviews into a single universal comprehension. My BothAnd perspective is not a controversy-ducking cop-out, but a recognition that there is philosophical value in both views : local & universal. Hence, an open-mind can make use of both sources of information : to see the world in stereo. Fortunately, we do seem to have some common ground in Deacon's seemingly paradoxical insight on the Power of Absence*1, but differ on which ancient traditional bi-polar worldview, Materialism vs Idealism, should govern our interpretation of its implications*2*3.

    A typical approach to clashing worldviews is to accept one and reject the other. But I prefer to enjoy the best of both worldviews, to see both the material part (element) and the conceptual whole (system). To that end, grasping the manifold roles of broadly-conceived Information (ranging from matter to mind) provides a key to the puzzle of age-old philosophical conflicts. Claude Shannon opened the door to this new understanding with his technical definition of a mental phenomenon : ideas. But his narrow materialistic engineering approach, while effective for technical purposes, ignored a long history of philosophical scrutiny of the rational faculty. In the 21st century, Information Theory has exploded into a wide range of scientific & philosophical investigations*4, ranging from Simplicity to Complexity, and from singular Kernel to total Comprehension.

    Therefore, I propose that we "do philosophy", not by avoiding the Science of Ideas*5, or by avoiding the Science of Matter, but by combining the insights of each into a more complete Science of Everything : from Big Bang Causation, to the appearance of organized Matter, to the emergence of inquiring Minds, to the retrospective of Cosmology. Thus, embracing both Mind and Matter as instances of Reality*6. :smile:



    *1. The Power of Absence :
    Deacon has independently arrived at an understanding of absence as causally efficacious in the emergence of life and consciousness
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/rea.12.2.y733588233q1m086
    Note --- Deacon sees the "hidden connections" that are not apparent from a materialistic perspective.

    *2. Materialism = Truth
    To be a materialist is to acknowledge objective truth, which is revealed to us by our sense-organs. To acknowledge objective truth, i.e., truth not dependent upon man and mankind, is, in one Way or another, to recognise absolute truth.
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1908/mec/two5.htm

    *3. Idealism = Truth :
    The essential orientation of idealism can be sensed through some of its typical tenets: “Truth is the whole, or the Absolute”; “to be is to be perceived”; “reality reveals its ultimate nature more faithfully in its highest qualities (mental) than in its lowest (material)”; “the Ego is both subject and object.”
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/idealism

    *4. Information Theory and Complex Systems :
    Welcome to Santa Fe Institute ... Information theory (in particular, the maximum information entropy formalism) provides a way to deal with such complexity . . .
    https://www.santafe.edu/research/results/papers/57-information-theory-a-foundation-for-complexity-

    *5. Ideonomy -- The Science of Ideas :
    Supposedly the word ideonomy was first coined by the French Encyclopedists, and they, too, are said to have used it to designate a science of ideas. What is unclear is whether these men made any actual contribution to the building of ideonomy, especially in the present sense. Perhaps they simply employed the word as a synonym for logic, pantology, philosophy in general, or philosophy applied to creative or social purposes.
    https://ideonomy.mit.edu/intro.html

    *6. Something Is Missing from the Materialist Framework :
    Something is missing from the theoretical framework of natural science if it cannot explain the function and purpose that are ubiquitous in life. And yes, the answer is there in plain sight in Professor Deacon’s own words. The truth is that “ententional” properties are foundational. They are the genesis of all purpose in life.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2023/07/something-is-missing-from-the-materialist-framework/
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Is the gist of your response to Deacon the assertion that mind DID NOT emerge from matter?ucarr
    You don't seem to understand how or why I interpret Deacon's Incomplete Nature in terms of Information, and to imply that Mind was transformed from Matter via the natural process of EnFormAction. If you think of "Information" as the mechanical process defined by Shannon, my usage as the dynamic Power to Transform won't make any sense. Deacon said that "The contemporary notion of information is likewise colloquially conceived of in substance-like terms" (p373), but went on to define it in energetic & relational & immaterial terms.*1

    An article on the Information Philosopher's website*2 might reveal some significant implications of Deacon's philosophy of Absence that your Materialistic worldview overlooked. His three-part outline begins at the bottom with inert non-living Matter pushed around by Thermodynamics, then progresses to the mid-level Homeodynamics --- perhaps better described as homeostasis, since the physical changes are maintaining the status quo, with little innovation. But in the third level of his triad, Teleodynamics*3, non-living Matter mysteriously transforms into Living stuff, with the potential for organic growth, instead of mere gravitational clumping. During that transition from inert matter to dynamic physics, Evolution reveals a directional character aimed at some implicit future goal : Telos.

    Level One begins as Plasma : just atoms whirling randomly in the void. Next, Level Two adds the arrow of Time, progressing & complexifying, a direction that will become apparent only to reflective Minds in the Third Level. Information in level One is the form of condensed Energy we know as Matter : precipitated out of the original chaotic Plasma into 3-dimensional res extensa. Then, Energy + Matter transforms on level Two into the dynamic organic systems we call Life. And eventually, that same Potential power-to-enform evolves into the immaterial non-dimensional thinking stuff (res cogitans) that we experience as Mind*4.

    If this philosophical & cosmological approach to Deacon's work, begins to make sense to you, we can discuss it further. Meanwhile, I suggest you take a look at how the Information Philosopher interprets Deacon's Absentialism*5. :smile:


    *1, Deacon's Absentialism :
    "Information is the archetypical absential concept" IN p373

    *2. Terrence Deacon :
    Deacon's 2011 work Incomplete Nature has a strong triadic structure, inspired perhaps by an important influence from semiotics—the philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce 's triad of icon, index, and symbol. Deacon's triad levels represent the material, the ideal, and the pragmatic. The first two levels reflect the ancient philosophical dualism of materialism and idealism, or body and mind, respectively.
    https://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/deacon/

    *3.Teleodynamics :
    "Deacon's name for the third level in his dynamics hierarchy. It is built on and incorporates the two lower levels — the first level is physical and material, the second adds an informational and immaterial aspect."
    "On Deacon's third level, "a difference that makes a difference" (cf.Gregory Bateson and Donald MacKay) emerges as a purposeful process we can identify as protolife."

    *4. Information is Mind :
    "Deacon sees clearly that information is neither matter nor energy; for example, knowledge in an organism's "mind" about the external constraints that its actions can influence."

    *5. Absentialism :
    He reifies this absence and says cryptically that "a causal role for absence seems to be absent from the natural sciences." He calls this a "figure/ground reversal" in which he focuses on what is absent rather than present, likening it to the concept of zero, the holes in the "(w)hole." We can agree with Deacon that ideas and information are immaterial, neither matter nor energy, but they need matter to be embodied and energy to be communicated. And when they are embodied, they are obviously present (to my mind)
    https://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/deacon/
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    I have been enjoying the philosophical exercise of our on-going give & take dialog.Gnomon

    I get great value from my dialoguing with you. I look forward to its continuance.

    Do you acknowledge embracing the realist doctrine abstract concepts have an objective experience inhabiting its own reality?ucarr

    No.Gnomon

    Energy + Matter transforms on level Two into the dynamic organic systems we call Life... And eventually, that same Potential power-to-enform evolves into the immaterial non-dimensional thinking stuff (res cogitans) that we experience as MindGnomon

    If this quote directly above is what you believe -- and not just your paraphrasing of Information Philosopher -- please explain how it is consistent with your answer to my opening question.

    Are you claiming top-down causation from Enformation to matter_mass_energy?ucarr

    Yes. But by means of natural laws, not divine intervention.Gnomon

    We can agree with Deacon that ideas and information are immaterial, neither matter nor energy, but they need matter to be embodied and energy to be communicated. And when they are embodied, they are obviously present (to my mind)Gnomon

    So, from your above quotes: a) you believe there is top-down causation from enformation -- ( meta-physical Information instead of physical Matter. -- to mind and then to body; b) you think the connection natural, not supernatural; c) you believe enformation, mind and matter form one interwoven continuum. Please explain how -- given your endorsement of this seamless continuum from enformation to mind to matter -- the first two links in the chain -- both immaterial -- connect with material brain?

    Energy + Matter transforms on level Two into the dynamic organic systems we call Life... And eventually, that same Potential power-to-enform evolves into the immaterial non-dimensional thinking stuff (res cogitans) that we experience as MindGnomon

    You seem to be utilizing some of Deacon's absentialist materialism in the bottom-up causal chain articulated above. However, going either way, there's no explanation how immaterial connects with material.

    I understand Deacon to be articulating a thesis that explains how all dynamical processes through all of their higher-orders remain within the domain of the material systemically. This approach addresses the mind/body problem by establishing a continuum that excludes problematical dualism.

    With your articulations of causation -- in both directions -- you appear to do what Deacon indicts in the early part of Incomplete Nature: sneaking into the system an unannounced homunculus who -- without explanation -- brings about a material/immaterial interface.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Do you acknowledge embracing the realist doctrine abstract concepts have an objective experience inhabiting its own reality? — ucarr
    Energy + Matter transforms on level Two into the dynamic organic systems we call Life... And eventually, that same Potential power-to-enform evolves into the immaterial non-dimensional thinking stuff (res cogitans) that we experience as Mind — Gnomon
    If this quote directly above is what you believe -- and not just your paraphrasing of Information Philosopher -- please explain how it is consistent with your answer to my opening question.
    ucarr
    Maybe you are interpreting Descartes' "stuff" and "things" as referring to material objects. But both are indeterminate (non-specific) references to "substance" in the Aristotelian sense of essences (qualia) : attributes or classifications that identify, and are projected upon, the real world referent. Remember that languages are generally materialistic, in that their metaphors are pointers to material objects of the 5 senses that we all have in common. Otherwise, we could only communicate our ideas by direct mind-reading.

    Your opening question describes a "realist doctrine" that sounds more like Idealism (or alt-reality) to me : postulating a mental realm of "abstract concepts" that exists in parallel to material reality, and may be considered more real than sensory reality. But, as a rule, I don't subscribe to that worldview. For all practical purposes, I am a Materialist and Realist. Yet for philosophical considerations (ideas about ideas) I must necessarily think somewhat like an Idealist.

    Nevertheless, the bottom line is that abstractions are not real : you can't eat an ideal cupcake, and an imaginary rose would not smell sweet. "Red" is a subjective conceptual quality, not an objective real thing. "Life" (or elan vital) is a quality of animated biological entities, not some kind of ghost that inhabits material objects. But we communicate the abstract concept of animation by means of analogies to processes or activities we observe with the eyes, and make sense of with the mind.

    Likewise, "Potential" is not an objective thing out there in an ideal realm, but merely a mental projection of statistical Probability. We don't perceive Potential with our senses, but conceive it with our rational mind. And "Mind" is not a thing floating around in the aether, but simply the Function of a brain : what that ball of neurons does to allow us to navigate the real world.

    Again, if you are accusing me of "embracing" the established doctrines of traditional Idealism--- or of traditional Materialism for that matter --- the answer is still "no". My personal -ism is Enformationism, which has a tentative foot in both worlds. :cool:

    So, from your above quotes: a) you believe there is top-down causation from enformation -- ( meta-physical Information instead of physical Matter. -- to mind and then to body; b) you think the connection natural, not supernatural; c) you believe enformation, mind and matter form one interwoven continuum. Please explain how -- given your endorsement of this seamless continuum from enformation to mind to matter -- the first two links in the chain -- both immaterial -- connect with material brain?ucarr
    Ah! That is the "Hard Question" for which materialistic science has no answer, and that idealistic philosophies merely take for granted. My thesis postulates an explanation --- not scientifically, but philosophically --- for "how" Mind & Matter interrelate. By analogy, the relationship is similar to that between fluid Water and solid Ice ; the are merely different Forms of the same Essence : The Power/Potential to cause change in Form. If that leaves you thinking, huh?, then you need to refer to the website, which begins at the beginning, and works down from a> to b> to c>. :wink:

    With your articulations of causation -- in both directions -- you appear to do what Deacon indicts in the early part of Incomplete Nature: sneaking into the system an unannounced homunculus who -- without explanation -- brings about a material/immaterial interface.ucarr
    Yes. The metaphorical "homunculus" in my thesis is Causal EnFormAction, the hypothetical precursor of physical Energy, and of biological Matter, and of metaphysical Thought Processes. The "explanation" for how the "little man" came to live in the human mind is expounded in the website & blog & and is on-going in this forum. It's not a final Theory of Everything, but I'm working on it. :nerd:

    Enformationism :
    https://enformationism.info/enformationism.info/
    Thesis Abstract :
    https://enformationism.info/enformationism.info/page11.html
    Note --- The Matrix movie is used as a metaphor for the role of Generic Information (raining code) in both the Machine world (abstract & Ideal) and the Zion world (concrete and real).
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    Do you acknowledge embracing the realist doctrine abstract concepts have an objective experience inhabiting its own reality?Gnomon

    realism - | ˈrēəˌliz(ə)m |
    noun Philosophy
    the doctrine that universals or abstract concepts have an objective or absolute existence; the doctrine that matter as the object of perception has real existence and is neither reducible to universal mind or spirit...
    The Apple Dictionary

    Your opening question describes a "realist doctrine" that sounds more like Idealism (or alt-reality) to me : postulating a mental realm of "abstract concepts" that exists in parallel to material reality, and may be considered more real than sensory reality.Gnomon

    I don't subscribe to that worldview [Idealism]. For all practical purposes, I am a Materialist and Realist. Yet for philosophical considerations (ideas about ideas) I must necessarily think somewhat like an Idealist.Gnomon

    No. As you see from The Apple Dictionary, my use of realism adheres to Platonic realism.

    Maybe you are interpreting Descartes' "stuff" and "things" as referring to material objects.Gnomon

    No. I've seen how "substance" in a philosophical context holds a different meaning from the one known in the vernacular.

    Nevertheless, the bottom line is that abstractions are not real : you can't eat an ideal cupcake, and an imaginary rose would not smell sweet.Gnomon

    Now you contradict your claim to be a realist.

    "Potential" is not an objective thing out there in an ideal realm, but merely a mental projection of statistical Probability. We don't perceive Potential with our senses, but conceive it with our rational mind.Gnomon

    My personal -ism is Enformationism, which has a tentative foot in both worlds [material/immaterial].Gnomon

    Please explain how -- given your endorsement of this seamless continuum from enformation to mind to matter -- the first two links in the chain -- both immaterial -- connect with material brain?ucarr

    Ah! That is the "Hard Question" for which materialistic science has no answer, and that idealistic philosophies merely take for granted. My thesis postulates an explanation --- not scientifically, but philosophically --- for "how" Mind & Matter interrelate. By analogy, the relationship is similar to that between fluid Water and solid Ice ; the are merely different Forms of the same Essence : The Power/Potential to cause change in Form.Gnomon

    essence | ˈes(ə)ns |
    noun
    the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, that determines its character: conflict is the essence of drama.

    Philosophy a property or group of properties of something without which it would not exist or be what it is.

    Now you seem to be pitching your tent on the ground of the immaterial.

    Yes. The metaphorical "homunculus" in my thesis is Causal EnFormAction, the hypothetical precursor of physical Energy, and of biological Matter, and of metaphysical Thought Processes. The "explanation" for how the "little man" came to live in the human mind is expounded in the website & blog & and is on-going in this forum. It's not a final Theory of Everything, but I'm working on it.Gnomon

    Now you're being forthright and clear about where you really stand. I thank-you for your candor here.

    In spite of your many evasions, nuanced qualifications and circumspect language affording escapes from slam-dunk opposing arguments, you acknowledge being a dualism-adjacent theoretician.

    Yes. The metaphorical "homunculus" in my thesis is Causal EnFormAction, the hypothetical precursor of physical Energy, and of biological Matter, and of metaphysical Thought Processes.Gnomon

    Praiseworthy indeed is your admission you don't really know how enformation is functionally structured into an interweave with matter. At present you can't give practical directions to researchers seeking to illuminate the passageways leading from computational neuroscience to abstract consciousness.

    Deacon's realm of the ententional, populated by phenomena intrinsically incomplete yet interwoven with future states by end-directed goals, paves forward across a no-person's realm into a practical monism of matter-mind-concept.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    No. As you see from The Apple Dictionary, my use of realism adheres to Platonic realism.ucarr
    I'm not familiar with the term "platonic realism". I have always associated him with Idealism. But a quick look at the Stanford article under "Idealism", reveals that some philosophers have switched around the perspective of the term from god's view to human view of what's real. Which is confusing to me. In any case, my thesis begins from a pragmatic meaning of Real, and stops just short of Platonic Ideality. By that I mean, I make no omniscient claims about a super-real realm ; other than to accept, like Kant, that we can speculate on such ideals, but can only deal with the reality here & now.

    Plato imagined a heavenly realm of perfect Forms, existing eternally, perhaps in the Mind of God/Logos. And that may be so, but my thesis doesn't depend on such a fairy castle. It does however, stop at the Big Bang Beginning of our space-time Reality, to look beyond the dark abyss of ignorance into a time & place before our Time & Space : like Moses looking down on the promised land, but denied entry. To take that Potential (not yet real) as Actual (really real) is to miss the whole point of the thesis.

    When I use the term "Form" (initial cap) it is meant only to be an idealized symbol of the source of all real "forms" that we observe in the material world. I try to avoid the implication that it refers to a heavenly realm that is more real than mundane reality. But some readers may not understand, or accept, that distinction. Enformationism uses Berkeley's metaphor that our material world is "an idea in the Mind of God". But does not assert that there is an entity out there dreaming-up our world. Remember, the map is not the terrain, and the metaphor is not the thing. :smile:

    Was Plato an idealist or a realist? :
    Both, these categories are not really true opposites, and these categories often have more than one meaning. Plato was a realist to the extent that he posited the reality of abstract objects, i.e., the robust existence of the Forms. These objects, however, he posited to compose the ideal world, i.e., the realm of perfect objects, which are merely instantiated (imperfectly) by the physical objects familiar to you and me.
    https://www.quora.com/Was-Plato-an-idealist-or-a-realist
    Note --- From a divine perspective, what's Real is also Ideal. But from a human point of view, Reality is what we know via our senses, and Ideality is what we infer must be true, logically, but not necessarily really.

    Now you seem to be pitching your tent on the ground of the immaterial.ucarr
    No. I'm pitching a metaphor on the ground of imaginary concepts. Abstractions, such as Qualia or Essence, are indeed immaterial, because we can imagine them, but can't see or touch them. :wink:

    Now you're being forthright and clear about where you really stand. I thank-you for your candor here.ucarr
    Did you notice that the homunculus was labeled an imaginary metaphor, not a real material thing? Unlike materialistic Science, idealistic Philosophy can only put its subjects, ideas, under the imaginary microscope of analogy to sensable things. I try not to "stand" on mushy metaphorical ground. :nerd:

    Praiseworthy indeed is your admission you don't really know how enformation is functionally structured into an interweave with matter. At present you can't give practical directions to researchers seeking to illuminate the passageways leading from computational neuroscience to abstract consciousness.ucarr
    Thanks for the faint praise, but it's not false modesty. Since I'm not a scientist, I don't pretend to be giving "practical directions" to professionals. I do however refer to practicing scientists, such as those at the Santa Fe Institute who are working on such projects from a perspective of Information theory. Do you know of any neuroscientist who has discovered the "interweave" of Mind & Matter? :chin:

    Information Theory and Consciousness :
    Jost explores consciousness as a process for integrating information from the recent past and near future into the present, where we experience self.
    https://www.santafe.edu/news-center/news/juergen-jost-information-theory-and-consciousness

    Hard Problem still mysterious after all these years :
    Koch bet Chalmers a case of wine that within 25 years—that is, by 2023—researchers would discover a “clear” neural pattern underlying consciousness. . . . That word “clear” doomed Koch. “It’s clear that things are not clear,”
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-25-year-old-bet-about-consciousness-has-finally-been-settled/
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    But how is it 'materialism'? What role does matter occupy in it? — Wayfarer
    Your question is important because absential materialism has a knack for looking like immaterialism without being such.
    ucarr
    If it quacks like Immaterialism, and has a knack for "looking like immaterialism", why not call it "Immaterialism"? Why the evasion? Why must "Ideas" be defined in Materialist terms? Do you think "immaterial" is a code word for Spirit?

    The metaphysics (belief system) of "objective" Materialism seems to be implicitly antagonistic to "subjective" Spiritualism & Superstition*1. But what if Ideas are not spiritual entities, but causal forces? Physical Energy*2 is an immaterial abstraction with no material properties, until transformed into the equally abstract quantities of Mass. Our senses interpret those abstractions as "Matter", conjectured by the ancient Greeks as the mother of all things.

    I'm still intrigued by your notion of Absential Materialism, but it quacks like Ideal (or imaginary) objects (original matter)*3 waiting in the wings to be invited into the real world : i.e. ideal, not real matter. In any case, if it's absent, it's not real. Your term also seems to specifically contradict the philosophy of Idealism, which posits a similar preternatural source of perfect stuff (Forms) waiting to be transformed into real things. That's OK with me, because Enformationism differs from Idealism and Spiritualism, in that it equates Abstract Concepts with causal processes & functions (Energy), not imaginary homunculae or spooky Spirits.

    Perhaps Absential Physicalism*4 would be a more appropriate term for what you have in mind, since Physics is concerned not with matter itself, but with changes in matter due to the effects of Energy. This would put the spotlight on the Active Causal Force (morph ; Form) instead of the inert lumpish lumber (hyle : wood). Newton's mysterious Gravity --- pushing stars around and pulling planets together --- is now defined in terms of Geometry, an abstract mathematical relationship*5. Are Gravity and Geometry material things? How are imaginary abstractions explained in the doctrines of Materialism?

    As far as I can tell, Deacon is neither a traditional Materialist (all matter), nor a traditional Idealist (all mind). But he seems to envision a middle ground that accepts both sensory stuff and the rational faculty that makes sense of that stuff, so that philosophers can seriously debate their Ontological status. What he criticizes is Eliminative Materialism : "The assumption that all reference to ententional phenomena can and must be eliminated from our scientific theories and replaced by accounts of material mechanisms". My BothAnd position, like that of Deacon, accepts that Ideas are immaterial, but not spiritual. It's a substance Dualism that is ultimately an essence Monism. It also agrees with Deacon's notion of Teleology & Agency*6, without recourse to supernatural spirits. :smile:

    PS___ Absential Materialism sounds to me like a reference to Aristotle's "Potential" : that which is statistically Possible, but not yet Actual.

    *1. Materialism vs spiritualism :
    Materialism is focused on the outside world, while spiritualism is focused on the inside world. Materialism is based on what we can see and touch, while spiritualism is based on our inner feelings and intuition. Materialism looks at life on the surface, while spiritualism is a deep way of looking at life. https://medium.com/@evan00moore00/materialism-vs-spiritualism-which-is-the-true-path-ad270e405785

    *2. Do students conceptualize energy as a material substance? :
    In physics, energy is an abstract, non- material quantity associated with the state of a system.
    file:///C:/Users/johne/Downloads/PERC02_Loverude-1.pdf

    *3. Original Matter :
    In Indian philosophy: The nature, origin, and structure of the world (prakriti)
    Original Matter is uncaused, eternal, all-pervading, one, independent, self-complete, and has no distinguishable parts; the things that emerge out of this primitive matrix are, on the other hand, caused, noneternal, limited, many, dependent, wholes composed of parts, and manifested.

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/matter-philosophy
    Note --- How is Absential Materialism different from Original Matter?

    *4. Absential Physicalism : the "Law of Attraction" that is evidenced in physical systems as-if caused by a Force, but defined by Einstein in terms of geometric relationships of mutual attraction*5. Coined by Gnomon.
    Note --- What is "absent" is matter, what is Potential is logical structure.

    *5. Einstein’s geometric gravity :
    The key idea of Einstein's theory of general relativity is that gravity is not an ordinary force, but rather a property of spacetime geometry. https://www.einstein-online.info/en/GeomGravity/

    *6. Locus of Agency : (Teleodynamics)
    Chapter on FreeWill IN p 479
    Does Absential Materialism theory allow for FreeWill, Self-Determination, and human Agency?
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    I think you stand on solid ground whenever you correctly ground your conjectures in science.

    You can do yourself a favor by keeping away from metaphysics for now. Metaphysics is your enemy because it lulls you into complacecey about not being your better self.

    Metaphysics is little more than the logical grammar undergirding the conceptual dimensions of science. It's neither beyond nor above science. It's something akin to an emergent property of science.

    Some metaphysicians might tell you it's the other way around. Shrug them off before they lead you astray. Never doubt that metaphysics cannot breathe without science.*

    I hope you'll start working toward longer intervals off the drug of metaphysics while slogging the trenches of philosophy's harsh mistress: science.

    You show promise as a theoretician when you make observations such as the following: "The primary attribute of energy is causation." That's thinking like a scientist. Keep doing it.

    *If you think logic a science, consider that philosophical ideas are vetted by logic. What does that tell you?
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    Metaphysics is little more than the logical grammar undergirding the conceptual dimensions of science. It's neither beyond nor above science. It's something akin to an emergent property of science.ucarr
    :up: :up:

    Thus, in the first century BCE Andronicus of Rhodes who had edited Aristotle's corpus had titled the philosophia prima The Book Following The Book On Nature aka "metà tà physikà tá" (as in following from re: categorical generalizations / essential conditions of explaining nature aka "physics"). Woo-of-the-gaps sophists like @Gnomon and other idealists / antirealist / supernaturalists naively(?) invert the Classical order – ahistorically make sh*t up – and incorrigibly misconstrue physics (i.e. science) as the product of – following from – "Meta-physics" (e.g. nous, the one, pure reason, geist, beyng ... "Enformer"). :sparkle: :roll:
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    Hello, 180 Proof. I've been learning from you, and I very much appreciate your patient instruction. I'm very gratified to have some of your attention.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    I think you stand on solid ground whenever you correctly ground your conjectures in science.
    You can do yourself a favor by keeping away from metaphysics for now. Metaphysics is your enemy because it lulls you into complacecey about not being your better self.
    ucarr

    I think you’re the one trying to bias Deacon towards immateriality. I don’t think he’s biased in either direction. He pays heed to immateriality, not because he prioritizes it over materiality, as you do. Instead, he pays it heed in order to bring it back into balance with materialistic science, which he eschews no more than he does immateriality.ucarr
    For the record, I am not a scientist. So, I don't pretend to be doing science on this forum. That's why 's cartoon of Gnomon, as a New Age nut, touting Quantum Mysticism, is completely wack.

    Anyway, the physical sciences study objects -- including humans -- from the outside, and reveal little about the subject inside the skin. I try to keep myself informed about Physics, to serve as a "ground" for my explorations into MetaPhysics*1. And Quantum Physics opened up a whole new field of play, by discovering that the observing mind plays a role in the results of sub-atomic experiments. Unlike some New Agers though, I don't interpret that interpretation as evidence of magical mind-over-matter effects. But I do follow prominent physicists in their interpretation that Information (energy + mind stuff) is an active Agent*3 in physical changes. That is the "ground" of my Enformationism thesis. Which is philosophical & metaphysical, not scientific & physical in character.

    Apparently, it's your materialistic bias that views my focus on Metaphysics as unscientific. I agree that Deacon is not a Spiritualist, but he does criticize Eliminative Materialism, "because it presumes that all reference to ententional phenomena can and must be eliminated from our scientific theories". (IN p81) And it's the metaphysical Ententional*3 functions of the human mind that I am interested in. Deacon quotes physicist Seth Lloyd : "the fact that the universe is at bottom computing, or is processing information, was actually established in the scientific sense . . . . showed that all atoms register bits of information". (IN p74) And that is the scientific "ground" of the Enformationism thesis.

    Metaphysics is the study of the Self, not the non-self Nature that is the purview of Physics. Therefore, for me Metaphysics is not "the enemy", but the only tool for understanding the mind of the Observer, who is a physical participant in the material world, but also a meta-physical spectator looking on from the outside. :smile:



    *1. Metaphysics, for Aristotle, was the study of nature and ourselves. In this sense he brings metaphysics to this world of sense experience–where we live, learn, know, think, and speak. Metaphysics is the study of being qua being, which is, first, the study of the different ways the word “be” can be used
    https://open.library.okstate.edu/introphilosophy/chapter/__unknown__/

    *2. Agent : a person or thing that takes an active role or produces a specified effect.

    *3. Ententional :
    Jeremy Sherman writes on ententionality, "Deacon coins the term 'ententional,' to encompass the entire range of phenomena that must be explained, everything from the first evolvable function, to human social processes, everything traditionally called intentional but also everything merely functional, fitting and therefore representing its environment with normative (good or bad fit) consequences."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entention
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    Glad to be helpful. :up:

    ... cartoon of Gnomon, as a New Age nut, touting Quantum Mysticism [ ... ] the observing mind plays a role in the results of sub-atomic experiments ...Gnomon
    :clap: :rofl: That's all folks!

    It is with sadness that every so often I spend a few hours on the internet, reading or listening to the mountain of stupidities dressed up with the word 'quantum'. Quantum medicine; holistic quantum theories of every kind, mental quantum spiritualism – and so on, and on, in an almost unbelievable parade of quantum nonsense. — Carlo Rovelli, Hegoland, pp. 159-60
    :fire:
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Hello, 180 Proof. I've been learning from you, and I very much appreciate your patient instruction. I'm very gratified to have some of your attention.ucarr
    It might be instructive to ask 180 about his attitude toward Deacon's "radical" Incomplete Nature, and Absential theories. In view of his scathing remarks above regarding "quantum nonsense", ask him if Deacon's discussion of "Downward Causation" ; "Quantum Entanglement" ; "Emergence of Ententional Organization" (IN p161--164), and "Teleology" (IN chap4) is a case of "quantum mysticism", or just plain literal "nonsense". You might find that his conventional Materialism is more exclusive and closed-minded than your own. :smile:

    PS___ His attention in this thread is primarily directed at mocking Gnomon, not instructing ucarr in the finer points of Materialist doctrine.


    Incomplete Nature :
    A radical new explanation of how life and consciousness emerge from physics and chemistry.
    https://www.amazon.com/Incomplete-Nature-Mind-Emerged-Matter/dp/0393049914

    The curiously closed mind :
    It’s said that all truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed, then violently opposed and then, finally, it’s deemed self evident.
    https://www.carolcassara.com/the-curiously-closed-mind/
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    It might be instructive to ask 180 about attitude toward Deacon's "radical" Incomplete Nature, and Absential theories.Gnomon
    See p.1 of this thread for my exchanges with @ucarr on discussed similarities of classical atomism and "absential materialism", namely the role of absence/void as "constraint" and thereby the primary factor in emergence/atomic recombinations. As for my "attitude" toward his book: from ucarr's reflections, wiki summary & reviews, T. Deacon's thesis seems to be 'nonreductive physicalist scientism' – not philosophically interesting to me.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    ...T. Deacon's thesis seems to be 'nonreductive physicalist scientism'...180 Proof

    No. The long slog through the statistical bias towards equilibrium, i.e., entropy towards the far-from-equilibrium states required of life is illuminated in detail by the scientific work of Deacon in Incomplete Nature, a game-changer in the mind/body inquiry.

    The slow-paced dogfight by natural materials engineering and natural fluid dynamics engineering towards the self-organizing dynamical systems that aggregate attractors that statistically mandate phase shifts from random resource elements and compounds into reciprocally reinforcing morphodyanics is the critically important continuum that bridges across simple matter to absentially material mind. The autogen is an early distillation of selfhood in the form of self-generation, self-repair and self-replication.

    The end-directed aboutness functionality of telodynamics as the operating system of mind, emergent from yet rooted within material thermodyanmics is spatially distributed, time-mediated complex materialism.

    Deacon closes his report on the supple interweave of the multiplex of matter that knows itself with:

    If quantum physicists can learn to become comfortable with the material causal consequences of the superposition of alternate, as-yet-unrealized states of matter, it shouldn’t be too great a leap to begin to get comfortable with the superposition of the present and the absent in our functions, meanings,
    experiences, and values.


    So, from Deacon we learn that mental abstractionism is a state that oscillates between an expansion/compression cycle within nature.

    Consider a modern, telecommunications satellite, such as the one making our internet dialogs possible.

    Launched from earth, it hovers above in the thermosphere_exosphere. It sees whole earth in overview, a kind of metaphysical POV. In this position, it's poised to connect the dots and understand events systemically. It affords us a metaphysics of practice with concrete value to the general public. No academic flights of fancy indulged.

    Clear overview of complex systems has essential importance. It generates useful constraints in the form of boundaries known as rules. This necessary role of the referee notwithstanding, we don't say the orbital satellite looking down upon us created us. No. It emerged from us and remains tied to us in a delicate superposition of the present and the absent.

    Deacon's report does not example science privileged above reflection. Instead, it does the hard work of elaborating the continuum linking reflection with its material foundation.
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    a kind of metaphysical POV [ ... ] affords us a metaphysics of practiceucarr
    I heve no idea what you mean, ucarr.

    If quantum physicists can learn to become comfortable with the material causal consequences of the superposition of alternate, as-yet-unrealized states of matter [ ... ] the superposition of the present and the absent in our functions, meanings,
    experiences, and values [ ... ] a delicate superposition of the present and the absent.
    Deacon sounds like he's espousing what C. Rovelli aptly calls "quantum nonsense" (re: ).
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    a kind of metaphysical POV [ ... ] affords us a metaphysics of practiceucarr

    I heve no idea what you mean, ucarr.180 Proof

    The satellite is supposed to be a practical application of systemic overview, my characterization of metaphysics.

    Deacon sounds like he's espousing what C. Rovelli aptly calls "quantum nonsense"...180 Proof

    I understand him to be making reference to Schrödinger's equation for a superpositionally dead & alive cat.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.