• Andrew M
    449
    I agree that deterministic theories are context-dependent.

    What I do not understand however is how can something like "free agency" arise from deterministic processes (or a combination between deterministic and random processes). But as you said, this is normal since no theory has ever explained it :wink:
    boundless

    Agreed. At present, I think of them as equally valid descriptions in different reference frames (as with Rovelli's RQM or Einstein's relativity).

    I, too, disagree with Tegmark's Platonism. But I disagree with computabilism because I think that, for example, the "workings" of our minds cannot be explained in computabilistic terms. At the same time however our theories to be both consistent and complete must be computable. This shows, however, the limits of physics IMO. (and of course I did not mean to "lower" the importance of it with this observation :wink: )boundless

    What I think of as computable here is the physics for Alice's actions from Bob's (non-interacting) reference frame.

    However Alice can't compute her own physics for Godelian reasons. For example from Bob's reference frame one of the statements, "Alice will choose tea" or "Alice will choose coffee" will be predicted to be true, but she can't herself construct a proof for the true statement. Either outcome is an open possibility for her and requires her to make that choice for herself.

    I observe it, being part of it. Indeed, I could not observe it from outside, lacking a particular ‘it’ to observe. It could be simulated, but then it is the simulation being observed, not the structure itself.
    Again, I reach for the simplest cases like 2+2=4, which has no particular, but the relation between 2+2 and 4 exists, particular or not. I can simulate (perform the addition) to observe this, but doing so is just for the benefit of the performer of the operation and has no effect on the truth of the relation.
    noAxioms

    The Aristotelian position is that cases like '2+2=4' derive from concrete particulars, they don't have an independent existence. For example, there are two apples in the basket and I add two more. By generalizing from apples to any object and abstracting away physical constraints, we derive a formal rule for adding things without limit.

    This is an empirical account of mathematics that doesn't require positing a Platonic existence for abstract mathematical entities.

    I don’t really claim anything one way or the other on universals. I need to see how this fits in, since you seem to lean on the problem of universals as a counter-argument to my idea here.noAxioms

    It's a question of how one conceptually models the world. I think the arguments that you or I find plausible in our discussion really stem from this philosophical issue.
  • noAxioms
    585
    I don’t really claim anything one way or the other on universals. I need to see how this fits in, since you seem to lean on the problem of universals as a counter-argument to my idea here. — noAxioms
    I rescind this. The position does stake a claim here, that the universe is a universal, and that it does not have Platonic existence since that would be something concrete.

    The Aristotelian position is that cases like '2+2=4' derive from concrete particulars, they don't have an independent existence. For example, there are two apples in the basket and I add two more. By generalizing from apples to any object and abstracting away physical constraints, we derive a formal rule for adding things without limit.Andrew M
    Then the position I am proposing is not compatible with the Aristotelian position. To frame what I am proposing in such terms is to say that our universe is a (non-Platonic) universal with no necessary particulars. For it to be a particular, said particular would need to be in (relative-to) some container universe which again would be a universal at its foundations.
    As for the apples, I don't see how 2+2=4 would necessarily not be the case just because there are no apples (or any other concrete particular) to instantiate the relationship.

    This is an empirical account of mathematics that doesn't require positing a Platonic existence for abstract mathematical entities.
    I am absolutely not proposing Platonic existence for what I see to be universals.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.2k
    Interestingly, both "idealist" and "materialist" philosophies tend to say that the "first cause" (or "first principle") is something that is "simple", has infinite potentialities etc.boundless

    What the cosmological argument shows is that "infinite potentialities" (as infinite possibility) is physically impossible. Whatever has actual existence, at any given time, will limit the possibilities, such that "infinite possibility" implies that there is nothing actual. Because something actual is required to actualize any particular possibility, then if there ever was infinite possibility there would always be infinite possibility, and therefore nothing actual would exist ever. Since we observe that there is actual existence then it is impossible that there ever was infinite possibility.

    "Many Worlds" has the means to avoid the cosmological argument (or is a manifestation of the disregard for it) by claiming that what we perceive as "the world" is just one of many possible worlds. But the fundamental problem with this is that we must adhere to this designation, and the logic of "possible worlds". And this means that we cannot declare any world as the "actual world". Each world is equally a possible world and there can be nothing to distinguish one world from another as the actual world. If we try to declare one world as the actual world, we step outside the boundaries of what is permitted by the logic. So we would have to refer to some other principle, something extra-worldly as that which distinguishes the actual world. Now we've just put ourselves back to Rene Descartes' position. What principle is going to ensure us, that the world we live in is "a real world"? So all we have is "my being", "my existence", "I am", to validate "my world". Therefore Many Worlds is inherently solipsistic because there are no principles whereby my world ought to be the same world as your world.

    Anyway, Aristotle's argument is sound.boundless

    It's unusual that a scientifically minded individual would say that the cosmological argument is sound. It is generally framed in a theist/atheist argument where the scientifically minded person would take the atheist perspective. The problem is that the atheist is prone to denying the argument simply because it is used to support the theist position. Therefore instead of acting to properly understand the principles involved, and the force of the argument which is consequent upon understanding, the atheist will expend all sorts of energy attempting to dismiss the principles as unsound.

    If it is true, then a "double-aspect" is heavily implied.boundless

    The "double-aspect" is a duality of "actual" existence. Forms of existence are describable states, which are assumed to have actual existence. This is the basis for logic, what is and is not. "Becoming" falls between the cracks of actual existence, so it is described as potential, the potential for this or that state of existence to follow what actually is right now. However, "becoming" is itself understood to be an activity, so this activity must be accounted for by something actual. Thus we have two distinct actualities, what actually "is", and what is active. Without employing this second actuality "becoming" appears to be infinite potential. Infinite potential is impossible, so we must, according to the cosmological argument assign a second type of actuality to account for activity itself.

    In Aristotelian philosophy "form" refers to what is actual. We get a glimpse of this second type of form in his biology, as the soul. The primary definition of "soul" is as the actuality of a body having life potentially in it. This body is an active body, and the form here, the soul, is responsible for the activities (becoming) of the body. So in his biology, the describable states, forms of being are referred to as the potencies of the soul, and the soul itself is the principle of activity which is required to actualize the various potencies.

    In this theory, free-will seems well explained.boundless

    Free will is well explained because it is taken as a premise, something concluded from observation, that human beings interfere in natural processes creating artificial things. Human activity is what necessitates the concept of "potential", that there is a multiplicity of possible states to follow any current state. And when we assume the reality of potential, what may or may not be, we need to allow exceptions to the fundamental laws of logic, referring to moral laws instead.

    In your view the universe had a beginning? I agree that speaking about something "before time" is illogical ("before" is a temporal relation and outside time speaking of "before" or "after" is meaningless), but at the same time, to me it seems that this model requires that time had no "beginning" due to the fact that potentialities and actualities cannot be separated.boundless

    The point is not necessarily that the universe had a beginning, it's more like facing the fact that there are aspects of reality which are outside of our conception of time. So if "the universe" is restricted to temporal existence, (as we define time), then there are things outside the universe, things outside of time. If there are things outside of time, and temporal existence defines the universe, then it appears like the universe had a beginning. But in my mind, to say that there are things outside the universe is to speak contradiction, and so I conclude that our conception of time is faulty because it forces on us the contrary notion of something prior to time.

    Imagine a point which is supposed to mark the beginning of time. At this point, there is only future and no past. In relation to temporal existence, this implies infinite possibility and nothing actual. There are numerous ways to demonstrate that this is a faulty principle. First, the notions of future and past are derived from the activity of time passing. At this point, there would be no time passing, as there is no past, and therefore to even use "future" and "past" in this context is invalid. Second, at this point, we need time to begin passing, so this is the "necessary cause" the "eternal actuality", which is external to the temporal universe and is implied by the cosmological argument.

    But what the cosmological argument really does is demonstrate that our concept of time is inadequate for describing all of reality. There are parts of reality which are non-temporal according to our concept of time. But these parts have causal influence, so we can infer that they are in some way "temporal". Therefore we can conclude that our concept of time is in some way a misconception, and needs to be reconceived to bring these apparently "non-temporal" aspects into relation with the temporal.

    This is not a new endeavour, it is what Plato grappled with in The Timaeus, and was taken up by the Neo-Platonists and earlier Christian theologians. Once we see the reality of that which is outside of time, we give it a name, the eternal. However, the eternal must have relations with the temporal or else we would not be able to see its existence. So the enterprising metaphysician is tasked with determining this relationship between the eternal and the temporal. My understanding is that our concept of time falls short, creating this separation between what is temporal and what is eternal. "Eternal", meaning outside of time, only refers to something real because our concept of time doesn't extend far enough to include those things which appear as being outside of time.

    Just for curiosity: do you know online sources that explain well the cosmological argument of Aristotle? I am very curious to learn about his philosophy after this discussion :grin:boundless

    I haven't found a good presentation of Aristotle's cosmological argument online. it's very misunderstood and presented through various different lenses. The problem is that it's not well formulated by him in the first place, so it is left to others to pick and choose which statements to reproduce. The key aspects I find are in Bk.9 of his Metaphysics. A good, probably the best, re-formulation is that of Aquinas, in his Five Ways. I think it's Way #3. But even this is a re-presentation, from a Neo-Platonist, Christian perspective.

    What Aristotle concludes is that anything eternal must be actual. He uses this to refute Platonic (Pythagorean) Idealism which assumes that human ideas, mathematics and geometry, are eternal. He shows that human ideas are "discovered", made actual, by the human mind, so if they exist prior to this they are of the nature of potential. He then proceeds to posit the idea of "unmoved mover" which is formulated as a perfectly circular motion. Because the perfect circle cannot have a beginning or an end (similar to the Hawking "no-boundary"), the circular motion is eternal. The Aristotelian proposal is defective though, so the Neo-Platonists just go on to assume eternal Forms which are actual. This produces a separation between human ideas which are potentials, and actual divine Forms, which are property of the divine mind, in Christian theology.

    Aquinas has developed a quite complex concept of time. He introduces the concept of "aeviternal", which serves to differentiate between the two directions of time, looking backward, and proceeding forward. These two ought to be properly distinguished. Remember, the goal at that time was to produce a concept of time which related the eternal to the temporal. In the realm of the aeviternal are the angels, which are created at a point in time, as time has already passed, but live indefinitely into the future.

    There is a way of ;looking at time implied here, which sees temporal existence as completely in the past. Instead of extending time equally to past and future, as we commonly do, we can say that only the past has real temporal existence, the future has not yet come to be temporally. The past is always being extended, all the time, and things come into existence at any moment of the present, and proceed with temporal extension. To account for things coming into existence, we look toward the future, they must come "out of the future". If, on the future side, there is a being like us, which always remains in the future (like we always remain at the present), never slipping into the past, then that being is always outside of time, eternal, always remaining ahead of the present, never coming into view at the present as it would if it slipped into the past. We have no way of understanding any activity of that being, because it is outside of what we know as time. It is eternal because it never slips past our view at the present, into the past. However the actions of that being could create things which slip into the past, come into view in our temporal existence.

    Anyway, thank you very much for the interesting discussion we had so far :blush: ... and thanks in advance for the reply!boundless

    Well it's been a long process, we might take a break it up again on a later thread. You've been quite attentive to listen to some very unconventional ideas, demonstrating that you actually take the time to understand. I appreciate that. As you say, we are not at a position to produce any scientific theory but we may find a way in if we could carefully analyze and compare wave features. There are probably aspects of wave phenomena which are veiled by the Fourier uncertainty.
  • Andrew M
    449
    I rescind this. The position does stake a claim here, that the universe is a universal, and that it does not have Platonic existence since that would be something concrete.noAxioms

    No, Platonic existence is abstract and immaterial. From Wikipedia:

    In Platonic realism, universals do not exist in the way that ordinary physical objects exist ... Platonic realism holds that universals do exist in a broad, abstract sense...Platonic realism - Wikipedia

    Then the position I am proposing is not compatible with the Aristotelian position. To frame what I am proposing in such terms is to say that our universe is a (non-Platonic) universal with no necessary particulars. For it to be a particular, said particular would need to be in (relative-to) some container universe which again would be a universal at its foundations.noAxioms

    It wouldn't. On an Aristotelian view, all that is needed is the familiar distinction between things that are a part of the universe and the universe itself. There is no need to assume a separate reality beyond the universe (as is assumed with Plato's allegory of the cave).

    As for the apples, I don't see how 2+2=4 would necessarily not be the case just because there are no apples (or any other concrete particular) to instantiate the relationship.noAxioms

    The meaning of '2+2=4' derives from particulars, it shouldn't be assumed to be meaningful independent of the concrete universe that we find ourselves a part of. What distinguishes Aristotle from Plato on this just is the idea of a natural concrete context that establishes meaning versus an abstract view that is untouched by empirical concerns.
  • noAxioms
    585
    No, Platonic existence is abstract and immaterial.Andrew M
    Being abstract and immaterial is just a relation to our universe. To the number 7, the moon is abstract, as is 'red'.

    Almost everything seems to be a relation. Redness seems to be a 3-way for instance. The banana and my avatar (particular objects) evoke the experience of yellow (the universal) to you and me (subjects). Take away the particulars and we'd not know of yellow. Take away the yellow universal, and I suppose it would not be platonism. Change the subject experiencer, and the truth of it goes away. The banana, but not the avatar evokes the experience of yellow to a squirrel, a being that actually senses the yellow wavelength. My avatar does not emit any yellow light. So the relation to a human is necessary.

    I have a hard time coming up with an example of a property. A proton (not even a particular one) has X much rest-mass. That seems to be a property, relating possibly only to "in the physics of this bubble of spacetime".

    The meaning of '2+2=4' derives from particularsAndrew M
    Seems not necessarily so. Our knowledge of the truth of it (an epistemological thing) stems from interaction with particulars, but I was after the truth of it, not our knowledge of the truth of it or what meaning 2+2=4 has to us.

    I realize that there are stances where sans-particulars, '7 is prime' is false. I might even agree, since insufficient relation is specified. Better is '7 is prime in the set of whole numbers'. The truth of it is now not objective, but only relative to something.


    I think I'd like to take this offline and start a new thread since it only has small bearing on Wayfarer's OP. The relational QM bit was very relevant, and is a good answer to the OP, but what I'm pushing here goes way beyond the confines of QM, and thus seems off-topic. I want relational everything.

    Give me a day or two to frame it.
  • boundless
    79


    :up: thank you for the detailed and insightful response.

    If we will resume the discussion in the future, maybe I will be more learned in Aristotle's metaphysics. Now, I think it is too underrated in our time.




    Good point! Unfortunately, I am sorry but I have to take a break from the Forum, now.

    Anyway, thank you for the interesting discussion!
  • Andrew M
    449
    Almost everything seems to be a relation.noAxioms

    I agree.

    I have a hard time coming up with an example of a property.noAxioms

    Yes, if properties are understood in an absolute sense. But they can also be understood as implying a relational context. So to use your color example, the statement "noAxioms' screen avatar is yellow" is true when indexed to humans (as is normally implied) but false when indexed to squirrels. Whereas, the statement "noAxioms' screen avatar emits light with red and green wavelengths" is true in a broader context that includes both humans and squirrels.

    I'll leave the rest for now and we can pick it up in the new thread.

    Anyway, thank you for the interesting discussion!boundless

    And thank you! I'll be travelling over the next week so will be taking a break from the forum as well.
  • Edmund
    9
    Sir Roger Penrose has suggested in discussions about the measurement problem that we might need a whole new approach to physics to deal with the quantum newtonian interface and that be cause it seems challenging or overly radical is not a reason to reject the possibility. Many truths are overthrown. Edmund
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