• Wayfarer
    6k
    If all what we said is right then objects, time and space are all real if there is a subject (in some sense this is reminiscent of trascendental idealism, especially the version of Schopenhauer). But if this is true, then the "object is always in relation with a subject", therefore if we remove the "subject", the object too "disappears". Well, this reminds me of "neither one nor many" of Mahayana Buddhism (also for that matter Schopenhauer noted a common ground here) :wink:boundless

    That’s pretty well how I see it.
  • boundless
    57
    MWI says that the quantum states with non-zero amplitude all occur, so that is the level that is deterministic. As I've argued, our everyday ostensive possibilities don't all occur.Andrew M

    True.

    Free will isn't incompatible with MWI (or deterministic theories in general). It is the dynamic systems themselves that are driving things, not the equations. The equations merely describe and predict (rightly or wrongly) what the systems will do.Andrew M

    Well, in my understanding "classical determinism" says that we have the illusion of "free will". According to classical determinism and for "Pilot-Wave" theories the future is "fixed" once a set of "initial conditions" are estabilished. If this is true, it is not possible to make "free choices" because in fact everything is determined by the past.
    On the other hand we have MWI and we have two possibilities. The first is that "choices" are a "classical" phenomenon and therefore are determined as in the case of "classical determinism". The second one is that choices are a "quantum phenomenon" and everytime we choose the universe "splits". In this case we might argue that there is more room for a free choice but the problem is that all the possible occurence happen as I argued before.

    I always had this problem with "compatibilism". Free will requires that the "choice" is not totally conditioned by the past events whereas determinism implies that when the "initial conditions" are fixed (or better: when the state of the system is fixed at a certain time) then all events are "fixed".
    On the other hand we may argue that determinism is not completely right in the description of "things" at classical level and therefore, autentic free will can be "saved" (are you suggesting this?).

    That’s pretty well how I see it.Wayfarer

    Very well :up:
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    3.9k
    What if each frame persists for a while without change?Janus

    That's definitely a possibility, but I think it makes things unnecessarily complex, producing unresolvable difficulties in deeper analysis. To begin with, you have proposed that time is passing between the frames, without any physical change occurring. However, some sort of change is necessarily occurring at this time, because the next frame is being prepared for observation by us. Furthermore, we must allow that the free willing human being has the capacity to influence the change which is occurring, between frames, such that we are actually taking part in this preparation of the next frame.

    So we have now assumed an entire level of activity which is "not physical", it is entirely unobservable because it is prior to the presentation of the frames, which is all that can be observed. The real difficulty with this perspective is in describing the production of the frames. You have proposed that the frame is fixed, unchanging, so we must conclude that the frame comes into existence at a point in time, fixed, and remains fixed from that point. Prior to that point in time it is being prepared. This allows no time for the frame to "come into existence", to "become". There is simply a division between preparation and existing, when the frame pops into existence. So all we have done now is pushed that timeless division of "now", to a deeper level, leaving us with the very same problem, of how to account for "becoming", but at a deeper level.

    If the frame is unchanging as time passes, it must just pop into existence from the underlying preparation, without any changes happening to it. If changes happen to the frame, then it is a changing frame, like I described. And we know that things don't just pop into existence without change, that is contrary to our experience. Everything which comes into existence, "becomes", requires time to come into existence, there is no such thing as fixed state (an object) just popping into existence from one moment to the next without a time of becoming. This analysis indicates that the frame itself must be changing in some way, even though it may appear to us as if it is not

    This reminds me strongly of the "Implicate and Explicate Order" by Bohm (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implicate_and_explicate_order): I discussed (maily) with Rich about it some time ago in this thread.
    But also of "Advaita Vedanta" and Neoplatonism. Also this article https://phys.org/news/2015-05-spacetime-built-quantum-entanglement.html may be of interest.

    In this view plurality arises in the "representations" rather than in "reality". In fact, the notion of "reality" itself is challenged. Time and space exist only in the representation. And outside it these concepts do not apply: "reality" is neither spatial nor temporal. And so since discernible objects are possible if and only if there is space, then if space is a representation, then objects must exist only as a construction (like in a "hologram").
    boundless

    I read Bohm's "Implicate and Explicate Order" and I found that there was a deficiency in establishing a relationship between the two, implicate and explicate. If the explicate is what is evident to us, and this is proven to be illusionary, such that we must assume an implicate, then we need stronger principles upon which to found the implicate. So I find that there are two vague and deficient assumptions. The first is in the proposed illusionary nature of the explicate. There is actually a large amount of "reality" within what is taken to be representations or reflections, and this reality must be accounted for. The second, is that since the reality inherent in the illusionary explicate is not accounted for, then the implicate can be whatever one wants it to be, completely imaginary, because it does not necessarily need to relate to the explicate which is void of reality.

    And here with other senses "objects" return. So, we "see" the potentiality and with other senses we "feel" actual, existing objects. If this is true then our concept of "space" is mistaken because it is really the "space" of potentialities, rather than actualities. So "reality", thanks to the "two dimensional time" is both a sort of hologram of "potentialities" and a world of real objects. It is not that one is "more or less" real than the other but simply if we consider the totality of our sensations we see both "aspects" of reality. Very nice (I hope to not have misunderstood something... in that case, I am sorry).boundless

    Yes, I think you've understood what I was getting at quite well. That's the type of reality I propose. I may or may not be looking in the right direction, but this needs to be further developed to expose any deficiencies. I propose that the human consciousness straddles the divide between past and future, and that there is no crisp line of division. At this division between past and future, an inversion occurs whereby potentialities become actualities. The "space" of potentialities is entirely different from the "space" of actualities, so what is happening at the present is that space is changing in this way, from the space which accommodates potentialities to the space which accommodates actualities. I call this an inversion of space, perhaps the inside becomes outside.

    We've denied the non-temporal point of division between past and future as unreal, so we assume that the inversion requires time, and is not instantaneous. We have no observational access to this inversion because it occurs as an activity in a time which is perpendicular to our constructed flow of time. The constructed flow of time is a continuous present, whereas the inversion is constantly occurring across the present from future to past. We must therefore take observational data from each side of the inversion to create parallel timelines on each side of the inversion, and use logic to infer the nature of the inversion. So I suggest that we determine which senses receive data on which side of the inversion, and proceed from there. It appears like sight may be an interaction with existence on the side of the present which consists of potentialities, while hearing may be an interaction with existence on the side of the present which consists of actualities.

    But...
    I might wonder however to what "happens" if there is no "perciever". If all what we said is right then objects, time and space are all real if there is a subject (in some sense this is reminiscent of trascendental idealism, especially the version of Schopenhauer). But if this is true, then the "object is always in relation with a subject", therefore if we remove the "subject", the object too "disappears". Well, this reminds me of "neither one nor many" of Mahayana Buddhism (also for that matter Schopenhauer noted a common ground here) :wink:
    boundless

    The issue of removing the "subject" is not a real issue. It is a distraction. It is impossible to remove the subject, because this would be an act carried out by the subject, self-annihilation, and this would leave us with nothing, no perspective. If we imagine "no-perspective" then all time and space become one. there would be no individuation of one part of time, or one part of space. But the individuation and identification of objects, events, or anything, requires an individuation of a place in space, and a place in time. So it doesn't really make any sense to talk about these things as if there were no subject, because the existence of the subject is already necessarily assumed as inherent within us talking about these things. To ask questions about whether "the object" disappears without a subject is just to introduce contradiction into the discussion through the back door, because "the object" is something individuated by the subject in the first place. And introducing undetected, contradiction into the discussion, renders the discussion unintelligible.
  • boundless
    57
    I read Bohm's "Implicate and Explicate Order" and I found that there was a deficiency in establishing a relationship between the two, implicate and explicate. If the explicate is what is evident to us, and this is proven to be illusionary, such that we must assume an implicate, then we need stronger principles upon which to found the implicate. So I find that there are two vague and deficient assumptions. The first is in the proposed illusionary nature of the explicate. There is actually a large amount of "reality" within what is taken to be representations or reflections, and this reality must be accounted for. The second, is that since the reality inherent in the illusionary explicate is not accounted for, then the implicate can be whatever one wants it to be, completely imaginary, because it does not necessarily need to relate to the explicate which is void of reality.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, I can relate to your point. In fact to use the model of the five senses it only "explains" what we "see". In fact we are now saying that indeed there are "objects", which are not reflections. So Bohm's theory is incomplete in our reasoning.

    Yes, I think you've understood what I was getting at quite well. That's the type of reality I propose. I may or may not be looking in the right direction, but this needs to be further developed to expose any deficiencies. I propose that the human consciousness straddles the divide between past and future, and that there is no crisp line of division. At this division between past and future, an inversion occurs whereby potentialities become actualities. The "space" of potentialities is entirely different from the "space" of actualities, so what is happening at the present is that space is changing in this way, from the space which accommodates potentialities to the space which accommodates actualities. I call this an inversion of space, perhaps the inside becomes outside.Metaphysician Undercover

    I am very glad to have not misunderstood, then. It can also be said that in order to know "reality" we must know both the spaces. In this view a lot of metaphysics is "trascended", so to speak. What I mean by this? For example there are those who deny the existence of the potentialities. Instead we are saying that potentialities are an aspect of reality. On the other hand there are those who deny actualities. Again they are wrong. Anyway, both views are partial and incomplete in this model. And in fact to know reality we need to study both aspects. And again we return to the problem of the tint: we need more "means" to study it to have a "right understanding" of it.

    We've denied the non-temporal point of division between past and future as unreal, so we assume that the inversion requires time, and is not instantaneous. We have no observational access to this inversion because it occurs as an activity in a time which is perpendicular to our constructed flow of time. The constructed flow of time is a continuous present, whereas the inversion is constantly occurring across the present from future to past. We must therefore take observational data from each side of the inversion to create parallel timelines on each side of the inversion, and use logic to infer the nature of the inversion. So I suggest that we determine which senses receive data on which side of the inversion, and proceed from there. It appears like sight may be an interaction with existence on the side of the present which consists of potentialities, while hearing may be an interaction with existence on the side of the present which consists of actualities.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yeah, if the analysis made until now is correct, that is the way to proceed.

    The issue of removing the "subject" is not a real issue. It is a distraction. It is impossible to remove the subject, because this would be an act carried out by the subject, self-annihilation, and this would leave us with nothing, no perspective. If we imagine "no-perspective" then all time and space become one. there would be no individuation of one part of time, or one part of space. But the individuation and identification of objects, events, or anything, requires an individuation of a place in space, and a place in time. So it doesn't really make any sense to talk about these things as if there were no subject, because the existence of the subject is already necessarily assumed as inherent within us talking about these things. To ask questions about whether "the object" disappears without a subject is just to introduce contradiction into the discussion through the back door, because "the object" is something individuated by the subject in the first place. And introducing undetected, contradiction into the discussion, renders the discussion unintelligible.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yeah, I was only wondering the implications of what we are saying to see if I understood correctly (in fact it is a bit tangential). If there is a subject then time, space and objects are "real". Subject and objects cannot exist "on their own", so to speak. Like in Schopenhauer philosophy all that things exist in relation to the subject.

    Also let me explain better what I meant in these sentences:
    ..if we remove the "subject", the object too "disappears". Well, this reminds me of "neither one nor many" of Mahayana Buddhism (also for that matter Schopenhauer noted a common ground here)boundless
    I was not thinking about an "annihilation" of the perspective or of the subject, but I was trying to make a connection wit what I think I understood of Buddhist philosophy and Schopenhauer. In that eastern philosophy the "subject" is not real. So if we have estabilished that individuation is possible where there is the "subject", then if they are right there is no individuation. Also space and time also are not "real", in this case. But I agree that it is not a part of the model we are discussing, since we are assuming that the "subject" is real to make a theory of knowledge. But I found interesting the parallel :wink:
    if you wish you can ignore this part.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    3.9k
    Yes, I can relate to your point. In fact to use the model of the five senses it only "explains" what we "see". In fact we are now saying that indeed there are "objects", which are not reflections. So Bohm's theory is incomplete in our reasoning.boundless

    There are numerous different theories which model reality as waves. Objects are described as disturbances, and interference patterns. They are incomplete, as you say, and there are two directions of incompleteness. We have to account for the cause of the disturbances which we know as objects, and we have to account for the effects of the disturbances, which we also know as objects. The cause being described by forces like gravity, momentum, and such, and the effects being what is observed as actual particles. These wave models might account for seeing, as you say, but to account for hearing, and the other senses, I think we need real moving particles.

    I am very glad to have not misunderstood, then. It can also be said that in order to know "reality" we must know both the spaces.boundless

    Yes that's the way I model it in my mind, with two "spaces". One type of space is described by fields and wave functions, while the other type allows for objects moving freely in space. Then I propose that we draw a continuum between the two types of space, connecting them, that they are not really distinct, but one transforms into the other at each moment. This is the change which happens at each moment of passing time, and is allowed for by the time which is orthogonal to our timeline. I like to say, that at each moment of passing time, space inverts. The physical objects, particles which come to be at each moment, have traditionally been modeled as objects moving freely in a static space as time passes, but they need to be represented as features of an active space. Then space is the thing, and the objects are an attribute of it.

    Yeah, I was only wondering the implications of what we are saying to see if I understood correctly (in fact it is a bit tangential). If there is a subject then time, space and objects are "real". Subject and objects cannot exist "on their own", so to speak. Like in Schopenhauer philosophy all that things exist in relation to the subject.boundless

    I suppose, it's not that the issue of "the subject" is completely irrelevant, it's a matter of determining the position of the subject, what the subject is doing, and how the subject is capable of doing that. All these points are tied together and need to be answered together. We've denied the pure observation point, and allowed that the subject interacts with the material which is being observed.

    I've placed the physical objects, particles, on the effects side of the "field". Now we would need to turn toward the causal side. In my opinion, the field representation is inadequate. That's where I'm disappointed with Bohm, because he leads us directly toward this conclusion, but does not speak it, nor does he present any sort of alternative. Let me explain my misgivings in this way. A physical object, particle, or whatever, must occupy space in order that it be a real object. This principle allows that a particle may be infinitesimally small, but it cannot exist at a non-dimensional point. So there is a need to separate "a particle" which necessarily exists at a multitude of points, from the non-dimensional points themselves, which must be referred to in an effort to describe the dimensional particles.

    It is implied therefore, that we need to give reality to the non-dimensional point, in a manner other than as a particle, such that the non-dimensional point may have causal influence over real dimensional particles. This is why we need to model time as the 0th dimension, rather than the 4th. Perhaps the speed of light could serve as the basis for the 0th dimension. We create a baseline, 0 time, which represents the precise "present", and this is a claim to the point of spatial inversion. On the one side is positive spatial existence, particles which actually occupy space. On the other side is negative spatial existence, and this is represented by mathematical formulae which determine points of causal influence in the positive space. The further step is to determine the activity within the negative space, which is not necessarily limited by the speed of light because spatial existence, and extension itself, is inverted on the other side of zero.

    The difficulty with "the subject" is that the human being, in the form of the conscious mind, and free will, is active within the negative space. That is how we have the capacity of self-locomotion. So this refers back to the tinted glass problem, the subject doesn't really have the 0 time observation point, it must be created in hypothesis, and adhered to in order to determine the accuracy of the hypothesis. How the subject sees, or observes, an object is dependent on the type of object which the subject individuates, and this is dependent on the choice of a zero timeline.
  • noAxioms
    555
    Actually Copenhagen takes an instrumentalist view of the wave function and so denies there is ever more than one photon.Andrew M
    How does Copenhagen describe the cat in the box then? The cat is in superposition, both dead and alive, despite the measurement being taken from the cat POV. I realize that is a relational description, but I've known no other even before I knew the name for it.

    Defining reality as a relation only shifts the basic claim. The claim now is whether there is one measured outcome or whether there is a measured outcome for each relative state. Copenhagen and Bohm (and most other interpretations) deny the latter, contrary to MWI.
    Relational also denies the latter it seems. The other outcomes don't exist in relation to any observation.

    If the physical universe is a mathematical structure, and humans are part of it, and not something separate from it but interacting, then humans are 'in' the structure, just like my engine is in my car. How is that a category mistake?
    — noAxioms

    A mathematical structure is a formal construct not a physical thing.
    Agree. If the universe is a mathematical structure, then yes, it is not a physical thing. Doesn't seem to be one even if not. It contains physical things, but that's just how this structure works.
    The analogy is saying that your engine is in an equation.
    No, the car is, and it is a bad analogy because a car is thought of as a physical thing in a world of other things. The universe is not such an object.

    Conway game of life is such a structure. Not a physical thing, just formal construct. It does however have physical things in it, with particles that zoom around at varying speeds with casual laws, etc.
  • Janus
    5.2k
    To begin with, you have proposed that time is passing between the frames, without any physical change occurring. However, some sort of change is necessarily occurring at this time, because the next frame is being prepared for observation by us.Metaphysician Undercover

    I am considering the possibility that no time is passing and that there is no duration between frames, also that no time is passing, but that there is duration within frames. ( So time doesn't really "pass" at all).The only "preparation" for subsequent frames is previous frames. the previous frames infect or carry over into the subsequent frames. Change consists in the difference between frames, but there is really no 'continuous' change; a change is a quantum leap, so to speak.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    3.9k
    I am considering the possibility that no time is passing and that there is no duration between frames, also that no time is passing, but that there is duration within frames. ( So time doesn't really "pass" at all).Janus

    Now you're not making sense because you have no provision for change. How could change occur in this model unless the frames are not really still frames, but active frames? And if they are active frames why even propose a separation between them? They might just as well represent a continuously changing reality with arbitrary points of separation.

    The only "preparation" for subsequent frames is previous frames. the previous frames infect or carry over into the subsequent frames. Change consists in the difference between frames, but there is really no 'continuous' change; a change is a quantum leap, so to speak.Janus

    We must be able to account for change. To say that one frame is different from the next, and that there is a "quantum leap" from one to the next does not suffice, because there is still the issue which I described as the production of each frame. Each frame, being distinct from the last, must be individually produced. The production of the frames must be accounted for.
  • Janus
    5.2k
    We must be able to account for change. To say that one frame is different from the next, and that there is a "quantum leap" from one to the next does not suffice, because there is still the issue which I described as the production of each frame. Each frame, being distinct from the last, must be individually produced. The production of the frames must be accounted for.Metaphysician Undercover

    Subsequent frames are products of previous frames. If change were continuous then nothing could ever be anything. There would then not actually be any frames at all. We can think it only as one or the other; either each frame is changeless for the duration of its existence after which it immediately changes into the next different more or less frame and so on, or else one frame changes to the next gradually; in which case there would be no actual frames at all.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    3.9k
    Subsequent frames are products of previous frames.Janus

    OK, so each frame is active, it is doing something, it is creating the next frame.

    There would then not actually be any frames at all.Janus

    Right, you have described continuous change. What makes you want to describe this as frames?
  • boundless
    57
    There are numerous different theories which model reality as waves. Objects are described as disturbances, and interference patterns. They are incomplete, as you say, and there are two directions of incompleteness. We have to account for the cause of the disturbances which we know as objects, and we have to account for the effects of the disturbances, which we also know as objects. The cause being described by forces like gravity, momentum, and such, and the effects being what is observed as actual particles. These wave models might account for seeing, as you say, but to account for hearing, and the other senses, I think we need real moving particles.Metaphysician Undercover

    Agreed!

    Yes that's the way I model it in my mind, with two "spaces". One type of space is described by fields and wave functions, while the other type allows for objects moving freely in space. Then I propose that we draw a continuum between the two types of space, connecting them, that they are not really distinct, but one transforms into the other at each moment. This is the change which happens at each moment of passing time, and is allowed for by the time which is orthogonal to our timeline. I like to say, that at each moment of passing time, space inverts. The physical objects, particles which come to be at each moment, have traditionally been modeled as objects moving freely in a static space as time passes, but they need to be represented as features of an active space. Then space is the thing, and the objects are an attribute of it.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, in this model "objects" are not "active", but passive. It is space that "inverts" and causes the existence of objects. So, it is not that space arises from the interaction of objects (a la Leibniz) or that space is the static "background" (a la Newton), but space is an active agent in reality. Objects are therefore secondary ontologically. We know that Newton was wrong and now most physicists tend to accept the idea that space is "a product" of objects. Instead, it might be the other way around.

    I suppose, it's not that the issue of "the subject" is completely irrelevant, it's a matter of determining the position of the subject, what the subject is doing, and how the subject is capable of doing that. All these points are tied together and need to be answered together. We've denied the pure observation point, and allowed that the subject interacts with the material which is being observed.Metaphysician Undercover

    Agreed!

    I've placed the physical objects, particles, on the effects side of the "field". Now we would need to turn toward the causal side. In my opinion, the field representation is inadequate. That's where I'm disappointed with Bohm, because he leads us directly toward this conclusion, but does not speak it, nor does he present any sort of alternative. Let me explain my misgivings in this way. A physical object, particle, or whatever, must occupy space in order that it be a real object. This principle allows that a particle may be infinitesimally small, but it cannot exist at a non-dimensional point. So there is a need to separate "a particle" which necessarily exists at a multitude of points, from the non-dimensional points themselves, which must be referred to in an effort to describe the dimensional particles.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, I always had a problem with "point-particles". At best I always regarded them as a very useful approximation. In fact to me they cannot be real: they are simply a mathematical construct (that's way among other things I do not like Bohm's original theory - I mean: still those boring point-like particles :sad: )

    It is implied therefore, that we need to give reality to the non-dimensional point, in a manner other than as a particle, such that the non-dimensional point may have causal influence over real dimensional particles. This is why we need to model time as the 0th dimension, rather than the 4th. Perhaps the speed of light could serve as the basis for the 0th dimension. We create a baseline, 0 time, which represents the precise "present", and this is a claim to the point of spatial inversion. On the one side is positive spatial existence, particles which actually occupy space. On the other side is negative spatial existence, and this is represented by mathematical formulae which determine points of causal influence in the positive space. The further step is to determine the activity within the negative space, which is not necessarily limited by the speed of light because spatial existence, and extension itself, is inverted on the other side of zero.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yeah, in the "negative" space, there is no need to have a speed limit. After all we are talking about of potentialities and not real things (so, actually even defining a "speed" in this space is impossible). On the other hand we observe that (except maybe quantum entanglement) every interaction is local (it has a space dependence). So, in the "positive" space we need to take into account this "localization".

    Perhaps the speed of light could serve as the basis for the 0th dimensionMetaphysician Undercover

    This part is very interesting because speed of light can be both the limit speed of objects and be connected to time. However I have no idea how it might be related to the 0th dimension.

    The difficulty with "the subject" is that the human being, in the form of the conscious mind, and free will, is active within the negative space. That is how we have the capacity of self-locomotion. So this refers back to the tinted glass problem, the subject doesn't really have the 0 time observation point, it must be created in hypothesis, and adhered to in order to determine the accuracy of the hypothesis. How the subject sees, or observes, an object is dependent on the type of object which the subject individuates, and this is dependent on the choice of a zero timeline.Metaphysician Undercover

    The "knowing subject" of the trascendental idealists in fact lacks the ability to actively "interact" with its "world". Therefore the analogy I suggested with Schopenhauer is in fact limited.

    In fact as you note here even the individuation process is dependent on the actions of the subject. But here we can IMO gather infromation about the tint. In fact we can study how the individuation varies, how the objects vary etc. So, in fact we are not "stuck" in a certain perspective without hope to know other point of views.
  • Janus
    5.2k
    OK, so each frame is active, it is doing something, it is creating the next frame.Metaphysician Undercover

    What if the "doing" is not within each frame but consists in the the succession itself? You might want to talk about causation in terms of exchanges of energy or vectors of force; but these are inferences to 'something behind the scenes'; that does not appear within the frames at all.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.1k
    fdrake commented to me (privately):

    I've been reading this 'generalised probability' paper. The 'Heisenberg' uncertainty principle doesn't necessarily need a new form of probability axioms to demonstrate it. The result was actually known before Heisenberg and is a result of the theory of Fourier transforms. The position and momentum operators have an uncertainty principle because one is a Fourier transform of the other. This gives an example in terms of Gaussian distributions.

    The intuition behind this result is something like: say you have a function that is highly localised in space (it looks like an upside down U), then its Fourier transform has to have lots and lots of different types of frequencies to 'cancel out the tails' in frequency space to produce U. This means the Fourier transform is very dispersed in frequency space but (and thusly) less dispersed in the original space.

    A concrete and extreme example is given by a pure tone. Say someone plays a pure note A with frequency 28Hz. This pure tone, mathematically, wiggles all the way out from −∞ to ∞ - it is infinitely not-localised in position space. What about in frequency space? Well, it consists of a single frequency, 28Hz, so the function in frequency space consists of an infinite spike at 28Hz and is 0 everywhere else - infinitely localised.
    — fdrake

    Agreed, however this characterizes mathematically the duality of conjugate variables in quantum mechanics without supplying an interpretation (either realist or otherwise) of the wave function or of the measurement process. Hence, Heisenberg initially developed the mathematical apparatus of his "matrix mechanics" while being guided by the idea that the measurement process introduces an unavoidable perturbation of the measured system, and proceeded to quantify the resulting uncertainties. It was Bohr who convinced him to endorse a more radically instrumentalist interpretation of quantum states, which justified the characterization of Heisenberg's principle as a principle of (ontological) indetermimination rather than a principle (merely epistemic) uncertainty.

    Bitbol's own interpretation has been characterized by him, recently, as a radicalization of Rovelli's relational interpretation. That's because, like Rovelli, Bitbol views the nature of the relation between a quantum system and the agent who actively sets it up, and actively interacts with it, to be constitutive of (rather than merely informative about) what it is that is being measured. However, unlike Rovelli, Bitbol argues against the idea that the wave function (or vector state) that describes the composite system comprised of the observer, the apparatus and the observed system, constitutes a tool that allows for describing all the possible ways to factor this composite systems into an observed system an observer that this system is allegedly "relative" to. Bitbol rather interprets the wave function of the combined systems as merely a mathematical tool by means of which observers coordinate their mutual interactions and their intersubjective judgments about the physical systems that they interact with (and that are constituted by those interactions).
  • Andrew M
    400
    I always had this problem with "compatibilism". Free will requires that the "choice" is not totally conditioned by the past events whereas determinism implies that when the "initial conditions" are fixed (or better: when the state of the system is fixed at a certain time) then all events are "fixed".boundless

    It's a difference of definitions. As I use the term, free will means one can intentionally drink tea rather than coffee because that is what one wants to do. As distinct from situations where that freedom is absent, e.g., when there are no options or when one is forced to do something against their will.

    I think that reflects ordinary, pragmatic usage and is not precluded by a universe that evolves deterministically.

    It implies that even if you have a completely deterministic description of the universe which predicts I will drink tea, I am not bound by that description. Instead the correctness (or incorrectness) of the description depends on my choice to drink tea (or not).

    How does Copenhagen describe the cat in the box then? The cat is in superposition, both dead and alive, despite the measurement being taken from the cat POV. I realize that is a relational description, but I've known no other even before I knew the name for it.noAxioms

    Per Copenhagen, if the cat (or the Geiger counter) does the measurement then it is not described as being in superposition, only the atom is. And regarding the atom, the wave function is just a tool for calculating probabilities, nothing more. So asking about reality beyond what is observed is a meaningless question.

    Relational also denies the latter it seems. The other outcomes don't exist in relation to any observation.noAxioms

    It would seem so, but I'm not really sure. Per RQM, the quantum state continues to evolve unitarily for an external non-interacting observer (i.e., the superposition is maintained) while at the same time the quantum state reduces to a single definite outcome for the interacting observer (where that outcome is undefined, not merely unknown, for the non-interacting observer).

    That difference in perspective is easily accounted for in MWI. But it's not clear to me whether RQM allows multiple outcomes or not. If so, then it seems to be essentially MWI in different language. If not, then what explains interference?

    Conway game of life is such a structure. Not a physical thing, just formal construct. It does however have physical things in it, with particles that zoom around at varying speeds with casual laws, etc.noAxioms

    If Conway's Game of Life is instantiated on a computer, then gliders and the like emerge. But without that instantiation, it's just a formal construct where nothing happens at all.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.1k
    It implies that even if you have a completely deterministic description of the universe which predicts I will drink tea, I am not bound by that description. Instead the correctness (or incorrectness) of the description depends on my choice to drink tea (or not).Andrew M

    This is tricky. What you mean to say, possibly, is that the description of what it is that you are determined to do (actually, given "the past" and the deterministic laws that govern the evolution of the material universe) would not bind you if it were (counterfactually) supplied to you. That's because, of course, in the counterfactual scenario where you would be told what it is that you actually are predicted to do, the physical system that you are a part of would be (counterfactually) perturbed away from its actual evolution. Hence, in the counterfactual scenario, you may choose to deliberately do the opposite of what it is that was "predicted". That's because the "prediction" was effected under the assumption that you would not be informed about its content.

    What is most deeply true about compatibilism, I think, is the intuition that what can be concluded from a passive theoretical (predictive) stance does not conflict with that it is that can be decided on the basis of a practical (deliberative) stance. And that's because no agent can adopt both stances about herself at once. Deciding what one rationally ought to do is an activity that is inconsistent with passively predicting what it is that one is determined to do conditionally on one's own antecedent psychology and character. Mainstream compatibilist theories spoil this insight when they attempt to theorize the question of agency (and its internal conceptual link with practical deliberation) from within the theoretical stance and hence reify desires, wants and dispositions as some sorts of psychological forces that determine action.
  • Andrew M
    400
    Hence, in the counterfactual scenario, you may choose to deliberately do the opposite of what it is that was "predicted". That's because the "prediction" was effected under the assumption that you would not be informed about its content.Pierre-Normand

    I agree with your comments. However it wouldn't matter if the prediction did take into account that I would be informed about its content (assuming it didn't include a reward or threat). I would still be free to either accept or reject that prediction (i.e., to drink either tea or coffee) and there would be no inconsistency in either outcome.

    Mainstream compatibilist theories spoil this insight when they attempt to theorize the question of agency (and its internal conceptual link with practical deliberation) from within the theoretical stance and hence reify desires, wants and dispositions as some sorts of psychological forces that determine action.Pierre-Normand

    The ghost in the machine.
  • boundless
    57
    It's a difference of definitions. As I use the term, free will means one can intentionally drink tea rather than coffee because that is what one wants to do. As distinct from situations where that freedom is absent, e.g., when there are no options or when one is forced to do something against their will.

    I think that reflects ordinary, pragmatic usage and is not precluded by a universe that evolves deterministically.

    It implies that even if you have a completely deterministic description of the universe which predicts I will drink tea, I am not bound by that description. Instead the correctness (or incorrectness) of the description depends on my choice to drink tea (or not).
    Andrew M

    Yes, that "free will" is certainly possible in determinism. Nobody denies the "phenomenon" of "willing" and that in principle it is possible to choose tea rather than coffee.

    On the other hand, if determinism is true then all my choices are inevitable even if there are different options and if is not forced to choose in a way. Spinoza for example thought that "Blessedness" was the result of the realisation of this "inevitability". But in my opinion to have "free will" means that are choices are not inevitable. But it is also true that no theory of physics is compatible with this "type" of free will, not even "probabilism". Again, it is my opinion that this does not show the absence of "free will" but rather this incompatibility shows that our understanding of reality is incomplete.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    3.9k
    Agreed!boundless

    It's unusual to get such agreement at TPF, especially since most would consider my ideas to be rather unconventional.

    We know that Newton was wrong and now most physicists tend to accept the idea that space is "a product" of objects. Instead, it might be the other way around.boundless

    There is a matter of distinguishing the concept from the thing which it is a concept of. The Newtonian concept of space was derived from an understanding of objects, and the need for a "space" for them to move in. In this way, space is derived from objects, but that's only conceptually, in abstraction. We can look at the relationship between space and objects logically (if there are objects then there is space) and conclude that space is necessary for the existence of objects. Therefore space is prior to objects. Of course the real existence of point particles would defy this principle, but as you say, the trend is to make space a property of what exists, not vise versa. We can look at time in the same way. The concept of time is derived from an understanding of motion and change. It is a generalization. So we can say "if there is change then there is time". This logical process leads to the necessity of positing "time" as something real, but its reality is only apprehended directly by the mind (intuited). But we cannot logically support "if there is time then there is change". So this allows for the proposition that time is prior to change.

    This part is very interesting because speed of light can be both the limit speed of objects and be connected to time. However I have no idea how it might be related to the 0th dimension.boundless

    This is probably beyond my capacity to explain or even understand, but since you seem to have a fundamental understanding of my hypothesis I'll offer some further speculation. We have two distinct concepts of space, one allows for the movement of actual massive objects, the other has mathematical formulae, fields which allow for possibilities, wave functions. We have allowed that each corresponds to a real space, the former positive space and the latter negative space, and we have discussed a hypothetical zero time, zero dimension, which separates the two as the proposed precise moment of the present.

    Consider Galilean relativity. Motion is determined relative to an inertial frame, but it could be any inertial frame, and the motion is through the medium, empty space. Now Einstein created consistency between Galilean relativity, and the constancy of the speed of light, so light is brought into this conception of space, which allows for objects moving in space. Light is positioned as the boundary to this conception of objects in space, but it is important to note that it is a conception of objects in space, rather than the alternative conception of light, which was waves in an ether. So light is placed into positive space, therefore it can only be understood, under the precepts of special relativity, as an object in space. Now we have a massless non-inertial particle, a photon, and this is a precedent for other such particles to follow in conception.

    Let's separate negative space from positive space. We'll assume that from the human being's perspective, mass is the defining property of positive space, actual existence. Individual objects of mass have actual existence in spatial relations with inertia (temporal extension). Light is proper to negative space, and it is the activity of negative space, the space of possibility, which is most evident to us. Our understanding of the temporal extension of mass is as actually existing objects which will continue to be in a determinate way, expressed in a simple way, by Newtonian laws. However there is still instability of mass, which allows massive objects to be broken apart, united, or moved by energy from the negative space, so not even mass is free from possibility, in reality (this is why we can move our bodies freely, as inclined by free will). This means that even mass, despite its primary attribute of inertia, must come to be from the negative space of possibility. From our consciously produced temporal perspective, it appears to have already come to be actual, and has a determinate existence.

    When we look at a massive object, we see a solid object. But sight sees in the negative space, so we are not really seeing the mass of the object. Mass doesn't really exist as solid objects it exists as tiny particles at the nucleus of the atom, with space between them. So there is space, as positive space, between particles of mass, and the representation of an object of mass as having a centre point of gravity cannot be accurate. Each particle of mass has its own spatial location. The problem is that this space within objects (or between massive particles) is understood by us through the interactions of light, electrons, and other massless particles which is most likely the activity of negative space. So our approach to positive space, using the speed of light as a constant, is through negative space and we have an inadequate understanding of negative space. This becomes more evident if we extrapolate to larger and larger massive objects, like the solar system, and the galaxy. Each planet is seen as a massive object with space between, and we understand and measure this space through the activity of light. But space between massive objects is positive space, and the activity of light is in negative space. So we have basic principles which measure distance in positive space, then we relate the activity of light as if it were moving in positive space, and we derive a speed of light. The designated speed of light is inaccurate because of this conflation of negative space with positive space.

    To derive the true speed of light we must bring light into the positive space, as a particle of mass, having determinate, actual existence, instead of existing as possibilities. But this may be just out of the range of the breadth of the present of human perception, because light appears to us as the possibility for change. So it must be redefined as an actuality and this requires locating individual particles in relation to massive objects and establishing a positioning in this way. This could create the base for the zero dimension line.

    Remember, the orthogonal timelines marking moments in time represent a changing space The zero point represents the emergence of massive existence, which means that things are fixed, determined as actual, inertial, at that point. If we hypothetically draw the zero line, it will go diagonally, or most likely curved (due to exponential features of changing space) across the orthogonal breadth of the present, toward the future of the traditional timeline. If the orthogonal timelines represent an inverting space, then spatial distances cannot be properly related from one side of the present to the other, without producing this diagonal line. The massive object comes into positive space, having actual existence, at the far right end of the hypothetical orthogonal timeline, t1, and it is determined in its positioning by spatial separations (distances) which are radically different from the spatial separations at the left side of the orthogonal timeline, where light obtains fixed, actual, inertial existence. By the time that t1 has reached this point of light having actual existence in positive space, photons, the coming into positive space of the more massive particles, is probably already up to t3, t4, or some higher number.

    The speed of light is now the base speed for activity in the negative space. It is derived from the left hand side of the orthogonal timelines when space has fully inverted and spatial separation at 'the present" has maximized its meaningfulness. As we look toward the source of the orthogonal timelines, to the right, when the inversion of space is just beginning, spatial separation is completely different, allowing for interactions between particles, which if they were related at the other end of the timeline would appear as faster than the speed of light.
  • Janus
    5.2k
    Again, it is my opinion that this does not show the absence of "free will" but rather this incompatibility shows that our understanding of reality is incomplete.boundless

    This is the salient point when it comes to freedom of the will. The conundrum is that our understandings of reality are always couched in terms of causation. When we try to understand freedom of the will, we inevitably try to understand what could cause such a freedom to exist, and the inevitable answer is that nothing conceivably could, because if freedom were other-caused, rather than self-caused, then it simply would not be freedom as it is conceived in the libertarian sense.
  • boundless
    57


    Hello,

    Thank you for your informative reply. Much appreciated :smile:

    Actually I am here to learn unconventional ideas and ways to looking at things. So I am really enjoying our discussion :up: I cannot tell you if your model is "right" or not, but IMO it has indeed its good points.

    Anyway, I will not be able to write a decent reply until probably Friday, so please be patient :pray:

    This is the salient point when it comes to freedom of the will. The conundrum is that our understandings of reality are always couched in terms of causation. When we try to understand freedom of the will, we inevitably try to understand what could cause such a freedom to exist, and the inevitable answer is that nothing conceivably could, because if freedom were other-caused, rather than self-caused, then it simply would not be freedom as it is conceived in the libertarian sense.Janus

    Hi,

    Indeed it is a very contentious point. I propose now three "solutions".

    The first solution might be thinking "free will" as an emergent phenomenon, like the "phases of matter". But clearly this "emergent" phenomenon is quite strange (for example, I do not think that it is possible to make a mathematical model that describes it).

    The second solution is to accept that our ability of "free agency" has an origin in time and that it is impssible to explain it with a natural explanation. In this case we need to assume a "supernatural" origin and a theist might argue that our soul is a creation of God.

    A third possibility might be assuming that we are in a situation like the beginningless "samsara" of many Indian philosophies and religions (or something close to it). In this case our "souls" or (as the Buddhist would say) "mindstreams" have no beginning and therefore their "free agency" is beginningless (and therefore has no cause*).

    I am assuming you are referring to a cause "in time" and not an "ontological" cause, which is more general and can be atemporal.

    P.S. I had some problems in posting this reply. In fact I edited two precedent versions of it and they "disappeared" automatically. I apologize for the inconvenience.
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