• Gnomon
    464
    Why then, did cosmologists feel the need to invoke a "supernatural agency" to explain the logically "prior" cause of the Big Bang? — Gnomon
    I suppose for the same reason that ancient cartographers used to write "here be dragons" at the edges of their maps.
    Siti
    I doubt you really believe they imagined a Multiverse to fill-in a scary blank in our knowledge by warning people away from the unexplored territory. My theory is that they created the Multiverse myth because it was necessary to indicate that there's nothing special about our world (Copernican Principle). Before the Big Bang discovery, atheists could feel confident (faith?) that the physical world was simply a brute fact, with no need for a First Cause or Creator. Then, the physical evidence upset that smugma (smug-dogma) by indicating mathematically that space-time had a beginning-point that begged for an explanation : either nothing-special randomness, or (heaven forbid!) special-creation.

    For similar reasons, Atheists are confident (faith?) that we will soon find evidence of other inhabitable planets with alien life-forms out there in the vast cosmos, to prove once & for all that there's nothing special about humans. Yet again, the physical evidence, that we know at this moment, indicates that homo sapiens is the apogee of evolution. So, some imagine that, if not aliens, then at least dolphins will soon replace us as the singular moral agents in the world. This would prove what they already believe : that there's nothing special about humanity.

    For all I know --- I'm agnostic --- there might be nothing special about our universe. My hypothetical axiomatic G*D is perfectly capable of creating billions of worlds. But this is the only one I have any experience with. Everything else is mere possibility. And you have nothing to fear from my feckless imaginary G*D. So no need to put warning signs at the frontier to keep adventurers and speculators away. You might as well say, "here be Unicorns".

    There's no harm, but how does it help?Siti
    Just as the Multiverse hypothesis gives Cosmologists a possible explanation for everything physical in this world, my G*D hypothesis gives me a plausible explanation for everything metaphysical in this present world. But the materialistic dogma of modern Science leaves the most important features of this world, to humans, inaccessible.

    Such mysteries as how Minds emerged from Matter may be clarified, if we assume the potential for Consciousness was already programmed into the primordial substance of the world : Energy & Laws that I refer to as EnFormAction. If Biochemists were to approach their work with that possibility in mind, they might discover some missing clues to the origin of Life & Mind. Their materialistic worldview has allowed no further progress since the Miller-Urey experiment. Darwinian evolution leaves the origin of Life as an unexplained miracle of chemistry, performed by some yet-to-be-discovered magic enzyme. But, my theory sees such mundane miracles everywhere in the world : phase changes, speciation, emergent properties, etc.

    The "magic" is in the dual functions of Information : it's both energy & ideas, both matter & mind. And that notion didn't just spring full-blown from my layman's fervid imagination. I can link you to hundreds of books & articles, by credentialed scientists, who have come to the same conclusion : that immaterial information is the essence of reality.

    Is Information Fundamental? :
    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/is-information-fundamental/
    https://www.closertotruth.com/series/information-fundamental
  • Gnomon
    464
    So I've got time, change and experience as fundamentals.Siti
    All of those essential elements are emergent properties of the more fundamental principle of my theory : EnFormAction. EFA can be imagined as a Program of Information, that creates (computes, reckons, realizes) Change (Energy), Duration (Time), and Experience (Mind). Information is meaningful relationships (A:B), mathematical ratios (X/Y), and values (A=B).

    Time is not a thing itself, it's a mental construct to explain Change. Change is not a thing, but merely a mental construct to explain Difference. Experience is not a thing, just the mental concept of Things that Change over Time (i.e. Difference).

    All of those boil down to Information, which is responsible for both Matter & Mind. To explain Things & Events is to know their relationships within the matrix of reality.

    In terms of Physics, EFA is equivalent to Energy and the Laws that regulate change. In terms of Metaphysics, EFA is equivalent to Elan Vital (the organizing principle) that leads to Life & Mind. In terms of your post, you could call it "a panexperiential, evolutionary relational process of physical reality...all the way down".

    That essential principle of reality works "all the way down" from Big Bang to today's lunch. And presumably, it works "all the way up" to the Mind that wrote the Program --- unless of course, you prefer an eternal random number generator.

    Any questions? :nerd:


    Program : a set of related measures or activities with a particular long-term aim.

    Information : "the difference (1) that makes a difference (2)"
    Difference (1) is Change over time; difference (2) is Experience registered in a mind.
  • Siti
    72
    EFA is equivalent to Elan VitalGnomon
    But wasn't elan vital abandoned by biologists when it became clear that evolution (aka change) was the driving force of biological variation? The potential for novelty is within the current reality - not without

    ...and 'experientiality' - i.e. the essential relatedness of everything to everything else (rather than some mysterious and supernatural 'organizing principle') - is what guides - or rather limits - the extent of genuine novelty that can emerge.

    Any questions?Gnomon
    Only one: is 'experientiality' a real word?
  • Gnomon
    464
    But wasn't elan vital abandoned by biologistsSiti
    Yes. Because they were looking for a measurable physical force like gravity. But in 1907, Bergson only meant it metaphorically as a natural organizing principle, not "some mysterious and supernatural 'organizing principle'".

    Elan Vital was similar to what I call Enformy, and to what physicists now refer to by the awkward term Negentropy. According to Claude Shannon, Information is measured in terms of Negentropy. The only thing "supernatural" about Information/Enformy is the postulated eternal Enformer. Do you think Negentropy existed prior to the Big Boom?

    The potential for novelty is within the current reality - not withoutSiti
    In terms of physical evolution, yes. In terms of First Cause Creation, it's a miracle. :smile:

    Only one: is 'experientiality' a real word?Siti
    Not in my vocabulary. :cool:
    But, in my version of Process Theory, I call that inter-relatedness "Holism" or the BothAnd Principle.

    Enformy : In the Enformationism theory, Enformy is a hypothetical, holistic, metaphysical, natural trend or force, that counteracts Entropy & Randomness to produce complexity & progress.
    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page8.html

    Negentropy : reverse entropy. It means things becoming more in order. By 'order' is meant organisation, structure and function: the opposite of randomness or chaos.
    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negentropy
  • Siti
    72
    Do you think Negentropy existed prior to the Big Boom?Gnomon

    Well that's the sixty-four thousand dollar question isn't it? If we extrapolate back, the 2nd law of thermodynamics states that we should see evidence of greater order (lower entropy) the further back we go..."the singularity" that some people imagine was the origin of the universe must have been perfectly ordered - which is just another way of saying there was only one possible state it could have been in and still been "the singularity"...a perfectly ordered universe consisting of just one thing in only one of precisely one possible states - you can't get more negentropic than that. But then whence the increasing disorder...and whence the little pockets of relative order - like the Gnomons and the Sitis - little biological oases of relative orderliness swimming for a spell against the tide of an otherwise decadently chaotic world before being swept away by the waves of overwhelming entropic reality...

    ...and yet, we also imagine the order of the apparently anthropophilic universe having emerged from primordial chaos to create a world favourable to a particular species of relatively large-brained ape in a far flung corner of an otherwise unremarkable galaxy at the biological and philosophical center of the exquisitely ordered cosmos.

    Clearly these two cannot both be right - my guess is that they are both dead wrong. My guess is that there never was a perfectly ordered singularity, and neither was there ever a completely chaotic lack of order. My guess is that this is why the universe was able to get from there (wherever that was) to here (wherever that is) without passing through eternity. My guess is that the universe will be somewhere between chaos and order - always and forever. My guess is that 'something' rather than 'nothing' banged. My guess is that that 'something' was neither perfectly ordered nor absolutely chaotic, but somewhere in between...so yes - I suppose I do think negentropy existed prior to the BB - and so did entropy - but as to whether these could be characterized by anything resembling the 2nd law that characterizes them in 'this" (post Big Bang) 'universe' - I have no idea...and apart from a few metaphysical speculators - some of whom also happen to be rather smart physicists - neither does anyone else.
  • Gnomon
    464
    "the singularity" that some people imagine was the origin of the universe must have been perfectly ordered - which is just another way of saying there was only one possible stateSiti
    Those people are materialists, and imagine that all the stuff in the present universe was stuffed into the
    Singularity. But that's physically impossible. So instead, I imagine that the singularity was a program of coded (numerical) instructions for creating a world from scratch (i.e. from nothing but creative Information/Energy/EnFormAction). Potential Energy, because it's not actual, takes-up no space, and requires no time. So it can easily be compressed into a spaceless/timeless mathematical Point. Metaphysical Information is dimensionless, and can be compressed infinitely. How much space does the number 1.314 . . . . occupy?

    The notion is similar to a physical gene as a recipe for building a physical body. The adult body is a billion times larger than the gene, but the information in the gene is not the amino acids, but the organization and interrelationships (the Code). Likewise, the information in the Singularity takes-up no space or time, so it began as a singular dimensionless state --- until the program was started by by the metaphorical act of pressing the "Run" button we call the Big Bang. That's when the fun began. :grin:

    But then whence the increasing disorder.Siti
    Unlike the monistic Singularity, the space-time world is dualistic. Like a cell dividing, the first step in running the program is to make a difference (division), in which one thing becomes two. So evolution is a continuation of universal division and discrimination. And each phase transition is thermodynamic, in the sense that it divides Hot from Cold : Energy from Entropy. So, we now call that process of creative order positive Evolution, and the process of disorder is Entropy. In a space-time world of incessant change, disorder is inevitable. It's a by-product of all construction. You win some, you lose some. :wink:

    My guess is that the universe will be somewhere between chaos and order - always and forever.Siti
    Well, maybe not forever. Cosmologists now predict that the war between Chaos and Order (Entropy & Energy) will eventually self-destruct, by neutralizing each other in a "Big Sigh" of Entropy. The temperature at that point will be absolute Zero. No more Change.

    My guess is that 'something' rather than 'nothing' banged. My guess is that that 'something' was neither perfectly ordered nor absolutely chaotic, but somewhere in betweenSiti
    That "something" is what I call the Program of Creation (the Singularity). In order to produce Change, it had to be polarized : to create both Energy & Entropy, Hot & Cold, Order & Disorder. When the program said "let there be light", the first vibration began as a distinction between On & Off, Up & Down. And that Difference (change) makes a Difference (meaning), which we now call "Enformation".

    If that dimensionless point was literally Infinite, then was it unbounded space, or no space at all? But what difference does it make? If the Singularity preceded the emergence of space-time, was the "before" timeless or Eternal? Space & Time are meaningless without Matter & Energy. So the point of origin would have been either No-thing (no matter, no energy), or everything-in-Potential : the power to create matter & energy. That Omni-potential is what I call G*D. But you can call it Deus, if you prefer.. :joke:


    Big Bang Singularity : The universal origin story known as the Big Bang postulates that, 13.7 billion years ago, our universe emerged from a singularity — a point of infinite density and gravity — and that before this event, space and time did not exist (which means the Big Bang took place at no place and no time).Dec 5, 2017
    https://www.space.com/38982-no-big-bang-bouncing-cosmology-theory.html
  • Siti
    72
    Well, maybe not forever. Cosmologists now predict that the war between Chaos and Order (Entropy & Energy) will eventually self-destruct, by neutralizing each other in a "Big Sigh" of Entropy. The temperature at that point will be absolute Zero. No more Change.Gnomon

    But that would be the end of time - no time, no change, no anything...that can be the end, but it could not possibly be the beginning...how could change possibly arise from changelessness? So the universe will have, must have, been somewhere between chaos and order for the entirety of time - forever.

    Space & Time are meaningless without Matter & Energy.Gnomon
    Egg zackly! And vice versa. What is the use of en-ergy if there is no time or space in which to erg en? That's the problem I came up against as I attempted to formulate my own worldview. Space and time are surely not, it seemed to me, just sitting around waiting to be filled with matter and energy...but just as surely, matter and energy cannot exist without time and space. So the physical world (at least) must have always had both matter/energy and space/time and it will always have to have both - forever and ever, world without end - amen! That is the essence (isn't it?) of the physicalist worldview.
  • Gnomon
    464
    But that would be the end of time - no time, no change, no anything...that can be the end, but it could not possibly be the beginningSiti
    Einstein described the universe enigmatically as "finite-but-unbounded". That literally means "finite-but-infinite". How can we make sense of such a contradiction? I think it's both. The finite aspect is physics, and the infinite aspect is metaphysics. They are not two different universes, but two sides of the same coin. Yet, it takes Einsteinian imagination to see beyond what's actual to what's possible.

    If we imagine for a moment, that unlimited Eternity-Infinity is the base state, then Space-Time is contingent upon that non-physical fundament (equivalent to the absurd quantum state of superposition)*1. Likewise, Actual particles are contingent upon Virtual particles. When the full cycle of the space-time world has run its course, what will remain is what was "there" before the "beginning", which is all possibilities superimposed in a timeless-spaceless-unformed state. The notion of eternal nothingness is, of course, absurd to a materialist, even though they pretend to understand quantum queerness. But spiritualists have postulated such a timeless Ultimate Reality for millennia : e.g. Brahman. My Enformationism is an attempt to make sense of both ancient Spiritualism and modern Materialism. The bridge between those opposing views is the dual function of Information : it's both physical quantifiable (Shannon), and metaphysical qualifiable (Bayesian).

    The New Age movement among young people in the 20th century, was a rejection of Western Materialism, which threw-out Qualia with the religious bathwater. So, they turned to Eastern religions, looking for what was missing in meaningless modern society. But, they became enchanted by the imaginary magical aspects of their new worldview, with visions of Transcendental Meditators "flying" in the lotus position, and the adolescent appeal of being able to "throw Chi" at their enemies, and the power of hallucinogenic drugs to allow ordinary people to leave their bodies and wander the world . Unlike Eternity/Infinity, those real-world possibilities are subject to empirical testing, and have been found to be BS.

    So, my approach to the same missing Quality of Life problem was to combine the best ideas of the ancient world (Metaphysics) with the best ideas of the modern world (Physics). I found that Consilience in the definition of Information as the fundamental element of both physical reality (Quanta) and metaphysical ideality (Qualia). But I didn't just make that up. The notion was expressed repeatedly by the pioneers of Quantum Physics. Which unfortunately inspired the New Age notions of Quantum Mysticism. My position though is that the ancient sages were not idiots, but insightful philosophers, who interpreted the mysteries of the world in metaphorical terms. Unfortunately, the masses took their allegories literally, which led to the many errors of world religions. What they called "Spirit", invisible forces, we now call "Energy". But a rose by another name is still the power to cause change. It's the Act of En-Forming (information). Although Energy is invisible and intangible (metaphysical), we know it by its effects on matter (physics).

    Logically, what is inherently impossible in Space-Time would be inevitable in Infinity-Eternity. Logically, if something exists, then the possibility of existence must be prior to the actuality of something. But why should we believe that such a counter-intuitive Ideality is more real than Reality? We shouldn't, unless we can understand how that Ideal stuff (metaphysics) relates to the Real stuff (Physics). And that is the long-range project of the Enformationism thesis.

    The core problem is that the evolved human brain is designed to make the physical world predictable (science) in order to ensure survival. Ironically, that brain has also developed the ability to imagine "realities" that don't exist in the here & now. Which allows people to predict unlikely futures and to make them happen. For example, they imagine idealized Utopias in empty spaces, and then work to make them real. Ironically, that same imaginary power has allowed people to imagine invisible gods & demons interfering in the normal operations of the world. But we can laugh at those in Bible times who believed that diseases were caused by demons. Yet modern doctors expect us to believe that we are besieged by invisible bacteria and viruses. The difference is that medical doctors are slightly better than witch-doctors at curing the sick. And placebos work better than most drugs, even though the active ingredient is faith. The power of the mind (metaphysics), is far above the power of the body (physics).

    If the clock of space-time was wound-up 14 billion years ago, and will run-down in a few billion more years, that would be the death of our world. Hence, it has a finite life-span. When a baby is born, where was it before it emerged in a Big Pop? When an old man dies, where does his Persona/Self go? We don't know the answers, but that doesn't stop us from imagining various scenarios. Some assume there was a pool of souls waiting to be born. while others try to imagine that something came from nothing. I don't know what will remain when Time stops ticking, but based on worldly experience, nothing comes from nothing. So, I must assume there was the Possibility of something, before there was the Actuality of something. Chaos before Cosmos*2. Does that make sense? :nerd:


    *1 Superposition : all possible quantum states from 0 to 100% actual

    *2 Chaos : In ancient Greek creation myths Chaos was the void state preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos. It literally means "emptiness", but can also refer to a random undefined unformed state that was changed into the orderly law-defined enformed Cosmos. In modern Cosmology, Chaos can represent the eternal/infinite state from which the Big Bang created space/time. In that sense of infinite Potential, it is an attribute of G*D, whose power of EnFormAction converts possibilities (Platonic Forms) into actualities (physical things).




    What is the use of en-ergy if there is no time or space in which to erg en?Siti
    Time and Space are indeed necessary for Kinetic Energy to work. But my EnFormAction is a combination of Potential Energy and the Laws that limit its application in reality. Potential Energy is not actual, so it does not occupy space or time. It's essentially the idea of Change, not the effect. The Laws of Nature are not written on slabs of stone, but inscribed in the code of the Big Bang.
  • Siti
    72
    we can laugh at those in Bible times who believed that diseases were caused by demons. Yet modern doctors expect us to believe that we are besieged by invisible bacteria and viruses. The difference is that medical doctors are slightly better than witch-doctors at curing the sick. And placebos work better than most drugs, even though the active ingredient is faith. The power of the mind (metaphysics), is far above the power of the body (physics).Gnomon

    Oh c'mon Gnomon! You almost had me believing that you had a solid argument - not one that I happen to agree with you understand, but a solid one nvevertheless...that was until I read this half paragraph that I just quoted...seriously? Are you suggesting that bacteria and viruses are not material realities? And "placebos work better than most drugs"? Where's your evidence for that?

    Chaos before Cosmos*2. Does that make sense?Gnomon
    Not one bit I'm afraid...

    ...and you seem to be deliberately misapplying terms like "Potential Energy" - which is, of course, actual - it is a property of actual objects in the physical world - like a boulder at the top of the cliff just before the Roadrunner tips it over and prompts all that potential (work-within) energy to manifest as motion (kinetic) as gravity draws it inevitably downwards towards a hapless and unsuspecting Wile E Coyote below. That energy did not miraculously "cross over" some boundary between ideal unreality and physical actuality as your comments seem to suggest - it was there all the time as a function of the physical mass and the physical location of the boulder - none of it happens or exists outside of space-time...

    And then you put the icing on your obfuscatory cake by redefining chaos as some kind of infinite "state" of unlimited potentiality - that is not what either the ancient Greek mythological, or the modern scientific conceptions of chaos meant at all. As applied to the primordial condition of whatever preceded the existence of the apparently ordered cosmos, chaos simply meant "formlessness", "emptiness" or "nothingness". In the modern scientific context chaos describes the inherent unpredictability of complex physical systems. One requires a supernatural agent to intervene to bring order, the other suggests that no agent could possibly predict the future evolution of a reality of such complexity as the universe with precision on account of the inherent unpredictability of the system itself.

    The Laws of Nature are not written on slabs of stone, but inscribed in the code of the Big Bang.Gnomon
    They are written on slabs of stone - or rather IN slabs of stone...and in living cells and molecules and stars and clouds and trees and...well you get the picture...just as the 'en' of 'en-ergy' signifies a capacity for work that resides within a physical system, so the laws of nature reside within nature. If not, then what possible (difference-making) meaning could those laws have in the absence of nature? In your proposed primordial ideality of unlimited potentiality, what possible meaning could those "laws" have had? What possible difference could they have made to anything? And, as I have argued before, if it makes no difference at all to anything at all, it quite probably doesn't exist at all.
  • Gnomon
    464
    Oh c'mon Gnomon! You almost had me believing that you had a solid argumentSiti
    Drat! My nefarious scheme to pull the wool over your eyes was foiled again, by your astute reasoning. :wink:

    Are you suggesting that bacteria and viruses are not material realities?Siti
    No. That's not what I said. Your astute reasoning missed the point.Those infectious agents are invisible to the naked eye. So ancient people attributed diseases to demons. They are still invisible to the naked eye, but today we are assured by scientists that they are the cause of many diseases. So, from the perspective of the average person, they are just as real as the demons of the pre-scientific era. I've never seen a virus, except in photographs (ancients also had pictures of demons), but I take it on faith in scientists that they are both agents of disease, and tools for curing disease.

    And "placebos work better than most drugs"?Siti
    Doctors don't like to admit it, but the placebo effect is a major weapon in their arsenal against disease --- just as it always has been for tribal shamen. I just read today, in Skeptical Inquirer magazine, about a doctor who kept Pink Pills in his office, to assuage the ambiguous ailments of those for whom he had nothing better to offer. Often, they would return, asking for more of those effective Pink Pills. He also gave some to his daughter as candy.

    The Powerful Placebo : https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/The_powerful_placebo

    ...and you seem to be deliberately misapplying terms like "Potential Energy" - which is, of course, actualSiti
    Again, you have missed the point. Potential Energy is indeed a feature of the Real World. It's only the ultimate source of all energy, pre-Big Bang, that I refer to as "Ideal". Scientists cannot measure energy stored in material form, until it does something. They know the voltage of a chemical battery, because they have measured similar setups. But they can't actually measure the voltage until electric current is flowing. They know what energy does, but they only know what it is mathematically by imagining an invisible point in space relative to another point : it's a ratio or relationship (information), not a piece of matter.

    Potential Energy : Potential energy is fundamentally energy due to position in a field.
    https://www.quora.com/Does-potential-energy-really-exist

    And then you put the icing on your obfuscatory cake by redefining chaos as some kind of infinite "state" of unlimited potentialitySiti
    The Greeks had a primitive notion of what we now call Thermodynamics. Since they saw evidence that the order of the world was constantly declining (entropy), they wondered where the original organization came from. So, they imagined a default state of disorder or void or nothingness, and then reasoned that it took an input of creative energy to organize nothing into something. Modern cosmologists also assume that there was nothing prior to the Big Bang, except the potential for organization (chaos, scalar energy field). Both of those essences (inert energy + physical laws) are literally no-thing until actualized. But combine creative power with laws to regulate the application of power, and voila! you have Matter & Physics. When scientists imagine something essential prior to the beginning of space-time, who is obfuscating whom?


    Order & Disorder : In thermodynamics, entropy is commonly associated with the amount of order, disorder, or chaos in a thermodynamic system.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_(order_and_disorder)

    Chaos : In ancient Greek creation myths Chaos was the void state preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos. It literally means "emptiness", but can also refer to a random undefined unformed state that was changed into the orderly law-defined enformed Cosmos. In modern Cosmology, Chaos can represent the eternal/infinite state from which the Big Bang created space/time. In that sense of infinite Potential, it is an attribute of G*D, whose power of EnFormAction converts possibilities (Platonic Forms) into actualities (physical things).
    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page12.html

    In the modern scientific context chaos describes the inherent unpredictability of complex physical systems.Siti
    Just as they applied the ancient notion of "Atom", to a modern discovery that is not literally un-cuttable, scientists loosely applied the ancient notion of "primal disorder" to the modern discovery that there is potential order within a physically disordered system. In the real world, there is no absolute Chaos; there is only "apparent" chaos, with mysterious potential for order, once triggered by initial conditions. That's similar to the Big Bang Singularity containing the potential for a whole universe in a dimensionless mathematical point. Something triggered that potential into a Phase Change with both initial conditions, and the power to create matter.

    Deterministic Chaos : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory

    If not, then what possible (difference-making) meaning could those laws have in the absence of nature? In your proposed primordial ideality of unlimited potentiality, what possible meaning could those "laws" have had?Siti
    Again, you missed the point of EnFormAction : it's the concept plus the execution, law plus action. If you have the idea of something new in your mind, what difference could it make in the real world --- until the Idea is implemented by action? Nature is the implementation, the actualization, of the idea of a world. Besides, what possible meaning could abstract (immaterial) mathematics (ratios) have in nature, apart from implementations by humans, who saw invisible relations between things?

    For example, Einstein used the abstruse math of Riemann to describe his novel notion of Space-Time, as one of zillions of possible n-dimensional manifolds (hyperspace). Even the relatively simple 4D version of that concept is meaningless to the majority of humans, but when applied by a few physicists, it can allow puny humans to project their influence into outer space. Information is the abstract Difference (ratio) that makes a meaningful Difference (relationship) to a receptive mind, When that information is applied to the real world, it makes a physical Difference. :nerd:
  • Siti
    72
    They know what energy does, but they only know what it is mathematically by imagining an invisible point in space relative to another point : it's a ratio or relationship (information), not a piece of matter.Gnomon

    Now who's missing the point? Just because it itself is not a piece of matter doesn't mean it is does not belong to the material world. In any case, what would be the potential energy of a point? Your argument loses weight when you reduce it to points - and the point, in the case of gravitational potential energy (for example), would be a center of gravity - an imaginary point alright, but that doesn't mean that the material reality of the body in question is in question - or that it really has that potential energy. Mind you, it might very well turn out that ultimately potential energy is really a misnomer and that its all really kinetic energy - we just don't properly understand all the motions that it derives from at a sufficiently fundamental level to elucidate that properly yet...but that is quite another story. The point for the current discussion is that the 'potential' bit of 'potential energy' in physics does not mean energy that potentially exists, it means energy that really exists and has the real potential to be converted into kinetic (or other kinds of) energy. It belongs entirely to the material world.
  • Gnomon
    464
    Now who's missing the point? Just because it itself is not a piece of matter doesn't mean it is does not belong to the material world.Siti
    I would agree except for your insistence on the primacy of the material world. To me, and many others, Matter is secondary to Mind. This flips the worldview of Materialism, to one where Qualia, Consciousness, and Mind are primary. But, despite similarities, it's not the same as Spiritualism. That's why I coined a new term : Enformationism.

    Here's the dimensionless mathematical "point" where we disagree. You seem to assume the world is a substance monism : all matter all the way down. But Aristotle postulated two components of his single "substance" : Hylos (matter) and Morphos (form). Form is the idea, concept, structure, or design of a material thing, which is logically prior to the embodiment of the idea in matter. Where you think Mind is just a property of matter, I see Matter as a form of Mind/Energy (E=MC^2) : E = Information -- the power to enform. And lots of physicists are coming to that same conclusion (e.g. Paul Davies).

    Mind you, we are not disagreeing with the concept of "no matter, no mind", in the space-time world. Instead, we are assuming, like Plato that there is a non-local, non-temporal realm, such as we find in Quantum Theory. That's not a supernatural heaven out-there in the great beyond, but right-here-right-now, everywhere, everywhen. I probably confuse you with my metaphorical references to the traditional notions of Eternity & Infinity. If "non-local" is meaningful to you, we can use that word.

    So, I make a crucial distinction between the material (actual) world, and the mental (potential) world. Where in the world is the human mind --- in the brain, where in the brain? I acknowledge that Mind is a function of brain processing, yet it is not a material object, but a holistic quality. Until Quantum Physics upset the apple-cart, physics could ignore the mind of the observer, and had no variable for that non-stuff in its equations. I was surprised that many posters on a philosophy forum are still confused about the "hard problem" : the Subjective aspect of an Objective world.

    Descartes attempted to set-aside the mysteries of the mind to make way for empirical Science, when he proposed a substance dualism : res extensa (material stuff with three dimensions) & res cogitans (meaningful stuff). But now Stuart Kaufman --- theoretical biologist, and complex systems researcher, and professor of bio-chemistry --- has updated that dichotomy with what he calls "res potentia", which includes both mental phenomena and such quantum features as observer dependence & non-locality. Classical Physics assumed that non-local cannot be causal, but Quantum queerness says otherwise. Res Potentia is the realm of Virtual Particles and Quantum Tunneling, and Entanglement. It was proposed by A, N. Whitehead, among others, to explain the reality of Consciousness as an agent in the world.


    Res Potentia : https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2010/08/17/129250892/res-extensa-res-potentia-and-the-poised-realm

    PS__My upside-down worldview wouldn't sound so crazy, if you would read the thesis, which begins at the beginning, instead of the middle, like these posts.
    http://enformationism.info/enformationism.info/
    But energy is even harder to pin down than semi-solid matter. By definition, energy is inherently mercurial, unstable and transitory. Technically, a quantum of energy is not a physical object, but an "action potential"[10]. If "potential" sounds suspiciously like "probability", that's probably because both refer to future events, not to right-here-right-now, put-your-finger-on-it matter. So both matter and energy in the current paradigm of science have proven to be as fantastic as fairies.
  • Siti
    72
    I would agree except for your insistence on the primacy of the material world.Gnomon

    I think you are missing the point again - I don't insist on the "primacy of the material world" - the world is always (no matter how simple or complex it is) both mental and physical...these are not two substances, but rather two aspects of one...a physical pole and a mental pole - totally inseparable one from the other. There are no disembodied thoughts and there is no 'mindless matter' - matter is always minded and thoughts are always embodied - i.e. they exist as functions or properties of 'bodies' - reductionism doesn't really work at this level because the 'body' might be as small as a quark or as big as a cosmos (and all stops in between) - they all carry their mentality along with their materiality - there is no primacy of mind or matter - both spring into 'existence' (whatever that is) simultaneously at the birth of the physical reality of the 'thing' (whatever it is) and then dissipate together at the 'things' demise. The electron's 'idea' of 'electron-ness' (i.e. the defining properties that make an electron an electron and not another thing) is exactly coincidental and coeval with the electron's physical reality. The universe does not have to imagine an electron BEFORE it produces one...it just happens - the idea and the reality just pop into existence together at the same time.

    I was surprised that many posters on a philosophy forum are still confused about the "hard problem" : the Subjective aspect of an Objective world.Gnomon

    The "hard problem" vanishes with the bipolar panexperiential physicalism that I have suggested - matter minds and minds matter - there is no impenetrable barrier that prevents minds from affecting matter causally - it is precisely what the process of physical reality does - quite routinely. In a sense, there is no objective world, its all subjective because it is all unavoidably relational and what one particle 'senses' in proximity to another affects the reality of the 'sensed' particle - the observer effect runs very deep - there are no 'isolated' particles that can be observed objectively - at best we have an overwhelming consensus of subjective observations. There is no such ding as a ding an sich because there are no dings that exist an sich - in fact they're all, without exception, part of a neverending (or was it neverbeginning) process of continual change. And with that ding an sich bathwater, out goes the baby of the noumena/phenomena dichotomy - the noumenon of a particular particle is the idea of that particular particle in the particular circumstances it finds itself in...there is probably not another one exactly like it, but there are certainly sufficient regularities for an 'intelligent' observer to 'know' an electron when he 'sees' one - they all look the same to me!

    If "non-local" is meaningful to you, we can use that word.Gnomon
    Non-local is fine, but what you just suggested...
    we are assuming, like Plato that there is a non-local, non-temporal realm, such as we find in Quantum Theory.Gnomon
    ...is not helping at all I'm afraid. Non-local does not either imply or entail non-temporal and that is not what we "find" in Quantum Theory - non-temporality might be predicted (although I would suggest it is more accurate to suggest that temporality is not predicted) - but non-temporality has never been observed. They might think they have transcended the limits of physical possibility by faster than light "transmission" (not the right word I know but my brain is turning to jelly) of information, but they have never demonstrated any effect that preceded its cause. The arrow of time has never been reversed even if the clock can be shown to tick faster or slower according to the relative inertial reference frames of object and observer. And the works of Shakespeare did not exist before he began to write them. Ideas are not non-temporal even of they are not spatio-temporal. They're not necessarily entirely non-local either, although we may not be able to pinpoint the exact locus of a process of neural events giving rise to a particular 'thought' or 'feeling', I think we can be pretty sure that it was something that happened in our head and not very much to do with anything happening in the Andromeda Galaxy.

    So yes, non-local is meaningful to me - but it probably doesn't mean the same to me as it does to you.
  • Gnomon
    464
    I think you are missing the point againSiti
    Ha! The target is full of holes in all the wrong places. But, if we continue this machine-gun dialogue, the pattern of holes might just get closer to the bullseye. :smile:

    The universe does not have to imagine an electron BEFORE it produces one...it just happens - the idea and the reality just pop into existence together at the same time.Siti
    That's the main difference between the Materialism worldview and the Enformationism worldview. In materialism, some important events "just happen" randomly, so any meaningful pattern of activity is astronomically unlikely (a miracle). In a world where Information is fundamental, nothing noticeable happens randomly. Any happening has a prior cause. And the unbroken chain of cause & effect (en-formation) in the space-time world has an origin : the First Cause. But, if so, we can always ask "what caused that cause". Some dubious answers are "a quantum fluctuation in eternal space-time", or a "collision between miniverses in eternal space-time". However, if we assume, as the Big Bang theorists did, that space-time itself emerged from the Singularity, that would entail a pre-existing infinite Hyper-Space with antecedents back into eternity, and "dimensions" invisible to the human mind. Yet, as the early Cosmologists realized, that assumption still sounded too much like the old Creation theories : where the deity "just happened" to exist forever for no apparent reason.

    The "hard problem" vanishes with the bipolar panexperiential physicalism that I have suggestedSiti
    I don't remember seeing that term before. And a quick Google search wasn't much help. But the idea seems to be related to Whitehead's "panexperiential" proposal, and to other attempts to explain Consciousness as a physical process. But I long-ago gave up on mechanistic processes as a dead-end, and turned to humanistic processes for an explanation of Consciousness. This flip was not motivated by religious impulses, but by the emerging notion among scientists that a "turning point" was near, and that a "paradigm shift" was necessary. The shift is from Reductionism to Holism, and from Mechanism to Organism. A holistic worldview can re-unite the Physics and Meta-Physics of Aristotle into a new paradigm. The atomistic & materialistic "physics" of ancient Greece is mostly obsolete, while the mental "metaphysics" is still debated by philosophers, yet has become the foundation of Psychology, Sociology, and History.

    Turning Point : "The new concepts in physics have brought about a profound change in our world view; from the mechanistic conception of Descartes and Newton to a holistic and ecological view, a view which I have found to be similar to the views of mystics of all ages and traditions. . . . What we need, then, is a new 'paradigm' - a new vision of reality; a fundamental change in our thoughts, perceptions, and values "
    https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Fritjof_Capra

    Non-local does not either imply or entail non-temporal and that is not what we "find" in Quantum TheorySiti
    But it's a reasonable assumption, in light of Einstein's merging of space & time into a single concept. Both extension-in-space, and extension-in-time are human mental constructs. Time is imagined as a "space" for Change, but what is it really? Donald Hoffman, in The Case Against Reality, said regarding Model Dependent Reality : " there is an objective reality. But that reality is utterly unlike our perceptions of objects in space and time.
  • Siti
    72
    The shift is from Reductionism to Holism, and from Mechanism to Organism.Gnomon

    Agreed. But shifting from reductionism to holism and mechanism to organism doesn't mean we have to abandon physicalism...it just means we have to take proper account of the effects of big things (like people and planets) as 'organisms' rather than imagining that we can deduce everything by imagining them as simple conglomerations of individual particles. Its not really fundamentally doing anything more than we do when we ascribe a property (say liquidity) to a body of water despite the fact that we know full well that no such property exists in the individual water molecules. That is - we just have to acknowledge that very often, the whole is more than the simple sum of its parts.

    Ecologists have always known this of course...biologists have suspected it for even longer...meteorologists discovered it in the 1960s...chemists hated it and hoped it wasn't true - that is until they decided to use some of the evidence for attractive science fair and open day displays to attract prospective students, and physicists have wondered whether this might be why most of their experiments don't work, but ultimately they split into two camps - a few who still believe that its just a matter of time (and increasing precision of measurement) before we can predict absolutely everything from a relatively simple set of mathematical rules and sufficiently accurate knowledge of the original conditions, and those who think God might be the ultimate Mathematical Wizard par excellence.

    For me - I reckon its just that - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts...

    You are correct that my ideas are along the lines of Whitehead's "philsophy of organism"

    There is no absolute dichotomy and magical transformation of matter into mind via some unknown causal line, as is the common concept today. Rather, the elements of the world are already sentient, so that such subject-object fusion is not merely the alteration of the organism, but the fusion of panexperiential reality with oneself.

    That's what I'm driving at - it is (all) an organic, ecological, holistic process - there are no unconnected realities - there is no mind/body dualism - mind and body are simply - or rather very organically, holistically and complicatedly but nevertheless quite naturally - two aspects of the one reality.
  • Gnomon
    464
    That's what I'm driving at - it is (all) an organic, ecological, holistic process - there are no unconnected realities - there is no mind/body dualism - mind and body are simply - or rather very organically, holistically and complicatedly but nevertheless quite naturally - two aspects of the one reality.Siti
    That synopsis sounds like a summation of the Enformationism worldview. Even what I call Ideality is not an "unconnected reality". It's merely a phase of reality that consists only of ideas (principles & potential, as in mathematical ratios & probability). Plato called it the "realm of Forms". And no need to “abandon physicalism” as the foundation for physical Science. It's only metaphysical philosophical Science that needs a different vocabulary. Mind/Body dualism is merely different expressions of the same fundamental substance : information. We're very close, but you still seem to see something “unconnected to reality” in my worldview.

    EMPIRICAL vs MYSTICAL SCIENCE
    I've been moving over the last week, and discovered a book I bought several years ago, then never read, because it slipped behind other stuff on the bookshelf. I've only read a few chapters, but I get the impression that it espouses a worldview that you would find similar to the Qualia half of my own BothAnd philosophy. It's entitled The Qualia Revolution, From Quantum Physics to Cosmic Qualia Science, by British philosopher Peter Wilberg. He seems to use the term “qualia” in a sense similar to my own use of “information”. The new revolution he speaks of is what he perceives as a paradigm shift which is turning back the clock on Modern Science --- based on empirical evidence and rational analysis –- toward what I would call a pre-scientific "religious" or "mystical" worldview. He quotes Martin Heidegger, calling Modern Science "the new religion. For in essence it is a gigantic socially-constructed myth". Moreover, he says of the "First Scientific Revolution" : "The myth was a revolution in the most literal sense, for it turned our whole understanding of reality [pre-enlightenment] upside down or on its head. It does so by taking scientific representations of reality -- mathematical symbols and scientific models -- as more real than the consciously experienced phenomena they are used to explain" [my bold]. I too, see an emerging emphasis on Qualia and Metaphysics among scientists, but in addition, not to the exclusion, of Quanta and Physics.
    .
    Wilberg's critique is interesting to me primarily because it is diametrically opposed to my own views. He discusses many of the same topics that I address in my blog essays and forum posts --- consciousness, awareness, fields, etc. --- but his vocabulary is foreign to me, partly because he speaks in terms of Phenomenology (subjective sensations) instead of Ontology (objective things). For example, he says, “Cosmic qualia science has its roots in the field-phenomenology of Michael Kosok. Field-phenomenology is distinguished by its recognition that subjectivity or awareness is not a property of a localized subject or 'ego', but has a non-local or field character.” This sounds like Panpsychism, but the term is not in his index. My own version of Panpsychism says that the universal “field” is composed of EnFormAction (energy; power to enform) not Consciousness (awareness).

    He also has a notion of God that might sound similar to mine. “Cosmic qualia science is the only framework of scientific thought in which God not only might but must have a place. Qualia theosophy allows us to recognise that God does indeed not exist as any actual being or entity that we can be aware of, but is no less real for that --- being the primordial field of potentiality that is the power behind all actualities. Potentialities, by their very nature, have reality only in awareness. What we call God is 'gnosis' --- a knowing awareness of potentiality that is the source of knowable actualities.” He goes on to assert that “what we call 'energy' is nothing but the 'formative activity' by which this knowing awareness of potentiality is constantly actualized in the form of sensual qualities and perceptual patterns of awareness.

    My problem with these assertions is that they assume humans have two ways of knowing : 1> perception via physical senses, and 2> gnosis via extra-sensory perception. The latter is sometimes called “Intuition” (the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning), but that term is not in his index, so I'm not exactly sure what he means by "gnosis". Likewise, the index includes “Feelings”, but not “Reason”, so you can begin to see where he is coming from by noting omissions. His “field of pure awareness” seems to be accessible only by emotional subjective “feelings”, and not to rational objective “logic”. Since I am not an “emotional person” (no mood swings), I am sometimes accused of being too rational (Vulcan Logic). So, it's possible that I am blind to half the knowledge (the gnosis part) of the whole world. Which would prejudice me against the invisible and intangible aspects of the world (magic & mysticism) that are so important to many others. Am I missing something here, or are they reifying metaphors, and blinded by the smoke & mirrors of deceivers? Are they “unconnected to reality” or am I?


    Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/
  • Siti
    72
    you still seem to see something “unconnected to reality” in my worldview.Gnomon
    I do and it is reasonably well captured in this excerpt from your quotation of Wilberg:

    "God does indeed not exist as any actual being or entity that we can be aware of, but is no less real for that --- being the primordial field of potentiality that is the power behind all actualities. Potentialities, by their very nature, have reality only in awareness. What we call God is 'gnosis' --- a knowing awareness of potentiality that is the source of knowable actualities.”Gnomon

    This "primordial field of potentiality" seems to be what you suggest - in effect, a condition (I am avoiding saying a "time" on purpose) in which the universe existed as pure potentiality (i.e. no actualities)...another way of saying it would be "a primordial field of (as yet) un-real-ized potentiality" - yes? And it is this that I am suggesting is not - could not be - connected to 'reality' - because in that condition, there would be no reality for it to be connected to unless - as you and Wilberg both seem to want to do - we redefine 'reality' to include things that are patently not real.

    BTW - I believe Wilberg was using 'gnosis' to describe "God's knowledge" of potentiality, not human knowledge of God...but that seems to be just a clever maneuver to dodge the problem of God being aware of phenomena that have not yet phenomenalized...un-real-ized realities? And that seems to me to be a case of willful obfuscation. It seems perfectly clear to me that, for example, the "redness" qualia can only exist if there are (apparently) red things for it to describe - employing terminological ambiguity to muddy the waters really doesn't help the argument. To establish a compelling argument in favour of the primacy of ideality over reality, mentality over physicality - mind before matter - one really only has to make a compelling case for the existence of (for example) the redness qualia in a universe that has no red things in it. What possible information (let alone meaning) could the idea of redness convey - by gnosis or perception - in a world with no red things in it? What possible difference could 'redness' make to anything in a world with no red things in it? And if it really makes no real difference at all to any real thing at all...does it really exist at all?

    It seems to me to be much more straightforward to make an argument against the real existence of qualia than for...if you doubt this, perhaps you can point to a quale that really exists but that describes some property that has existed in the universe...perhaps a colour or a shape that nothing has ever been...

    But your thesis and Wilberg's argument both require that such qualia, such colours, necessarily exist - just waiting for the opportunity to be actualized...they are (presumably) un-real-ized potentialities...

    That is the "unconnected to reality" bit that I am finding difficulty swallowing.
  • Gnomon
    464
    But your thesis and Wilberg's argument both require that such qualia, such colours, necessarily exist - just waiting for the opportunity to be actualized...they are (presumably) un-real-ized potentialities...

    That is the "unconnected to reality" bit that I am finding difficulty swallowing.
    Siti
    Do you have any "un-real-ized potentialities" in your mind? If so, they exist only as ideas until you actualize them. Is there a place in your reality for such ideas about future possibilities? Are ideas in a human mind in a physical world real in any sense? Just because Qualia and Ideas are not reducible to Atoms & Void, are they "unconnected to reality"? (rhetorical question)

    Does your worldview have a role for Metaphysics? When we include "Virtual" particles in this expanded Reality, are we guilty of trying to "redefine 'reality' to include things that are patently not real". Far from denying Classical Reality, I am merely expanding the scope of Reality to include Ideas and Qualia, as in the invisible Quantum realm of Reality. I agree with Wilberg and many others that Materialist Science left Qualia behind in its quest for more & more Quanta. I just don't think Qualia give humans the creative powers of gods. They just allow us to be aware of colors that are not in the material stuff out there, but like Beauty, in the mundane subjective mind of the perceiver.

    My Ideality merely acknowledges that Ideas and Qualia are non-physical, or not-yet-physical (i.e. metaphysical). They are what Einstein was talking about when he said "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." By "Knowledge", I assume he meant Facts about real actual things. By "Imagination" I assume he was referring to Ideas about currently un-realized possibilities. When I refer to G*D's "knowledge of potentiality, it's no more mysterious than Einstein's imagination, except that G*D's possibilities are backed-up by infinite power to actualize (EnFormAction). Albert had only a fraction of that creativity. Can you swallow Imaginary possibilities (ideas, ideals, universals) as an aspect of Cosmic Reality?


    What we call God is 'gnosis' --- a knowing awareness of potentiality that is the source of knowable actualities.”Gnomon
    I can agree that G*D is "gnosis" in that sense, but Wilberg and I part ways when he claims that ordinary humans are capable of god-like Gnosis. We may be more gnostic than animals, but IMHO, even Einstein was not supernaturally imaginative and creative..
  • Siti
    72
    Are ideas in a human mind in a physical world real in any sense?Gnomon

    Of course they are...oh dear! So many misconceptions and misinterpretations - where to start...

    OK - virtual particles are NOT particles that are virtually real, they are real phenomena that are virtually particles in the sense that they affect the world around them in a manner similar to the particles their effects resemble the effects of...I know - I'm not doing very well at clarifying this...they are not particles that are virtually real, they are real effects that are virtually particles.

    Just because Qualia and Ideas are not reducible to Atoms & Void, are they "unconnected to reality"?Gnomon

    "Atoms and void"? Where on earth do you get the idea that my idea is that everything real should be reducible to "atoms and void"? My point is not that ideas must be made of atoms, but that an atom cannot be separated from the "idea" of an atom - not my "idea" of an atom, not even a scientific consensus "idea" of an atom but the universe's "idea" of an atom. Atoms always come together with the idea of an atom otherwise they cannot function like an atom and if they can't function like an atom then they are not an atom. As you may recall me repeating ad nauseum in past conversations, you can't have one without t'other - ever...there are no disembodied ideas.

    Does your worldview have a role for Metaphysics?Gnomon

    Of course - I am proposing a panexperiential physicalist process view of reality incorporating a mental/physical bipolar nature of "things" - how can that not have a role for metaphysics? It is a speculative metaphysics - it would be absurd for a speculative metaphysical scheme to deny the reality of either speculation or metaphysics. No - the question is not whether there is a role for metaphysics, but whether it is correct to insist on the primacy or fundamental role of metaphysics in the unfolding of the real world. Is the metaphysical aspect fundamental or is it co-emergent with the unfolding reality? That's the question.

    My Ideality merely acknowledges that Ideas and Qualia are non-physical, or not-yet-physical (i.e. metaphysical).Gnomon

    Right - so this is where we are getting to the crux of the matter - you have them as strictly non-physical - I have them as a non-physical aspect of the otherwise physical world - fully embedded in the reality of the real world, even of they do seem to transcend the limits of space and time in a way that no strictly physical reality (i.e. an electron, an elephant or whatever) could ever do. But I'm not even convinced that ideas really do transcend time and space anyway - can you give an example, for example, of an idea that is not in someone's head (however that happens)?

    Can you swallow Imaginary possibilities (ideas, ideals, universals) as an aspect of Cosmic Reality?Gnomon
    All those ARE aspects of cosmic reality...what I can't swallow is ideas, ideals and universals as primordial, creative, pre-cosmic supernaturalistic 'reality'.

    I can agree that G*D is "gnosis" in that sense, but Wilberg and I part ways when he claims that ordinary humans are capable of god-like Gnosis. We may be more gnostic than animals, but IMHO, even Einstein was not supernaturally imaginative and creative..Gnomon
    And I would say that even "God" was not supernaturally imaginative and creative...that, in a nutshell, is where we differ. "God" is only as "gnostic" (and imaginative and creative) as "being" the (intricately interconnected) universe permits "him" to be and I am only as "gnostic" (and imaginative and creative) as "being" (the minuscule but also intricately interconnected) part of the universe (that I am) permits me to be.
  • Gnomon
    464
    OK - virtual particles are NOT particles that are virtually real,Siti
    The reality of virtual particles is subject to debate among scientists, but my position is that "virtue" is a Quality, not a Quantity. A virtual particle has no physical dimensions and no mass, only potential. Hence, in my vocabulary, it's Ideal, not Real. A photon, which is supposed to be real, is massless, hence no stuff, only potential (energy).

    Massless particles : "A virtual particle does not have measurable mass."
    https://www.quora.com/Do-virtual-particles-have-mass

    My point is not that ideas must be made of atoms, but that an atom cannot be separated from the "idea" of an atom - not my "idea" of an atom, not even a scientific consensus "idea" of an atom but the universe's "idea" of an atom.Siti
    That statement sounds to me like a reference to Plato's Forms. For every Thing, in this case an atom, there is a Form : "the universe's idea of [fill in the blank]". The notion of "disembodied ideas" floating around unconnected to anything, is foreign to me. You seem to interpret my notion of Ideality as a separate place in space. But Ideality and Reality are merely different aspects of the same singular Ultimate Reality, which I call G*D. G*D is not "out there", but everywhere.

    Is the metaphysical aspect fundamental or is it co-emergent with the unfolding reality? That's the question.Siti
    I have no way of knowing empirically whether Physics or Metaphysics is more fundamental. But based on my understanding of how Information works in the world, Physics must be an emergent property (qualia) of G*D, who is assumed to be omnipotential. The Big Bang began from nothing physical, only potential : a dimensionless Singularity couldn't possibly contain a whole universe of 3D physical stuff. So, I assume all that stuff was stuffed into the Singularity in the form of dimensionless Information, like a computer code : the idea of the ultimate product. Since generic Information, EnFormAction, is equivalent to Energy, it can cause Matter to emerge even though the Energy per se is immaterial [ref massless photons]. As a rule, scientists tend to regard Energy as a property of matter, but a massless photon lacks the essential property of matter. So, which came first, which is fundamental : the power or the product?

    what I can't swallow is ideas, ideals and universals as primordial, creative, pre-cosmic supernaturalistic 'reality'.Siti
    Can you swallow a primordial, creative, pre-Big Bang, super-local-natural Multiverse as a real thing? If our local temporary universe is what we call Nature, then a non-local eternal Multiverse must be by definition Super-Natural. If you can imagine G*D dreaming multiple universes, that would be a crude notion of my Ultimate Reality.

    Argument Against Reality : "quantum physicists have to grapple with the mystery of how there can be anything but a first-person reality."
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality-20160421/

    And I would say that even "God" was not supernaturally imaginative and creative...that, in a nutshell, is where we differ.Siti
    Ontology : If G*D is the known universe, then it must be Natural and Temporal, limited by the laws and conditions of physical Reality. If G*D is the postulated (imaginary) Multiverse, then it must be Super-Natural and Eternal, existing beyond the boundaries of the reality we experience. If the potential for imagination was always inherent in the physical processes of universe creation, then it must be superior in some sense to the collective imagination of a minor world in its ocean of bubble worlds.


    PS___To an impartial observer of this dialogue, we may seem to be arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. :grin:
  • Siti
    72
    Ideality and Reality are merely different aspects of the same singular Ultimate Reality, which I call G*D. G*D is not "out there", but everywhere.Gnomon
    If you were to stop there, we would be in almost complete agreement...and we would both be saying:

    G*D is the ... universe, then it must be Natural and TemporalGnomon
    Not "known" universe - not limited to human knowledge, but accessible to human knowledge to some degree although even on this understanding there would always be a significant extent to which "God" would exist
    beyond the boundaries of the reality we experienceGnomon
    because our ability to experience the reality we inhabit is limited.

    The problem is that you then go a step further and place God's "primordial nature" beyond reality, you take the "mental" aspect of reality and insist that it must preempt (logically if not temporally) any and all "physical" aspects of reality.

    That is the step I am objecting to. I can see neither logical nor empirical grounds for that assumption. As far as I can tell, there is absolutely no logical (much less observational) reason to assume that "God" must exist prior to the universe.
  • Gnomon
    464
    The problem is that you then go a step further and place God's "primordial nature" beyond reality, you take the "mental" aspect of reality and insist that it must preempt (logically if not temporally) any and all "physical" aspects of reality.Siti
    Yes, the Enformationism thesis does give primacy to the “mental” aspects of the world : consciousness, qualia, etc. To non-scientists, including philosophers, these are the most important “realities” in the world. So, even if it doesn't flip the Materialism paradigm on its head, like Wilberg's Qualia Revolution, it will necessitate a paradigm shift. But, unlike some proponents of Panpsychism, it doesn't attempt to over-ride Physics with Psychics. Any proposed psychic powers will have to show practical results, instead of requiring faith.

    A major philosophical problem here is how you define "reality" : either "all-that-is" or "all-that-could-possibly-be". Scientists, for good reason, limit their scope of Reality to the here-and-now --- but make some small allowance for imagining the past & future. Philosophers, for their own reasons, leave their definition of Reality open to all possible times & places : Ontology. So, as a trained professional scientist, your definition is understandable. But, as an amateur philosopher, I am not so constrained. For an Inorganic Chemist, matter is the primary reality, and the mind of the observer is immaterial. But for Quantum Physicists, the material foundations of classical physics have been undermined by the squishy mind/matter nature of the sub-micro-scale foundation of reality.

    The "primordial nature" of G*D is, like the existence of a Multiverse, only a hypothesis, since there is no way to directly experience that state before space-time. But both go beyond the physical limits of space-time to mentally imagine an as-if "time before time". For me, it was a logical progression from the Big Bang theory and Quantum Theory. So, the super-natural aspect of G*D was inferred, not from religious myths, but from scientific "facts". Many threads of science are now constructing a picture of ultimate Reality that is actually what I call Ideality. My blog has several examples. In that case, G*D exists, not outside of Nature, but everywhere in Nature. It's just that G*D-nature is more inclusive than Man-nature.

    One way to rationalize an extra-real deity is to run the program of evolution in reverse. Astronomers traced the motion of galaxies back to a single point-of-origin of space. As I mentioned before, that hypothesis entails that the Singularity was not a physical container for all the matter in the world. Instead, it could be be something like a capacitor for Cosmic quantities of Energy. But then, for Chemists, Energy is nothing but a Property of Matter. So, if there was no matter in the Singularity, where would the Energy come from? Some imagine a Quantum Field full (?) of Zero-point Energy : i.e. infinite Potential. In place of that mystical notion, I imagine the infinite Potential of EnFormAction, which is both the power to enform (create novelty), and the raw material to sculpt into real things. In that view, Matter is merely a temporary phase of Energy, and Energy is merely a temporary phase of BEING, the power to exist (i.e. G*D). That latter default state of Ultimate Reality is normally outside the purview of empirical Science, but not of theoretical philosophers and theologians.

    So, unlike New Ageism and Panpsychism worldviews, mine does not require scientists to “pre-empt” the physical aspects of reality with Orgone energies, or Akashic fields, or Prana Chakras. On the other hand, non-physical scientists --- psychologists, sociologists, etc --- might benefit from taking into account some non-physical aspects of reality, such as Memes, Fuzzy Logic, and Self Image, not to mention Sociobiology, and Superorganisms/Global Minds. :nerd:
  • Gnomon
    464
    If you were to stop there, we would be in almost complete agreement...and we would both be saying:Siti
    What I enjoy about our dialogs is that we can disagree without being disagreeable. Of course, part of the reason for our mutual broad-mindedness is that neither of us is defending a dogma, or fighting for a faith. Our philosophical views tend to be more pragmatic than dogmatic. And our beliefs are open to reinterpretation.

    But what I especially like about dialoging with you, is that you ask good questions. You make me see my ideas in a new light, and force me to justify some of my assumptions. I just this morning was reading a Sherlock Holmes story, The Valley of Fear --- The Tragedy of Birlstone. Ironically, it involves a gun-slinging American in England. When the evidence seems like a tangle of contradictions, Watson asks a question that puts Sherlock on the spot. " There is an appealing directness about your questions", Watson, said Holmes, shaking his pipe at me. "They come at me like bullets." I enjoy dodging your bullets, in the Gunfight at Philosophy Forum*. :cool:

    * Obscure reference to the old western movie : Gunfight at OK Corral.

    PS___Although I think my personal worldview is close to the truth, I must remain somewhat humble, because I could be deceiving myself with self-justifying logic. Paraphrasing Borges, in A Refutation of Time : the Enformationism thesis might be “the reductio ad absurdum of a preterite [outdated] system or, what is worse, the feeble artifice of an [American] lost in the maze of metaphysics”. :joke:
  • Gnomon
    464
    The "hard problem" vanishes with the bipolar panexperiential physicalism that I have suggestedSiti
    Please give me a brief synopsis of how "the bipolar panexperiential physicalism" softens the hard problem of Metaphysical Consciousness in a Physical Body. That might help to adjust the aim of our dialog, where we keep missing points. :smile:
  • Siti
    72
    Please give me a brief synopsis of how "the bipolar panexperiential physicalism" softens the hard problem of Metaphysical Consciousness in a Physical Body.Gnomon

    Gnomon - I really don't think I can do this question justice right now...but the essential idea is that the actual entities composing reality are "occasions of experience" (a la Whitehead)...little "droplets" (perhaps) of experiential reality which all interact with one another to a greater or lesser degree depending on the complexity of their "aggregations". Some "aggregations" are just that - e.g. a rock or a solar system - others are organized composite units or organisms - like a human being for example - discrete individuals. All such "occasions" and (obviously) their aggregations are necessarily extensive both spatially and temporally, which is to say they endure across a finite time and space and they each have a physical and a mental "pole" - the best way I can think of to describe this is to say they each have a "WHAT it is" mental "description" and a "what it IS" physical "presence". These are the two poles of the "bipolar" part of my comment.

    The key assumption is that everything that exists has both of these poles and exists as a temporal, "experiencing" (experiential) reality - which is really only to say that they relate to the world somehow and that this 'relating' makes a difference - like I said earlier - 'matter minds and minds matter' (and that seemingly enigmatic phrase can be unpacked in any number of ways...which I'll leave you to ponder).

    The upshot of all this is that the kind of experience we think of as human experience is really no more than a rather complex, (self-)organized composite of the kind of "experience" that simpler aggregates (such as atoms, molecules, cells...etc.) "enjoy".

    So just as, say, an electron "feels" the influence of neighbouring particles (and "fields" - whatever they are) and "responds" accordingly - in turn adding its own causal influence into the mix in the process - so a human "feels" its circumstances in relation to its own reality in the world and responds accordingly - but in a much more complex and organismic manner. From this emerges what we think of as human consciousness - awareness, imagination, purpose - and in a much more complicated manner than a particle (of course), adds its own causal influence into the mix - "mind" interacting creatively but perfectly naturally with matter by virtue of the continual merging and overlapping of mental/physical bipolar "droplets" of experiential reality. There is no dualistic barrier - no timeless ideality, and no mindless materiality - just a continual flow of fundamentally temporal (pan)experiential reality - a stream composed of drops of experience - discrete events - felt, prehended - by the discrete organismic mental/physical individuals that both emerge from and give rise to it as time rolls on. No hard problem of mind/matter interaction remains in this scheme because there is no matter that is not minded and not mind that is not mattered.

    There - I told you I couldn't do it justice! A better explanation is in David Ray Griffin's book (but he took over 200 pages):

    https://www.amazon.com/Unsnarling-World-Knot-Consciousness-Freedom-Mind-Body/dp/1556357559
  • Gnomon
    464
    David Ray Griffin's bookSiti
    Ouch! A hard-cover of Unsnarling the World Knot is listed for $894.90 on Amazon. It's as way-over my budget as Whitehead's "reality" is way-over my head. :smile:

    but the essential idea is that the actual entities composing reality are "occasions of experience" (a la Whitehead)...little "droplets" (perhaps) of experiential realitySiti
    Several years ago I tried to read Whitehead's Process and Reality, because it seemed to be aimed in the same direction as my own thesis. But his arcane, abstruse, and abstract terminology was way over my head. Hartshorne was a little better, but I still got lost in the labyrinth, with few landmarks to guide me. Their reference to such entities as "occasions of experience" didn't ring any bells for me. I couldn't fit them into any real-world system that was amenable with my intuitive understanding of the world.

    Can you give a real-world example of one of those "little droplets of experience"? What are they made of? If they consist of "experience", whose experience? How would these entities fit into a well-known system such as Information Theory or Quantum Theory? How do they "add-up" to human awareness and feelings? How do they relate to Physics and Metaphysics? In my own thesis, I equate the hierarchy of information transitions --- from energy exchanges to idea communication --- to physical phase changes on a rising scale of complexity and power, eventually forming what I call Metaphysics (mental phenomena).

    The notion of "actual entities" seems to imply that there are "potential or virtual entities" to be distinguished from. Are these fundamental elements self-existent, or did they emerge from an even more basic system? How do they relate to space & time? How do they relate to the Big Bang? Are they equivalent to a mathematician's purely abstract "dimensionless point" in empty space. or like a Klein bottle in hyper-space? Rather than numerical abstractions, I need something Qualitative that I can relate to.

    The upshot of all this is that the kind of experience we think of as human experience is really no more than a rather complex, (self-)organized composite of the kind of "experience" that simpler aggregates (such as atoms, molecules, cells...etc.) "enjoy".Siti
    In my Enformationism thesis, human ideas and feelings are essentially composites of lower forms of Enformation, such as Energy, but they are also holistic, so the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Are Whitehead's "experiences" like Democritus' atomic theory, unitary physical objects that simply aggregate like sand into sand hills? Or are they like water droplets that integrate into the ocean? Information is like memes that leap from the mind of one organism (person) into many other minds, thereby constituting a super-organism (tribe or nation).

    I still don't see how "bipolar panexperiential physicalism" relates to what-it's-like (the experience) to be a conscious being. Sounds like it assumes that physics is inherently conscious, as in Panpsychism, but in much less straightforward language. Hence, one could also assume, without empirical evidence, that the universe as a whole is a thinking, feeling, conscious being. If so, can we "enjoy" an exchange of personal experiences (communicate) with the World Mind? Or must we take his/her/its existence on faith? :cool:
  • Siti
    72
    Ouch! A hard-cover of Unsnarling the World Knot is listed for $894.90 on Amazon. It's as way-over my budget as Whitehead's "reality" is way-over my head.Gnomon

    Try the library - that's where I found it.

    "occasions of experience" didn't ring any bells for me...Can you give a real-world example of one of those "little droplets of experience"?Gnomon
    You can use one's own experiences - that's why these counter-intuitive notions seem like "common-sense" intuition to me. For example, suppose I look up at the night sky and see a star...that experience begins with a physical interaction - a sensory stimulus - a physical "prehension" perhaps(?) - my eye intercepts a stream of photons and that initiates a sequence of physical/mental processes that combined becomes the experience of "seeing a star" - I can break that sequence down by abstraction and analysis, I can explain (at least I could if I knew enough about it) how the sensory apparatus functions physically and how the signal processing apparatus of the optical nerves and the brain turn the raw data into a mental image (actually I can't explain that but maybe someone could)...etc...but the experience itself cannot actually be divided - I cannot have a half, or a third, of the experience of seeing a star - its either all or nothing (although sometimes - often - I might not be acutely aware of seeing it) - it is in that sense that "occasions of experience" are "atomic" - they are not themselves divisible...but they might be nested or overlapping and at our level of experience they almost invariably (if not absolutely always) are. Each moment of a human life is an impossibly tangled web of overlapping, nested and intertwined events - and yet, because of the organismic unity of the human individual, each moment becomes an indivisible occasion in its own right. But if you dig right down - even quarks and electrons (whatever they really are) are doing the same thing - that is, existing as a sequence of indivisible 'experiential' occasions' - moments during which they prehend - i.e. interact with in a 'sensible' (but obviously not cognitive) manner (at this level it is nothing like "apprehension" or "comprehension" but it is nonetheless a kind of "grasping" - the world around them on a much more fundamental level.

    I have no idea whether this is helping or hindering your prehension of the idea...maybe I should stop there for now and see which bits draw the most flak before setting the bearings for the next leg of my flight of fancy!
  • Gnomon
    464
    its either all or nothing (although sometimes - often - I might not be acutely aware of seeing it) - it is in that sense that "occasions of experience" are "atomic" - they are not themselves divisible...but they might be nested or overlapping and at our level of experience they almost invariably (if not absolutely always) are.Siti
    The term "occasions of experience" sounds to me like quanta of incoming information. But my personal experience of the world is continuous and constantly changing, while flocks of photons fly into my eyes, and phonons into my ears, and phonemes in my brain.

    As you say, " Each moment of a human life is an impossibly tangled web of overlapping, nested and intertwined events - and yet, because of the organismic unity of the human individual, each moment becomes an indivisible occasion in its own right." But, even though a TV screen is a field of pixels, I am not normally aware of those "atoms of experience" myself. So, what makes them atomic? Is an energetic photon a physical quantum of experience? If so, it must be an on/off code that the brain interprets as something or nothing to be aware of. Has anyone hacked the brain system to decode the photon pattern that I experience as red? How does 450 THZ of light become red in the mind? Is it a continuous process, or a sudden transformation?

    In my Enformationism thesis I don't worry about such details, because the transformation process is assumed to be continuous from Big Bang to my experience of a red rose. Each "step" is a phase change, but some phases are purely physical (energy to matter), while some "high level" transitions are metaphysical (mental).

    I have no idea whether this is helping or hindering your prehension of the ideaSiti
    I suppose that of my lack of "prehension" is due to my experience that the Whitehead process seems to be mostly quantitative, while my experience is qualitative. Since I take "Information" (EnFormAction) to be both quanta & qualia --- Energy > Matter > Mind --- there are no gaps in the process from photon to visual chemistry to mental experience. This may be what you mean by "a sequence of physical/mental processes that combined becomes the experience".

    In my thesis, the current one-way "sequence" of evolutionary enformation began in the BB and will end in the Big Sigh. But the Source and Origin of the power to be, to know, and to experience, presumably exists eternally in some never-never-land that we have no access to, since our ability to experience is limited by the boundaries of space & time. :smile:
  • Siti
    72
    But the Source and Origin of the power to be, to know, and to experience, presumably exists eternally in some never-never-land that we have no access to, since our ability to experience is limited by the boundaries of space & time.Gnomon
    Being, knowing and experiencing are necessarily temporal - that is a key idea of process philosophy. The idea of time as fundamental is not shared by either materialism - in which the most fundamental elements of reality are atemporal leading more than a few renowned scientists to the conclusion that time is either a natural emergence (albeit an inexplicably radical one) or an illusion (albeit an inexplicably convincing and persistent one) or idealism - in which the ideal 'realm' is necessarily timeless and changeless (but gives no plausible account of how on earth time and change might possibly have emerged from changelessness in no time at all)...

    For me that is "the difference the makes the difference" between modern idealism/materialism and post-modern process thinking. The "power to experience" surely presupposes time (if not space) - how could anything have an experience in "no time"? Putting 'experience' at ground level forces one to accept that time and change are fundamental to reality. There can be no experiential reality without time and change...one (any "one", any kind of "one") cannot experience changelessness.
  • Gnomon
    464
    Being, knowing and experiencing are necessarily temporalSiti
    Yes. Being is a process. But BEING (the power-to-be) is more like a timeless law or principle. Pragmatic folks take the brute-fact of existence for granted, while theoretical thinkers wonder about "why is there something instead of nothing?"

    the ideal 'realm' is necessarily timeless and changeless (but gives no plausible account of how on earth time and change might possibly have emerged from changelessness in no time at all)...Siti
    Nobody knows how or why existence is what it is. But philosophers are free to speculate. The only plausible account of the transition from nothing-to-something requires a prior state of Potential, Possibility, or Probability, which is taken for granted by Statisticians (those who study the static state of what's possible-but-not-actual). I simply include that state under the heading of BEING. The creation of something-from-nothing is a necessary assumption, if nothingness is a viable concept. Is it? If not, why do humans keep dredging-up such nonsense?

    There can be no experiential reality without time and changeSiti
    Of course. Experience is a process of knowing what's going on. But the power-to-know is a Principle (a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning). And Principles are assumed to be changeless. So in what sense do Principles exist? Are they like universal Forms with local instances?


    PS___Our temporal vs timeless assumptions remind me of the differences between Plato's and Aristotle's worldviews *1. Plato postulated a hypothetical unchanging state as the reservoir of eternal Forms. Yet, while Aristotle accepted the notion of Forms, he could not imagine how an inert state of Potential could have any effect on the constantly changing Real World. So, he concluded that the Forms only existed as embodied in real things. And, I agree that the defining pattern of a thing is embodied, but the body is not the pattern.

    For example, when I see a furry object wagging it's tail, how do I infer that it's a dog instead of a deer? Although the physical layout is similar, there is an invisible, but unique, pattern of qualities that we associate with dogs-in-general, not with ungulates. Although the physical details differ from one breed to another, we can usually "see" the pattern that connects specific instances (shapes) to the general Form (definition).

    *1 Complementary Worldviews : "Plato’s philosophy is abstract and utopian, whereas Aristotle’s is empirical, practical, and commonsensical."
    https://www.britannica.com/story/plato-and-aristotle-how-do-they-differ
    Taken together, they cover what's Possible (Ideal) and what's Actual (Real).
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