• Marchesk
    3.1k
    According to physics, the most fundamental stuff of science is fields, not particles. The Standard Model lays out 13 fields which exist throughout the universe, oscillate and interact with one another to generate everything else. Particles are packets of energy in the fields described by quantum mechanics. There are three other unknown ones: Dark Energy, Dark Matter and Inflation.

    Notice how fields are different than old fashioned materialism. They're invisible and intangible except when generating forces and particles that we can interact with, such as with gravity or photons. They exist everywhere. And they wave about. Mass is provided by the Higgs field, while time and space are gravitational. The particles themselves are energy of discrete values.

    The ordinary stuff all around us that we see and bump into and makes up our bodies is the result of complex field interactions. Matter is emergent, not fundamental.
  • Possibility
    925
    The way I see it, what is most fundamental in the universe is not ‘stuff’, but interaction. Particles are a decoherence of potentiality from these field interactions. But the ‘fields’ are just formulae. They’re our manifestations of how logic and mathematics make sense of interactions of potentiality in relation to the current understanding we have about the universe, which allow us to make predictions about this universe well beyond our own limited, minuscule and temporary existence.

    The ‘fields’ exist because without them, we have no solid evidence or logical explanation for our interactions with this atemporal potentiality of the universe. All we have are our discrete and limited observations, and the conceptual relations that our mind constructs from all possible, potential and actual interactions we may be aware of across the universe - past, present and future, mysterious and predictable, desired and despised, unlikely, averted and inevitable...

    These ‘fields’ mark the threshold of our scientific uncertainty - something I think we’re going to have to face eventually. Quantum mechanics suggests that this is our new reality.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    That's plausible except there are some fields we can map or interact with. A magnet in the presence of iron filings will show the magnetic field lines. Light rays are the field lines of electromagnetism. And of course there is gravity.

    I think the fields are what is real, and the particles are the potential interactions. Unless there is some further reality underlying fields.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    Another interesting property of fields is that they coexist in the same location (or all locations), unlike ordinary objects. Materialism was wrong. Ordinary stuff isn't ontologically fundamental. Of course that was true once the subatomic particles were discovered and QM became a theory.

    The world isn't material. It's something else. The material stuff of everyday experience emerges from that. And it's not even predominate. Dark energy, dark matter and neutrinos make up most of the universe.

    For that matter, time and space likely aren't fundamental either.
  • Pantagruel
    527
    The world isn't material. It's something else. The material stuff of everyday experience emerges from thatMarchesk
    Ok. But "everyday experience" is the world. So why not assume "that" is fundamental?
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    Ok. But "everyday experience" is the world. So why not assume "that" is fundamental?Pantagruel

    Because science tells us of many things we don't experience that result in the world we do experience. Radio waves and atoms are good examples.

    Why would we ever get sick if it weren't for invisible germs and problems with our cells (cancer, auto-immune, etc) causing the problem? Sickness is only an experience because we have material bodies. Death is only a reality for the same reason. So is getting high or drunk.
  • Pantagruel
    527
    Because science tells us of many things we don't experience that result in the world we do experience. Radio waves and atoms are good examples.Marchesk
    That doesn't discount the reality of the things which we do experience.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    That doesn't discount the reality of the things which we do experience.Pantagruel

    Sure, but they're not fundamental. And it's not clear whether our ordinary conceptions of objects is coherent when factoring in their physical constitution, but it works pragmatically for us.
  • Pantagruel
    527
    Fundamental to what? Not everyday experience.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    Fundamental to what? Not everyday experience.Pantagruel

    Ontology and also physics.
  • Pantagruel
    527
    Are you suggesting that science grounds metaphysics? Metaphysics isn't the same as science.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    Are you suggesting that science grounds metaphysics? Metaphysics isn't the same as science.Pantagruel

    Right, but metaphysics should be informed by science. It would be philosophically ignorant to espouse the five elements nowadays.

    Just like how discussions of the mind should be informed by neuroscience. Espousing a theory of mind at odds with neuroscience would be empirically invalid.
  • Pantagruel
    527
    Espousing the fundamental reality of mental processes doesn't contradict quantum field theory.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    The problem is that mental processes don't seem to be fundamental. They exist when brains develop, which only happened after animal life evolved.

    Panpsychism would be an alternative that's fundamental.
  • Pantagruel
    527
    The problem is that mental processes don't seem to be fundamental. They exist when brains develop, which only happened after animal life evolved.Marchesk
    As far as we know, maybe. On the other hand there is evidence of "distributed cognition" and "collective cognition" that suggests consciousness may involve more than meets the eye (just like the electromagnetic spectrum). All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal. However there are other mortal things besides men. You can recast the syllogism using consciousness as the major premise. You are making a material-reductionist assumption.
  • Wayfarer
    9.2k
    The problem is that mental processes don't seem to be fundamental. They exist when brains develop, which only happened after animal life evolved.Marchesk

    That’s because you see it a through the materialist paradigm, that mind is an output of brain. What if there are biological fields (like Sheldrake’s morphic fields) that are formative for the development of life-forms? How would science detect such fields? What if evolutionary development is driven neither by ‘divine creation’ nor by survival of the fittest, but by a latent tendency in the Universe to realise states of conscious awareness? Then the brain is not the originator, but more like the necessary corollary, of evolutionary development. (Such ideas are considered orthogenetic and therefore generally taboo, although from a philosophical perspective that’s no reason not to consider them.)

    A second point is that when humans evolve to the point of being able to use language and reason, then they’ve transcended the biological. After all, the basic ‘furniture of reason’ - such things as the laws of identity and logic, and fundamental arithmetic - are not the product of biology. We’ve evolved to the point of being able to grasp them, but it doesn’t make them a ‘product of the brain’.
  • Gnomon
    425
    Notice how fields are different than old fashioned materialism. They're invisible and intangible except when generating forces and particles that we can interact with, such as with gravity or photons.Marchesk
    In my personal worldview, Enformationism, I place all the various fields postulated by quantum theorists under the heading of a general Information Field. This is based on the little-known fact that what used to be called Metaphysical (Mental) Information is also Physical, in the sense that it can be quantified (Shannon bits). Some researchers are even treating Energy as a form of Information, since the deconstruction of Information is Entropy. Putting together the original Mental meaning and the modern Physical usage of Information, my thesis proposes that the general Information Field of the universe is equivalent to an Energy Field, that I call EnFormAction. It's the cause of all change in the world.

    The way I see it, what is most fundamental in the universe is not ‘stuff’, but interaction.Possibility
    That fundamental "Interaction" sounds like a reference to Energy. But it could also refer to Communication. My term EnFormAction unites both of those meanings into a universal causal field, from which both Matter and Mind eventually emerge from evolution. It's fundamental in that it is the essence of everything in the universe.

    The world isn't material. It's something else.Marchesk
    That something else is what I call EnFormAction. Which is a combination of Energy and Intention (guided force), similar to the concept of Will. This is not a religious concept, but it is Metaphysical, in the sense of "something else" than matter. It is also related to Plato's theory of Forms.

    Are you suggesting that science grounds metaphysics? Metaphysics isn't the same as science.Pantagruel
    Newtonian Science is the basis of Classical Physics. But Quantum Physics cannot be fully reconciled with Classical Materialism. Instead, by introducing concepts such as immaterial Fields, and Virtual Particles, physics is now encroaching on the old philosophical specialty of Metaphysics.

    Panpsychism would be an alternative that's fundamental.Marchesk
    The Information Field is similar to the ancient notion of Panpsychism, except that Consciousness is a late development from the evolution of EnFormAction.



    Enformationism, EnFormAction, Enformy, Energy : http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page8.html

    Energy is Information : https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/22084/how-is-information-related-to-energy-in-physics
    https://physicsworld.com/a/information-converted-to-energy/
  • Gnomon
    425
    Just like how discussions of the mind should be informed by neuroscience. Espousing a theory of mind at odds with neuroscience would be empirically invalid.Marchesk
    On my blog, I just posted a book review of Donald Hoffman's, The Case Against Reality, which makes an attempt to explain human consciousness in a manner that takes the paradoxes and abnormalities of Quantum Theory to be natural and normal. He doesn't deny Reality, but merely offers an analogy to help us make sense of why Consciousness doesn't seem to fit into our current understanding of physical Nature. Hoffman is a cognitive researcher, but his theory is at odds with current neuroscience, specifically the Incredible Hypothesis by Francis Crick that the mind is nothing more than nattering neurons. Hoffman presents a clever metaphor to illustrate his theory that the human mind creates a mental model of Reality, which it then treats as-if it is real.
  • Possibility
    925
    That's plausible except there are some fields we can map or interact with. A magnet in the presence of iron filings will show the magnetic field lines. Light rays are the field lines of electromagnetism. And of course there is gravity.

    I think the fields are what is real, and the particles are the potential interactions. Unless there is some further reality underlying fields.
    Marchesk

    I’m not denying the fields are ‘real’, nor am I denying that we can interact with them or map them - just not directly and not completely. What I’m saying is that these maps and lines correspond to the relationships we can observe or measure through our interactions with the universe, but we cannot presume that this is what they ARE, any more than we could presume 150 years ago that atoms were indivisible and therefore fundamental.

    Everything we ‘know’ about these ‘fields’ consists of our conceptual relations of formulated potential and actual interactions. What we don’t know about what they are or what underlies them consists of unrecognised potential or possible interactions from which we (or our scientific methods) are currently ignorant, isolated or excluded to some extent. This is also the case for ‘stuff’ that we know or don’t know, and ‘stuff’ that is known or unknown by everything else in the universe. What is fundamental in our universe is interaction: from which all information manifests as the ‘stuff’ of reality.
  • Pantagruel
    527
    Newtonian Science is the basis of Classical Physics. But Quantum Physics cannot be fully reconciled with Classical Materialism. Instead, by introducing concepts such as immaterial Fields, and Virtual Particles, physics is now encroaching on the old philosophical specialty of Metaphysics.Gnomon

    By definition Metaphysics and science are different things and play different roles. Any attempt to fuse them confuses the fundamental nature of each. That being said, of course both metaphysics and science can evolve. I also find the link between informational entropy and thermodynamics compelling.
  • Possibility
    925
    The way I see it, what is most fundamental in the universe is not ‘stuff’, but interaction.
    — Possibility
    That fundamental "Interaction" sounds like a reference to Energy. But it could also refer to Communication. My term EnFormAction unites both of those meanings into a universal causal field, from which both Matter and Mind eventually emerge from evolution. It's fundamental in that it is the essence of everything in the universe.
    Gnomon

    It can refer to BOTH energy AND communication (information) - but I’m not convinced that a new term is either necessary or helpful, and I don’t think adding interaction as another ‘field’ separate from gravity, electromagnetism, etc makes sense, either.

    Talking about the universe in terms of interacting ‘fields’ is probably more accurate than interacting ‘events’ (Rovelli) or ‘objects’ (classical physics). But a ‘field’ is, by definition, the map of a potential interaction in relation to spacetime. So when we talk about interaction between fields, we’re not talking about time-dependent causality - I think it might have more to do with quantum decoherence.
  • Gnomon
    425
    By definition Metaphysics and science are different things and play different roles.Pantagruel
    I'll quibble with your equation of "science" with "physics". Actually, the general term "science" simply refers to knowledge. And that knowledge can be drawn from investigations into the physical world of atoms; but it can also be drawn from investigations into the metaphysical world of mind. Aristotle wrote two volumes on the current knowledge of his era. Very little of the subject matter of the Physics volume is now accepted by modern scientists. But the discussions in the Metaphysics volume were focused. not on the material world itself, but on how humans perceive and understand their relationship to reality. Thus, many of the topics of Metaphysics are now studied in the sciences of Psychology, Sociology, History, and Philosophy.

    So, I would say that, by definition, Metaphysics and Physics are different subjects, with different roles in gaining knowledge and understanding. Physics looks at the outside world, while Metaphysics looks within. Materialist scientists, at least since Descartes, have drawn a hard line between Mind & Body in order to exclude Metaphysics from being a valid subject of empirical study. Unfortunately, Quantum Physics has blurred that line, with its discovery that the "objective" observer cannot study his subject without becoming a part of the system being studied. Consequently, empirical methods leave scientists struggling with paradoxes and absurdities.

    That's why, when I use the term "Metaphysics", I'm merely momentarily focusing on the Yin aspect of reality, while ignoring the Yang. But ultimately, I am aware that they are one and the same. And some mainstream Quantum scientists have come to the same conclusion. Hence, they are forced to use both physical (empirical) and metaphysical (philosophical) techniques.


    Quantum Metaphysics : https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/quantum-ontology-a-guide-to-the-metaphysics-of-quantum-mechanics/
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283352753_Quantum_Metaphysics_A_New_Paradigm
  • Gnomon
    425
    It can refer to BOTH energy AND communication (information) - but I’m not convinced that a new term is either necessary or helpful, and I don’t think adding interaction as another ‘field’ separate from gravity, electromagnetism, etc makes sense, either.Possibility
    If the term "Information" can refer to both topics, why not use a term that combines them into a single concept? My BothAnd philosophy is similar to the Yin/Yang worldview of Taoism. Science studies fragments, while philosophy (metaphysics) studies Wholes. EnFormAction is not intended to be a scientific term for labeling parts, but instead, a philosophical concept for understanding the whole cosmos. It doesn't add "another" field, it combines all of the above into a single Information Field. With that kind of holistic terminology, we can study the universe as-if it is not just atoms-in-the-void, but a universal Mind, processing Information. That's not an empirical scientific perspective; but I think it is a valid philosophical worldview.

    Holism : http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page11.html
  • Pantagruel
    527
    I'll quibble with your quibble, since the original derivation of physics - phusis or nature - arguably generalizes to all of the natural sciences, not only physics. Moreover, to the extent that Psychology, Sociology, etc. are scientific - that is, follow the scientific method of experimentation - they are indeed true sciences. Citing Popper, who I'm now reading, any thesis capable of being falsified (through experiment and evidence) is scientific. Metaphysics specifically does not attempt to make testable predictions. If it did, then it would be science. No doubt the boundaries are always shifting though, and worth monitoring closely.... :)
  • Gnomon
    425
    I'll quibble with your quibble, since the original derivation of physics - phusis or nature - arguably generalizes to all of the natural sciences, not only physics.Pantagruel
    Exactly. That's why Aristotle didn't make a hard distinction between the topic of Nature (physics), and the topic of Human Nature (metaphysics). It was only centuries later that Human Nature was separated from Nature by labeling volume two as Metaphysics, and reserving its study for effete philosophers, and eccentric mystics, instead of practical down-to-earth scientists.

    Now, the modern realism of Quantum Theory is beginning to reunite Man and Nature into a single dynamic system with many functions and roles. :nerd:
  • Trooper149
    1
    Just seen this and won't lie, you guys are miles above me in the brainwaves department, but I remember chatting with some friends about "what life is?" lol.

    We eventually came to a simplified conclusion that Biology is a process of Physics which operates via Chemistry.

    Don't know why, but that gave me a sense of contentment.
  • jgill
    233
    Interesting links. Thanks.

    I've dabbled in mathematical vector fields for years, particularly time-dependent fields. If it were possible I would post some intriguing images, but there are problems doing so. We'll see. :nerd:
  • Gnomon
    425
    We eventually came to a simplified conclusion that Biology is a process of Physics which operates via Chemistry.

    Don't know why, but that gave me a sense of contentment.
    Trooper149
    If that materialistic worldview gives you a feeling of contentment, join the club. It's the default worldview of most simple-minded humans since time began : "what you see is all that matters" --- except for the spooky stuff of gods & spirits. But complex thinkers like philosophers are not content with the superficial appearances of physics and chemistry. Instead they also wonder about the unseen mysteries of psychology. And by including the role of Information in the real world, we can finally begin to understand that spooky stuff, as we learn how the mind works : the thinking function of biology.

    In my simple worldview, Physics evolved into Chemistry, which evolved into Biology, which evolved into Psychology. And the last phase is currently mastering all the previous phases. :nerd:
  • Possibility
    925
    If the term "Information" can refer to both topics, why not use a term that combines them into a single concept? My BothAnd philosophy is similar to the Yin/Yang worldview of Taoism. Science studies fragments, while philosophy (metaphysics) studies Wholes. EnFormAction is not intended to be a scientific term for labeling parts, but instead, a philosophical concept for understanding the whole cosmos. It doesn't add "another" field, it combines all of the above into a single Information Field. With that kind of holistic terminology, we can study the universe as-if it is not just atoms-in-the-void, but a universal Mind, processing Information. That's not an empirical scientific perspective; but I think it is a valid philosophical worldview.Gnomon

    I can understand and appreciate your holistic approach to the concept of a ‘universal mind’ processing information, as well as your use of created terminology to avoid (or delay) the scientific or philosophical rigour of relating your worldview to established concepts - either in science or philosophy. It’s a slow and frustrating process - but I think it’s worth the effort, and I don’t think a modern philosophy can afford to isolate its terminology from science anymore, let alone from established philosophical thought. FWIW I get the feeling we’re roughly on the same page here, new terminology aside.

    I think your use of the term ‘field’ is misleading when you combine and look at it holistically - it implies a single mathematical formula for the relationship between this information and the ‘universal mind’ concept, but there isn’t one. Each of the four fundamental fields has a unique and irreducible formula that requires an input of four-dimensional information as time-independent ‘values’ (or 3D information in relation to time values). Theoretically, if this ‘universal mind’ has the capacity to combine these field formulae with the other nine in relation to all the existing four-dimensional information in the universe, then I think the result is not a single information or causal ‘field’ but an additional structural aspect: a fifth dimension based on potential interaction, in which the information is structured as time-independent value relations (both quantitative and qualitative) - in reference to an experiencing, five-dimensional subject.

    The logical and psychological information processing of a ‘universal mind’ is only part of the story. If you want to get to a universality beyond the emotions, fears and beliefs of an integrated ‘mind’ (one inseparable from its physicality), then you’re looking at a six-dimensional aspect of pure relation beyond value or significance: what matters is not just what is significant to all of us, but also what matters to everyone and everything else relative to their significance to us. Then the entire universe matters, and we’re not missing anything. Then the evolution and integration of information from physics to chemistry to biology to sociology/psychology to an holistic universe starts to make more sense.
  • Gnomon
    425
    your use of created terminology to avoid (or delay) the scientific or philosophical rigour of relating your worldview to established concepts - either in science or philosophy.Possibility
    I don’t think a modern philosophy can afford to isolate its terminology from science anymore,Possibility
    I use my own coined terms (neologisms) specifically because of the broad range and technical complexity of the subject. Enformationism is Science, Religion, Philosophy, and Cosmology all combined into a cohesive worldview. It's my own personal Theory of Everything. My special terminology is intended, not to "avoid or delay scientific or philosophical rigor", but to present my ideas in words that mean what I intend them to mean, not as they are used in various conventional contexts (pigeonholes). If you will look at the Introduction of the Enformationism thesis, you will see that the concept originated from layman's study of the sciences of Quantum Theory and Information Theory. It is not intended to be isolated from Science, but to be integrated with it.

    Since I am neither a conventionally trained scientist nor a philosopher, my vocabulary is unabashedly un-conventional. I have an extensive Glossary and a Blog to give specific meanings and contextual applications of each term. Is it quackery or philosophy? --- you decide.

    I think your use of the term ‘field’ is misleading . . . . if this ‘universal mind’ has the capacity to combine these field formulae with the other ninePossibility
    I used the mathematical notion of a "field" as an analogy, not as a literal description of the universal Mind. Besides, a mathematical "field" is not a physical object, but a metaphysical metaphor, treated as-if there was an infinite array of non-dimensional points in space. I think you took my analogy too literally.

    If you want to get to a universality beyond the emotions, fears and beliefs of an integrated ‘mind’ (one inseparable from its physicality),Possibility
    The "Universal Mind" that I am referring to is already beyond "emotions, fears and beliefs" because it is non-physical. It is not in the universe, but the world is in the Mind. It is separable from physicality only in the sense that it transcends space-time. So, if you want to get on the same page with me, you'll have to go clear out of the material world.


    Enformationism : http://enformationism.info/enformationism.info/index.html

    Glossary : http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/index.html

    PanEnDeism : All-in-G*D; the physical world is a creation of universal Mind : the Enformer.
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