• jambaugh
    29
    When one delves deep enough into quantum mechanics one runs across a cusp of understanding. The "state vectors" and "wave functions" one has habitually ascribed to states of reality from one's prior study of classical mechanics lead, if one retains this interpretation, to paradox. What resolved this paradox in my mind was the distinction my thesis advisor and mentor made between reality and actuality.

    Reality means "what is." It is the world of objects we imagine around us with their objective states. We envision a continuous evolving state of reality over time, a path drawn engraved by causality in the space of possibilities.

    Actuality means "what happens" and includes the direct phenomenology of our perception of our environments but extends through the instruments of our science, to refine our observations to high precision and accuracy.

    It was then with the realization that these two perspectives do no necessarily agree that I was able to escape the madness one may find oneself trapped within when contemplating the nature of quantum phenomena. Add to this also the realization that an active description (Whitehead's process) is a more robust one able to be sufficiently constrained to describe the same realities that we imagine in our objective ontology but, absent such constraints has available to it descriptions of nature, as it behaves, beyond what can be accomplished by merely contemplating "nature as it is".

    What I now understand is that there is a natural independent realm of activity, the actuality of our environment which is truly "out there" and independent of us. It is in our resolution of these actions into the paradigm of objective states that we discover the necessity of ontological relativism. The objective description of phenomena is necessarily relative to the mode of observation we actualize. This does not invalidate the use of reality models, it rather acknowledges them as tentative and incomplete models as such and not merely imprecise pictures of an existential reality. These models provide a scaffolding for understanding our experience at the gross scale but are not representative of a fundamental objective reality. No such reality exists as such and yet things still happen.

    That "gross scale" is however gross only in comparison. In our everyday affairs we can mostly treat existence as a world of objects. However, what is most instructive in the contemplation of the physics of quantum phenomena, is why and how this classical objective paradigm breaks down. When that which we observe is inescapably affected by the act of observation then we must abandon an objective model. This occurs with the oh-so-delicate observations of the tiny components of matter, the electrons and photons, and other fundamental quanta we call (sometimes) particles and sometime must acknowledge as wave, both being imperfect classical frames for describing these fundamentally active phenomena.

    But this need to reject an objective ontological paradigm also manifests for systems which are so actively sensitive to their environments that one cannot repeatedly observe them and retain the assumption that they are not changed by the act. Entities that grow and learn and adapt, living entities and most especially persons cannot be reduced to objective states. This is not to say there is some additional mystical aspect to them but rather that they are simply outside our usual and useful but limited technique of objective analysis.

    It is an error to objectify people for the very same reason it is to objectify quanta though many quanta are fundamentally identical while people are fundamentally unique. That error is that it simply doesn't work. The behavior of neither can be fully or even maximally predicted by objective analysis. But we can do better by treating them as behaving entities rather than a parameterized sequence of objective states. And we can do this within the full rigor of science without invoking mysticism.

    So, for example, I can within this active paradigm understand love in part and recognize its existence without either ascribing some extra-natural substance to it or pretending it is a peculiar manifestation of a particularly complex objective mechanism following its deterministic clockwork program. Love is a moral judgement made by moral judging entities which by definition are not reducible to objective states of being.

    Comments?....
  • Gnomon
    425
    What I now understand is that there is a natural independent realm of activity, the actuality of our environment which is truly "out there" and independent of us.jambaugh
    In his most recent book, The Case Against Reality, cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman, discusses the distinction between our relative perspective of Reality, and the Ultimate Reality itself. His analysis is not primarily about Quantum paradoxes. But he does mention Quantum Bayesianism, which says that “quantum states describe not the objective world but the beliefs of agents about the consequences of their actions.” Although his worldview is essentially Idealism, he does not deny an ultimate Reality, but says, like Kant, that we don't know it directly, but through a self-constructed "interface" that he compares to icons on a computer screen. That interface (belief system) displays our own personal model of Ultimate Reality.

    What that has to do with Qualia like Love, I don't know. But it supports the notion that "Love is in the eyes of the beholder".


    Reality Interface : http://bothandblog6.enformationism.info/page21.html
  • David Mo
    100
    The objective description of phenomena is necessarily relative to the mode of observation we actualize.jambaugh

    No such reality exists as such and yet things still happen.jambaugh

    I do not understand your terminology: if the description is relative to (measure?) it cannot be objective.
    If there is no "fundamental objective reality" I do not understand how an objective description of it can exist.

    In my ignorant opinion, what quantum mechanics shows is that a complete concept of reality in the classical sense must be abandoned. Ramón Lapiedra, a relevant Spanish physicist (see: https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/49476176_Ramon_Lapiedra), calls it "a reality with gaps". It seems to me very appropriate.
  • jambaugh
    29
    Ah, I could have said that better. The descriptions are physically manifested and those must be objective in and of themselves as records. There's a classical state for a detector memory or the ink on paper where the observation is recorded. The quantum observation specifically amplifies information encoded in the quantum to a classical level where it becomes a repeatedly observable and reproducible registration of the observed values.

    In that process of amplification there is a fundamental divide between system and record which invalidates the assumption that the objective representation in the record corresponds to an objective state of the observed system. This amplification is a thermodynamically irreversible process.
  • jambaugh
    29

    I agree with Hoffman in part, excepting that there are implicit assumptions when one uses the term "reality" where he is referring to "Ultimate Reality". Possibly he is referring to the "Actuality" and just not explicitly verbalizing the distinction. "Reality" typically is loaded with the presumption of a state description.

    In QM "state vector" IMNSHO causes confusion unless one understands it to refer to the "state of our knowledge about the physical system". Our advisor preferred the term "mode vector" since it describes a mode of system preparation/selection/observation. The "bra's" and "ket's" and wave functions should be understood as symbolic forms pointing to the devices and not the system itself. The underlying mathematical structure represents equivalence and transformation and logical relationship between such devices.
  • Gnomon
    425
    Possibly he is referring to the "Actuality" and just not explicitly verbalizing the distinction. "Reality" typically is loaded with the presumption of a state description.jambaugh
    Since he wanted to be taken seriously as a scientific researcher, Hoffman alluded to some Ideal or Transcendent Reality without being very specific. He pointedly avoided discussing god/heaven concepts. But I got the impression that he was referring to something like Plato's Ideal realm of Forms, and Kant's ding-an-sich (thing-in-essence).

    In my own thesis, I distinguish that Ultimate Reality -- which I call "Ideality" -- from Proximate Reality by labeling Forms as "Potential", and their material instances as "Actual". Which seems to be just the opposite of your usage of "Actuality". My "Actual" is equivalent to material Reality, which is "loaded with the presumption of a state" that we can describe in physical (space-time) terms. Ironically, Hoffman's theory indicates that even the Reality we interface with is imaginary --- a mental state.

    My concept of "Ideality" is transcendent, in the sense that it is beyond space-time --- a timeless state (eternity) within which the Big Bang signaled the start of space-time. With that concept in mind, I interpret such Quantum phenomena as Virtual Particles in terms of Potential, and Physical (measurable) Particles as Actual. Other absurd Quantum behaviors -- entanglement, tunneling, etc -- are also interpreted as transitions between space-time Actuality and eternal Potential. Likewise, the Big Bang is imagined as the transition of a Virtual World (concept, design, Form) into an Actual World (space-time, matter/energy). Potential is like Energy that has not been activated (actualized). Unfortunately, this notion can get confusing if we don't agree on the meaning of such terms as "actual".


    Ideality : http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page11.html
  • jgill
    233
    The metaphysics in these topics is all over the place - and that's suitable for this forum. Is String Theory metaphysics? Or any other far-out "theory" which evades verification? Perhaps String Theory could be called metaphysical actuality?

    Personally, I would be relatively happy if someone describes the integrative measures that are employed in Feynman's path integral. I'm familiar with functional integrals, which involve measures on sigma algebras of "points" (functions) in a space, but the "DX" in the Feynman "sum over all paths" integral is still a kind of puzzle to me.

    :chin:
  • Possibility
    925
    But this need to reject an objective ontological paradigm also manifests for systems which are so actively sensitive to their environments that one cannot repeatedly observe them and retain the assumption that they are not changed by the act. Entities that grow and learn and adapt, living entities and most especially persons cannot be reduced to objective states. This is not to say there is some additional mystical aspect to them but rather that they are simply outside our usual and useful but limited technique of objective analysis.

    It is an error to objectify people for the very same reason it is to objectify quanta though many quanta are fundamentally identical while people are fundamentally unique. That error is that it simply doesn't work. The behavior of neither can be fully or even maximally predicted by objective analysis. But we can do better by treating them as behaving entities rather than a parameterized sequence of objective states. And we can do this within the full rigor of science without invoking mysticism.

    So, for example, I can within this active paradigm understand love in part and recognize its existence without either ascribing some extra-natural substance to it or pretending it is a peculiar manifestation of a particularly complex objective mechanism following its deterministic clockwork program. Love is a moral judgement made by moral judging entities which by definition are not reducible to objective states of being.
    jambaugh

    The indeterminacy of both quanta and people relate to the potentiality of their objective or ‘measurable’ states of being. The human capacity to predict that potentiality to some extent, and to set up causal conditions based on probability calculations - to effectively interact with reality beyond time - is also what makes our own potentiality impossible to predict individually, but measurable on a macro population scale.

    So people are not individually reducible to measurable states of being, no. Moral judgement, as a subjective evaluation of a person’s behaviour, temporarily quantifies a measured state of being based on observed events. This is not ‘love’ in relation to a person - not a lasting love, anyway.

    Love is initiating and determining actions based on the predicted causal conditions of valued potential interaction between the potentiality of the person acting and the potentiality of another. So perhaps it’s ‘fuzzier’ than you think.
  • god must be atheist
    1.6k
    The indeterminacy of both quanta and people relate to the potentiality of their objective or ‘measurable’ states of being. The human capacity to predict that potentiality to some extent, and to set up causal conditions based on probability calculations - to effectively interact with reality beyond time - is also what makes our own potentiality impossible to predict individually, but measurable on a macro population scale.Possibility

    In a high school dance, where everyone went solo, not in couples, back 50 years ago, every boy first asked the prettiest girl to dance. Or dreamed of it. The girls, on the other hand, talked about the tallest, strongest, most dapper boy, in hushed voices, throwing glances at him and telling each other "I will absolutely DIE if he asks me."

    This is a perfect predictability of whatever. Manifestation of potential to love.
  • god must be atheist
    1.6k
    the integrative measures that are employed in Feynman's path integral. I'm familiar with functional integrals, which involve measures on sigma algebras of "points" (functions) in a space, but the "DX" in the Feynman "sum over all paths" integral is still a kind of puzzle to me.jgill

    This qualifies as the quantified theory of love?

    I have to admit i actually don't have the faintest what we are talking about here.
  • Possibility
    925
    In a high school dance, where everyone went solo, not in couples, back 50 years ago, every boy first asked the prettiest girl to dance. Or dreamed of it. The girls, on the other hand, talked about the tallest, strongest, most dapper boy, in hushed voices, throwing glances at him and telling each other "I will absolutely DIE if he asks me."

    This is a perfect predictability of whatever. Manifestation of potential to love.[/quote]

    As I said, predictable on a macro population scale. On an individual level, the best you can say is ‘probably’, but you’d be wrong to presume this to be the case.
  • Benkei
    2.3k
    Could you describe the paradox you were experiencing? I'd rather not jump to conclusions.

    My own experience of paradox was that QM suggests the possibility of an indeterminate reality (e.g. God rolling dice) and my intuition that reality is in fact determinate (e.g. causal). That also relates to my firm belief that free will requires causality, in the sense that I would want something "because" and not as happenstance that randomly comes into existence and is then rationalised post facto.

    For me it was the realisation that QM says nothing about whether reality is ontologically determinate or not, merely that our epistomological account of reality is indeterminate in certain cases. Both a determinate as well as an indeterminate reality can lead to an indeterminate epistomological account (complexity, observer effect on measurement and so on). An indeterminate reality could never lead to a determinate epistomological account other than through sheer luck.

    Whether reality is considered ontologically determinate or indeterminate seems to be intuition which colours what QM interpretation is favoured. There are after all still determinate interpretations of QM effects possible, such as Bohmian mechanics.
  • jgill
    233
    This qualifies as the quantified theory of love?god must be atheist

    Ha :smile: Just curious if a physicist might jump in here. I don't think there are simple answers.

    But I wonder about string theory or similar conjectures, and whether they are considered metaphysical whatevers? If so, if one of these strange theories were verified by experimentation, would they become metaphysical actualities?
  • jambaugh
    29
    Here's my take on love. Definitionally "Love is a moral judgement". Understand this in the context of my belief that morality/ethics is an individual's value system. We organize collectively around shared values but we each must literally evaluate the specifics. Even taking an authoritarian... let's put it this way, If God comes down burning bushes and painting with fiery letters in the sky, we each individually must decide if it is right in our own moral judgement to obey the dictates she lays down. Issac decided it was right to sacrifice his son for the sake of obedience to his deity. We can imagine Issac prime deciding that it was just too much, that the dictates of his God were wrong in his own ethic and that he should disobey for the sake of his child.

    We each as individuals may take the moral dictates of authorities under consideration but there is always the personal evaluation of the rightness that we conform or otherwise reject those values represented by the source. Some may think about it more than others, some may have a broader experience by which to judge. But we each must judge. This is why I reject any attempt to derive a secular absolute ethic. Rather I would see us study how to reconcile many individuals, each with distinct value systems, as they interact in larger society. Pragmatically speaking, as we consider the moral efficacy of our actions within a society we each must decide how to do the most best good in that context.

    So, love being a moral judgement, we can look at what and whom someone loves as knowledge about what they find of moral value. In extreme cases, the masochist loves the sadist, (and the sadist hates the masochist), And each of you can generate enumerable other examples. But the nature of love is to ascribe moral value to what or whom one loves.

    We love beauty because it represents health, and physical competence, and that's pro living which most take as a moral good. It's an ethic encoded in our genes since it promotes the prosperity of those genes without which we don't function and thus cannot strive or war or succor the wretched masses or whatever other moral good we might envision.

    We love knowledge and truth because it is the gift that keeps on giving. It is the tool by which we can navigate and manipulate our environment to prosper in and of ourselves and thereby act as we value the consequences of our actions.

    We love power because without it our will to act is a wish in the wind. Power here doesn't mean mere domination. The power to walk and work, the power to create, the power to effect our world for the good we define by our values is thus good by derivation.

    Or... when we stop loving these things, we manifest our underlying ethic of death and we die (occasionally taking out others with us).
  • jambaugh
    29
    Could you describe the paradox you were experiencing? I'd rather not jump to conclusions.Benkei

    Well, it typically manifests in contemplating the EPR experiments where two totally entangled systems, say that are absolutely correlated, are considered and one can suppose that any measurement of any observable of the one copy will predict with certainty the outcome of an as-not-yet-actualized measurement of the other.

    An obvious conclusion is then that the other system is in a specific objective state for which all outcomes of any measurement is determined.

    Then taking this assumption further and ascribing all uncertainty to our ignorance about the actual state of the system we attempt to describe our knowledge about that state using a probability distribution over the set of possible states.

    Such a description we find must obey certain additive relations for the probabilities which in this context we call Bell's inequalities.

    Then we go and see that we can violate these inequalities by certain choices of measurement, which tells us we've adopted somewhere an inconsistent set of assumptions.

    If you want to experience cognitive dissonance personally, spend a serious amount of time focused on trying to reconcile the empirically verified probability structure of QM with the seemingly obvious and natural derivation of Bell type inequalities.
  • jambaugh
    29
    My own experience of paradox was that QM suggests the possibility of an indeterminate reality (e.g. God rolling dice) and my intuition that reality is in fact determinate (e.g. causal). That also relates to my firm belief that free will requires causality, in the sense that I would want something "because" and not as happenstance that randomly comes into existence and is then rationalised post facto.Benkei

    There is enough room for the resolution of your dilemma to assume stochastic causality, namely that one event can influence the probabilities of future events. My free will doesn't make of me a deity. I can choose to act toward some outcome and act to increase its likelihood, even to bring that likelihood to a very close approximation of certainty. But I can never bring the probability to exactly 100% to the last decimal place. It doesn't make me impotent, it just acknowledges my lack of omnipotence.

    In short, I think you are invoking a false dichotomy.

    And if you reject the premise of an omniscient omnipotent God then there's no worry about who's playing dice. We all are! :) {I also can make a (rather contorted) argument that will also allow you to retain a belief in an omniscient omnipotent deity in light of this seeming paradox, think conspiracy theory.}
  • Wayfarer
    9.2k
    I wonder about string theory or similar conjectures, and whether they are considered metaphysical whatevers?jgill

    This is a big, big controversy in current physics. There is a school of thought which is highly critical of string theory and says it's a dead end that will never yield a testable prediction. But the defenders say, so what, the maths is 'elegant'.

    See Lee Smolin's 'The Trouble with Physics', Sabine Hossenfelder's 'Lost in Math', and Jim Baggott's 'Farewell to reality'. Sabine Hossenfelder's blog, Back Reaction, is also a valuable source for the controversy. http://backreaction.blogspot.com/
  • jgill
    233
    This is a big, big controversy in current physicsWayfarer

    I'm aware of that. But I wonder if string theory might be considered a metaphysical subject amongst philosophers who are not necessarily scientists/mathematicians? And if so, if experimental evidence did arise, would this, technically, be considered metaphysical actuality?
  • god must be atheist
    1.6k
    but you’d be wrong to presume this to be the case.Possibility

    Or else I'd be right to presume this to be the case.

    You can't have a monopoly on my being probably wrong or probably right.
  • god must be atheist
    1.6k


    However, notwithstanding my defence of the example I'd given, I admit you are right, @Possiblity.

    Love has been a complex, individual mix of emotions and desires, wants and cravings. It has certain elements that we assume are the same for each person, but as persons in a population go, the DNA section that governs feelings of love has been mutated beyond recognition by its own mother. This is my belief, anyhow.

    I consider that for some, love is:
    - a partnership based on sexual attraction and common life goals, that commands mutual tenderness, support, and sharing
    For some others, love is:
    - a devotion, a submission (physical and emotional);
    For some others, love is:
    - dominance, providing protection, and establishing the leadership of the self via paining the other;
    For some others, love is:
    - a religious doctrine to follow;
    For some others, love is:
    - getting as many sex partners to bed as possible;

    ETC ETC

    The mutations are myriads in numbers.

    I think when you say that the macro tendencies are predictable, but not the individual tendencies, there is a big difference between human tendencies and the corresponding physics theory of indeterminism. In the human response, individuals can be predicted for their responses, after getting to know the individuals. On a sub-atomic level, this is not possible.
  • Possibility
    925
    I think when you say that the macro tendencies are predictable, but not the individual tendencies, there is a big difference between human tendencies and the corresponding physics theory of indeterminism. In the human response, individuals can be predicted for their responses, after getting to know the individuals. On a sub-atomic level, this is not possible.god must be atheist

    A human being, unlike quanta, is an integrated system of interrelated potentiality. So yes, there is a big difference. Predicting the tendencies of interpersonal interaction involves much more complex awareness than predicting the tendencies of quanta, which are deliberately isolated in experimental situations, and depend on mathematical calculations of probability to even ‘know’ they exist. The fact that we’re capable of predicting human responses after getting to know the individuals suggests that we’re capable of relating to and predicting reality based on immaterial information that’s unobservable and immeasurable in spacetime: potentiality (value), and meaning.

    Love is much more than recognising potentiality, and it’s certainly more than ‘moral judgement’. I love my child not because they’re ‘good’, but because everything they can possibly be means more to me than any moral judgement of their behaviour. Because of this love, I will always act on my potential to increase awareness of, connection and collaboration with their potentiality, and will do what I can to predict and set up causal conditions for them to actualise their potential, so that others are aware of it as well. It doesn’t mean I ignore or cover up their ‘bad’ behaviour, or blame it on others - but that I teach them that a moral judgement, like a behaviour or action or punishment, is a finite event in time that doesn’t define them, and doesn’t alter my love for them.

    No mysticism necessary, @jambaugh.
  • David Mo
    100
    In that process of amplification there is a fundamental divide between system and record which invalidates the assumption that the objective representation in the record corresponds to an objective state of the observed system. This amplification is a thermodynamically irreversible process.jambaugh

    In plain English: there is no objective knowledge of subatomic particles -respect some relevant variables. Or there is an alternative theory to quantum mechanics (which I do not know).
  • jambaugh
    29
    Love is much more than recognising potentiality, and it’s certainly more than ‘moral judgement’. I love my child not because they’re ‘good’, but because everything they can possibly be means more to me than any moral judgement of their behaviour.Possibility
    I argue that your statement here just makes my point. You say you love your child, because... and state what you value namely "everything they can possibly be" over "their [current] behaviour". You have expressed your value system here to explain why you lover your child.
  • jambaugh
    29
    In plain English: there is no objective knowledge of subatomic particles -respect some relevant variables. Or there is an alternative theory to quantum mechanics (which I do not know).David Mo

    I would reword this. The knowledge itself IS objective. I.e. I can state that a subatomic particle will have a specific probability of behaving a certain way. But the particle itself is not an object. That's why we can use mathematical symbols to exactly specify our knowledge about the system, and likewise why we cannot use mathematical symbols to exactly specify the "state" of the system itself.

    Once we realize that the the representations we use (state vectors) are representations of our knowledge (about the material system) and not representations of the material system directly, then there ceases to be mysteries in such things as "wave function collapse". Of course our knowledge collapses into a new state of knowledge when (and exactly when) we update it with specific observations. This is the proper understanding of the Heisenberg interpretation.
  • jambaugh
    29
    An ordinal theory of love, not a cardinal one. See the pope for that. :)

    And I assert, that for each of your expositions on the permutations of love you are exactly expressing permutations of the values of the lover.
    BTW: I love the user name. It reminds me of the sign on my office door which reads:
    "I am predestined to believe I have freewill!

    TO ALL! Let's split some of this into another thread: Defining Love
  • Possibility
    925
    I argue that your statement here just makes my point. You say you love your child, because... and state what you value namely "everything they can possibly be" over "their [current] behaviour". You have expressed your value system here to explain why you lover your child.jambaugh

    To call this a ‘value system’ is a reduction of what it means to relate to possibility. Their current behaviour is included in everything they can possibly be. The way I’ve worded it does, however, suggest that the ‘moral judgement’ is not included - it is, but is such a minor factor in ‘what matters’ that its ‘relative value’ is comparatively less than that of ‘everything they can possibly be’.

    Think about it in relation to drawing a table: The 3D table is much more than what I can reproduce in even a skilful rendering of a 2D image. If you were not aware that the 2D shape represented a 3D object that existed, then you would see only the 2D shape, and not the table. Likewise, if you were not aware that my expression of 5D value represents 6D meaning, then you would understand it only as 5D value. Language is necessarily a 5D structural relation - it can represent meaning in the same way that the 2D image can represent the 3D table, but the representation is only one aspect of the total information.
  • jambaugh
    29
    I'll reply in the other thread, quoting your last post.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

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