Nature of Reality

Nature of Reality

  • Graham Allan Partis added an answer:
    Can anyone suggest a natural system that is also non-physical? Does the description "a natural system" necessitate the system being "physical"?
    see Lawrence Cahoone
    "Towards A New Metaphysics of Natural Complexes"

    I plan to outline a research program aimed at developing a new natural science of macro-economics (called Catallactics) based on the idea that the modern economy is a natural but non-physical far-from-equilibrium system of exchange.
    Graham Allan Partis

    Normally we define physical systems as things that impinge on our mental events or in other words things we can observe. Thus if there is purely mental or spiritual thing like a person called God who lives in a realm outside our spacetime or other spiritual beings by definition ( if they have any influence on our observed physical universe) such beings would be classed as physical. Even if we assume our world is a dream or illusion then the physics of the simulated world would be classed as physical as it would be the world we experience. The world we experience by definition is our physical world.

    As to "natural" systems things that ae designed by a person are usually defined as not natural while things that evolve ("naturally") ae seen as natural.

    Such natural systems can include "undirected" emergent observable relationships of agents involved in design processes.

    E.g. many believe that super human systems such as cities and universes have their own nature or personality; and can be though of as if they were a person. Whether such systems have their own mental events is something that is perhaps impossible to verify, but we can say whether such systems act as if they did. I.e. act as if they have agency or personality.  

  • Manuel Morales added an answer:
    Does our 3-D model of space reflect all we experience about space, in particular does it account for the continuum of scale?
    Scale is an admitted aspect of space and is perceived as a continuum of space.
    If we attempt to measure the distance between objects at very different scales (say the corner of a book on a table and a molecule of a pen on the table near the book), we find we must include scale as part of the means of locating the objects in space.
    From a geometric perspective, this would mean that scale is a required measure of space - beyond length, width, and height and simply by being required to locate an object in space would constitute a 4th dimension of space.
    Scale as continuum:

    Scale as spacial dimension:
    Manuel Morales

    Although my invite for research contributions are initially focused towards grade school children, I invite my colleagues here at RG to feel free to participate as well (see link).

  • Eugene F Kislyakov added an answer:
    What is reality? What are facts?
    I have noticed some scientists/scholars to equate reality to facts and facts to reality with assertion. In my opinion using them synonymously is a fallacy which must be consciously avoided, because in: Facts are statements about some events or circumstances that exist or that have occurred. Facts are observable (measurable), verifiable and indisputable whatever measure of reason and logic is applied to or reject them.
    Reality (Constructed, Objective, Subjective, Empirical, Instrumental and other Realities) is nothing but a collective opinion - an idea in which some confidence is placed or, a reasonable collective representation of “the way things are.” Reality is not simply acknowledged, but must be discovered or reasoned and is liable to falsification.

    For example, we know it is fact day will come after night. It is a fact that the Earth rotates on its axis resulting in day and night. It can be verified or observed from space. It also can be verified that the Earth revolves around the Sun. On the basis of these two facts we reckon time. But, what is reality of time? To some it is linear, to some opinions it is cyclic and to some it is fractal. To convince one of one of these three realities of time, it is to be reasoned out on the base of some facts.

    There is an objective reality out there, but we view it through the spectacles of our beliefs, attitudes, and values. ~David G. Myers
    Eugene F Kislyakov

    Facts are observed reality.

  • Dejenie A. Lakew added an answer:
    Nichilism or killing of 'Being' is a contradiction: what is, cannot be not-'being' or may have been. It is a folly that needs what remedies?

    The term nihilism is often used in combination with an ‘anomie’ to explain a general feeling of despair under a perception that the existence has no purpose, realizing that there is no need for rules, regulations and laws. (‘anomie’ is a state of cognitive dissonance between the normative expectations and the reality as experienced).

    Movements such as Futurism and deconstruction, along with many others were often identified by many as "nihilistic".

    Nihilism also assumes different characteristics depending on the historical context in which it fits, for example, sometimes postmodernism has been defined as an nihilist age, and figures of religious authority have often argued that postmodernism and various aspects of modernity, have the rejection of theism, and the non-acceptance of theistic doctrines is one of the cornerstones of nihilism.

    Nihilism in itself can be divided according to different definitions and their recurrence is useful to describe philosophical positions that are independent and disjointed, although sometimes is possible a correlation or a consequentiality between the one and the other.

    The metaphysical nihilism is a philosophical theory according to which "it is possible" that there are no objective realities in their entirety, or more theoretically, it is believed that there is a hypothetical world in which there are none; at the most that can not exist "concrete" objective realities ; so if each possible word contains objects, there is at least one that contains abstract entities.

    An extreme form of metaphysical nihilism is commonly defined as the belief that there is no part of a world self-sufficient. One way to interpret such a statement might be: "It is impossible to distinguish the existence from non-existence, since these two concepts do not have the objective characteristics defined, and an element of truth in that statement can have, so to find a difference between the two. "If there is something that can discern the meaning of" existence "by its negation, the concept of existence has no meaning; or in other words, there is no intrinsic value. The term "meaning" in this sense is used to say that as existence does not have a high level of "reality", existence in itself means nothing. You could say that this belief, combined with the epistemological nihilism, would result in the idea that nothing can be defined as real or true, since these parameters do not exist.

    The epistemological form of nihilism can be seen as an extreme skepticism, where every form of knowledge is denied.

    Mereological nihilism (also called compositional nihilism) is the position whereby there are no organizations with their identity (not only in space but also in time), but institutions without identity - also known as "building blocks" - and the world as we perceive and experience it and in which we believe there are these entities with identity, are only a product of the fallacy of human perceptions.

    The moral nihilism, also known as ethical nihilism, is a meta-ethics that supports the non-existence of morality as objective reality; there is therefore no action that is necessarily preferable to another. For example, a moral nihilist would say that killing a person, for whatever reason, is not inherently neither right nor wrong. Other nihilists could even say that there is no morality, and if this exists, is a human invention, and then an artificial construction, in which each sense is relative depending on the different possible consequences. For example, if someone kills a person, a nihilist might argue that killing is not necessarily wrong, regardless of our moral principles: that is only because morality is constructed as a rudimentary dichotomy, in which it is stated that a bad thing has a weight far more serious than anything defined as a positive result, killing someone is wrong because it does not let the opportunity to this person  to live. To his living is arbitrarily given a positive sense. In this way, a moral nihilist believes that all ethical statements are false.

    The political nihilism is a branch that follows the characteristic points of the nihilistic philosophy, as the rejection of non-rationalized or non-proven institutions: in this case, the most important social and political structures, such as government, family and laws. The Nihilist movement exhibited a similar doctrine in the nineteenth century in Russia. The political nihilism is a school of thought quite different from the forms of nihilism, and is often regarded more as a form of utilitarianism.

    With Friedrich Nietzsche the phenomenon of nihilism takes on the ambiguity and ambivalence of real figure of interpretation, both theoretical and practical, of Western civilization. In a more explicit negative sense, it is described as a sign of the times, a sign of the decline faced by civilization. At the same time, positively, the twilight of values and idols "with feet of clay" that dominated the history of the West, and then as a whole there is the announcement of a new "dawn" , the prophecy of a new era, which will rise from the ashes of the dead man as it historically has given, and the God that he has built in his own image and likeness. Prophet and interpreter of this new era will therefore will be no longer man, but a kind of mythical figure, designated as the Superman, able to take upon himself the profound sense of nihilism and overcome it, knowing the author and creator of new values.

    In Nietzsche, therefore, the word nihilism designates the essence of the crisis affecting the modern European civilization: for Nietzsche nihilism is an event that brings decadence and disorientation, so as to constitute a kind of disease by which the modern world is affected; the disease would lead to the disintegration of the moral subject, to the debilitation of the will and the loss of the ultimate goal of life (passive nihilism).

    To this condition would follow, according to Nietzsche, a resurgence of the human legislative will and an overcoming of the disease condition through a multifaceted appreciation of existence (active nihilism) free of any claim to absolute truth. Ontological foundation of nihilism is the "death of God", a symbol of the loss of each landmark and greatest revelation of the universal ‘nothing’.

    Philosopher Emanuele Severino writes that the modern vision of nihilism is wrongly based on the concept of ‘being’ born from nothing, exists, then returns to nothingness.

    As observed by philosopher Diego Fusaro, "for Severino  everything is eternal. Not enough: only on the surface it is believed that things come out of ‘nothing’ and in the end in ‘nothing’ precipitate, because in the deep down we believe that the short segment of light that is life itself is nothing. It is nihilism. It is the primary murder, the killing of ‘being’. But it is a contradiction: what is, cannot be ‘not-being’, or may not have been or will ever be ‘nothing’. This contradiction is the folly of the West, and now of all the earth. A wound that needs many comforts, from religion to art, all frescoes on the dark, attempts to hide, medicate the ‘nothing’ that horrifies us. Hence the search for stronger ethics, founded on truth and human dignity.

    Luckily the Non-Folly waits  for us, the appearance of the eternity of all things. We are eternal and deadly because the eternal enters and exits from appearing. Death is the absence of eternity. We all have nihilism in blood. (...) Everything is eternal means that every moment of reality ‘is’, that is it does not go out and does not return in ‘nothing’, it means that even to things and events most humble and impalpable competes the triumph that is usually reserved to God. "

    Dejenie A. Lakew

    Dear Gianrocco,

    Very interesting question with interesting briefings. From all types of nihilists you describe, one can conclude that nihilists are people who dislike and terrified  by the order and purpose of existence in all its forms. Although existence is one of the fundamental questions of ontology, nihilism entertains the distraction of established and necessary orders for continuity of existence and it purpose.  

  • Manuel Morales added an answer:
    What is time? Is it linear or cyclic?
    My contention is that some regard time as an arrow or linear while some religions regard it cyclic (Kaal-Chakra). Also in his latest book, “The Grand Design” Hawking said: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.” By inference and reference to his love of M-Theory, time may be considered as cyclic. Time starts when forces (super-gravity) and matter procreate themselves into universe spontaneously and it ends when big crunch occurs and again starts with the big bang spontaneously produce space.
    Manuel Morales

    Is censorship of scientific discoveries that supersede previous knowledge OK with you? (see link)

  • Mike Radford added an answer:
    Does Critical Realism contain a theory of truth?
    Critical realism proceeds from the premise that in order to be a coherent form of enquiry the natural sciences presuppose that there is a material reality which is the object of enquiry. Scientific propositions, it is argued, are true if they correspond to the reality that they purport to describe or explain. But the critical realist argues that explanations are ontologically different to the material states that they are explaining and cannot therefore be understood as corresponding to them. In taking this view, does critical realism let go of the hand of truth?
    Mike Radford

    Hi Stefan, I wouldn't understand Popper as a Critical Realist - indeed Roy Bhasker who is probably the key figure in this philosophy, is critical of Popper.


  • Rahimi Ali added an answer:
    On what areas of research do mechanical engineering and philosophy overlap?
    Does mechanical engineering have philosophical causes?
    Rahimi Ali

    Knowledge management perspective presenting  direct and indirect knowledge also procedural ( imperative knowledge) vs declarative knowledge sheds some light on this issue.

  • Alfredo Pereira Junior added an answer:
    Was naturalism or the separation between naturalism and empiricism a very predominant philosophical theoretical strategy?

    Naturalism is a philosophical doctrine according to which nature is, directly or indirectly, the primary object of philosophical inquiry.

    According to naturalism, reality can be understood solely or primarily through natural laws, without resorting to the principles of a transcendental or spiritual order. Naturalism could therefore be understood as a synonym for materialism in opposition to spiritualism and idealism.

    Then, according to the Encyclopedia ‘ ’naturalism’ is a term common to the streams of thought that consider nature, in all its aspects, not only as a fundamental object of philosophical reflection, but also, and above all, as a benchmark determinant and absolute in terms of lives and interests of man. In particular there is a metaphysical naturalism, sociological, aesthetic, ethical and pedagogical.

    The most radical philosophical form is given by the metaphysical naturalism, tending to see in nature the first principle of all things, as at the dawn of Greek speculation and then again with the Stoics and in a great part of the Renaissance thought.

    Naturalism was in crisis as a result not only of sophistry, but above all because of the Socrates reflection, focused mainly on man and on issues of ethics and existence.

    Re-launched and revived over the centuries, the Renaissance is the organizer of a humanistic vision that exalts freedom and human dignity while promoting a recovery of naturalism as autonomous reflection on nature.

    But even neo-Platonism is dedicated to the study of nature, giving rise to natural philosophy, through formulae or intelligible process to use as a key to deciphering the various natural mysteries, thus granting man an unlimited power over nature.

    As in the early Greek philosophers, the world is interpreted with a monistic view, with no more opposition between spirit and matter: nature is again treated as a single living organism, in which the life-giving breath or Anima mundi does not work assembling small parts until reaching the higher and intelligent organisms (atomism), but just the opposite: the evolution of nature is made possible by the intelligent principle that already exists prior to matter. It reaffirms the need to study nature according to its own principles, that is, according to the typical Aristotelian vision of a reason immanent in organism.

    The contemporary naturalism includes extreme forms according to which science should replace philosophy.

    A significant exponent is Willard Van Orman Quine, considered one of the greatest physicalist philosophers of the twentieth century, according to whom ‘reality is identified and described in the science and not in the domain of any philosophy. "

    Giancarlo Zanet, a researcher in Philosophy, in his publication: "The roots of naturalism: WV Quine between empiricist legacy and pragmatism" explains Quine's philosophy that "... located in the center of the philosophical scene of the second half of the twentieth century constituting at the same time the landing and turning point of the empiricist philosophy tradition, both in its pragmatist declination and in the neo-positivist one. Quine, in fact, submitted the empiricist tradition to a thorough review that, starting from the critics to the two dogmas of empiricism, has landed in the formulation of a theoretical proposition, naturalism, which rightly can be considered by Habermas as one of the very predominant theoretical strategies "in the philosophical landscape today".

    It is interesting to read the review of the book by Professor Achille Varzi edikted by Evandro Agazzi and Nicola Vassallo," Introduction to contemporary philosophical naturalism" (1998).

    Achille Varzi writes: "When we talk today about naturalism it is generally referred to a program of naturalization of philosophy that was launched (or relaunched) by Quine.

    For Quine, epistemology was not an isolated domain. The program aimed at overcoming any clear separation between philosophical and scientific inquiry, in favor of a complete continuity of method and content. "Knowledge, mind and meaning - Quine stated in another text of those years - are part of the same world with which they are dealing and must be studied in the same empirical spirit that animates natural science." Since then, under the more or less direct influence of Quine and other epistemologists as Alvin Goldman (whose 'Causal Theory of Knowledge' dates in 1967) or Fred Dretske (Seeing is Knowing of 1969), programs for naturalization have extended quickly and massively and today we can say that there are no areas of philosophical research in which the debate on naturalism does not occupy a position of great importance

    Unfortunately, this rapid expansion is paralleled by a marked multiplication of perspectives, so that today it is difficult to speak of "naturalism" in a unique way. There are various forms of naturalism, the radical, for which philosophy must literally merge (until it disappears) in the natural sciences, and there is a moderate naturalism, for which philosophy must rely on the contribution of science while maintaining its own specificity.

    The conceptual expansion was rapid but also very uneven. To bring order to this landscape so varied and complex is one of the stated aims of the book edited by Agazzi and Vassallo. Overall, it appears a fairly skeptical ‘picture’ of naturalism, characterized more by the obstacles than by the prospects for development.

    Thus naturalism is a doctrine quite different from empiricism.

    Empiricism, in fact, is a philosophical position according to which experience is the only legitimate source of knowledge. The definition highlights how empiricism is an epistemological doctrine and should not be confused with other philosophical theses, such as naturalism, which has assumptions about what the reality is and not the way in which it is known.

    Richard Rorty, in 'One who separated naturalism from empiricism', referring to Wittgenstein writes: "He is a thinker who, in his later works, has helped us to achieve one of the main philosophical progress of recent times: the separation between naturalism and empiricism.

    Naturalism is a good idea – Wittgenstein said. It means considering human beings as products of biological evolution, without a mysterious intangible component, such as an immortal soul, or the Cartesian ego. Being naturalists means taking Darwin seriously, and interpret the interest of men for truth and goodness as part of the attempts of some biological species (a species that has been blessed with an unusually complex neural network) to respond to their needs.

    Contemporary naturalists insist that what makes us human is the ability to use language, to exchange signs and noises (first in order to collaborate on projects of a practical type, later to create a superior culture), more than possession of an extra ingredient, which animals lack.

    In the Wittgenstein words Empiricism is – instead - a bad idea. It is to think that all our knowledge is just a matter of "processing of sensory information."

    Founded by Locke and Hume, Empiricism has little to do with naturalism and everything to do with the hopelessly outdated Cartesian image of mind as mysterious inner theater where the "ideas" are projected on a screen , in front of an equally mysterious immaterial spectator.

    If we could get rid of this image, we would not put forth the most terrible kind of question which is impossible to answer, such as: "The image of the world that we build elaborating conceptually sensory impressions, is really like the world that gives us these impressions?" or: "the fact that you and I use the same language means that in our minds we have the same ideas, or maybe when you say 'purple' you mean what I call 'red', and vice versa, because our color spectrum is reversed? "; Or again: "A blind person from birth meant by the term 'red' the same thing as we understand it?".

    Alfredo Pereira Junior

    Dear H.G., do you have a reference on methodological naturalism? Thanks.

  • Shian-Loong Bernard Lew added an answer:
    Has the concept of experience expanded enormously?

    The scientific experience has a broader conception of the traditional one because it includes both the direct understanding, the immediately observable in its evidence from sensitive topic, and the indirect one, apparent from data that can not fall within the common sensibility, such as those concerning the cosmological or subatomic phenomena, but which originate from other established and verified observations, linked to this type of phenomena.

    Experience used in science in addition to common observation is then "artificial" intervention of the scientist who organizes sensitive data inserting them into schemes of statistical nature, as  in 'experientia litterata' of Francis Bacon made orderly writing data in 'tabulae', or that through the experiment, as in Galileo, driving natural phenomena to the demonstration of a theory.

    In this way the concept of experience greatly expanded which in addition to conventional sensory and emotional factors today includes logical, mathematical and technological factors that renders more complex the epistemological interpretation.

    In the history of thought the main problem, once gained confidence in empirical data drawn from reason, was to determine how the acquired knowledge could be attributed to experience or to reason.

    According to the empiricists that of the intellect would be an empty and inconclusive activity with no empirical data due to the sensitive reception. It was necessary, however, to distinguish the primary and immediate elements of experience, feelings and impressions, from those relationships between the sensitive data that serve to organize and sort them and without which the empirical data would be a chaotic mixture of sensations.

    This aspect of the relationships that determine the ordered structure of experience was analyzed in detail by John Locke and David Hume and became central to modern epistemology which poses the question of whether those relationships simply result from an accumulation of pure sensitive data that cause, in the end,  the order of experience, as argued by the sensism or positivist materialism, or whether it is rationality which, intervening predominantly, establishes that order, as it was in the doctrines of Leibniz, of idealism and spiritualism of the late nineteenth century.

    With the establishment and spreading of evolutionary theory of Darwin the problem of the relationship between experience and reason became complicated with the new question of the origin and development of the human spirit. Two theories opposed each other: the naturalistic one, headed by Spencer, according to which even those that are considered to be innate properties of the intellect are in fact the result of a natural evolution, and the historicist one, that comes with Hegel, according to which the human spirit is born and grows depending on the historical conditions in which it lives and works.

    Galileo and, before him, Copernicus managed to convince the world that experience of reality requires a critical attitude, as it in itself is not something identical to the world of objects. It is true that experience is the touchstone of the theory, however now the everyday life, to be true, must be transformed into scientific experience. And this transformation must follow basic guidelines: before deciding on the 'why' you have to answer the question of 'how'. To do this you must set up the structure of experimental situations in which the observation of the phenomena at a 'pure' state is possible. The data of experience are used to formulate hypotheses about the fundamental configuration of reality, usually expressed in mathematical language

    According to the view of scientists of Galilean formation, experience is not the basis from which it is possible to derive the fundamental truth of a theory, because it can always deceive. Experience and then the experiment can 'suggest' at best new ideas, while their main function is to be tools of verification of the theory by comparing its ultimate consequences with the empirical data.

    Shian-Loong Bernard Lew

    Experience as a construct becomes amendable to scientific inquiry once we start thinking about consciousness. Yet this bridge into science has widened the mind-body debate further as efforts are made to tie consciousness to neural-centric cognitive psychology. Since the scaling of consciousness from its neural roots is lost to its emergent properties.So while we are able to explain the projective qualities of experiences in the form of philosophical and sociological constructs such as:alterity & hyperreality; we are unable to trace its source through a reductionist program. Thus far progress has been made through a kind of excitable medium approach to the brain. Using fMRI scans as noninvasive methods to study consciousness as a function of brain activity.

  • Gianrocco Tucci added an answer:
    Is Knowing an automatic act of apperception that somehow involves freedom and self-consciousness of a subject?

    The need to find a unifying principle for all knowledge, an original synthesis meant as an ‘a priori’ representation of all a man knows and as such precedes the consciousness itself of multiplicity, leads Kant to elaborate the doctrine of '' I think ', which is one of the most debated and significant point of his whole philosophy.

    The different representations of my intellect are unified in the horizon of what I thought, because they are accompanied by the awareness that I think about them. The ‘ I think’ is therefore the supreme principle of all synthesis, i.e. the horizon which the synthesis made by the categories connect in a unified manner, and as well the principle of every knowledge whereby the mind is conscious of the created unification. The principle makes it possible a real unitary knowledge of reality and at the same time it takes root in the awareness of the constitutive human finitude: it is worth noting that, in this sense, the ‘ I think’ is an organizing principle, a transcendental structure that "must accompany" the representations of the subject, and not the principle from which the whole reality depends, as it will be understood later by idealist thinkers .

    Fichte, for example, in a letter of 1793, would say of  Kant, "this unique thinker becomes to me increasingly marvelous: I think he has a genius that shows him the truth, but without revealing the fundamentals." However, on his part, Kant is much careful to point out how the ‘I think’ is the structure of thinking of each empirical subject, and then as it does not coincide nor - in the wake of Descartes - with an ‘individual I’ object of immediate self-consciousness, nor - as suggested by Spinoza and taken by idealists - with the ‘absolute I’ that is the foundation of all finite consciousness.

    Specifically, the problem that Kant sought to resolve, which he addressed in the transcendental deduction of the Critique of Pure Reason, was as follows: why nature seems to follow necessary laws by conforming to those of our intellect? By what right do the latter can say to know scientifically the nature, "establishing" the laws in one way rather than another?

    According to Kant, such a right is justified because the foundation of our knowledge is not in the nature but in the activity itself of the subject.

    Gianrocco Tucci

    The decisive step of the reflection of Kant, to which he arduously arrived by his own admission, is then to recognize the objectivity in the heart of subjectivity. In fact, an object is such only in relation to a person, that is, only if it is thought by me. It is the consciousness that I have of myself as a thinking subject that allows me to have representations of the world, for the simple consciousness of external datum ("I think") can not ignore the critical consciousness, active, of his own inwardness ("I think that I think "). [and there was no apperception of me, that is I am always the same as myself in representing to me the changing nature and the variety of phenomena, inside me there would not be thinking of anything, because they would not  be a" mine "representation, and therefore I could not have consciousness.

    Kant uses the expression "I think" to indicate the apperception, which he understood as 'transcendental' apperception, suited to the manifold, in the sense that is activated only when it receives data to be processed. It is located at the top of critical knowledge, because it unifies and gives meaning to the representations of the world. Knowledge, in fact, derives not only from the sensations felt: on the basis of these an objects is "given", but with the apperception it is "thought", through the use of twelve mental categories, without which everything would be dark .

    "The unification is therefore not in the objects, and can not be considered as something drawn by them by way of perception, and thereby assumed primarily in the intellect; but it is only a function of the intellect, which is nothing but the ability to unify a priori, and to refer to the unit of apperception the manifold of given representations; and this is the supreme principle of all human knowledge. »

    Being formal, apperception can not be reduced to a simple objective "datum", because it operates only in relation to an object: we can not know in itself but only when it goes with our representations. In other words, it is not a simple empirical-factual knowledge of the inner reality of the individual, but it is the formal condition of all knowledge, the container of consciousness, not a content. It is an activity of thought that belongs to all people but not to any of them in particular, structurally identical in all. It is distinct from the empirical ‘I’ or empirical apperception, which is rather the conscience of each individual based on the personal sensitivity and such to belong only to ourselves individually.

  • Ian Eagleson added an answer:
    Are transcendental idealism and transcendal realism really as incompatible as Kant (and for that matter H.Alison) argues?
    I find myself going in a paradoxical loop when I think about the distinctions. Insofar that it seems that the two need each other instead of one being valid over another.

    For example, let us begin by accepting Kant's refutation of t.realism. T. idealism allows us to demarcate between noumena and phenomena. The phenomena is of an empirical idealist existence. Yet my question is, does not the intersubjectivity constituted out of empirical idealism create a type of transcendental realism? As soon as he puts the thought to paper, and write a symbol to be interpreted by another, does he not instantiate an existence that he previously refuted?
    Ian Eagleson

    Having just reread this thread, I would make one further comment. I think William and Soraj hover over more common ground than may at first be apparent. The suggestion by William that at the core of Kant's criticism of Hume is the charge that reasons are not causes (nor mere associations). Associationism can give no accounting of the rational features of our (mental) activity. Thus, the "phenomena" of propositions, meaning, inference and truth-value are left without explanation. (Some have argued for a similar charge against physicalism. The charge against Hume targets mere associations, against physicalists, causes.)  The principled introduction of these features into empirical thought, the topic Soraj broaches, is made by Kant by means of certain apriori categories of empirical thought, including cause, substance, etc. (The apriori status of the categories of judgment is the avenue for bring reason to bear on the empirical.) These provide the framework for cognizing (engaging these rational features with respect to) a possible empirical object. Judgments regarding causes have an apriori "pedigree" that makes them prima facie claims about the real world. So causes are empirically real, for Kant. Yet the epistemic status of any particular sort of causal relation, e.g. between the sun and the dawn, can only ever be probable, even for Kant. We must think in terms of causes. His argument is meant to show that causes are empirically real. Yet, he maintains, our conclusions regarding particular causal relations must always be provisional, as provisional as our best science. What we can be certain of is THAT the world is causally ordered.

  • Laurence Edward Hooper added an answer:
    In Medieval philosophy, how did Bernhard of Chartres comment in his Glosses on Plato and Plato´s Republic?

    Bernhard of Chartres says in his Glosses on Plato, that such an ideal state cannot exist in this world. Is this now his own opinion, or does he refer to Republic IX 592ab? Because: As far as I know there was no copy of the Republic in his time, only Calcidius' Timaeus. So how could he refer to the Republic in such a detailed way?

    Laurence Edward Hooper

    The answer to your question is most probably that Bernard is referring to a passage in the Republic that he does not know directly but has seen quoted in one of the many authors listed in the previous answer. If I were trying to find the exact source, I would refer to the work of Stephen Gersh and Peter Dronke. Here are two starting points.

  • George Stoica added an answer:
    What are the limits of measurement in science?
    When I was in high school Bohr's atom of shells, s and p orbitals was introduced in chemistry. Realization was automatic that the world was explained according to theory that was verified by experiment. Through college and graduate school, looking for more complete explanation, theory is challanged but it is not brought to question "what is an electron or proton, if they have mass but are visible only in the sense that they emit light energy as photons that also have mass, "spots of light in orbit around nuclei?, the atom a solar system in minature"? Physicists will say this is not the picture they have evolved, but all that remains is the image of equations on a chalkboard, at best 'the image of things of a particle nature in alteration with things of a light nature'. Can a pieced-together stepwise reality of this nature be accepted? In the Feyman quote below pieces are added that can break any of the established laws "they are not directly observeable" or affect "causality". In this same meaning though neither electrons, protons, photons or atoms are observable and their causal effects are but a matter of humanly constructed theory and similarly based experimental apparatus. The possibility exists that theory and theory based apparatus entail one another and all that might be gotten is that the real universe is identical in this respect...i.e. existence entails the experienced universe and visa-verse.
    "You found out in the last lecture that light doesn't go only in straight lines; now, you find out that it doesn't go only at the speed of light! It may surprise you that there is an amplitude for a photon to go at speeds faster or slower than the conventional speed, c." These virtual photons, however, do not violate causality or special relativity, as they are not directly observable and information cannot be transmitted causally in the theory." (from "Varying c in quantum theory"
    George Stoica

    The limits of measurement keep on changing, and sometimes the errors of measurement are not too good. 

  • Hans van Leunen added an answer:
    Is Space a Complex Continuum?
    Currently mathematics uses the Real Numbers to define a continuum - as in the Real Number line.
    If so much of physics makes use of Complex Numbers, why isn't there a Complex Continuum defining space?

    Quaternions would seem to define a space where each spatial axis is complex (only the 'temporal' axis remains 'Real': Q = w +ix+jy +kz).
    This would suggest that we are using two different models for space - a Real continuum and a Complex continuum model for spatial axes.

    If this is true, then we should expect difficulties when crossing between these models.
    Hans van Leunen

    Maxwell-Minkowski based approach versus Hamilton-Euclidean based approach

    The difference between the Maxwell-Minkowski based approach and the quaternionic Hamilton-Euclidean based approach will become clear when the difference between the coordinate time t and the proper time τ is investigated. This becomes difficult when space is curved, but for infinitesimal steps space can be considered flat. In that situation holds:
    Coordinate time step vector = proper time step vector + spatial step vector
    Or in Pythagoras format:
    (∆t)² = (∆τ)² + (∆x)² + (∆y)² + (∆z)²
    This influence is easily recognizable in the corresponding wave equations:
    In Maxell-Minkowski format the wave equation uses coordinate time t. It runs as:
    Papers on Huygens principle work with this formula or it uses the version with polar coordinates.
    For 3D the general solution runs:
    ψ =f(r−ct)/r, where c=±1; f is real
    For 1D the general solution runs:
    ψ =f(x−ct), where c=±1; f is real

    For the Hamilton-Euclidean version, which uses proper time τ, we use the quaternionic nabla ∇:
    ∇={∂/∂τ, ∂/∂x, ∂/∂y, ∂/∂z}=∇₀+▽; ∇*=∇₀−▽
    ∇ψ = ∇₀ ψ₀ – (▽,Ψ) + ∇₀ Ψ + ▽ ψ₀ ± ▽ × Ψ
    The ± sign reflects the choice between right handed and left handed quaternions.
    In this way the Hamilton-Euclidean format of the wave equation runs:
    ∇*∇ψ = ∇₀∇₀ψ +(▽,▽)ψ =0
    Where ψ= ψ₀+Ψ
    For the general solution holds: f= f₀+F
    For the real part ψ₀ of ψ:
    ψ₀ =f₀ (î r−c τ)/r, where c=±1 and î is an imaginary base vector in radial direction
    For the imaginary part Ψ of ψ:
    Ψ = F(î z−c τ), where c=±1 and î= î(z) is an imaginary base vector in the x,y plane
    The orientation θ(z) of î(z) in the x,y plane determines the polarization of the 1D wave front.

    Quaternionic coordinate data, which are based on proper time τ, fit as eigenvalues in Hilbert spaces. This is not the case for the spacetime coordinates that are based on coordinate time t. Hilbert spaces require that their eigenvalues are members of a division ring. Only three suitable division rings exist: real numbers, complex numbers and quaternions.

    The formula:
    (∆t)² = (∆τ)² + (∆x)² + (∆y)² + (∆z)²
    indicates that the coordinate time step corresponds to the step of a full quaternion, which is a superposition of a proper time step and a spatial step.

    An infinitesimal spacetime step ∆s is usually presented as an infinitesimal proper time step ∆τ.

    (∆s)² = (∆t)² - (∆x)² - (∆y)² - (∆z)², with signature + - - - .

    Above it is indicated that the coordinate time step ∆t corresponds to a quaternionic step. It mixes progression and 3D space. Proper time corresponds to pure progression.

  • Rohit M Parikh added an answer:
    Modern Philosophical/Scientific perspective on death?
    The death of any person brings paramount influence on the person who is close to the deceased person. My question is, what perspective contemporary philosophy and physics hold on death or life after death?
    Rohit M Parikh

    With our arrival on this earth we have bought with his our departure that is the certainty of our DEATH ,For which we are not aware regarding the time passage of our death for which we consider as part of destiny .This is the outlook of  modern philosopher.

    For scientific outlook there are interested to examine the analytic process & to make the subject of laboratory as scientist have an inclination to understand the reason of Death .In both the cases both have to accept our destiny of DEATH which certain for our life.

  • Mohammad Ayaz Ahmad added an answer:
    The theory on observation is set to relativistic science. This understands the preview as post-modernist, as a result of the conditional pattern in behavioural science. The theory of observance catalyzes science through an impressionistic preview, under relation of Newtonian Physics. The interesting debate in Newtonian Physics, speculates an observance methodology in line with 'states.' The Newtonian 'state' is an understanding value, through state's of cognisance. When predisposed, these states are the preview to unraveled states in consciousness. This trajectory is validated through simposition in order of appearance. The result is an analytical discourse through improvisation in the new found theorem. The theory of observation is observed as the predisposition of sense. Through the discovery, an analytical sense ensues to discover sense as a projective anthalogy to the discovery process. Einstein propsoses this as a methodology for recurrence in meta-states, where true cognition presents through new sense. The theory on observation measures the analytic discourse through category of sense. States of recognisance are a conservation matrix to recover sense at the analytical disjunction. The states present a value in observation through the finite reduction of consequential state. Thus the theory arises as the theory of consumption, in data tests. In an analytical test, the theory on observation reforms the state in initial conservation, as projection. Then the equation is a direct similarity between states, and the relationship between sense and direction is the observation. The prequel to sense is direct observation. Data statistic therefore measures the form of relation between two sets of an observance cue. To conclude: The theory on observation is rational distinction between two direct states of an understanding phenomenon, called the 'common-sense'.
    Mohammad Ayaz Ahmad

    (1) The choice of theory, although often unacknowledged, shapes the way practitioners and researchers collect and interpret evidence.

    (2) Theories range from explicit hypotheses to working models and frameworks of thinking about reality.

    (3) It is important, scientifically and practically, to recognise implicit theories: they powerfully influence understandings of all Sciences.

    + 1 more attachment

  • Clifford Miller added an answer:
    Did surrealism influence science?
    Surrealism, as an aesthetic movement in the creative arts, as a means to 'extend the reality', challenging the normative mode of appreciating the reality, has contributed tremendously in different forms of expressions during the twentieth century. Salvador Dali, the great Spanish painter; Luis Bunuel, the famous film maker and many prominent figures subscribed surrealism. The basic elements responsible for the growth of surrealism like questioning the reality, the existing belief systems are also essential to promote research minds. However, we seldom come across scientists influenced by surrealism. Why is it so? Is there any fundamental contradiction?
    Clifford Miller

    "perhaps surrealism was actually influenced by science". 

    Certainly the Surrealists would have difficulty failing to be influenced by the changes in their world brought about by technologies derived from scientific knowledge.  A conjecture to that effect might require no direct evidence to gain support [such as evidence of a Surrealist saying stating there was an influence].

  • William Cameron added an answer:
    Are we on TRACK - Biologically, Statistically May be ?
    For past 3 decades, I have been trying to balance the Scientific thinking (Biology) and Philosophical thoughts to finally realize that there is NOTHING called RANDOM. RANDOMNESS is an assumption essentially to create a REFERENCE FRAME for our Hypothesis.

    So, When we say some thing is RANDOM, we are engaging in hypocrisy, i.e. diplomatically accepting and cheating ourselves - we don't want to accept our ignorance about the HIGHER existence beyond the current Intellect and Circumstances.

    This especially is true when "LIFE" is involved. This takes me to saying that - the Bio-Scientific Communities and Economies may pay a huge price in the coming decade for all the statistical validation tools developed in Bio-algorithms since most of the hypothesis consider RANDOMNESS as REFERENCE.

    Further, some may say - World is REAL not IDEAL. Of course, however, the events happening around still follow an IDEAL path which is beyond our comprehension since NOTHING is RANDOM.
    William Cameron

    In this question, as in many others, we use the word 'is' too often. I first met careful usage of the word 'random' in connection with testing Ernie, the machine developed to produce random numbers for the British Premium Bond, an investment with interest given in a weekly lottery.

    A friend working for the Post Office telephone service did the maths. She interpreted random as showing no indication of a biased selection process and found it very hard to devise tests. One aspect of the testing was to find patterns with low probability and test for occurrence at the right frequency.

    All statistical laws and testing procedures derive from an assumption of independence, though many people think of probability as an aspect of reality it is an instrumental.model of expectation

  • Marius Dejess added an answer:
    What are the ultimate components of the Universe?
    Some contemporary theories appear to create “sinkholes” in the extrapolation process toward the more fundamental. Special Relativity expresses an equivalency between matter and energy. The question “Is matter really energy condensed?” posed by Marcus Borges illustrates this conundrum. Condensation is often applied to situations where energy among matter components is expelled. The enigma is intensified when experiments are interpreted to indicate the creation of charged particles from photons, i.e. electrons and positrons. Where do charges lurk within energy? Quantum Mechanics presents dual personalities for bodies of matter; i.e. wavelike versus particulate. The question “What are valid interpretations of the quantum double slit experiment?” asked by Vang Lee illustrates this conundrum. A pathway that connects Relativity with Quantum Mechanics has not been established.
    In various niches of the scientific realm components and properties are tailored to accommodate conceptual visions (theories). Matter distorts space-time in one niche while it exchanges gravitons in another niche to mediate gravitational effects. Some particles, including gravitons, are proposed to be massless. The gravitational effects of black holes supposedly do not allow the escape of photons. Do black holes exchange gravitons?
    Contemporary theories as a result of their abstruse nature defy attempts at a consistent visualization. If one had a grasp of the ultimate components of a system, it should be possible, in theory, to envision a structure for the system that accounts for the phenomena as detected at the observational level and to explain the utility of theories. Where does one start? Initially it is proposed that individuals attempt to provide candidates for the ultimate components based on their perspectives. Since the musings of Democritus, storehouses of scientific observations have been accumulated that provide a background of information available for interpretation and reinterpretation. The objective is to reduce the “sinkholes” in the landscape of our scientific endeavors.
    A proposal for the ultimate components is presented under William Blackmon at It has been a solo venture and criticism would be appreciated.
    Marius Dejess

    This may seem too simplistic, but in simplicity there is truth.

    The ultimate components of the totality of existence which is more than just the material universe studied by physicists, are first the entity cause of everything else that is not the cause entity itself; then second everything else that we know to exist including ourselves or we are not in contact with at all but can only suspect to exist, they all are the effects of the cause entity of them (the effects of the cause entity). That entity is what I call the first cause, God.

    You see, physicists do not go into the first cause of everything that is the effect of the first cause, physicists only want to find the ultimate parts whatsoever that make up the universe which they are studying, this universe is just a part of the totality of existence which, as I said above, is larger than just the universe studied by physicists.

    So, physicists are looking for or trying to formulate a theory of everything, how?

    Okay, tell me how they are looking for or trying to formulate a theory of everything. is it not by searching for another component within the universe itself which is the thing in charge of everything else?

    So, my question to physicists and everyone else here and everywhere who happen to visit this webpage and come to my post here, is this component to be found and to be a part of the theory of everything, is this the cause of everything that is an effect, or it is itself still in need of a cause.

    Please think about the need for man to think of a first cause, instead of evading all the time i.e. among some today's celebrity physicists and atheist thinkers, evading i.e. avoiding this first cause when they do not have any reason at all to avoid it, except for their taboo or phobia of this first cause concept and also entity.

    Let me read your reactions.

  • Hans van Leunen added an answer:
    Does the Copenhagen Interpretation require a facelift?
    Set Theory gives, by its nature, as much attention to individual behavior as to group behavior. The famous Copenhagen Interpretation (40 year old Niels Bohr, 24 year old Werner Heisenberg, 1925) places emphasis on group behavior denying possible logic in individual events. However, Cantor's Universe allows logic in group behavior (group events) as well as in individual behavior (individual events). Does the Copenhagen Interpretation require a facelift? This question is closely related to the matter of the Higg's particle that - as per its definition to be an exclusive mass-particle - is not supported by Cantor's Universe that brings all into relationship sometimes visible, detectable, sometimes not. For the same reason an exclusive mass-particle like the Higg's particle can't exist. Cantor's Universe gives new long vistas with hidden and unhidden logic. For this reason the Copenhagen Interpretation should, in terms of Cantor's Universe, be reviewed and its text be corrected/expanded. What is your opinion?

    See also on the Higgs-matter
    Hans van Leunen

    A variation of the Copenhagen interpretation is the replacement of the measurement by the recurrent process of embedding the owner of the wave function in its embedding continuum. It means that at the instant of embedding the owner has an exact location. After the the undisturbed embedding the wave function is restored and a new embedding is initiated. That takes place at a new location. That new location is not known beforehand but the probability of this location is specified by the squared modulus of the value of the wave function for this new location. If the owner is actually detected at this location, then the wave function is not restored. The owner does not disappear, but is is converted in something new that has a different wave function. The owner might also disintegrate into multiple objects or it may be absorbed into something else.

    If the recurrent embedding stays undisturbed then after a while the owner has hopped along a stochastic path of locations that together form a coherent swarm.

    The elements of the swarm are locations that can be represented by quaternions and these quaternions can be interpreted as eigenvalues of a normal operator that resides in a separable (quaternionic) Hilbert space. The eigenvectors of the operators span a closed subspace of that Hilbert space. That subspace represents the owner of the wave function. This subspace can be considered as an eigensubspace of a second operator that adds sets of properties to the eigensubspace. These properties concern the dimension of the subspace, the statistical characteristics of the swarm, the discrete symmetry properties of the swarm and the dynamic properties of the hopping path. Together, with the current location of the owner this specifies a much richer state of the owner than the wave function can give.

    This picture fits on owners that are (massive) elementary particles. Composites correspond to a much more complicated picture. In composites apart from locations also superposition coefficients play a role. They add to the dimension of the subspace that represents the composite.

  • Oliver Hoffmann added an answer:
    What is information?
    Is everything information? If yes, then we need new kind of physics, informational physics.
    Everything we know about the Universe is information, but why are most physicists blind to that?
    Oliver Hoffmann

    First of all, "information" is what a human subject interprets into a "form". Subjectively speaking, information is meaning. Objectively speaking, information is a pattern. For the purpose of constructing information technology, Shannon merged objective forms with subjective meaning via standardized interpretation in the shape of dictionaries and "objective" predictability of symbols and created the abstract information unit of information content "bit". After the success of IT this abstract objectivist notion of information has been adopted by the mainstream and apparently now enters physics as well. I would think that sooner or later the notion "information" will bring back subjective reality into physics.

  • Frank Landis added an answer:
    Could this be The One-inch Equation That Explains All Physical Laws: X=0, where x is everything or anything?
    If the Universe is simulation, then this simple formula makes the most sense to me, because the easiest way to store information is to compress it so that it becomes effectively nothing (zero), and all or almost all physics and math formulas we can rewrite in a form X=0, for example Newton second law we can write as F-m*a=0, where F-m*a=X. I think that this formula unites even Philosophy and Physics, because even at the first moments of Big Bang things were so different and opposite then now, that we can say they were 0, nothing, so this 0 nothing became everything X, and this everything X still always tends to be effectively 0, nothing.
    So if X=0, and it is just my humble hypothesis based on my physics and philosophy knowledge, do not take it too seriously, but tell me your opinion.
    When i think about most physics laws and formulas they are so simple and i wonder why people didn't earlier found them out, maybe the reason is that they expected something more complicated, but Nature is actually the more you know it and understand it, very simple in the root, and what could be more simple then X=0?
    We can write all physics formulas as this, and we can explain really a lot with this one, and if we can not something, it doesn't have to be that this formula is not right, it can just be that we don't have all informations to prove that this is right, and i think that this x can be anything or everything, the important thing is that when we integrate anything and everything in infinity that somehow the result will be zero.
    Frank Landis
    There is no ontological philosopher without infinite (zero) answers.
  • Paul M.W. Hackett added an answer:
    Can anyone tell me where this Leibniz quotation comes from?
    I have just been reading about Leibniz and I wonder if anyone can help me by telling me where Leibniz said "wholes have only a borrowed reality - borrowed from the reality of their parts". I am not sure whether this an exact quotation or an approximation.
    Paul M.W. Hackett
    I agree, this was a lesson in forgotten Latin from many years ago.
  • Chris E Buddenhagen added an answer:
    Why has the concept of teleology made such a comeback in the sciences and social sciences in recent years?
    Mark Perlman writes: "Teleology has certainly made a comeback in philosophical circles in the last thirty years. It went from a suspect or disreputable notion, ready for elimination, to the hottest topic in philosophy of biology, psychology and mind."

    Perlman, M. 2004, “The modern philosophical resurrection of teleology”, The Monist, vol. 87, no. 1, pp. 3-51.

    Why was the notion of teleology abandoned and why has it been revived?
    Chris E Buddenhagen
    I'd be interested in people's thoughts about a related concept in evolutionary biology: the term "derived"....
  • Afaq Ahmad added an answer:
    Are there any mathematics for which there is absolutely no application in physics?
    It is interesting how maths is useful for describing the physical world. But are there any branches of mathematics that are totally useless for physics? Why? Could it be that we perhaps anthropocentrically chose to follow branches of math that are interesting to us (ie. could have possible application)? To prove a point, could we invent a branch of math that is totally useless?

    Could we come up with a sophisticated group theory for the game of chess? Is the reason no one has attempted that because it would be in fact utterly useless with an unexciting loss of generality?
    Afaq Ahmad
    Dear Professor Derek Abbott,
    I have not heard and experienced about any use of Galois field and MOD theory in Physics.
  • Nainan Varghese added an answer:
    Do u think in our universe is fully created with energy only
    our universe is fully created with energy and all other things is only the change in that energy a/c to different dimension only
    Nainan Varghese
    Kindly see for some details.
  • Louis Brassard added an answer:
    Logicaly, should not the universe have started as a dimensionless point?
    If expansion is reversed infinitely, the primary principle should be a dimensionless point. Yet in popular treatments, the beginning universe is described as being around the size of a grapefruit. How can that be rationalized?
    Louis Brassard
    The concept of a dimension scaled with numbers from is meaningless for apeiron since there is noting to define distance, there is no mathematical concept to express anything and there is no order to express. It is a usefull concept, this is the idea of an indefinite existence without any order from which all order spring from and which sustain all forms of existence. It is the stuff evething is made of and is ordered from. It is the starting point of the epic of evolution. It is dimensionless not in the sense of being infinitly small,''small'' mean nothing originally, it simply exist and it all there is and there is no boundary, absolutely nothing we can speak of but which exists and with no stabilized expression.
  • Krzysztof Kielkiewicz added an answer:
    Transcendence - what is it if anything; and if anything how can it be experienced?
    The study of the philosophy of spirituality in the formal field of nursing has brought this to my attention. I am aware of transcendence possibly being a key part of the philosophy of spirituality in nursing. Emerson and Kant comment on transcendence but each view is different; the effect of time I speculate. So if time indeed has an effect on the evolution of the meaning of transcendence, what then does it mean today?
    Krzysztof Kielkiewicz

    First of all, transcendence is not the key part in the philosophy of the nurse or medicine spirituality, but spiritual or religious experience of the patient. This experience is perceived as a helping hand in patient's recovery process. This is the main reason why medicine (nursing) spirituality has an interest in transcendence. If the experience  is  a core, it is not transcendent any more, but it is immanent. Regarding the meaning of the term transcendence, it does not change (see Kielkiewicz, K., Dalzell, T., Towards Comprehension of Spirituality through Its Semantics)

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