Tom Siegfried, Editor-at-Large and Blogger for Science News, on my recent paper with Stuart Kauffman and Michael Epperson:
Tom Siegfried, Editor-at-Large and Blogger for Science News, on my recent paper with Stuart Kauffman and Michael Epperson:
65 thoughts on ““Taking Heisenberg’s Potentia Seriously” Featured on Science News Blog”
Exceptional clarity and timeliness! This paper addresses the consequences of a peculiarly connected, but still potentially comprehensible universe. Bravo to all of you! Combined with your other recent work, this has helped bridge a gap in my visualization of ‘simple’ polarization entanglements, “weak” measurements and their implied entanglements, and coherent quantum entities. Good stuff! ;-)
Thanks very much, Dean! Very glad to hear that this makes sense and is useful to you. Have you seen: https://arxiv.org/abs/1709.09367
I’ve only done a first pass on that paper, but yes. It sent me scurrying to read your other work to better understand your terminology and justifications. I now have wrinkled printouts of PTI & Relativity (2012), Heisenberg Potentia, and Status of Measurement Problem from September. I’ve printed, but not read Weak Measurements from March, though with a quick scan I think I get the idea. I’ve been stuffing your papers in a pocket and bring them to work to read during lunch and on breaks.
I will tackle your co-authors’ work, but your work is easier for me to read.
Long story, but I actually own a hard cover copy of Cramer’s Quantum Handshake, so I saw you referenced there. And this summer I came across a sly wink from Roger Penrose in reference to some ‘interesting work by Ruth Kastner’ in his Fantasy, Faith and Fantasy. I didn’t get a chance to try to see who you were until I saw Taking Heisenberg’s Potentia Seriously while scanning the Arxiv newsfeed. And … that lead me here.
Correction. In this Universe, Roger Penrose has not mentioned your work. My bad. In my mind that does nothing to diminish the importance of your work!
Please find a paper I wrote sometime ago on a similar topic
The paper 1006.4712 Arxiv On Quantum Ontology
Thanks, I will take a look.
Awesome paper Ruth! I stumbled upon while researching ideas related to Kauffman’s last book “Humanity in a Creative Universe” (also awesome). Using the terminology that you use in the paper, it still seems to me more of a principle theory than a constructive theory where one can “see physical processes at work.” It’s certainly true that “imaginability must not be made the test for ontology,” but can you propose some kind of intuitively visualizable model? If potentia are ontologically real, they are “things” in a mathematical space that is also ontologically real. How to model that space and it’s interaction with space-time as-we-know?
Thanks very much Giulio! And yes, the constructive theory for this is RTI, presented for the layperson in Understanding Our Unseen Reality, and in more technical form in The Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: The Reality of Possibility
Thanks for replying Ruth, I have both your books, will go through them again. How does the Relativistic Transactional Interpretation relate to Kauffman’s ideas on free will and an open universe embedded in a wider realm of possibilities? Free will seems to require (hidden) non-randomness, where does that come from?
RTI is a theory about quantum systems, but I interpret the quantum systems as the potentiae. That is, they are not spacetime actualities. RTI details how the quantum potentiae become actualities through the process of ‘measurement’, which isn’t really ‘measurement’ in classical terms, but rather the emergence of spacetime events (which are the actualities).
Re free will, RTI does not go into free will specifically, but it leaves room for it. I discuss that briefly on pp 182-8 of “Understanding Our Unseen Reality”. For more technical details, see http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/11893/
Reality is our creation. There is no objective reality independent of the observer. Recent experiments on delayed measurements using satellites is not in disagreement with this view.
The potentials as embodied in the state vector may not be seen by the observer. However, it is the observer who decides on what he wants as reality. The sensory perceptible world has been considered to be the reality but it has to give away to other interpretations of :”reality”/
Nalin de Silva
On Sat, Oct 28, 2017 at 1:50 AM, Transactional Interpretation wrote:
> rekastner commented: “RTI is a theory about quantum systems, but I > interpret the quantum systems as the potentiae. That is, they are not > spacetime actualities. RTI details how the quantum potentiae become > actualities through the process of ‘measurement’, which isn’t really ‘me” >
Thanks, but that’s a metaphysical position that is not at all obligatory. Recall the parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant. Their perceptions and theories about what they sense are limited, but there’s still an elephant out there.
Is there a reality independent of the observer. ? Is it possible to demonstrate that there is a reality independent of the observer without appealing to an observer?
On Sun, Oct 29, 2017 at 12:18 AM, Transactional Interpretation wrote:
> rekastner commented: “Thanks, but that’s a metaphysical position > (idealism) that is not at all obligatory. Recall the parable of the Blind > Men and the Elephant. Their perceptions and theories about what they sense > are limited, but there’s still an elephant out there.” >
Is it possible to demonstrate that there is no reality independent of the observer? This is why these are metaphysical positions, and it’s inadvisable to make dogmatic assertions either way. We simply don’t know. But we can certainly point to situations (such as the Blind Men and the Elephant) where the men would be wrong to conclude that there is no reality independent of their observations. Which is why they would not want to dogmatically assert such a claim.
The blind men have their own realities. The observer who perceives and conceives the “elephant” as the elephant is only another reality. As long as we cannot establish that there is a reality independent of the observer, reality itself remains metaphysical, How does one define “reality”?
The blind men conclude certain :”facts” depending on their senses. It could be considered as their “realities”. With our senses we conclude that the real elephant is not what the blind men describe as the elephant.
The “reality” depends on the senses and we should not conclude what we sense as the reality. The reality .is not independent of the observer.
On Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 11:06 AM, Transactional Interpretation wrote:
> rekastner commented: “Is it possible to demonstrate that there is no > reality independent of the observer? This is why these are metaphysical > positions, and it’s inadvisable to make dogmatic assertions either way. We > simply don’t know. But we can certainly point to situations (” >
Sorry, but you’re still making dogmatic statements that are non sequiturs. I.e. they don’t follow from any argument. In the example of the Blind Men and the Elephant, each makes a theory based on his sense impressions. Nothing about that shows that there is no reality independent of their sense impressions. You’re just asserting that without argument,
Could you define reality please. It will make this discussion purposeful.
For example is reality the sense impressions of a “normal” person. Then of course the question arises as to who a “normal” person is.
Is reality the sense impressions of a “normal” person and the scientific theories that are not usually sensory perceptible.
Or is reality something else?
Is it possible to conclude by argument that there is a reality starting from your definition of reality.
On Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 12:31 PM, Transactional Interpretation wrote:
> rekastner commented: “Sorry, but you’re still making dogmatic statements > that are non sequiturs. I.e. they don’t follow from any argument. In the > example of the Blind Men and the Elephant, each makes a theory based on his > sense impressions. Nothing about that shows that there” >
I think Nalin de Silva has failed to understand rekastner’s question. It is not possible to start with a definition of what reality is simply because it is not possible to gain direct access to such a reality. Nalin de Silva seem to have confounded an epistemological limitation with an ontological fact. For me rekastner’s argument is very simple: we do not know if there is anything outside the human relation that we can definitively claim to be real, but this means, at least, the equal possibility of the existence and non-existence of such a real
Yes, of course. Thanks Ian.
I thank Ian Jones for his contributions. Let me come back to the epistemological limitations and ontological facts in a future comment. Ian Jones states on rekastner’s argument the following : “we do not know if there is anything outside the human relation that we can definitively claim to be real, but this means, at least, the equal possibility of the existence and non-existence of such a real”
I am afraid rekastner does not say the same. In different comments she has said the following.
[image: https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/profile_mask2.png%5D Introducing Understanding our Unseen Reality it is stated:
“This captivating book presents a new, unified picture of the everyday world around us. It provides rational, scientific support for the idea that there may well be more to our reality than meets the eye…”
What is meant by our reality in this statement? It is clear that according to rekatsner there may be more to reality than meets the eye.
“Thanks, but that’s a metaphysical position that is not at all obligatory. Recall the parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant. Their perceptions and theories about what they sense are limited, but there’s still an elephant out there.”
What is meant by but there’s still an elephant out there? Is that elephant real or not? The perceptions of theories of blind men sense are limited. Does it mean that the perceptions and theories of the one who concludes that there’s still an elephant out there, not limited?
“Is it possible to demonstrate that there is no reality independent of the observer? This is why these are metaphysical positions, and it’s inadvisable to make dogmatic assertions either way. We simply don’t know. But we can certainly point to situations (such as the Blind Men and the Elephant) where the men would be wrong to conclude that there is no reality independent of their observations. Which is why they would not want to dogmatically assert such a claim.”
Please note that I have not concluded that there is no reality independent of their observations from the parable of blind men. My position is more general and I state that the blind men have their own realities.
My question is whether “an elephant out there” is the real elephant? Is “an elephant out there” independent of some observer? Can there be more to the real elephant than meets the eye of the “normal observer”? Does “an elephant out there” refers to an elephant relative to “normal observers”?
On Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 6:07 AM, Transactional Interpretation wrote:
> rekastner commented: “Yes, of course. Thanks Ian.” >
Of course I’ve argued in my book that there is good reason to think that QM is describing a reality independent of the sense data of particular observers. And in my other writings I’ve provided more details about what this reality might be (e.g., the Heisenberg Potentia paper).
However, I’ve made no dogmatic statement to that effect. What I was doing was simply countering a dogmatic statement (from the commenter) that there is no such reality. As long as we agree that there is no point in making dogmatic statements either way, then we have no essential disagreement.
On Sat, Nov 11, 2017 at 8:23 AM, Transactional Interpretation wrote:
> rekastner commented: “Just to clarify: while of course I’ve argued in my > book that there is good reason to think that QM is describing a reality > independent of the sense data of particular observers. And in my other > writings I’ve provided more details about what this reality m” >
This is a really awesome paper that has very deep implications, Ruth. It has to do, I think with the reality AND continuity of time and the relationship between potential and actuality and the process through which potentiality actualizes. And the reality of indeterminism with the associated link to the creative possible. It all very closely lines up with the philosophy of Henri Bergson (who had a very famous debate on 4/6/1922 in Paris with Albert Einstein), as well as the ‘objective idealism’ and scientific metaphysics of Charles Sanders Peirce. The link to Peirce, I think, is critical because it also relates to his entire architectonic philosophical system and to his philosophyical ‘centerpiece’ of Synechism, the idea that time and space form a ‘supermultudinous’ non-Cantorian continuum that is consistent with the logic of relatives. That is, a form of continuum that involves a logic of continuity that manifests the global properties of modality, reflexivity and genericity as argued by Fernando Zalamea in his book, ‘Peirce’s Logic of Continuity’…https://books.google.com/books/about/Peirce_s_Logic_of_Continuity.html?id=gzu2kQEACAAJ
I believe this is all connected to the idea that possibilities are indeed real and that what life involves is what Kurt Goldstein termed ‘self-actualization’ which is the organismic actualization of possibility, of potentiality. The manner in which that process actualizes also, of course, relates deeply to the question of free will in terms of exactly HOW potentiality actualizes in the context of a living organism. I think ti all gets tied together in the whole issue of the reality and continuity of time, and the reality of potentiality in that context. And then one can begin to look at reality through the lens of Peircean ‘scientific’ process metaphysics which is examined in significant detail in a book by Ivo Assad Ibri… https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319663135
…as well as by others.
Whitehead referred to Peirce as the ‘American Aristotle’ and Bertrand Russell (1959) wrote of Peirce, “Beyond doubt […] he was one of the most original minds of the later nineteenth century and certainly the greatest American thinker ever.”
I think there is an opportunity here to connect Peirce’s ‘Synechism’ to RTI in an extremely powerful way, Ruth. And then to think about ways to empirically test the predictions that arise from a careful consideration of Peirce’s scientific process metaphysics such as the fact that everything evolves, that the foundation of reality is Chance (ie. ‘Tychism’ in the phenomenological category of ‘Firstness’), onto which the brute force of interactional necessity is applied (ie. ‘Anancism’ in the phenomenological category of ‘Secondness’) and that there is a mediational element that overlies these two and mediates between them (ie. ‘Agapism’ in the phenomenological category of ‘Thirdness’).
I think that Peirce would have been deeply interested in RTI and the whole idea that ‘possibility is real’…
By the way, there is whole other fascinating aspect to this which is the way that the vertebrate brain operates in the general context of these ideas and why the cerebrum is structured as it is. This is actually my central interest and what brought me ultimately to your work. I think that the ‘hidden reality’ of possibility is the realm of the right hemisphere, while the manifest actuality of immediate perception is the realm of the left hemisphere. For some discussion of this, check this episode of the podcast ‘The Hidden Brain’ in which Shankar Vedantam interviews British neuropsychiatrist, Iain McGilchrist…
Iain is hard at work completing a new book on the metaphysical implications of his work on the Divided Brain Hypothesis that promises to be just incredible, in my humble opinion… you can learn more about his work at his author website…
http://iainmcgilchrist.com/ and also at the website of a documentary film about his work at…
I really think that this can all be drawn together into a very powerful conceptual framework that spans from the level of the quantum to the level of human experience. Vast indeed!
Thanks, I will look into these references and consider these connections. Fascinating! I too have thought that right brain corresponds to quantumland possibilities and left brain to spacetime actuals.
Bergson gave his paper ‘The Possible and the Real’ at Oxford University in 1920, two years before his fateful encounter with Einstein (covered beautifully in Jimena Canales’ book ‘The Physicist and the Philosopher’). The background and the detail on it and subsequent publication of the short essay related to this talk is given in this paper by Mark Sinclair…
Click to access Archiv%20Bergson%20on%20Possibility%20and%20Novelty.pdf
And the essay is also translated here: http://bergsonian.org/the-possible-and-the-real/
Of course, this all also relates to the question of the reality of novelty and creativity. Which, in Peirce’s metaphysics, arises through a mediated interaction between Chance and Necessity. Which sure sounds a lot like the process of evolution. Thus, Peirce’s scientific process metaphysics is sometimes referred to as ‘Evolutionism’ …
which is covered in this paper by Arthur W. Burks… on “PEIRCE’S EVOLUTIONARY PRAGMATIC IDEALISM”…
….. I think this is all extremely interesting and also, I think, of fundamental significance. More later on this. I have to get running to work!
Ruth, I have had email correspondence with Iain McGilchrist about this and I am convinced that it is something that is definitely worth looking further into. I think that the idea of our nonverbal experiential right brain connecting us to reality through perceived possibility and a connection to the temporal continuum while the left brain ‘deals’ with the focal space-time ‘actuals’ is incredibly powerful. And the idea and prospect of linking up quantum mechanics via the RTI vision to the structure and function of the human brain and the fundamental nature of consciousness is really attractive! And it is fully supported by Peirce and Bergson and Whitehead and the concepts of process ontology. Very cool stuff!
Thanks, definitely something worth looking into! As I pursue this idea of spacetime (actuals) emergence, I see (with the aid of the influence network idea of Knuth et al) that ‘rest mass’ is always something hidden in Quantumland. An electron with rest mass occupies a ‘rest frame’ that itself is not really part of the spacetime ‘fabric’; it is defined only by reference to the hidden rest mass. One might associate an internal clock with an electron that gives it its own internal sense of continuous temporality (Hestenes has suggested this in his ‘Zitter Model’). Such a clock, according to RTI, is not part of the spacetime fabric. Timelike intervals associated with different actualized events are always indirect and perspectival, in the sense that they are defined only by reference to two actualized events that themselves are not directly connected by a light signal. It is only the null intervals associated with light signals that are really part of the fabric itself.
By the way, Ruth, I have received your latest book, ‘Adventures in Quantumland. Exploring our Unseen Reality.’ and am really having a great time going through it. The more I read, the more I see some deep resonance with the ideas that come out of Iain McGilchrist’s extensive study of the cerebral hemispheres that is documented in his book, ‘The Master and his Emissary’. I think that the ‘iceberg’ that is above the surface is what is generally available to the ‘conscious’ left hemisphere from which languaged thought and reflection emerges. But that is a limited and biased view of reality that sees the world from the Nominalistic perspective of focality, division, and emphasis on part over whole, where objects are things upon which attention has been focused so as to separate the object from its context and to implement the strategy of ‘what you see is what you get.’ On the other hand, there is all the ‘stuff’ that is ‘submerged’ which the right hemisphere and various subcortical regions are managing ‘behind the scenes’ in a very different way which has a more relational ‘Synechistic’ perspective of globality, synthesis with an emphasis on whole over part, and the addressed challenge is to keep track of the ‘big picture’ and to recognize the critical influence of context.
I have a feeling that this resonance is going to continue to grow as I continue to read through this book and learn more about RTI!
Thanks, very glad to hear you’re enjoying it and finding all these parallels!
The space-time world we live in consciously, I would argue, involves a ‘digitized’ or ‘striated’ (using the terminology of Deleuze) Riemannian space-time manifold. Its primary role is ‘self-evidencing’ and ‘self-definition’ and operates in what I would call a ‘cinematic’ role in which space-time is broken down into separated ‘frames’. At the level of the cell, this encoding of ‘self’ occurs through DNA. At the level of a vertebrate organism,. in terms of the behavior of the organism and its self-referencing with respect to behavior, this is primarily a left-hemispheric function. But there is a whole other RELATIONAL ‘analog’ system which is involved in maintaining continuous interactive contact between the organism and its environment. It is ‘other-oriented’ and thus inherently relational, and its primary focus is tracking the internal and external environment globally and continuously. For this element, time is real and continuous, and involves an analog or ‘smooth’ Riemannian space-time manifold. For the cell this would be the continuous flow of signaling across its membrane. For the vertebrate organism, this would involve the relational other-oriented function of the right hemisphere.
FYI… I have reached out by email to your co-author on this paper, Michael Epperson, with whom I have been in touch through email correspondence previously a few years ago regarding the concept of ‘relational realism’ that he and his colleague, Elias Zafiris, have developed with a Whiteheadian philosophical connection (cf. his book with Zafiris titled ‘Foundations of Relational Realism’ with which I am sure you are familiar). I think that ‘relational realism’ as he and Zafiris have described it is quite analogous to the ‘objective idealism’ and ‘semiotic realism’ of Charles Sanders Peirce, perhaps moreso than the process-relational philosophical system of Alfred North Whitehead.
I think the next real challenge is to figure out how to empirically test the validity and verifiability of these ideas. Especially now that the technology for investigating (and utilizing!) quantum phenomena like entanglement is continuing to advance.
Thanks, nice to hear you’ve been in touch with Mike! His work with Elias is important. Again, I’m no expert in either biology or philosophy of mind, but in terms of physics, any real signaling (involving photon transfer) would necessarily involve discrete transfers of energy, and that puts the signaling process itself in the discrete spacetime manifold. As to the ‘awareness’ side, that would pertain to the internal temporality inherent in systems with nonvanishing rest mass (as in the ‘internal clock’ of an electron, pertaining to its Zitter frequency). But that sort of internal temporality I view as a pre-spacetime parameter–a sort of ‘potential’ time, if you will. So I don’t see it as a continuous manifold that exists ‘out there’ in the world, but rather an internal mapping that can be viewed as having its own continuity separately from the actualized (discrete) spacetime fabric.
That is a fascinating formulation, Ruth! This is a link to my poster proposing what I call the ‘TriADIC’ hypothesis for cerebral function in the context of temporality: http://www.morressier.com/article/biosemiotics-two-naturalisms-divided-cerebrum–its-time-triadicity-temporal-contextualization/5c7e3e1e29d813000cb423cb
…proposing that the left hemisphere operates in ‘digital mode’, while the right hemisphere operates in ‘analog mode’ but that they each must be contextually interacting via the signaling that runs through the corpus callosum between them.
I agree about ‘relational realism’. Totally. But I see relationality through a ‘Peircean lens’ in a semiotic context, so that ‘relational realism’, effectively, is ‘semiotic realism’ tied to the triadic semiotics of Peirce that overcomes the division between mind and matter through an ‘objective idealism’ that prioritizes mind over matter. That sees matter as a highly condensed form of mind ‘subjected to inveterate habit’. Here is a quote on the subject from Peirce…
“Now, in obedience to the principle, or maxim, of continuity, that we ought to assume things to be continuous as far as we can, it has been urged that we ought to suppose a continuity between the characters of mind and matter, so that matter would be nothing but mind that had such indurated habits as to cause it to act with a peculiarly high degree of mechanical regularity, or routine.”
Which, effectively, is a statement of energy-matter equivalence. But the key issue for Peirce that forces the conclusion is the ‘maxim’ of continuity which forms the foundation for his ‘objective idealism’.
I am certainly no expert on quantum physics, but I do sense that the question of consciousness and that of quantum mechanics must come together in some way at some level.
So, I would agree that in the explicate ‘actualized’ world of space-time (of the left hemisphere, purportedly), energy is transferred in discrete ‘spurts’ via photon transmission. But is that how it works in the submerged implicate domain of real potentiality that is effectively ‘prior to’ actualization ‘out there’ into the world? The argument of the TriADIC Hypothesis would be that it does not. So, to the extent that you make a distinction between the ‘external temporality’ of ‘formed’ actualized space-time, and the ‘internal temporality’ that is REAL but not yet actualized–as you say, a sort of imaginal ‘potential time’–there can be a distinction between actualized space-time and the real potentiality of the submerged continuum. This is exactly how Peirce configured it. By definition a real continuum cannot have actualized points–the moment that happens it is ‘nominalized’. So the ‘implicate’ temporal continuum is real but ‘pre-actual.’ One wonders whether it can be experienced, however, in the context of ‘ineffable awareness’ as emotional qualia via ‘interoceptive attunement’–the old idea of ‘feeling it in your bones’…what might be considered nonverbal ‘somatic awareness.’ I think that aspect and possibility is huge!
What is really fascinating to me is that the analog ‘real’ continuum has a different logic structure, than the ‘actualized’ digital space-time manifold! The latter has the higher-order logic that entails binarism and unresolvable paradox (where the LEM and LNC are actual and inescapable)–an intolerance of ‘vageness.’ For Peirce, this would be the phenomenological category of ‘Secondness.’ The former, however, has ‘intuitionistic’ logic or the ‘logic of relatives’–what Fernando Zalamea calls Peirce’s ‘Logic of Continuity’. The key difference is that in the former–in the context of a temporal continuum–the LEM and the LNC are not applicable while they are definitely applicable in the latter. I think there is some discussion of this issue in your paper with Stuart and Mike.
I need to learn more about the ‘internal clock’ of a particle with nonvanishing rest mass and what a Zitter frequency is. Going to ask ‘Mr. Google’ about that ASAP!
As sort of a summary, the clocks in Quantumland would be real but very different from the actualized space-time clocks as we ‘know’ them! Actual clocks measure time by counting intervals of a finite oscillator–that is actual physical ‘digital time’ and, by definition, NOT a true continuum–it involves a digitization of the underlying–one might say ‘foundational’–continuum. This is, in the context of the debate between Einstein and Bergson regarding the nature of time, the ‘time of the physicist’…. although I would count you more as a philosopher in this case, Ruth! :-)
REAL time in Quantumland is a continuum and is ‘experiential temporality’ as subjectively ‘felt.’ REAL time in Quantumland is the ‘time of the philosopher’–Bergsonian ‘duration’, if you will.
So, when Einstein stood up in the course of the debate on the evening of April 6, 1922 at the societe de philosophe francais and proclaimed triumphantly: ‘The time of the philosopher does not exist!’ –if we interpret ‘exist’ to imply ‘actuality’ then this was an absolutely correct statement. On the other hand, the time of Quantumland is real but not yet actualized.
So what could have happened, if we were able to ‘re-write the script’?
Bergson would then get up and respond, ‘Ah-hah–well, while that may be perfectly true, the time of the physicist is NOT REAL!’ It is actualized and thus has no potentiality.
So, in the context of the TriADIC hypothesis, Einstein was taking the side of the left hemisphere–ie. ‘talking out of his left hemisphere’, while Bergson was taking the side of the right hemisphere–ie. ‘talking out of his right hemisphere’–which is a much more difficult defense. You can’t ‘see’ the relationality of the continuum. But, you can feel it.
The truth of the matter is that we need both sides of this narrative!
Sounds right to me!
OK, so then I have a question… What is the inherent internal temporality in systems with zero rest mass? Like, say, a photon. Like what happens to internal temporality as the resting mass decreases toward the limit of a particle with zero mass and pure energy. And what might that imply about the nature of temporality in Quantumland?
“So I don’t see it as a continuous manifold that exists ‘out there’ in the world, but rather an internal mapping that can be viewed as having its own continuity separately from the actualized (discrete) spacetime fabric.”
So, what I would say, following Bohr, is that the world ‘out there’ is the world as we are able to (consciously) KNOW it. Not as it IS. But how we can TALK and THINK about it. Which is a problem, really. Because it fundamentally undermines realism and creates a basic dichotomy between the world as we can know it, and the REAL world as it is. There is the ‘real world’ and then there is the ‘world as we can know it’ and thus there must be a presumed impenetrable ‘veil’ between the two.
And then the question becomes where is this mysterious ‘internal mapping’? How is it constituted? And how might we be able to get a ‘glimpse’ of it? And I am just hypothesizing that the ‘internal mapping’ is ‘in here’ (says he pointing to the right side of his head) and it is linked fundamentally to the real temporal continuum of what David Bohm called the ‘implicate order’ and what you are referring to–if I have this right–as the hidden order of possibility that is ‘Quantumland’ that operates fully distinct from but connected to the actualized space-time block universe. Connected to it via the process through which possibility transforms into actuality as what is hidden below the surface breaks through the surface into actuality.
Of course, this is a question of interpretation, and I don’t pretend to have a definitive answer although it’s something I’m exploring. The ‘internal clock’ or temporality of a quantum with rest mass arises from its fermion (half-integer) spin nature, which can be understood as a arising from a ‘trapped photon’– a photon in an orbit within quantumland, which restrict it to the realm of possibility (a Kantian ‘noumenon’). If we want to explore the zero rest mass limit, we still have to deal with the fundamental distinction between fermions and bosons. I.e., it’s not just small or vanishing rest mass but the nature of the spin of the quantum that has significance as far as temporality. A real photon is a boson and it experiences no passage of time since it has no internal clock. The electroweak bosons (W and Z), which have nonanishing rest mass, can be seen as composites of fermions (since they decay into fermions).
I don’t place a lot of stock in Bohr because I think he ended up saying incoherent things and was stuck in unacknowledged presuppositions that were unnecessarily restrictive. (See my paper “Beyond Complementarity.”) I think one can give an account of the distinction between the ‘actual’ spacetime level and the ‘possible’ quantumland level in terms of the Kantian distinction between phenomena and noumena, but I think quantum theory gives us a form of knowledge of noumena that Kant did not acknowledge as possible (since he assumed, like Bohr, that only the phenomenal level was ‘knowable’).
And indeed the two levels are connected by the ‘measurement’ process, which is conventionally ill-defined but which becomes well-defined in the transactional picture. Possibility leads to actuality, which leads to new possibilities. E.g.: an excited atom (a possibility) decays (through photon transaction) and one particular absorber receives the actualized photon, in turn becoming excited. The process defines a spacetime interval with real emission and absorption events. The new possibility is that particular (new) excited atom, which in turn can decay, and so forth.
This is fascinating. Really. I am going to have to teach myself something about bosons and fermions, and spin and mass, and so on, in order to really get a feel for the particle physics and its connections and implications. I am coming at this through a blend of cognitive science (and McGilchrist’s Theory of the Divided Brain) and philosophy of mind as influenced by the semiotic realism of CSPeirce. So there is the issue of how to conceptualize the significance of spin as distinct from resting mass when dealing with particles in the ‘zero-mass zone’. I have some fundamental problems with Kant, however–as did Peirce for whom Kant was his touch-point having started to read Kant when he was a young teenager. Although Peirce also recognized Kant’s shot at ‘objective idealism’ was inadequate (see below). I, too, think Kant’s so-called ‘Copernican revolution’ was a bit of a ruse, actually. Kant did not resolve the polarization between empiricism and idealism. I really love the way that the late John Deely (who I consider to be second only to Peirce) develops this concern in his magnum opus:
‘The Four Ages of Understanding’… https://utorontopress.com/ca/four-ages-of-understanding-2
which I found to be a deeply enlightening book on the history of philosophy for the non-philosopher. And Deely’s differentiation between the Third Age of the ‘Way of Ideas’ of modernity and the Fourth (emerging) Age of the ‘Way of Signs’ of ‘constructive’ postmodernity (the First Age being the Ancients, and the Second Age being the Latins) …
By the way, Deely notes that ‘in the beginning’, for the Ancients, philosophy WAS physics!
…and in this article that Deely wrote about the ‘recovery of person’ (which for me as a physician taking care of folks with brain injury is a critical issue!) through a semiotic understanding (what he called ‘postmodernity’ although differentiating between the ‘deconstructive’ postmodern stance of folks like Derrida, Wittgenstein and others of that ilk, and the ‘constructive’ postmodern development of folks like Bergson, Whitehead, Peirce, James, Hartshorne, et al ) of reality, which I would relate to what Mike Epperson and Elias Zafiris call ‘relational realism’ (which I also think is a major advance in thinking about the foundations of physics that recognizes the centrality of relationality–which is also fundamentally related to the continuity and reality of time) though their inspiration, I believe, arises through the process-relational speculative ‘philosophy of organism’ of Alfred North Whitehead (in which I certainly also see a significant value, but just find that Peirce’s architectonic philosophical system, scientific evolutionary metaphysics, and the manner in which relationality in process is effectively built into the concept of ‘semiosis’ as the inherent emergent logic of nature, and as the ‘action of signs’ which, in Peirce’s late version of ‘Synechism’ and the continuum, is seen as a fundamentally continuous process–is just so much more accessible and complete, in the long run)… see:
Here is what Deely had to say from this paper about Kant’s attempted ‘fix’ to the stand-off between empiricism and idealism… (see below) ie. the impassible (impossible!) polarity between ‘object’ and ‘subject’ (arguably due to language and the divisive ‘focality’ of the left hemisphere that sunders object from subject) and that darn old ‘San Andreas fault of the modern mind’ that psychiatrist-author Walker Percy laid into in his essay on which his 1989 Jefferson lecture to the National Endowment on the Humanities was based…
“According to modern theories of knowledge, everything that the mind
directly knows of any object is something that the mind itself makes, and
these mental representations at which cognition terminates are the ne plus
ultra of human understanding. Kant criticized Descartes and Locke for
being “too subjective” in equating objects with ideas; and to move from
that early modern “subjective idealism” to his own “objective idealism”, he
introduced not only relations between psychological subjectivity and objectivities, but also the a-priori “forms of understanding” needed to account for the necessities that science found in the objects of its investigations. Of course, “objectivity” in Kant was but a veil of rationally
structured sense perceptions hiding from view the things of the world,
with no way to get “beyond” or “behind” that veil.
But the problema pontis that modern epistemology created —how to
get from the representation veil within our consciousness to anything
existing behind or beyond that veil— turned out to admit of no solution.”
I think that the bridge between ‘Quantumland’ where potentiality ‘lurks’ and ‘forms’ and the ‘reality that we can know’ which is better termed emergent ‘actuality’ to distinguish it from the ‘reality of possibility’ that characterizes the operation of Quantumland is a viable ‘solution’ to the ‘problema pontis’.
What I think may be helpful, however, would be to bring a constructive postmodern understanding of this solution to the fore. I think it might actually be quite constructive and instructive.
Yes, I too reject Kant’s ‘categories of understanding’ which have already been refuted (to some extent) in the discovery of non-Euclidean spacetime. A common failing among philosophers (and physicists) is to impose unnecessary metaphysical, epistemological and/or methodological restrictions on what can be ‘known’ based on assumed transcendental ‘conditions for knowledge’ that in fact are not at all compulsory.(Bohr did this as well.) This is why I like to quote Ernan McMullin: “‘Imaginability must not be made the test for ontology. The realist claim is that the scientist is discovering the structures of the world; it is not required in addition that these structures be imaginable in the categories of the macroworld,.”
In fact what you say about the bridge between Quantumland and spacetime is the same thing I’ve been saying about it: spacetime is precisely the emergent realm of actuality. The process of ‘measurement’ is the emergence itself. Also, in Chapter 7 of my 2012 CUP book, I discuss this idea of quantum potentiality as a way to resolve the ‘problema pontis’ . You can find that here: https://rekastner.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/chapter-7.pdf (Sections 7.1 and 7.4 are the most relevant for current purposes.)
OK. So I NEED to read your paper on ‘Beyond Complementarity’, Ruth. I will dig it up.
“And indeed the two levels are connected by the ‘measurement’ process, which is conventionally ill-defined but which becomes well-defined in the transactional picture. Possibility leads to actuality, which leads to new possibilities. E.g.: an excited atom (a possibility) decays (through photon transaction) and one particular absorber receives the actualized photon, in turn becoming excited. The process defines a spacetime interval with real emission and absorption events. The new possibility is that particular (new) excited atom, which in turn can decay, and so forth.”
So, is there a question about whether the timing of the decay of an excited atom is ‘quantized’? And what temporal constraints may apply to the process of interchange back and forth between quantumland (ie possibility) and conciousness (ie actuality)? Is there any constraint on when that ‘possibility’ actualizes, or when the actualization drops down into possibility? Also, the idea of a ‘chain’ of interconnection through which possibility and actuality are linked up sounds so much like the way a semiotic ‘chain of being’ is described by Peirce…. I wonder if there is a connection… Is there any temporal constraint on the crossing of the boundary between real possibility and actuality? Or can the temporal foundation for this chain of transformation be characterized as a continuum? And if energy and time are a conjugate pair in terms of complementarity (like momentum and position), does quantization of energy imply quantization of time?
The ‘fabric of spacetime events’ is quantized in the sense that every actualization consists of not one, but two events: (1) emission and (2) absorption. Each such pair is connected by a null interval (i.e., the photon passing between them at speed c). A null interval means that as a whole it is of ‘length zero’, but that length ‘s’ is a combination of temporal and spatial parameters: s^2 = c^2 t^2 – r^2 (where in this case s=0). So there must be a temporal separation equal to the spatial separation between these two events. Thus, no two actualized events (with a well-defined spatiotemporal relationship, i.e., that can be coordinatized wrt an inertial frame) can ever be infinitesimally close to one another either temporally or spatially. The only way to get to the limit of zero time is to also go to the limit of zero spatial length, which eliminates the photon completely (so nothing gets actualized). Any actualization always requires a finite spatial length and an equal finite time interval.
As to the timing of the decay of a particular excited atom, that is related to the inherent uncertainty DE in the energy of the excited state. (This is called the ‘line width’.) There is a fundamental uncertainty Dt surrounding the time of emission, due to the relation Dt DE > h, and that is reflected in the decay rate. So that is a fundamental constraint, albeit a probabilistic one. The reference time t could be thought of as a continuum if it could be related to the ‘internal clock’ of the rest mass defining the reference frame, although the resolution of any phenomenal (spacetime) clock–i.e, one defined by a set of actualized events– would have to be finite, as it can only be chain of emission/absorption events.
Just sent a request for full-text of ‘Beyond Complementarity’ to you through ResearchGate…. Thank you…
Oh , you can get it here: https://arxiv.org/abs/1601.07545
Thank you. Got it and reading it.
Here is a better link to the journal Espiritu for the paper on the ‘Postmodern Recovery of Person’ by the late John Deely. The previous link I posted does not appear to work.
Click to access Dialnet-TowardAPostmodernRecoveryOfPerson-4102375.pdf
I have found this to be a profound and deeply insightful and inspiring paper on many different levels. It inspires a new profound form of humanism that, in effect, is ‘posthuman,’ in that the implications extend well beyond human relationships with other human beings, toward all of the natural world. A move that is both a return and a step forward. From the perspective of a physician, I find it to be the proposal of a philosophical foundation on which one can build a new vision for healthcare that is relationally oriented and ‘person-centered’. And it is interesting to consider that the science of semiotics was itself at the point of initiation of medicine as a science of logical structure by Hippocrates in ancient Greece–in the concept of a medical ‘sign’ of illness.
This quote from Deely’s paper is very incisive, I think, regarding the philosophical concerns with modernity:
‘For each of us, in the immortal words of Leibniz (the only one of the moderns who seems fully to have recognized and embraced the solipsism that modern epistemology entailed as its inescapable consequent), is a “monad
without windows”. For subjectivity, after all, is everything that separates us from the rest of the universe; and objectivity obtains wholly within consciousness as a subjective aspect or mode thereof. Thus “objectivity”, epistemologically considered, on every mainstream modern account, is no more than an extension of subjectivity in just that sense that separates us from our surroundings and from one another within consciousness; each
“consciousness” is a bubble surrounding and enclosing each of us with our own thoughts and objects —a casket, in effect.
That is why, as I have said(2), “the moment people began to thematize their experience of communication and to think of communication as such as something real, the moment they began to think of that experience as a proper starting point for philosophy, the days of modern philosophy were numbered.” For communication cannot be real unless relations are real, and —with a rare unanimity— the moderns all concurred with Ockham’s view that relations are no more than comparisons among objects made by the mind, by pure and simple mind-dependent beings.’
Replace the word ‘communication’ with ‘transaction’ in the above quote, and recognizing the idea of considering ‘transaction’ as something REAL, even if it may be ‘hidden from view’, and I think the connection to the transactional interpretation becomes more explicit. What is really going on, I think–paraphrasing a quote later in Deely’s paper drawn from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (prior to his becoming Pope Benedict XVI)–is a fundamental shift from seeing substance as the ‘primordial mode of reality’ to recognizing relation as such.
I think this is all right in line with your work, Ruth, and I also see it as particularly deeply connected to this paper with Stu Kauffman and Mike Epperson, as well as to the ‘relational realism’ that Mike and Elias Zafiris have proposed and for which they have demonstrated foundations.
The further connection that I would add to this is one that I think Iain McGilchrist would appreciate, which would be that this relationally found realism is also ‘the way of the right hemisphere’ of the brain–the one that Iain designates, in his beautiful metaphor, as ‘the Master.’
By the way, in reference to your critique of Neils Bohr, in this context you can see just how deeply connected and committed to modernity and the foibles of modern philosophy Bohr was although he may not have as fully appreciated that himself. You could say that the limitation of modern philosophy is to see the manifest block universe of ‘space-time’ as saying ‘Yes’ as the answer to the question ‘Is that all there is?’
Which is a denial of the reality of Quantumland…
Yes :) ..except under RTI there is no block universe…the ‘fabric of spacetime’ is like a knitted fabric extruded from the ‘needles’ of the eternal present, so it is ‘growing’ in that sense, and the future is not part of the fabric but rather is the set of quantumland possibilities. The ‘yarn’ is all the myriad quantum possibilities, but of course there is an interplay between the actualizations and the nature of the yarn. We change and/or create new kinds of yarn through what we actualize.
I need to read more of your work to understand this metaphor, Ruth. But I have a feeling that my wife, who is a life-long knitter, may have some insights to transmit to me. It sort of sounds like a ‘Madame DeFarge’ approach to the emergence of space-time from quantum possibility… https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/charles-dickens/9038420/Madame-Defarge-My-favourite-Charles-Dickens-character.html
There is a concern raised by this metaphor. I know that my wife is knitting a winter hat with some nice Shetland wool, but who is doing the knitting with the yarn of quantum possibility?
As I was thinking about the whole issue of time in this general context and went back through my notes, I came across the work of Sandra B. Rosenthal… with respect to ‘continuity’ and time… and what she calls ‘speculative pragmatism’…
The ideas that she writes about in this book titled ‘Time, Continuity, and Indeterminacy’ are very similar, I think, to the way that I am thinking, touching on the same theme regarding the distinction between continuity and discreteness with respect to time…
and in this paper from some time ago…
Continuity, Contingency, and Time: The Divergent Intuitions of Whitehead and Pragmatism
Sandra B. Rosenthal
Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society
Vol. 32, No. 4 (Fall, 1996), pp. 542-567 (26 pages)
Haha. As to your question: “who is doing the knitting with the yarn of quantum possibility?”. Any particular ‘scarf’ represents an inertial frame–the rest frame of an emitter/absorber (such as an atom) participating in actualized transactions by tossing photons back and forth with other emitter/absorbers. The ‘knitting’ occurs through these transactions, so all emitters/absorbers together collectively knit the ‘scarf’ of spacetime. Have you seen my little video? https://youtu.be/3J9JeJMAOBw
Thanks for the Rosenthal references–looks fascinating!
Yes, I just finished re-reading her 1996 paper from the “Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society” and it is really worth a close examination because she contrasts the understanding of temporality due to Whitehead and his elemental ‘actual occasions’ versus that due to ‘pragmatism’ with Peirce’s emphasis on time as an unbroken continuum of possibility out of which novel discrete episodes actualize as idealized abstractions arising out of the continuously flowing background….Here are some key quotes drawn from her 1996 paper….
“The whole conception of atomic moments as well as sequences of moments is an abstraction, for the movement from one interval to another is not a movement over discrete units but a spreading out of a continuous process of becoming other.” (p.556)
“Past and future are drawn into the present for pragmatism, but they are drawn into the present in the form of potentialities and possibilities engaged in an ever-advancing process of actualization.” (p 557-558)
“The passing present carries both novelty and creativity in a way which reaches backward into the past and forward into the future. And, it can do this because the present is rich with the thickness of an inexhaustible continuum of possibilities.” (p. 558-559)
“What is ultimately at issue is whether the fully permanent, the fully definite, the fully fixed has any place in a view which takes time seriously or whether the notions of permanence, fixity and definiteness devoid of all remnants of contingency and changing potentialities, of a discrete succession of temporal atoms in opposition to continuities of becoming, are due to ingrained habits of thinking which must be relinquished if temporal process is to have its due say.” (p. 562)
Yes! I am totally with her in favoring the synechistic understanding of ‘pragmatism’ (ie. Peirce et al) as a deep temporal continuity over the atomistic rising-and-perishing ‘actual occasions’ of Whitehead.
So this is the point I have been trying to make here, but nowhere near as well as Professor Rosenthal does it in this paper–and probably in the book too! What is interesting is that she shows how Whitehead’s own conceptualizing of time as an atomistic sequence of actual occasions is actually a case of Whitehead’s own concern with the ‘Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness’! That is, mistaking an abstraction for the real thing. You could call this pining for permanence the ‘Parmenides Syndrome’–ie. the deep desire for the reality of fixity. It ain’t happening! The only real constant is change and change that, in fact, takes place as an unfolding flow on a temporal continuum… in which the past, present and future are each a part of each other.
I will take a look at the video. Thank you.
Thanks. But again I think there are two legitimate aspects of ‘temporality’. The potential, inner time (as e.g. associated with an electron’s Zitter frequency) has a continuous aspect, while the ‘actual occasions’ (actual events, such as emissions and absorptions, that can be identified with ‘instants’ of time–that is, as endpoints of well-defined spacetime intervals) has a discrete aspect. Perhaps Whitehead is thinking of the latter. One needs both to be able to account both for quantum ‘potentiality’ and spacetime ‘actuality.’
Yes, I do agree with you.
Which is why we have two hemispheres and not one big single mass of cerebral brain tissue. It is a question of what is primary, the real or the actual? True that we do need both. But, we live in a culture that over-emphasizes the actual (Deely might say that this is the bane of Modernity and no one can doubt that it has led us into a global crisis of unprecedented proportion!) is what I think Sandra Rosenthal is saying and that we need to give the continuity of underlying process–ie. the work of Quantumland–its full due. We need to return to a state of balance that can see both sides clearly–a state of ‘Integral Consciousness’ might be how Jean Gebser would phrase it. Or Ken Wilber. Or so many others who are seeing this same concern in the abject conditions of our modern world.
Which is why I think your work is of fundamental significance, Ruth.
So when Professor Michelle Simmons and her team of physicists the University of South Wales in Australia build the first two-qubit gate between atom qubits in silicon that operates 200 times faster than anything else ever seen before, as described here…
And we consider the possibility of building a quantum computer using these superfast quantum gates, how does that fit into this overall perspective on the connection between the real potentialities of Quantumland and the actualities with which we interact in our conscious world of space-time?
I am wondering whether by diving down into Quantumland and exploring it purposefully with the intention of developing technological advances, such as the design and fabrication of a quantum computer with the capacity of processing information at orders of magnitude beyond what the fastest supercomputers can now reach, the issue is to facilitate the connections between the macro ‘classical’ world of space-time that we inhabit and this submerged Quantumland of real possibility?
And how might this work provide possible empirical verification to support RTI-QM?
In connection to reading the paper ‘Taking Heisenberg’s Potential Seriously’, I just re-read a paper by Fernando Zalamea from the Review of Modern Logic titled ‘Peirce’s Logic of Continuity: Existential Graphs and Non-cantorian Continuum’. The idea that a ‘generic continuum is always present in the universe’ and that it is through ‘breaks in the continuum’ that ‘ruptures of the real’ continuum permit actualization is presented in this paper. So that Zalamea notes ‘an apparent oddity, which ties the real with the possible, and the ideal with the actual, is one of the radical stakes of Peircean philosophy. Indeed, the actual, the given, the present, the instant, are not more than ideal limits: limits of possibility neighborhoods which contain those actuality marks…’ (p. 151)
Zalamea examines the ‘logic of continuity’ and the fact that the logic of continuity is an ‘intermediate’ or ‘intuitionistic’ logic in which the Principle of the Excluded Middle and the Principle of Contradiction are not applicable, while they do apply in the form of classical logic in the context of the ‘logic of actuality’.
It would appear that these ideas relate to this idea of a basic foundation that is the real continuum of Quantumland that gives rise to the possibilities that transform into actualities constructing the fabric of space-time. What remains of interest is that boundary ‘liminal zone’ between these two realms and the ‘possibilia’ environments where a ‘supermultitude’ of potential ‘points’ accumulate–viewing these ‘possibilia’ as infinitesimal ‘monads’ that surround the point of rupture of the continuum through which actuality emerges.
I am not sure if this makes any sense, but the issue of defining and exploring a ‘logic of continuity’ that applies to Quantumland but not to the fabric of space-time actuality would seem to be of some connected interest.
Zalamea has also written a book about this whole topic that appeared well after this paper was published called ‘Peirce’s Logic of Continuity’ published by Docent Press in 2012. In case that might be of interest.
I really like the knitting metaphor in describing the relationship between Quantumland and the actual world of the constructed space-time manifold, or ‘fabric.’
The other aspect that I think is attractive about this metaphor is the idea that one is taking a continuous ‘line’– the yarn–and turning it into a fabric structure by tying individual knots which then become the discrete individual elements, the discrete events of the space-time fabric as you have described them above.
The idea of the continuum of Quantumland being connected to the discrete events that unfold in the constructed space-time fabric has an interesting parallel in a theory of organismic operation that involves a digital self-referencing and self-defining ‘memory’ coding scheme (e.g. the DNA in a cell) linked to an analogue coding scheme that provides continuous communication between the organism itself and that which is extraneous to it, and supporting the performance of purposeful action that can be taken by the organism in the context of its environment.
See, for example: http://see.library.utoronto.ca/SEED/Vol2-1/Hoffmeyer/Hoffmeyer.htm
So the idea of an ‘analogue’ continuum interrelated with a ‘digital’ or discrete system also seems to be evidenced in the basic analogue/digital distinctive interactive processes through which an organism is organized and self-actualizes (analogue) while also having self-defining memory that supports autopoietic self-perpetuation (digital).
Thanks! Yes, that’s what I had in mind re the ‘continuous’ internal clock as related to the discrete times of external events. This analogue/digital interaction is an interesting point which deserves further study.
SO I am wondering whether this general concept of a submerged continuous ‘pool of possibility’ articulating with a surfacing discrete ‘fabric of actuality’ could possibly be translatable into other scenarios in nested timescales embedded within each other… for example in biological organisms, up the functional scale from atom to molecule to cell to whole-organism behavior to inter-organism communication to trans-organismic culture. Or on phylogenetic (involving emergent actualizing ‘species’), ontogenetic (involving emergent actualizing ‘individuals’) and microgenetic (involving emergent actualizing ‘behaviors’) timescales.
Oh , haha, I didn’t see this before I replied below. Yes, I don’t see why not. Gene Levinson has a new book that may explore this idea: “Rethinking Evolution: The Revolution That’s Hiding in Plain Sight”
Of course, this is highly speculative, but is the paradigm of the general relationship between Quantumland and actualized space-time, of submerged possibility linked to evident actualization, generalizable?
In what sense? I do think that Stu Kauffman thinks of it in more general terms, e.g. as in a possibility for a particular sort of organism or biological process that could be actualized. So I don’t see why not.
Bringing into the picture CS Peirce’s ‘Three Categories’ of experience–what could be called ‘ontological’ categories that emerge from Peirce’s form of phenomenological (which he termed ‘phaneroscopy’ to make a clear distinction in methodology from the European ‘phenomenologists’) study–ie. ‘Firstness’, ‘Secondness’ and ‘Thirdness’–it becomes clearer that ‘res potentia’ is in the category of Firstness, ‘res extensa’ is in the category of ‘Secondness’ and these two categories become ‘mutually implicative’ through the operation of the somewhat mysterious category of Thirdness which is that which mediates between and, effectively, unites the first two via a triadic ‘semiotic’ relationality involving ‘sign’, ‘object’ and ‘interpretant.’ This is the basic structure of Peirce’s ‘semiotic realism.’ And Peirce’s Synechism requires that the foundation of ‘Firstness’ be a fully formed ‘true’ continuum, out of which Secondness intermittently surfaces as ‘actuality.’ In the paper, it is not clear to me how a ‘dualism of mutually exclusive concepts’ becomes a ‘dualism of mutually implicative concepts’ (p 3) Otherwise, one is just replacing one dualism (‘mind-body’) with another. There is a note 2 on this page that references Epperson (2013, 4-10) and Eastman (2003, 14-30). I need to check those references, which, I believe, refer to Whitehead’s approach to overcoming Cartesian dualism. This issue is also referenced at the end of the first paragraph on page 4. The problem with Cartesian dualism is that it is a direct result of Nominalism which ‘sees’ only ‘brute-force’ actuality–Peircean ‘Secondness’–where classical ‘binary’ logic leads to unresolvable ‘binarisms’ in the realm of polarized (and paralyzing) ‘paradox’.
There is a divergence to which the authors admit at the end of section I on page 4 between ‘varied approaches to fleshing out the metaphysics in specific terms.’ This is where I think that the scientific evolutionary metaphysics of Peirce, his ‘three phenomenological Categories’ and his ‘semiotic realism’ (which are not referenced by any of the authors) may actually have some heuristic value.
However, the issue of ‘intuitionistic’ logic (ie that neither the PNC nor the LEM are in effect) being applicable to res potentia while ‘classical logic’ applies to res extensa, would follow directly from the recognition that res potentia constitutes a Peircean true continuum on which the ‘logic of continuity’ is applicable (see F Zalamea’ s book titled ‘Peirce’s Logic of Continuity’), while res extensa is constituted by discrete actualizations that arise out of the foundational continuum of the res potentia. So, in accordance with Peircean metaphysics, the critical distinction between res potentia and the discrete macroscopic actualizations that constitute res extensa is that the former is, in fact, a ‘true’ (ie. non-Cantorian non-countable) continuum while the latter is clearly not. That is a crucial distinction.
It aligns with the general idea that I think I see in ‘relational realism’ (although I need to get ME and EZ’s book to verify!) of a ‘category theoretic framework’ of a dynamical topological approach to quantum event structure out of which the ‘set theoretic framework’ of spatiotemporal extensiveness and its metrical structure emerges. The crucial difference being that the former topological approach is definable on a continuum while the set-theoretic latter is not. If I have this right, then that is really huge!
And, now, bringing McGilchrist’s Divided Brain Theory into the picture, it is the right hemisphere (RH) that connects to the continuum of res potentia, while it is the left hemisphere (LH) that connects to the discrete macroscopic events that constitute res extensa. The problem with Cartesianism is that it privileges res extensa over res potentia–in McGilchrist’s metaphorical terms, it empowers the Emissary (LH) to dominate the Master (RH). And that is a fundamental problem as McGilchrist details in his book, ‘The Master and His Emissary. The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.’ What Peirce does is to provide a metaphysics that, in fact, conceptualizes a category of reality encompassing the level of the actual called ‘Firstness’! So that in fact ‘actualism’ is not only ‘not obligatory’ but ‘secondary’. It is our issue as a species that we have taken the synecdoche for experience that we call language and put it on a pedestal. And that is highly problematic. We have equated the reality of experience, much of which is ineffable but still within the realm of interoceptive affective introspection, with the actuality of what can be articulated in language.
Yes, I totally agree that ‘a static block world comprising no more than a (discrete) set of actual events cannot be a dynamical ontology.’ Absolutely! A set of points does NOT make a continuum! The block world ontology is a ‘cinematic’ digitized synecdoche (a piece-wise approximation) of the underlying real and continuous ontology that forms its foundation!
I have to get back to work, but wanted to make sure that I got through the first part of this paper and responded.
Sorry, Ruth! We are ‘passing back and forth in the night’ without directly responding to each other’s remarks due to a lack of dialogical alteration in the timing. I did not see your recent two responses before I put up my last (rather long!) comment. I just wanted to let you also know that I have been in very recent correspondence with Iain McGilchrist, and I believe that he is seeing all the connections that I am also seeing here.
I am just makiing the points that involve..
1. linking in Peircean metaphysics may actually provide some additional clarity and possible experimental direction
2. linking in Iain McGilchrist’s theory of Divided Brain function may add a really interesting connection to cognitive neuroscience
3. looking at how the relationship between a foundational ‘analogue’ submerged continuum of potentiality that is categorical theoretic and ‘topological’ and a surfacing ‘digital’ actualization that is set-theoretic and ‘typological’ might be generalizable to other situations beyond quantum mechanics.
I note that Stuart Kauffman has written about the construct of the ‘adjacent possible’ which is a very powerful concept about the interrelationship between possibility and actuality, and my biosemiotics colleague, Donald Favareau has written about a similar concept in the framework of semiotics that he calls the ‘relevant next’ in this very interesting paper…
What is interesting about what Donald has done is that he has taken these ideas and actually put all of this into a Peircean biosemiotic context.
Again, I think the crucial difference is the distinction between a continuum and a discrete structure where the logic of the former is ‘intuitionistic’ while the logic of the latter is ‘classical’.
Personally, I think the implications are MASSIVE!
So, Ruth, I now have your two books for those of us who are not operating in the realm of theoretical physics professionally, UOUR and AiQ. I have also received John Cramer’s book titled ‘The Quantum Handshake. Entanglement, Nonlocality and Transactions’ to try to get a better handle on TI-QM. And I have checked out the video to which you directed me. So I have a lot of reading and thinking to do with all of this.
But when you said in your statement in the blog above that ‘This analogue/digital interaction is an interesting point which deserves further study’ that really was encouraging.
Given that this whole paradigm may be generalizable from the relationship between the ‘analogue’ continuum of the res potentia of Quantumland and the ‘digital’ res extensa of the actualized fabric of space-time (where individual ‘frames’ emerge out of the underlying continuum as actualized events sort of like a movie film or video camera records real motion as ‘cinematographic’ sequences of individual stop-action frames) to other situations in which a ‘smooth’ continuum articulates with and shapes a discrete ‘striated’ elemental ‘set’, understanding exactly how this ‘articulation’ between res potentia and res extensa operates must have a big ‘pay-off’.
To go back to the helpful (for me at least!) knitting metaphor, exactly how does the ‘knitting process’ involved in taking the continuum of the ‘yarn of potentiality’ within the realm of res potentia (RP) and transforming it into the ‘actualized scarf’ comprised of individual ‘stitches’ (ie. ‘knots’) within the realm of res extensa (RE) work? How are these two realms, RP and RE, understood as ‘mutually implicative’ and coherently integral? What is it that binds them together? In terms of Peirce’s metaphysics, this is the phenomenological category of ‘Thirdness’ that would processually mediate between these two realms of RP and RE.
And, from the perspective of processual dynamics involved in this mediation, how does the understanding of how time is constituted play a role in this?
And how might we be able to move between homologous systems that operate with similar configuration and dynamics to generalize our understanding of the details of the underlying articulating dynamics?