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General Discussion => Choose Your Own Topic => Topic started by: Gordon Tubbs on October 26, 2020, 09:49:55 am

Title: Radical Metaphysics | 2
Post by: Gordon Tubbs on October 26, 2020, 09:49:55 am
In both theory and practice, the Middle Way is a choice, pathway, or outcome that sits between to extremes. It has been referred to as the Golden Mean or the Third Way by philosophers of yore, but the idea remains the same. More often than not in life, when reflecting on our past behaviors and the choices we've made, we find the Middle Way present, albeit in a subtle way. Whenever we investigate something or consider possible courses of action or outcomes, the Middle Way tends to shine. It gives a lot of predictive mileage too, especially in science when we build a hypothesis that takes into account data that seems random. But let me be clear, the Middle Way is not an absolute rule or metaphysical principle. It is a heuristic - a cognitive algorithm that can help us navigate an inquiry. Recognizing it as such, suppose we ran with the Middle Way when doing metaphysics, and we got radical with it, perhaps by using it as a Razor to eliminate logical possibilities that to some measure are extreme. What would happen?

In the metaphysics of ontology, we are presented with two extremes: Idealism and Materialism. Both of these theories are making a claim about the kinds of turtles that are all the way down, or the ontic bedrock (OB) if you prefer. The former says that it's a mental state, the ladder latter a material one. When we invoke the Middle Razor to eliminate these extremes, what we're left with is either Dualism or Digitalism. Dualism says that a combination of mental and material states are fundamental, and Digitalism says that neither of these categories are the case: that information is in fact more fundamental than either the mental and/or material. The Middle Way between Dualism and Digitalism suggests that the OB is more likely a tripartite of an information state, a mental state, and a material state. I will call this Tripartism.

Because we cannot subject the OB to our senses and faculties, we cannot know if Tripartism is actually the case; but on paper, when comparing it against the Monist theories of Idealism, Materialism, and Digitalism, it gives us much more philosophical and scientific mileage than any Monism. It is also more open to future data, because Monism tends to produce dogmatic thinkers who have to force ALL the data into their frameworks without giving any ground to the competition.

Title: Re: Radical Metaphysics | 2
Post by: palewine on October 26, 2020, 03:25:44 pm
Hey Gordon, good post.

I'd like to point out that "ladder" in your post above should actually be "latter." As in, "late - er," or in other words, the "one that comes last in the previously given list of things"

It's a small point, and normally I wouldn't bother, but I've seen it crop up a number of times in your posts and just wanted to point it out to you.

Onto the subject of your post, I'm definitely amenable to what you are suggesting. However, the first question that comes to my mind is, "If it's some combination of 3 things... wouldn't that lead one to suspect that there's actually something more fundamental than all 3?" For instance, in subatomic nuclei, you have protons and neutrons. These are two types of particles, in close relationship. But they are themselves composed of something even smaller and more fundamental: quarks. Differences in the properties of these quarks will cause a particle to be either a proton or a neutron.

Similarly, if we are looking at 3 low level states, my first suspicion would be that there is something still more fundamental that can give rise to the differences between them.

What say you?

Title: Re: Radical Metaphysics | 2
Post by: Gordon Tubbs on October 26, 2020, 04:09:28 pm
Thanks for the feedback.

Two questions:

1. Is your suspicion a gut feeling or is it more of an inclination towards parsimony?

2. Do you think there is a lower limit to what can be fundamental? By that I mean, we could always imagine there being a simpler and simpler state that has less properties and features than the one above it, but at some point, that state will lose efficacy in bringing higher states into being.
Title: Re: Radical Metaphysics | 2
Post by: palewine on October 27, 2020, 08:51:56 am
It's a bit of both (gut feeling and parsimony). I guess if I had to pick just one of those, I would say it's more of the gut feeling. This would at first seem to invalidate it, since it's just a feeling. But that feeling has come about from observing many things that we have access to, such as the nucleons I mentioned before. So I might say it's more of a trend or a pattern that seems to be the case throughout reality (at least so far as we can observe presently).

I'm happy to be open to surprises and things being weird and unexpected - like some sort of fundamental tripartite "stuff" that cannot reduce any further. But I would be quite suspicious that it *could* in fact be reduced further... unless there were some really good reasons why that could not be the case.

As for your second question, I do think there's a lower limit to what is fundamental. I mean, it's either that or infinite regress, right?
Title: Re: Radical Metaphysics | 2
Post by: Gordon Tubbs on October 27, 2020, 11:58:49 am
I don't think gut feelings are totally invalid -- in some cases they can express notions or unrefined ideas that, when thought about in more detail, lead to something substantive. I was just wondering if you were erring more on the side of an intellectual in-principle objection.. which is what the second question was supposed to tease out. Which speaking of, I think the possibility of an ontological reductio ad infinitum strains our credulity precisely because of the problem I pointed out: that eventually an infinite reduction of a state will result in a collapse of that state's efficacy in bringing higher states into being.

Perhaps we can examine Tripartism two ways: first to see if it meshes at all with quantum physics, and second to imagine ways it could reduce to a Dualism, which could then reduce to a Monism.

Oddly enough in previous posts I've already done a lot of this thinking (although I didn't at the time plan on it factoring into this Radical Metaphysics series).
1. Quantum Implications of Random Walk Simulations (http://In Search of a Sufficient Ontology for T0 to T1) which recognized the plausibility of simple algorithms being able to account for cosmic-level structuring, and the plausibility of field-wave-particle (FWP) triality. 
2. In Search of a Sufficient Ontology for T0 to T1 ( examined the sorts of properties that would be necessary for a Singularity to give rise to a Universe.

I think as far as Tripartism goes, there is a definite overlap between it and the FWP triality of energy that I mused about in those threads, so, if Tripartism can be reduced to a Monism, then I would submit that energy is the most fundamental "stuff" -- but how that energy manifests is through FWP triality.

Fields instantiate information states.
Particles instantiate material states.
Waves instantiate mental states.