Thank you very much SL,
I really appreciate the effort gone into the story-telling, it works well as a clear explication — very helpful indeed.
My last post seems to have ended on a bum note!
Of my three alternatives regarding the best conceptualization for the spacetime/entity relationship, SL went with 3, whereas I had plumped for 1.
Let’s see who is right and why…
After absorbing the analogy of ‘proto-matter’ + ‘nega-matter’ and the intentionally spurious introduction of ‘spacetime-filling’ ‘mono-fundamento-matter’ the habitual errors are exposed as clear as a clanging bell:
The reification of nothing with something (exhortatory spacetime-filling).
We need actual observable evidence of the unification of stuffs, otherwise keep conceptually separate (as they are objectively observed to be).
The story continues into the realms of ‘extenz’ with a further such unification of everything and nothing, underscoring the absurdity of a meta-melding into meaninglessness (meaning = contradistinction).
NB, an interesting way to look at it — the pull towards conceptual unification has the air of keen razoring — why have two concept when one will do. However, this intuition is perfidious: unobserved unification is an additional intruder/usurper which itself necessitates razoring away.
1. Utterly separable?
I had written:
I suspect the correct answer for now is conceptually ‘utterly separable’ because that’s the way we currently perceive things to be (via colliders and calculations)…
But I was wrong.
‘Utterly separable’ is not the way we currently perceive of spacetime & entities. We naturally perceive space and time as the indispensable dimensions of (and between) entities.
I was confusing this natural perception with that common naive conceptualization of entities being contained within pre-existing space and time. This childish conception is further cemented by talk of ‘empty space’, Kantian a priori, etc., and so it deftly takes on the mantle of a pure percept rather than the infectious proto-concept that it is.
More to the point, our concepts must match observable reality!
We ‘see’ space and time as abstracted out from observed entities, we experience these dimensions as utterly relational and therefore un-separable from entities/events.
I’ll risk letting you in to my germinating thought process on reading of SL’s reply:
…Oh but I was speaking conceptually, not actually — arghhh whoops! There's my mistake laid bare — there ought not be any difference: objective actuality is the only valid building-block for concepts.
Therefore SL is correct, spacetime (space–time) is actually relational and thus can not garner ‘separate concept status’ from entities (mass-energy).
NB, our maintenance of separate words for ‘spacetime’ and ‘entities’ doesn’t amount to ‘separate concept status’ because ‘spacetime’ is still a legitimate abstraction, similar to any mathematical abstraction derived from observable entities and their relationships.
2. Both parts working together as a mutually generating dichotomy?
Agreed, as I’ve just argued, a relational existent isn’t a ‘separable part’ or ‘conceptual concrete’ so it follows that spacetime shouldn’t be thought of as ‘one part’ of a ‘dichotomy’ with entities.
By process of elimination we find ourselves going with the third alternative (I suppose I could have offered a fourth ‘both 1&2 option’ ~ but two wrongs don’t make a right!).
If the simpler model is valid, these ‘twin’ existents (mass-energy + spacetime curvature) are best conceived as:
Mass-energy (absolute entities) acting in a spacial–temporal (‘spacetime’) relationship.
Simple really, and I think this fits in with the spirit of SL’s…
It also chimes with MisterSwig’s insistence that “…space is not material”.
Good — I feel cleansed!
Now, shall we end the topic here ~ an initial foray into conceptualizing spacetime?
(Or are there still flaws in my reasoning)?
P.S. As we are in the forum’s Physics and Mathematics department, I’ll remind inquisitive minds of the previous links to John A Macken’s physics-heavy work; The Universe is Only Spacetime: Particles, Fields and Forces Derived from the Simplest Starting Assumption + his recent draft summary — Single Component Model of the Universe.
If you think this represents a route towards a fuller understanding of the physical universe ~ or not ~ please post below.
Thank you very much StrictlyLogical
I’m cock-a-hoop with your generous praise ~ that's certainly made my day
Thank you too Grames
Your last posts have been remarkably insightful
You both deserve a response to your points, but I’ll try for the brevity award this time…
Discrete v continuous ‘plenum’ universe — does it matter?
I agree with you StrictlyLogical that the proof is in the eating of the pudding, and physics is the preeminent judge on ultimate pudding-ness.
Our metaphysics should be a domain above natural science’s discrete v continuous debate.
However, as metaphysics lays the ground-rules, it might be conducive to have some prior grasp of the scope of theoretical physics in order that its guidelines are fit for purpose. So some future physics-derived definitions might well need to be processed back through the ontological rulebook: it calls for an occasional two-way street.
As Objectivist metaphysics is shrewdly kept lean, well within philosophy’s tight foundational vertex, in a corner away from physic’s enticing pudding-bowl confectionery and appetizing recipes, so there’s little danger that it will ingest any more than necessary — just an occasional nutritional nibble to ensure that they continue to speak the same language.
I must say I find the discrete v continuous debate an absorbing one — especially the idea that there must be a fact about the matter. I had previously posted that metaphysical ground-rules might be able to help sway our thinking around this dispute. I recognize that I currently have a bias towards the continuum model and acknowledge that this predilection had colored my metaphysics regarding ‘Contrast Ontology’. After-all, picturing how such a ‘plenum’ universe might work was what initially propelled me into speculating that ‘creative contrast’ might be the ‘missing link’ explicating mechanism that ought to take its place alongside the other established metaphysical concepts. My ‘Contrast Ontology’ notion has a history, built upon other ideas but largely hatch out of my rough-hewn armchair physics — of envisaging clouds of +/− forces interact reciprocally — whilst puffing happily away on my Rationalist pipe.
This is just to relate how predispositions around the discrete–continuous dispute, or similar physics-domain issues, can indeed infect our metaphysics if we are not vigilant. I think it is good practice to acknowledge where we stand, even subconsciously, in order to check against such ‘ideological viruses’ so that our metaphysical premises remain logically untainted, not impeded or derailed.
Metaphysics contained within our epistemology…
Yes, it is only right and natural that our metaphysics is ‘constrained’ by Homo sapiens epistemological apparatus — because it can’t be otherwise, that’s what knowledge actually is for us. We naturally ‘see’ existence as primary whilst relationship notions like ‘difference’ and ‘contrast’ we ‘view’ as ultimately ancillary. Any theory that posits the opposite or conflates primary with ancillary will be in conflict with ‘what we see/know’ and in the last instant must be reconciled, come home to objective sensation-based knowledge.
In this forum topic I have grasped something vital about the integration of metaphysics and epistemology and that epistemology can justly impinge upon a metaphysical issue.
About my last question…
Does Identity sometimes or always involve a relational aspect with other identities (in addition to an intrinsic ‘existent’ aspect)?
The question arose out of Grames’s post on attributes being described as intrinsic or relational. It popped into my head that there was still some last-minute milking to be done around the relational aspect of identity.
As all existents ‘had’ the intrinsic attribute of simply being something (true even for ‘purely relational’ ones), did they all entail an additional relational aspect?
I was just fishing around, waiting to see if someone would be able to sell me an existent which is ‘something’ yet didn’t relate, in some loose way, to another existent. I had assumed that Identity always involves both an intrinsic and relational aspect, but I wanted to cast around for contrary views. It was no more than a tacked-on query to round off with.
Grames tackles the question with aplomb, step-by-step showing how existence, relations, identity, causation and even knowability are all integrated — intriguing tie-ins, which segues into…
…‘Being’ as ‘action’ — therefore ontology entails causation…
You’re on a roll StrictlyLogical! That’s prescient.
The assumed dichotomy between ‘static being’ v ‘dynamic action’ might have just bitten the dust.
(There’s a pattern, dichotomies just keep on folding don’t they — and I feel a new topic coming on!)
Furthermore, it bolsters the idea that all entities/extents have at least one intrinsic and relational attribute, moreover these aspects of Identity are intrinsically and relationally causal.
Here, if I may, I think it might be apposite to rehabilitate the notion of ‘difference’ that has run through this thread:
Every-thing is (supplementarily) a ‘difference’ that makes a difference — thus a definition of no-thing is in not causing any difference anywhere/ever.
Kudos to Grames for wrapping it up so succinctly…
The above quoted dictum exists;
The above dictum exhibits identity;
The above existent/identity may even cause Grames to spell-check ‘Causality’ — thus modifying an intrinsic/relative attribute.
(Sorry Grames but I couldn’t resist)
Conclusion ~ ‘Ontology via Contrast’ ~ a proposition not concurrent with Objectivism.
For the various interrelated reasons mustered amongst the posts above…
Many things exist. Everything that exists interacts with every other thing that exists, and no matter how small or attenuated that interaction may be it is not zero. For an existent to be somehow isolated fully from every aspect of existence it would effectively be in its own separate universe, unknowable and epistemologically out-of-bounds as an object of valid thought.
Identity which does not involve a relational aspect with other identities is just unknowable. So it can't be discussed.
Metaphysics and epistemology go together because the limits of what can can be claimed to exist coincide with the limits of what is knowable. No one can justifiably confirm or deny either the existence or nonexistence of what is outside of the Universe. Any justification that one might discover to such an isolated unknown would also be a casual link that would rope that existent into inclusion in what the concept Universe refers to which is the entirety of existence. Existence is Identity is Casuality.