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A.C.E. last won the day on May 16 2019

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  1. Thank you StrictlyLogical, MisterSwig, Grames, I will reply to each one of you in order, then tack on a cursory review of this forum topic. StrictlyLogical… Yes, quite right, so let me parrot you: any clean-up of terminology ought to start with the conceptual referent itself. I’m open to the terms Space and Time being rescued, purified — yet the use of common nouns to denote relationships demands continual vigilance. Treat The Spatial and The Temporal as proposed alternatives in case that rescue operation forever flounders on the rocks of reification. MisterSwig… Fair criticisms. Indeed, if your Space and Time concepts are already as right as rain then their substitution by The Spatial and The Temporal would be an unnecessary imposition. In their defense, speaking for myself, these adjectives-in-noun-form help steer me away from non-relational lapses and, out of an assortment of dictionary definitions for Space and Time, hone me into their essential meaning ~ relationships. You are correct about adjectives modifying rather than referring to a noun. That said The Spatial and The Temporal patently refer to space and time etymologically, however their asset is that they modify specific entities/events rather than space and time themselves. E.g., we talk of ‘a spatial room’ or ‘the temporal aspect of a piece of music’. It’s always befittingly about something (existent relations) rather than being considered a thing (space or time as entity — Ding an sich). But time is a ‘thing’ you say. Interesting, I get that it could be a counterweight against fantastical theories in physics — but no. Equating ‘things’ with all existents is fraught with danger in my opinion. I’ve always taken ‘thing’ to be our everyday, rather non-committal word for entity ~ unspecified object. Especially in the primary sense of entities; those that we can point out and isolate (rock, a person, a table), then learn to charitably extend to more conceptually constructed ‘things’ (the solar system, General Motors, the smallest subatomic particle). That’s about as far as I'm willing to stretch ‘thingness’ without its meaning dissolving. ‘Thing’ doesn’t normally cover talk of qualities, quantities, relationships, actions. Granted, one of the dictionary definitions for ‘thing’ does allows for such semantic elasticity, but it’s under strain when it does this, pulling back to its primary meaning — unspecified object. From The Lexicon… Existent “…something that exists, be it a thing, an attribute or an action.” The separation here of ‘thing’ from the categories of attribute and action speaks for itself. Entity (bagged from Peikoff’s first definition in ITOE — The Philosophy of Objectivism lecture series, Lecture 3) “An entity means a self-sufficient form of existence—as against a quality, an action, a relationship, etc., which are simply aspects of an entity that we separate out by specialized focus. An entity is a thing.” For me this, along with standard usage, is ample authentication that Space and Time ought not conventionally be named ‘things’: they are relational existents (not a type of isolatable entity/event). Onto nominalization of an adjective: does the spatial or the temporal move us further away from reality? I don’t think the temporal entails separation from objective reality. The temporal is real, not merely imagined. What the term the temporal does is light upon the real relational characteristic of time (measurement of motion), that’s all. But, if these terms are conveying some other unreal realm, then I’d concede that they aren’t for you (although I’d reflect on why you are allowing perfectly objective terms to do that). You rightly points out that my terms are less common grammatical forms, thus an additional hurdle to overcome. Fair enough, but if they ever did become more commonly used, then the discontinued words ‘space’ and ‘time’ by contrast might take on an old-fashioned air of concretization, and we might even wonder why they were ever employed in the first place). Grames… Good — out of stuffy old grammar and back into the physical stuff of my original question… I think I agree with your encapsulation (if I get what you means about space/time as hardwired abstractions from entities, ‘fundamentally’ dynamic fields and virtual particles). Apt link too — I had watched David Tong's talk some time ago and I suspect that it had influenced my framing of the fundamentals in physics, including this forum topic. (I was also particularly interested in Tong’s answer to the first question in the Q&A — “I see no evidence for discreteness”. Yet I wonder if that alone amounts to evidence for a continuum?) Fundamentally, is there only ‘spacetime’? ~ Topic round-up The titular question itself needed unwrapping. A clarified version: Could the mechanics of the universe be adequately described using a dynamic conjunction of space and time (‘Macken Spacetime’) — without referring to any extra ‘stuff’? Or, in other words… Is existent stuff ‘resultant’ from a dynamically interacting triangulation: 1. Space (the spatial) 2. Time (the temporal) 3. Spacetime entities — reification of space/time dynamics into various yet integrated forces, masses, gravity, etc. I think this remains a fascinating question because it's so utterly counterintuitive — not to be dismissed lightly (and only through science). NB for those who want more correlated nuttiness, here’s a link to my whimsical ‘working-out’ blog where I play around with an analogy for spacetime ~ grayness defined by black and white (and vice versa). do the lava-lamp jive (but I’d wager that there are no absolute gaps between the ‘negative’ blue and ‘positive’ yellow in this spacetime vacuum) Perhaps because the original question was lackadaisical, not much of an answer to “is there only spacetime” has so far shone through. I was really hoping for some direct engagement with Macken’s ideas (which had spurred my original question), especially from the lurking physicists. As is customary there have been a few scenic detours (some my fault) into blackholes, the continuum, an unoccupied ‘there’, grammatical hindrances, etc. Yet this forum has been a really helpful process for focusing, forging, challenging and shifting my ideas — so thank you everyone (in order of appearance)… StrictlyLogical, EC, MisterSwig, SpookyKitty, Doug Morris, Grames, Boydstun, merjet, Eiuol, pittsburghjoe. I suggest we treat this forum topic as a preliminary foray into ‘spacetime as everything’ and end the provisional prologue here (perhaps linked to some future topic). STOP!
  2. Grames… That’s a brilliantly succinct summary of my position — I wish I had been as clear. Yes. But I would put it no stronger than this: I think the concept-words ‘space’ and ‘time’ drift towards entity/event reification — simply because the words denoting the concepts are common (abstract) nouns. As we are describing relational attributes rather than entity/event, ‘the spatial’ and ‘the temporal’ would be a much more suitable word choices — truer to objective reality. (Love the “…snip” by the way) StrictlyLogical… I heed Strictly’s caution about relations being open to measurement, and that a specific quantification doesn’t implicate entity/event. That would be throwing our relations-exist-cognisant-baby out with the reification-of-relations-bathwater (to stretch an idiomatic expression well beyond breaking-point!). Anyway, it looks like SL deciphered my overall intention pretty well. MisterSwig… I’m taking ‘things’ to mean entities. I don’t think relational attributes are entities. ‘Space’ and ‘time’ are existents yes, but not entities. Cf. The Lexicon entry for Space: “Space,” like “time,” is a relational concept. It does not designate an entity, but a relationship, which exists […] I do agree with MisterSwig that adjectives always refer to a noun. However, the spacial and the temporal are nominalized adjectives, i.e., adjectives used as a noun. The words ‘the spatial’ and ‘the temporal’ are presented as if they were any other existent (just like the nouns space/time) but, because their identity is adjectival, they come prefigured as being essentially relational. This nips in the bud any instinctive ‘solidification’ of relational existents into reified ‘things’. No, I don’t intend to demote that which is being related. Entities/Events are ‘primary’ existents in that they define the existent spatial/temporal relations. NB, I’d caution against taking ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ too literally — no existent has more/less primacy than another — no matter that we can distinguish ‘primary sense entities’ (like my trusty pipe) from a gradation of entities with fuzzier bounds (those puffs of bluish smoke arising from it, plus any existent Brownian measurement betwixt those molecules in motion). Fine, but I was trying to draw attention to this: whenever we say “space” or “time” in common parlance we are usually referring to a specific part of space or slice of time rather than the unbounded, non-scale, dimensional concept of relationships. We might hear or say: “The Earth has been spinning around the Sun for a long time…” “There is a considerable amount of space between our sun and the centre of our galaxy…” These utterances represent specific ready-bounded parts/slices for “space” and “time”. We are so accustomed to experiencing parts/slices as belonging to limited wholes — inductive reasoning. Thus, from the above sentences, as well as a lifetime of similar reinforcing phrases, it's an extra step to grasp what “space” and “time” ought to really signify. It takes some concerted focus to think of space and time as having no intrinsic bounds, no intrinsic scale, as standing for utterly relational existents. This brings me to MisterSwig’s last objection… No, not at all. Best fit with objective reality would be my standard. I’m arguing that the spatial/the temporal is more precise, truer. NB, effort and language: like water, a good language adapts to new knowledge, and should be allowed to flow naturally along any newly etched channels. The effort of maintaining redundant linguistic formulations, artificial dams that preserve surpassed knowledge, is not a virtue (except for studying old texts). I see the words ‘space’ and ‘time’ as potentially damming objective thinking. Now I certainly don’t expect everyone to immediately drop ‘space’ and ‘time’ in metaphysical discussions any ‘time’ soon. I'll sit back and wait and see whether or not people start adopting it for clarification in metaphysical discussions… “…space (i.e., the spacial)…” …until it becomes obvious that the nominalized adjective is actually the more appropriate term and can even be used on its own. It’s a handy grammatical tool, why not select the right tool for the job? Right then. Any major disagreements in this post or should we end it here? P.S. Of course I was being somewhat tongue-in-cheek in my last post when I suggested re-editing The Lexicon. However, I do think it’s high time for a more precise and detailed version — less of a scrapbook of Galt quotes and lecture clippings; more an Objectivist glossary for keywords. Perhaps a special epistemology forum thread to kick that project off?
  3. Here I’ll reply to StrictlyLogical and MisterSwig (the paper that pittsburghjoe advances is a wee bit beyond my ken: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1903.06757.pdf). I’ll address the disparity between my definitions of Space and Time and The Lexicon. Then I’ll attempt to state what I take to be true of reality as integrated from percepts and through the application of noncontradictory identification. The Ayn Rand Lexicon: entries for Time and Space Time Space I agree with these explications. However, my point is that they are explications that I would prefer to call ‘the temporal’ and ‘the spatial’ rather than ‘space’ and ‘time’. This might be best illustrated by imagining that I had been handed the job of re-editing The Lexicon (ho ho!). I would retain entries for Space and Time (as they are the more commonly used terms), but parse each of them out, something like this… Space ⁓ ⁓ Space (noun — apt for entity) An anti-concept*: used as approximate substitute for a specific volumetric entity. E.g.; space in my case, outer-space, space-filling object, a vacuum, etc. ⁓ The Spatial (nominalized adjective — apt for existent relational attribute) “The Spatial,” like “the temporal,” is a relational concept. It does not designate an entity, but a relationship, which exists only within the universe. The universe is not in the spatial any more than it is in the temporal… [Peikoff's definition continues in this way…] Time ⁓ ⁓ Time (noun — apt for event) An anti-concept*: used as approximate substitute for a specific chronological event. E.g.; now, 1984, five-to-seven, the Pleistocene, next week, etc. ⁓ The Temporal (nominalized adjective — apt for existent relational attribute) The temporal is a measurement of motion; as such, it is a type of relationship. The temporal applies only within the universe… [continuation of Peikoff's definition…] * I’ve termed space and time anti-concepts, which might be too harsh — I’m being a tad provocative here. I think they are still useful in common speech, indispensable even, as long as we treat them as the place-holders that they are. By adopting the spatial/temporal I’m trying to promote the relational meaning couched within space and time, the sense that Peikoff is getting at. I'm concerned that the terms ‘space’ and ‘time’ tend to be illusive substitutes for actual specific things/events. I don't know about you, but I'll let you into the secret machinations of my mind. When I hear ‘space’ I immediately picture a cubic volume of air; when I read ‘time’ I picture an egg-timer running out at four minutes ~ specific concretes rather than abstract relationships, I can't help it. That’s the issue that I wanted to help resolve by employing an adjective rather than an entity-implying noun. To address MisterSwig’s specific query about time: As indicated above, I don’t immediately view the term ‘time’ as representing measurement — that requires extra effort. The term ‘the temporal’ more suitably fulfills that role because the relatival is implicit: adjectives name relational attributes, nouns do not. So, other than that grammatical quibble, I'm on board with Peikoff ~ the temporal is measurement. Is the spatial truer of reality than ‘space’? Is the temporal truer of reality than ‘time’? This comes from StrictlyLogical’s very exacting question: Perception affords us percepts which can be compared, contrasted and isolated from other percepts, giving us entities, to be named/conceptualized. The Spatial is a concept abstracted in reality from entities — it is not abstracted from ‘space’. It isolates one of two essential relational aspects of an entity: (non-temporal) relationships; relative position, length, volume, etc. Ditto The Temporal… I know I'm being controversial — effectively taking Rand's Razor to ‘space’ and ‘time’ for what I consider to be a more fitting definition. I don’t think that this proposal is reverting to nominalism or psychological obfuscation — is it? I currently view it as an attempt to clarify concepts, to ensure that they better map reality, are more precise, are objective. I hope this post has been a bit clearer than my last? So then, where might I be going horribly wrong?
  4. Cleansing concepts around ‘spacetime’ Thank you class; MisterSwig, StrictlyLogical, Eiuol and Grames — good input. Here I’m pegging a concluding thought (any follow-up remarks most welcome). ❦ So a range of slightly different models related to spacetime have been floating around over the last couple of weeks. I won’t attempt to summarize these different frameworks, I’d rather focus on what seems to be a major fault-line. I think the fracture has been conceptual, particularly for ‘space’ and ‘time’, which then goes on to affect a whole range of related concepts; medium, gaps, vacuums, location, information, matter and spacetime itself. Here I’ll attempt a little spring-cleaning of just three key concepts; space, time, entity (prior to any subsequent tackling of spacetime itself). Let me know if you think it harms/helps matters. First stop The Oxford English Dictionary to survey standard meanings, thence to The Ayn Rand Lexicon for a little selective clarification, then my own jottings set out below. I think the resulting six concepts form an interesting integration… Space ⁓ Dictionaries offer a wide assortment of definitions, ranging from typographic padding to being left undisturbed. However, for the core meaning they always give two distinct definitions relevant to the kind of space this topic addresses (OED)… • A continuous area or expanse which is free, available, or unoccupied. • The dimensions of height, depth, and width within which all things exist and move. I think it is instructive to keep these two concepts in separate boxes when discussing ‘space’. To this end I propose a conceptual split into two different words: ⁓ Concept 1. Space ⁓ Concept 2. The Spatial The first is a noun — apt for entity. The second is a nominalized adjective — apt for attribute of an entity. The Ayn Rand Lexicon hones in on space as the spatial —the relational concept —and does a good job, but I think it rather papers-over the first, more everyday usage of the term — e.g., I have space in my tummy for one more yummy digestive biscuit. Expanding the difference between the two main definitions: ⁓ 1. Space ‘Space–space’: a word for everyday usage ~ about volumetric things… An absolute existent* entity (with spatial and temporal attributes). It has dimension (in which a three dimensional coordinate system, with arbitrary origin, could map it exhaustively). It is volumetric; whether dense like a blackhole or ‘empty’ like an absolute vacuum — whatever its mass, its volume is always greater than zero. It is never ‘nothing’. It is a concrete, not an abstract. It is measurable, not a measurement. It is a part of a greater (potentially boundless) whole — the universe. Example: I have space at the end of this sentence to place a full-stop. Antonym: No-space (or boundless space as near antonym) This can either be zero volume (effectively nothing), or by an already space-occupying volume. ⁓ 2. The Spatial A word for abstract usage ~ about the spatial relations of things… A relative existent* attribute (of entities). It is dimension (along with the temporal dimension). It is the relations of scale, position, distance, area, volume (but not the actualization of these relational attributes themselves into ‘space-occupying entities’). It is never ‘something’ (nor ‘nothing’ as attributes exist). It is an abstract, not a concrete. It is measurement, not measurable. Bounds or scales don’t apply — the spatial is a relational attribute of the universe (and all its potential parts). Example: The full-stop at the end of this sentence has spatial extension, but perhaps less so than a comma. Antonym: The temporal. (Emphatically not fullness/emptiness) The spatial can only be contrasted with the one other dimension (which mutually defines it). * Existent = an existing entity or an attribute/action (of an existing entity). In the case of the spatial and the temporal, they are existent attributes, not entities. Furthermore, no existent entity is without this duplet of attributes, everything has a spatial & temporal aspect.. This might tie-in to the gist of my original forum question — ‘could the universe be cashed out in terms of these two fundamental attributes?’ Time ⁓ OED… • A point [or period] of time as measured (in hours and minutes past midnight or noon). • [mass noun] the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole. Thus, as with space, a similar bifurcation into two different concepts is in order: ⁓ Concept 3. Time ⁓ Concept 4. The Temporal The difference between the two main definitions: ⁓ 3. Time ‘Time–time’: a word for everyday usage ~ about occurrences… An absolute existent event (with spatial and temporal attributes). It has dimension (in which a linear coordinate system, with arbitrary origin, could map it exhaustively). It is chronological; whether delineating past ages or future micro-seconds — whatever its span, its passing is always greater than zero. It is never ‘timeless’. It is a concrete, not an abstract. It is measurable, not a measurement. It is a part of a greater (potentially boundless) whole — universal time. Example: Noticing the full-stop at the end of this sentence will occur within the next second of time. Antonym: No-time (or timeless as near antonym). In contrast to space, time is not exclusionary, lots of occurrences can happen at the same time. ⁓ 4. The Temporal A word for abstract usage ~ about the temporal relations of occurrences… A relative existent attribute (of events). It is dimension (along with the spatial dimension). It is the relational context for all things chronological (but not the actualization of these relations into its own ‘event’). It is never ‘an event’ (nor ‘non-event’ as attributes exist). It is an abstract, not a concrete. It is measurement, not measurable. Bounds or scales don’t apply — the temporal is a relational attribute of universal time (and all its potential sequences). Example: The full-stop at the end of this sentence has limited temporal extension into the past and future. Antonym: The spatial (Emphatically not instantaneous/timelessness) The temporal can only be contrasted with the one other dimension. NB, I maintain that there are only two ‘essential’ relational existents: the spatial and the temporal. Moreover, the spatial defines the temporal; the temporal defines the spatial. (Do they ‘require’ entities to exist or just differences between one another?) Before tackling ‘spacetime’ it might be worthwhile defining the next pair; entity, along with its rather neglected twin, event… Entity ⁓ The OED gives one definition… • A thing with distinct and independent existence. However, as all things are also processes (given enough time), it might be conceptually correct to tease out the two distinctive aspects contained within ‘entity’. Thus: ⁓ Concept 5. Entity A word primarily regarding something ‘in space’. Entity = a spatial difference that makes a difference (spatially/temporally). I believe this get to the very essence of ‘entity’ (more so than through invocations of solidity, ostensibility, absoluteness, boundedness, etc.). Entity means specifically a spatial difference. It entails a boundary between itself and the space that it does not occupy — whether another unique entity or ‘the rest of the universe’. Crucially, it entails uniqueness of identity — yet identity comprises a relative as well as absolute aspect — entities are its attributes, attributes are both relational and absolute. ⁓ Concept 6. Event A word primarily regarding something ‘in time’. Event = a temporal difference that makes a difference (spatially/temporally). Again, this get to the very essence of ‘event’ I think (more so than invocations of time-span, change, motion, causal chain, etc.). Entity entails event, events entail entities. All entities are undergoing some sort of processes (protraction often renders these transmutations imperceptible). NB, Objectivism makes a convincing case for the epistemological primacy of entity (thus metaphysically primacy) — our knowledge of reality works by firstly separating-out the relatively stable aspects of any process, the thing undergoing change rather than the overall process/event itself. That is unless the event is the more salient feature — e.g., we think of a gun-shot as an event, in contrast to, say, the Alps (an interminable tectonic event). Events not only entail entities, they are built from entities. ❦ A definition of Spacetime (and its integral curvaceousness)? Has this disentangling of the three words (space, time, entity) into six concepts (space/spacial, time/temporal, entity/event) been positive for this discussion, or do you think that it's been hopelessly flawed? Do give me hell if they are invalid — I'm here to learn! Now, would anyone venture a definition of spacetime itself perchance?
  5. 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. 3. Neither? 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!). To reiterate… 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.
  6. Whoops! My purpose on this thread is to learn a wee bit more about reality, specifically to better conceptualize the relationship between space, time and entity (as evidenced by physical science, epistemologically grounded in perception). I floated Macken’s The Universe is Only Spacetime (+ subsequent updated paper) so that everyone had something concrete to talk about — physics-based (+ appositely contentious). StrictlyLogical, finely tuned as ever to detect any whiff of Rationalism, is absolutely correct in elevating empirical science (no matter how ‘ugly’) over my armchair musings around these issues (no matter how ‘beautiful’ ~ the truth is ultimately more fascinating than falsity any day). Here are three loose ends that I'd like to tie-up in a neat loop… 1. The importance of being earnest about indivisibility If current science points to indivisible individual units then we ought to adopt that conception — wholeheartedly — at least until such indivisibility might be deemed false. Hats off to SL, after more research it seems that indivisibility is a thing — electron as prime example. Even John Macken, in a correspondence on this issue, embraces discrete Planck units as ultimate (although he hints at some wiggle-room for zero-point energy). I admit to finding indivisible particles rather displeasing, but I’ve been won over to the right side! I now acknowledge that physical indivisibility is literally true — proviso: based upon current knowledge (so don’t sleep too heavily on your laurels!). NB, this is physical indivisibility, not mathematical indivisibility which remains boundless in scale (a trivial truism perhaps as far as concrete physics is concerned). 2. Particles (non-point-like) or continuum? Again, on pausing to consider, I concede. If science indicates indivisible particles (with influence over distances) then that ought to be the conceptual framework to run with, not the more amorphous continuum. Yes, my comfy armchair philosophizing about boundlessly smaller spacial/temporal scales containing physical variation (entailed in the notion of continuum) is therefore conceptually improper. But, to be clear, we are ruling out concepts based upon the current level of technology in subatomic detection. On reviewing the history of ever-smaller ‘atoms’ being sporadically revealed, ought that knowledge impel us to stick a large lurid post-it note onto our current concept of primary particles to remind us that… However, if the technological capabilities of our colliders continue to improve and yet we are still unable to infer any internal constituent structure from the ensuing data, then that post-it note ought to shrink and fade along with our aching expectations. Reasonable? 3. Mass-energy + spacetime More basic than the Standard Model’s 17-or-so ‘indivisibles’, standard GR+QFT identifies really only two ‘fundamental ingredients’ (forgive me Boydstun if I'm interpreting things over-simplistically here): 1. Mass-energy (absolute existent) + 2. Spacetime (relative existent) The initial question of this entire topic presupposed such a stripped-down model (for better or worse). “Fundamentally, is there only spacetime?’’ could now be re-posed in the following way… If the simpler model is valid, might these twin existents (mass-energy + spacetime curvature) be best conceived as either: 1. Utterly separable; …or… 2. Both parts working together as a mutually generating dichotomy; …or… 3. Neither — it’s a false dichotomy (‘mutual dichotomy’ being contradictory + ‘separable’ being meaningless within a context of relational existents). 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) — that is until actual reciprocality can be proven beyond reasonable doubt (+ any conceptual contradictions are ironed out ~ apropos Macken's theory). Do you think that's a fair way to put it (and if so may we conclude the topic on that note)?
  7. Thank you Grames and thank you StrictlyLogical. I imagine that we all agree with SL’s encapsulation: And we’re in good company (Rand ~ ITOE’s Appendix dialogue): An attribute is something which is not the entity itself. No one attribute constitutes the whole entity, but all of them together are the entity—not “possessed by” but “are” the entity. SL’s subsequent explication of how entities tend to be particular combinations of attributes (and not others) certainly ought to be born in mind. Indeed, the very plurality of attributes for every single entity is perhaps worth exploring further — everything ‘has’ at least one spacial and one temporal attribute does it not (unless ‘point particles’ are literarily real)? Indivisibility: literal, practical or mathematical? This brings me to SL’s assertion that some particles are “literally indivisible”. It’s the one thing that I had issue with — but I’m open to being proved wrong. “A is A” represents a legit literal indivisibility. But ought the referred to elementary particles be accorded the exact same literalness when it comes to their inferred indivisibility? Here’s a smörgåsbord of slightly blander adverbs to supplant “literally”; practically, theoretically, evidently, ostensively, demonstratively. I contend that, as we are talking about subatomic particles, deduced via calculation, utter indivisibility can’t be proved until we have comprehensive knowledge about reality at ‘infinitesimal’ scales. Agreed? NB, the definition of entity relates more to independence of identity rather than to indivisibility — no? Walking the Planck I would be willing to embrace SL’s literal indivisibility if, and only if, there really is a final measure of physicality — Planck length/time units as truly basic rather than as-basic-as-we-can-grasp-today. However, that would still only be a physical (practicable) indivisibility, not a mathematical indivisibility of spacial/temporal measurement (which, I assume, would still potentially be calculable ad infinitum — no?). Likewise, how much credence should we give to the literal interpretation of a ‘point particle’ — an entity entirely bereft of spacial extension — rather than the more modest ‘point-like particle’? SL mentioned how our aesthetic preferences bias us towards more attractive, simpler models of fundamental physics — yes and I acknowledge this tendency, and seek to counter it by being logical + strict. However, in the ‘continuum vs. discrete’ debate, both sides exude their own allure: the continuum model satisfies the more ‘holistic-entanglement-seeking’ personality whilst the discrete particle-phile is just as beguiled by that reassuring finitude that makes precise calculations possible (and with more practical implications, garnering greater respect in physics departments). I suspect that the competing ‘continuum/discrete’ models of the universe will turn out to circumscribe yet another false dichotomy: both true or false dependent on context (or is that just my über-holism I wonder?). Anyway, I admit that I need to do more physics homework on Planck, universal constants, etc., before being able to contribute anything profoundly worthwhile on this topic. STOP PRESS! News from John A Macken The starting point for this entire topic is The Universe Is Only Spacetime by John A Macken. I’ve recently been in contact with the author. He is now following the discussion and has asked me to attach an updated 20-page summary of his theory: Single Component Model of the Universe Single Component Model -5.pdf It’s a draft version of the forthcoming paper so any feedback from your direct engagement with the physics (or even the philosophy of his bottom-up approach as outlined under “Future Analysis” p.18) would be most welcome. Calling all physicists out there ~ is this particular zero-point energy model a feasible one (or is the motivation towards simplicity irrevocably suspect in your opinion)?
  8. Dear MisterSwig, You’re quite right not to be fully satisfied with the ocean wave analogy. I’m afraid all such analogies for hard-core-physics only work up to a point, then they break down and just spawn more questions than they resolve… …But that said, as a way to address all your very pertinent points, mostly revolving around the necessity of a medium, I’ll imprudently offer up another hackneyed analogy! We can’t see the forest for the trees. We’re all looking for the forest (the medium) but on inspection all we perceive are the trees. In this case, ‘the trees’ are just the various dipole values (let’s think of them for now as standard electromagnetic values). The crucial idea to grasp is that, from a close-up context, these values are all there is: together they constitute ‘the medium’ for interactive oscillation patterns. Similarly to how both the forest and the trees exist, the emergence of a medium is actually a question of scale. A medium (a larger-scale entity/event) is made up of smaller-scale constituents (entities/events) — and nothing else. The “changes in position” that need accounting for “relative to the medium” can thus be re-thought as changes in ‘value’ relative to (and mutually effected by) neighboring values (rather than some extra medium). I could stop there, but there's a glaring question to be subsequently faced: “value of what?” Anyway, my condensed answer: an attribute/entity. (I’m aware that by expanding this answer we'll be crossing over into metaphysics-land, but I might as well continue down that rabbit hole…) I’ve come to embrace the idea of entity — entities exist — but what are entities really in their most basic definitional form? Objectivism has tended to define entity in terms of independence, whilst I’m inclined to emphasis the fact that entity starts by way of a difference (a difference which makes a difference with/from some other entity). That’s all. It’s the difference that makes/defines the thing as much as the thing that makes the difference. Thus any difference in any value could be enough for the resulting relata to be considered an ‘independent’ entity (Rand’s Razor permitting). Another way to hammer home this hobby-horse of mine is to consider the relationship between entity and process. Drum roll for a bold claim: in my opinion all entities are also processes — there’s no entity which isn’t also a process. Granted, processes are of entities, yet can anyone offer proof of an entity which isn’t existentially in flux, given enough time and space? Note that I don’t give automatic primacy to either process or entity, much depends on the specific context of analysis — I view them as an integral dichotomy (process often being the hidden aspect). However, it is fitting that we build our metaphysics upon our natural epistemology of separating out those ‘solid, stable things’ which we can point to — thus entity has metaphysical primacy over process (and in accordance with Objectivism as I understand it). Well, that partially exposes the current state of play in my brain around the “value of what?” question (very much work in progress). Now Macken goes a step further, his theory is that those standard (electromagnetic, etc.) values that are absolutely everywhere in the universe, on all scales, can in turn be described entirely in terms of ‘spacetime’ (scare-quotes to indicate that it’s not the same as standard GR spacetime). I hope that this goes some way to address your very valid doubts MisterSwig — and that I haven’t just utterly confused everyone even more!
  9. Haha Doug — I'd forgot to mention, love's the third dimension!
  10. Thank you StrictlyLogical, excellent ~ mulled over your reply for a week. As there are no other takers I’m penning this as a provisional epilogue. Fundamentally, is there only ‘spacetime’? This topic has not managed to tempt out the lurking physicists to engage with Macken’s own reasoning, so no clear-cut answers have surfaced as of yet. But it's true that, prior to any such engagement, Rand’s Razor might be our most useful tool to scythes away the inept chaff from any remaining grains-of-truth: can ‘the spacetime universe’ concept defy its harshest swipes? Anyway, StrictlyLogical has provided at least five caveats regarding such a theory (as well as set up the wily Gravity Thread thread in which analogous errors of logic/conceptualization are picked apart). Is the theory testable? Is there a mental ‘inversion’ of entity attributes with a background attribute for reification purposes? Is there any notion that things-as-they-are need an explanation for their very being? Does the theory ‘extol zero’ — ‘reducing’ everything to nothingness (of space, time)? Is the theory an appeal to monism — only spacetime? I take these to be shrewd cautions rather than an outright committal of this theory to the flames (are they not SL?). Each concern should be duly heeded, yet I think most charges can be parried: 1. Yes — “how can this theory could be falsified” would be the first question to Macken (I have e-mailed him about this forum thread). 2. On mental inversion… This dips its toe into deeper metaphysical depths so I think it helps if I re-state/re-work it in my own words to ensure that we are talking about the same thing: The definition of entity (and its attributes) is absolute existential independence; their existence owes nothing to what is external to them. (Echoes of my previous thread Ontology via Contrast. All I’ll venture here is to append that absolutes also entail relatedness (and vice-versa), and so the absolute independence of entity, although metaphysically definitional, nevertheless also remains relative to a context of external constraints). In the context at hand of ‘spacetime’ I think it would be a misreading of Macken to suppose he is arguing in favor of a ‘background’ for entities — his re-scripted definition of ‘spacetime’ already entails entities/energy — so there is no background attribute to ‘mentally invert’ entities out of. 3. Macken’s theory seems to grapple with the actual mechanics of existence rather that seeking any ‘requisite underpinning’. Asking “how things work” is the more legitimate approach than “why things exist” (and the former might even eventually satisfy the latter question). 4. I think the charge of ‘extolment of zero’ fails to stick once Macken’s ‘spacetime’ is understood as anything but nothing. Btw, any theory advancing a balancing–out of something (like matter and anti-matter over greater spacial distances) would likewise not necessarily be extolling zero. It may just be an acclamation about physical equilibrium. 5. Yes, somewhat, but any ‘ultimate explanation’ might unavoidably appear reductive if stated in a five word nutshell — the universe is only spacetime — ousting-out the integrated emergence of complexity. So I think the resulting ‘appeal to monism’ is the fault of an over-concise summarization of the theory rather than the theory itself (note that book’s subtitle already signals the interplay of anti-monist complexity: Particles, Fields and Forces Derived from the Simplest Starting Assumption). NB, I take the terms ‘existence’, ‘the universe’ and ‘spacetime’ as being somewhat interchangeable. The statement ‘only existence exists’ also seems kinda monist, until it’s acknowledged that this One is also The Many. Rehabilitating the question I spy three presuppositions concealed within the original headline-grabbing question that might well have curbed an Objectivist’s enthusiasm: The word ‘fundamentally’ smuggles in the nefarious notion that existence is made up of a hierarchy of levels; As outlined above, ‘only’ can be read as a crude reduction to monism; Macken’s ‘spacetime’ requires a firmer contradistinction from its standard usage. An unpacking of these terms in my opening post would have been wiser, allowing the focus to be upon the validity or not of Macken’s physics. A re-vamped initial question might do the job: Could the mechanics of the universe be adequately described using a dynamic conjunction of space and time — ‘Macken Spacetime’ — without referring (initially) to any extra ‘stuff’? P.S. Supplementary food for thought (a just dessert)… …Are there actually only two relational existents (from which all other relations are derived): the spacial & the temporal?
  11. Thank you SpookyKitty, Doug Morris, Grames, Boydstun, StrictlyLogical, merjet, MisterSwig. Sorry for the delay. Here I’ll address the key questions that came up as well as try and steer the conversation back towards the nub of John A. Macken’s book The Universe is Only Spacetime (http://onlyspacetime.com). MisterSwig Yes I was speaking in an awfully loose way when I said Macken argues that the universe can be “reduced” to only spacetime. Not a literal reduction, just that all manifest complexities of the universe/existence could be ‘built out of’ spacetime alone. Regarding dipole waves: he is indeed working with a huge assumption that dipole waves exist on the as yet imperceptible QM scale (accounting for ‘the uncertainty principle’) — but he’s up front about where the assumptions reside within his theory. On the “space-filling nature” of these dipole waves: in physics waves are simply oscillations of (rather than within) ‘a field’ which doesn’t so much ‘fill the space’ but effectively defines space itself. One dipole wave can be distinguished from another despite ‘no gap’ between them in the same way we can discern a sea wave’s crests from its troughs. With less directly perceptible electromagnetic waves one needs to detect and establish the mean within a given wave frequency, then contrast this with the positive/negative variation in amplitude. There are no absolute gaps anywhere, ever, in my model. Furthermore, I take the crests (and/or the troughs) to be the basis for what we detect and grasp as ‘entities’ — those parts of spacetime that cross a certain amplitude threshold. SpookyKitty There is a quintessence difference between Macken’s theory and General Relativity. GR embraces additional ‘essential ingredients’; mass/energy + space/time, whereas Macken’s is just space/time. Moreover, Macken moots that his theory resolves the GR/quantum gravity conundrum, so I’d lodge that it represents more than a restatement of GR. Doug Morris I’m glad someone had a peek at the source material. Have you had a chance to delve deeper? Is Macken’s thinking sound in your opinion? Grames Lots to agree with here. You draw attention to a seemingly opposite theory: spacetime itself ‘results from’ quantum entanglement. With this or Macken’s theory, there is an issue about what has fundamental primacy, what is the horse and what is the cart so to speak: is there a level/scale where carts and horses dissolve into false dichotomies within a greater whole? Anyway yes, let’s all work towards making scientific ontology relate back to good ol’ human graspability — metaphysics done the right-way-around. Boydstun Good, that was a pertinent underscoring of how current GR+QFT views mass-energy as separate from spacetime (curvature). Spacetime — full entity or mere existent? At first glance it might seem reasonable to promote (causal) spacetime to the title of relational ‘entity’ whilst the mass-energy part gets to be called ‘entity proper’ (or, to be constant, absolute entity). We can’t experience the workings of GR+QFT directly, yet it is graspable by thinking in more familiar terms of separable solidity (mass-energy) from a nonetheless existent and interactive ‘background’ of relational Minkowski spacetime. Could such an active conception of spacetime indeed be ‘an entity’ under an astrophysicist’s epistemological thinking cap? Mmmm… Then follows an interesting back-and-forth with another rightly esteemed member of the forum, focusing on whether or not spacetime fits into the category ‘entity’… StrictlyLogical (NB, the debate about the four categories being mutually exclusive or not is an exceedingly good one, but I see it as ancillary to the core focus of this thread — is the universe only spacetime? — so I’ll refrain from chipping in here.) The upshot of this Boydstun–StrictlyLogical exchange is that SL reasons that spacetime curvature is (merely) a relational existent, not an entity. (I wonder if the awarded heart indicates that Boydstun accepts this or just admires SL’s argumentation?). But attention please: this categorisation of spacetime is based upon standard GR+QFT, is it not? The point of Macken’s overhaul of GR+QFT effectively ‘dissolves’ mass-energy into spacetime (spacetime as energetic field). Space is a relational existent, so is time — but Macken’s spacetime is a generative dynamic for entities (mass-energy) and therefore his conception of spacetime would arguably be more than mere ‘relational existent’ — perhaps something more akin to ‘existent/entity–process’ or ‘proto-entity’. Anyway, do you agree that Macken's notion of spacetime is no longer adequately captured by the term ‘relational existent’? I love you all, so I'll wind up… …in this conversation I see two main alternative choices for fundamental ontology of the universe… 1. GR+QFT: The universe = (mass-energy) entities (whether particles/waves/fields) + spacetime (as unavoidable corollary ~ the curvature of which is causal). Or 2. Macken’s ‘disentangled’ GR+QFT: The universe (of mass-energy entities) = spacetime (space-time dynamics). So, dear (meta-) physicists, which description fits best with what we now know?
  12. Thank you StrictlyLogical, EC, MisterSwig. I’ll use this post just to clarify my question + solicit feedback on Macken’s booklet specifically (StrictlyLogical actually merits it's own supplementary reply).  spacetime doing its stuff Macken argues that the universe can be reduced to only spacetime. It certainly sounded absurd to me off the bat — surely ‘spacetime’ is just a coupling of space/time dimensions: twin relational existents that ‘require’ absolute existents (entities) in order to exist (as relations to) in the first place. But the booklet’s title intrigued me enough to download his PDF and skim through. I was relieved that it didn’t seem to be the usual pseudoscience. Indeed, it left me questioning my schoolboy assumptions about ‘spacetime’ (purposely written as a whole word, not hyphenated). Spacetime, rather than just an amalgam of space plus time, takes on a more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts peculiarity — peculiar enough, perhaps, for reification to occur ‘out-of’ space + time. Macken isn’t using spacetime as mere mathematical model but as the universal propagator of actual ‘stuff’ — a profoundly more economical version of ‘aether’ if you like. Now, for what it’s worth, I currently have a super-duper-dumbed-down way in which I’m able to envisage entity as a product of spacetime, which hopefully goes a little way towards addressing MisterSwig’s pivotal “of what” point. It is this: basic entities are the relatively ‘thicker’ parts of spacetime (equally and crucially the ‘slower-to-pass-through’ zones). The attribute of thickness/thinness is as much temporal as spacial. For basal entities, the attribute of spacetime thickness effectively is the thing — spacetime thickness = thingness. These basal entities are in dynamic relationships with the relatively ‘thinner/faster’ zones; these localized variations entail ‘attraction/repulsion’ with their spacetime surrounds and a cascade of further forces and unfolding complexities — all issuing from thick/thin | fast/slow differences within spacetime. Now where’s my Nobel prize? Oh I expect that there’s plenty to take issue with here! But please have a peruse at Macken’s physics-rich reasoning rather than my own slapdash simplification. The aim of this thread is to probe whether the idea ‘everything is only spacetime’ is feasible, somewhat flawed or a complete non-starter.
  13. Hello all, I’ll plunge naked straight into the deep end… Objectivist metaphysics is entity-centric: there’s the ‘stuff’ which makes up the universe (whether thought of as discrete particles or a continuous fluctuating field) as well as space and time as natural correlations (the relations between all this ‘stuff’). This is the correct metaphysical starting point and thus fitting basis upon which to build physics — so far so good? However, what if the most fundamental stuff/entities of the universe (whether fermions/bosons, aether, force-fields) could in turn be comprehensively described in terms of dynamic differences in ‘spacetime’ (put super-simply as relatively ‘thicker/slower zones’ interacting with ‘thinner/faster zones’) — that is, might entities be part-and-parcel of space+time rather than ‘a separate ingredient’ so-to-speak? I’m posting the question here (rather than the metaphysics forum) because I came across a physics-heavy theory which, if true, would possibly rule such a notion in — apropos a free-to-download book by a certain John A. Macken entitled The Universe is Only Spacetime. (http://onlyspacetime.com) I fully confess that I don't have anywhere near the competence to judge his argument, so I’d welcome any appraisal from Objectivists with a physics bent. Anyway, my physics question on the status of ‘spacetime’… Is the door open to describing everything in the universe solely in terms of space + time (reifying ‘spacetime’ processes) — or ought physics always be couched around a ‘primacy of entity’ come-what-may (with ‘spacetime’ a mere correlation)?
  14. Well spotted Grames — I’ve had my comeuppance! Yes, at the bare minimum that inept adjective ‘additional’ should have been well-encased between scare-quotes, but actually the whole tenor of that question seems so utterly jarring now that you pointed it out. All I can say is that it takes time and willed effort to re-wire those 55-year-old neuronal bundles. During this month-long thread they’ve been wrenched out and re-soldered across cortex into the updated assemblage, but there are still a few that are loose and sparking erratically, homesick for their old secure links — but it's nothing regular mental application can’t fix, and what better place than Objectivism Online Forum. As for Team-Plenum, yes we’re also ‘fielding’ big badass QFT, but that might not convince the most tenacious particle-philes amongst us because, when you get right down to it, there’s always an ever-smaller scale where fields might turn out to be more particle-like. It looks to me tantamount to a game that no team can conclusively ever win hands-down, not by empirical investigation alone. I have a hunch (already setting teeth on edge!) that a well-integrated metaphysics might be able to rule-out one or other model, or at least tip the balance. The ‘avoid voids’ logical argument is just within the ambit of metaphysics, and it takes skill for a particle-phile to convincingly parry that particular concern. Occam’s razor too can be wielded against the discrete model, skewing things slightly towards a continuous model (see my 18 October post above). Anyway, if I can marshal a more robust case then it might be an interesting topic. Something along the lines of ‘continuous or discrete: what, if anything, can metaphysics contribute to this debate on the ultimate structure of the universe?’ I’ll need to first check through the relevant erstwhile topics (including the Physics and Mathematics heading) before attempting anything new and to avoid rehashing old issues. But I also have one or two other metaphysical topics brewing which I want to launch in an appropriate order. P.S. Thank you very much StrictlyLogical for my very first ‘Like’ + thank you dream_weaver for making it technically possible — this grateful Novice is now basking in a warm glow.
  15. Thank you very much StrictlyLogical Wow! 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… Perfectly put. Well, almost… 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… Is that a wrap, folks?
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