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2046

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Everything posted by 2046

  1. I've heard some people say, more than a few times, that the reason they don't believe in objectivity or that an external world exists is "because of quantum physics." But, as far as I can tell, this rests on some kind of confusion. This doesn't sound like anything I've seen about quantum physics. But I think you have to go back to when the quantum revolution first dropped. Everybody was committed to a kind of implicit or explicit materialism in which the word was composed of these microphysical particles in which everything is deterministic and it's all bottom-up causality and so forth. So the quantum revolution hit and people were like oh it's not really like that at all, these things are not deterministic, these little objects don't have determinate positions, like wow, I guess there's no reality there at all then. But you can see that that doesn't really follow, that is resulting from a sort of frustrated materialist ambition. A lot of the anti-realist stuff isn't even consistent or methodical anti-realist. Very few people think anything like that. But what it is is misplaced realistic goals with a sort of implicit anti-realist premises that results in people getting tripped up.
  2. Have you considered doing it on Clubhouse?
  3. I think maybe this is an issue with some of Rand's non-fiction, like speaking of the metaphysical versus the man-made as that which could not have been otherwise and so forth, without much elaboration on what sense of can/could is being used. But I haven't read that essay in a while.
  4. I think that's basically the whole thread. People often subconsciously think a thing having an identity is just mechanical causality. So they think you have things acting according to their identities, but you also have free will, so how to make that work. But they're making something that is all bottom-up causality, like an artifact in the Aristotelian sense. So they hear this Objectivist line about a new type of causality. Well there must be a new type of casualty, meaning a new mechanism. So they spend 6 pages looking around for a new mechanism, or seeing how they can change the wording just right. They don't ever get to just agent-cause vs event-cause.
  5. Not to mention I always love it when they, who are a them and definitely not a we, say how "we" should do anything
  6. If it's a substance not yet discovered, how could anyone possibly answer that? That's not so much a question for the position but a problem for the position. Moreover, why assume substance dualism in the first place? Generally, people like to see arguments or at least some motivating reasons for these positions.
  7. Well, from my understanding, a substance is a particular, and is a matter-form composite. So it's not what particulars are "made out of" (like, eg., the modern chemistry term.) And matter-sans-form wouldn't be a substance, it would be prime matter. Prime matter, while a real feature of the world, isn't concretely real, or isn't a concrete, in the sense that it isn't any thing unless made determinate by form. Or at least that's the A-T line of thought (Cf. the Oderberg book mentioned earlier.) Scotus and Suarez think that prime matter can exist by itself, related to their views on the aforementioned existence-essence distinction and composition. Yes, in natural substances, it is. Or at least if you're taking the A-T line of thought. All prime matter can do is be receptivity for a form, which is not to say it is acting in the sense of an entity. But existence is a separate act from the act of essence, at least in principle. (So like, I can think about the essence of a unicorn without thinking it has an act of existence.) Act in this sense means actualization of a potentiality, so "by means of the form" just means a potential that is actualized (enformed [or informed however you want to spell it.]
  8. I was thinking about this, and reading about a problem Aquinas had. Or really his Dominican brothers had and he set out to solve. It seemed like there was a problem with the concept of matter. We know God and the angels can't be material because of certain passages in the Bible. We know that the world of nature abounds with material things from common sense observation. We also know that matter provides the basis of potentialities and the substratum of change. Problem is, if both God and the angels are immaterial, how can the angels be different from God? God, as we know, is pure form, simple, changeless, perfect. But the angels are non-perfect. They do change, say by having this or that volition or thought. They are so individuals, say Gabriel, Michael, etc. And we know they come in different types, seraphim, cherubim and so on. But they're also supposedly pure form, or immaterial. So if matter is the principle of potentiality, complexity, limitation and so forth, how can the angels change, and be inferior to God? Now there's a whole argument Aquinas develops in the De Ente about the existence-essence distinction and composition, and that's a whole cottage industry in itself. I'm not sure I even understand it, so I'm not going to go into that, but there is an aspect of a tangential point I want to focus on. The view (called universal hylemorphism) that there is only one entity that is pure form (God himself) Aquinas attributes to Avicebron and attributes it resulting from a failure to distinguish between two types of matter: functional matter and prime matter. If the term “matter” is used in its proper and common sense [=as prime matter], it is impossible for there to be matter in spiritual substances…. But if the terms “matter” and “form” are used for any two things which are related as potentiality to actuality, then there can be no objection (unless it is a mere verbal dispute) to saying that spiritual substances have both matter and form (ODSC 1.300-302, 357-360) What Aquinas is saying here, is that there is a functional sense in which anything that serves as a subject (or substratum) for change or in which any properties can be said to inhere, can be said to be material, in a certain sense of matter. That also means that anything that is related to a form as potentiality to actuality is matter in that sense. So suppose you take the view that potentiality and actuality makes sense, we can take that from the worktable of Aristotle, so to speak. But we don't need to go full on hardcore Aristotelian and take all this hylemorphism stuff. Well, as Aquinas points out, any potentiality that is related to an actuality, that serves as a substratum, is going to be matter in at least a functional sense. And the reverse for the concept of form. Aquinas introduces the whole act-potency distinction in the first place to emphasize the functional role of matter-form. So if you take the one off the table, you implicitly take the other as well.
  9. Oh okay. Yeah the more I think about it, the more I think it would have to be matter-form composites as a whole applying to both mass and energy. Energy would have to be a way of conceiving of part of an already-enformed piece of matter, in other words a whole substance, in order to be a real thing capable of physical description. But really I don't know much about it. I'll check out the Handbook. The Oderberg book, Real Essentialism is something I've been reading, and had been influencing a lot of my understanding. But that's precisely what the early moderns did believe. And it's because if the atoms had any parts to them, they wouldn't be atoms. They serve to give substances their properties, so they can't themselves have properties or parts. They have to be simples to be the ultimate grounding for any other substances. Another consequence is that they couldn't have any potentialities, they have to be fully actual. Since this is now hard to maintain, you might get something like a neo-Humean view that there are just certain regularities in the phenomena. Or you might get some sort of instrumentalist view, or some sort of "brute fact" type view. My point is that, if you think these are problematic and that scientists are observing electrons acting like electrons for a reason, you very quickly get to the view that we come to know material things only because they fall into a consistent natural kind knowable because of their causal powers. In other words: through their real essences.
  10. Also, it doesn't seem like matter-energy would be, if we take this train of thought for a second, convertible to matter-form necessarily, as if energy is being compared to form here. Aristotelian matter would subsume both notions of material-ness in the modern sense of "being composed by particles containing mass and taking up space," and energy as "the capacity to do work." Incidentally Heisenberg, while not a wholesale Aristotelian by any means, noticed something like this about the implications of quantum theory. In his 1958 work Physics and Philosophy he says a whole bunch of stuff along those lines, including: "If we compare this situation with the Aristotelian concepts of matter and form, we can say that the matter of Aristotle, which is mere 'potentia,' should be compared to our concept of energy, which gets into 'actuality' by means of the form, when the elementary particle is created" (p. 134.)
  11. Well, I don't think the claim is that the chemist should explain opium by saying "it has a dormitive form in its matter." But the implications for revising our concept of matter could have big picture consequences. For one, you'd no longer have this fragmented dualistic world in which there is just these microphysical particles that somehow have no nature themselves going around in motion, and then you have a separate mental world of purposes and thought and "the soul" on the other hand (or none at all.) By rethinking modern-matter as atomic "matter as such," and thinking of it as a relative concept (relative to form, act, and potency) we get a more unified philosophy of nature that forces us to re-think how parts and wholes interact. You can have real agency and powers at multiple levels of scale. Another way is this brings back all four causes. Matter is important, and quantification is important, and quantification is one of the principles of matter, but understanding those as abstractions, is important. By saying matter moves around according to such and such mathematical laws doesn't preclude other concepts like forms or essences or final causes, or the qualitative aspects of our common sense interaction with nature. (They are no longer seen as merely our minds representations of the world.) Once we have all four causes operating we can begin to explain how that thing acts and is acted on in the world. (Recall why the notions of form and matter were introduced by Aristotle in the first place: to explain change.) And that brings in the notion of causal powers. A powers ontology can have a much more explanatory force in certain areas of physics right now, like quantum mechanics.* It's just simply not true that matter consists of nature-less atoms or corpuscles moving around in the void, even according to our best physics, and yet our concept of matter lags behind in that regard. It might be that we actually took a step back with the concept, by going toward a Democritean or Epicurean turn during the Scientific Revolution, due to steps already taken by Scotus and Ockham, and going back to an Aristotelian conception of relative matter might allow more progress. *See the 2019 paper "Cosmic Hylemorphism" in the European Journal for Philosophy of Science by Oxford philosopher William R Simpson. Or the work of Stephen Mumford on powers and dispositions.
  12. Is this not a motivating premise behind this entire thread, that you are confused as to why people aren't coerced by your proofs?
  13. It would not be a conflict of your interest if you were to repost any of said writing here for my selfish benefit
  14. Cretins, I've observed, are often unable to conceive of two or more people talking about what they want to talk about, and not what you want them to be talking about. I remember when that issue came out, I felt bad that Biondi and Khawaja even had to respond to Mozes.
  15. Sweet new force of nature just dropped boys
  16. You could've just said "I'm confused by technical terms"
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