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A Flaw (in modern science)

The Flaw

“When it comes to science and the explanatory system explaining focuses epistemological atoms; the things that are to be explained are measurable entities. Modern science is simply based on concepts that are defined by how they are measured. These operational definitions have the advantage that you always know what you are talking about. It is not for the scientist to understand the concepts.

Concerning consciousness it is interesting to see the operational definition for what it is, an operational definition (sic!). An operational definition is what it is. If you operationally define consciousness you do not define something else operationally. Consciousness would be defined according to the operational definition. It would neither be right, nor wrong. If consciousness is defined operationally the definition is what you are working with. Your own conception of what consciousness is, is bypassed. In the explanatory setting based on operational definitions, the intuitive understanding of consciousness and the experienced consciousness are omitted.

While this permits the machinery of the natural sciences to work with consciousness there is a flaw in the fundamental approach. The flaw does not directly concern consciousness in itself. If we define consciousness operationally with the definition X, we work with the premise that a certain subject in the experimental setting is conscious if X. This “either/or” scenario, though, becomes interesting only when we pair X with some contents. The subject, e.g., is conscious about this or that visual stimulus. Or, the subjects is conscious about this or that tactile stimulus. In the experimental setting we do not ask the subject if it sees or feels this or that. We expose the stimulus operationally, for example by putting the light on or by stroking the subjects arm. Whether or not the subject is conscious about the light or the stroking we determine via X. Without X, we conclude that the subject was not conscious about the stimulus.

The flaw is identified when we consider self-consciousness. We cannot present the self to the subject. Accordingly, if the subject is self-conscious or not we cannot determine via X. We could ask the subject but then we have already missed the target. For one thing we then must assume that subjects that do not answer are not self-conscious. Another thing is that we then miss the difference between consciousness and self-consciousness. The subject logically cannot report that it is conscious about something without being self-conscious about it. In conclusion a reasonable valid operational definition X of consciousness would not cover self-consciousness.” (Revised excerpt from Gamper, 2021.)

Reference

Gamper, J (2021). Rebooting Science 1.0. BoD. Stockholm, Sweden. https://philpapers.org/rec/GAMRS-2 (Link to the ebook on Amazon and Apple).

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On the Existence of Mem

On the Existence of Mem

Johan Gamper

Abstract

We define a set of things of one singular kind as the set of all things that can causally affect one another. To enable causal interaction between such sets we define a thing that is of a non-singular kind as consisting of more than one singular kind. Such a thing of a non-singular kind supervenes on things of singular kinds and is open to causally intervene between sets of things of different singular kinds without violating the definition of a set of things of one singular kind. With the empty set as a set of things of one singular kind we define Mem as ‘either the smallest element of intervening sets in the indefinite set of sets of things of a singular kind and the intermediate supervening sets, or, if nothing exists, the empty set’. Thus, Mem exists.

1. Definition of Mem

We will define Mem as a set of things.

1.1

Mem is related to causality and the first cause of things.

1.2

We will start with looking at the set of everything that is physical (the physical), however one individuates physical ‘things’.

1.3

We next ask if the physical consists of things (however they are individuated) of only one kind (that is, only physical things).

1.4

With that tautologically established we ask if the physical can be causally affected by anything from another set of things of another singular kind. We will answer this by defining a set of things of one singular kind as the set of all things that can causally affect one another (in principle or practically). By this the answer to the question above is ‘no’.

1.5

By defining a set of things of one singular kind as the set of all things that can causally affect one another the next question is if there are such sets. This question is multifaceted. An interesting case is the empty set. Is that set a set of all things that can causally affect one another? Or can we just ascertain that the empty set is a set of things of one singular kind since it in fact is one of a kind?

Another question is if there can be more sets than one that consists of ‘all things that can causally affect one another’.

Given our definition of a set of things of one singular kind as a set of all things that can causally affect one another two separate sets of things of a singular kind cannot causally affect one another.

1.6

We will now define a new entity that helps bring causality back in the picture. Consider the imaginary numbers and the real numbers. No imaginary number is a real number and vice versa. Based upon the imaginary numbers and the real numbers we can define complex numbers with both imaginary parts and real parts. Accordingly, we can define things that are of a non-singular kind, consisting of more than one singular kind. Also, just as complex numbers supervene on imaginary and real numbers a thing of a non-singular kind would supervene on things of singular kinds. Such a thing of a non-singular kind is open to causally intervene between two sets of things of different singular kinds without violating the definition of a set of things of one singular kind.

1.7

The things of a set of things of one singular kind (the set of all things that can causally affect one another) are now allowed to causally interact via the defined supervening set, with a set of things of another singular kind.

The number of causally linked sets of things of a singular kind is now indefinite. Between them, though, there is a supervening set as defined.

1.8

We can now define Mem in relation to the indefinite set of sets of things of a singular kind and the intermediate supervening sets. Since there is a possibility that nothing exists we also take into account the empty set which we determine is a set of things of one singular kind.

1.9

The disjunctive definition of Mem: Mem is either the smallest element of intervening sets in the indefinite set of sets of things of a singular kind and the intermediate supervening sets, or, if nothing exists, the empty set.

2. On the Existence of Mem

If there exists anything except for the empty set there is an intermediate supervening set between the empty set and the second set of things of one singular kind. That supervening set is Mem. If there exists nothing except for the empty set Mem exists (as the empty set).

3. Comment

The argument focuses a definition of a supervening set of things of a non-singular kind. Besides that, it really only claims that if we define Mem as some set of existing things or the set without elements, Mem exists. That, though, is tautological. The argument, thus, can only be interesting if anything besides the empty set exists. That only the empty set would exist, however, is refuted by this very claim.

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On a Loophole in Causal Closure: Reply to Berber & Đorđević

On a Loophole in Causal Closure: Reply to Berber & Đorđević

Working copy

Johan Gamper

Abstract

In this Reply I explain why the “loophole view” of causal closure is independent of the reasons why the Principle of the causal closure of the physical was introduced.

Keywords

Philosophy of science; ontology; causal closure; basic assumptions

Berber & Đorđević (2022) hit hard on my “loophole view” of causal closure (2017). A major blow is that my redefinition of the principle of the causal closure of the physical goes against the very reason why the principle was introduced. That, though, is not a problem for the “loophole view”. Berber & Đorđević are not explicit about the reasons why the principle was introduced but it is no secret that the scientific revolution was built upon the assumption that the physical should be explained as causally closed. The causal closure of the physical was not introduced as a basic assumption, however, but as the principle or hypothesis we are talking about. Behind the principle we have the (ancient) basic assumption that everything consists of one kind of things. But why should one claim causal closure if everything consists of one kind of things? Well, because the basic assumption can be understood in two different ways. First, if everything consists of the same kind of things, we do not need causal closure as an add-on. Second, if everything consists of one kind of things some things may consist of a:s and some other things of b:s.

To secure the foundation of the scientific revolution one had to ensure the causal closure of the physical with a hypothesis or principle but the underlying basic assumption was (and is) that everything consists of one kind of things. This basic assumption may be right or wrong. To enable scientific research, however, each ontological domain must be seen as causally closed.

If we call an ontological domain of things consisting of one kind of things a homogeneous domain, an expansion of ontology would be to consider ontologically heterogeneous domains. The corresponding basic assumption would be that there may be things consisting of more than one kind of things. To enable scientific research we would have to introduce the principle of causal closure but we would have the option to redefine it so that the potential different homogeneous domains did not causally affect one another (directly) while heterogeneous domains would be open to causally interact with homogeneous domains. I hinted at one such eventuality in (2017). Spelled out the singularity behind the Big Bang would be a heterogeneous domain causing the physical universe. Since we know of mathematical singularities an option is that the platonic mathematical universe causes the singularity behind the Big Bang. The “loophole view” of causal closure, thus, has a function if and when we try out a new basic assumption for science and not before that.

References

Berber, A., Đorđević, S. On an Alleged Loophole in Causal Closure: A Reply to Gamper. Philosophia 50, 1–6 (2022).

Gamper, J. On a Loophole in Causal Closure. Philosophia 45, 631–636 (2017).

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Conference paper

Metaphysics uniting theology and science — back to the basics (as in back to the basic assumptions). Gamper (forthcoming)

Abstract

I have had the fortune to find a way to unite theology and science. It is and has been a bit overwhelming. My aim was to integrate science and hermeneutics but I ended up with a theory that integrates pretty much everything. In this paper I focus the fundamental principle that seems so simple that it could taken for a tautology but it is not. The principle, or, rather, the basic assumption, is that an ontologically homogeneous domain does not cause an ontologically homogeneous domain. By this device all ontologically homogeneous domains are causally closed in relation to other ontologically homogeneous domains. Ontologically heterogeneous domains, on the other hand, are permitted to cause and to be caused by ontologically homogeneous domains. The very first ontologically homogeneous domain, also, is permitted to be caused by an ontologically heterogeneous domain. Science, therefore, would concern inquiries into all ontologically homogeneous and heterogeneous domains except for the first ontologically heterogeneous domain. The first ontologically heterogeneous domain would be the field of interest for theology. Consecutive ontologically homogeneous domains could be the platonic mathematical universe, the physical universe and ourselves as subjects.

Universes and interfaces

Friends, it is time to reconcile science with theology. Science builds upon the basic assumption that the physical is causally unaffected by anything non-physical. That leaves science detached from theology. If we instead see the physical for what it is, an ontologically homogeneous domain, we can let science be based upon the basic assumption that an ontologically homogeneous domain does not cause an ontologically homogeneous domain. By that we let science leave the door open for ontologically heterogeneous domains. Heterogeneous domains consist of more than one ontological kind whereas homogeneous domains consist of only one ontological kind. We call ontologically homogeneous domains universes and ontologically heterogeneous domains interfaces. The physical, thus, is a universe. Based on the basic assumption that universes do not cause universes it is allowed that interfaces both can be caused by and cause universes. The physical universe, therefore, can be caused by an interface.

Vertical interfaces

If we let interfaces that cause universes be called vertical interfaces the very first universe would be caused by a vertical interface. As the first cause, therefore, God is a vertical interface, a realm with more than one ontological kind.

Horizontal interfaces

We can also look at the event that there are interfaces that do not cause universes. We call such interfaces horizontal interfaces. A specific kind of horizontal interfaces are horizontal interfaces that are caused by universes. This kind is of foremost interest for science. The combination of vertical and horizontal interfaces opens up for causal interactions between universes. The basic assumption that universes do not cause universes forbids direct causal interactions between universes but with help of vertical and horizontal interfaces there is room for indirect causal interactions. We have two immediate applications of this option. For science this is a door to a new scientific revolution.

Black holes and the original singularity

The platonic mathematical universe can be viewed as a homogeneous domain. If we take it that the mathematical universe can produce a mathematical singularity that turns into an interface that singularity can be viewed as the original singularity behind the Big Bang. That singularity, then, would be the cause of the physical universe, a vertical interface. In the next step we know that the physical universe can produce black holes as consequences of gravitational collapses, that is, singularities. We can assume that those singularities — the black hole singularities — are horizontal interfaces not causing any universes.

Consciousness and self-consciousness

We can now turn to biology and the rise of consciousness. A neglected part in the philosophy of mind is the distinction between consciousness and self-consciousness. If I see you I may be aware of it. The question is if I must be able to be aware of my seeing you to be able to see you? If that is the case only those with the capacity for self-consciousness can see or hear things. That is an option. The other option is that for instance cats can see me but that they do not have the capacity to know that they see me. In the latter case we can proceed to something substantial. In that case the very being able to see, or to be able to be conscious of something, is the first mystery, the first thing to account for in the philosophy of mind. I suspect that this very consciousness is the vertical interface causing the mind, or our subject. The next thing to account for is the subject being able to be conscious of its very consciousness— the self-consciousness. I suspect that the self-consciousness is a horizontal interface.

Extended interfaces

I will now close the circle. Say that there are yet more kinds of interfaces. One possibility is that the first cause is part of horizontal interfaces. A horizontal interface, then, without the first cause, would be a horizontal interface. A horizontal interface with the first cause, on the other side, would be an extended interface. Two options are that the first cause is part of black hole singularities and/or is part of our self-consciousness. With these options God also would be horizontal interfaces.

Reconciling science with theology

We can now reconcile science with theology if science can acknowledge that it concerns one or more ontological domain and if theology can be said to concern an existence that concerns more than one ontological domain. Via the concept of interfaces science can no longer claim the non-existence of God as the first cause. God as the first cause is an open question for science. With the introduction of the concept of a mathematical-physical ontologically heterogeneous domain, however, the burden of proof is now on the scientific side. If there is one interface there is an enormous push for God as the first cause. Science now has to prove that black hole singularities are not interfaces to secure the claim of physicalism. Another difficulty for science is the explanation of the mind-body relation. Without interfaces there is still no account for the relation. Traditional science, therefore, is inclined to explain the very mind away.

Gamper, Johan, Metaphysics uniting theology and science — back to the basics (as in back to the basic assumptions), in Metaphysics 2021. Proceedings of the Eight World Conference on Metaphysics 2021, 27-29 de octubre de 2021, FISER, FFR, UTPL

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Wigner on consciousness and physics

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00708653

Physics and the explanation of life

Foundations of Physics volume 1, pages 35–45 (1970)

Abstract

It is proposed to consider present-day physics as dealing with a special situation, the situation in which the phenomena of life and consciousness play no role. It is pointed out that physical theory has often dealt, in the past, with similarly special situations. Planetary theory neglects all but gravitational forces, macroscopic physics neglects fluctuations due to the atomic structure of matter, nuclear physics disregards weak and gravitational interactions. In some of these cases, physicists were well aware of dealing with special situations, or limiting cases as they are called in the article; in other cases, they were not. It is pointed out that, even if it were true that present-day physics accurately describes the motion of the physical constituents of living bodies, it would not give the whole story. Arguments are adduced, however, to show that the laws of physics, applicable for inanimate matter, will have to be modified when dealing with the more general situation in which life and consciousness play significant roles.