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Conference

God in Perspective. Hybrid conference. On demand. Stockholm, May 4-6, 2023

In a recent talk (at the Eight World Conference on Metaphysics, October 2021) the independent scholar Johan Gamper opened up a new perspective on the relation between God and nature. Traditionally God cannot intervene in relation to nature from the perspective of science. From the perspective of theology, also, God is not anything like the things science is occupied with.

In his talk Gamper gave an Socratic definition of “ordinary things”; they are ontologically homogeneous. This immediately opens up for “extraordinary things” to be ontologically heterogeneous. Relying on the principle that ontologically homogeneous domains do not cause ontologically homogeneous domains God defined as the cause of the first ontologically homogeneous domain conceptually can be integrated with science if God is an ontologically heterogeneous domain. In a speculative part of the talk Gamper suggested two variations of ontologically heterogeneous domains. He used those to give conceptual accounts of black hole singularities and self consciousness. Finally he showed accounts of God being part of those two ontologically heterogeneous domains.

We invite philosophers of theology to criticize, discuss and develop the ideas Gamper presented.

For a deeper understanding of Gamper’s proposal Gamper (2017, 2019) could be of value.

Venue

On Zoom and at Leap AB, Kungsgatan 8, Stockholm, Sweden

Categories
Conference

Biological Energy. Hybrid event. On demand. February 9-11, 2023

“A general definition of energy is that energy is tied to an object’s ability to do some work. So, biological energy would be the ability of a biological object to do some work. At closer inspection this can be further analyzed into two parts: the objects potential ability to do some work and the actual work being done by the object.

In physics we talk about an object’s potential energy and its kinetic energy. An object gains potential energy if it is positioned higher above the ground and it can use the energy to gain speed (kinetic energy). A steel ball that is moved in this way is intact and “has” and “loses” energy while remaining the same object. The opposite is true if we look at nuclear energy. When we extract nuclear energy the object losing energy does not remain the same. Obviously, therefore, there are two kinds of energy in regard to a system or an object. The one kind permits the object to gain and lose energy while being intact whereas the other kind of energy destroys the object carrying the energy if it is used.

Concerning biological objects this distinction is crucial but previously unnoticed in the literature. Traditional “biological “energy is mixed up with chemical energy. What we look for is a concept of biological energy that permits the object to do some work while remaining intact. It should therefore correspond to the concepts of potential and kinetic energy in physics. Since there is no concept of biological energy as such in the literature the first step towards such a concept is a leap into the unknown. From an abstract perspective, however, we can construe all biological activities as efforts of biological organisms to recover from load upon them. From here the next step is easy. We let biological energy be defined as the biological object’s ability to recover from load upon it.

The suggested definition of biological energy is that biological energy is the biological object’s ability to recover from load upon it. For practical reasons we will not say much about load as such. The basic assumption is that biological organisms constantly need to recover and they need to recover from the load that is put on them. One thing, however, must be sorted out immediately. We have discussed that ability to recover, or, energy, is related to load. We have also stated that the organism has an amount of energy, at any given moment, that it either uses or has to its disposal, or any mix of the two. The thing that has to be sorted out is the relation between load and energy.

As noted above the basic assumption is that biological organisms constantly need to recover and they need to recover from the load that is put on them. We can therefore postulate that load and need of recovery has a positive relation; the more load, the more need of recovery. We can now use the concept of need of recovery to link load to energy or ability to recover.

As need of recovery can be thought of as increasing with load up until a point where the organism simply collapses (dies), the organism’s level of kinetic energy will not increase in the same manner. An implicit basic assumption behind the energy-concept is that biological organisms allocate resources for recovery continuously. The organism allocates more resources for recovery purposes, if it can, the more it needs to, that is, the more load there is. At low levels of load, therefore, the kinetic energy is low whereas the potential energy is high. At intermediate levels of load the kinetic energy also is intermediate. At the same time the level of potential energy is intermediate.

The hypothesis is that need of recovery has a positive relation with load. At low and moderate levels of load the level of kinetic energy matches what is needed for recovery. When load exceeds what is possible to recover from right away the level of kinetic energy decreases.” (Revised excerpt from Gamper, 2021.)

Reference

Gamper, J (2021). Biological Energy and the Experiencing Subject. Axiomathes 31, 497–506.

Venue

On Zoom and at Leap AB, Kungsgatan 8, Stockholm, Sweden

Categories
Conference

Self Consciousness. Hybrid conference, November 10-12, 2022. On demand.

Categories
Conference Hybrid

Causal Objects. Hybrid event. On demand. Mars 9-11, 2023.

Venue

Leap AB, Kungsgatan 8, Stockholm, Sweden and on Zoom.

Interstellar variations: Plan B

Michael Cain’s character Professor John Brand in the movie Interstellar has a Plan A for the survival of mankind. If that doesn’t work he has a backup Plan B. Plan A is the wanted one whereas Plan B saves some astronauts and a lot of fertilized eggs.

Today we have a scientific culture that functions as our Plan A. That culture states that everything in one way or the other is physical. A recent shift in our language is the move from “my thoughts are in my mind” to “my thoughts are in my brain”. If we have thoughts and everything in the end is physical it is natural to think that one’s thoughts are in one’s brain.

In preparation for the defense of my master thesis (Gamper 2019) I played with an application of it and found that it provided an ontologically neutral view of the scientific object. I had introduced the concept of causal objects and it applied for any kind of object (with a causal background). In my preparation I saw that separate ontological fields could be joined by something I called interfaces (2017). Accordingly, everything in the end may not be physical. I thought this eventuality was interesting.

Plan B is to investigate this possibility and see where it may lead. One thing is established, though, and that is that the mind can be a substance of its own. Provided that there can be interfaces between ontological domains.

Variation 1

Descartes’ extended objects are not just extended. They are, just like all other ordinary objects, also continuous objects. Take a football for instance. It rolls over the football field when you kick it. It rolls and is itself as it rolls. Just like people going about doing their things being themselves as they go about. Any causes affecting such a continuous object affect the continuous object.

When we look at quantum sized objects we have the same basic understanding of them. They move about as continuous objects and are extended. The traditional dualistic view of the mind, however, is that the mind is something totally different. For one thing, it has no physical extension. And, of course, this disqualifies it from the list of possible objects.

When we move with plan A, therefore, we think that all things are continuous and that they belong to a specific set of dimensions, the physical dimensions. In a variation of this theme we must change something. We have three things to look at: the dimensionality, the continuity, and the extension of the object.

We can start with the extension of the object. Physical objects have extension. They have physical extension. If we in a variation assume non-physical objects to be without extension we are back in the Princess Elisabeth-Descartes dilemma. So let us say that all objects have extension. Given this, that all objects have extension, we can add the assumption that all objects are in some set of dimensions. They have some sort of dimensionality.

Now we have continuity left to consider. Without attacking footballs or creatures moving about let us just take a deep breath and pause with continuity for a while.

In my preparation to defend my master thesis I saw that separate ontological fields could be joined by interfaces – provided that all objects were causal objects. Essentially this is the variation since causal objects are discrete objects.

References

Gamper, J. Blocking the Vagueness Block – A New Restricted Answer to the Special Composition Question. Philosophia 47, 425–428 (2019). Full text via ResearchGate.

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

© 2022 Johan Gamper