On 7/11/2012 4:10 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 10 Jul 2012, at 23:33, Stephen P. King wrote:

Hi John,

What I have been doing is exploring the soft underbelly of physics, those sets of "truths" that are just assumed to be true. For example, I have become convinced that a lot of the difficulties in physics are due to its assumption that "substance" is primitive. There is even an entire article in the online Stanford encyclopedia <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/substance/> on the notion of substance and therein is laid out the problems for all to see, never-the-less science staggers on, assuming that "stuff" is the explanation to every phenomena. The Higgs boson is, IMHO, yet another example of the "stuff" mentality. The alternative is to consider that "process" is primitive; that all forms of "stuff" are, ultimately, the result of some underlying process; there is no such thing as primitive stuff! You can see how this kinda dovetails with Bruno's anti-materialism and yet he seems to just fall over into "immaterial" stuff. :_(


Hi Bruno,

Where, you ask? In the postulation of numbers as ontological primitives! You have merely replaced the Atoms of the materialists with the Numbers of neo-Platonists. :_( Have you read any of the debate against the idealism of Berkeley? From http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/berkeley/#3.1.1 we find:

"The basics of Berkeley's metaphysics are apparent from the first section of the main body of the/Principles/:

   It is evident to any one who takes a survey of the objects of human
   knowledge, that they are either ideas actually imprinted on the
   senses, or else such as are perceived by attending to the passions
   and operations of the mind, or lastly ideas formed by help of memory
   and imagination, either compounding, dividing, or barely
   representing those originally perceived in the aforesaid ways. By
   sight I have the ideas of light and colours with their several
   degrees and variations. By touch I perceive, for example, hard and
   soft, heat and cold, motion and resistance, and of all these more
   and less either as to quantity or degree. Smelling furnishes me with
   odours; the palate with tastes, and hearing conveys sounds to the
   mind in all their variety of tone and composition. And as several of
   these are observed to accompany each other, they come to be marked
   by one name, and so to be reputed as one thing. Thus, for example, a
   certain colour, taste, smell, figure and consistence having been
   observed to go together, are accounted one distinct thing, signified
   by the name apple. Other collections of ideas constitute a stone, a
   tree, a book, and the like sensible things; which, as they are
   pleasing or disagreeable, excite the passions of love, hatred, joy,
   grief, and so forth.

As this passage illustrates, Berkeley does not deny the existence of ordinary objects such as stones, trees, books, and apples. On the contrary, as was indicated above, he holds that only an immaterialist account of such objects can avoid skepticism about their existence and nature. What such objects turn out to be, on his account, are bundles or collections of ideas. An apple is a combination of visual ideas (including the sensible qualities of color and visual shape), tangible ideas, ideas of taste, smell, etc.^[<http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/berkeley/notes.html#12> The question of what does the combining is a philosophically interesting one which Berkeley does not address in detail. He does make clear that there are two sides to the process of bundling ideas into objects: (1) co-occurrence, an objective fact about what sorts of ideas tend to accompany each other in our experience, and (2) something we do when we decide to single out a set of co-occurring ideas and refer to it with a certain name (NTV 109).

Thus, although there is no material world for Berkeley, there is a physical world, a world of ordinary objects. This world is mind-dependent, for it is composed of ideas, whose existence consists in being perceived. For ideas, and so for the physical world,/esse est percipi/."

end cut/paste

In your work you seem to posit that numbers have minds (thus they can dream) and that their ideas are passive and yet can reproduce all phenomena that would be explained as being the result of physical acts in materialism. You argue that this reduces all phenomena to passive hypostatization, but I argue that this is a fallacy of misplaced concreteness as per the *fallacy of misplaced concreteness* <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reification_%28fallacy%29>, since you have severed all ties to physical implementation. Please understand that it seems that the only place where there is disagreement between you and I is on the postulation of primacy. I am arguing that neither matter (atoms) nor ideas (numbers) can be taken as primitives as they are devoid of causal efficacy.


With process we can get some interesting hints of answers to many of these questions that vex us so such as the nature of time and even consciousness. Logic is recast in terms of interactive game theory (ala Jaakko Hintikka) <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-games/> and physics becomes a question of how spaces evolve relative to each other (this is already been understood every since Lagrange and Hamilton).

It all really boils down to "belief systems" as you wisely point out. :-)

On 7/10/2012 4:28 PM, John Mikes wrote:
Stephen, a 'belief system' may be reassuring.
I spent a lifetime in active R&D exercising conventional science, till I lost by belief in many figments of it. It came gradually like one's losing a religious faith: trying to THINK 'outside the box' and getting nowhere. (First reflection: I am poorly informed and my conclusions are inaccurate). Then the extension of our worldview into items still unknown, as exemplified by the gradual enrichment in our epistemic inventory over the millennia. We are NOT at the perfection's end...Some more yet has got to come and I braced myself for surprises. I cannot recall when and where, but allegedly prof. Higgs repealed his work at his old age - how sorry it would be if true. The observations upon which science is based supply only explained information, accurate and complete to the level of the 'era'. Then explanations are applied based on assumptions, presumptions, nth level consequences of such and sometimes recalled/changed. Bruno's and my agnosticism are based on some basic 'faith' to start from: his from numerals, arithmetic (I think) mine from a never learnable infinite complexity of which we only know a portion. Everybody has a personal choice whether to include the Higgs boson in his/her personal worldview. And there are many others...
John M

On Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 2:38 PM, Stephen P. King <stephe...@charter.net <mailto:stephe...@charter.net>> wrote:

    Say that it is not so!




"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
~ Francis Bacon

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to