Hi Stephen P. King and Bruno,
The notion of primitiveness seems to me at least to be very similar to
Leibniz's notion of what is real.
Leibniz believed that that which can be further divided is not real, since it
always be divided once more, and he even seems to have believed that atoms
(or fundamental particles, in our day) are infinitely divisible. So according
Leibniz (and Berkeley), matter is not real. There's nothing "there" there.
According to L, only ideas of things that had no parts (at least at the scope
considered magnification, to my mind) and were complete wholes could thus be
considered real, and he called such things substances and crowned them
as monads. Thus the logical descriptions of things (such as "a man") is
real, but his corporeal body is not.
This may partly be to L's concept of a monad as being a living homunculus,
so that it would have to include at least the categories of mind, heart
Roger , rclo...@verizon.net
Leibniz would say, "If there's no God, we'd have to invent him so everything
----- Receiving the following content -----
From: Stephen P. King
Time: 2012-08-16, 18:57:27
Subject: Re: What is physical primitiveness
On 8/16/2012 1:13 PM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
On 16 Aug 2012, at 17:52, Roger wrote:
Hi Bruno Marchal
What is physical primitiveness ?
"primitiveness of X" means that we accept the existence, and some property of X
in the starting assumption we make for a theory.
Dear Roger and Bruno,
I must point out that this definition assumes the prior existence and
definiteness of the entities that are defining the theory itself. This makes
the theory contingent upon those priors in the sense that the theory should not
be assumed to have meaningful content in the absence of those priors.
Physicalist believes that physics can reach such objects, like with the notion
of atom, and then elementary particles, or strings, etc. With comp, this does
not exist. The whole of physics is a branch of digital machine's science, or
arithmetic (or computer science).
The beliefs of the physicalist are contingent upon and even supervene upon
the prior existence and definiteness of properties of the entities capable of
being labeled as physicalist (or some alternative). This is true for all
entities capable of having a meaningful notion of belief. It would be a
self-contradiction to propose a theory that disallows for the existence and
definiteness of the entity that proposed the theory. This error is known as
In arithmetic, we usually take as primitive the number zero, and accept axiom
like "0 ? s(x), for all x", with the intended meaning that 0 is not a successor
of any number. But note that the proofs will not rely on any intended meaning.
But arithmetic, as a theory, does not float free of the minds (and brains)
of those that understand it. The idea that arithmetic or any other abstract
object or relation cannot have meaningful content in the absence of a means for
it to be both believed to possibly be true (or false) and communicated about.
Otherwise it is at best a delusion in the mind of a single entity.
The idea that primary matter exists is very natural. I guess a cat believe that
milk is something of that sort. It has been explicitly postulated by Aristotle,
who is still vague if that primariness is really an axiom of something to
Aristotle simply was being consistent. He and many other philosophers do
not take their own existence and definiteness for granted. Just as
primitiveness is often a tacit or unstated axiom of a theory, its justification
is obvious: without the assumption of a object of a theory, there is no theory.
But the followers of Aristotle will tend to reify it, and that will lead to the
modern physicalism. But such physicalism is problematical once we bet that we
are digital machine. At least, that is what I am arguing.
Maybe you are arguing against the positivist and empiricists that would
claim no curiosity as to the ontological implications and content of the
theories that they use to make predictions.
"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
~ Francis Bacon
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