CURRENT READING – THE BIG PICTURE (fourth continuation)
Philosophical Guidance
by Greg Ciliberti
2d ago
Having now dealt with the conceptual framework of poetic naturalism, epistemology, coherentism, and the question of God’s existence, Carroll moves on to the nature of reality in Part 3 which he titles Essence. I will try to move more quickly as to some extent he presents the picture of reality from the standpoint of physics which I already discussed on this site. 9 He explains in some detail the development of the Core Theory and proposes it as well established and unlikely to ever by controverted. First he asserts that the world is simply a wave function… “full stop” to use his words. There i ..read more
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CURRENT READING – THE BIG PICTURE (third continuation)
Philosophical Guidance
by Greg Ciliberti
2d ago
After his extensive discussion of the scientific view of coherentism and non-absolute truth, Carroll takes on the question of God. He begins by noting the variable understanding of the word God by different theists and religious traditions making any empirical analysis difficult at best. He then concedes that theism and atheism are about equally likely from the standpoint of mere logic as the existence of God is “explanatory” while the non-existence of God is “simpler.” To address the question he asks us to imagine how changes to reality would support or discount each theory, in effect, applyi ..read more
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CURRENT READING – THE BIG PICTURE – (second continuation)
Philosophical Guidance
by Greg Ciliberti
1w ago
Carroll continues with some interesting observations on the cosmos. The Big Bang does not mark the beginning of our universe, instead it marks the end of our theoretical understanding. It is a moment in time rather than an explosion of matter into an empty pre-existent void, that is, “the moment prior to which there were no moments: no space, not time.”5  Likewise changes in the universe are not teleological – directed to some future goal, but ekinological – points of departure. Time as we experience it moving forward but never backwards is due to the unwavering increase in entropy known ..read more
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CURRENT READING – THE BIG PICTURE (continued)
Philosophical Guidance
by Greg Ciliberti
2w ago
I continue now with my analysis of Sean Carroll’s book, The Big Picture. He begins with his fundamental conceptual framework of reality – poetic naturalism. In this construction, naturalism refers to the view that the only world is the natural one, consistently governed by the ‘laws of nature’ which can only be characterized by scientific methods and empirical investigation. In this worldview, there is nothing supernatural, spiritual, or divine; no cosmic teleology; and no transcendental purpose. Naturalism is typically conjoined with humanism and atheism.1 The problem with naturalism is that ..read more
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ULTIMATE REALITY AND THE MEANINGFUL LIFE – THE SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE
Philosophical Guidance
by Greg Ciliberti
3w ago
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of Nature. And it is because in the last analysis we ourselves are part of the mystery we are trying to solve.” – Max Planck. After twenty-six blogs we are now ready to summarize the scientific perspective on ultimate reality. It seems to me this comes down to the intersection of the very small – that is what makes up the substances of the universe – and the incomprehensibly large – that is the entirety of its substances. At the composition end we find two modes: (1) structural – including the theoretical strings of energy in multiple dimensions, elem ..read more
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ULTIMATE REALITY AND THE MEANINGFUL LIFE – PANPSYCHISM (final continuation)
Philosophical Guidance
by Greg Ciliberti
1M ago
The second type of argument for panpsychism is analogical. Here the proponent starts by suggesting that plants are too close to animals to deny them a psyche – consider they both need nutrition and water and share vital processes such as growth and reproduction. Even movement applies to plants: the opening and closing of a flower and the turning of a branch toward the sun. If there is correspondence of visible processes, there may be correspondence of invisible processes. By comparison a plant is little different than a hydra, and the hydra little different from other invertebrates, and so for ..read more
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ULTIMATE REALITY AND THE MEANINGFUL LIFE – PANPSYCHISM (continued)
Philosophical Guidance
by Greg Ciliberti
1M ago
We ended last time with the theory of panpsychism formulated as monadology and now must examine what justification exists for its assertion. Allow me to start with this extended quote by the German physicist, philosopher, and experimental psychologist, Gustav Fechner (1801-1887): “I stood once on a hot summer’s day beside a pool and contemplated a water-lily which had spread its leaves evenly over the water and with an open blossom basking in the sunlight. How exceptionally fortunate, thought I, must this lily be which above basks in the sunlight and below is plunged in the water – if only it ..read more
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ULTIMATE REALITY AND THE MEANINGFUL LIFE – COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS (continued)
Philosophical Guidance
by Greg Ciliberti
1M ago
We ended last time with a mess on our hands related to reality, as seen through the lens of quantum physics, possibly being dependent on an unlimited sequence of observers. This paradox is best solved by asserting either (1) that any conscious being can collapse the wave function point blank, in which case the universe prior to creature consciousness remains unexplained or (2) there is an ‘Ultimate Observer’ who collapses the wave functions of all serial conscious observers at some future ‘Final Observation.’ For me it seems the first of these two options is more credible and returns us to the ..read more
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ULTIMATE REALITY AND THE MEANINGFUL LIFE – COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS (continued)
Philosophical Guidance
by Greg Ciliberti
1M ago
So how does the astrophysicist think about consciousness and its implications at the cosmic level. We begin with Michio Kaku who proposes a theory he calls “the space-time theory of consciousness’ which he asserts is “testable, reproducible, falsifiable, and quantifiable.”5 Kaku claims that consciousness is “the process of creating a model of yourself using multiple feedback loops – for example in space, in society, or time – in order to carry out a goal.”6 In that case animals, plants, and machines can be conscious; starting say with a photocell (measuring temperature or light) with a single ..read more
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ULTIMATE REALITY AND THE MEANINGFUL LIFE – COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS
Philosophical Guidance
by Greg Ciliberti
1M ago
“The ultimate stuff of the universe is mind stuff.” – Sir Arthur Eddington.           We have now analyzed five interpretations of the universe as ultimate reality involving (1) unity, order, and uniqueness, (2) instantiation in particulars such as light waves, atoms, and events, (3) constitution of space-time, mass-energy, and natural logic, (4) comprehensiveness in rationality, size, components, and autonomy and (5) participation in an evolving multiverse. There remains one last ultimate designation for our consideration, perhaps the most speculative of all – conscio ..read more
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