Newton Wrote in Latin, ergo Gravity is Unreal?

I see Dr. Andreassen has once again deigned to haunt my website. Sad experience has taught me that he has indeed, like the villains at the end of THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH, been reduced to the meat robot he says all men are. If you prove a point in debate with him, his brain mechanism conveniently erases it from his hard drive, so that the next time he speaks, he has been reset to the factory default, and one must raise the same point again.

Hence, I have no intention of responding to anything Dr. Andreassen says. It took me three years to realize that any words spent on him are wasted.

If any reader understands his argument, and wants to reword it, and pose it to me as a question, I will answer it. Otherwise I will not.

I will not take my time to respond to someone who refers to the statement that chess notation contains all the essential elements of a chessgame as ‘an outrageous lie.’

This is akin to saying that the statement that Newton’s Third Law of Gravity contains all the essential elements of solving two body problems is ‘an outrageous lie’ on the grounds that you don’t speak Latin and cannot grasp Newton’s PRINCIPIA.

However, for those not versed in the technical language of philosophy, the best way to explain the paradox of how mind and body can both exist, and be interrelated, without mind being made of body stuff or bodies being made of mind stuff, is by an analogy. In deference to the ghost of the human being Dr. Andreassen once was before the macrobes turned him into a meat robot, allow me to use Shakespeare, once again, in the analogy.

The relationship of God’s wisdom to human freewill is analogous to that of Shakespeare to Hamlet, or any author to his creations. Hamlet, from his own point of view, clearly is pondering a decision, for the whole driver of the plot is his indecisiveness in the face of a need to avenge his dead father. From his own point of view, he has free will and his story would not be a story without it. It is a story about a man wrestling with his free will.

However, from Shakespeare’s point of view, Hamlet’s fate is known. Shakespeare has it in mind before ever he take pen to paper.

Another analogy: a Historian ponders the moment when Washington decides to make a daring raid across the icy Potomac. From the Historian’s point of view, the event is history, hence fixed, settled, unchangeable. From Washington’s point of view, he, Washington, is the one who fixes that historical event into place. Washington sees the time line where he never crossed the Potomac as a closed door, but one he could have opened. The Historian (assuming he is not a politically correct historian who changes the past once a decade) sees it as a painted door on the backdrop of a stageplay set, something that never could have been opened at all. Since the argument is about doors that are never opened, and events that could have been but never have been, no examination of events, of physics, of real history can answer the question. It is a philosophical question, a question of metaphysics.

Now, which man is right, Shakespeare or Hamlet? Washington or the Historian? I propose that they are both right, in part, because they are both looking at the situation in a different aspect.

The paradox involved is one that exists in speech only, because, normally, when we speak, we make no distinction between symbol and object.

Reality itself is beyond the grasp of any depiction or description because the act of describing something, anything, is an act of abstraction, that is, a mental act of decided what is essential and what is accidental, and leaving out the accidental material to concentrate on the essential.

When a lawyer describes something, he leaves out the physics except in the case where ballistic evidence, or something of the sort, has a bearing on the events of the case. This does not mean the physical reality does not exist: it merely means the jury need not consider it.

If a lawyer were to ask whether Hamlet were responsible for the death of Polonius, the facts given in the play are sufficient for a conclusion, even though the Shakespeare gives neither the length of the blade used by Hamlet to strike through the arras, nor the mass nor the footpounds of pressure produced, nor even where the strike fell.

(Where the case tried under Anglo-American Common Law, the fact that Hamlet was mistaken in the identity of the man at whom he struck does not clear Hamlet of murder in the first degree. The malice aforethought is present, even in a case of mistaken identity. Danish law may differ).

When a physicist describes something, he leaves aside all talk of the intent or final cause of the inanimate objects involved. He likewise leaves out any statement that cannot be disproved by observation, that is, he leaves out all universal abstractions and unconditional statements.

This is by design.

The honest physicist never says, “It is a fact that the sun will rise tomorrow.” He says “Barring the interposition of an object that changes the rotation of the earth, it is a theory (strongly attested by many repetitions of the observation) that the sun will rise tomorrow.”

This is also by design. By leaving out metaphysical and philosophical matters, the physicist restricts his official statements only to what can be confirmed (or, at least, not disproved) through observation. Hence, if any man doubt him, the skeptic need only perform the experiment himself and make the observation. Nothing is taken on faith; nothing is taken for granted.

Hence, not physicist can make an official statement that confirms or denies any metaphysical proposition. All metaphysical propositions are universal. The statement “All life is an illusion” is a statement of metaphysics central to Buddhism. “All creation is God’s handiwork” is a statement of metaphysics from Christianity.

“All reality is either mental or physical in substance” is a statement of Cartesian dualism. “All reality if mental substance” is the belief of the idealism of Berkley. “All reality is material substance.” is the metaphysical statement of panphysicalism.

But if all reality were material, then all true statements would be statements of physics, and not statements of metaphysics, including this one: which is absurd.

If panphysicalism were true, physics could describe everything in the universe, in which case it would not need to exclude anything. Not only every science would be a branch of physics, so would all thought. Since it does indeed need to exclude certain real things by design, in order to be physics, therefore panphysicalism is not true.

If panphysicalism were true the symbol-to-object relation would be a physical and not a mental relation.

 

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