KARL JASPERS FORUM

TA106 (Müller)

 

Commentary 41 (to C37 by Chumakin and R14 by Müller)

 

 

META-THEORY vs. ONTOLOGY AND METAPHYSICS

by Serge Patlavskiy

19 August 2009, posted 22 August 2009

 

 

<1>

[Michael Chumakin] wrote:

"<1> The reason to write this article is Dr. H. Muller's response to R. Dawkins' The God Delusion.  The central topic of the book is arguments against God's existence.  I do not want to touch upon that topic.  The reason why I do not want to do it here is that the topic of God does not belong to science; and my intention is to be as scientific as I possibly can."

[Herbert Muller] wrote:

"<1>Michael Chumakin defends the traditional metaphysical (ontological, materialist) point of view in science, mainly against constructivism."

 

<2>

[S.P.] The Ukrainian word "bo(h)" is for English words "God" and "because" simultaneously, and there is no wonder why. Our forebears tried to explain the world they lived in. The assertions they formulated were as follows: "The snow melts in the pot because the pot is put on the fire", "There is a flood because it was raining heavily all the night long", and so on. But there were also the assertions which had nothing being put after the word "because": "There is a lightning in the sky because ...", "The spring comes after the winter because ...", and many similar assertions. In other words, our forebears did not know what to put after the word "because" -- they had no explanations to many phenomena. With the time, the word "because" ("bo") has hypostasized (has acquired concrete existence) and transformed into "God" ("Bo(h)") with a meaning to be the unexplainable ultimate cause of all events and phenomena.  It should go without saying that the question of what is the cause of phenomena must belong to science by default. We just should stop treating "God" as an old man with a long grey beard.

 

<3>

[Michael Chumakin] wrote:

"<6> Ontologically science poses this: there is dead Nature out there that exists objectively, independently of people. There are certain laws that govern Nature. The Scientist discovers those laws by observing Nature, forwarding models of the processes in focus, confirming one's models (hypothesis) via experiments. All the reasoning during the process is done using logics."

[Herbert Muller] wrote:

"<5>A question which is not addressed in these efforts is: if reality is in fact mind-independent, how can anyone think and write about it ?  Either you know about it, and then it is not mind-independent; or you don't know about it, and then you cannot think about it."

 

<4>

[S.P.] Science is, first of all, some intellectual product constructed by the subject of cognitive activity (whether human, alien, or any other living creature). There is a scientific theory which takes the intellectual products as its object of study (see [1]). The theory presumes that the all possible intellectual products may be sorted out into the following four levels:

 

<5>

1) the level of description (the D-level);

2) the level of generalization and systematization (the GS-level);

3) the level of an applied theory (the AT-level); and

4) the level of a meta-theory (the MT-level).

 

<6>

The D-level includes phenomenology, or unconditioned descriptions of the phenomena; also it includes the data received from established experiments with strict conditions formulated, and the like.  The GS-level presumes sorting out the data and formulating the hypotheses.  The AT-level includes the assertions which have sufficient predictive power; also, it includes explanatory frameworks, scientific disciplines and directions. The MT-level includes the assertions about the fundamental features of our Reality; also, it includes scientific doctrines, fundamental laws and methods, belief systems, and the like.

 

<7>

For every level of intellectual product, there are correspondent both universal aim and criteria of approach formulated (see [1], Table 4).  So, Science, being regarded as an intellectual product of a certain level constructed in obeyance with the criteria of scientific approach, and the principles of scientific correctness, can well be addressed scientifically itself.

 

<8>

The proposed classification of intellectual products makes unnecessary such concepts as "ontology" and "metaphysics".  The assertions cited from Chumakin's commentary are nothing but the meta-theoretical assertions that belong to the meta-theory called "The Modern Physical Materialistic Picture of the World". But, there are other meta-theories.  For example, I suggest a meta-theory which grounds on the assertion that information (or consciousness as an ability of dealing with information) is one of three equally important fundamental factors (together with matter and energy) which influences the existence and development of our Reality.

 

<9>

What does the formulated assertion mean ?  First of all, it means that for anything to exist, it must be describable simultaneously by informational, material and energetic characteristics. So, in the general case, we should not ignore the informational aspect (or the informational characteristic) of the investigating phenomenon. But, in case the informational aspect may be ignored (we regard only material and energetic characteristics), we may use the research strategy currently adopted in Physics. For example, when we study the phenomenon of Brownian motion we may safely ignore its informational aspect and may apply the standard physical and statistical methods of study. However, when we study the phenomenon of ball lightning, we cannot ignore its informational aspect (this phenomenon clearly shows the self-organizing features and anomalous behaviour), and we have to apply a method of study which is designed to formalize the information-sensitive phenomena (I case of my meta-theory, it would be a method of the integrated information system; see [2]).

 

<10>

I presume that the current physical theory (or, better say, the meta-theory called the "Modern Physical Materialistic Picture of the World") has to be seen as a partial case of the meta-theory which treats consciousness as a fundamental factor of our Reality. Now then, the suggested "engulfment of existing meta-theory by more adequate meta-theory" may be treated as an alternative to Chumakin's "<15>Peaceful co-existence of ontologies".

 

<11>

Now, let us regard the meta-theoretical assertion that "there is dead Nature out there that exists objectively, independently of people".  The meta-theory, I elaborate, presumes that there are two realities: Noumenal Reality and Phenomenal Reality (but not only one reality, as constructivism holds). The first one is cognitively independent (or, mind-independent) and, thereby, existent objectively. The second one is given in perception to the subject of cognitive activity, and, thereby, is subjective. The task of Science is to make Phenomenal Reality as closely approaching Noumenal Reality as possible. We should not also forget that apart from pure academic investigations, Science has also a great deal of the practice-oriented investigations. So, we may not know what the ultimate nature of gravitation is, but all the same, we conduct space exploration by launching the rockets into space.

 

<12>

The only thing I cannot agree with is that the materialistic meta-theory talks about the "dead Nature". As I have mentioned above, according to a meta-theory that I elaborate, for anything to exist, it must be describable simultaneously by informational, material and energetic characteristics. So, for Nature to exist, it must be describable as by material and energetic characteristics, so by informational characteristic. Both the system{stone} and the system{living object} are information-sensitive -- their informational characteristics are equally changeable.  In other words, I suggest the doctrine of pan-informationism instead of panpsychism. And this makes me possible to come to the explanation of the effect of self-organization and later to consciousness as an ability of making a life-sustaining profit on dealing with information.

 

<13>

Now then, my approach consists not in eliminating the doctrine of materialism, but in suggesting a more adequate meta-theory.

 

<14>

[Michael Chumakin] wrote:

"<7> Later on constructivists added The Observer into that ontology.  Which changes that ontology a lot. At this point though, it is important for me to state that regular, classical, TRUE science does not have any human observer within its basics. ... This is where the borderline lies: matter is matter and it comes first. If there is any kind of soul it has to be made out of some kind of matter."

[Herbert Muller] wrote:

"<2> The difficulty with traditional materialism is that it does not work for some important scientific questions."

 

<15>

[S.P.] Well, let us talk about "TRUE science". Let us first agree that we cannot explain everything worth to be explained yet. Then, if we wish to explain everything, the part of Science which makes use of the methods of Physics and the already established laws of Physics has to be augmented by the part of Science which makes use of some other method(s) and some other natural law(s). In my case I talk about the part of Science which makes use of the method of the integrated information system and the law of development of any such a system (see [2]). This part of Science presumes there to be a "subject of cognitive activity" and the "cognitive frame of reference". The Physics-based part of Science presumes there to be an "observer" and the "physical frame of reference".

 

<16>

The term "human observer" is not correct.  The case is that there is a distinction in kind between the "subject of cognitive activity" and "observer".  The first one conducts the process of cognition, while the second one just records the events, and, in principle, can be replaced by some artificial registering device.  So, being composed of two parts, the "TRUE science" (to wit, that one which aims to address all "important scientific questions") must have as the "subject of cognitive activity" so the "observer" in its basis. (To be more specific, the "subject of cognitive activity" and "cognitive frame of reference" are the elements of dissociational model used to formalize the whole, or integrated systems; the "observer" and "physical frame of reference" are the elements of decompositional model used to formalize the phenomena whose informational characteristic may be ignored; the "TRUE science" must incorporate the all kinds of models; see [2] for the First Basic idea of Nonstatanalysis).

 

<17>

As to the assertions that "matter is matter and it comes first", and that "soul ... has to be made out of some kind of matter", I can say that they contradict the above formulated assertion that information, matter and energy are equally important factors, from which follows that there was no moment in the history of our Reality when matter and energy existed, but information didn't.

 

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Ref.

[1] http://www.serge-patlavskiy.webs.com/ADC-theory.html

[2] http://cogprints.org/4633/

 

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Serge Patlavskiy

     e-mail <prodigyPSF (at) rambler.ru>