Saturday, April 29, 2017

In struggles we can very well come together and aid each other

Hegel's philosophy is hardly obscure. The vast literature on Hegel that exists and continues to rapidly expand, especially in recent times, speaks to the richness and relevance of his thought to current issues in philosophy and science. I admit Hegel is subtle but is certainly obscure to those who follow the predominant mode of analytical thinking that characterizes modern science and philosophy.  Hegel calls such thinking abstract understanding. There are, however, more rational and concrete ways of thinking, and to follow Hegel's thought means to learn that.

Dr. Rappaport claims that a cut or boundary is a sign which is identical to the observer or person for whom the sign has a significance. This appears to be true for him on the basis of his KB logic. I counter his argument by stating that if this is true on the basis of his logic then it destroys the meaning of sign and its interpreter, implying therefore his logic is defective.

Later in his email he mentions singularity as an example of a sign that is an identity. Supposedly he means that it therefore includes within it the person or observer who refers to that sign as a singularity. In my reply I may have misunderstood this and thought he was developing a process out of the singularity into the following items he lists [see his original email below]. I am awaiting his reply on that issue.

Regarding Peirce's quote, I agree with you that he was not questioning the existence of a sign as an object, but claiming that a sign can be considered to be such for an interpreter only. Signs exist only for persons for whom they have a significance. It is generally acknowledged that Saussure further clarifies this. Whether or not objects exist in general without a subjective observer is another question. To assume that to be the case is based on a rational conception of permanence that cannot be based on pure empirical experience or consciousness, since it makes a claim about the possibility of existence without being observed or in consciousness. 

The arguments put forth on this list regarding the fundamentality of consciousness represent a misconception as they are based on reflective understanding rather than reason. Hopefully they may come to consider and understand the arguments against that view as presented in my email and article that explains Self and Reason as being beyond consciousness [see Beyond the Modern Monolith of Consciousness]

Thank you for your interest and inquiry.
B Madhava Puri, Ph. D.
Apr 28, 2017
BHAKTI VEDANTA INSTITUTE – of Spiritual Culture & Science

priyedarshi jetli Apr 29, 2017
Fair enough. I have not followed the discussion so your comments in that context are something I should not comment upon. 

As for Hegel, it is not that I am ignorant of Hegel. I took a course on Hegel and was totally taken up by his Phenomenology of the Spirit. But when I tried to read it again, years later, I find it obscure. As a student of philosophy I am not so interested in popularity of philosophers but on trying to understand the primary works of the philosophers. This is what I do with Plato as well. 

What you keep calling logic, is really some type of ontology and not logic with my understanding of what 'logic' is. Logic is mainly about inferences. It does not have much to do with duality as we have multivalued and fuzzy logics as well. But what remains common and what Hegel uses is inferences. 

You say "Hegel calls such thinking abstract understanding." By such thinking you mean analytic philosophy and science. Do you mean to say that Hegel is concerned with concrete reality. To me there could be nothing more abstract than Hegel's absolute. Is he nominalist as opposed to realism in philosophy and science which accepts the existence of universals like the number two? The only thing I understand in Hegel is the thesis-antithesis-synthesis account which he took from Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Othewise he and other German Idealists distorted Kant and took him in a direction he would never have turned.


Dr Shilpi Saxena Apr 29, 2017
Respected Priyedarshi Ji

Your email content is reflecting two gross ways for understanding, one is mainly for Objective approach and other is Subjective.

From a purely professional level Science would not progress if it will not approached with specialization. But we need objective approach only for our livelihood but after achieving our professional positions like Professor and Scientist we also need wholistic approach and this approach is not exclusive. What way we can do real good to our true being is also a part of real scientific study. Analytical (Objective) study and theoretical (Subjective) study both should go together then only we could understand the whole reality.

How science can be wholistic if it excludes the study of Scientist (soul) and souls of all souls (Supreme God)? And as far as I know this is also the main purpose of ‘Science and Scientist-2017’ Conference:

We as finite being cannot understand and represent the Whole that accommodate everything in it. Only Absolute can Harmonize everything. Therefore, we have to change our concept from self-centered exploitation to the God-centered dedication. One process is to find the root and next process to water the root (Srimad Bhagavad-Gita 5.4).

I am planning to submit a paper for this conference and would like to present the same if accepted. Hope that you and other list members of this group can also join this event and we can have some fruitful dialogue at Kathmandu during the conference.

With regards
Dr Shilpi Saxena, MRSC, Ph.D, FICCE 

Edwards, Jonathan Apr 29, 2017
Dear Whit,
I think the idea that laws have to exist before the Big Bang is a category mistake. It is a confusion of cause with reason (Leibniz’s term for law). Causes occur in space and time but reasons do not. They are the necessities or probabilities of causes occurring when they do. There would be no meaning to a reason ‘existing before’ the Big Bang. Positing reasons bears no relation to positing an agent God. Looking for an external source of reasons inevitably leads to infinite regress.

I am also doubtful about a universe existing but being unknown being a ‘meaningless' concept. One has to remember that ‘meaning’ and ‘knowledge of’ are very complex relations that involve a co-variance between certain patterns of signs generated within a complex system like a brain and ‘referent’ dynamic patterns in a distal environment. Prior to the emergence of life there would be no knowledge or meaning but that is not to say that there would not be experience or what Leibniz calls perception and what one might include in the most general definition of consciousness. I agree that where there is no perception there is no meaningful existence. But knowledge is a very subtle and probably self-contradictory concept in certain respects.

I agree that there is an anthropic argument that we must live in a universe that allows the emergence of ‘knowledge' because we ‘know’ (however shaky that concept may be) about it. But a long time back nothing did know about the universe that we still enjoy.


Dear Jonathan,

OK let us not use the word 'reductionism", if you don't like it. But is the journey of Physics from the macro level to molecular, atomic, nucleus, protons, neutrons, quarks, electronic one and in different flavors does not amount to a long sequence of understanding the smaller to smaller level mechanism, from one level to still a lower deeper level. And who knows that quarks and electrons are an end itself? Similarly, understanding the forces of nature from macro-Newtonian one to intermolecular, inter -atomic, internuclear and electronic, gluonic intranuclear one is another example in Physics for understanding the working of nature from one level down the other level.The hypothesis of dark energy and dark matter to account for the motion of galaxies and clusters is another example of going from one level of mechanism to another mechanism. If in future, some empirical evidence pours in for the existence of dark matter/dark energy, further questions may arise for the genesis of dark energy /matter. No doubt, this may lead to an infinite or very long regress but how we are sure that nature is limited to the extent we know up to the date or nature is not infinite or comprises a long chain of layered structure?

To state that there is epistemic evidence that beyond quantum level there are no mechanisms amounts to a recognition that quantum reality is the end of ontology and reality in itself. Only about a hundred years ago, quantum level stopped till atoms. Nothing was known about electrons, protons, neutrons and quarks.Even within 100 years,  string theories in Planckian and sub-Planckian regime have come out. This is another issue that as on date there is no way out to verify such theories either due to limitations of technology or these theories itself could be wrong. So to work an assumption that quantum level is the end in itself appears to me to as trivialization of the whole issue.

Then there is no evidence that reality of nature as found thru Physics is an end to itself nevertheless the fact that Physics is an excellent tool to understand the reality up to the ends discovered by it, in quite cogent intellectual terms as well as it provides empirical evidence for the same. However, while emphasizing the importance of Physics in terms of providing framework for intellectual understanding and of empirical evidence, we should not ignore the fact that intellectual comprehension and empirical evidence may not be the final tools for ascertaining more deeper layers or ultimate layer of nature or reality

By your exchange of emails with you, I have clarified on one aspect that a wave is random excitation of a field by a quantum of action as randomly distributed. Even if I may set aside the issues of the ontology, nature, and genesis of the quantum of action and  field, still  I find it difficult grasp intuitively many aspects of  a wave by the random excitation of a field by the quantum of action as elaborated below: 

A quantum of action is a distinct indivisible dynamic event. Since it is distinct,  at one moment of time, it will appear at one point in space. Next moment it will appear at another point of space though in a random manner. Moment of time and point in space could go down to Planck's scale. But time to shift for the quantum of action from one to another point in space can't go 'down to Planck's scale since information can't travel at speeds more than the speed of light. Random excitation of a field due to the quantum of action, perceived as a wave, spread out at the rate of speed of light C. So within 1 sec, a  quantum of action should randomly  appear at  all the points of space within a volumetric  area covered by a distance of 3,00,000 Km and that too when quantum of action can't propagate at more than C.? If it could not be, how effect of  a wave is equally perceptible  in all its totality at all points of space at one moment of time within a volume as limited by C. For example, the message, which I am sending to you can be detected equally in all its totality at all the points of space within a volumetric area of space as defined by the speed of light.

So above is the problem for the formation of a wave (excitation of a field) from distinctiveness to continuity or divisibility to indivisibility with the concept of a distinct quantum of action which defies my intuitive and intellectual understanding.
Vinod Sehgal 

priyedarshi jetli Apr 28, 2017
That is very definitive. Berkeley was a clever philosopher but on close examinations, even lesser minds than the lesser minds you refer to, meaning my mind  can see that all his arguments against materialism beg the question. Neither does he have any positive argument to establish idealism. If you find one in the Three Dialogues or in the Principles or anywhere else please explain it to a lesser mind like mine. In fact I am less than a lesser mind as I don't have a mind, only a brain, which some supporters of Berkeleian idealism believe only exists in the mind. Now that is surely LOL.

Debashis Banerji Apr 29, 2017
I follow these learnings with a student, learning about some life processes, dna on and so on, i feel that probably, a convenient way to understand natural processes as, evolution, is to learn from nature itself. Thus, typical darwinian thought proposes, evolution through selection of the fittest. However, if we see the way organelles work in a unicellular organism and how cells of organs work in an organism, we may arrive at a different understanding.
In organisms, various signals regulate the cell cycles of different organs, to ensure, survival and later reproduction of the organism. There is a beautiful social control...all cells survive to serve the whole and as per nature's design, get replaced by prer servers. So, in nature, the governing phenomenon seems to be survival of the 'earnest' and not the 'fittest'. In unicellular organisms we have organelles coexisting, in multicellular organisms we have organs coexisting, as also, in a climatic climax forest, different species coexisting. So, variations which promote optimal earnest coexistence probably helped in evolutionary changes. Actually survival of the fittest can be fatal. In humans, cells which disobey cell cycle signals, continue to divide and result into benign tumours and then after mteastasis lead to malignant tumours...cancer and death. !!!

Ádám Kun Apr 29, 2017
Dear Debashis Banerji,

Survival of the fittest does not mean, that it has to be cruel or destructive toward others.
In the examples of organelles and cells inside our body, it is the unicellular organism and the multicellular body which maximizes its fitness by controlling its organelles and constituent parts. Those part were individuals in the evolutionary past, but now they are part of a new whole, a new evolutionary unit (an eukaryotic cell or a multicellular body).
Certain organisms maximize their fitness by cooperating, or by being mutualist toward other organism. So in the end we see a lot of positive interaction in Nature. The phrase "struggle for existence" (by Darwin) might be better than the survival of the fittest (by Herbert Spencer), as in struggles we can very well come together and aid each other.

best wishes,
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