Posted: Jun 19, 2022 4:49 am
by BWE
Jamest, you might be under some mistaken ideas about me as someone who is just out to denigrate your position or to score points or whatever like that. You asked for abuse so I offered some because I try to oblige unusual requests. But, and I might be confusing you with someone else since I don't frequent ratskep enough to really make firm impressions, I seem to recall that you have some preferred ontological positions, maybe some flavor of idealism? At any rate, if you assume that I am hostile to idealism or maybe some other semi mystical perspectives, you are wrong. I am not super persuadable in terms of ontological positions being 'correct' or 'true' in some kind of objective fashion but I am quite open to different ways of structuring experience and enjoy seeing what kinds of models they might dictate and thinking through the possible utility a particular model might provide. My own personal philosophy that I ponder when I ponder philosophy is quite whack to most people.

So, I get that each of us is moved by a unique experience and I have no problem with whack philosophy (outside of positions that dictate violence as large scale social solutions). I'm actually perfectly willing to follow your particular flavor of ontological whack and grant it equal footing with any other ontological position.

I kind of enjoy tossing out some of the odd theorems my own system produces and seeing if I can defend them. My average fluctuates. But you said that

Firstly, let us consider the meaning of absolute order - what would that entail? Well, it would necessarily entail that the whole system/environment be 'self' explanatory, which means that the system as a whole must have a singular explanation for the order therein."

But this is not how dynamic systems work. Absolute order is one with no history. You can't look at a pendulum and know how many times it has swung. You can however, look at a slug and see what direction it came from because it changed the system behind it.

So if you mean, by self explanatory, that the system has fallen into a repeating periodicity which can be apprehended, your torch casts very little light. There is a concept called 'the edge of chaos', first clearly articulated (I believe) by a computer scientist, Chris Langton, but it's roots go back at least to the early 1970s and Prigogine's dissipative structures, probably further. This concept, very generally, says that there is a sweet spot in an energy gradient where order spontaneously emerges. Below the threshold interactions tend to equilibrium, order, death, history is quickly erased. Above the threshold, no order can emerge because it is swept away in the flood. But right at the threshold, order not only spontaneously emerges, but then it actually adapts to basically continue to exist on that edge, even as the edge moves. The philosophical problem there is that the emergent structures are utterly scale dependent and can only be clearly identified by a mind that is processing information at that scale. This makes a fractal nightmare where every scale exists as an almost totally independent universe that is both affecting every other and affected by every other but with no way to see the exchange from any individual perspective and fully meaningless at dramatically different perspectives.

I am not putting that forward as an ontological statement, merely as a useful model. It illustrates one objection that the "whole system" is potentially not a useful idea.


... Implied within this statement is that the existence of any order within a system be necessarily self-explanatory. That would even apply to the order inherent within what we call quantum mechanics.


Now you have run squarely into the objection I actually intended to raise in my first post. Emergent order is self explanatory only in that we can say that order emerges in dynamic systems wherever the conditions are right. You cannot explain this order in any normal mathematical way. It is not an ontological claim because it relies exclusively on our own perception to identify boundaries and define elements within the system.

However, once order emerges in a dynamic adaptive system, it begins to encode its history. So in that sense you might say it is self explanatory in that logic is the decoder for reading its history.

Would you clarify where my questions go awry?