20160525

Regressive physics messes with consciousness again



Blog 20160525 Regressive physics messes with consciousness again
Regressive physics penetrates all aspects of our lives. Among its peculiarities is the objectification of motion, which was Einstein’ greatest philosophical error.[1] It apparently is what makes so many have so much difficulty understanding matter and motion. This is in spite the fact that matter (subject) and the motion of matter (predicate) form  the basis of almost every sentence in every language. Now comes the venerable, if poorly edited, New York Times offering more of the same:
Consciousness Isn’t a Mystery. It’s Matter.
By Professor Galen Strawson, Department of Philosophy, University of Texas, Austin, TX


At first thought, you may think that this piece might be a breath of fresh air. After all, it forgoes the usual claptrap about “spirituality” and “unfathomableness,” professing to approach the subject from the standpoint of materialism. Unfortunately, the professor’s “materialism” might better be called “matterism.” Like Einstein, he is a victim of “objectification” or “reification,” which is the tendency to regard motion as matter. The title says it all: consciousness is matter. Egads, that should stir up the Mind-Brain Muddle in the halls of academia for quite awhile.   Now, readers know that the universe displays only two fundamental phenomena: matter and the motion of matter. That is as simple as our sentence structure. There should be no Muddle. The brain is matter and the mind is the motion therein. Dead brains have no consciousness. What is so hard about that?

Lesson in Distinguishing Motion from Matter

At first, I thought that Professor Strawson’s article was some kind of academic spoof. However, the fact the Times published this, even if it was considered “opinion,” means that others actually believe this stuff. That does not mean that you should. So I have decided to set up a little exercise for you. It goes like this: While reading the article count the number of objectifications. When you have finished counting just send me a comment to this Blog post. The first three to get it right will get a free ebook copy of "The Scientific Worldview" or "The Ten Assumptions of Science."

To get you started, here is the second one (the title, of course, is #1):
“consciousness is itself a form of physical stuff”

Hints:  Remember that matter (i.e., “physical stuff”) exists and has xyz dimensions. Motion does not exist, it occurs.
Philosophy and physics sidelights: Note Strawson’s confusion about the nature of energy (remember, it’s a calculation). He is reluctant to accept microcosmic infinity as the explanation for the nature of “physical stuff.” He then makes a complete turn-about, viewing the necessary failure to discover a finite particle “intrinsic” to all matter as his excuse to adopt wholesale immaterialism. Deepak and other solipsists would be proud!


[1] Borchardt, Glenn, 2011, Einstein's most important philosophical error, in Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance, 18th Conference of the NPA, 6-9 July, 2011, College Park, MD, Natural Philosophy Alliance, Mt. Airy, MD, p. 64-68 [10.13140/RG.2.1.3436.0407].

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