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Bruce Amberden: on 4/7/17 at 4:58am UTC, wrote Hello Rodolfo Gambini, Your essay is the best that I have read. Thank you...

Peter Jackson: on 4/5/17 at 20:41pm UTC, wrote Dear Rodolfo and Jorge, Another very good entry in all valid ways and with...

Jonathan Dickau: on 4/5/17 at 3:02am UTC, wrote Hello again my friends.. It is good to see that your well-written essay...

Vladimir Fedorov: on 4/4/17 at 11:03am UTC, wrote Dear Jorge, With great interest I read your essay, which of course is...

Tommaso Bolognesi: on 4/3/17 at 13:29pm UTC, wrote Dear Rodolfo and Jorge, the hints at a radically new way to look at (and...

George Gantz: on 4/2/17 at 15:59pm UTC, wrote Rodolfo and Jorge - An excellent essay, thank you. You have addressed the...

Robert Groess: on 4/1/17 at 4:43am UTC, wrote Dear Jorge Pullin, Thank you for your wonderfully written and thorough...

Jarmo Mäkelä: on 3/22/17 at 9:01am UTC, wrote A very clearly written and thoughtful essay. Congratulations! I gave it...


Georgina Woodward: "Hi Community, I could probably have done something better but it gets the..." in Alternative Models of...

Lorraine Ford: "Dear Rajiv, I answer your post by clarifying the logic of what I’m..." in FQXi Essay Contest 2016:...

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click titles to read articles

Bohemian Reality: Searching for a Quantum Connection to Consciousness
Is there are sweet spot where artificial intelligence systems could have the maximum amount of consciousness while retaining powerful quantum properties?

Quantum Replicants: Should future androids dream of quantum sheep?
To build the ultimate artificial mimics of real life systems, we may need to use quantum memory.

Painting a QBist Picture of Reality
A radical interpretation of physics makes quantum theory more personal.

The Spacetime Revolutionary
Carlo Rovelli describes how black holes may transition to "white holes," according to loop quantum gravity, a radical rewrite of fundamental physics.

Riding the Rogue Quantum Waves
Could giant sea swells help explain how the macroscopic world emerges from the quantum microworld? (Image credit: MIT News)

April 27, 2017

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: Emergence of life and consciousness in a purposeful universe by Rodolfo Gambini and Jorge Pullin [refresh]
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Author Jorge Pullin wrote on Jan. 12, 2017 @ 21:11 GMT
Essay Abstract

Recent scientific developments provide evidence that we live in a world whose nature encourages the emergence of life and consciousness. We are not arguing that the world was created with that purpose, rather our view is that the world has a nature that is receptive towards life and consciousness and is open to organization imposed via top down causation by ever more complex organisms. We can see in this -at first unrecognized- tendency a universe whose purpose is to offer opportunities for life and expand the potential of the living organisms endowed with various degrees of consciousness. Such purpose is manifest in the laws that rule the world and in the nature of the fundamental entities whose regularities such laws describe. That is how we end up with individuals whose goal is the development of capabilities that are just a further manifestation of the fundamental nature of the world, and through them, a universe capable of observing itself.

Author Bio

Rodolfo Gambini is a professor of physics at the University of the Republic of Uruguay. He is a fellow of APS and AAAS and a member of the National Academy of Sciences of Uruguay and Argentina. He is the recipient of the TWAS physics prize. Jorge Pullin is the Horace Hearne Chair in Theoretical Physics at the Louisiana State University. He is a fellow of APS, AAAS, IOP, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences of Argentina and Mexico. He is the recipient of the Edward Bouchet award of APS.

Download Essay PDF File

John Edward LaMuth wrote on Jan. 13, 2017 @ 06:07 GMT
I am unsure of the mechanism for your final assertion that through these results in a universe capable of observing itself.

John L

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David Brown wrote on Jan. 14, 2017 @ 11:48 GMT
"To make a long story short, the measurement problem in quantum mechanics is that in its traditional formulation the theory is not complete without an observer involved." I think that the preceding is a good aphoristic summary of the measurement problem. I say that Milgrom is the Kepler of contemporary cosmology — although one might say that Kepler is sui generis. Is Milgrom's MOND relevant to the measurement problem?

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jan. 18, 2017 @ 16:45 GMT
Hello Mr Brown,

I beleive that Mr Milgrom or Mr Verlinde with this modified newtonian mechanic are in the error.But it is just my opinion of course.Here is why.We know indeed that we have this problem of rotations with the galaxies.When Zwicky has found this problem, he has inserted this matter not baryonic to solve this problem.I beleive that people makes also the same error in considering the quantum gravitation, this weakest force like an emergent electromagnetic force.This gravitation cannot be nor relativistic nor baryonic.Gravitons for example cannot answer so because they are bosons and that gravitation is not bosonic.The dark matter and gravitation for me are linked.The newtonian mechanic is universal.If we want to, unify G c and h we must insert new parameters but these parameters respect this newtonian mechanic it seems to me.

Food for thought.


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Hans van Leunen wrote on Jan. 16, 2017 @ 11:48 GMT
Dear authors,

If you want to find purpose inside physical reality, then it suffices to interpret the fact that all discrete objects in the universe appear to be either modules or they are modular systems. With other words, one of the most influential laws in nature must read as:

"Thou shalt construct in a modular way"

Modular construction implies several aspects. Modular construction applies its resources in a very economic way. Modular design and modular construction enable reuse and that reuse requests standardization. The modular design method becomes very powerful when modules can be constructed from lower level modules. The standardization of modules enables reuse and may generate type communities. The success of a type community may depend on other type communities. Also, modular systems can form type communities.

In the beginning, modular design will use a stochastic approach.

The modular design and construction method is very efficient and even with stochastic design it easily wins against the monolithic design and construction method. With enough resources available even the stochastic modular design and construction method can produce intelligent modular systems. From that instant on, will intelligent design at these locations take over from stochastic design. For those species, the creator’s choice for modular construction will contain important lessons. See: Voting for extinction of our species by Hans van Leunen

Hans van Leunen, retired physicist

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 16, 2017 @ 16:43 GMT
Dear Professor Gambini and Chairman Pullin,

Simple natural reality has nothing to do with any abstract complex musings such as the ones you effortlessly indulge in. As I have thoughtfully pointed out in my brilliant essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY, the real Universe consists only of one unified visible infinite surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light. Reality am not as complicated as theories of reality are. We each have a complete surface and we live in a world that also has a complete surface.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Lee Bloomquist wrote on Jan. 17, 2017 @ 00:01 GMT
This essay is an extremely enjoyable read and proposes to help us understand "how a Universe ends up understanding itself."

But using prose to say that the Universe has an "understanding" of something still leaves us with the "mindless mathematics."

I wonder-- would mathematical game theory be the best, or the only, "mindful" mathematics that we have for expressing this statement...

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Joe Fisher replied on Jan. 17, 2017 @ 16:34 GMT
Dear Mr. Bloomquist,

Natural reality am simple to understand.As I have thoughtfully pointed out in my brilliant essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY, the real Universe consists only of one unified visible infinite surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Lee Bloomquist wrote on Jan. 19, 2017 @ 02:30 GMT
Experiments have confirmed the Born rule.

Within experimental limits, the mathematical pattern in the data is explained by the Born rule.

The Born rule says that the same number can be output from two independent algorithms.

(Bohm and Hiley had previously said "from two independent concepts.")

Confirming the Born rule is the same, mathematically, as confirming through an experiment that there is an algorithm in the data.

It has the signature of a learning algorithm.

What is it learning?

The laws of physics.

Who is teaching it?

The answer is in the final thoughts of this essay:

"...we end up with individuals whose purpose is the development of capabilities that are just a further manifestation of the fundamental nature of the world, and through them, of a universe capable of observing itself ."

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 23, 2017 @ 11:50 GMT
I gave 10 for public vote and will do the same on community once my essay appears. Your argument is largely ψ-ontic. I tend to think there is some sort of relativity or complementarity between ψ-ontic and ψ-epistemic interpretations though. In effect QM does not conform well to the sort of metaphysical categories we ordinarily think according to.

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Jack Hamilton James wrote on Jan. 29, 2017 @ 11:35 GMT
I enjoyed this essay and style it was written, thankyou. I disagree with your claims on top down causation and emergence. I think these are conceptual errors, albeit very difficult to account for and easy to fall for. There is a lot of talking up of emergence and top-down causation at the moment, and although we think we can demonstrate both occurrences, and although consciousness isnt in the brain when we open it up, in both cases our lack of understanding, and our explanation, is the real issue. A strong clue for this is that there is a fundamental disproportionality in our weighting of thought. The fruits of reductionism and common sense are being fundamentally shortchanged/overlooked. How can one show from top-down causation the interaction between two microscopic bodies? Now sure, in some cases we cant explain, via bottom-up causation, all goings on in those terms. But this gap isnt a gap that top-down causation should fill. It's a little like the Schrodinger equation chuggin along by itself creating all sorts of universes, but oh wait what about the observer. What about wholes being made up of parts in/at/of time?

(Please note I dont hold any of this against your paper, and I understand here i am merely speculating, thanks for a great essay).

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 6, 2017 @ 10:16 GMT
Rodolfo and Jorge,

Your essay is very thoughtful and well written.

I appreciate your point that quantum “developments illuminate a world that is much more hospitable to life than that of the mechanist paradigm” which “open the possibility for new vistas on the problem of consciousness and, through it, how a Universe ends up understanding itself.”

And I appreciate that “physical laws are descriptions of what happens in the world. Physical Reality may well go beyond the laws, which only describe observed regularities.”

I think what you’re getting at is that the idea of “blind mathematical laws” is a misconception, and properly conceived, the “physics” of the universe must be compatible with intentionality. The universe must somehow be intentional, in however inchoate its primitive physical form, because we are natural beings and we are intentional.

But although the concept of Life may be illuminated by your accent on top-down causation (i.e. supervenience), it doesn’t actually “open the possibility for purpose in the world”, or even of experience. Top-down determination only suggests how purpose and intention can be effective, not how it can be possible.

Mainstream biologists may agree that there is top-down determinism in the metabolism of a biotic cell, but they will absolutely deny that there is anything intentional about it. Intention and purpose involve imagining and possibly bringing about an eventuality that doesn’t exist by working with and against causal processes. And there is nothing in the idea of quantum probability that begins to explain how such a disposition could come into the world.

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James Arnold replied on Feb. 7, 2017 @ 10:09 GMT
Sorry, didn't mean to be anonymous -- the preceding was my review.

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Avtar Singh wrote on Feb. 11, 2017 @ 00:18 GMT
Dear Rodolfo and Jorge:

Thoroughly enjoyed your well-written essay. I fully agree with your expressed conclusion - " The purpose of the Universe should appear in the laws that favor the emergence of systems with high degree of complexity. …… We hold the regularist position that states that the laws of nature just describe certain regularities of a reality that transcends them. From a first person perspective the world has a phenomenal nature which we perceive from our conscious mind but it also satisfies certain regularities that science, in particular physics, describes."

Building upon the spontaneous decay of quantum particles as the Downward Causation agent for the emergence of higher order consciousness or free-will phenomenon, I have developed an integrated relativistic model of the universe that resolves the Hard problem of consciousness, predicts the observed universe, and explains inner workings of QM. I would appreciate it very much if you could please provide your comments on my contest paper - " FROM LAWS TO AIMS & INTENTIONS - A UNIVERSAL MODEL INTEGRATING MATTER, MIND, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND PURPOSE" as it explains the emergence phenomenon as transcendence from one state of relative reality to the next higher state within an infinite sets of potential realities following the laws of conservation.

Looking forward to your feedback on my paper,

Best Regards

Avtar Singh

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 11, 2017 @ 01:25 GMT
Hi, Gambini and Pullin,

Very Good essay sirs, Your views on consciousness are really fantastic ...!

In your concluding para you said………….. If the Universe Had no beginning as in the eternal inflationary scenario, one cannot discuss the purpose of its creation. But In a Universe That is life-­‐friendly and phenomenic in character one can always find purpose in its inhabitants………….

I want to say few points for further discussion …

1. Probably you are referring to Bigbang based cosmologies here. There you are considering only 40 percent of all the Galaxies and remaining Blue shifted Galaxies and quasars are not considered.

I request you to have a look at Dynamic Universe model also for the other side of the coin…..

2. You are implying someone created the universe. I am also firm believer of God, but everything we cannot leave to God …. If we need some progress in science…. What do you say…?

3. You said nicely that life friendly phenomenon exists in Unverse… Good.

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta replied on Mar. 18, 2017 @ 09:54 GMT

I want you to ask you to please have a look at my essay, where ……………reproduction of Galaxies in the Universe is described. Dynamic Universe Model is another mathematical model for Universe. Its mathematics show that the movement of masses will be having a purpose or goal, Different Galaxies will be born and die (quench) etc…just have a look at the essay… “Distances,...

view entire post

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Member George F. R. Ellis wrote on Feb. 12, 2017 @ 06:44 GMT
Hi Rodolfo and Jorge

"So any system in an entangled state exhibits downward causation. The states’ roles in causation, their disposition to produce events, and their non separatiblity when entangled are at the root of this phenomenon". Bravo!


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Kigen William Ekeson wrote on Feb. 25, 2017 @ 19:06 GMT
Dear Profs. Pullin and Gambini,

Thank you for your very well written and insightful essay. I agree with your final reflections on "purpose". Although I was a bit surprised of your aesthetic choice of the term "object" to describe any pre-event system. Still, you made it work. Thanks again and hope you find time to look over my essay.

William Ekeson

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Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 01:25 GMT
Dear Rodolfo and Jorge,

I am glad that I found your essay. I think we agree in our starting points, and our essays talk deeply with each other. In particular, I would note your, “If a further fine-tuning were required to have close to optimal conditions for life the Anthropic Principle would be insufficient to account for our existence in the universe. The recently discovered life-friendly properties suggest that this is the situation we are in.” Although it is not fully clear what you mean here, I am happy to suggest you my proof of your point: the discoverability of the laws of nature, which is definitely an excess to what would be needed for the existence of simple observers.


Alexey Burov.

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 02:28 GMT
Dear Rudolfo Gambini and Jorge Pullin,

Thank you for reading and commenting on my essay.

You discuss an event ontology and the possibility that events in the brain can be accessed physically in a third person sense, but also mentally in a first-person sense as perceptions. Is this 'mental' access occasioned by the neural network itself, or by physical field, or what? As you know, I postulate a physical field that possesses the attribute of awareness: awareness of itself (hence Yang-Mills type non-linearity) and awareness of momentum/energy density. This postulate actually takes one quite far in a physical world that includes consciousness and intelligence in myriad entities.

As you note, I am 'regularist' in the sense that I believe we project structure onto regularities of nature. The 'necessitarian' interprets the structural projections as 'laws' governing system evolution, despite that QM is only a statistical bookkeeping system that depends from the evident universality of the partition function.

One would think that the underdetermination that is obvious from the existence of five or more 'interpretations' of quantum mechanics, would give pause to Quantum Credo-ists, but this is met head-on with "shut up and calculate". As a means of solving specific problems, this may be good advice. As a means of determining ontological reality, not so good.

You note that in a universe that is life-friendly and phenomenic in character one can always find purpose in its inhabitants, and this may imply "a universe capable of observing itself". With a consciousness field it is almost a foregone conclusion that local observations of self will evolve. If, instead, only a possibility exists that life and neural networks will evolve, given sufficient time, the possibility would also seem to exist that such would never happen, leading to absurdity and nihilism.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 23:21 GMT
Rodolfo and Jorge,

Interesting read. You say that the world has a nature that is receptive towards life and consciousness and encourages organization and complexity? The popular hypotheses has been that a primordial soup, a bolt of lightning and a colossal stroke of luck brought about life, but a more interesting proposal England’s theory seeks to underlie, rather than replace, Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. He believes that "clumps of atoms surrounded by a bath at some temperature, like the atmosphere or the ocean, should tend over time to arrange themselves to resonate better and better with the sources of mechanical, electromagnetic or chemical work in their environments.” The animate and inanimate have these characteristics.

Does the universe offer opportunities for life and consciousness thru such mindless laws that Jeremy England is describing? Since we are a further manifestation of the nature of the world do we become part of the capability of observing ourselves and the current and past universe through our telescopes?

You inspire some interesting questions.

Jim Hoover

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James Lee Hoover replied on Mar. 4, 2017 @ 00:59 GMT
Rodolfo and Jorge,

Interested in seeing your comments and your thoughts on my essay.


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Rajiv K Singh wrote on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 12:28 GMT
A strong case is made in favor of certain emergent physical structures that show top-down causation to give rise to certain physical consequences. 'Universe having sufficient complexity for the purpose of evolution' is also placed well. But, this did not seem to lead to our sensing of aims and purpose.

"Nature described by quantum mechanics is about dispositions and events with a phenomenal internal aspect", did not really bridge the gap. Russell's quote, "an ultimate scientific account of what goes on in the world, if it were ascertainable,..", left much to be desired as to how it may become ascertainable.

The phenomenal nature is brought in as a hypothesis, "From a first person perspective the world has a phenomenal nature which we perceive from our conscious mind but it also satisfies certain regularities that science –in particular physics­‐ describes." It also seems to imply that we cannot have an objective third person measurement system for the same. Moreover, we will have to grant then that bacterium and even other lower forms may have subjective experience, and if its actions are in line with self-sustaining, then it also may have a sense of purpose.

- Rajiv

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Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote on Mar. 4, 2017 @ 05:21 GMT
dear jorge,

i found your essay to be informative, insightful and highly readable. i do however have difficulty in seeing how it answers the main question (or a variant of the same), "how can mathematical laws give rise to aims and intentions" - would you be willing to elaborate?

many thanks.

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Edward Kneller wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 18:31 GMT
Rodolfo and Jorge:

I enjoyed your essay for both its broad scope and specific details regarding physics and consciousness, especially how you address the hard question of why the universe ‘encourages the emergence of life and consciousness’.

I agree that understanding the universe requires us to ‘be precise about the nature of physical laws’, and your statement near the end, ‘Explaining why the Universe is life-friendly does not depend only on the values of certain parameters. It also depends on the elegance and creative potential of the physical laws. It depends on quantum mechanics being as it is, and on the geometric and dynamical nature of space-time.’

You may be interested in my essay, ‘The Cosmic Odyssey of Matter’. This essay does not attempt to tackle the hard problem of how/why consciousness, but instead develops a simple framework/ontology to show the progression that leads from particles to life, individual consciousness, and social goals/consciousness. Per your guidance, I attempt to ‘be precise about the nature of physical laws’ by providing clear definitions and concepts that improve our understanding of the progression towards consciousness.

Regards, Ed

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Stefan Keppeler wrote on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 15:05 GMT
Dear Rodolfo, dear Jorge,

I like how you use entanglement as an illustration for how the whole can be more than the sum of its parts. I'm doubtful, however, as to whether entanglement actually plays a role for emergence on macroscopic scales. I'd rather think that Boltzmann-type arguments are more relevant there (this idea I pursue in my essay), since they are essentially independent of the details of the underlying microscopic dynamics.

Cheers, Stefan

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Héctor Daniel Gianni wrote on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 22:30 GMT
Dear Rodolfo Gambini

I invite you and every physicist to read my work “TIME ORIGIN,DEFINITION AND EMPIRICAL MEANING FOR PHYSICISTS, Héctor Daniel Gianni ,I’m not a physicist.

How people interested in “Time” could feel about related things to the subject.

1) Intellectuals interested in Time issues usually have a nice and creative wander for the unknown.

2) They usually enjoy this wander of their searches around it.

3) For millenniums this wander has been shared by a lot of creative people around the world.

4) What if suddenly, something considered quasi impossible to be found or discovered such as “Time” definition and experimental meaning confronts them?

5) Their reaction would be like, something unbelievable,… a kind of disappointment, probably interpreted as a loss of wander…..

6) ….worst than that, if we say that what was found or discovered wasn’t a viable theory, but a proved fact.

7) Then it would become offensive to be part of the millenary problem solution, instead of being a reason for happiness and satisfaction.

8) The reader approach to the news would be paradoxically adverse.

9) Instead, I think it should be a nice welcome to discovery, to be received with opened arms and considered to be read with full attention.

11)Time “existence” is exclusive as a “measuring system”, its physical existence can’t be proved by science, as the “time system” is. Experimentally “time” is “movement”, we can prove that, showing that with clocks we measure “constant and uniform” movement and not “the so called Time”.

12)The original “time manuscript” has 23 pages, my manuscript in this contest has only 9 pages.

I share this brief with people interested in “time” and with physicists who have been in sore need of this issue for the last 50 or 60 years.


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Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 05:36 GMT
Dear Rodolfo Gambini and Jorge Pullin!

. I appreciate your essay. You spent a lot of effort to write it. If you believed in the principle of identity of space and matter of Descartes, then your essay would be even better. There is not movable a geometric space, and is movable physical space. These are different concepts.

I invite you to familiarize yourself with New Cartesian Physic

I wish to see your criticism on the New Cartesian Physic, the founder of which I call myself.

The concept of moving space-matter helped me: The uncertainty principle Heisenberg to make the principle of definiteness of points of space-matter; Open the law of the constancy of the flow of forces through a closed surface is the sphere of space-matter; Open the law of universal attraction of Lorentz; Give the formula for the pressure of the Universe; To give a definition of gravitational mass as the flow vector of the centrifugal acceleration across the surface of the corpuscles, etc.

New Cartesian Physic has great potential in understanding the world. To show this potential in essay I risked give «The way of The materialist explanation of the paranormal and the supernatural” - Is the name of my essay.

Visit my essay and you will find something in it about New Cartesian Physic. Note my statement that our brain creates an image of the outside world no inside, and in external space.

Do not let New Cartesian Physic get away into obscurity! I am waiting your post.


Dizhechko Boris

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Peter Martin Punin wrote on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 14:39 GMT
Dear Jorge, dear Rodolfo,

The first point having impressed me in your essay is your refusal of nihilism, a rare thing in modern philosophy of science. Of course, at first glance, philosophy of science is not directly concerned by nihilism, nor by anti-nihilism, respectively the denial and the defense of values, and even of the pertinence characterizing the notion of value as such. Or,...

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 19:01 GMT
Greetings Rodolfo and Jorge,

This essay is certainly one of the finest I have read, in this contest. Both in terms of an idea that is worthy to present, and in having clear exposition of your message, I must give you kudos. But also; you have squarely addressed the topic in a satisfying way, which many of the essays fail to do. I like that a universe that encourages evolutionary trends is a natural consequence of quantum mechanics, and that this is a more general result - rather than being tied to your own interpretation of QM.

I admire that you were able to explain all of the technical details using only one easy to understand equation. This essay sets a standard for clarity. My own essay affirms that the laws of nature encourage living beings to arise and evolve, and creates spaces or ranges for us to do so, but my rationale is very different. I assert that certain features in higher-order Maths can also give rise to evolutionary features of natural law. A conversation I had with Tevian Dray at GR21 affirmed some of my ideas on this, which inspired this year's paper.

I invite your comments on my entry. Good luck in the contest!

All the Best,


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Laurence Hitterdale wrote on Mar. 21, 2017 @ 02:57 GMT
Dear Rodolfo and Jorge,

I think I understand in general terms how your view of the emergence of consciousness and purpose depends on a number of factors. These factors include a regularist as opposed to a necessitarian view of physical laws, an ontology in which events are fundamental, some features of quantum mechanics, the values of fundamental physical parameters, and the “elegance and creative potential of the physical laws.” However, one thing that is not clear to me is the importance for this picture of not accepting the principle of sufficient reason in the form in which Leibniz advocated it. You mention the principle of sufficient reason at the top of page 8.

In any case, thank you for an interesting and worthwhile discussion.

Laurence Hitterdale

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Jarmo Matti Mäkelä wrote on Mar. 22, 2017 @ 09:01 GMT
A very clearly written and thoughtful essay. Congratulations! I gave it high marks.

Jarmo Mäkelä

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Robert Groess wrote on Apr. 1, 2017 @ 04:43 GMT
Dear Jorge Pullin,

Thank you for your wonderfully written and thorough essay, covering ground from physical laws, to emergence and top-down causation, neatly summed up in "Ultimately it is the laws of nature and their ontology who are bio friendly". I wanted to let you know I really enjoyed reading your essay and you have given me much to think about. Thank you for the new perspectives. I have in the meantime, also rated it.



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George Gantz wrote on Apr. 2, 2017 @ 15:59 GMT
Rodolfo and Jorge - An excellent essay, thank you. You have addressed the key topic of the contest - the nature of purpose in a world described by mathematics - that many others have not. I also appreciate your comment on the "lack of answers to the inexplicable life-friendliness of the Universe"

If you have a chance, I'd appreciate your review of my essay The How and the Why of Emergence and Intention. I suggest that the "inexplicable" is the result of an intentionality that drives emergence at all levels, and I contrast it with the multiverse speculation which has no answers.

Cheers - George Gantz

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Member Tommaso Bolognesi wrote on Apr. 3, 2017 @ 13:29 GMT
Dear Rodolfo and Jorge,

the hints at a radically new way to look at (and solve) the matter/mind dichotomy that you provide in your text appear to me as very original and attractive, and superior to the majority of the several essays I’ve read. I wrote ‘hints’ because the impression I had is one of a treasure-map in which a considerable amount of effort is still to be made for getting...

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 11:03 GMT
Dear Jorge,

With great interest I read your essay, which of course is worthy of high rating. Excellently written.

You are one of the few who directly answers the question put by the contest.

I understand your search for causality in quantum mechanics.

«We will then review the ontology that is suggested by several interpretations of quantum mechanics and how it lays out building blocks for reality dramatically different from those of the mechanist paradigm. In particular we will see that this ontology naturally leads to the understanding of emergence and top-¬‐down causation. We will conclude arguing that it opens the possibility for purpose in the world and that it fitsvery elegantly with the description of the Universe that modern science leads to.»

«A realist interpretation of quantum mechanics given in terms of events is much more than an understanding of the measurement problem. It is a vehicle to understand how a world with given properties emerges from a world of quantum potentialities. One would end up with a world in which objects, understood as quantum systems in given states and the ensuing events are the building blocks of reality.»

«An important point is that in order to have a truly quantum ontology, the interpretation of quantum mechanics considered should supply a self‐consistent notion of event.»

Based on my explanations of the structure of the solar system, we can say that it is in a certain complex quantum state, like the Hydrogen atom. How will the quantum ontology change in this case?

I wish you success in the contest.

Kind regards,


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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Apr. 5, 2017 @ 03:02 GMT
Hello again my friends..

It is good to see that your well-written essay continues to fare well in the ratings, as the contest draws to a close. It is one of the few that appears to address the essay question squarely, and in relevant fashion - presenting an honest and plausible answer - so it is deserving of high regard. I wish you continued luck into the finals.

All the Best,


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Peter Jackson wrote on Apr. 5, 2017 @ 20:41 GMT
Dear Rodolfo and Jorge,

Another very good entry in all valid ways and with some great content. However I must take issue with the suggestion that; "Mechanistic views strip from the description of the world any reference to aims and goals". I suggest my and other essays disprove that.

But I do like and agree your important comments on QM; "The theory does not say what happens when there are no measurements on the system." and;

" order to have a truly quantum ontology,the interpretation of quantum mechanics considered should supply a self-­‐consistent notion of event."

However I think I falsify in my essay the suggestion a that (do check and comment) "Interpretations that define events via interactions with classical systems or observers are not suitable to construct a purely quantum ontology.;" Though only as Bohr missed a Maxwell momentum! Please do look and falsify!

Very best


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Bruce M Amberden wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 04:58 GMT
Hello Rodolfo Gambini,

Your essay is the best that I have read. Thank you very much. I am working on the hard problem of consciousness and I have to say that I have learned much from your essay. I have read your essay about 5 times now, and I learn a little more with each read.

My degrees are in astrophysics, and I admire your description of the nature of our universe. Through...

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