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Attay Kremer: on 3/28/17 at 8:57am UTC, wrote Dear Don, Thank you for taking the time to read my essay, and for your...

Don Limuti: on 3/27/17 at 23:44pm UTC, wrote Hi Attay, Thank you for a most readable thought provoking essay. Your...

Attay Kremer: on 3/27/17 at 14:56pm UTC, wrote Dear Peter, Thank you so much for reading, and for your kind remarks. ...

Peter Jackson: on 3/27/17 at 14:46pm UTC, wrote Attay, A good essay, well written and organized, right on topic and...

Héctor Gianni: on 3/11/17 at 23:33pm UTC, wrote Dear Attay Kremer I invite you and every physicist to read my work “TIME...

David Brown: on 3/8/17 at 14:47pm UTC, wrote "A concept of causality is essential, since once cannot conceive of change,...

Satyavarapu Gupta: on 3/8/17 at 10:20am UTC, wrote Nice essay Kremer, Your ideas and thinking are good, your way of writing...

Gavin Rowland: on 3/8/17 at 7:19am UTC, wrote Hi Attay Yes, I think I was putting my own interpretation on top of yours...


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March 28, 2017

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: The Wheels of Will: On the False Question of the Origin of Purpose by Attay Kremer [refresh]
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This essay's rating: Community = 5.1; Public = 5.9

Author Attay Kremer wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 20:21 GMT
Essay Abstract

In this essay I attempt to examine the question of how purpose arose from "mindless" mathematical laws, using Descartes' Method, and Bergson's idea of False Problems. I examine the structure of Classical, and Quantum mechanics, in order to show that they not in fact "mindless". Additionally I look at the problem of the mind and its construction of purpose from the perspective of early modern philosophy. All this is in an attempt to understand the origin of the question, so that an account of its falseness may be given.

Author Bio

Attay Kremer has been an active member of a research group studying theoretical physics, under the supervision of Lawrence Horwitz; on the topics of fluid mechanics, and the geometry and topology of mechanics. He is currently an undergraduate studying philosophy.

Download Essay PDF File

Andrew R. Scott wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 21:35 GMT
Re: " If purpose exists, then it is the driving force; if the world is a

machine, then it is that which defines its behaviour; one cannot have his purpose cake and eat it too"

Could there not be a mixed situation, with many things unfolding mechanistically but with certain aspects of it open to purpose, such as my being able to steer my car from side to side, but not up in the air or down into the ground? Or to put it another way, could we not have our cake but only be allowed to eat certain bits of it? Of course we don't know, but I wonder if you are being too restrictive in your possibilities.

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Author Attay Kremer replied on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 07:31 GMT
Dear Mr. Scott,

Thank you for reading, and thank you writing. I hope to be able to illuminate this part of my essay.

In order to demonstrate that this problem is false, still more thoroughly then just through the argument of Bergson, I argue that teleology and mechanisms, to us, can only be treated as descriptions, and not actual reality, since physics can be described more successfully by teleology using the least action principle, a teleological description removes the necessity of a mechanistic description.

In essence what I wish to claim, is that this question of the origin of purpose is false because it assumes that there is border between what can be described mechanistically, and what can be described teleologically; this is not true, as is demonstrated in sec 2. by use of the least action principle.

Anonymous wrote on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 07:55 GMT
Hi Attay – I enjoyed reading your essay, and feel you argue your points well.

I also found it interesting that you make use of the principle of least action – since I have spent quite a lot of time wondering about such action principles and their possible implications for the form of reality (and/or the place for intentionality). As an aside, half a lifetime ago, I actually spent the start of my career pretty immersed in the mathematics of the least action principle, working in Hamiltonian optics…


David C.

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David C Cosgrove replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 08:02 GMT
Just noting that for some reason, the server posted my comment above as 'Anonymous' even though I had been logged in.


David Cosgrove

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Author Attay Kremer replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 09:52 GMT
Dear David,

Thank you for reading my essay, and for responding.

I too - as can be seen in the essay - find the lest action principle irresistibly interesting. It is my belief also that this principle can serve as the key to a new understanding of reality.

I would be happy to discuss these ideas further.



Gavin William Rowland wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 10:57 GMT
Dear Mr Kremer

Thank you for this essay. I think it is difficult to rule out a sense of purpose in nature. Certainly if we look at one small event in the physical world, there is little to be seen but causality. But, if one shifts focus further and further out, to the laws and constants that are responsible for all these micro-events, one can note their biofriendly nature. Is this indicative of some kind of purpose - at present poorly understood by science?

The bottom line is, i don't think we can safely say that we can know all the possible purposes of the universe (at this stage at least). Therefore, an argument that everything has purpose is probably stronger than one in which nothing has purpose, as we have strong subjective evidence of our own free will.

That is what i took from your essay. There may, however, be a finer line than we recognise between one view in which everything has purpose and one in which everything is machine. in my essay "From nothingness to value ethics" I suggest that all this 'purpose' is due to a dimension of constructiveness. I derive some support from the German idealists. I would be interested in your opinion of it.

Best regards

Gavin Rowland

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Author Attay Kremer replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 11:11 GMT
Dear Dr. Rowland,

Thank you for reading, and thank you for responding.

The reason I argue that all has purpose, is that the most fundamental mechanism known to us -- physics -- is more generally stated in a teleological form. This point is essential to my argument.

Purpose, especially as it is in biology, is based on an auxiliary concept -- Will. This concept is problematic, as I believe, and argue in this essay, that it is cannot be explained by a mechanism. To this argument I dedicated the last section.

I have downloaded your essay, and I hope to give my thoughts on it as soon as possible,



Gavin William Rowland replied on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 07:19 GMT
Hi Attay

Yes, I think I was putting my own interpretation on top of yours in my first paragraph. You may be interested to read Robin Berjon's essay, which also discusses teleological aspects of physics/chemistry/biology.



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Chris Broski wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 15:08 GMT
I thoroughly enjoyed your essay; it is one of my favorites so far. You are one of a very few that have articulated and supported your thesis to be rigorous enough to be falsifiable. So please know it is with respect that I believe your belief that conscious phenomena like mind and will cannot exist. Brains exists. Without this complex mechanism in our skulls, will has never been observed. Furthermore, no aspect of the mind, including will, has been consistently shown to not be removable as a result of specific brain damage. This should lead us to believe that will, consciousness, and other properties of the mind are biological processes not significantly different than flight or photosynthesis.

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Author Attay Kremer replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 15:23 GMT
Dear Mr. Broski,

Thank you for reading, and your kind remarks.

The topic on which we differ is complicated and nuanced, thus it is important to be careful and rigorous. I will try my best to keep up with these standards.

I would be delighted if you could link or cite a paper in which this result -- removal of the will -- is demonstrated.

I'd like to clear up my own position: I do not believe that the will is mystical, or non-physical in some sense; It is important for me to stress that I believe that the will cannot be explained by use of mechanism. Thus, a result such as the removal of will by removal of chemicals or parts of the brain do not contradict my position.

I own position mostly deals with our understanding of the will, and that it can never be achieved by mechanism; this does not mean that it cannot be a biological process.



Joe Fisher replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 17:28 GMT
Dear Attay Kremer,

Please excuse me for I have no intention of disparaging in any way any part of your essay.

I merely wish to point out that “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate.

Only nature could produce a reality so simple, a single cell amoeba could deal with it.

The real Universe must consist only of one unified visible infinite physical surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

A more detailed explanation of natural reality can be found in my essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY. I do hope that you will read my essay and perhaps comment on its merit.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Chris Broski replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 21:17 GMT

Thank you for the thoughtful response. I suppose that I believe that anything possible biologically is also possible mechanically. I can see how this is debatable, but I'd rather not spend effort on that because I don't think it is critical to the general topic of purpose/aim/intentions. A study where the removal of will via brain damage would be fascinating, but first we would have to agree on a rigorous definition of will. How would a person act differently if they did not have a will? (Other than conscious vs. unconscious.) I don't know, but am interested in suggestions.

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 10:20 GMT
Nice essay Kremer,

Your ideas and thinking are good, your way of writing is simple and good, best wishes…

I got some observations… for eg.,

“"Can physical problems be described by purpose?".”….

……………… Universe and bodies movement will be having a purpose…just have a look at my essay… “Distances, Locations, Ages and Reproduction of...

view entire post

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David Brown wrote on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 14:47 GMT
"A concept of causality is essential, since once cannot conceive of change, or of results of actions without one." Consider the question: What causes randomness? In the Bohr versus Einstein debates, Bohr argued for an interpretation of quantum mechanics involving semi-causality and semi-randomness while Einstein argued that the randomness involved in quantum mechanics was merely an incomplete theoretical development, which should ultimately be replaced by undiscovered causes or hidden causes in a totally causal model. My guess is that Bohr was about 2/3 correct and 1/3 incorrect, while Einstein was about 1/3 correct and 2/3 incorrect, on the issue of quantum randomness — Bohr was correct on the empirical findings and pragmatic philosophy but wrong on the fundamental philosophy – Einstein was wrong on the empirical findings and pragmatic philosophy but correct on the fundamental philosophy. My guess is that, per Fredkin and Wolfram, nature really is finite and digital. I say that Milgrom is the Kepler of contemporary cosmology — on the basis of the empirical evidence which now exists. I conjecture that string theory with the infinite nature hypothesis implies supersymmetry and no MOND, while string theory with the finite nature hypothesis implies MOND and no supersymmetry. Este-ce que je mérite un billet pour la ville de crackpot? Quand le train part-il?

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Héctor Daniel Gianni wrote on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 23:33 GMT
Dear Attay Kremer

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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Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 14:46 GMT

A good essay, well written and organized, right on topic and pertinent. It has helped me remain convinced that; "the question of the origin of purpose is problematic, due to purpose being an essential part of human experience.

I confess I'm less convinced that the best description of the implications of the the principle of least action is that 'a system strives to minimise' action as an 'aim' in the same way.

But I do identify a 'feedback loop' mechanism in my essay producing decisions and thus higher level 'intent' in a layered architecture equivalent to that of propositional dynamic (or 'modal') logic. ('Purpose' is then simply lower level decisions referring back to and serving a past higher level one.) I hope you may get to read it and comment.

Answering "Why do we want?" Do not good & bad outcomes and bio-chemical releases? direct preferences?

But yes, fundamentally I agree we're not driven by mathematical laws, which though useful I suggest are really only integer approximations, abstractions and distractions from understanding physical process.

Thanks for the interesting essay. Much underrated at 4 I think so deserving a boost.

Best of luck getting into the final group.


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Author Attay Kremer replied on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 14:56 GMT
Dear Peter,

Thank you so much for reading, and for your kind remarks.

When I claim that a physical system under the principle of least action has an intention to minimize said action, I mean to say that it is a principle which regards the behavior of the system over time, and thus requires a level of intent not shared by such laws as Newton's Universal Gravitation.

Looking forward to reading your essay.

Best of luck getting into the final group as well.


Don Limuti wrote on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 23:44 GMT
Hi Attay,

Thank you for a most readable thought provoking essay. Your conclusions (which match my own) are listed below:

1. The question: "How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?" is not a legitimate question. And finding a mechanical origin for Will, is fundamentally impossible.

2. We organize our experience of the world in the same way our minds are organized. We project the structure of our own thought onto our experience of the world.

Thus when a society trains mathematicians through years and years of study, it gets questions from mathematicians like: "How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?"

I approach this question with a dialog you may find interesting. Take a look.

Thanks so much for this clear view from a higher logical higher plane.

Don Limuti

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Author Attay Kremer replied on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 08:57 GMT
Dear Don,

Thank you for taking the time to read my essay, and for your most kind comments.

I am glad to see that you agree with my position, as so far I have mostly come across people with whom I disagree (at least regarding this topic).

I would be delighted to read your essay, and am looking forward to it; but I am unable to find it. If it wouldn't too much of a bother, a link would help a lot.

I'm also glad to read that your essay is in dialog form, as I wanted to write my own essay in a similar way.



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