Search FQXi

If you are aware of an interesting new academic paper (that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal or has appeared on the arXiv), a conference talk (at an official professional scientific meeting), an external blog post (by a professional scientist) or a news item (in the mainstream news media), which you think might make an interesting topic for an FQXi blog post, then please contact us at with a link to the original source and a sentence about why you think that the work is worthy of discussion. Please note that we receive many such suggestions and while we endeavour to respond to them, we may not be able to reply to all suggestions.

Please also note that we do not accept unsolicited posts and we cannot review, or open new threads for, unsolicited articles or papers. Requests to review or post such materials will not be answered. If you have your own novel physics theory or model, which you would like to post for further discussion among then FQXi community, then please add them directly to the "Alternative Models of Reality" thread, or to the "Alternative Models of Cosmology" thread. Thank you.

Contests Home

Current Essay Contest

Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.

Previous Contests

Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.

Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American


How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American

What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008

Forum Home
Terms of Use

Order posts by:
 chronological order
 most recent first

Posts by the author are highlighted in orange; posts by FQXi Members are highlighted in blue.

By using the FQXi Forum, you acknowledge reading and agree to abide by the Terms of Use

 RSS feed | RSS help


John Merryman: "The problem is that we do experience reality as those discrete flashes of..." in The Quantum...

Thomas Ray: "(reposted in correct thread) Lorraine, Nah. That's nothing like my view...." in 2015 in Review: New...

Lorraine Ford: "Clearly “law-of-nature” relationships and associated numbers represent..." in Physics of the Observer -...

Lee Bloomquist: "Information Channel. An example from Jon Barwise. At the workshop..." in Physics of the Observer -...

Lee Bloomquist: "Please clarify. I just tried to put a simple model of an observer in the..." in Alternative Models of...

Lee Bloomquist: "Footnote...for the above post, the one with the equation existence =..." in Alternative Models of...

Thomas Ray: "In fact, symmetry is the most pervasive physical principle that exists. ..." in “Spookiness”...

Thomas Ray: "It's easy to get wound around the axle with black hole thermodynamics,..." in “Spookiness”...

click titles to read articles

Why Time Might Not Be an Illusion
Einstein’s relativity pushes physicists towards a picture of the universe as a block, in which the past, present, and future all exist on the same footing; but maybe that shift in thinking has gone too far.

The Complexity Conundrum
Resolving the black hole firewall paradox—by calculating what a real astronaut would compute at the black hole's edge.

Quantum Dream Time
Defining a ‘quantum clock’ and a 'quantum ruler' could help those attempting to unify physics—and solve the mystery of vanishing time.

Our Place in the Multiverse
Calculating the odds that intelligent observers arise in parallel universes—and working out what they might see.

Sounding the Drums to Listen for Gravity’s Effect on Quantum Phenomena
A bench-top experiment could test the notion that gravity breaks delicate quantum superpositions.

March 18, 2018

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: A Proposal for an Expanded Paradigm by Paul R Martin [refresh]
Bookmark and Share
Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Author Paul R Martin wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 20:21 GMT
Essay Abstract

We propose the acceptance of Interactionist Cartesian Dualism and the reality of large, extra spatio-temporal dimensions. After presenting arguments for the plausibility of those ideas, we develop a scenario, along with the necessary mechanisms, which lead to an answer to our thematic question. In short, the answer is that aims and intentions precede mathematics which in turn precedes our Big-Bang-initiated 4D world. Aims and intentions give rise to mathematics, not the other way around. We notice that this proposal suggests new approaches to understanding Cosmogony.

Author Bio

Paul R. Martin, BS Math, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (1962). MS Math, Syracuse U. (1968), is a 76-year-old retired IBM Systems Engineer. Since retirement he has kept busy building a log home in the mountains, taking Great Courses from The Teaching Company, and thinking, reading, and writing about philosophy, history, mathematics, and other subjects. His only publications are on his website, and now this essay contest website.

Download Essay PDF File

Bookmark and Share

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote on Mar. 1, 2017 @ 16:02 GMT
hi paul, love the fact that you begin with a formal exploration of what consciousness actually is: it says to me that you are yourself a conscientious person. living in a log cabin in the woods clearly has benefits. question for you: why would the simple act writing down mathematical laws make them "mindless"?



Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Paul R Martin replied on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 19:43 GMT
Hi Luke,

Sorry for the late response. As you might have guessed, I have been in the mountains working on my log cabin.

Thank you for reading my essay and for your kind words. To answer your question, I think you would agree that mathematical expressions that exist in textbooks are mindless, wouldn't you? While the expressions are in the mind of the author, we would have to say they are as mindful as they ever get, and once they are written, there exists (for a while anyway) at least two different forms of the expressions: 1) the mindful one in the mind of the author (or maybe also in the minds of readers later on) and 2) the mindless one which is simply patterns of ink on book pages.

The act of writing converts mindful expressions to mindless ones. The act of reading does the reverse.

I'm not sure I understood your question correctly, but I hope that answers it.


Paul Martin

Bookmark and Share

Branko L Zivlak wrote on Mar. 1, 2017 @ 20:28 GMT
Dear Mr. Martin

You are right regarding the dimensions. You can see in my essays (2015 and 2017) that all is functioning quite well without dimensions. I think the story of the dimensions is wasting of time.

Best regards,

Branko Zivlak

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 16:52 GMT
Dear Paul R Martin,

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

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 4, 2017 @ 01:43 GMT
Nice essay Mr Martin,

Your ideas and thinking are excellent. Your words… ‘ we not only need to identify some place outside the brain where the seat of consciousness resides, but we also need to solve the mind/body problem’ …………..

Just for discussion sake, I feel : Mind is software and Brain is hardware of computer. I got some additional observations…


view entire post

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 01:40 GMT
Dear Paul,

Thank you very much for such nice question. Whatever you are thinking that is NOT a problem in Dynamic Universe Model; is not a problem at all. I am reproducing your full post here with my answers embedded; I did not remove any portion of your nice thinking and questions. Very good study.

Your words……….

I am glad that I could be of help concerning...

view entire post

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Paul R Martin replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 03:40 GMT
Dear Satyavarapu,

Somehow you have me confused with another person. I did not respond to you, nor did I ask you a question. I think your post belongs in a different thread.

Best regards,


Bookmark and Share

Richard David Stafford wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 20:30 GMT
Perhaps I misunderstood the essay goal; "How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?" I thought it was the consequences of those "mindless laws" which was the issue.

I read your essay and it struck me as making a great many presumptions,most of which essentially presumed modern theory is a valid foundation without defense.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Paul R Martin wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 05:16 GMT
Hello Dick,

I'm sure there is a lot of misunderstanding, or at least different interpretations, of the question of this contest. First of all, what "mindless mathematical laws" are we talking about? Are we assuming that there is such a set of laws which actually gave rise to our universe? And if so, are the currently accepted laws of physics part or all of those? And then, are we asking whether aims and intentions are consequences of those laws? (That seems to be how you interpret it.) Or are we assuming that the laws do indeed give rise to aims and intentions and we are asking how that happened? (I.e. what "breathes fire into the laws". That's the way I interpreted it.)

As for my essay, I did make a lot of presumptions. My seeming acceptance of modern theory is not foundational to my argument at all. Instead I choose not to challenge modern theory because it does not impact my argument which I claim goes on at a much higher level (in higher dimensions and outside the physical world). The physical world is simply one part of the greater reality and the Big Bang theory of its inception is as inconsequential to my presentation as if I had accepted some religion's creation theory.

But, of course, I think modern theory is on the right track for two reasons: First it explains a lot, and second because I consider you to have solved Hilbert's Sixth Problem, and since you demonstrate that Schrödinger's, Maxwell's, and Einstein's equations are all simply consequences of consistent mathematics it gives me confidence that modern theory is right.

Best regards,


Bookmark and Share

Gavin William Rowland wrote on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 11:52 GMT
Hi Paul

I like your essay for the reason that it goes after the hard problem of consciousness, and that you recognise that alternative approaches are worth pursuing. Certainly the behaviour we see at the quantum level leaves things open for some kind of "res cogitans" interacting with the brain in a bidirectional flow of information. I have done something similar to yours in an exploration of the possible role of dark energy in consciousness. The reference is on the final page of my essay "From nothingness to value ethics", in an open access journal.

Best regards


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Paul R Martin replied on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 19:26 GMT
Hi Gavin,

Thank you for reading and commenting on my essay. I hope you will read it again after you read my comments on your excellent essay, which I just posted.


Paul Martin

Bookmark and Share

Gavin William Rowland replied on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 10:04 GMT
Hi again Paul

I replied in my essay section to your comments. Our main point of difference (although there are many) is regarding the nature and substance of any extra dimensions.

I think you would find WJMander's book Idealist Ethics a good read. Here's a few others i enjoyed

Pylkkanen - Mind matter and the implicate Order

Maudlin - Quantum Nonlocality and relativity

Baggott - Farewell to Reality and Smolin's The trouble with Physics

Passmore's The Perfectibility of Man and Coward's The perfectibility of human nature in eastern and western thought

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Gary D. Simpson wrote on Mar. 18, 2017 @ 15:03 GMT

Thanks for an interesting read. The analogy of the Martian Rover was entertaining and fit well with the discussion of the Homunculus and recursion.

If you have not done so already, I recommend that you read Dr. Klingman's essay. He proposes a consciousness field that fits with your hypothesis very well.

Your observation regarding curved space-time needs some clarification. A curved line requires a 2-D plane. A curved plane requires a 3-D space. A curved 3-D space needs a 4-D space. So, the question then is whether or not this 4-D space is the last space. Is space curved in space-time, or is space-time curved in a 5-D space.

You might find my essay interesting. The title is "Five Part Harmony". I believe that space-time is curved in a 5-D space. And that gives plenty of room for consciousness to reside.

Best Regards and Good Luck,

Gary Simpson

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Don Limuti wrote on Apr. 3, 2017 @ 04:57 GMT
Hello Paul,

What I get from your essay is that consciousness is an evolving structure. And that aims and intentions give rise to mathematics, not the other way around.

Cats on laps should not be underestimated. I could not agree more.

Thanks for your essay.

Don Limuti

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Paul R Martin replied on Apr. 3, 2017 @ 15:53 GMT
Hello Don,

You read my essay correctly. Thank you for reading it.

And we agree about the importance of cats. As it happens, I have one on my lap again as I write this response.


Bookmark and Share

Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 11:04 GMT
Dear Sirs!

Physics of Descartes, which existed prior to the physics of Newton returned as the New Cartesian Physic and promises to be a theory of everything. To tell you this good news I use «spam».

New Cartesian Physic based on the identity of space and matter. It showed that the formula of mass-energy equivalence comes from the pressure of the Universe, the flow of force which on the corpuscle is equal to the product of Planck's constant to the speed of light.

New Cartesian Physic has great potential for understanding the world. To show it, I ventured to give "materialistic explanations of the paranormal and supernatural" is the title of my essay.

Visit my essay, you will find there the New Cartesian Physic and make a short entry: "I believe that space is a matter" I will answer you in return. Can put me 1.


Dizhechko Boris

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Please enter your e-mail address:
Note: Joining the FQXi mailing list does not give you a login account or constitute membership in the organization.