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Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest
December 24, 2019 - April 24, 2020
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What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
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Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
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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
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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
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Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
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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

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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Lorraine Ford: on 3/26/18 at 12:02pm UTC, wrote Thanks Brian.

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Lorraine Ford: on 3/26/18 at 0:31am UTC, wrote So, what is this “time” that Tim Maudlin is talking about [1]? E.g. if...

Brian Josephson: on 3/25/18 at 16:54pm UTC, wrote This view is now a bit out of date -- see...

Lorraine Ford: on 3/25/18 at 16:21pm UTC, wrote Initial: "Existing or occurring at the beginning"...

Brian Josephson: on 3/25/18 at 13:28pm UTC, wrote Could you define initial first of all?

Lorraine Ford: on 3/25/18 at 12:01pm UTC, wrote What do you mean by "eternal"? What is time? And does anything exist...

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FQXi FORUM
April 18, 2021

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: On the Fundamentality of Meaning by Brian D. Josephson [refresh]

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Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 16:22 GMT
Essay Abstract

The mainstream view of meaning is that it is emergent, not fundamental, but some have disputed this, asserting that there is a more fundamental level of reality than that addressed by current physical theories, and that matter and meaning are in some way entangled. In this regard there are intriguing parallels between the quantum and biological domains, suggesting that there may be a more fundamental level underlying both. I argue that the organisation of this fundamental level is already to a considerable extent understood by biosemioticians, who have fruitfully integrated Peirce’s sign theory into biology; things will happen there resembling what happens with familiar life, but the agencies involved will differ in ways reflecting their fundamentality, in other words they will be less complex, but still have structures complex enough for what they have to do. According to one approach involving a collaboration with which I have been involved, a part of what they have to do, along with the need to survive and reproduce, is to stop situations becoming too chaotic, a concept that accords with familiar ‘edge of chaos’ ideas. Such an extension of sign theory (semiophysics?) needs to be explored by physicists, possible tools being computational models, existing insights into complexity, and dynamical systems theory. Such a theory will not be mathematical in the same way that conventional physics theories are mathematical: rather than being foundational, mathematics will be ‘something that life does’, something that sufficiently evolved life does because in the appropriate context so doing is of value to life.

Author Bio

I am emeritus professor in the Physics Department of the University of Cambridge, where I acquired my bachelor and doctoral degrees. I am also a Fellow of Trinity College in the University. As a graduate student I carried out, along with an experimental project, the theoretical work for which I was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973. Subsequently my interests changed to the issue of Mind–Matter Unification, and presently I am examining the question of the relevance of biosemiotics to this issue.

Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 17:58 GMT
Greetings Professor Josephson,

It is good to see your essay appear here Brian, and I hope you will find a warm reception common in this forum. I already know that there are at least a few individuals who will find your approach refreshing, because it radically includes life or assumes it should be included, where excluding life from the picture in Physics or regarding it as emergent is more common. Since I've had the chance to get a preview; I know what you are offering here is worthwhile to consider. So I wanted to welcome you to the field of contributors here at FQXi.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jack Sarfatti wrote on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 18:54 GMT
You are mixing cognitive science with the simple physics, and it is simple not “hard”, of how consciousness emerges in many different kinds of material substrates when they are pumped properly with external energy flows - metabolic molecular mechanisms in carbon-based life forms - not the only sentient matter configurations in our universe.

I have no objection to your paper as a...

view entire post

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Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 19:14 GMT
I've heard this all before from you, Jack. It's clear that the depth of understanding of these matters that you have is very limited, whilst other, more qualified people who have seen the essay previously have made very positive comments. I'm not aware of there having been similar approval of your 'Popper-falsifiable' ideas (apart from the Iran's followers that you cite).

Let's keep this discussion out of the forum, it is meant for people who understand the issues.

Jack Sarfatti replied on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 21:15 GMT
That is really not for you to decide on what is constructive peer review. You should leave that up to others.

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 23:07 GMT
According to Dr. Sarfatti:

"That is really not for you to decide on what is constructive peer review."

As I understand it, it is perfectly in order for an author to respond to criticisms of his own essay, but I have to admit that my response above was strongly coloured by irritating past exchanges with this individual. Let me then address some of the technical issues.

1) No arguments are given for why cognitive science should not be mixed with 'simple physics', whatever that term may mean. It may be the case, as I do argue in the essay, that there is a level below that covered by present day physics where cognitive science concepts (and biosemiotic ones) are relevant, and that is certainly a possibility that is relevant in the context of this competition.

2) I am glad that Sarfatti considers it a 'well-written intuitive philosophical paper for laypeople and beginning science-physics-biotech students'. As it happens there are more highly qualified people than that who have also considered it well-written and of philosophical relevance and who have not expressed the view that it is not for them.

3) Considering that the only valid research requires Popper falsifiability is an out of date point of view. And perhaps Dr. Sarfatti stopped reading the essay before he got to the point where I say "Science does however possess tools that should prove adequate to taking these ideas further, for example computer modelling (which served to disclose the existence of the previously unsuspected phenomena of chaos and the edge of chaos), dynamical systems theory, and studies involving complexity".

4) Others here may well not accept the view that "Or, why Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli, Born, Schrödinger, Oppenheimer, Feynman. Wheeler, von Neumann and Einstein were all wrong about quantum mechanics.", and may indeed find it rather surprising.

5) "The self-organizing action-reaction loops provide the “regulation” synchronized by the macro-quantum non-equilibrium post-quantum coherence (the seat of the soul)." Have you proved that? What are the detailed mechanics involved, since you demand the same of me? The explorations of myself and colleagues are going some way to being able to characterise the details of how regulation works.

That's enough for now!

Jack Sarfatti replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 18:00 GMT
According to Dr. Sarfatti:

"That is really not for you to decide on what is constructive peer review."

As I understand it, it is perfectly in order for an author to respond to criticisms of his own essay, but I have to admit that my response above was strongly coloured by irritating past exchanges with this individual. Let me then address some of the technical issues.

Jack: We...

view entire post

attachments: 1_SarfattiShimansky11252017v3.pdf

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Jack Sarfatti wrote on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 21:13 GMT
Alternative post-Bohmian mathematical formulation of the essential features of Josephson's program i.e. signals in the sense of transmitting useful messages between node of the complex entanglement networks and the self-organizing regulation of the organism from the wave action particle reaction Frohlich coherence pumping.

attachments: SarfattiShimansky11252017v3.pdf

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 18:31 GMT
I'm afraid I don't find the paper that you link to to be a very coherent explanation for your claim that: Alternative post-Bohmian mathematical formulation of the essential features of Josephson's program i.e. signals in the sense of transmitting useful messages between node of the complex entanglement networks and the self-organizing regulation of the organism from the wave action particle reaction Frohlich coherence pumping. Maybe it could benefit from redrafting.

Jack Sarfatti replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 18:59 GMT
Try harder Brian. I have given equations in that paper for

1) the action-reaction self-organizing mind-matter strange loop (Doug Hofstader sense) from Sutherland's paper.

2) How the effective temperature of many-particle systems pumped with EM at resonant frequencies and wave vectors is lowered to give Frohlich "laser-like" coherence in a wide variety of systems.

3) How that...

view entire post

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Jack Sarfatti replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 19:14 GMT
"I'm afraid I don't find the paper that you link to to be a very coherent explanation for your claim that: Alternative post-Bohmian mathematical formulation of the essential features of Josephson's program i.e. signals in the sense of transmitting useful messages between node of the complex entanglement networks and the self-organizing regulation of the organism from the wave action particle...

view entire post

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Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 23:10 GMT
According to Dr. Sarfatti:

"That is really not for you to decide on what is constructive peer review."

As I understand it, it is perfectly in order for an author to respond to criticisms of his own essay, but I have to admit that my response above was strongly coloured by irritating past exchanges with this individual. Let me then address some of the technical issues.

1) No...

view entire post

Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 23:14 GMT
Sorry about the duplicate — I thought the original had not gone through. I wonder, though if it is appropriate for Dr. Sarfatti to use this thread as a vehicle for advertising his own position, which is what he seems to be doing?

Jack Sarfatti replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 18:10 GMT
It is appropriate because I clam that my paper is needed to complete and make more precise what you are claiming in too vague a fashion. You are trying to connect physics to biology in a fundamental way are you not?

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 18:48 GMT
See my response to Andrew Beckwith re the vagueness issue.

Jack, if you are quite clear that your work can complete mine, then excellent! But you will I think need to do quite a bit more work before you will be in a position to demonstrate just how the two approaches fit together, what you've said so far being insufficient to achieve this. In other words, since you insist upon equations, you will need to formulate your extension in terms of equations, stating precisely what the relationships between the two descriptions are. Go for it, Jack!

Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 00:10 GMT
Alternative version with footnotes on the same page

The competition required footnotes to be collected at the end of the essay. For those who find it more convenient to have them at the bottom of the page instead, you can find an alternative version at https://philpapers.org/archive/JOSOTF.pdf (apart from the placing of footnotes, the text there is identical to the version here, except for the addition of a link to this page in the alternative version).

Andrew Beckwith wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 04:19 GMT
Hi, Brian

As we discussed in FFP in Spain, you use biological processes to add enough information to complement purely physical processes so as to have self organizing criticality of the physical systems you are observing

There is much more than this involved, but this appears to be a start and I congratulate you on bringing this viewpoint to FQXI

Andy

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 16:31 GMT
Thanks for your comment, Andy. This essay is purely about principles, and we are in fact hoping to take things further. In the abstract of my paper How observers create reality I say "[Wheeler's] creative process is accounted for on the basis of the idea that nature has a deep technological aspect that evolves as a result of selection processes that act upon observers making use of the...

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Anonymous wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 11:07 GMT
"Meaning fails to show up in the world of physics simply because the kind of situations that physicist prefer to investigate are ones where meaning has no significant influence on the outcome ..." To what extent does meaning determine what physicists investigate and how they do the investigations? I have suggested that Newton's law of gravity is (non-relativistically) slightly wrong, i.e. dark-matter-compensation-constant = sort((60±10)/4) * 10^-5 . However, the gravitational metrologists, on the basis of the meaning of Newtonian-Einsteinian gravitational theory, reject my suggestion. To what extent is meaning determined by culture and history?

post approved
David Brown replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 15:24 GMT
The word "sort" should be "sqrt" — the word correction algorithm modified my abbreviation for square-root.

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 15:48 GMT
Culture and history do have profound influences on physics as you say, and this is one of my interests, as for example in regard to the way arXiv's policies may adversely influence the advance of knowledge (see Vital resource should be open to all physicists, Nature 433 (800), Feb. 24, 2005). But that is not what this essay is about.

Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 12:57 GMT
Dear Brian D. Josephson, your deep reasoning needs a deep mind. However, the fundamental must be simple and understandable, it must save our thinking, taking into account the limitations of the human resource. In the "skyscraper" that I write about in your essay, you live between the upper and lower floors, because you are drawn to go down through biology to what is the basis of life. Before establishing the intricacies of quantum states with living phenomena, one must know the essence of quantum mechanics. New Cartesian Physics, which I discovered, claims that the cause of quantum phenomena in the existence of the pressure of the universe, which overcomes the space, to begin oscillations. The physical space, which according to Descartes is matter, serves as the foundation for the birth of life.

I wish you success!

Sincerely, Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich.

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 15:23 GMT
Thanks for your comment, Dizhechko. That's one interpretation of 'fundamental', but physicists tend to view things differently: as I said they look for theories that are as universal and wide-ranging as possible.

In any case, the complexities associated with my approach are not there at the root: 'semiotic scaffolding' has a simple definition, and it is only when one asks 'what are the implications of this idea?' that things start to get complicated.

Joe Fisher replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 17:13 GMT
Dear Professor Brian D. Josephson,

Reliable evidence exists that proves that the surface of the earth was formed millions of years before man and his utterly complex finite informational systems ever appeared on that surface. It logically follows that Nature must have permanently devised the only single physical construct of earth allowable.

All objects, be they solid, liquid, or vaporous have always had a visible surface. This is because the real Universe consists only of one single unified VISIBLE infinite surface occurring eternally in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated mostly by finite non-surface light.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Jack Sarfatti replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 19:07 GMT
" New Cartesian Physics, which I discovered, claims that the cause of quantum phenomena in the existence of the pressure of the universe, which overcomes the space, to begin oscillations. The physical space, which according to Descartes is matter, serves as the foundation for the birth of life."

I have no need of that hypothesis. ;-)

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Alan M. Kadin wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 16:22 GMT
Dear Prof. Josephson,

First, congratulations on your contribution to the FQXi essay contest. I understand that you long ago moved out of the field of superconducting devices, but my career was based on your junctions. (I was a student of the late Michael Tinkham, whom you might remember.)

Regarding your essay, I’m not sure that I understand your key points. Are you saying that...

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 17:53 GMT
Re your 'Are you saying that mind is more fundamental than mathematics, and that fundamental physical laws are no more than creations of the mind?', that's a complicated issue. The critical issue is that what a scaffolding does, in terms of success at some enterprise, does depend on physics, and maths is involved there. But under certain circumstances systems that can 'do maths' could emerge, as indeed happens when we ourselves learn to 'do maths'. But again the question of whether the maths that emerges is correct arises. Intuitively what we learn is related to what is correct, but the situation is not that simple in that we can perfectly well acquire an idea that is incorrect. So an important issue is how is it that we tend to get things correct (and even the fact that the inferences that we make are on the whole valid needs explaining: if this did not generally happen we would be in a real mess). Tentatively I'd explain this by invoking Yardley's pi, an agency responsible for reliability, and hypothesise that agencies that generate 'bad' results tend to crash or whatever so there are not so many of them around. But this all needs to be spelt out in more detail.

It is again saying that I am logged in at the bottom of the screen, and I trust it is correct this time!

Anonymous wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 17:36 GMT
Thanks, Alan. Yes, I do remember Michael Tinkham.

Your evolution question is the easier to answer. I'm not at all denying that human evolution occurs (and neither do Intelligent Design supporters, who are often misrepresented as such). What I say in the essay is something quite different, namely that the assertion that the emergence of mankind is completely accounted for by current theories of evolution is not correct, being for example like asserting that the tides are completely accounted for by the gravitational attraction of the Moon when in reality the Sun also has an effect. Here JS's comment 'show me the maths' is relevant: evolution of species is generally not dealt with quantitatively and a number of people have concluded that the calculations if one were able to do them would not account for what is observed. This leaves open the possibility of (for example) there being some kind of monitoring process that may decide that the behaviour associated with some random mutation is one that should be supported in some way. One might link this with the semiotic scaffolding idea which I quote:

“The decisive cause for the birth of a new functional gene would be a lucky conjunction of two events: (1) an already existing non-functional gene might acquire a new "meaning" through integration into a functional (transcribed) part of the genome, and (2) this gene-product would hit an unfilled gap in the "semiotic needs" of the cell or the embryo."

In other words, some mutation would be recognised as dealing with an 'unfulfilled gap' in the context of the way Yardley's 'idea of man' gets realised.

I'll deal with your other main point separately.

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 17:39 GMT
Brian Josephson: That was my post up above. It said at the bottom that I was logged in but the system seems to have changed its mind when I pressed submit.

Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 23:35 GMT
What's this all about, then?

I'm getting a sense that people are having a hard time figuring out 'what's the great idea?', which since probably very few of you have ever heard of semiotics, let alone semiotics, may not be surprising. I'll start with the assumption that most people's background is in physics, so you will be familiar with quantum mechanics and the question of 'what...

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Jack Sarfatti replied on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 00:27 GMT
"I'm getting a sense that people are having a hard time figuring out 'what's the great idea?',"

Jack: Exactly

" which since probably very few of you have ever heard of semiotics, let alone semiotics, may not be surprising. I'll start with the assumption that most people's background is in physics, so you will be familiar with quantum mechanics and the question of 'what does it all...

view entire post

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David Brown replied on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 14:37 GMT
"So to summarise: biology involves a different kind of ordering to regular physical systems — just consider how different what happens in biological systems is from the case of physical systems. We can use tools developed in that context to probe deeper into nature, if it is the case that mysterious nature departs from the pictures presumed in physics and instead adopts this alternative kind of order at this hypothesised deeper level." What scientific or intellectual background is needed to pursue this? Would one need to be familiar with the ideas in the following?

Biosemiotics (journal), en.wikipedia

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 15:53 GMT
The ideal would be Jesper Hoffmeyer's book entitled Semiotics, which covers a very wide area, but just looking at his paper on semiotic scaffolding, which is in my reference list including a link to the paper on the web, would be fine. Also there's a close link to Complexity Biology (we plan to follow this up), and for that there's Alex Hankey's essay in this competition, and for more detail his paper entitled A Complexity Basis for Phenomenology, now also on the web, which discusses how critical phenomena fit in.

Jack Sarfatti wrote on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 00:50 GMT
"Question: why should these esoteric ideas matter as far as physics goes? The answer I think is this: let’s suppose that people are right to say that this mystery realm is essentially biological. In that case we need to use biological tools to make sense of what is happening there, and not just blindly hope that the methods currently in use in fundamental physics will in the end do the job."

The essential physical difference between living matter and dead matter is simple. You have made it more complex than it really is.

Dead matter obeys orthodox quantum theory with zero action-reaction in the sense of Sutherland.

Living matter obeys post-quantum theory with non-zero action-reaction etc.

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 09:21 GMT
Readers of this thread need to be aware that 'post quantum theory' is Sarfatti's own private theory, not one accepted by any journal to the best of my knowledge, and possibly not accepted by any other scientist. It is true that my colleague Mike Towler many years ago summarised Jack's position in a lecture on pilot wave theory, and Jack has been quoting this ever since. End of message.

Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 04:15 GMT
If I may interject...

As I state below; I think Jack makes a compelling case for PQM being worth investigating, and offers a patchwork of ideas and evidence showing it might yield an explanation for consciousness, but the paper with Shimansky attached above does not provide such compelling proof it justifies some of the claims made. That does not rule out the possibility that much of what Jack is saying might be true.

However; I think there is a fundamental difference in what Jack and Brain are trying to explain, and that Brian's essay or the validity of any concepts therein should not be rejected simply because another framework explains some of the same phenomena. I personally feel there is a profound difference between quantum information and life or perception - though there is an obvious and tantalizing connection.

It is silly to imagine that the existence of PQM as a possible explanatory framework invalidates Brian's work, or makes the notion of scaffolding or other concepts from biosemiotics introduced in this essay less worthy to investigate. But claims like Sarfatti's, that his preferred formulation makes other work irrelevant are seen as suspect by astute readers like myself, and generally cause me to be suspicious about what flaws are being hidden.

As covered in my comment below; I discussed the related picture from decoherence with Brian, before the contest, and he explained how it is different from his work. But as I have previously said to Jack the global wavefunction used by Zeh contains both advanced and retarded waves, so it automatically includes the retrocausal components. That is; one can obtain a similar picture as Jack's simply by relating the local and global perspective a la Zeh.

But quantum information is not the same as meaning.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 16:06 GMT
Professor Josephson,

You present two essential and complementary, but oppositional concepts, with meaning and circularity, given that meaning is goal oriented and thus linear.

Linearity is temporal and circularity is thermodynamic.

I think our big problem with understanding time is that since thought functions as flashes of perception, we experience time as the present...

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 21:54 GMT
Thanks for your thoughts -- there's too much there to comment on in detail!

John Brodix Merryman replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 01:06 GMT
Professor Josephson,

Thank you for your consideration. I've come at these issues from a more social and political direction. In trying to figure out why the world is such a mess and unpacking problems, keep find further layers of assumptions, on which they are built.

In the East, the past is considered to be in front of the observer and the future behind, because the past and what...

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 21:51 GMT
Dear Fellow Essayists

This will be my final plea for fair treatment.,

Reliable evidence exists that proves that the surface of the earth was formed millions of years before man and his utterly complex finite informational systems ever appeared on that surface. It logically follows that Nature must have permanently devised the only single physical construct of earth...

view entire post

post approved

Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 01:01 GMT
Prof. Josephson,

What is fundamental is what the universe is and does before we look or even think about it.

The universe existence and happening follows the rule of non-contradiction, basic logic! So, the universe works by the same basic principle that we use for thinking. The same principle we use in all our truth making activities, physics, maths etc. The only access to this level is a bottom-up creation according to the rule of non-contradiction. The idea is to leave the realm of our “need to know” and consider what the universe needs to exist and happen.

.... The scaffolding approach may offer generality, but it departs from simplicity.

Best of luck,

Marcel,

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 09:10 GMT
You are right, this approach does depart from simplicity. But if reality is inherently biological it will not be simple and we have to accept that, as biologists have to do in conducting their trade. One tries to make things 'as simple as possible, but no simpler', as it is said Einstein said once.

Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 03:28 GMT
Greetings Professor Josephson,

I enjoyed your essay, in its final form, as I did the draft I had the privilege to see before you posted this. You do address the question of what is fundamental in Physics, and you do it in a most unique and novel way. I'm glad I was introduced to your recent work via the talk you gave at the Elche campus of UMH (Universidad Miguel Hernandez) for FFP15 - because this gave me a lot more time to consider your novel ideas, and to let the ramifications sink in.

I will admit also here that my initial reaction was a naive impulse similar to Jack's, that I was put off by your terminology, but that I could convey some aspects of your message to Physics folks better - by casting it in the language of quantum mechanics. I inform the readers here that in my e-mail to you, Brian, I referenced the paper "There are no Quantum Jumps, nor are there Particles!" by H.D. Zeh where quantum information in the wavefunction is more fundamental than material reality.

But you were kind to point out the differences in the pictures suggested by decoherence theory and biosemiotics, and how that relates to your central thesis that meaning is fundamental. What you are talking about is a shift of emphasis beyond the framework Jack Sarfatti uses to explain how consciousness arises. After reading the paper with Shimansky he posted above; I see that he has shown there is something worthwhile to investigate, but is making excessive claims as to its validity or universality - given the level of evidence or proof offered.

I like what you have done here Brian, and I don't think you are making any excessive statements that would prompt me to exclude your ideas from careful consideration.

All the Best, JJD

attachments: 1_no-quantum-jumps.pdf

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 09:44 GMT
Many thanks for your thoughts, Jonathon. Rather than saying one should cast one's ideas in quantum language, I'd suggest one should complement them with quantum language and insights. So one might say that 'vibrations' are part of the picture and that there is a real collapse process under certain conditions, relating in Barad's terms to the actions of agencies. But then (connecting here with the approach of Stapp, who argues that mind is not included properly in QM) one would have to ask what is agency? Can decoherence theory really do this, or does it get one into issues with many-worlds? Also, I think it is an essential to start off with the correct picture, and people will make the effort to learn the basics once they start to see that the semiotic picture initiated by Peirce is the way ahead.

One more point: I don't know if it was in the draft that I sent you or not, but at one point I included reference to the link between a statement by Yardley ending with the crucial phrase ad infinitum, and the concept of fractality or scale invariance. I've realised now that this is very relevant and will detail it separately. Let me say here just that it can be thought of as a radical extension of Feynman's idea 'there's plenty of room at the bottom!' (in effect an anticipation of nanotechnology).

Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 10:02 GMT
Apologies for misspelling your name (it was the keyboard what done it!).

Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 14:57 GMT
Excellent!

I'll be interested to see what develops, or to research further myself how fractality enters the picture. I see that as nature's way to squeeze more detail into a smaller space, or to compress details appearing in higher dimensions onto the lower-dimensional structures and constructs.

All the Best,

Jonathan

p.s. - no offense taken

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basudeba mishra wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 05:12 GMT
Dear Sir,

You have raised some interesting and important issues. Fundamental with reference to something is that component, which forms a necessary base, which is central to its existence. The view that matter and meaning are intricately entangled, goes back to thousands of years. The Nyaya Sootram of ancient India, which is a book on research methodology, and other texts describe it in...

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 09:50 GMT
I'm sorry you can't see what I wrote as being an extension of what others have written.

Francesco D'Isa wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 08:25 GMT
Dear professor Josephson,

thank you for your insightful essay, which I found deep and pleasurable to read. The whole idea of Biosemiosis is very interesting, and the shift of perspective about "meaning" seems full of potential. I enjoyed the idea to think about things in term of "doings"; it reminded me very much the famous quote from Wittgenstein: "The world is the totality of facts, not of things". I also find correct to consider matter itself as a meaning, since its properties are such just in relation to something else.

I was wondering, if “meaning” should be considered as fundamental, how can we manage the fact that it's always a relative concept, since something means something just in relation to something else? Why should the related form be biological, and not of some other kind? Shouldn’t we consider relation itself as more fundamental?

All the best, and thank you again,

Francesco D’Isa

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 09:58 GMT
In regard to your questioning the fundmentality of meaning, I offer the following quote by Lewis Carroll (to some extent implicit in the blurb relating to this essay):

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that's all.”

Apart from that, I agree that relationships are important. A number of different concepts are all tied in together.

Francesco D'Isa replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 10:25 GMT
Thank you for your nice reply, that's a wonderful quote for sure.

> Apart from that, I agree that relationships are important. A number of different concepts are all tied in together.

I agree as well, my text for this contest is a philosophical attempt to consider them fundamental.

All the best, and thank you again,

Francesco D'Isa

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Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 10:58 GMT
Turtles all the way down, Plenty of room at the bottom, and all that.

Here are some comments that may help picturing my proposals (by a modest amount, at least). The above are both references to the idea that important things including organised activity can be going on at deep levels of reality, as does Bohm's idea that I quoted: ‘meaning is capable of an indefinite extension to...

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John Brodix Merryman replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 11:35 GMT
Professor Josephson,

One way I see processes and entities being distinct is that they effectively go opposite directions of time.

Think in terms of a factory, where the product goes start to finish, while the process points the other direction, consuming material and expelling product.

Life is similar, in that individuals go from birth to death, their lives being in the...

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Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 11:25 GMT
Version with notes at bottom of the page instead of end

The rules require notes to be at the end, but if people prefer them to be at the bottom of the page I've uploaded an alternative in this format to PhilPapers, downloadable at https://philpapers.org/rec/JOSOTF. I may later upload an extended version with additional thoughts such as those presented here, keeping the essay as it is. I've also uploaded this version to the physics preprint archive, but ...

/gripe begins

... the archive moderators, bless their tiny minds, have 'put it on hold' rather than making it public right away as is the norm. I gather from Ginsparg that all abstracts are run through an 'intelligent algorithm' to decide if a paper is OK. If the algorithm says it is unsure then it goes to arXiv's moderator team who scratch their heads when they look at my input. The perfectly reasonable conference proceedings 'Consciousness and the Physical World' was stuck on hold for 2 whole months before the moderators decided it was OK for the world to have access to it.

/gripe ends

Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 14:52 GMT
Regarding arXiv shenanigans...

This is precisely why Phil Gibbs founded viXra, the alternative academic archive, because many people including full professors have found similar problems, suffering rejections, delays, or reclassification of preprints to gen-ph even when those same papers were later published in respected journals. There seems to be no recourse or protocol for the redress of grievances either. Raising an objection has gotten some people banned from arXiv entirely. This is why I am part of the support team for viXra, and will not even consider submitting papers to arXiv.

Regards,

Jonathan

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 15:39 GMT
I'm aware of viXra, but that doesn't have the feature that arXiv has that subscribers to a given list get daily lists of new abstracts, which is why reclassification combined with 'this paper is inappropriate for crosslisting' is so regrettable. Actually, there is an appeal process you can find if you look in help, something like emailing moderation@arxiv.org, and I appealed successfully once this way when a submission of mine was totally barred.

If you have a bit of time to spare, you might find the following articles enlightening in regard to arXiv:

Covert censorship by the physics preprint archive (extract follows)

It is just an ordinary day at the headquarters of the physics preprint archive. The operators are going through their daily routine and are discussing what to do about recent emails:

'Some "reader complaints" have come in regarding preprints posted to the archive by Drs. Einstein and Yang. Dr. Einstein, who is not even an academic, claims to have shown in his preprint that mass and energy are equivalent, while Professor Yang is suggesting, on the basis of an argument I find completely unconvincing, that parity is not conserved in weak interactions. What action shall I take?'

'Abject nonsense! Just call up their records and set their 'barred' flags to TRUE.'

'And here's a letter from one 'Hans Bethe' supporting an author whose paper we deleted from the archive as being 'inappropriate'.'

'Please don't bother me with all these day to day matters! Prof. Bethe is not in the relevant 'field of expertise', so by rule 23(ii) we simply ignore anything he says. Just delete his email and send him rejection letter #5.'

Vital resource should be open to all physicists

Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 17:24 GMT
Thanks for replying Brian,

I agree that with arXiv as the de facto standard; it has become a vital resource that should be open to all physicists. If our work is perfected and polished enough to be published in a proceedings volume or journal, or to appear as a chapter in a volume of academic work, it is wholly inappropriate for the arXiv folks to pass judgement that unduly restricts access or relegates papers to a category like gen-ph where they may never be found.

It is well-known that it is nearly impossible to get a paper posted in hep-th unless it has a String Theory lineage. I have met and/or heard lectures by some of ST's most prominent figures, but I think it is a grave mistake to regard it as the only game in town. I can see why people like Geoffrey Dixon become curmudgeons, because they are not taken seriously by mainstream scientists regardless of the predictive power their proposed framework offers.

So I am not convinced that arXiv could ever be fair or will ever live up to its mandate and promise. It is a good idea gone bad!

Regards,

Jonathan

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Domenico Oricchio wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 14:22 GMT
Thank you for participating in this contest.

It is a brief, interesting and rich in content essay; I have to digest it.

The semiotic approach, if I understand well, applied to the physics it is like a physical system influence (it is coded) in the experimental observation.

If the biosemiotic was applied to robotics, using the parallelism with the new functional genes and agents, then would the robot evolution be possible, with a complex scaffolding?

The simulation of the Caenorhabditis elegans could provide some information on the semiotic scaffolding of Openworm project?

I think that biosemiotic work well in biology, but the writing of a differential equation for a dynamics system is not semiotic for mathematical symbols?

Regards

Domenico

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MIROSLAW KOZLOWSKI replied on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 11:29 GMT
Professor Josephson

Ive admirred your Essay ( as all your works!) I am also in opinion that "biologisation) of science can help to understanding it

My best regards

M.Kozłowski

Emeritus Professor Warsaw University

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 17:18 GMT
Prof. Josephson,

In my opinion, Life is but the normal extension or evolution of what the universe does. Life is a recipe for an even better dispersion of energy in space and time than that of the simple black body. As for “simple”, I am getting to it in my essay. I am taking the old “substance” and “cause” approach and it gives interesting insight in the matter.

All the bests,

Marcel,

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Branko L Zivlak wrote on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 12:38 GMT
Professor Josephson,

This is of interest to me:

"And why are there these constantly changing but in some ways staying the same 'entities'? That's because there are emergent mechanisms that achieve this: 'entities are always part of a process'… "

And indeed, physics giants have often come to discoverys with thinking about processes, not about things (Newton, Kepler, Planck ...). The entire Boskovic Philosophiae naturalis is about the forces that drive nature. I think that Bošković anticipated much of what was later discovered, probably regarding the topics of your essay too. My question is:

Why is Boskovic very little quoted in modern science? And

Do you agree? Plancks units are 'entities that are always part of a process'. So there is no beginning of the universe with the Planck time. Planck time rather is an entity in the flow of the universe.

Regards,

Branko

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John-Erik Persson wrote on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 15:31 GMT
Professor Josephson

Thank you very much for a deep and thought provocative article.

A short question: Do you think that we could change causality in Bohm's theory? Instead of a wave guiding a particle we could assume a particle to generate a real wave function. Think about a boat moving in water.

Best regards from ______________ John-Erik Persson

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 15:33 GMT
Jack Sarfatti is the main defender of the original Bohm theory (not the later Bohm that I quoted), so you need to ask him.

John-Erik Persson replied on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 18:30 GMT
Jack Sarfatti

If you read this: What is your opinion regarding my question to Josephson?

Regards from ________________ John-Erik Persson

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 19:43 GMT
However, I am aware of recent expts. suggesting that there is a connection between the pilot wave theory and what happens with ordinary water drops. Here is a link to an article about this: https://www.wired.com/2014/06/the-new-quantum-reality. But, if you think about it, it sends to support my approach to the extent that it shows that you do not have to invoke early Bohm to get analogues to QM effects.

Christophe Tournayre wrote on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 18:19 GMT
Dear Professor Josephson,

It is not easy to comment your essay. I found it interesting and very accessible. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Introducing biology and siemiosis into the equation is judicious to me. I am more sceptical on simple living organism examples. I wish you would have focused on the brain and its interaction with its environment.

Kind regards,

Christophe

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 18:22 GMT
My FFP15 talk, which goes into a lot more detail, is uploading to our university's media system at this very moment. I'll post notification when it becomes available for viewing.

Andrei Kirilyuk wrote on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 20:41 GMT
Dear Professor Josephson,

I am interested in your work presented here, also because I have my own, scientifically rigorous arguments in favour of the probable existence (necessity) of "other", biologically active levels of reality, not (yet) directly observable, but ontologically real. And I obtain this conclusion with the help of extended (reality-based and causally complete) mathematics of "unreduced dynamic complexity", corresponding to the description at the end of your essay abstract. You can find some major points in my essay here, with much more details in references therein. This is to say that the necessary mathematical framework may already exist, with clear signs of its efficiency. And what's interesting, it is the same one that helps to clarify "quantum mysteries" and other accumulated "contradictions" of standard science framework at "usual" fundamental levels of physical reality.

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 8, 2018 @ 22:30 GMT
I've just been looking at your essay. The ideas sound similar to mine but my way of introducing them may be simpler. I hope to have a coherent presentation before too long, but need to slot the pieces clearly together (which my main critic in this thread seems to be notably unable to do in the way he presents his own rival picture!).

Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 21:52 GMT
Explanatory Video now on line

The lecture I gave in November 2017 at the Frontiers of Fundamental Physics 15 conference is now online, complete with slides, in a range of formats at https://sms.cam.ac.uk/media/2657924. It goes into a lot more detail than was possible in this essay, and is strongly recommended for those wanting to understand more. The slides are also available separately, at http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/Documents/Spain-2017.pdf
.

Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 12:44 GMT
Video now also on youtube

In the youtube version, at https://youtu.be/-Bv5vsZzX6Q, you can vote and add comments, as well as viewing the video.

Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 04:30 GMT
I wanted to bring to your attention...

There has just appeared an essay by Todd L Duncan entitled "What if Meaning is Fundamental?" asking as you do if meaning is an attribute fundamental to Physics.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 12:28 GMT
The grip that preconceptions have on one's mind

To be serious now (following my dig at arXiv above, 'the physics revolution will not be brought to you by arXiv', etc.), I've been starting to realise the necessity of tearing oneself away from one's preconceptions as to what reality is like, and as to what one's model of reality should be like. Karen Barad is quoted as saying ‘Matter feels, converses, suffers, desires, yearns and remembers'. That sounds absurd, but might it actually be true? Is it not possible that some kind of supermicroscope able to see matter at the femtometre scale would support such a picture, more or less what the fractal/scale-invariance postulate suggests?

Once one as able to throw off the idea that Barad's claims are absurd, one can put on again one's scientific glasses, and see that this is a messy situation but that a number of methodologies may be possible, each addressing the issues in its own unique style. I concentrated on biosemiotic concepts in my essay, but Hankey's approach involving critical fluctations may also have things to say, as well as Yardley's Circular Theory. And again the approach that Sarfatti advocates, involving pilot waves and circular causation, may also have value but, as Jonathan points out, claims like Sarfatti's, claiming that his preferred formulation makes other work irrelevant, are highly suspect. One should make things as simple as possible, but not too simple!

John Brodix Merryman replied on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 23:03 GMT
Prof. Josephson,

If you really want to irritate people enough for them to take notice, why not raise the issue as a point of philosophy, rather than science?

For one thing, what you propose is the source of consciousness as an element, rather than an ideal and that is a very real threat tot he logic of monotheistic religion. That a spiritual absolute would be the essence from which we rise, not an ideal from which we fell.

Given that religion is a top down cultural frame, it would also bring up some basic social and biological issues. Such as that good and bad are not a cosmic duel between the forces of righteousness and evil, but the basic biological and emotional binary of attraction to the beneficial and repulsion of the detrimental. What is good for the fox, is bad for the chicken.

Though in order to function as a coherent entity, a society needs some basic moral compass. Hence top down religious institutions.

This would open a very large Pandora's Box, but it might also give humanity some clue as to why life has so much grey areas and complexity. Looking around the world today and the impending limits being approached, we might need to wake up a little more.

Get that ball rolling and the scientists will have to take notice.

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Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 06:31 GMT
Dear Brian D. Josephson,

I read your essay and the accompanying comments here. Good that you question a lot which is held to be true at the present by many scientists.

According to Yardley’s Circular Theory, I just want to annotate that the American poet T.S. Eliot seemed to have expressed the circular movements of the analytic (and emotional) mind in his poem “little gidding” by writing

“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.”

In my own essay here, I trace back all formal systems (including antivalent logics) to a circle, the latter being the beginning of mathematics and logics as we know it. Of course, I use the circle merely as a metaphor, a container that encapsulates the deeper meaning of existence beyond any formal systems. Goethe did a good job in his Faust to show how formal systems (preconceptions) have a grip on one’s mind:

“Where sense fails it’s only necessary

To supply a word, and change the tense.

With words fine arguments can be weighted,

With words whole Systems can be created,

With words, the mind does its conceiving,

No word suffers a jot from thieving.“

I would be happy if you would read my essay and comment on it.

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 09:16 GMT
I've looked at your essay. I've not had time to study it in detail but it seems to make sense. Once I gave a talk with a similar turtle slide, with an infinite series of turtles and a bottom one at infinity, but I don't recall what argument I was making at the time. It would be interesting to see how closely your circle concept fits with Yardley's, which is an abstraction (metaphor?), with concrete realisations.

Narendra Nath wrote on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 17:51 GMT
An individual is considered to have a body, mind and the soul. The last can be taken as the life force that mediates between body and soul to provide pathways that we chose and take in our lives. I wish to raise the question if the Nature followed some super logic to create this marvellous Universe for us to understand and comprehend through science alone? What you think consciousness plays in...

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Narendra Nath replied on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 08:26 GMT
Kindly respond to the query. Also, request to see our Essay ' Foundamentalism in Context with Science & Spirituality ' for your consideration .

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 08:59 GMT
No comment.

Narendra Nath replied on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 09:47 GMT
Thanks for the courtesy of NO COMMENT. Pleease do visit our essay in the names of Anil Sashtri and myself as i welcome your most critical comment!

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Aditya Dwarkesh wrote on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 14:02 GMT
Dear Professor Josephson,

One obtains an enormous sense of aesthetic satisfaction when one draws parallels between the cosmos and the self.

I would say that you are traversing the road less taken by attacking the notion of meaning in your analysis; I myself have also taken a rather language-oriented path, one that is less heavily laden with ontology than one might expect when speaking of 'Fundamentality'. There are some very strangely indirect but greatly interesting similarities between our trains of thought, beginning with (but not limited to) our focus on meaning. (I would be happy to hear your thoughts on it.)

I am unable to recall where I read this particular observation, but I think it is quite apt in this context: While biology, the science of life, seems to be heading full throttle towards an entirely physical description of consciousness, physics, the science of the inanimate, seems to be leaning more and more heavily on it!

As I stated previously, it seems to me that an analogy of the sort you make is quite unconventional, but in light of the previous observation, it is one I find immensely fascinating and would love to read more about.

To put it in shorter and simpler words: I like your essay.

Regards,

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Ulla Marianne Mattfolk wrote on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 15:03 GMT
I did a study of how we can understand the 'Life-force' as something fundamental, like a quasistate giving rise to the 'fundamentals' of bosons and fermions, constants also maybe, that we have today. And 'mirror-states' formed by chirality, still not symmetric. So much has been done since the Days you came up with Josephson junctions and superconductivity. Still the thinking continues in old tracks as by speed alone.

Hope you can read through my essay and give your opinion too. Many thanks for your contribution.

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3093

What
is Life? A theory of 'More than everything'.

Ulla Mattfolk.

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James N Rose wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 06:33 GMT
I've been fascinated since the 1996 "Towards a Science of Consciousness", finding out that Brian branched out to explore the more personal. meaningful, interpretive aspects of sentient experience. And have been grateful for the few minutes of conversation at various conferences - such as in Holland with the topic of Emergence.

I wholehearted agree that conventional science modeling is...

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 08:46 GMT
Re your: 'I am curious Brian, why you didn't reference/mention cybernetics?', the arguments are to a large extent cybernetic in character, but biosemiosis is a more precise indication of what is involved, and so I used that term instead.

James N Rose replied on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 10:36 GMT
Ah, I see. I don't specifically mention cybernetics in my essay either, but do consider the current question vis a vis cybernetic/semiotic concerns through the ideas of Benj Whorf from the 1930's ; as one aspect of 'fundamental'.

If you have time, I'd be grateful for your thoughts on my submission "Physical Fundamentals, Math Fundamentals, Idea Fundamentals – Have We Spotted Them All?"

Whorf was essentially a professional linguist, but I found certain of his insights important and very applicable for improving how we frame general research methodology for any field - not the least, disparate subjects without obvious connections, but yet having underlying shared properties.

Many thanks, James

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John-Erik Persson wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 12:15 GMT
Josephson

Thank you for the link to the analogy between water dops and pilot wave theory.

Josephson and Sarfatti

Bound electrons can generate (by energy from the ether) POTENTIAL forces that contain information (polarizing ether particles) without transporting energy. When this information hits a charge (our detector) the force becomes REAL. The measurement CREATES the force.

What do you think?

Best regards from John-Erik Persson

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 19:16 GMT
Brian,

This idea of physical semiotics strikes me as similar to what Lucretius meant when he referred to the "swerve." His idea was there was noting but atoms and void, where these atoms moved through the void and collided and interacted with each other. He then made this suggestion that these atoms would in some way swerve in response to conscious activity or free will.

Semiotics is the interpretation of symbols. Of course in a syntactic system this can be done with a Turing machine. Often when people refer to semiotics they have the idea of semantics and meaning. Lob's theorem is a way of expressing Godel's second theorem in a modal logic framework, which because of the role of possibility is seen as having a semantic meaning.

Quantum measurement and the existence of a stable classical(like) basis is not something that can be derived from first principles of quantum mechanics. A quantum measurement is a case where a quantum state is encoded by quantum states. This is a form of quantum self-reference. Quantum states are qubits that obey quantum postulates, or physical axioms, that in this circumstance leads to incompleteness. This appears to reflect the dichotomy between the quantum and classical worlds. We are at a possible situation where this is a form of this semantics or Lucretius's swerve.

Cheers LC

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 09:51 GMT
Dear Lawrence,

I myself don't accept QM as being fundamental, but your point generalises, in that one has one system that can encode another. You seem to be aiming for the question of the 'reality of possibility', which is a component of Ruth Kastner's transactional interpretation which is consistent with my own in that it involves systems exchanging information to decide which possibility to realise. But real possibilities don't have to involve QM: one could for example imagine a robot that could determine through observation that certain things could happen some of the time and also investigate the possibility of influencing these probabilities. Semiotics in such a context serves as a language that can help analyse such situations, e.g. by treating some control variable as a sign that is interpreted by a suitable system. Biology and QM would both make use of such mechanisms. My apologies if I'm missing the point you're trying to make.

Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 11:07 GMT
What you write here is fairly close to what I was referring to. It is a case of QM having some semantic soundness. Read Olaf Dreyson's paper. I wrote a long comment on his blog site as well. This concerns the possible Turing/Godel implications of QM. My comments I posted a number of times failed to appear right.

I am not certain whether QM is absolutely fundamental or not. So far there are no evidences which suggest QM is some effective theory of wave dynamics.

Cheers LC

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Anthony John Garrett wrote on Feb. 3, 2018 @ 15:39 GMT
In what way, please, does this essay further the basic process of physics - the dialectic between quantitative theory and experiment - so as to improve the accuracy of our description of nature?

It would be helpful to have a definition of "meaning" in any essay that discusses it.

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Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Feb. 3, 2018 @ 17:39 GMT
In retrospect, I should indeed have mentioned that meaning is the property that signs have that distinguishes them from information in general, and you have to get to p.4 before I get into the question of what a sign is:

'Note here the relevance of ‘cue elements’ (in other words signs), interaction with which is a necessity to assure successful performance'.

As regards how the concepts discussed in my essay 'further the basic process of physics', this is most simply illustrated with the analogy of computer software. One could in principle explain the behaviour of a computer in a mindless way by calculating the sequential effect of each instruction of the compiled code in turn (as per 'shut up and calculate'). That is the physicist's style. But in practice one studies the source code, together with any comments provided by the programmer. In other words, knowing what the code means helps one figure out what is happening (which is for example a necessity if one has to figure out why a program is not working the way it should).

This shows us that situations exist that can best be understood by taking into account meaning, as opposed to mere calculation. Now if nature is in some sense alive at a fundamental level then we may similarly be able to make sense of it better in terms of accounts that take advantage of the concept of meaning.

It is worth noting in this connection the related point made by Penrose, whereby physics is determined by mathematical laws, the mind makes mathematics and physical processes give rise to mind, where in the making of mathematics by the mind the meaning of mathematical language plays a key role. If this is correct than meaning plays an essential role in physics.

Note also my concluding comments starting 'science does however possess tools that should prove adequate to taking these ideas further'.

Member Kevin H Knuth wrote on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 15:38 GMT
Dear Prof. Josephson,

Thank you for your very different and refreshing essay. I very much like the idea of focusing on "doings", and in fact, the title of one of the first sections to my 2013 FQXi essay (https://fqxi.org/data/essay-contest-files/Knuth_fqxi13knuth
essayfinal.pdf) is "An Electron Is an Electron Because of What It Does".

The relation between biology and physics is a subtle one. There is, of course, the idea that at the foundation biology is governed by physics. But then I have come to view many of the "fundamental" quantities in physics (position, duration, velocity, momentum, energy) as representing the relationship between an object and an observer, which is why each of these quantities is observer-dependent. Given that the observers we are familiar with are biological, the description of an object-observer relationship (physics) may well have features that reflect the biology of an observer. Or maybe that is what is meant as biology. There is much to contemplate here, and I should probably take David Mermin's statement to heart and

"Shut up and contemplate"!

Thank you for an enjoyable, insightful, and refreshing essay.

Sincerely,

Kevin Knuth

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Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 17:20 GMT
Why biology is central (with a little help from ('oppositional dynamics')

Thanks for your comments, Kevin. I've used 'central' rather than fundamental in my title as I think that that better characterises its role (and that of meaning), in the same way that gravitation plays a central role in determining planetary orbits, and electron pairing in the context of superconductivity.

I've looked at your own essay and see that it goes some way to treating some of my ideas more precisely, e.g. your coordination which is similar to Yardley's oppositional dynamics. It is even possible that her circling could be used to define in more detail the nature of space. One further thing that plays a central role is the system–process link I discussed in my ffp15 talk, and attach one of the slides concerned here (I hope to be successful in this) — this is one of a number of such reciprocalities discussed in my talk.

A key point is that such relationships amount to a new mathematical concept, though one might need to have a more precise way of specifying 'system' to achieve this. One additional key point is that the development of relationships is assisted by mechanisms appropriate to the context, and I don't think you have included the processes by which coordination develops. This is not impossible — it's in essence an algorithm that does it. But in the end there may not be proof: Yardley notes that proof and truth support each other and one may in the end have to take it axiomatic that particular mechanisms are effective (though one never knows). One might even have a situation like the Riemann hypothesis where a lot of mathematics is founded upon a result that no-one has yet managed to prove!

Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 17:25 GMT
This *** web site deletes your input if you do something like forget to deal with the verification process (a pretty serious defect IMHO). In view of past irritations I was backing up the text, but forgot to reenter the attachments. In ase it doesn't work, again, you can get the slides at http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/Documents/Spain-2017.pdf
and it is slide 10 I was referring to.

attachments: Slide10.jpg

Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 04:41 GMT
Dear Brian D. Josephson

Just letting you know that I am making a start on reading of your essay, and hope that you might also take a glance over mine please? I look forward to the sharing of thoughtful opinion. Congratulations on your essay rating as it stands, and best of luck for the contest conclusion.

My essay is titled

“Darwinian Universal Fundamental Origin”. It stands as a novel test for whether a natural organisational principle can serve a rationale, for emergence of complex systems of physics and cosmology. I will be interested to have my effort judged on both the basis of prospect and of novelty.

Thank you & kind regards

Steven Andresen

post approved

John-Erik Persson wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 22:04 GMT
Josephson

We cannot see the light. We see electron's behavior when they are exposed to light. So, Planck's relation dE/df=h can be an electron property.

Regards from John-Erik Persson

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 10:44 GMT
Maybe, but I can't see its relevance. Perhaps you meant this to go to a different thread.

Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 02:46 GMT
Prof Brian D. Josephson

"I argue that the organisation of this fundamental level is already to a considerable extent understood by biosemioticians, who have fruitfully integrated Peirce’s sign theory into biology; things will happen there resembling what happens with familiar life, but the agencies involved will differ in ways reflecting their fundamentality, in other words they will be...

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Conrad Dale Johnson wrote on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 13:52 GMT
Brian –

I was quite interested in your essay, and took a look also at your slide presentation and Hoffmeyer’s “Semiotic Scaffolding”. I have some familiarity with this line of thought going back to Gregory Bateson, whom I had pleasure of studying with in my grad school days. I’ve also written about meaning as fundamental in physics, making some analogies with biology (the links...

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John-Erik Persson wrote on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 19:57 GMT
Josephson

You asked about the relevance if h is an electron property. The important consequence is that there is no longer evidence for light quanta, quantization is produced in the electron.

Regards from ____________ John-Erik Persson

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Andrew Beckwith wrote on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 21:58 GMT
Dear Dr. Josephson,

I am going to suggest an addendum, which is that biological processes, help physical systems cohere and have a complete information conservation process, from beginning to end of their evolution and that biological/ mind processes are part of a way to use self organizing criticality as a way to have completeness and conservation of INFORMATION, from beginning to end of physical system evolution

I.e. the physical system is complemented by biological processes, for the same of information conservation in physical processes.

If one takes this analogy, what I tried to do in my paper was to ascertain a similar dynamic as to the cosmological constant as initially formed.

I did that via Klauders quantization of the inflaton field.

In my paper, the Enhanced quantization plays a role very similar to what you are doing with biological processes.

I would welcome you critiquing my essay as of December 21st, with this in mind

THank you for your conversations in FFP 15, they were a gem

Andrew

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Mozibur Rahman Ullah wrote on Feb. 8, 2018 @ 16:35 GMT
Dear Professor Josephson

An interesting and thought-provoking essay especially with the analogy between biology and physics which is very different from the way biology is usually reduced to physics. I just wanted to note that one of the earliest thinkers on Physics, Aristotle, considered the universe more like an organism.

Best Wishes

Mozibur Ullah

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Flavio Del Santo wrote on Feb. 8, 2018 @ 19:49 GMT
Dear Prof. Josephson,

thank you for this cleverly argued essay. If you have a bit of time, I would be glad if you can also go through my essay. I look forward to discuss our works.

Good luck,

Flavio

post approved
Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 8, 2018 @ 19:52 GMT
Gee! So many people want my opinion on their own essays! I can't really spare much time for this as I'm working on an update to my own.

Narendra Nath wrote on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 14:45 GMT
It intrigues me to note that you mention terms like 'edge of chaos'. Please elabortae for my clarity if we can differentiate between chaos of different degrees. Also, we may follow with similar procedure to consider Order and its degrees of less and more! We conducted an experiment where we mixed random events being sensed with different lower and lower degree of regular or ordered events. Chi square test clearly indicated such a mix taking place even at extremely low mixing % of regular pulses!

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 15:04 GMT
You can look up the term on the internet if you want more, but the situation essentially is that chaos refers to 'sensitivity to initial conditions', with differences between two adjacent situations increasing exponentially over time. There is a definite edge between this increase over time and stable situations where differences decrease over time. Biology seems to make use of this because being near the edge supports the possibility of favourable mutations. But you are right in saying that there are varying distances from the edge and this may also be important.

Narendra Nath wrote on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 23:56 GMT
Thanks, Brain for your pertinent response. I hope Biologista along with Physicist colleagues may investigate such border line situations experimentally in order to clarify the siyuation. My youngdr colleague researches inmicro biology and your suggestion can be persued further!

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Michael Alexeevich Popov wrote on Feb. 11, 2018 @ 15:51 GMT
Dear Brian,

I made similar assumption on central role of biology and I attempted to investigate such fundamental biological fact as Homochirality. I had found that Homochirality could be used also as heuristic in Number theory ( an existence of odd perfect numbers, fundamental theorem of arithmetic and ABC conjecture ) - please see my essay " Fundamentalness of Homochirality ". I suspect that fundamentalness of biological Homochirality also could be connected with an idea of violation of symmetry in physics.

Generally,a central role of biology is easy deduced from my Quantum Idealism ( article published in Russian Uspekhi Physics in English in 2003,12 with support of Vitaly L.Ginsburg Nobel Prizer in physics 2004). I think your idealistic attitude is also important in understanding your biosemantics.

With the best wishes

Michael A.Popov

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Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Feb. 11, 2018 @ 22:23 GMT
Brian,

I like the idea of mathematics as 'something that life does' because it makes no value judgment. After all, rape is something life does, too. Makes it possible for me to separate mathematics from mathematician, and accept Bieberbach's results without imposing my own prejudice against Nazis and rape. I take it, that you mean that meaning is an objectified thing--a higher meaning than any one person can impose. After all, some deem Nazis and rape 'something that life does' and are proud of it besides. One is reminded that philosophy was once known as moral science.

" ... something that sufficiently evolved life does because in the appropriate context so doing is of value to life." Ultimately. The jury is out on the context for 'sufficiently evolved'. And no research mathematician proves theorems because she thinks it will add value to life--though it does, in the long run. Theorem-proving is 'something that life does' and it gets the mathematician through life. Perhaps its value is just that.

There is no doubt in my mind, though, that meaning precedes the construction of a mathematical object. I embrace your premise.

All Best,

Tom https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3124

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 16:38 GMT
Brian,

Are you familiar with Brian Rotman's "Toward a Semiotics of Mathematics"?

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 16:40 GMT
I'm not, actually. Can you give a reference?

Thomas Howard Ray replied on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 16:45 GMT
*Mathematics as Sign*, Rotman, B., Stanford University Press, 2000.

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Avtar Singh wrote on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 16:31 GMT
Hi Brian:

I fully agree with your statement - "... there are intriguing parallels between

the quantum and biological domains, suggesting that there may be a more fundamental level underlying both."

I would like to draw your attention to the missing fundamental physics governing - “What causes a photon to accelerate to the speed of light?” My paper – “What is Fundamental – Is C the Speed of Light”. describes the fundamental physics of antigravity missing from the widely-accepted mainstream physics and cosmology theories resolving their current inconsistencies and paradoxes. The missing physics depicts a spontaneous relativistic mass creation/dilation photon model that explains the yet unknown dark energy, inner workings of quantum mechanics, and bridges the gaps among relativity and Maxwell’s theories. The model also provides field equations governing the spontaneous wave-particle complimentarity or mass-energy equivalence. The key significance or contribution of the proposed work is to enhance fundamental understanding of C, commonly known as the speed of light, and Cosmological Constant, commonly known as the dark energy.

The manuscript not only provides comparisons against existing empirical observations but also forwards testable predictions for future falsification of the proposed model.

I would like to invite you to read my paper and appreciate any feedback comments.

Best Regards

Avtar Singh

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John-Erik Persson wrote on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 18:24 GMT
Brian Josephson

You asked for the relevance if Planck's constant is a property of the detecting electron. The detector creates quantization, and that does not prove quanta in light.

A bound and moving electron interacts with the ether, and the disturbance moves with speed c to our detecting electron. Only a potential force is produced and this force becomes real after some time and interacts with the ether. This means that bound electrons can emit without loosing energy.

Best regards from __________________ John-Erik Persson

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 00:45 GMT
Dear Brian D Josephson,

Welcome the FQXi and thank you for your essay. You (and Todd Duncan) are the first to focus on meaning. You note that some current approaches are an "extension of sign theory". I've written several essays on consciousness, but those focused on awareness and volition rather than on meaning. So thank you for upping the game! Instead of...

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 09:46 GMT
I looked at your essay, which looks very interesting but I don't unfortunately have time to study it in detail. I was involved with Pound/Rebka by the way, independently predicting the temperature dependence of the Mössbauer effect (as published in PRL). Also I think I knew J D Jackson from my time at the Univ. of Illinois. Re your 'mass flow in the brain', however, my problem is that brain ≠ mind so it would have to be at a subtle level.

Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 21:54 GMT
Dear Brian Josephson,

Thanks for commenting. It was probably silly of me to try to paint a picture in a comment. My last essay, The Nature of Mind has more information. I do not believe mind is the brain, but mind must obviously "connect" to the brain. How?

I hope when you have more time you will ask yourself how our intuitive understanding of 3-D space occurs. It's not mathematical.

Thanks again,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 14, 2018 @ 09:18 GMT
A quick response — my view is that the mind is networks, agreeing to that extent with your own position. Probably these are not brain networks but rather something deeper; yet they may nevertheless be a factor setting up brain networks through the kind of coordination you describe (equivalent to Yardley's 'oppositional dynamics'). In that case there is a kind of Platonic realm. I hope to get this written up properly while comments are still open.

Don Limuti wrote on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 02:23 GMT
Dear Professor Josephson,

Tell me what you think of this statement: Our internal map is not the territory, this internal map is much richer that the territory because it has meaning.

Your essay is like a rocket blasting off to found a new civilization.

Do say something on my blog...It is very exhilarating to be in a contest with a Nobel Laurette! In an effort to save time there is no need to read my essay. It is exceptional, so just give it a 10 :)

Thanks,

Don Limuti

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 09:32 GMT
I'm not sure. Could it instead be that the territory is enriched by meaning?

Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 09:20 GMT
... there is no need to read my essay. It is exceptional, so just give it a 10 :)

How considerate of you to offer to help save my time in this way. Thank you very much! ?

Eckard Blumschein wrote on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 11:49 GMT
Ohm was not correct in his dispute with Seebeck when he used physics as a touch stone for physiology. On the other hand, I hope to be correct when I am claiming: Physiology in connection with common sense might be a good touchstone for putative fundaments of physics that are actually just semifoundational constructs.

For instance: No sense can perceive future data, and there is no scientifially agreed point t=0 of reference in biology.

Eckard Blumschein

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John-Erik Persson wrote on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 17:24 GMT
Brian Josephson

On Feb. 12 I gave you a difficult question that you still have not answered. Was it too difficult?

Best regards from ________ John-Erik Persson

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 19:48 GMT
Nothing particular to say.

Heinrich Luediger wrote on Feb. 14, 2018 @ 16:49 GMT
Dear Professor Josephson,

Heisenberg, in an interview by D. Peat in the 1970s, made a very polite remark regarding Bohr’s principle of complementarity: “Now, Bohr had … tried, from this dualism, to introduce the term complementarity, which was sufficiently abstract to meet the situation”.

Isn’t also Peirce’s theory of signs deserving of a very polite remark?

Heinrich Luediger

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 14, 2018 @ 16:55 GMT
Are you trying to make a point by this remark? And if so, what is your point?

Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 14, 2018 @ 17:38 GMT
Let me anticipate your response by raising the following issue. In Peircean terms one can describe the action of a room thermostat as follows: in this context the room temperature is the significant quantity or sign, and is the input to a process that in the case that the temperature is excessive responds by turning off the heat? Would you reject such descriptions, and insist only on mathematical ones (which are of little utility to someone trying to fix a problem). Or is your objection that they add nothing to common sense, in which case I have to suggest that you read more, so you can see that in more complicated situations semiotic accounts are by no means trivial.

Heinrich Luediger replied on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 10:25 GMT
Dear Professor Josephson,

W.v.O. Quine made clear why positivism failed (see: Two Dogmas of Empiricism). Things have meaning only in the widest context of other things, i.e. the sign is never attached to a thing and not even to a single observation sentence. When a woman is sent a bunch of red roses then it is usually taken (in Western culture) as a sign of romantic love. When a woman was sent a bunch of red roses by Al Capone it was a sign of her becoming a widow soon...

Your thermostat example is an example of a well-formed sentence adhering to syntax and semantics, which is why it has meaning, but I can’t see how it relates to semiotics. If, however, you think that the thermostat can be objectively (pre-linguistically) described by signs (as the term biosemiotics suggest), Peirce, who described his mature ideas as being very close to Kant’s, would most likely disagree. The things have meaning (are signs) for US, what they are beyond…we cannot know.

So, I read your essay with great interest, because it carries ‘meaning’ (without which all is nothing indeed) in its title, but was a bit disappointed to find it reduced to ‘objectifying’ semiotics.

Heinrich Luediger

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Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 16:36 GMT
Professor Josephson,

I found your essay on meaning fascinating, provocative, and alas troubling, due to the highly unsettling details of one of your major references. That said, your more formal explanation of that same reference led me to an interpretation that relies only on specific examples from well-established fundamental physics. I believe that re-interpretation both broadens and has...

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 17:17 GMT
Oppositional dynamics, like semiosis, does involve triads though this was not very explicit in my brief account, so I am not dealing with just your 'limited binary case'. Where it enters is in the statement 'this coordination has itself a cause'. Yardley talks about triads quite a lot in her book. And persistence is an essential characteristic of biological systems, so that is implicit also. I agree in principle with much of what you say above but I will be expressing it rather differently. As I said, triads play an important role in my approach and that of Yardley's, but trinary cancellation looks like a good phrase (but if I understand your term correctly it is already present in Peirce since as I recall he refers to correlations of 3 entities which cannot be reduced to basic correlation of two of the three) and I may work it in. By the way, parametric amplification is a very simple case of triads (input-signal-idler) and as I see it this is more or less how it all begins.

Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 20:11 GMT
Can you define what exactly you mean by the term 'trinary cancellation'?

By the way, if you want to link to your own comment, the link is https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3088#post_143949 (I've asked if they can provide a 'share' link for people to use, as it would be very helpful).

Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 02:08 GMT
Dr Josephson,

By "trinary cancellation" I mean the red-green-blue color charge cancellation of the strong force. This particular type of cancellation is particularly powerful due to color confinement, which makes color invisible anywhere in the universe outside of nucleons and mesons. Structures (scaffolding) that emerge from this striking partial cancellation include electric charge, mass,...

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Member Dean Rickles wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 00:34 GMT
Dear Brian,

I'm very much a fan of the Bohm and Wheeler elements.

Two small points: (1) I wonder whether the focus on meaning is a bit of a red herring? Wouldn't any emergent phenomenon make the same point (e.g. money, wetness, hurricanes, swarms, etc.)? What is special about meaning as distinct from other examples of emergence?

Also: you mention general relativity cannot be fundamental because all it does is gravity (ditto, mutatis mutandis, for the standard model that doesn't do gravity). But it should maybe be noted that attempts were made to get particle physics out of general relativity (Einstein and Wheeler), and attempts were made to get gravity from particle physics. They didn't work, of course, which is why you probably ignore them - but perhaps a mention is in order.

Best,

Dean

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 12:04 GMT
It is not so much meaning but rather the 'thirdness' discussed by Peirce, that is to say one entity acting as mediator between two others, or alternatively a correlation between 3 entities that cannot be reduced to simple correlations between 2. Signs and their objects, connected by interpretation, form an example, but Yardley discusses other cases. As I shall be elaborating in detail, organisation related to thirdness has remarkable consequences, including that of the power of language. Emergence as such cannot account for this.

Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 12:06 GMT
... this is the subtle spontaneous ordering mechanism that has been missed by conventional science.

Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 09:29 GMT
There have been two new postings following the above by Dean Rickles, I'm told by the system. They are presumably buried somewhere and I've not managed to find them. If anyone knows which thread they belong to, please post that information here so I can look at them!

Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 10:21 GMT
Dear Brian,

one comment was presumably from me, posted one thread above the one of Dean Rickles. The other post I don’t know.

Greetings,

Stefan Weckbach

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 10:53 GMT
Many thanks. I'm not sure why I didn't find that -- some other system issue or just me being phased out? The other one that I didn't find was posted at 3:31 am GMT today (i.e. 10:31 pm EST yesterday). I'll comment on yours in due course.

Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 11:21 GMT
I think I found the second post in your thread with Tom:

Thomas Howard Ray replied on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 03:31 GMT

I have the impression that searching for incoming posts at one's own essay page as well as searching for following-up posts for the own posts at other essay pages hugely increases traffic for the FQXi site and is some kind of advertising factor for the whole FQXi enterprise - regarding their sponsors.

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Armin Nikkhah Shirazi wrote on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 14:55 GMT
Dear Brian,

As I am under the impression that you may find the mass of comments here at times a little overwhelming, I will keep my comments short (but hopefully sharp).

1. I agree that under the current paradigm, "meaning" is not taken seriously enough by physicists and often unjustly dismissed as philosophy, but the possible reification of meaning and what seems to amount to a certain sort of panpsychism, is outside my comfort zone. Unfortunately I know too little about semiotics to be able to tell whether it lends itself to a mathematical representation that is more familiar to physicists (my unfounded suspicion is that it does), but if I were to defend your ideas, putting a greater emphasis on presenting them in a more familiar manner (to physicists) would be a high priority for me, if only to avoid misunderstandings (of which I am sure I had my share reading your paper).

2. Although distinct in some important ways, your approach reminds me a little of the Conceptuality Interpretation of quantum mechanics proposed by Aerts. Also, The Vaxjo conference series on the foundations of quantum mechanics regularly features topics in which quantum foundations are connected to completely different fields, including biology.

3. Despite my criticism, I would like to emphasze that I actually consider addressing questions of meaning a fundamental aspect of any scientific activity. Too much of contemporary high energy theory seems to me like mathematical pattern fitting entirely divorced from meaning whereas, in my view, conscientiously reminding oneself of its fundamental importance may even help us discover new ways of thinking about aspects of nature even with theories the meaning of which we thought we already understood. In my paper, I tried to illustrate this by associating a different meaning with Lorentz contraction.

All the best,

Armin

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 17:03 GMT
Armin,

The problem isn't actually the number of postings, but that of locating a new reply if it is hidden by default and not near the bottom of the page. New comments as opposed to replies are easy to find. As regards your first point, I'm currently thinking that instead of in effect starting with biology and saying that biology makes use of semiotic processes, as I did in the essay, one can argue that stability considerations in the presence of a potentially disruptive background favours structures related to semiosis which are the source of semiotic behaviour since the survival issue brings in semiosis. I will discuss this in more detail anon — watch this space!

Armin Nikkhah Shirazi replied on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 18:06 GMT
Thanks for the response. I agree that the framing to which you hinted is more likely to prevent physicists from prematurely turning off the ideas you present. I will watch this space.

Armin

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 18:36 GMT
In line with your comments arXiv, predictably, deleted my submission as per the poem on my publications page:

The revolution will not be brought to you by arXiv

’cos arXiv deems revolutionary ideas ‘inappropriate’.

As obstructive as any censor

Cross readers veto cross listing

‘Reader complaints’ win the day.

The revolution won’t find you through arXiv

So go tune in another way.

I appealed their decision, quoting a number of positive comments here, and they then did accept it but, again predictably, moved it to physics-gen where no quantum physicist is likely to see it. Thanks to PhilPaper for treating the essay differently!

Lorraine Ford wrote on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 21:30 GMT
Dear Professor Josephson,

I agree that meaning is fundamental, though I would argue that it is subjective meaning (corresponding to subjective information) that is fundamental to the way the universe works.

In the Notes [10] you say: “…Yardley writes … : “There is a symbolic man, in mind, which is the idea of man, which had to be present somewhere hidden (imaginary, an idea) before man could appear”. This assertion recalls analogous facts such as the fact that, for example, the idea of a computer had to be present in someone’s mind before computers could come into existence.”

This is an example of how your essay seems to assume absolute, objective meanings for signs and symbols, i.e. the essay seems to assume the existence of a Platonic realm. But a Platonic realm is never mentioned in the essay except in the References section (the book chapter What can music tell us about the nature of the mind? A Platonic Model, Josephson, B.D. and T. Carpenter (1996a), in Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & Alwyn C. Scott (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness, MIT).

I would have liked you to mention the Platonic realm assumption upfront, because a Platonic realm is an assumption that the universe itself is a poor, incomplete thing that needs something external like a God or a Platonic realm to bring it to life. I believe that this type of view is an insidiously damaging and inherently disrespectful way to view our universe, a view that has real consequences for the way we treat the Earth and it’s living things.

Best wishes,

Lorraine Ford

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 23:03 GMT
The reference you quote is actually referred to in footnote 1 of the notes at the end: "In this connection a case can be made as in Josephson and Carpenter (1996a), based upon an objective analysis of regularities discernible in the corpus of musical compositions, that musical aesthetics involve subtleties not currently accommodated within science", and the referring text to that footnote, quite near the beginning, says 'In this regard, it might be argued that thoughts are influenced by the subtleties of meaning referred to by Bohm, and at the same time have observable effects that current physical theories do not take into account, implying that they are inexact'. I trust this at least partly answers your point.

For those wondering if my supplement is ever going to appear, I had hoped to produce it today but got held up with events, and hopefully will get it done tomorrow. As a preview, the best way to summarise what is going on is perhaps that there is a 'cumulative coordination process', having resemblances to what happens with superconductivity. Language illustrates the point at issue quite strikingly.

Lorraine Ford replied on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 23:45 GMT
My point is that, I think you are saying that, the source of signs, symbols, ideas and meaning is external to the universe: the source is a Platonic realm which somehow inputs ideas to the universe.

This seems to 1) assume the preexistence of all possible signs, symbols and ideas - which live in a Platonic realm, and 2) makes the universe itself to be a poor, incomplete thing, a thing that does not have the capacity to create its own ideas - it only has the capacity to implement externally input ideas.

This is my impression of what you are saying in your essay.

Best wishes,

Lorraine

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Lorraine Ford replied on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 00:02 GMT
P.S. When I say that "This is my impression of what you are saying in your essay", I mean that I am reading between the lines to see what your assumptions/preconceptions are.

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 05:59 GMT
Dear Brian,

according to music I like to make some minor comments.

Pythagoras found out that the mathematical music intervals of fifth, fourth, major third as well as the octave. If we built a ton scale from the harmonic series, as Pythagoras may wanted to achieve, there is a certain problem that prevents this.

The problem is that one cannot factorize the harmonic series such...

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Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 06:11 GMT
Oh, oh, its early in the morning and I need a coffee. Correction:

"Pythagoras found out that the mathematical music intervals of fifth, fourth, major third as well as the octave."

Pythagoras found out that the mathematical music intervals of fifth, fourth, major third as well as the octave harmonize with each other. Since these intervals mean small integer fractions, the latter are better suited to please the ear, because they have the least out-of-phase relationships, means every note's entire harmonic series involved in such intervals is more in-phase with with all other notes played according to these intervals.

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Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 19:48 GMT
I thought that what I posted in Terry Bollinger's forum is relevant to your essay as well.

Terry,

I've been mulling this over. If I accept the Kolmogorov (Kolmogorov-Chaitin) complexity as the ultimate foundation standard, let me understand:

You would have me believe that the world is fundamentally made of information bits that are algorithmically compressible. Okay, I'll entertain that notion.

Except that you used the example of Einstein, E=mc^2, to serve as a minimum Kolmogorov complexity, arguing that mathematical conciseness is the standard.

The equation, however, is not irreducible. The meaning of the equation is in the expression E = m. The second degree addition tells us that the relations in the equation are dynamic, that energy and mass may take infinite values. The binding energy then was discovered through experiment, setting a practical limit.

So I find myself moving ever closer to Brian Josephson's premise that meaning itself is fundamental. And meaning seems to be that which contains the requisite first degree information to "Be fruitful and multiply" as the Bible has it. So I suspect that meaning precedes construction. Or compression.

Enjoyed the essay.

Best,

Tom

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 22:09 GMT
Cumulative Coordination founded upon Dyadic and Triadic Relationships

My apologies for taking so long to produce this supplement to my essay — it has been tricky deciding on the best way to formulate these rather intricate concepts, the eventual outcome being to a considerable extent informed by the approaches of Barad and Yardley. In the essay itself I took biology as the foundation,...

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 22:44 GMT
Author of the above, and link to posting

You can link to my post up above (yes, it is my post: the irritating system logged me out without telling me it had done this) using the link https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3088#post_144870

Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 23:54 GMT
Cumulative Coordination founded upon Dyadic and Triadic Relationships

(resent in order for it to appear here with the actual author included)

My apologies for taking so long to produce this supplement to my essay — it has been tricky deciding on the best way to formulate these rather intricate concepts, the eventual outcome being to a considerable extent informed by the approaches...

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 08:48 GMT
A Universe made of Mechanisms?

The link to the reposted version of my comment that specifies my authorship is https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3088#post_144879, if any one wishes to use it.

There are interesting links between my essay and that of Philip Gibbs at https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2960 on 'A universe made of stories', since every mechanism has a story behind how it works, and stories have underlying mechanisms. Note that in my stories the semiotic concepts of secondness and thirdness play a key role, in the same way that (as I pointed out) they do in transistor circuitry.

I might add that in Barad's account stories also feature prominently and, again, biology is very much the study of mechanisms and their underlying stories, but note that mathematics plays a secondary role, in contrast to the subject matter of physics. In biological stories, changing shapes and relationships between shaps are important also.

So there are a lot of connections worth following up.

Lorraine Ford wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 03:47 GMT
Presumably, the debate about the nature of reality would look very different if people stopped looking for answers “outside the universe”: e.g. a God; a Platonic realm; a computer programmer who has programmed the universe; or a miraculous, seemingly self-explanatory from the point of view of physicists, algorithm that sits outside the universe and, for no good reason, except that it might be theoretically possible from the point of view of some physicists, exponentially creates squillions of new physically-substantial universes.

Why is there the assumption that everything valuable – all meaning, all value, all “laws of nature” (and all possible numeric value outcomes for variables) – must have come from “outside the universe” due to the inherent nature of “outside the universe”?

Why is there a problem in assuming that everything valuable – all meaning, all value, all “laws of nature” and numbers – have come from inside the universe, due to the inherent nature of the universe?

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 09:15 GMT
This all very much depends on how you define 'the universe'. For example, do you include what was there before the big bang, which has more right to be considered eternal?

Lorraine Ford replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 15:24 GMT
Rather than meaning "existing for all time" in the sense of existing in time, I think that it would be better to think of "eternal" as meaning "independent of time". I think that nothing can ever really exist in time, because "time" is just a category of information that is derived from, or connected to, what we would represent as a discontinuous change of number information associated with a fundamental variable.

I would think that the aspects of the universe that are eternal in the above sense are 1) creativity (the necessary causal aspect of the abovementioned discontinuous change (all change is seemingly discontinuous change)), and 2) the necessary “perceptive” aspect that somehow “knows about” that changed information.

So I would think that at all stages of “the universe”, including now, the early universe, the big bang, and “before” the big bang, the inherent nature of “the universe” includes creative and perceptive aspects. There is no necessity to look “outside” the universe for the source of “meaning”, values, “laws of nature” or numbers.

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 07:35 GMT
Dear Brian

If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the final days of the contest, will you consider mine please? I read all essays from those who comment on my page, and if I cant rate an essay highly, then I don’t rate them at all. Infact I haven’t issued a rating lower that ten. So you have nothing to lose by having me read your essay, and everything to...

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 11:58 GMT
Dear Professor Josephson,

Your thesis was well chosen and argued. I last year identified in outline a consistent bio process including intent, learning and mutation from a quantum mechanism in which you may be interested.

I could 'pick', but as I agree about all (including your position with Jack) I have a more important issue for progress in that direction which I hope you may help with.

The mechanism I identified last year, (simplified to rotating spherical momentum exchange) substituted Bohr's singlet states with one I show experimentally confirmed this year, equivalent to Maxwell's 4 states but specifically (I now find) the Poincare sphere; linear, but also orthogonal polar 'curl'.

Running through a full multi element mechanistic process (ontology), shockingly it seems able to fully reproduce Dirac's equation and all QM predictions. (actually as Bell anticipated). I've found very few here able or capable of following the process (needing some quantum optics, photonics, geophysics etc) but it's far from impossible so I suspect you might.

Declan Traill's short essay gives the matching computer code and key CHSH >2 Cos^2 plot with closed detection loophole.

One changed assumption is the MEANING of the data. On momentum exchange the amplitude dependent orthogonal channel 'clicks' are saying 'SAME' or OPPOSITE'. As A,B fields rotate; 'Entanglement' then only has to be anti-paralell polar axes to solve the EPR paradox!! Non-integer spins emerges from concurrent y,z rotations (video available). Perhaps also see my (top scored) 2015 'Red/green sock trick' essay.

Being semi retired I need academic support to progress the work. I'd greatly appreciate any you may give, initially by looking and reporting any flaws you see.

Thank you kindly, and for your very agreeable essay.

Peter

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 16:04 GMT
Peter, it looks as if you've been hit by the dreaded 'anonymising bug'. What is your full name, so people can locate your essay?

Peter Jackson replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 19:30 GMT
Brian,

Dammit, It both logs me out and tells me I'm still logged in when I'm not!

Peter Jackson

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 20:25 GMT
And another bit of bad design is that when you refresh the web pages it adds postings one at a time and sends them out separately, instead of accumulating them in a file and then sending the file. This considerably slows down the refresh process.

Anil Shanker wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 21:49 GMT
Dear Dr. Josephson,

I enjoyed reading your essay. You beautifully discuss the nature of fundamentality and the intriguing parallels between the physical and biological domains. I agree with you on the point that the complexity and dynamical systems of the biological world cannot be simply entertained by a mathematically consistent basis, an exercise of human imagination. Thus, the interrelatedness of scaffolding and functionality of biological systems would need another level of framework. I will add that the complete comprehension of fundamentalness will entail a deeper journey into the worlds of biological and physical evolutions. I believe they intricately co-exist, co-evolve and are co-dependent to define what we term "fundamentalness/absoluteness".

Best regards,

Anil

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Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 13:11 GMT
Brian,

It says I'm still logged in but we'll see.

I hope you can refer back to my original post, then my essay. I'd like your comments. A classical QM should be easily falsifiable!!

I've just put this in my posts to help as the sequence is to long for a simple scan to capture the 'meaning';

AS MOST STRUGGLE WITH THE CLASSICAL SEQUENCE (TO MUCH TO HOLD IN MIND ALL AT ONCE) A QUICK OUTLINE INTRO IS HERE;

1. Start with Poincare sphere OAM; with 2 orthogonal momenta pairs NOT 'singlets'.

2. Pairs have antiparalell axis (random shared y,z). (photon wavefront sim.)

3. Interact with identical (polariser electron) spheres rotatable by A,B.

4. Momentum exchange as actually proved, by Cos latitude at tan intersection.

5. Result 'SAME' or 'OPP' dir. Re-emit polarised with amplitude phase dependent.

6. Photomultiplier electrons give 2nd Cos distribution & 90o phase values.

7. The non detects are all below a threshold amplitude at either channel angle.

8. Statisticians then analyse using CORRECT assumptions about what's 'measured!

The numbers match CHSH>2 and steering inequality >1 As the matching computer code & plot in Declan Traill's short essay. All is Bell compliant as he didn't falsify the trick with reversible green/red socks (the TWO pairs of states).

After deriving it in last years figs I only discovered the Poincare sphere already existed thanks to Ulla M during this contest. I hope that helps introduce the ontology.

Very best

Peter

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Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 20:18 GMT
Updated version now on the web

I've updated https://philpapers.org/archive/JOSOTF.pdf so that it now includes an addendum more or less equivalent to what I've written on this comment page.

Thomas Howard Ray replied on Mar. 19, 2018 @ 16:29 GMT
Hi Brian,

Great addition to the dialogue. I have been interested in the local-global connection, the causes of system stability, and the minimum requisite variety for self-organization, for some time. I was not surprised to find that many of my own conclusions match yours--particularly the importance of triadic (triangle, 2-simplex) relations.

"Measuring the Complexity of Simplicity": https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323685578_Measuring
_the_Complexity_of_Simplicity

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Gregory Derry wrote on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 23:50 GMT
Brian--

An extremely interesting and provocative approach. The first objection I can think of from a more conventional perspective is that meaning, in the sense discussed here, does not seem possible in the earliest stages of the universe. The two counterarguments to this that make sense to me are either some sort of overt hylozoism or else an approach similar to Whitehead's process philosophy. I'd be fascinated to know your reaction to this brief line of thought. Thanks.

(I also feel obligated to mention that I have an essay here, in case you have the time and inclination to look at it. Any feedback on it would be appreciated.)

--Greg

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 09:17 GMT
Barad talks of the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. The early stages of the universe may be ones where the matter aspect dominates, in between 'before the big bang' and when conventional life starts to have an influence. A better way of thinking about it perhaps is to consider something like a locomotive. The driver has got some influence on what happens, e.g. putting on the brakes where appropriate, but mainly it's regular physics that is involved, e.g. the physics behind electric motors.

Re process philosophy, processes play an important role, both in biosemiosis and in Barad's 'agential realism', but signs and semiosis are relevant to the question of how processes emerge.

I'd incidentally recommend, if you have not done so yet, that you study the addendum to my essay, which you can see at https://philpapers.org/archive/JOSOTF.pdf, which takes a more physical perspective.

Anonymous wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 09:52 GMT
Dear Brian,

Many thanks for your thought-provoking essay and my introduction to biosemiotics.* In return, there follows one of the just-mentioned thoughts: offered at the risk of my being scheduled as biosemiidiotic (if not wholly so).

Seeking to understand (and give meaning to) your symbols, it seemed that you were in fact talking (somewhat in code) about me [well, certainly about...

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Gordon Watson replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 12:44 GMT
Thanks Brian, got your message. Please take your time; thanks too for not letting another FQXi bug beat you!

Gordon Watson More realistic fundamentals: quantum theory from one premiss.

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corciovei silviu wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 10:23 GMT
Mr. Josephson,

I fully enjoyed the way you put things together in a clear picture and I think further words are useless.

Rated accordingly.

If you would have the pleasure for a short axiomatic approach of the subject, I will appreciate your opinion.

Respectfully,

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corciovei silviu replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 12:32 GMT
sorry for the incompleteness

Silviu

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Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 12:07 GMT
Professor Josephson,

Thank you for your (Feb 21) posting on dyadic and triadic aspects of your essay!

I had expected your update and searched for it multiple times, but as many of us have discovered, finding new postings anytime except immediately after they have been posted can get... interesting? Oddly, it is not even possible to find a direct link to the second, non-anonymous version of your posting. That is a new one for me.

I look forward to studying your references, though on this last day I'm a bit preoccupied with as many "mini-essays" to summarize unexpected ideas that emerged from essay conversations. The idea of partial cancellation generating scaffolding, in particular at the deep physics level, is on my mini-essay list. I'll put a link here if I can get to that one before end-of-day (there are 2 or 3 in queue before it, sorry).

Again, thank you for the update on triads! And also again, my abject apologies for not finding it for almost a week (sigh...)

Cheers,

Terry

Fundamental as Fewer Bits by Terry Bollinger (Essay 3099)

Essayist’s Rating Pledge by Terry Bollinger

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Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 05:46 GMT
Professor Josephson,

Since I referenced you a fair bit on this mini-essay, here's the link:

The Illusion of Mathematical Formality

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3099#post_14
6091

Cheers,

Terry Bollinger

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Ajay Pokhrel wrote on Mar. 3, 2018 @ 07:08 GMT
Hello Prof. Josephson,

Your essay is a very nice essay. I am really thrilled to see a Nobel laureate participating in the essay contest. I am a high school student and have been participating in this contest for 2 years. This year I submitted an essay on "Is mathematics Fundamental?" Can you gie me some insights on my essay. I have a dream of being a good physicist in future.

Kind Regards

Ajay Pokharel

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Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Mar. 6, 2018 @ 20:53 GMT
Post-materialistic science

Post-materialistic science is an alternative to the 'post-quantum theory' being pushed here and elsewhere by one Jack Sarfatti, which I don't believe addresses the deeper issues in ways apparent in a number of essays here.

Let's start from the idea that science advances on the basis of new concepts; for example Newton had to invent concepts such as inertia to develop his dynamics. These new concepts give rise to terminology and the possibility of characterising nature in such terms and the discovery of new laws of nature. Semiotics, biosemotics, and related ideas such as semiotic scaffolding and the semiosphere involve such concepts. An everyday case where such ideas are relevant is that of a language: one is able to characterise a given language in detail, and observe it at work. These new insights are associated with new regularities. These are also found in the studies of Barad, in particular the insight that there are agencies that ‘intra-act’ to create new phenomena.

Where does this leave regular physics with its precise laws? There seems to be a connection in that such laws may be emergent as a result of semiotic mechanisms. Maths as such may not be able to explain why the semiotic processes work: this may be additional physics, implying a new form of order. It may for example be necessasry to recognise that things as ideas, which may have their own physics in a more mental realm, have an objective reality. The key point is that adding concepts such as semiotic scaffolding and agential realism to one’s mental toolkit can open up important new avenues of exploration.

Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 8, 2018 @ 10:07 GMT
Hello dear Professor Josephson,

Congratulations for your essays.I don't know well the biosemiotic ,it seems very relevant.The semiosphere what is it ? it seems relevant.I work about my theory of spherisation with quant and cosm sphères in the universal sphere.I have found this theory is ranking a little of all since the age of 17 , animals, vegetals, particles, brains ...and I have seen this universal link in seeing that brains also were in this logic.The evolution is important , I was fascinated by H ...CNO.....the primordial soap with CH4 H2O NH3 NHCN H2C2....and with time and informations we have this evolution and complexification.I find your works very interestin,g ,I d like to know more about this biosemiotic mechanic. Biology and brains are resulsts of evolution and it is so complex when we see the numbers of particles encoded since this hypothetical Big Bang.Semiosphere could you tell me more in a general point of vue please.

Best Regards

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Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 14, 2018 @ 00:15 GMT
1. Despite their popularity, there is no substance to theories of “emergence” from complexity/ dynamical systems.

You cannot logically claim that something could “emerge” because of “their ability to fill a gap” [page 4] or because “natural selection favours it” [page 5].

Also, there is nothing backing up the supposition that complexity/ dynamical...

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Mar. 14, 2018 @ 21:54 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

It is hard to know where to begin to answer your many points! Let me begin with the remark that physics knows and understands many instances of emergence, e.g. crystallisation, which can be related to the concept of broken symmetry. You say "we know enough to say categorically that nothing remotely resembling life comes out of, “emerges” from, cellular automata (an algorithmic system) or out of a Mandelbrot set representation (a combination mathematical and algorithmic system). That may be, but I envisage a different kind of picture, involving e.g. concepts such as nonlinearity, and fractality, rendering the kind of failures you refer to irrelevant. My picture is more true to the physics than the kinds of models you cite.

Next, while you may find QM the 'bee's knees' as regards its capacity to explain the phenomena of nature, others disagree.

Finally, you make many statements that seem to be more personal credos than things you have proofs for so I won't discuss these in detail.

Author Brian D. Josephson wrote on Mar. 15, 2018 @ 15:54 GMT
We are clearly using emergence to mean different things, so there is no real discussion.

Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 15, 2018 @ 23:07 GMT
“In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is a phenomenon whereby larger entities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities such that the larger entities exhibit properties the smaller/simpler entities do not exhibit…Almost all accounts of emergentism include a form of epistemic or ontological irreducibility to the lower levels”, [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence ].

Brian, by “emergence” you seem to mean something that is 100% reducible to the lower levels (or do you?), whereas I mean something that is irreducible to the lower levels. Quantum symmetry breaking in crystallisation is an example of something that is irreducible to lower levels, although the symmetry breaking itself has nothing to do with complexity/ dynamical systems. I’m claiming that the only way anything can “emerge” is via the input of new information to the system (this is only found to occur in quantum processes), whereas you seem to be claiming that something new can emerge from 100% deterministic processes.

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Mar. 16, 2018 @ 20:04 GMT
Wikipedia, which you quote, is hardly the last word on any topic. More authoritative I suggest is the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, which has this article on the subject: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/properties-emergent/, and observes that there is more than one view on such matters. One point, which your comments fail to take into account, is that phenomena related to laws of nature are a function of the specifics of a given situation, as well as the underlying laws. In other words, certain situations are special. This includes life, see e.g. https://arxiv.org/html/1110.1768.

Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 16, 2018 @ 23:09 GMT
Brian, I have printed your arxiv paper: I hope to read it some time today. But I have previously read the Stanford article. Re “certain situations are special”: there is absolutely no way of identifying “special situations” in a deterministic universe, unless you add a meta-level to the universe which has special algorithmic criteria about the lower level. In other words, you have to add new equations and algorithms to the system in order to identify “special situations”. To put it another way, you need to have a theory about what equations (laws) and algorithms are, and how they are “created”.

I have mentioned “the specifics of a given situation” in my reply on 15 March 2018 @ 14:17 GMT: “where all outcomes are 100% determined by constraints, the environment and “laws of nature””. The specifics of a situation includes the very import issue of what is the reality that underlies (what physics represents as) numbers. Despite the crucial importance of numbers, physics has no theory about what numbers might be.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Mar. 17, 2018 @ 14:41 GMT
Hello Mr Josephson,

I have searched by myself on net this semiosis, interesting these signs and signals and linguistics about the encodings in fact.Best regards

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 20, 2018 @ 17:24 GMT
I've been emailed to say there's a new post on this page today (Mar. 20th) but I cannot find it. If anyone knows where it is, could they please give a clue to finding it?

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Mar. 20, 2018 @ 22:01 GMT
Brian, with respect, surely there is a problem with definitions, or lack of definitions?

1. How does one characterise what type of “thing” might emerge from complex deterministic dynamical systems? Is what emerges:

a) representable as a number;

b) a property (in the same sense that mass is a property) that can be mathematically represented as a relationship between other such properties;

c) representable as an algorithm; or

d) none of the above?

2. How does one characterise what is expected to emerge; how would one know that the following had indeed emerged from a complex deterministic dynamical system:

a) feeling (“matter feels”) and knowledge (a particle “knows” things about the experimental setup); and

b) “observer-participancy” in the universe, and freedom (for instance, it might be considered that the unpredictability of observed particle outcomes is due to the inherent freedom of a particle)?

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Mar. 20, 2018 @ 22:17 GMT
Meanings of terms emerge as the outcome of research and the perspective on nature that emerges, rather than being predetermined as you might like them to be.

Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 20, 2018 @ 22:56 GMT
Brian, you will be using algorithmic logic, numbers and equations to represent your work; these numbers, equations and algorithmic logic are presumably meant to represent something meaningful about what happened/happens in the universe.

If you are using numbers, equations and algorithms to represent something meaningful about the nature of the universe, then surely you can also make a stab at describing what could potentially emerge from any such system?

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Mar. 21, 2018 @ 06:23 GMT
Lorraine, you are making assumptions there that may not be valid. Barad for example takes as foundational the fact that various 'agencies' work together to create phenomena, some of the agencies involving language. In a mysterious way, the combination of assertions in a language, and processes possessed by people who are familiar with that language, gives rise to appropriate responses to such assertions. This is something known to anyone who has encountered foreigners (and babies) who don't understand their own language. You may want to postulate that this can all be explained in terms of algorithmic logic, etc. but it is unclear that this is enough. Indeed, it is unclear even whether mathematical proofs can be understood thus (see Penrose, and arXiv:1307.6707 ("we think that we think clearly, but that's only because we don't think clearly: Mathematics, Mind and the Human World')).

I think therefore that it is better to take Barad's 'entanglement of matter and meaning' as foundational, and see where we can go from there.

Lorraine Ford wrote on Mar. 24, 2018 @ 23:12 GMT
Re “the 'difference that makes a difference'” (Mar. 22, 2018 @ 09:43 GMT) (I have also responded differently above, beneath the “show all replies”):

I don’t see it as a yin/yang, zero/one issue. I’m tending to see it as a one/many issue.

I don’t assume an initial nothing or “zero” (an initial plus-one in relationship with an initial minus-one), which is actually a type of “one” i.e. a type of something. Because this type of “something” seems to assume the pre-existence of (what we would represent as) 1) mathematical relationships 2) balance. As a result of these mathematical relationships, purportedly emerges the superficial appearance of particles, consciousness and creativity. This type of view fails to explain what is going on, hidden in the background: how the mathematical relationships are created; and what “knows about”/responds to the relationships; and why anything would know about/respond to the mathematical relationships in the first place.

Instead, I assume an initial “one”, which becomes many, which are the source of what we represent as mathematical relationships (they create them and know about them).

For years, in the back of my mind, there has been the question: “relationships exist between categories like momentum or energy, but shouldn’t there be relationships between particles themselves, if the one has become many?” But now I’m tending to the view that this is a coherence/decoherence issue: coherence is not a relationship – its an inherent aspect of reality that pre-exists the appearance of mathematical relationships.

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Mar. 25, 2018 @ 10:35 GMT
Initial: becomes. When did this happen? If reality is eternal the term 'initial' has no meaning. I'd prefer reciprocal 'one' and 'many'.

Lorraine Ford wrote on Mar. 25, 2018 @ 12:01 GMT
What do you mean by "eternal"? What is time? And does anything exist "outside" of time?

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Mar. 25, 2018 @ 13:28 GMT
Could you define initial first of all?

Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 25, 2018 @ 16:21 GMT
Initial: "Existing or occurring at the beginning" [https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/initial]. The structure of this universe had a beginning, the structure started more or less from scratch: this seems to be the evidence-based theory of physicists/cosmologists.

This view seems to be correct because, working backwards in time: more complex life came from simper life, simpler life came from molecules, molecules came from atoms, the atomic elements were formed out of simpler elements in the periodic table, and atoms came from particles. The foundation of all of this is seemingly particles, law of nature relationships and numbers.

Without the law of nature relationships and the numbers you can’t have a universe with a structure, but the structure of the universe is subject to change (time). Also, working backwards, without what creates and knows about the law of nature relationships and numbers, you can’t have a universe with a structure, but this aspect of the universe is not subject to change.

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Author Brian D. Josephson replied on Mar. 25, 2018 @ 16:54 GMT
This view is now a bit out of date -- see https://aeon.co/videos/was-there-any-before-before-the-big-b
ang.

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