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January 19, 2018

CATEGORY: The Nature of Time Essay Contest (2008) [back]
TOPIC: The Epiontic Principle, Time and the Laws of Physics by Luigi Acerbi [refresh]
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Luigi Acerbi wrote on Dec. 1, 2008 @ 10:52 GMT
Essay Abstract

In this short essay we postulate the "Epiontic Principle" (EP), a concept which underlies more or less explicitly many physical theories, and we study its implications, in particular for the nature of time. After a brief discussion about the distinction between temporal dimension and time evolution, we adopt the EP as a guideline in Gedankenexperiments in order to understand the inde finite and shifting essence of what it is commonly called "the past". Real experimental results -- analyzed here in accordance with the epiontic paradigm -- confirm our qualitative predictions. In a subsequent speculative section, the EP is applied to the understanding of temporal evolution and thus to the laws of physics. The essay terminates with some thoughts of a cosmological nature and on desirable future quantitative developments allowing to study the EP with the aid of toy-models: the epiontic foils.

Author Bio

Luigi Acerbi received a B.Sc. in physics (2005), a B.Sc. in computer science (2006), and he is currently finishing his Master's degree in theoretical physics at the University of Milan, Italy (Università di Milano-Bicocca). As a computer scientist, he has done research on the field of topological dynamics, studying cellular automata as discrete-time dynamical systems (to be published in Theoretical Computer Science). As a physicist, he is working towards his degree with a thesis on a computational model of reheating which adopts interacting scalar fields on a inflationary background.

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Petr Frish wrote on Dec. 3, 2008 @ 13:47 GMT
I wonder if the EP has something in common with 'refextivity'

described here


call the passive relationship the “cognitive function” and the active relationship the “participating function,” and the interaction between the two functions I call “reflexivity.” Reflexivity is, in effect, a two-way feedback mechanism in which reality helps shape the participants’ ....

Petr Frish

Luigi Acerbi wrote on Dec. 3, 2008 @ 22:31 GMT
Well, I think that the two concepts stem from a similar root.

In fact, John A. Wheeler pointed out that we may live in a "participatory universe" and that physics-observer-information are entangled in a strange loop (John Wheeler, Information, Physics, Quantum. The Search for Links).

The passage following the one you quoted states the same thing with almost the same words:

"... reality helps shape the participants’ thinking and the participants’ thinking helps shape reality in an unending process in which thinking and reality may come to approach each other but can never become identical..."

It seems to me that "reflexivity" can be described generally as a property of self-determining epistemic systems -- which is an epiontic feature indeed.

This is good news... maybe epiontic models could have applications beyond (meta)physics and deserve attention in any case.

Thanks for the interesting link!

L. Acerbi

Cristi Stoica wrote on Dec. 8, 2008 @ 19:52 GMT
Dear Luigi,

Nice essay, interesting the idea of epiontic principle.

Best wishes,

Cristi Stoica

Flowing with a Frozen River

graham smetham wrote on Jun. 24, 2009 @ 20:08 GMT
I have just finsihed writing two books about the epiontic and reflexive of the universe. You may be surprised to know that Buddhist philosophers two thousand years ago (Yogacara) proposed exactly such a view of the process of reality. I have attached an essay `Quantum Intentional Universe` which I wrote in appreciation of the work of Professor Henry Stapp who has agreed to look at my second book `The Quantum Mind-Only Universe` which deals with these issues in depth. Further details of my work can be found at quantum buddhism.

attachments: QuantumIntentionalUniverse.pdf

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