The Illusion of Substance

#1
https://www.eskimo.com/~nanook/science/2...F-XEUnwgeE

"If we look at something, it appears physical, made out of some stuff.

The stuff of course is made of molecules, combination of atoms which bind together by exchanging electrons or by electrostatic forces.

The atoms, made of electrons, protons, and neutrons. There are fundamental particles, the electrons, and composite particles, protons and neutrons, which are made up of quarks, conservative particles that are never seen naked and free.

These particles, if we try to observe them closely we find that we can not determine both their exact velocity and location simultaneously. This is because particles have a dual nature, they also have a wave-like nature and it is that wave-like nature that makes it impossible to determine exactly where a particle is and know it’s velocity simultaneously. We can only get probabilities of where it is likely to be, the wave seems to be a sort of probability wave.

And that wave isn’t really physical stuff, it’s a perturbation in some sort of field. And what exactly is a field? Well, it seems to involve some kind of force but no actual substance.

So here we are, the substance of our being really quite an illusion, or at least our physicality in the way we normally think of it. Instead we’re some kind of complex waves in a number of fields, that somehow is able to think, comprehend, even create.

Personally, I think we are all just God thought, and if God stops thinking about us, forgets us, we cease to exist. Fortunately, God doesn’t suffer from ADHD or we’d all be toast."
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#2
(Jun 24, 2020 09:37 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: https://www.eskimo.com/~nanook/science/2...F-XEUnwgeE

[...] So here we are, the substance of our being really quite an illusion, or at least our physicality in the way we normally think of it. Instead we’re some kind of complex waves in a number of fields, that somehow is able to think, comprehend, even create. Personally, I think we are all just God thought, and if God stops thinking about us, forgets us, we cease to exist. Fortunately, God doesn’t suffer from ADHD or we’d all be toast."

In place of personalizing the category as "God", I'd leave it as just that: a set of properties which the person on the street might label "mental". Which in turn logically invites its opposite: the idea of non-mental characteristics.

For instance... "physical", as inclusively referring to both corporeality and the abstract mapping/modeling that a science discipline uses, is actually mental. It's the content of extrospective consciousness with respect to the former and a product of reasoning/experiment with respect to the latter.

One can refer to "physical" as an objective, publicly shared half of the mental domain or category -- in sharp contrast to the introspective, private half of personal thoughts and body sensations. Thereby subjectivity can be reduced or eliminated, but not the attribution of still being realized by generic, mental properties.

Humans have never offered a legitimate, non-mental manner of existence (IOW, things in themselves that lack dependence upon observational representations and technical description) apart from possibly grazing it with concepts like "not even nothingness". A corporeal entity or state of affairs is an outer appearance or outer tactile sensation (if visually blind). A manifested representation of an entity existing outside of itself and thus dependent (vulnerable to interpretation) upon varying relationships to real or imaginary observers occupying the POVs or individual coordinates of space. Converting the corporeal entity or state of affairs to quantitative formula is more objective or less contingent, but still a representation outputted by and crouched in intelligence and symbolism.

Space itself is a cognitive medium for breaking existence up into discrete things having distinct locations -- allowing seperation for conscious discrimination and the possibility of focused attention being applied to each. This came before the conversion of space to a mathematical enterprise (an invention of reason), or what was the original provenance/inspiration. (Just as the everyday world was the "real world" until metaphysical and scientific realism versions of it came along to supposedly topple it.)

Which is a roundabout way of saying that not even the 12 fermion fields and 12 boson fields of QFT would be an acquisition of non-mental existence (non-representational). In the course of its working from selected or prized premises, it is generic rationalism slash rational efforts arguing or demanding vehemently that _X_ is necessary or inescapable that obstructs a pursuit of "non-mental existence" from being deemed a chase after a mythical beast.
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#3

SEP: "According to the generic sense, therefore, the substances in a given philosophical system are those things that, according to the system, are the foundational or fundamental entities of reality. Thus, for an atomist, atoms are the substances, for they are the basic things from which everything is constructed. In David Hume’s system, impressions and ideas are the substances, for the same reason. In a slightly different way, Forms are Plato’s substances, for everything derives its existence from Forms. In this sense of ‘substance’ any realist philosophical system acknowledges the existence of substances. Probably the only theories which do not would be those forms of logical positivism or pragmatism that treat ontology as a matter of convention. According to such theories, there are no real facts about what is ontologically basic, and so nothing is objectively substance.

The second use of the concept is more specific. According to this, substances are a particular kind of basic entity, and some philosophical theories acknowledge them and others do not. On this use, Hume’s impressions and ideas are not substances, even though they are the building blocks of—what constitutes ‘being’ for—his world. According to this usage, it is a live issue whether the fundamental entities are substances or something else, such as events, or properties located at space-times. This conception of substance derives from the intuitive notion of individual thing or object, which contrast mainly with properties and events. The issue is how we are to understand the notion of an object, and whether, in the light of the correct understanding, it remains a basic notion, or one that must be characterised in more fundamental terms. Whether, for example, an object can be thought of as nothing more than a bundle of properties, or a series of events.
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I think "substance" can even be a principle in a system that treats existence as a process. Due to the principle(s) being the only immutable item(s) that endure in the course of their regulating slash generating the changes of the process. Plato's forms could be construed as such when regarded more as "formulas" or instructions rather than ideal phenomenal shapes. (The latter pretty useless in how they'd be implemented, in contrast to computer programming.)
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#4
(Jun 25, 2020 10:10 PM)C C Wrote:

SEP: "According to the generic sense, therefore, the substances in a given philosophical system are those things that, according to the system, are the foundational or fundamental entities of reality. Thus, for an atomist, atoms are the substances, for they are the basic things from which everything is constructed. In David Hume’s system, impressions and ideas are the substances, for the same reason. In a slightly different way, Forms are Plato’s substances, for everything derives its existence from Forms. In this sense of ‘substance’ any realist philosophical system acknowledges the existence of substances. Probably the only theories which do not would be those forms of logical positivism or pragmatism that treat ontology as a matter of convention. According to such theories, there are no real facts about what is ontologically basic, and so nothing is objectively substance.

The second use of the concept is more specific. According to this, substances are a particular kind of basic entity, and some philosophical theories acknowledge them and others do not. On this use, Hume’s impressions and ideas are not substances, even though they are the building blocks of—what constitutes ‘being’ for—his world. According to this usage, it is a live issue whether the fundamental entities are substances or something else, such as events, or properties located at space-times. This conception of substance derives from the intuitive notion of individual thing or object, which contrast mainly with properties and events. The issue is how we are to understand the notion of an object, and whether, in the light of the correct understanding, it remains a basic notion, or one that must be characterised in more fundamental terms. Whether, for example, an object can be thought of as nothing more than a bundle of properties, or a series of events.
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I think "substance" can even be a principle in a system that treats existence as a process. Due to the principle(s) being the only immutable item(s) that endure in the course of their regulating slash generating the changes of the process. Plato's forms could be construed as such when regarded more as "formulas" or instructions rather than ideal phenomenal shapes. (The latter pretty useless in how they'd be implemented, in contrast to computer programming.)

I feel like the author meant substance in the common sense realistic sense as the physical stuff everything is assumed to be made of. His concern was to show that while many assume science supports this notion of an underlying substance or stuff, in fact it all reduces down to little more than mental abstractions like waves and fields and laws. IOW there is no irreducible given stuff making everything physical for us. Which sort of goes to your point of physicality actually being a mentally generated property we impose over our experience. Were there no mental "outside" to physicality to stand in and refer to physical things, we'd have no concept of it. We could have no experience of a non-mental substance beyond being some purely inferred undefinable variable X like Kant's noumena.
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