Thomas Nagel......game changer?
Well, probably not. But he is a useful stalking horse. His M&C book has smoked out many of our latter-day materialists, and that has got to be a good thing. Whenever they come up for air, they more fully demonstrate their posture as sitting ducks, just waiting for Godot. Bless their hearts.
But I'm now turning my attention to this SEP article, thanks to a Leibniz squib, http://www.scienceclarified.com/everyday/Real-Life-Physics-Vol-2/Diffraction-Real-life-applications.html , forwarded by Jack....... http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/leibniz-mind/
All the ducks are lining up rather nicely, thank you very much. Wrt the previous post, I'm expecting a call from Larry and Chris, this evening.
For Leibniz, in order for something to count as a real being—a substance—it must be “truly one,” or an entity endowed with genuine unity. And, as we saw above, in order for something to be a genuine unity, it must be a simple, indivisible entity. “Substantial unity,” he writes, “requires a complete, indivisible and naturally indestructible entity” (to Arnauld, 28 November 1686). But matter is extended, and thus, Leibniz believes, infinitely divisible. Hence, there is no such thing, for Leibniz, as material substance.
Or, as I would say, to be is to relate.
Now back to that other list........
From: Dan Smith
Date: March 7, 2013 3:00:58 PM EST
To: Paul Chefurka
Cc: 50 others.....
Subject: Re: An opportunity to influence the whole society
I have suggested that we take a more intense discussion to a smaller list, so as not to wear out or use up the reserve forces on Steve's larger list.
I see nothing new in what you are saying, here, Paul. Most folks, who bother to look at this biophysical dynamic, come away profoundly pessimistic.
But, is this because we are not thinking outside the Box?
Perhaps, Paul, we have been presented with this apocalypse in order to nudge us toward a new conception of ourselves and our place in the world.
On Mar 7, 2013, at 2:50 PM, Paul Chefurka wrote:
OK, the Cliff's Notes summary:
My view of the current clusterfuck and my pessimism about the outcome stands on the following tripod:
1. The "Law of Maximum Entropy Production" by Rod Swenson. The appearance of order, structure and self-organization in the universe is inevitable due to the laws of thermodynamics. All ordered structures are dissipative (i.e. the "goal" of order is to degrade energy gradients as fast as possible). This applies fractally at all scales from sub-atomic particles to human culture.
2. The "Maximum Power Principle" of H.T. Odum : "During self-organization, system designs develop and prevail that maximize power intake, energy transformation, and those uses that reinforce production and efficiency." This is a re-statement of Swenson, and is similarly applicable to all systems from thunderstorms to human institutions like economics. It clarifies the reasons for growth in all human activities from energy use and general consumption to population. It also explains the succession of empires, why the USA and Riussia won WWII, and why the USA defeated the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
3. The principle of "Infrastructural Determinism" by Marvin Harris. In the tripartite framework of human culture (i.e. the "infrastructure" of resource-manipulation technologies, the "structure" of human social institutions, and the "superstructure" of values and beliefs) cultural influences flow probabilistically up from the infrastructure. This means that all our social institutions values and beliefs exist to support and explain our resource-directed activities rather than to control them.
It should be noted that the work of Harris and Odum preceded that of Swenson. Their work did not have a nomological foundation until Swenson came along. It is also worth noting that Swenson's work shows that Darwinian evolution is probably a special case of LMEP.
The upshot is that the whole of human culture is oriented towards executing, supporting and justifying the thermodynamic imperative of degrading energy sources as fast as possible. Population growth is an intrinsic part of this process. We don't recognize that most of our values and beliefs are responses to this invisible, universal pressure. As a result our behavior is remarkably sensitive to education directed towards enhancing this activity, and remarkably insensitive to any education directed at counteracting it. In fact our culture as a whole acts defensively towards such threats. What Mother Nature wants, she ends up getting.