Cover Page      A Metaphysical System     that Includes Numbers,        Rules and Bricks  Authors: Jeffrey G. Long (jefflo...
Title: A Metaphysical System That Includes Numbers, Rules and BricksSpeaker: Jeff Long, Director, Notational Engineering L...
Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks  Slide 1: Cover Page  I appreci...
Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks                                ...
Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks  The area here that Ive highlig...
Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks        To Understand One Level,...
Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks                                ...
Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks  I think there has emerged, in ...
Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks                                ...
Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks  (1) It does not account for th...
Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks     Three Levels of Form and Co...
Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks  ContentWhen rules are executed...
Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks                                ...
Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks  Like the ancient Greeks, who b...
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February 24, 1996: "A Metaphysical System That Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks: The Evolution of Evolution." Presented at the Fourth Interdisciplinary Conference on General Evolutionary Systems, sponsored by the Washington Evolutionary Systems Society.

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A metaphsical system that includes numbers rules and bricks

  1. 1. Cover Page   A Metaphysical System  that Includes Numbers,  Rules and Bricks  Authors: Jeffrey G. Long ( Date: February 24, 1996 Forum: Talk presented at the 4th Interdisciplinary Conference on Evolutionary Systems, sponsored by the Washington Evolutionary Systems Society.   Contents Page 1: Proposal Pages 2‐14: Slides intermixed with text for presentation   License This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit‐nc/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.  Uploaded June 22, 2011 
  2. 2. Title: A Metaphysical System That Includes Numbers, Rules and BricksSpeaker: Jeff Long, Director, Notational Engineering Laboratory, George Washington UniversityAddress: CMEE Department, Phillips 703A, Washington, DC 20052Contact: (202) 547-0268 or jefflong@aol.comAs a necessary tool in exploring the nature and referents of notational systems, Ive postulated a pluralisticmetaphysical system that differs significantly from dualism and monism but tries to achieve the samekinds of goals. Such a system must account for the brute facts of everyday appearances but must alsoaddress (among other things) the question of the nature and role of fundamental abstractions such as arestudied in mathematics, and the nature and role of scientific and other laws.The resulting system is process-oriented and has three distinct levels of form and content, each generatedfrom the one below it by a slow evolutionary process. I will present the notion that (not to loseperspective on my subject!) the ontological dimensions represented by notational systems (level 1) are thebasis of and hence more fundamental than the rules they generate (level 2) or the physical realitygenerated by the execution of rules (level 3). Such a metaphysical model may help in understanding thenature and power of notational systems. It may also help in the search for new abstractions with which todevelop both powerful new explanatory theories and better communications tools.   
  3. 3.                   A Metaphysical System That Includes Numbers, Rules and Bricks The Evolution of Evolution                       Jeffrey G. Long        voice: (202) 547‐0268  e‐mail:    letter: 133‐1/2 11th Street, S.E., Washington, DC 20003      
  4. 4. Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks  Slide 1: Cover Page  I appreciate this chance to share some ideas with you.   Ever since Darwin introduced his theory of the origins of species 137 years ago, evolutionary theory has been applied to a wide range of areas.  Not only do species evolve, but so do cultures, ideas, and galaxies.  Even matter can be said to evolve through a process of nucleosynthesis and then chemical interactions.  This talk will be about the evolution of evolution, i.e., how evolution itself may have developed.  The framework will be an ontology composed of three levels of form and content, yielding six different levels and types of reality.  We already talk about three of these when we talk about numbers, rules, and bricks.  I would like to introduce three structural constrains on these, whose existence I think can also be fairly readily acknowledged.  The question is not whether these entities exist, so much as in what SENSE do they exist.  I neednt tell you that Im neither a physicist nor a philosopher, but I will anyway.  That doesnt excuse me from any gross errors of fact, however, and I will greatly appreciate any critique you may care to offer of these nascent ideas.  Please contact me as shown on the slide.       Page 3 of 14 
  5. 5. Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks              Foundations is One Important Area of Notational Engineering  Slide 2: Foundations is Only One Area of Notational Engineering  I want to emphasize that I see this theorizing as integral to my study of notational engineering.  This slide shows several of the major areas of notational engineering, including the evolutionary history of notational systems, the factors that make a notational system successful, and the areas where notational systems today are successful or not very successful.   Page 4 of 14 
  6. 6. Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks  The area here that Ive highlighted is the FOUNDATIONS of notation, i.e. the theory of what notational systems really ARE.  In looking at the nature of notational systems, we are faced with the basic questionsthat have been raised in the foundations of mathematics: do the tokens of these systems refer to anythingreal (called realism)? Or are they convenient and arbitrary shorthand expressions of ideas that could justas well be expressed (if desired) in words (called formalism)? For the moment we can ignore the thirdmain school in mathematics that says that mathematics can be reduced to logic (called logicism), for thatjust defers this question to a different notational system, namely LOGIC, in which case we must explorethe foundations of logic.But before we go on, I want to emphasize that I am not forsaking the other areas of notational engineeringfor speculative philosophy. While the users of tools need not understand them except in terms of theirfunctions, it would be a serious mistake for the student of tools per se to not understand where they comefrom and, more importantly, where they get their strength.       Page 5 of 14 
  7. 7. Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks        To Understand One Level, It Helps To Understand a Higher Level  Slide 3: Goal: Numbers, Rules and Bricks Notational tools such as language, writing, number, money, time, and logic are the most powerful toolsever created by humans, and they affect how we see the world and how we live more than any other tools.The same is true of rules, which I think many would say exist whether we are aware of them or not. Assuch I think we need a metaphysical system that somehow deals equitably with numbers, rules, andbricks. Page 6 of 14 
  8. 8. Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks            The Standard Ontological Pyramid      Slide 4: The Standard Ontological Pyramid  Page 7 of 14 
  9. 9. Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks  I think there has emerged, in the scientific and philosophical community of the last 100 years, a roughconsensus on the nature of reality. This MATERIALIST view is sketched here.... "From all this it seems to follow that events, not particles, must be the stuff of physics.  What has   been thought of as a particle will have to be thought of as a series of events.  The series of events   that replaces a partice has certain important physical properties, and therefore demands our   attention; but it has no more substantiality than any other series of events that we might arbitrarily   single out.  Thus matter is not part of the ultimate material of the world, but merely a convenient   way of collecting events into bundles.   "Quantum theory reinforces this conclusion, but its chief philosophical importance is that it regards   physical phenomena as possibly discontinuous.  It suggests that, in an atom (interpreted as above), a   certain state of affairs persists for a certain time, and then suddenly is replaced by a finitely different   state of affairs.  Continuity of motion, which had always been assumed, appears to have been a   mere prejudice.  The philosophy appropriate to quantum theory, however, has not been adequately   developed.  I suspect that it will demand even more radical departures from the traditional doctrine   of space and time than those demanded by the theory of relativity."    ‐‐ Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy, pp. 832‐3. Copyright 1945, 1972.      There are Challenges from Many Directions, Including Physics   Page 8 of 14 
  10. 10. Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks             Goal: Account for Numbers, Rules and Bricks! Slides 5‐6: There Are Many Challenges But there are many problems with this metaphysical system. Page 9 of 14 
  11. 11. Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks  (1) It does not account for the problems physicists have been having with the reality of matter. Shownhere is an extensive quote from Bertrand Russell on this issue.(2) It does not account for the problems physicists and philosophers have been having with understandingthe nature of physical laws.(3) It treats notational systems as real in some sense, but merely as emergent properties of mind. But ifnotational systems are merely convenient and arbitrary shorthand expressions of ideas that could just aswell be expressed (if desired) in words, then we should be able to inter-translate concepts expressed inany notational system into language and/or into any other notational system. Thus, we could express asymphony in mathematical terms, or a mathematical equation in words, or a visual image in geometricterms. It does not take many attempts at this to realize that different notational systems deal withdifferent TYPES OF IDEAS and at best can only be CRUDELY substituted for each other.       Page 10 of 14 
  12. 12. Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks     Three Levels of Form and Content Slide 6: Three Levels of Form and Content But if the tokens of notational systems do refer to something real, we must ask what they could possiblyrefer to. Certainly there is not a physical "3" somewhere, nor a "C-sharp". Nor is there an ideal "3"somewhere, any more than there is an ideal "table" somewhere.Notational systems do NOT refer to what we see in the world around us. Instead, each notational systemis a crude attempt to map the features and properties of what I call an ONTOLOGICAL DIMENSION.Examples of different ontological dimensions include entityhood, quantity, relation, and value.And for each of the distinctions that can be made within each ontological dimension, a fully-developednotational system will propose a different TOKEN. Thus in Western music we postulate an ontologicaldimension of about seven 12-tone scales, each so-called "note" having a unique token.FormBut each ontological dimension can interact with other ontological dimensions. Thus in music there isalso the notion of SEQUENCE whereby a note is played at a certain time in relation to other notes. Thereis also VOLUME, and many other distinctions. Each distinction may involve a different ontologicaldimension.When these are combined in a single unit we have an instance of UNIVERSAL: the OPPORTUNITY fora combination to exist, whether or not any particular thing in the real world makes use of it.Level B: "Ruleforms" as form, "Rules" as contentContentThe tokens of a notational system can be combined to form "rules": all rules are combinations of thetokens of notational systems, and all tokens of notational systems in a well-formed formula constitute arule or part of a rule.FormAll rules, I will assert without explanation, can be phrased or rephrased in If/Then terms. And all rules areexpressed in terms of place-value, for the sake of compactness and clarity, where (for example) a "3" in acertain location does not just mean the number three, but (say) 3 dollars or 3 kilograms. This allows 2 ormore ontological dimensions to be compactly represented.Level C: "Patterns" as form, "Particulars" as content Page 11 of 14 
  13. 13. Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks  ContentWhen rules are executed they can generate very complex behavior, including more rules and alsoincluding events. The events are strictly a by-product of the execution of rules.We may think of these events as a blanket that has been tossed on top of several children playing. Wecant see the children but we believe they are there; we do see the blanket moving and think that in somesense its behavior is a consequence of the behavior of the children. In reality, all we can ever see is theblanket, and the children are what I call the ANIMATION of RULES.FormThe events that occur -- the movement of the blanket -- may seem to have patterns, depending on thepoint of view and observational capabilities of an observer. These PATTERNS may have meaning, forexample some patterns we call matter, other patterns we call energy, life, mind, etc..THUS we have three levels of form and content. I call these:FORM: a SEMIOTIC structure comprised of PATTERNSCONTENT: a SURFACE structure comprised of EVENTSCONTENT: a MIDDLE structure comprised of RULESFORM: a DEEP structure comprised of the form of rules, RULEFORMSFORM: a SUB structure comprised of UNIVERSALSCONTENT: a NOTATIONAL structure composed of TOKENSAs an example, lets use this with CELLULAR AUTOMATA....In this model, we can see that the LOWER structures of the world are DETERMINISTIC, while theHIGHER structures are PROBABILISTIC and may often even look like FREE WILL. We can create aprobabilistic, quantum surface structure from deterministic lower structures. Page 12 of 14 
  14. 14. Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks      The Evolution of Form and Content  Slide 7: The Evolution of Form and Content These each have had their own evolutionary history, evolving from the lower levels to the higher levels.As in biological evolution we see simple life forms evolve into more complex life-forms, here realityitself becomes more complex over time! There is an evolution of evolution, whereby the laws ofbiological evolution themselves can emerge only after a foundation has been laid for the existence ofANY laws.I think we are ALL hoping for a simple ultimate ontology composed of one substance, whether mind(IDEALISM) or matter (MATERIALISM). But the world seems to have MULTIPLE levels of realitywhose entities are each fundamentally different and not inter-translatable, although they are highly inter-connected. Like the ancient Greeks, we tend to think our place in this hierarchy -- surface structure --constitutes the center of the universe. But it doesnt; it is merely one of 6 levels. Page 13 of 14 
  15. 15. Jeffrey G. Long [2//24/1996] A Metaphsical System that Includes Numbers, Rules, and Bricks  Like the ancient Greeks, who believed that the universe had to be composed of perfect spheres, and thatthese could not be blemished (as by, for example, sun spots), I think we will have to settle for a messierdescription of a complex universe.  Page 14 of 14