Speculum Mentis

speculum mentis’: mirror of the mind -this is a draft in process of writing

Bismillah. “Ve alleme âdeme’l-esmâe küllehâ”
Quran, Bakara:31
“Per speculum videmus in aenigmate;
et ex parte cognoscimus,
et ex parte prophetamus.”
St. Jerome
“What is necessarily determined in Space,
is contingent, in Time.”


In order to expound my ideas, what I see in the mirror of my mind, I will begin this quest by exploring my own consciousness and self-identity. Everybody knows what happens in waking life, in everyday life, nobody asks who am I? Or what am I? As soon as I have awaken from sleep, I am conscious of my ego, and instantly become aware of my-self-ness and the world around me at first hand. In everyday life, I do not think but act and move in this strange, external world which surrounds me; I live in this world but it is alien and differs from my self-identity. Because, I also am aware that this external world is indifferent to me and my feelings but it continuously affects me through my sensory organs. I can see my surroundings, feel light and colours, sense the movement and balance of my body. I can touch and feel whether the material bodies of this external world is hard, solid or fluid. As long as we perceive a particular thing we accept it as it seems; we do not need to question or think about reality of the thing. Though we constantly perceive different aspects of reality as altered states of consciousness or in different situations of the external world, we rarely ask ourselves “who am I or what Am I? Or what is the real nature of this external world? To perceive and name an identity is something, but to conceive and comprehend its true nature is something else. For instance what is the real nature of self (soul) mind and brain? are they identical entities?
For example, if something (like our body and mental life) changes in time incessantly and remains nothing from its initial conditions and original parts of its body, could it be considered self-identical (true and faithful to itself) as we consider the human beings always have the same personal identity? I wish to use this self-identity concept in a different context also, meaning as the true nature of something: It is not about the identity crisis of disturbed youth or meaning personal identity from a forensic viewpoint, but the true nature of the reality of self-identity; e.g. is it mental, related with soul, or physical, or is it a substantial identity which underlies these personal attributes? Is there a holistic personality spirit behind all mental and bodily personal traits of this self-ness or Ego (I, me-ness)? And again, if the mind is identical with brain processes, what is the self-identity (true substance) of this brain as a material of the nature itself? What are the substantial features and causes of these material body and physical events of nature itself?
I remember here, the ancient example of the Ship of Theseus. Theseus always renovates the older parts of his ship for a long time. At last he sees that the last part of the older ship has been changed and remained nothing from the original skeleton of the ship, Is it now the same identical Ship of Theseus or not? Suppose, while renovating the ship, he has kept every single part of the older ship on the shore and later on decided to build a second ship using those worn-out but original wooden parts and re-built the ship to stand on the shore as a memorial. Now which one should resemble the identity of the true Ship of Theseus? They might be very faithfully has been built as to seemingly identical to each other, but which one should be identified as the real ship of Theseus?
Once, I was writing about “Man, Existence and Time”; I wished to stress the problem of ever changing body of human self, comparing with the changeless self-identity of God, and used the phrase “ego sum qui sum” in the beginning of the article. And though I was not sure then, I felt that this phrase is spoken from such an altitude and has such a high quality that it could be uttered only by God and probably on Mount Sinai. And then, although I repeatedly looked at the Torah to find this phrase I had failed to locate it, so then I stated it reluctantly as “It is said that:
God said to Moses: ‘I AM WHO AM’ at the Mount Sinai.”
Here is the details of the story as it was told in Old Testament, Exodus 3:14:
1 Now Moses fed the sheep of Jethro, his father in law, the priest of Madian: and he drove the flock to the inner parts of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, Horeb.
2 And the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he saw that the bush was on fire, and was not burnt.
3 And Moses said: I will go, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 And when the Lord saw that he went forward to see, he called to him out of the midst of the bush. and said: Moses, Moses. And he answered: Here I am.
5 And he said: Come not nigh hither, put off the shoes from thy feet; for the place, whereon thou standest, is holy ground.
6 And he said: I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face: for he durst not look at God.
7 And the Lord said to him: I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of the rigour of them that are over the works;
8 And knowing their sorrow, I am come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and to bring them out of that land into a good and spacious land, into a land that floweth with milk and honey, to the places of the Chanaanite, and Hethite, and Amorrhite, and Pherezite, and Hevite, and Jebusite.
9 For the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have seen their affliction, wherewith they are oppressed by the Egyptians.
10 But come, and I will send thee to Pharao, that thou mayst bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.
11 And Moses said to God: Who am I that I should go to Pharao, and should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
12 And he said to him: I will be with thee; and this thou shalt have for a sign that I have sent thee: When thou shalt have brought my people out of Egypt, thou shalt offer sacrifice to God upon this mountain.
13 Moses said to God: Lo, I shall go to the children of Israel, and say to them: The God of your fathers hath sent me to you. If they shall say to me: What is his name? What shall I say to them?
14 dixit Deus ad Mosen EGO SUM QUI SUM ait sic dices filiis Israhel qui est misit me ad vos. God said to Moses: I AM WHO AM. He said: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.
15 And God said again to Moses: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: The Lord God of your fathers the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob hath sent me to you; this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
“Ego sum qui sum”, (“ʼèhyè ʼăšèr ʼèhyè, אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה” in hebrew and translated into arabic
as أَهْيَهِ الَّذِي أَهْيَه ) ) translated as “I am who I am”, “I am what I am” or “I am what I will be”. Thus defined self-identity of God with this semantically self-referential name. This is an act of true “Naming” of the selfhood of God by Jahve himself. Name means identity, since we have to name something to identify it’s individual existence which differs from everything else. Aforementioned “naming” phrase is true by definition being an auto-logical and tautological statement (simply because of saying the same thing twice) “I am who I am”. From the semantical viewpoint, again, “Naming something” is an important act which is considered as a magical act which empowers you to control the thing implied by the name. “Naming” enables us to describe and distinguish the “identity” of an individualized entity. Here is the first naming of Yahve which could be interpreted almost as “who he is” (ya huve) in arabic. “Ego sum qui sum” reminds me the famous dictum of Hallac: “Ene’l-Hak”: (I am truth, I exist absolutely forever without change). Again, when Caliph Ali hears the dictum that “Once there was God and nothing else besides him”, he replies that; “el-ân kemâ kâne”: “now is the same as before”. That is, nothing changed in this present time too, there is no real existence except God.
This is not only a remarkable act of naming which is pronounced self-referentially by God himself; so this name should be the most definitive, and changeless identity of God; “Ego Sum Qui Sum” (I am what I am, I am who I am, I will be what I will be, I am my self-identity) but also implies an unchanging self, an absolute existence everlasting without any change. This is why that phrase, “ego sum qui sum”, has been interpreted with many philosophical, theological and mystical implications.
The word Ehyeh  literally means “I will be”. This is a name given by God to identify himself in the Burning Bush, the importance of this phrase stems from the Hebrew conception of monotheism that God exists by himself for himself, and is the uncreated Creator who is independent of any concept, force, or entity; therefore “I am who I am” (ongoing, permanent).
Moreover it is semantically a self-referential identity which refers to its own existence as an absolute self which in turn indicates that instead of pronouncing a name it refers to an absolute, changeless self. That is, it implies an absolute self who can last forever without recurring any change in his self-identity. It implies that only God has this kind of absolute ego; a self-identity which can last forever permanently without any change whatsoever. Then only God can truly say “ego sum qui sum”: I will be what I will be, since only his identity can remain eternally. İt is not going to die or change in time. This is why, in our culture, customarily every gravestone has this inscription on it which states: “Huve’l-Baki”: He(God) is permanent forever. Self-identity of God – will remain eternally as the same identity if we recall what he says in Hebrew: “I will be what I will be”: The same meaning is expressed in Quran as هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ: “He is the first and the last and he is the seen (open secret) of the observable existence and he is the hidden (immanent) truth of existence and he knows everything”.
I have started to think with this example in mind, then I thought this phrase could be interpreted in such a way that this kind of self-reference to the existence and identity of any entity could be used to make an auto-logical description. Not only for the true identity and existence of selfhood but also physical existence of nature. Here lies the real essence of the self-ness; it is known by itself, it is what it is; intuitively felt but not observable by any physical means. Selfhood comes first and felt before everything else; it is known by self-awareness, by itself; then the self-identity, in this sense, should include not only Mind and Body of an individuality, but also some other Personality attributes if they continue in time without change (e.g. though the parts of body changes in time, it goes on with the same DNA).
According to some contemporary physicalists, the mind and the brain of a person is identical; selfhood might only be a construction of the Mind and there is nothing which transcends one’s brain, neither real selfhood nor soul.
I think there is a semantical confusion here. Selfhood (nephesh in Hebrew, nephes in Arabic) means Ego, self-identity of the mind, but it also means a living (breathing) creature. Nefs means soul in Arabic, Aristotle means the same thing when he says “de anime”. These denotations of this semantical concepts could also be useful to investigate; but most of the problems related with mind and consciousness appears to come into existence because of the paradigm shifts in the modern mentality, rather than semantical confusions of the conceptions. Semantical concepts or paradigms which we use as tools of thinking may change the particular solutions and outcomes in accordance with their functionalities. This is why I began with recalling this story of Moses. Again,there is another interesting story of identity in the Old Testament: According to the narration, in the beginning, Moses did not even know his personal identity; he was brought up as an Egyptian Prince, the son of the Pharaoh’s sister, but later learned that he was a Jew in fact.
I assume that, before the beginning of a quest for meaning, one must initiate to analyse the content of his own Mind and Soul, that is, the real nature of his self-identity. I have chosen this narration about the naming of God’s identity because it is an illuminative example to introduce the semantical meaning of selfhood. I have to choose a proper standpoint to view this terra incognita, since it will determine my perspective. Perspective means both the content and understanding of a mind and the perspective of a Mind is also determined by its chosen standpoint. This is why we should pay attention to our standpoint before beginning to explore the unknown territory. Thus, from my viewpoint this self-referential description of Ego (I, me-ness in latin) as “ego sum qui sum”: is a good beginning which illustrates the unmeasurable difficulties of the self-conception beginning instantly from the tautological definition of the word (ego) itself. From this point of view I have come to this conclusion that I should primarily try to comprehend the nature of self-identity, so I have to investigate the subject using as many diverse perspectives of different disciplines as possible. At first we should be aware of semantical difficulties of naming and identifying the subjects of our thought abstraction levels of its conceptions. I feel there are logical and mathematical aspects of it too. To be sure a Philosophical analysis needs the information coming from scientific investigations. It is known that at present scientific knowledge and perspective cannot fully explain human consciousness, especially, qualia self-awareness, attention and self-reference as ego let alone will.
Needless to say History of the subject and a con-spective view of philosophy of history would be illuminating and I think this subject needs to be reconsidered from the perspectives of art, theology and mystical experience also.
I am going to reiterate that, I have began with this sacred name of God because I wanted to begin with the concept of Ego as my standpoint. This story is beautifully illustrates the importance of the chosen standpoint for a suitable perspective. Let us recall here again, according to this narration, how Moses sees the light and wishes to know what happens over there on the bush, what is the identity behind that event. That means a perspective should be framed beginning from this standpoint: id est “EGO”. Because knowledge also begins with the self-awareness of the mind which denotes to a “self” (ego) behind that mind. But can a person analyse its own Mind? We have to remember here that Descartes also begins to construct his philosophy with the famous motto, “cogito; ergo, sum”: I think therefore I am. It is usually translated as “I think; therefore, I exist”. I had once rephrased this dictum, in the context of an article which I wrote many years ago, that it should be understood as “I am aware of myself; therefore, I exist” (eş’uru izen ene mevcudün), because, here, the thinking mind (cogito) is self-aware and already grammatically referring to its own “ego” as “I” think… Ego sum, ego existo. I learned later on that Descartes himself also had already made this inference (in Meditation II): “… hoc pronuntiatum: ego sum, ego existo, quoties a me profertur, vel mente concipitur, necessario esse verum.” “… this proposition: I am, I exist, whenever it is uttered from me, or conceived by the mind, necessarily is true.” This statement sometimes given as “dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum”. What is this “res cogitans” (a thinking thing)? I think this might be the hardest question of knowledge both for science and philosophical analysis. I remember a dictum here by St Augustin: Si fallor, sum (“If I am mistaken, I am”). Naturally, Scientific and Philosophical elucidations of knowledge requires semantical, logical and mathematical analyses, but the problem of consciousness and selfhood comes first and demands artistical, historical, theological analyses including an analyses of intuitive and instinctive konowledge because of the nature of mystical experience and meditations. What is this self-consciousness? Every self-aware consciousness naturally ensures itself that it is aware of its own self-identity and conceives that its self-identity differs from everything else which is perceived by deciphering the impulses coming via the sensory organs. In short, my consciousness, self-awareness of my own Mind, makes me believe that “ego sum qui sum”: I am who I am, therefore I am conscious of my self-identity and my body; thus, I am different from whatever I perceive with my sensory organs which come from my surroundings. I also am aware that they are definitely different from my self-identity which conceives them. We are absolutely sure of this fact when we are consciously aware of ourselves, but how can anyone be sure that he is not in a dream-state or have some delusions like hallucinations.
cognition, volition, valuation
Bak: Saul kripke, naming and necessity
Ve dainton Phenomenal self
It also is my self-awareness which ensures me that “I am”, “my self-identity”, truly exists and seems an uncompromising reality which I am not able to deny: ego sum, ego existo, since I am decisively conscious of my self-identity and whatever my consciousness conceives as long as I am aware of myself. This seems to me an undeniable fact because here the conceiver and the conceived become the same thing the mind refers to itself as the content of its consciousness. One cannot deny his self-awareness of the content of his own conscious. As a result I cannot doubt my self-consciousness and what it conceives. I can simply state that “I am”, “I exist”, but is it true? If so, what does it mean to be exist as a self-aware ego? At this point I have recalled a thought experiment by Avicenna:” While he was imprisoned in the castle of Fardajan near Hamadhan, Avicenna wrote his famous “Floating Man” -literally falling man- thought experiment to demonstrate human self-awareness and the substantiality and immateriality of the soul. Avicenna believed his “Floating Man” thought experiment demonstrated that the soul is a substance, and claimed humans cannot doubt their own consciousness, even in a situation that prevents all sensory data input. The thought experiment told its readers to imagine themselves created all at once while suspended in the air, isolated from all sensations, which includes no sensory contact with even their own bodies. He argued that, in this scenario, one would still have self-consciousness. The original Arabic text reads as follows:
يجب أن يتوهم الواحد منا كأنه خلق دفعةً وخلق كاملاً لكنه حجب بصره عن مشاهدة الخارجات وخلق يهوى في هواء أو خلاء هوياً لا يصدمه فيه قوام الهواء صدماً ما يحوج إلى أن يحس وفرق بين أعضائه فلم تتلاق ولم تتماس ثم يتأمل هل أنه يثبت وجود ذاته ولا يشكك في إثباته لذاته موجوداً ولا يثبت مع ذلك طرفاً من أعضائه ولا باطناً من أحشائه ولا قلباً ولا دماغاً ولا شيئاً من الأشياء من خارج بل كان يثبت ذاته ولا يثبت لها طولاً ولا عرضاً ولا عمقاً ولو أنه أمكنه في تلك الحالة أن يتخيل يداً أو عضواً آخر لم يتخيله جزء من ذاته ولا شرطاً في ذاته وأنت تعلم أن المثبت غير الذي لم يثبت والمقربه غير الذي لم يقربه فإذن للذات التي أثبت وجودها خاصية على أنها هو بعينه غير جسمه وأعضائه التي لم تثبت فإذن المثبت له سبيل إلى أن يثبته على وجود النفس شيئاً غير الجسم بل غير جسم وأنه عارف به مستشعر له وإن كان ذاهلاً عنه يحتاج إلى أن يقرع عصاه آية الكرسي
Here is a literal English translation of the argument:
One of us has to consider (yatawaham) that one has been just created in a stroke, and that one has been thus created fully developed and perfectly complete (kāmilan), yet [created] with one’s vision shrouded [or veiled] (hujiba baṣarahu) from watching [perceiving] (mushāhadāt) external entities created falling [floating] (yahwa) in the air on in empty space (al-khalāʾ) in a fall not buffeted by any felt air that buffets it [i.e. the Person in question]; its limbs separated and not in contact nor touching on another. Then let it contemplate (yataʾamal) whether it would affirm the existence of its own self. It would not then doubt the affirmation that it’s self is existent (mawjūda), yet not affirming the existence of any other limbs nor inner bowels, nor heart, nor brain, nor anything of the external things. Rather it was affirming the existence of its-self without affirming that it had length, breadth, or depth. And if it were possible for it, in such a state, to imagine (yatakhayal) a hand or any other limb, it would not then imagine it to be part of its-self nor to be condition of it [i.e. its-self existence]. And you know that what is affirmed is distinct from what is not affirmed, and what is implied is distinct from what is not implied. Therefore the nafs [self, soul], whose existence the person has affirmed, is its [the person’s] characteristic identity that is not identical to its body nor its limbs [whose existence] it did not affirm. Therefore, the attentive (al-mutanabih) [to this situation] has a means of realizing (yatanabah) that the affirmation of the existence of its-self (soul, al-nafs) is distinct from the body and something that is quite non-body [i.e. that the mind/soul (al-nafs) is distinct from the body (jism)]; this is known through self-consciousness and if one was distracted from it, one needs to knock ayet’el kürsi one’s baton [as to be alerted to it].
—Ibn Sina, Kitab Al-Shifa, On the Soul
Here is a translation of “ayet el kürsi” which describes the absolute consciousness of God comparing it with human consciousness. Here is the translation by J. Arberry:
There is no god but He, the
Living, the Everlasting.
Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep;
To Him belongs
All that is in heavens and the earth.
Who is there that shall intercede with Him
Save by His leave?
He knows what lies before them
And what is after them,
And they comprehend not anything of His knowledge
Save such as He wills.
His Throne comprises the heavens and earth;
The preserving of them oppresses Him not;
He is the All-high, the All-glorious.
Conscious awareness instead of the example of philosophical Zombie give these examples
Of Humanoid japan robots, kara, kocasının robot benzeriyle evlenen kadın filmi,AI ve blade runner filmleri
Semantical idendity and naming,logic, math philosophy, Self-identity as name
Scientific identiy of brain and consciousness
Intuitive self and soul
Artisticalgive the example of tolstoys examination
Historical, theologic and mystical explanations
Perspective &planning:
Do proper names have senses? Frege argues that they must have senses, for, he asks, how else can identity statements be other than trivially analytic? How, he asks, can a statement of the form a = b, if true, differ in cognitive value from a = a? His answer is that though ‘a’ and ‘b’ have the same reference they have or may have different senses, in which case the statement is true, though not analytically so. But this solution seems more appropriate where ‘a’ and ‘b’ are both non-synonymous definite descriptions, or where one is a definite description and one is a proper name, than where both are proper names. Consider, for example, statements made with the following sentences:
(a) ‘Tully = Tully’ is analytic.
But is
(b) ‘Tully = Cicero’ synthetic?
If so, then each name must have a different sense, which seems at first sight most implausible, for we do not ordinarily think of proper names as having a sense at all in the way that predicates do; we do not, e.g. give definitions of proper names. But of course (b) gives us information not conveyed by (a). But is this information about words? The statement is not about words.
Self is like unicorn semantically
What descriptions are you willing to substitute for the name (self)NN
Semantical meaning as stated naming and necessity and intensional predicates
Here comes the problem of consistency and logic also since time is paradoxical
Philosophical & Metaphysical meaning as a being in time dimension only
Physicalist definition and scientific meaning of identity
We can now resolve our paradox: does a proper name have a sense? If this asks whether or not proper names are used to describe or specify characteristics of objects, the answer is ‘no’. But if it asks whether or not proper names are logically connected with characteristics of the object to which they refer, the answer is ‘yes, in a loose sort of way’. (This shows in part the poverty of a rigid sense-reference, denotation-connotation approach to problems in the theory of meaning.)
Historical, PH, mystical, theological, artistical,
You can say allah yahve ya huve or god but if you wish to give a real name which can denote to itself self reflexively you are forced to say I am what I am it is what it is true without being descriptive…
Ego sum ego existo, but what does it mean to be an ego and what does it mean to be exist? We all have born into a cultural milieu which our parents belong; we have learned and accepted all the cultural institutions which has been built by a language No-body is in the situation of first man, Adam who once had eaten the fruit of knowledge as described in Genesis. All men including scientists has been brought up as if everybody knows everything and everything already known and described by language, at least there are many things we can know and use and describe by the language institutionalized as we use, we have been born and live in a civilized society. even in a pre-civilized cultural milieu like hunter-gatherer cultures, there is this illusion of knowledge which is indoctrinated to our mind by our parents, by teaching a language. But by learning a language we are learning a hierarchical and already institutionalized knowledge of culture. We are all deceived by the language we have used that we have some true, necessary and sufficient knowledge of a reality which is described by the language of our ancestors. It is true that language is the archived knowledge of all the life experiences and wisdom of the culture in which we have been brought up. But language indoctrinates our mind also that they are true though sometimes parents get confused by the strange questions a child can easily states and ask, but they also get used not really think about the replies given to those innocent questions. Reality is already described and hierarchically institutionalized by the language which is thought by our parents. But as we learn we are also indoctrinated by many qualifications and beliefs; e.g. “-culture is a good thing”, “-who says so?” “-our parents, so we have to accept and believe it.” Because our parents also believes what they have been thought by the use of language. And What is more, what happens if a child insists to resists to these customary behaviours and indoctrinated beliefs, he is going to be punished by elders. As a result, it seems everybody knows everything which is indoctrinated by the language. But it is a grand illusion, nobody knows “what is reality in fact?” but what is known by everybody is only a particular culture, some cultural achievements experienced and learned in the past by the particular society and described in a particular language. Even scientists could accept as true all the descriptions of the world by a particular language and use the words of that language to understand and describe their scientific knowledge. Not all the conceptions of scientific language and methods could be like mathematical measurements, everybody is forced to conceive reality from the filter of a particular language. Furthermore, I think they are usually wrong, though everybody get used and lived comfortably in this grand illusion.
Even a scientist could be easily deceived by the language, since not every scientists is also going to be a semanticist and think about the meaning of linguistic tools. In fact most of the intellectuals have no idea about semantics, they accept and internalize their native language as a given fact and adopt it as a natural tool to understand reality. Let us not forget that a scientist is only a scientific specialist who tries to know more and more about less and less significant detail of a branch of knowledge, nowadays nobody can embrace the whole bulk of the tree of knowledge, it has grown too much to be embraced wholly, a scientific specialist is an intellectual who can know only one or a few branch of the tree of knowledge, a scientific specialist could not be a great, really erudite, scholar like al-Biruni of middle ages; it is not possible any more. Ordinarily nobody always thinks about his ego, his consciousness or mind body problems, and surely not any scientist is going to explore them if he is not a specialist of that field. Why a mathematician or historian should also be a specialist of neurophysiology, or say, semanticist? So then, everybody accepts the content of his consciousness and his native language as a natural phenomenon and never has any doubt about them.
I have an ego, I exist and natural world of things outside me and my body which are sensed with my conscious Mind and described with my native language are also exist. This is the way we ordinarily think about the reality of existence. This is the nature of human consciousness and everybody accept them naturally. What if, as a philosopher, if I doubt all of them and interrogate them from the perspective of related disciplines and sciences whether they are naturally given facts of reality or not? For instance what is an “ego” or consciousness from the perspective of the related specialists like neurophysiology? What does it mean to be exist from the perspective of a physicist? For example how many kind of existence we can experience or imagine?
Physicists believe that there is only sensible material substances and they exists in a space-time framework of nature. That’s it. Then what about light? Is it sensible but is it material? But let me say here at once that I think there are many different kinds and levels of existence. For example, consciousness might be related with brain tissues but exists in time. Language also is a metaphysical substance which exists in time not in space. Mathematics is also a first class metaphysical entity which exists outside of space and time. Ego is a metaphysical existence which come into existence in time though it also includes a body which pertains to space also. Let me reiterate that a scientific specialist cannot embrace every branch and whole bulk of the tree of knowledge, but a philosopher of history should take into account every possible perspective of science. So he should carefully interrogate what neuro-physiology or cognitive scientists and other related specialists say about, ego, mind, consciousness etc. because of epistemological reasons at first and to interpret the meaning of existence secondly. This is why Descartes formulated the famous dictum “cogito ergo sum” to be relieved from the doubt about the reality of existence. And this is why I have begun with the phrase “ego sum qui sum”.
So we have to investigate what does it mean the word “ego” and sum (to be exist) from all the perspectives of the cognitive sciences, neurophysiology, philosophy of mind etc. and also from the perspective of semantics also since I think that word of “ego” (I, me-ness) Is the first and ultimate foundation of semantics also. Materialism believes only one kind of substance, that is, the nature of the existence means to be a material substance which exists in space-time. Owing to their traditions of old atomic theories and scientific methods, Physicists also believe that there should be physical evidence about things to be accepted as “existed” so it must be material substance. So sometimes they go as far as to say that “The passage of Time” is an illusion though they speak about the space-time framework of events. Surely, they are not meant to be semanticists; they try to comprehend reality although they are forced to make some semantical analyses of the terms used in physics, in the framework of their scientific methods, let me say according to their tastes and standards. Then what? When they try to understand and describe reality in some mathematical measurements and mathematically constructed formulas as the modelling of reality, they are not aware that all of these mathematical models are going to be pure metaphysics, they are building a scientific metaphysics to describe physics. I think scientists have very naive notions about the semantics of language logic and mathematics. Philosophers also have no better position from this viewpoint. Our ego and consciousness are naturally inherent but our native language is also internalized in such a degree that we do not pay scrutinized attention what we think is and what we say. I invite contemporary physicists to remember what they say about natural forces. They exist in time only (not in space-time) they are “the causes” which their affects becomes spatial material substances and appears (happens) as events in space time. Think about gravity, it’s affect as the action at a distance without material relatedness of the masses, is it material substance? You can describe gravity and the degree of its attractive affects with a mathematical formula which itself is a good example of metaphysical construction though it is a scientific concept. But be aware, I have to inform you that, from a semantical perspective, every conception is forced to be a metaphysical construction, a metaphysically abstracted, idealized and generalized forms of individual perceptions. What about the photons of light? Is it a material particle or a wave of energy: entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitate. You believe if something is sensible or measurable then it really exist. But you cannot measure the time itself. If we are not conscious, that is not aware of something, does it mean that there and then exist nothing? Though something is not co-existent in time synchronically in space particularly in this present-time, it does not follow that it will not come into existence in future. Though because of strong and weak forces, because of quantum mechanics, Physicists are all get used to inhabit logical paradoxes in their curriculum of scientific experiments and theory, yet they display a strong adherence to logic. Maybe everybody is not aware of this fact, but I think every predicate of logic and mathematics also need a scrutinized analyses of semantics.
Neither consciousness which is framed out of limited sense impulsions, nor the concepts of any language (including logic and math) can fully grasp and describe whole reality of existence. Natural forces particularly material or sensible things affects our sensory organs and make some perceivable Sense impulsions and making their way through the tissues of brain neurons a consciousness network electrical discharges comes into existence in a fluently continuous timing conscious state. That is the state of consciousness which is highly dependent of the transferred sense impulsions. Then let us consider the light impulsions. Human eye can detect only white light which is a very limited kind of radiation frequency comparing all the frequencies of light, e.g short and long wave frequency lights, x-rays, beta, gamma-rays etc. Semantically from the perspective of ordinary language which expresses human experience since two hundred thousand years and until very recent times there was only white light which could be sensible by the retina of human eye. Surely we can detect and measure other light frequencies then we have very limited sensation capability about light. We can touch and sense material objects, we can hear sounds etc. so the content of our consciousness about this natural world of material objects we have sensed and aware of them. So the ego tries to comprehend all of the content of this consciousness and knows that these sensed and comprehended things are all different and alien objects of from the comprehending subjective mind (of the ego) itself. the mind is aware of both his inner life and external world and it constructs consciously a general view of the outer world by the use of construction of some conceptions; whatever it conceives which are all inferred from the highly limited sense impulsions and constructed by it
That is our consciousness can give us a very limited view of reality through very limited range of capability of sensory organs. But the human mind is not only conceives and comprehends the content of its conscious states it also has a high creative imagination indeed. We should not forget that the reality of the outer world is a creation of mind based on the inferred conceptions from sensible perceptions. Sense impressions might be limited and somewhat faulty and rude impressions of reality but with the use of measurement science can transform them to objective statements as far as possible. Surely we have a science of nature as Physic which uses a mathematical language, but nevertheless we should not forget that this science is also limited to empirical experiences which in turn depends ultimately to the capability of human consciousness.
Novum organum idols
I think Philosophers, and scientists have given too much credit to the consciousness of these sense impulsions. The mind’s eye, its consciousness and its sensory experience of course gives us a picture of reality. Ordinary human experience, or human consciousness can sense and describe a material world according to its natural human abilities: And humanity as a homo sapience have this empirical observational experience of this material world which is readily sensible, perceivable and seemingly conceivable, so ordinarily human consciousnes imagines and lives in a materialistic picture of world. It was the common human experience since homo sapience has begun his adventure some two hundred thousand years ago until very recent times. Modern Science is about some three hundred years old only. The theory of Quantum Mechanics belongs to 20th century. We cannot know the origins for sure, there are always unknown or unrecorded beginnings of every accomplishment of humanity, we do not know historically how old language is, but logic has been framed by Aristotle only two thousand years ago. That means our consciousness and conceptions of language are nearly as old as humanity and formed and developed in history in accordance with ordinary human experience before the arrival of all the complicated scientific instruments of experience which can measure and describe a very different reality, namely, we live in the middle world and our senses and linguistic tools of comprehension is developed in accord with this reality, but with these complicated scientific instruments we can now make some experiences of a quantum mechanical micro-world, this world is unreachable by human sensory organs and experience and its mechanical principles are different from usual Newtonian mechanics of that older world, it’s language and logic also different from our everyday world. There is also that astronomically large world of macro-cosmos which remained out of reach of human abilities and comprehension for thousands of centuries, yet this world is also now regarded in the realm of scientific investigations thanks to the informing new instruments of technology.
As a result we have to change at least some parts of our old habitual worldview. Believing our sensory organs we have thought that we see the world as it is since the dawn of humanity. And indoctrinated by the language of a particular culture one belongs, we have assumed that language is capable of expressing everything, be careful about its usage and logic then you can correctly express yourself. Habitually we get used to our native language and as if blinded by the light we have been slaves of our own conscious awareness of the reality though we dream often. Let us remember the saying: “Habit is the opium of imagination” We have to be relieved from our old habit of adhering adhering strongly to a wrong materialistic picture of the world at it was comprehended by human consciousness in accordance to its limited sensory organs. We should carefully and semantically analyse every indoctrinated concept of our native language which habitually makes every person a puppet of his own culture. I do not think that the simple logic and mathematical constructions guarantees the truth value of every statement.
That means we have to interrogate nearly whole human nature and ability. We should not deceive ourselves with limited construction of reality as pictured by human mind. We should be careful about every intensional predicates of the propositions of logic. We have learned in 20th century that even mathematics cannot be thoroughly consistent.
Sometimes Physicists express strange ideas about the micro-world of quantum mechanics. Everybody heard something about Shroedinger’s cat which means that the result of an experience on the tiny world of subatomic particles might change because of the effect of observation. I will try to illustrate my viewpoint about consciousness of human-mind with a similar thought experience moreover I will use a simile from our everyday experience since human consciousness also can conceive only those events which happens in this ordinary middle world of everyday life. Most of us has experienced this curious behaviour of the stupid cockroach when you pay attention and noticed that a dirty cockroach runs in your bathroom it instantly stops moving hoping to be overlooked. How the stupid creature knows instantly whenever you have seen its movements because god knows but I suppose you have that simple experience with the cockroach. Naturally here is a window and a mirror on the wall of the room. Imagine that sun arises slowly from the horizon and some emergent light rays coming into the room from the windows falls upon the mirror on the wall and reflected upon some shady side of the floor illuminates that part of the floor and enables you to see the hidden movements of that cockroach and the damned thing instantly stops instinctively feeling, God knows how, that its movement has been observed by somebody. That is your observation affects its movement action and it instantly stops like dead body. They say some subatomic particles behaves exactly like that damned cockroach when we try to observe them because of the effect of that observation. You can go on to make some more similes like particle wave duality etc. but the reason I have constructed this animated metaphor is to illustrate my perspective about the relations of Ego and consciousness of human Mind with the external forces of nature which surrounds and affect that ego and its mind and body. The sun arises on the events horizon and spreads its lights naturally. And some of its light rays reaches to the window of house and goes inside the house. Now then, our body is the house of our ego, and the eyes are the windows of that house. And you may accept that the mirror on the wall is similar the conscious awareness of that ego (or soul) while rays fall upon it temporarily and we can go on to use this allegory in such a way that the reflected rays coming from window and illuminating the floor is also similar to the minds act of conceiving through reflections of abstract conceptions and at last the rays of nature meets with real life as the instinctive feelings and act of the cockroach.
Videmus per speculum in aenigmata now imagine that the light rays are coming not from the un but the moon in a dark night being darjkef and the light beama aodf moon is also weaker trhen we should barely see it in/per a dark speculum and hardly notice on the floor bwith the help of reflected rays that something is supposedly we could not discern what is moving whether it is a cockroach or some other kind of animal left in the riddle we could only guess . if you don not see a cockroach at that particular instant on that point that does not prove that there is or there is not any cockroach in a different location of that room. But if you see once at that instant it is proved alreadfy that there has been at least one C.. etc. so you are going to know from a partial knowledge and you are going to propphetize that there must be some more in that occasion again inferring from a partial lnowledge.
I think it is a useful simile which illustrates what I mean by saying that I have to begin with “ego” as the standpoint of my perspective since the standpoint determines perspective and perspective in turn determines orientation. Surely what I mean perspective is the consciousness of the existence and orientation means to comprehend the situation. One can go on to make more similes about the life of an ego, a personality; in short, if this quest for meaning throughout time begins with a guide-map of the unknown territory of this existence which is hoped to be discovered by us we have to choose a good standpoint at first to look at the terra incognita with a useful perspective.
That is Descartes was right, knowledge naturally begins from self-awareness of a mind. Ego sum qui sum: I am what I am. Semantically the predicate of this proposition refers to itself though intentionally, but there is no emotional or subjective qualification at the pre dicate of this proposition, so this means, we are not using an invalid intensional logic here, though it seems tautological since “it says only what it is”. This proposition “I am what I am” seems like an undeniable deductive fact. It also reminds me Heidegger’s statement that “existence is what it is.”
Then there can be no real definition of the real essence of “esse (being) except its own semantically self-reflexive name. The famous statement of the Bishop Berkeley “esse est percipi”: to be means to be perceived (by a mind) might be true in this sense that whatever the perceived essence is, it is perceived by itself, by its own mind. What I am trying to describe is the nature of relations between ego (self, soul), mind, consciousness and the perceived and consciously felt effects of the nature which surrounds that ego.
Ego sum qui sum: My ego is the house of existence, Ego existo. I perceive whatever exists inside me or outside of myself as the external forces of nature. If so, then the true knowledge should begin with this self-knowledge. As beautifully stated by Yunus Emre “ilim ilim bilmektir/ ilim kendin bilmektir/sen kendüyü bilmezsin/bu nice okumaktır” But the Scientist ignores the consciousness and prefers to investigate the natural world which lies as an external and alien world to the self. Knowing that the Mind cannot be easily measured and comprehended by reductionist scientific methods science is settled to accept the verification of any fact about this external world is provided and guaranteed by the affirmation of the same results by different colleges who can test the same events and objectivity of affirmation is also provided in such a way that science should take into account only measurable aspects of reality. You can measure only things extended in space, (there is no real time measurement,,,, you can measure with time… measurement itself happens in time) that is, material objects, as a result scientific method tends to be materialistic. One is forced to use introspective (therefore subjective) method to explore the events of consciousness. The so called behaviourist Psychology preferred (because of the scientific orientation and preference of objectively measurable aspects of human Psyche) and investigated the mind judging from the external behaviours of a person and as if, inferring from these behavioural facts some objective knowledge about the state of his consciousness. Naturally these investigations of appearing behaviours meant to be resulted all about unimportant trifle aspects of the human mind. From the scientific perspective it seemed a useless, fruitless and hopeless case to investigate mind. This is why science ignored consciousness until 70thies of 20th century. But with the help of new and extra-ordinary scientific instruments like MRI, it is made easy to see what happens inside the human brain while it was alive and working; and as a result serious scientific curiosity aroused about Mind and consciousness. It was only natural that science ignored consciousness studies for so long since it was unreachable by scientific methods, There was no instrument which can show and measure brain events. But with the emergence of these extraordinary instruments attention turned to brain and consciousness studies. Now everybody is made aware that this was the most important frontier of human knowledge though very difficult to understand because of the high complexity of brain and consciousness. Yet I have to reiterate that the epistemology of human knowledge should naturally begin from this standpoint of self-ness and from this perspective of conscious awareness of reality.
Mahiyet hüviyet arayışı
Var olan ve hissedilen benliği ve hissedilen yabancı varlığın mahiyetini anlama gayreti derinleşince kaÇINILMAZ OLARAK METAFİZİKE VARIYOR
Identity crisis in psychology in brain mind duality(they are identical according to physicalism) and in subatomic particles
Event and processes: different kind of existence Being in Time and being in space or being in space-time Being in mind(imagination creatrix, dream, historical construction of past and memory) being in instincts, intuition and feelings (dna,character and disposition)
intentional ve intensional, sextus empiricus
Kavram uzayı/İDRAK uzayı/ fizik ve rölativite uzayı/ mutlak uzay ve /determizm ve mekan y.koç/ varlığın anlamı/quantum uzayı
4 çeşit te Zaman
Zaman mekan madde ışık sebeplilik :şuur ve ruh zamanı ve sebepliliği telkin eder idrak dokunma ve görme,ve ışık maddeyi denge duygusu yereçekimini particular, universal, identity
subatomik alemde madde:
Maddi elektronlar ve diğer parçacıkların gayri maddi ışınlara fotonlara ve ışınların da maddeye inkilab etmesi
Makrokozmos da zaman ve mekanın izafileşmesi
Bildiğimiz alem orta alem insan ölçülerinde idrak donanımımız da öyle dil de o idrak ölçeğinde gelişmiş yani idrakimiz şuurumuz ve tabii diller insan ölçeğinde bir sağduyuyu die getiriyor ilim empirist materyalist ve pragmatist ama mikro kozmos ve majkrokosmos açısından bildiğimiz ve anladığımız herşeyin yanlış olduğunu söylüyor. Sadece insan ölçeğinde geçerli düşüncelerimiz, bu ölçeğe göre gelişmiş düşüncelerin aslı esası yok, sadece bu pratik ölçekte işe yarıyor
Excerpts from…..on the soul
identity : physicalism
ego as a self identity and individuum
identity of existence, individual substances
what is the true nature or identity of existence? Is it fire or water,air and earth? Is it a complexion made from individual atoms?
First person ontology
Perception and conception individuality and complex wholes
See the quest for meaning throughout time: videmus per speculum in aenigmate
The mirror of mind is also a dark speculum which sees through abstract constructions of theorizing perceives individuum through abstract concepts
. entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem,ockham
Different levels of consciousness: lifeless matters as atoms, plants, animals, man, metaphysical C . as nurus semavat
Self in the light of relativity, Iqbal, Dar 398
Bak: cavidname, Iqbal
Upanişadlar atman: ego, soul &brahme maya, hakiki panteizm, panentheism and transcendtalism
Mevlana cemadattan öldüm nebat oldum.. hayvan insan melekut
Self identity: Self conception, self consciousness, self according to phsicalism, absolute self
Kavram benliği/idrak benliği/phsycalist benlik/mutlak benlik
mutlak benlik mutlak şuur true self, false self, self-ness (nefs-kalb-akıl-ruh) :
Knowledge and belief: Philosophy, Science,art,history,religious belief,mystical experience, and philosophy of history. I am making my judgements as a philosopher of history.i.e conspectively
Ego in lifeless matterit is the self identity which holds togetherstrongly and keeps itself permanent e.g.a gold atom
Cami gibi cansız binaların bile kimliği var :mesela blue mosque
Certainly, as a Jew Spinoza knew by heart what is stated in Genesis as the real identity of God :ego sum qui sum( I am who I am, I am what I am). This is why he made a distinction between thinking mode and extended mod of the same substance as he idendified the absolutel substance of the nature as God. ……buraya eklenecek Excerpts from SP..
Humanity use all of these perspectives to comprehend or at least to construct a framework trying to understand the nature of reality. The quest for the truth or the meaning of existence has two aspects, one side is about the subjective nature of Mind itself and its comprehension tools and the other side is about the external objective world which is everyhting else in contradistinction to the mind. Science assumes what the mind perceives and comprehends about sensible external world is certainly real and could be objectively articulated as far as sensible and measurable so that it coud be checked and verified by other minds.
You can not understand and judge about soul/ mind or the self identity of man by using the thinking tools of philosophy and science
Because of the nature of reasoning tools and scientific perspective you can really know only material world and make some semantical musings about facts, but you can not understand even the sensible world without eliminating time factor.
Because of its methodology Science can comprehend only the sensible and measurable things. According to science insensible things do not exists really, they are considered as metaphysical entitities such as math. But thinking tools and assumptions of science are indeed highly metaphsical and often depends on a naive metaphysic of naterialism
You hav to believe that you and analien external world free from your mind exists
It can be known
It is understandable: it can be describeable,explainable and prospective
Coherence and consitency by affirmation
Testable özemreden
Tekabüliyet ozemre377-78
If something experiences, it has a sense of consciousness, or it appears to. In a philosophical way, all I know is I, Me. I can’t prove anything else is really here. I just experience my experience. I assume that you experience yours, but do I really know?? Is it all a trick of mind??? Everything that we use our senses for is absolutely true?
the “scientific method” which is based upon the fallacy of “affirmation of the consequent”. The scientific method depends on observations i.e. what is sensed or perceived and checked and verified by the measurements and affirmations of the like-minded colleges. It is true if verified by affirmation of other perceiving minds. But there are many metaphysical assumptions which makes possible to construct often mathematical models of reality which underlies all scientific comprehensions of external world. Science assumes that it can ignore the nature of the mind if it can sense something that means there is a sensible real material and if it is affirmed by the consensus of other minds it could be acceptable as truly objective statements. Mentally constructed and assumed reality of the real nature of natural events could be debatable only among the scientists who get used to accept metaphysical assumptions of scientific models by like-minded scientists.
This scientific method is also a quest about the real essence and nature of reality but it pays attention to the external, sensible and comprehensible things ignoring the nature of mind who comprehends the things according to its own nature. Science investigates material world which is extended in space which is external and alien to the mind. It’s method and thinking tools are also
materialistic not only because it is about sensible world and it uses materialistic measurement tools to guarantee to make every observation objective but also its reasoning tools are a only capable of materialistic comprehension. i.e. in addition to materialist nature of sensation itself, semantic nature of the human language, logic and mathematical measurements are materialistic tools of thinking. Id est these thinking tools are not capable of comprehension other than material world though language itself and mathematics are ideal examples of pure metaphysical entities.
If we try to understand the natureThere are two aspects of relity, one is the perceivig and comprehending mind the other one is whatsoever comprehended by that mind. Science chooses and investigates Natural events, material objects and makes a comprehension of these events so properly in accord with scientific principles that they must be objective and to its testable. Unfortunately there are some aspects of reality and some different events of nature that they are not proper at all for objective statements and tests, not only unavailable for scientific understanding bu also discordant with usual thinking tools of mind. i.e. they do not agree with semantics of usual language or logic. Neither they are proper for mathematical measurements.
We have to understand that our languge, thinkinking tools of philosophy and science as semantics, logic and mathematics are not suitable to understand those events including mind itself which uses them to comprehend itself and reality of the sensible outer/alien world.
Mathematics can prove, science can test the results of their reasoning. But they are suitable to investigate only the material things, things that are extended in space, pertaining to space they must remain permanent in space at least for some time. What if unpermanent things, events pertaining only to time or mind,for example if they have no material substance, how science or philosophy can comprehend such events. For example consciousness might come into existence in brain but it is not permanently located in Brain but it is a network of electrical discharges of some neurons of that brain which is swiftly fugitive in time, its contents always changing and never remaining in any loqui of Brain if not memorized, since it happens and cease to be in time. Causality is also an event of time.
What about other perspectives? Art, history, religious beliefs and feelings or mystical experience?
Unfortunately they are not provable or testable? You can feel instinctively about something but you cannot prove or test its existence ? According to Ibni Arabi müşahede(perception, observation) comes first, then muhakeme( analyses, conception and comprehension) gives us some knowledge about the nature of reality. According to İbn Arabi mükaşefe (mystical experience and feeling) gives a deeper knowledge about the real nature of events but the true nature of reality or the absolute truth
can be known only by God
is it tru to divide reality into the spatial or temporal realities?
Nowadays scientists accept a spatio-temporal mode of reality as space-time. Events happen in a space-time continuum.
The logic as developed by Aristotle is materialistic by nature, it is static, but Ibni sina developed a modal logic which can discern and articulate the effects of time on the nature of things. Surely we need a modal logic to analyze the changing predicates of propositions about non material processes like mind.
Art already knows by imagination creatrix that there is an imaginatively dreamed existence which sometimes can be more real or at least more sensible and effective than the external world though it is not substantial at all. e.g. temporal arts like music.
İdentity crisis as wave particle duality and neutrinos

In normal situations the mind is aware of its self-identity, its body and the content of its conscious and also aware of external world different from itself. The mind knows itself and its body from inside but it senses and feels by interpreting the impulses coming via sensory organs and inferring from these impulses that there exists an external and alien world besides the self’s own existence. Mind believes that there is an external world surrounding its body because the forces of that alien world affects it; its power inflicted upon mind via sensation felt sometimes as pain because of an alien power. There is vast space it can see with its eyes because of the so called electromagnetical radiation, hard solid matter or soft fluid matter it can touch, hot or cold weather it can feel, sounds coming from a distant place an inner sense of balance and movement gives it a sensation of the position of its own body etc. As a result of feeling these forces all together it comprehends that these effects are caused by the forces of that external world. This is why it believes that there is an outer world over there which independent of our Mind. Mind makes an impression of that world interpereting sense data and belives that it is as it is sensed by its sensory organs as an objective world. So the mind observes (müşahedat/observation) and perceives and then try to conceive and understand what does it mean, there is another deeper understanding of the Mind which intuitively becomes as a living experience internally felt and because of that ecstatic feeling of upraising above ordinary experience leaves a strong conviction that there is a timeless and spaceless sameness/identicalness between the conceived impression of universal reality and the conceiving mind. It is a delight which comes from conceiving universal conceptions in spite of seemingly particular diversity of perceptions….The mind makes God knows how many inferences to conceive a conception from those perceived impulses coming via sensory organs and believes that there is an external world which causes all of these affections as sensed impressions and moreover inflicted upon mind sometimes as deeply felt pain. Therefore, according to this nature of Mind there is an internal world lived as life experience and that external world inferred as the cause of the sense affections. What is more, though the existence of external world is inferred from via sense impressions to the brain The mind accepts also that this external world could be envisioned and described wihout faltering in accordance with these affects and it is simply not only perceivable but also has an understandable structure. Then what?
Mind tries to comrehend the true nature of the forces inflicted upon it and what identity lies behind these affects – these sense impression as the causal identity. Affected by these external forces, mind believes not only the existence external world as the causal source of its sensations, but also conceives Time and Space in addition to this causality. Because there causality cannot be imagined without time. Eye sees the light and discerns material things extended in space as res extensa and one can touch feel the matter. So according to the strongly and clearly sensed affections of these external cause, there can be no doubt about the existence of causality, time, space and matter according to the conscious human mind. Then comes, as a matter of fact, to make sense of the observed events which happen in Time and Space with causality. These are the foundations of experimental sciences as strongly held non disputable beliefs about the true nature of existence.
See again matter and light L. De broglie
Individuum est inaffable
Particular things and events are perceivable. There is no need to understand them at first. You can observe them you can sense and perceive them. But then you would need imagination to make conceptions, to make sense of them, if you try to understand a singular/particular thing you have to construct universal conceptions out of these particular events paying attention to identical or seemingly same details categorizing and weaving from these detailed impressions an abstract notion as a universal concept of identity. e.g. human, human-ness instead of unique and singular human as ahmed. And moreover you have to make greater and greater abstracion levels and always climb that abstraction ladder higher and higher trying to comprehend the seemingly simple -perceptible- particular thing, to see by the mind’s eye more clearly than the natural eye though it would become impossible to envision any more these higher level abstractions as you can see clearly with eyesight… and to be sure you will get lost at last.WYSWYG
Am I my mind? If not, what is my real self identity which lies hidden behind the selfness feeled as awareness and sameness of selfhood of mind which enjoys itself and contemplates its objects? This is the question of self identity.
The one problem is the relation of mind to the living organism with which, or with a part of which, it is correlated.
What is the perception of an individual event? The queste bak…
we can imagine that the most simple event would be, by defini ition, a happening in the shortest intant of time and in the shortest dimensions of space i.e. in planck time and in a planck lenght which is smaller further than the subatomic particles; everything else happening in a larger amount of time could be considered as a “becoming” in a series of time instants (or in a time duration) that is in a process of becoming a substance and coming into existence in time.
Let us begin with the simplest and the most fundemental event we can imagine…
matter is a substance which is strong enough to stay permanent some time in space, being substantive it has discernible dimensions even in atomic scale, i.e. every element of chemistry in atomic scales as well have their own substantive characters . matter/substance (or somata) has essentially discernible and measurable attributes, that is , it extended in three dimensions of space. At the subatomic level measurement becomes impossible because of the indeterminancy of sub atomic particles e. g. one can not determine both the position and time of an electron at the same time. indeed, if we can describe so, the simplest possible event would happen in the shortest possible time and nearly in an infinitesimally tiny place we can imagine: that could be an event which happens in planck time and at the planck length dimensions of space, that would be an event more elemantary even than the subatomic particles. subatomic particles, e. g . a photon is much larger than planck scale. At that scale matter and subatomic particles begin to come into existence. Moreover, the events of atomic scale would have much larger amount of time if compared to the planck scale and time, I can imagine myself saying like string theorists that at that level also, being in time,there are some processes like frequencies of a played violine string, natural forces (gravity, electro magnetic field weak force and strong force) comes into existence as frequencies of natural force fields and make what we call subatomic particles; they are held together by these four natural forces to make an elementary atom as a substance, as it was told by scientists.
In this framework of the description, even in a single atom of a chemical element, too many events happens as natural processes proceeding in time; so that a substantive element, a material body within the dimensions of space comes into existence. it might be indeed a short time in that atomic scale but nevertheless it is a very long time if compared to planck time. This is what Descartes calls as res extensa; extended things a body/somata exists in spatial dimensions and parttakes a definite extension in space. Essential nature of a body, that is the essence of any material body, is that it extends in space. As imagined by physicist Max planck the shortest scale of this extension in space is Planck scale: the shortest distance of an extension as theorized by Planck. Planck time 5.39121 × 10−44 s, Planck mass 2.17645 × 10−8 kg, Planck length (ℓP) 1.616252×10−35 m. Theoretically natural events begins at this level, that is, “the substance” comes into existence as an atom in these scales…
In medieaval ages philosophers had used the word substance as the foundation of material bodies as if it was a synonym of the famous “a-tomos” of Democritus; a-tomos means undividable, the smallest essence of matter. Muslim philosophers translated a-tomos as “cevher” to arabic and described it, such as “el-cevherü cüzün la yetecezza” substance (cevher) is the smallest part of a thing which is undividable any more. even today we use the word as finding “cevher” in the terminology of mining industry, meaning to find the substantial element of Chemistry , such as iron or gold, in a mine. A-tomos, translated from Greek to Arabic as Cevher, meaning the undividable element of an extended body, that is most elemantary essence of a material body. what does it mean really is that if a body of thing is pure, say pure gold, every fundemental (undividable anymore) and smallest part of that gold, that is every gold atom is identical which each other. Indeed, because of the natural forces which hold strongly the subatomic particles of an atom together, to divide an atom once more to the more smaller parts i.e. to break an atom to the subatomic particles, one needs very high powers of energy, it was really impossible until the 20th century…We have to remember that nuclear weapons have been used first time in the course of Second World War, by the United States on 6 August 1945… Today we use particle accelerators, like hadron collider of CERN, to direct subatomic particles involving collision of directed beams of Elementary particles to scatter particles of so called a-tomos…
Millions of atomic molecules could hardly be discernible as a tiny matter by the naked eye of a man, though rodes of the retina of a human eye is able to sense even 10 quanta of photons…
In one sense, may be it was a thought experience of antic greeks to find a fundamental, real essence and identity of the material bodies, they wondered what lies behind the res extensa, things that extended in the three dimensions of space. What was the ultimate reality behind the extended matter, the truth behind the “a-tomos” is that every single atom of an element is that every atom of the same element is identical to each other. At this moment, we have to remember that the four elements of Greek philosophy, “earth, water, air and fire”; and compare it to the periodical table of elements of the modern chemistry. According to the ancient people Water is the same fluent, liquid water everywhere, though there are diferences of Quality. you can not drink salted sea water like a sweet water of a source. But what is the fundamental nature of water. According to our modern chemistry knowledge it is H2o, made of one oxigen and two hydrogen atoms and could be experienced as in solid, fluent or gaseous state at the same time in nature. Though ancient greeks has no idea about the elementary a-tomos, and real nature of water, we know that there are different kind of waters because of the different bonds of hydrogen and oxygen like H2o2, H2o3, Surely I shall not go into details but even Hydrogen atom could be a different kind of Hydrogen from the usual hyrogen atoms, there are many different water models (H2o)n, with so much different qualities; consider heavy water D2o for example because it has a different isotrope of hydrogen (symbolized with the letter D. Because of different isotrope ar allotropes of oxigen, (o1,o2,o3) and Hydrogen compounds of a water molecule, too many different kinds of waters come into existence, so all of them have many unimaginably diverse and suprising qualities. that is, even the elementary parts of any material as an atoms or molecules could be in different shapes (as an isotrope or allotrope) which have very diverse qualities. so only same kind of the atom of any element could be considered as identical. o1 atom oxigen is identical only to other o1 isotropes of the same oxigen atom. Naturally Atomic oxygen (O1, a free radical) is not identical with Tetraoxygen (O4) at all , if you mean “to have same qualities” by identity .
What I am trying to say is that Identiy is a very simple but curious conception. In its deepest sense it means existence of itself or true essence of itself: it is, “what-is” as called by Parmenides which means esse of the existence. But what is “esse” ? is it true that “esse est percipi? I simply leave that conception of truth here, otherwise I will be forced to make a large digression from the context now at hand. I have to reiterate this problem of identity later in a more proper context since the concept of identity deserves a larger treatment. For instance, The morning star and evening star is identical, it is the planet Venus, though ancient people had thought that they were different stars because they did not know the fact that both of them in fact, are only different names for the same planet venus. What we call morning star or evening star is simply planet venus. I could remind and tell the story of the ship of Theseus or what else? And for what use? Human Mind is not capable of proving even the simplest metaphysical concept of self identity, it cannot prove its own existence and identity either. If all the truth is found to be lies, then what?
While thinking about identity, even in the atomic and subatomic level you should take into account different qualities of the isotropes and allotropes of the same identical atoms. To find and decide about identity is not an easy job, even in the realm of atomic and subatomic scale, one needs so much and such a deep knowledge of physics and chemistry that is impossible to be attained in a short lifetime. Moreover I am also sure that the whole body of the knowledge of humanity is lacking to decide definitely on this simple subject as a matter of fact. Probably, there are superficial differences about the modes of matter, though one needs a very large knowledge to be aware of them, if we go deeper into the heart of subject, we would be forced to accept that we are not sure of anything about matter. What is Time, what is space, or what is matter? What is causality? They are all susceptible conceptions if you look from a philosophical standpoint. Yet more, they have become more and more susceptible from the scientific viewpoint too and in spite of and also because of the unbelievable increase of experimental scientific knowledge thanks to the awesome technics and tools used nowadays such as particle accelarators…
How are we going to be sure about our knowledge, about anything indeed, if we cannot be sure about the identity of the simplest material things. Hic iacet corpus scholium. in vino veritas! We need a philosopher of history who can understands the different standpoints of different disciplines; and why they differs between them is not the results of different perspectives taken by diverse disciplines, but they all play diverse language games for divergent means and ends.To articulate what I mean by the diversive games of language I will quote an illuminating passage from Oswald Spengler since he speaks more eloguently than me:
” Stand in a high wood of mighty stems while the storm is tearing above, and you will
comprehend instantly the full meaning of the concept of a force which moves
Out of such a primary feeling in the existence that has become thoughtful
there arises, then, an idea of the Divine immanent in the world-around, and
this idea becomes steadily more definite. The thoughtful percipient takes in
the impression of motion in outer Nature. He feels .about him an almost indescribable
alien life of unknown powers, and traces the origin of these effects to
“numina,” to The Other, inasmuch as this Other also possesses Life. Astonishment
at alien motion is the source of religion and of physics both; respectively,
they are the elucidations of Nature (world-around) by the soul and by
the reason. The” powers” are the first object both of fearful or loving reverence
and of critical investigation. There is a religious experience and a scientific
Now it is important to observe how the consciousness of the Culture intellectually
concretes its primary “numina.” It imposes significant words –
names – on them and there conjures (seizes or bounds) them. By virtue of
the Name they are subject to the intellectual power of the man who possesses
the Name, and (as has been shown already) the whole of philosophy, the
whole of science, and everything that is related in any way to “knowing”
is at the very bottom nothing but an infinitely-refined mode of applying the
name-magic of the primitive to the “alien.” The pronouncement of the right
name (in physics, the right concept) is an incantation. Deities and basic
notions of science alike come into being first as vocable names, with which
is linked an idea that tends to become more and more sensuously definite.
The outcome of a Numen is a Deus, the outcome of a notion is an idea. In
the mere naming of “thing-in-itself,” “atom,” “energy,” “gravitation,”
” cause,” “evolution” and the like is for most learned men the same sense
of deliverance as there was for the peasant of Latium in the words “Ceres,”
“Consus,” “Janus,” “Vesta.” “1
1. O. Spengler, The Decline of the West, p.423
We are trying to comprehend the meaning of existence, we make a quest to find a dependable solid truth, because we are conscious of the natural forces, as any thoughtful human being takes in the impression of motion in outer Nature. This is why I concluded one of my articles “Man, Existence and Time” quote “something is moving. and colour of the water is the colour of its container” What can we discern outside our consciousness, as a matter of fact, we all too readily accept as a permanently fundamental reality which is an identifiable and genuine reality which we can depend it as a strong foundation for our actions. we feel moving forces of nature, we sense motion in time and infinitely large dimensions of space which surrounds everything. The mind of a human being detects outer space and motion with its sensory organs, feels and thinks about the forces of nature, the outer space, and material objects, time and change and causes of the events. Minds natural tendency , it seems to me, is that it accepts what it senses and feels the content of its conscious awareness as unsuspectable reality and tries to understand everything reducing them to one cause, to one explanatory principle of identity. It tries to find an irreducible and hard base of existence. Remember the Ancient Greeek Philosopher, Parmenides who says that the reality (coined as “what-is”) is one, change is impossible, and existence is timeless, uniform, necessary, and unchanging..It is an endless quest for a changeless, imperishable truth. But time changes everything and if time is real then “identical existence” of anything cannot remain permanent
Nihil fit ex nihilo: Nothing comes from nothing, says by Parmenides. the concept of identiy seems simple enough. but it is not easy to hold secure in mind that the identity of anything remains permanently unchanging in spite of time. atomic theory of the ancient greek philosophers -like democritus- was an appropriate quest to find a reliable solid base for the natural events. nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts (lighter nuclei). The is the fission process and it often produces free neutrons and photons (in the form of gamma rays), and releases a very large amount of energy. Since we have built nuclear reactors and hadron colliders in this century, there is no reason to discuss the simple ideas of ancient greeks about a-tomos, but in fact, it is a deep metaphysical question about what I call “identity of nature” as spengler says in the aforementioned quotation it might be applying a “magic of naming” by a scientific game of language. Let us pay attention to the these scientific games of naming in Physics. Remembering the aforementioned words by Spengler:”The outcome of a Numen is a Deus, the outcome of a notion is an idea”
Why it is so hard to scatter an atomic nuclei and diffuse it to subatomic particles? What makes that nuclei so strong and resistant to frictions? They tell us that there are four fundemental forces in nature, gravity, electromagnetism, weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force and they are trying to built a unified field theory to reduce these four forces to öne unified field theory. subatomic particles held together and made a very strong base of an atomic nuclei by these weak and strong forces. weak force ( though it is unimaginably strong by the humanistic proportions) safeguards the nuclei to be scattered by any agent. but remember we made it possible by nuclear fission, that is two atomic bomb is used in 1945. Then what? we play game with subatomic particles nowadays to built a fussion reactor in France, that brings about much more and safe energy from what we call strong force, it is the the energy of Fusion power which is generated by nuclear fusion processes. here I will make a citation from wikipedia for the sake of a clear definition: “Fusion reactions are high energy reactions in which two lighter atomic nuclei fuse to form a heavier nucleus (in contrast with fission power where very heavy nuclei are split into lighter ones). In fusing, the nuclei release a comparatively large amount of energy arising from the binding energy due to the strong nuclear force, which manifests as an increase in temperature of the reactants and can be used to generate electricity. Fusion power is a primary area of research in plasma physics, where it is seen as a means of producing large scale cleaner energy.”
We not only speak but play the game in subatomic world, though this tiny realm also is extended in space, but it partakes so tiny realm of the space that it is impossible to observe. not only by naked eyes, ıt is not observable even by electronic microscopes. What could be the smallest possible framework of space-time? it is the planck length and planck time. Since it is the tiniest space elongation much smaller even then a photon. and can you imagine the interval of planck time? it is the time duration which spent by light while travelling this planck length and remember light goes 300000 kilometre in one second, thatis why it amounts only to 5.39121 × 10−44 second. What could happen in such a small amount of time and space a theorized by Max Planck? Only one single and the most simple event of existence as ever imaginable. that event could not be considered as happening in a processing of time duration, since it is the tiniest instant of time. That is a definitely a single event. Most simple event. since it happens in the shortest time and shortest distance imaginable. As it is theorized and worked out by the great phsicist Max Planck. Then What?
This most simple event should be considered as the most important event of all events in the history of this universe, since according to the theory of Max Planck, gravity, electromagnetism weak nuclear force, and strong nuclear force, all of them comes into existence in that scale; that means nature itself comes into existence as theses 4 different force-fields and brings into existence what we call matter. that is the singular unity of identity as the natural base and substance of this physical world. Then it is the real self identiy which is timeless and dimensionless since time ,space, matter and natural forces all come into existence -or I would prefer to say- appears in that infinitely small scale. I say infinitely, though it is not an infinite scale mathematically, but yet it is infinitely small Physically. because before then there could be no time no space nor matter, according to this theoretical imagination of Max planck. etc., and etc…
That means the most simple and most important event of this universe because of the Nature itself coming into existence with aforementioned four forces of field and constructing and sustaining those subatomic particles and the atomic nuclei…Nowadays theory of quantum mechanics and relativity theory can not be compromised wit each other. Every theorical phsicist is seeking to find a satisfactory unified field theory to unify these 4 forces and make one theory of everything. Those are the Numina’s of science as it was stated in the preceding quotation,”The pronouncement of the right-name (in physics, the right concept) is an incantation.” If the science Physic has not have a unified field theory of these 4 natural forces yet, which can bring them together consistently, so that science can explain about the natural base of matter and natural events. Since we do not have an accepted theory which can unify and explains theses apparently non consistent and theories since they remain in uncomprimisingly in contradistinction to each other, I would rather interprete this situation as such that we apparently do not understand the real essence of the matter space and time. we have a large body of incoherent knowledge without real understanding. it seems these ideas about nature tested experimentally and works so we can say they somewhat corresponds to reality because of the implications of some successful results. but what about all the problematic aspects of these theories?
We do not know why and how these 4 natural field of forces, gravity, electro-magnetism, weak and strong forces of matter within the atomic nuclei, would ne included all in one unified field of force since they have contradistinctive characterswith each other that seems to be uncompromisable. But this one unified field of forces is the Numina of Science; it is the the kind of naming employed by scientific language the most recent outcome of the scientific notions, which is exactly the the same “numen”(nomen) of Deus in religious language.
At this point, I would like to remind that according to Old Covenant that mystical force, or Deus, when Moses asked the name of that Deus who spoken to him at Mount Sinai, did not pronounce a Name(nomen) to Moses. (Naming is important in this semantic context, since every discipline plays a different language game.) Dixit Deus ad Mosen, “Ego sum Qui sum”:(ehyeh asher ehyeh) “I am what will be I am.” This real name of God is held so sacred by the Jewish People that they do not use it in ordinary daily life, instead of this sacred name of God they say “Hashem” in daily life. That is
Nihil fit ex nihilo: Nothing comes from nothing. That means Nature is identical and explained with this one force (or Unified field theory of four forces) which brings forth the existence. We understand why scientist prefere to use a different language, those 4 different names about the forces of nature, namely gravity, electromagnetic field, weak force and strong force, come from scientific observations end experiments of natural events. we can feel the gravity and see the light. The light is explained and tested by the electromagnetic force, but the theories of the weak and strong forces of atomic nuklei is developed in the twentieth century and explained by the theory of quantum mechanics, since only in this century we could delve deeply into the realm of atoms and make technologically advanced experiments. As a result scientific explorations and experiments these explanations about the weak and strong forces related to atomic nuclei come into existence with Quantum mechanics. What holds together and makes possible these revolving planets and stars is explaned by the theory of Gravity , as all physical bodies attract each other And Gravity gives weight to physical objects and causes them to fall toward one another. Here is what Newton quote : “I deduced that the forces which keep the planets in their orbs must [be] reciprocally as the squares of their distances from the centers about which they revolve. and thereby compared the force requisite to keep the Moon in her Orb with the force of gravity at the surface of the Earth; and found them answer pretty nearly.” and he formulates famous equation Gravity Force. Newtonian theory of Gravity is successfully used to predict the existence of Neptune was accepted since then. Because science depends on this kind of observations and testing experimentations. The problem is Quantum mechanics is also works and verified by experiments related with atomic nuclei and subatomic particles but it is not comprising with the theory of Einsten’s Relativist theory of gravitation. It is a curious theory indeed with so many unreasonable statements about subatomic worlds. This is why a unified field theory is needed about these contradistinct theories which hopefuly could explain what is light, what is matter why the moon planets and other stars revolves around the world or attracts each other.
It is clear now that these theories all about the forces we observe and feel; and consequently we wonder what is the ultimate explanation of these phenomenons and forces we experience. Human mind is consciously aware of itself and it senses and feels the affects of natural forces and moving Events occuring in the outer world, that is different from its self identity as outer world but surrounds and affects that mind and its own body e.g. we feel gravtitational force by our sense of balance though we do not feel the movement of the earth. It is a quest for the real identity of the causes which move and affect everything including in the first place our mind and body. I will not reiterate what spangler says about numinas (names) in the aforementioned Quotation but remember what God said to Moses: Ego sum qui sum: I am who I am, I am what I will be a self reflexive, self identifying name. Thanks to the developments in the twentieth century the substance of the matter has become less and less solid particles but wawering to become between to be a wave or particle, indeed considered both at the same time according to its affections, weak and strong fields of force atomic nuclei (substancially) and solid hard matter only in its aspects of mod and attributes. substancially it has become the mysterious forces of nature and identical with the immanent God (say if you prefer scientific naming, ” unified field of natural forces”) or what is called substance by Spinoza. This is why this immanent Deity of Spinoza is much liked by some mystics and some scientists like Einstein. That means the quest of the scientific exploration also goes to find one trustworthy identiy which is capable to explain the ultimate reality of Being.”
If we are not sleeping, dreaming or day-dreaming, We are always sure of ourselves , our self identiy, when we are consciously self aware of our selfness we are also aware of a different existence, the outer and foreign world of res extensa according to our Mind which is perceivable but not understandable. Mind perceives an external world by the use of its sensory organs which is extended in space and continues in time; and this foreign external world not only perceivable but has some natural forces which affect our body and soul. The question is what are those strange forces that is completely alien to the inner life of mind; they are in the outer and external world and surely different from the self-identity of the mind, since they are perceived by the sensory organs of mind only because they affect our body and mind as foreign, unknown forces of a strange existence which surrounds our body. The mind of a human being is not only capable of perceiving and feeling, but also comprehending, quote william wordsworth “come forth and bring with you a heart that watches and receives” and because of this comprehension effort and ability it tries to discern the causes and sources of these foreign forces of outer world which affect its self identity, that is the mind and the body which belongs to its selfness. The light (electromagnetical force) affects the mind directly from the eyes. We get used to walk and have forgotten the old days of our efforts to learn how to stand by and walk while we were baby, but we can fall upon the earth easily and get our leg broken if our sensory organ of balance fails once, then we feel the force of gravity. We knew that the solid matter, a hard stone, can broke one’s head apart, we have tried to comprehend the natural identity of matter as a-tomos and in 20th century we get used to play with subatomic particles; as a result we try to comrehend the real nature of weak and strong forces of the nature which holds together the subatomic particles to construct and sustain an atom, the smallest element of matter. We are as human beings constantly aware and conscious of these forces since they always affect and sometimes not only matter but also light can injure our body, our eyes. There comes the question What am I? Who I am, what makes my self identity different from this whole existence the outer world which could affect my mind and body so strongly with strange forces. This is why we try to comprehend the ultimate reality both as the self-identity of our mind since we are conscious that it is diverse from the external world, and also the ultimate reality of nature as to identify the real cause of those natural forces which affects us so strongly. So much so that We are forced to live in accord with these unbreakable forces of natural laws never capable of breaking these laws…
Kullanılacak excerptler için annex………………
nur ayeti: reconstruction 62f
alem egodur diyor i.v.z daki gibi
self in the light of relativity dar 398
The secrets eternal neither you know nor I
And answers to the riddle neither you know nor I
Behind the veil there is much talk about us, why
When the veil falls, neither you remain nor I.
Categoriler discreete mi olacak continuum mu
Sayılar işık şuur zaman d/c
Continuus olduğu zaman eg line discreet continuum dönüşüyor light foton ama devamlılık ve sonsuzluk sebebiyle dalga oluyor gibi uzaktaki cisimden o ışığın gözüme yansıması için sonsuz sayıda foton gerekir daire üzerindeki nokta sayısı gibi zaman ve duree gibi
Ve hatta cantordaki gibi sonsuz kere sonsuz sayıda e.g. daire ve CH
Sayılar aslında continuum olduğu ve 10luk discreet sembollerle ifada edildi için inconsistent olmuyor mu2li system sadace alfabe değirirmek continuum yani sonsuzu sonlu sayıda olmak zorunda olan discreet tabii satılara indirm işlemi paradoksların katnağı olamaz mı
Fisagorcuların sayıların ahengine inanması dicreete olanı biraz Cnt yapnış olur mu lambda daki mesla1248/3927
Tel boyunun taksimatı geometriden sayıların ihracı
ZAMAN CONTİNUUM olmak zorunda
Discreete olanın hüviyetin ve mahiyetin self identical discreet atomların araştırılması uzayın zamanın sebeplerin maddenin ve işığın dicreete reductionism ile anlaşılmak istenmesi
Müziğin continuum notaların perdelerin discreet olması gibi.bak waking life ama notalar yetmiyor
Göz kulak meselesi
Discreet olan continuum olani sayısı cinsi vasıfları ne kadar tarif ve tadad edilse de ifadeye yetmez
Individuum holism meselesi
Varlık birdir bölünemez. CNt/Varlık discreet yapılarin toplamıdır
Şuurun ve Zihnin matematiğin mantığın ve lisanın anlaşılma şartını reductionism ve materialism olarak görmesi
Individuum ve holism
Madde parçacıkların alanine kadar gidince discreeten wave ve yani continuuma dönüşüyor
Fisagora ilham olunan ne ahenk ve sayıların sebepliliği
Dicreete elementleri enerjini heyulayı atom ve yine eberjinin atomları pişirerek imal etmesine benzetiliyor
toprak çamur porselen gibi
tabii sayılar discreet ama kök2den beri durmadanyeni sayı çeşitleri icad etmek zorunda kaldık sonsuzu sonlu terimler ile ve nteticeyi discreet sebeple izah gayreti
sayılar C diye c. hipotezini eklemek matematiği ne kadar değiştirebilir mesela C H varlığı veya yokluğu niye ispatlanamıyor
numbers=causality=time =continuum ve
varlığın birliğine kadar gider
zaman mekan madde ışık causality ve zamanın discreete ifadeleri olur mu veya kendileri DSc olabilir mi
şuur maddi dünyayla ve kendi continuum ile muhatab oluyor ferdiyet individuality discreet olmak zorunda
uniformity ve CH
zaman kesikli ve farklı hızlarda olamaz. Dişarıda bir dünya ve discreet unsurlar individuliteler var ama ben devamlıyım şuurundan zaman ve dış dünya ve onların conception abstraction vasitasıyla anlaşılabileceğine inanç egonun kendi şuuru hakkındaki tecrübesinden dogma inançlar
göz ve dokunma ile madde ve ışığı kulak ve şuurun temadisi ile zaman idraki
varlık eşittir:sonlu sayıda discreet elemanın toplamı
varlık eiştir tek bir holistic bütünlük
personality ilmi
self identity personal identity identity meselesi değil egonun asli hüviyet ve mahiyeti meselesi
mantık dil ve matematiğin discreet unsurlara yönelişi şuurun dış dünya tecrübesinin materyalism telkini ve dilin instituonalisminden mi çıkıyor şuurun kendi devamlılık ve duree yani zaman olduğu içi CH problem çıkar mı
dil mantık ve matematik innate olabilir mi olursa neden
farklı ve ayni
ben varım
ben olmayan nesneler ve farklı benlikler var dışımda
benim varlığım zaman ve vücudüm içinde devamlı yanı C zaman var
yabancı tabiat güçlerinin hissettirdiği farklı varlık/varlıklar yani farklilik discrimination vardır
discriminative descriptive olarak farkli individualiteler vardır
individual olanları isimlendir tasnif et dil sayesinde hiyerarşi ve instituitşonlar inşa et
akşamki konuşmanın özeti
consc. Süzgeci, zihni süzgeç dil ve abstraction süzgeçleri
metafizk zihni construction ile realitenin anlaşılma ve tasviri cehdi SML ilim felsefe
egonun/ruhun yönlendirme ve damgası th.ribot dna ve yapı dahil her türlü önceden var olan irsi yönelim irsiyet yalnız dna da değil dil ve tkültürün teşkil ettiği atavistic cognition alet ve arşivinde de var
amma egonun instinction ve intuition kabiliyeti de var
identity den personal identity ye oradan personaliteye ve ruh kavramına geçiş on the soul Avicenna
kendi varlığından şüphe edemeyen şuur uyku rüya
annex: de broglieden:
Like all the other natural sciences, Physics advances by two
distinct roads. On the one hand it operates empirically, and thus
is enabled to discover and analyse a growing number of phenomena
in this instance, of physical facts; on the other hand it also operates
by theory, which allows it to collect and assemble the known
facts in one consistent system, and to predict new ones for the
guidance of experimental research. In this way the joint efforts
of experiment and theory, at any given time, provide the body of
knowledge which is the sum total of the Physics of the day.
At the beginning of the development of modern Science, it was
naturally enough the study of the physical phenomena which we
observe immediately around us that first drew the attention of
physicists. Thus the investigation of the equilibrium and the motion
of bodies led to the development of the branch of Physics today
an independent study known as mechanics. Similarly research
into the phenomena of sound led to acoustics, while optics was
created by collecting the phenomena of light and forming them
into one system.
The great task and the splendid achievement of nineteenth-
century Physics consisted in thus increasing the exactness and
range in every direction of our knowledge of the phenomena
taking place on the human scale. Not only did it continue to
develop mechanics, acoustics and optics the leading branches of
classical Science but it also created on every side new sciences
possessing innumerable aspects, such as thermodynamics and the
science of electricity.
The mastery of the vast sphere of facts covered by these various
branches of Physics has enabled both abstract students and tech
nical workers to draw thence a great number of practical applica
tions. The inventions ranging from the steam engine to wireless
telephony derived from the nineteenth-century advance of
Physics, the benefits of which we enjoy today, are innumerable;
and these inventions play so important a part, directly or indirectly,
in the everyday life of each of us that it would be wholly super
fluous to enumerate them.
In this way, then, nineteenth-century Physics succeeded in
achieving the complete domination of the phenomena we observe
around us. No doubt research into these phenomena can still lead
to the knowledge of many further facts and to new applications;
yet it appears that in this sphere the essential work has now been
completed. And, in fact, during the last thirty or forty years the
attention of pioneers in Physics has been turning increasingly
towards more subtle phenomena, which could be neither discovered
nor analysed without an extremely refined experimental technique:
molecular, atomic and intra-atomic phenomena. The fact is that
in order to satisfy human curiosity it is not enough to know the
behaviour of material bodies taken as wholes, or in their mani
festations en masse, or to grasp the reactions between Light and
Matter when observed on the macroscopic scale: what is required
is to descend to individual details, to attempt the analysis of the
structure of both Matter and Light, and to specify the elementary
processes which in their totality constitute the macroscopic pheno
mena. It is a difficult inquiry, and for its success an extremely
delicate experimental technique is required, capable of discovering
and recording exceedingly subtle events, and of measuring exactly
magnitudes vastly smaller than those occurring in our everyday
experience. Still further, bold theories are required, based on the
highest branches of Mathematics and prepared to make use of
entirely novel similes and concepts. Hence we can infer the amount
of ingenuity, patience and talent needed for the formulation and
advancement of this atomic Physics.
On the experimental side, then, the progress made has been
characterized by a daily growing knowledge of the ultimate con
stituent entities of Matter and of the phenomena connected with
the existence of these ultimate constituent entities.
Chemistry had long assumed that material substances are com
posed of atoms; and the actual investigation of the properties of
material substances shows them to be divided into two classes:
compound substances, which can be reduced to simpler ones by
appropriate methods; and the simple substances themselves the
chemical elements which resist any attempt at such reduction.
In the next place, the study of the quantitative laws, in accordance
with which the simple substances combine to form compounds,
led chemists during last century to adopt the following hypothesis:
“A simple substance is supposed to be formed of small particles,
all identical with each other, called the atoms of this element;
compounds, on the other hand, are supposed to be formed of
molecules resulting from the combination of a number of the
atoms constituting the simple substances.” According to this hypo
thesis, therefore, a composite substance is broken up by reducing
it to the elements of which it is composed, which means that its
molecules are disintegrated and the atoms which they contain set
free. The number of these simple substances known today is 89,
but it is believed that their total number is 92 (or possibly 93).
All material substances, therefore, are regarded as constructed from
92 different kinds of atoms.
The Atomic Theory not only succeeded in introducing order
into Chemistry: it also extended into the domain of Physics. For
if material substances are composed of molecules and atoms, then
their physical properties must be capable of explanation in terms of
their atomic structure. The properties of the various gases, for
example, must be explicable on the assumption that a given gas
consists of an immense number of molecules or atoms in rapid
motion; the pressure of a gas on the wall of the containing vessel
will then be due to the impacts of the molecules against the wall,
while the temperature of the gas will be the measure of the average
of the motions of the molecules, which increase as the temperature
rises. During the second half of the nineteenth century, this view
of the structure of gases was developed under the name of the
Kinetic Theory of Gases, and it enables us to understand the
origin of the laws governing the behaviour of gases as discovered
experimentally. For if the Atomic Theory is correct, then the pro
perties of solids and liquids must be capable of interpretation on the
assumption that, in the solid and the liquid states, the molecules
or atoms are much closer to each other than in the gaseous state.
Thus there is an interplay of considerable forces between atoms and
molecules in these states, and these should account for such charac
teristic properties of solids and liquids as incompressibility and
cohesion. The Atomic Theory of Matter, again, has been con
firmed by brilliant direct experiments such as those of Jean Perrin,
by means of which it has been possible to measure the weights of
different kinds of atoms and to find their number per cubic
Without entering further into the evolution of the Atomic
Theory I shall confine myself to recalling that in Physics, just as
in Chemistry, the theory which assumed that all substances consist
of molecules, which in turn consist of different combinations of
elementary atoms, proved very fruitful in practice and can hence
be fairly regarded as a useful statement of the actual facts. But
physicists did not rest content at this point. They wished further
to discover the structure of the atoms themselves, and to under
stand the differentiae subsisting between the atoms of the different
elements; and in this research they were aided by ‘our increasing
knowledge of electrical phenomena. When these phenomena first
began to be investigated it appeared expedient to treat, for example,
the electric current passing through a metallic wire as though it
were tantamount to the passing of an “electric fluid” through the
wire. But we know that there are two kinds of electricity positive
and negative. Hence it is natural to assume that there are two
fluids: the positive and the negative electrical fluid. These fluids,
again, can be imagined in two different ways: we may imagine that
they consist of a substance uniformly occupying the whole of the
space where the fluid is; or we may imagine that they consist of
clouds of little corpuscles each of which is a minute sphere of elec
tricity. Experiment, however, has decided in favour of the second
view, and some thirty years ago it showed that negative electricity
consists of minute corpuscles which are all identical, and have a
mass and an electric charge of extremely small dimensions, called
electrons. These have been successfully segregated from Matter in
bulk, and their behaviour when moving in empty space has been
observed; and it has been found that in fact they move in the way
in which small particles, electrically charged, ought to move in
accordance with the Laws of classical Mechanics; while by observing
their behaviour in the presence of electrical or magnetic fields it
has proved possible to measure both their charge and their mass
which, I repeat, are extremely small. The demonstration of the
corpuscular structure of positive electricity, on the other hand, is
less direct; nevertheless physicists have come to the conclusion that
positive electricity, too, is subdivided into corpuscles which are
identical with each other, today known as protons. 1
The proton has a mass which, though still extremely small, is
nearly 2,000 times greater than that of the electron, a fact indicative
of a curious asymmetry between positive and negative electricity.
The charge of the proton, on the other hand, is equal to that of the
electron in absolute value, but of course bears an opposite sign,
being positive and not negative.
Electrons and protons, then, have extremely small mass. This
mass, however, is not equal to zero, and a really vast number of
protons and electrons may make up a fairly considerable total
mass. Hence it is tempting to assume that all material substances
whose essential characteristics consist in the fact that they possess
weight and inertia, in other words, that they have mass consist
in the last analysis exclusively of vast numbers of protons and
electrons. On this view the atoms of the elements, which are the
ultimate fabric of which material substances are composed, should
themselves consist of electrons and protons; and the 92 kinds of
different atoms, already referred to, of which the 92 elements are
composed, should be 92 different combinations of electrons and pro
tons. The idea that atoms consist of protons and electrons was next
formulated in more exact terms as the result of the experiments
of the great British physicist, Lord Rutherford, and of the theoretic
work of the Danish scientist, Niels Bohr. The atom of a simple
1 But. cf. further pp. 75 fF.
substance was thus shown to consist of a central nucleus, having a
positive charge equal to a whole number N times as great as the
charge of the proton, and of N electrons gravitating around the
nucleus. The entire system, therefore, is electrically neutral, and the
nucleus itself is doubtless formed of protons and electrons in the
way which we shall see in greater detail below. 1 Almost the entire
mass of the atom is concentrated in the nucleus, for the latter
contains protons, and these in turn are very much heavier than
electrons. The Hydrogen atom is the simplest of the atoms, and
consists of a nucleus formed by a single proton around which a
single electron revolves. The atom of one element is differentiated
from that of another by the number N of positive elementary
charges which the nucleus carries. Simple substances can thus be
arranged in a series according to the ascending value of the number
N, beginning with Hydrogen (N = i) and ending with Uranium
(N = 92). It has been found that this way of classifying substances
agrees ‘with that which had been inferred from the value of their
atomic weights and from their chemical properties, an arrangement
known as MendelejefFs classification, after the name of the Russian
chemist who first proposed it.
I cannot here explain in detail why the idea that the atom is a
kind of miniature solar system, with the nucleus for sun and the
electrons for planets, has met with so much favour from physi
cists. I will only say that it has provided an interpretation, not only
of the chemical properties of simple substances, but also of several
of their physical properties, such as the light rays which they can
emit in certain circumstances, for example when incandescent.
One point, however, must be noted. In order to achieve a satis
factory formulation of the theory that the atom is equivalent to a
kind of solar system, Bohr Tiad to import a foreign idea, borrowed
from the Quantum Theory previously worked out by Planck* I
said above that in the experiments in which we are able to follow
the motion of an electron, the latter behaves like a small corpuscle
of very slight mass, and that its motion can be predicted by applying
the Laws of classical Mechanics, Let us consider, however, the
i cf. pp. 75 ff –
motion of an electron along a particularly short trajectory. We
cannot follow this motion by actual observation; but Bohr has
done so in imagination, in order to calculate the characteristic
properties of the atom when treated, as he treats it, as a planetary
system. Planck, indeed, was himself the first to find that this motion
cannot conform exactly to the laws of classical Mechanics. For
among the totality of movements which classical Mechanics regards
as possible, those which the electron can in fact execute form only
a fraction: and this latter privileged group have been called
“quantized.” Bohr therefore, in his theory of the parallelism between
the atom and the solar system, has been forced to incorporate
Planck’s idea and has found that, in fact, the planet-electrons can
only have quantized motion; and it is this fact which, in a measure,
has provided the key to all the properties of the atoms.
Let us now sum up. Investigation of the properties of material
substances has led physicists to treat Matter as consisting solely of
small corpuscles, called electrons and pro tons. 1 Various combinations
of these corpuscles constitute the atoms of the 92 simple substances
which form the raw material of the molecules from which com
pounds are built up. Such was the conclusion reached some 20 years
ago; but we shall shortly see that conditions have since become far
less simple; for the moment, however, we must leave the subject
of Matter and turn to that of Light.
* *
When Light reaches us from the sun or the stars it comes to
the eye after a journey across vast spaces void of Matter, It follows
from this that Light can cross empty space without difficulty,
wherein it differs for example from sound, since it is not bound up
with any motion of Matter. Hence a description of the physical
world would remain incomplete unless we were to add to Matter
another reality independent of it. This entity is Light.
Now what is Light ? What is its structure ?
The ancient philosophers, and many scientists until the beginning
of last century, maintained that Light consisted of minute corpuscles
in a state of rapid motion; and the fact that Light travels in straight
1 cf. previous Note.
lines under ordinary conditions, and its reflection in a mirror, are
explained at once by this hypothesis.
But the corpuscular Theory of Light was abandoned entirely,
about a century ago, in consequence of the work of the English
physicist Young and, even more, of the research of a brilliant French
scientist, Augustin Fresnel. Actually, Young and Fresnel discovered
a whole set of luminous phenomena those of interference and
of diffraction which could not be accounted for at all on the
corpuscular Theory, while the adoption of another concept the
Wave Theory of Light accounts both for the classical pheno
mena of motion in a straight line, of reflection and refraction,
and also for the phenomena of interference and diffraction.
Fresnel’s demonstration of all this was an admirable one.
The Wave Theory of Light which had previously been adopted
by the Dutch scientist Christian Huyghens and other far-sighted
thinkers holds that the propagation of Light should be compared
to that of a wave in an elastic medium, like the ripples which
travel on the surface of a sheet of water when a stone is thrown in.
And since Light moves in empty space, Fresnel assumed the
existence of a particularly subtle medium the Ether supposed
to penetrate all material substances, to fill empty space and to act
as vehicle for the light- waves.
Let me now explain the way in which a wave is to be imagined.
When a wave moves freely it may be compared to a succession of
ripples in water, their crests being separated by a constant distance
known as the wave-length. The entire group of these ripples moves
in the direction of propagation with a certain velocity: that
at which the wave advances. For light-waves in empty space this
velocity has been shown by experiments, made after Fresnel’s
death, to be 300,000 kilometres per second. 1 The different waves
with their crests and troughs pass a given point in space in suc
cession/ and at this point, whatever magnitude it is that is travelling
in the form of waves must pass through a periodic variation, the
period itself being obviously equal to the time elapsing between
the passing of two consecutive crests.
1 More precisely, 299,764^ 15 km. per sec.’ Science Progress, XXXII, 716.
The three magnitudes the velocity, length and frequency of
the wave are not independent of each other, the frequency
being obviously equal to the velocity divided by the wave-length.
We have seen how a wave advances in a region where there is
nothing to interfere with its propagation. But conditions are
different when the wave meets with an obstacle in the course of its
journey; for example if it meets with a surface which stops or
reflects it, or again if it has to pass through an aperture in a screen,
or if it meets particles of matter which diffract it. In such a case the
wave will be deformed and turned back on itself, with the result
that instead of a simple wave we shall have a multiplicity of simple,
but superimposed, waves; and then the resulting type of vibration,
at any given point, depends on the way in which the simple super
imposed waves tend to reinforce or to enfeeble each other. If there
is an additive effect as between the various simple waves, or if they
are in phase, as it is called, then the resulting vibration will be one
of great intensity; while if their phases are in opposition, the
resulting vibration will be weak or even non-existent. To sum up,
the existence of obstacles interfering with the propagation of a
wave brings about a complicated distribution of the various
intensities of vibration, the distribution depending in the main
on the wave-length of the wave which meets with the obstacle
is question. Of this type are the phenomena of interference and
If now we adopt the idea that Light consists of waves, we are
led to expect that if there is an obstacle in the free path of a
beam of light, then phenomena of interference and diffraction will
occur; and Young, followed by Fresnel, showed that under these
conditions Light does in fact present phenomena of interference or
diffraction; while Fresnel proved, still further, that the Wave
Hieory of Light affords an adequate explanation of all the observed
phenomena in all their -details. From that moment, and throughout
fife resi of last century, the pure Wave Theory of Light was accepted
TO&bottt demon
These exist^ of course, various kinds of light, each corresponding
$ some definite “colour.” The white light radiated, for example,
by an incandescent body like the filament of an electric lamp, is
formed by the superposition of a continuous sequence of simple
forms of light whose colours pass by imperceptible gradations
from violet to red, thus forming the spectrum. Hence the Wave
Theory of Light is naturally led to associate with each kind
with each component of the spectrum one given wave-length;
in other words, one given wave-length corresponds with each
colour. Since the interference phenomena depend on the wave
length, they enable us to measure the wave-lengths corresponding
to the various colours of the spectrum; and it has proved possible
in this way to ascertain that the wave-length varies progressively
and continuously from the violet end of the spectrum, where it
has the value of 4/io,oooths of a millimetre, to the red end, where it
reaches 8/io,oooths.
We have seen, then, that some thirty years ago, no doubts were
entertained but that Light, and other kinds of rays, were pure
wave phenomena. Since then, however, phenomena due to radia
tion hitherto unknown have been discovered; and these phenomena
apparently can be explained only by a corpuscular theory. The
most important of these is the photo-electric effect: when (that is
to say) a piece of matter, of metal for example, is illuminated, it
is often observed to expel electrons in rapid motion; and observa
tion of this phenomenon has shown that the velocity of the expelled
electrons depends solely on the wave-length of the rays falling on
the substance,’ and on the properties of this. But it depends
in no way on the intensity of these incident rays: what does
solely depend On this intensity is the number of electrons
expelled. Further, the energy of the electrons expelled varies
inversely with the length of the wave which falls on the substance
in question. Consideration of this phenomenon led Einstein to
grasp the fact that its explanation demanded a return, at least to some
extent, to the theory of the corpuscular structure of radiation.
He assumed therefore that rays are composed of corpuscles, the
energy of which varies inversely with the wave-length, and has
shown that the laws of the photo-electric effect follow easily once
this hypothesis is adopted.
At this stage, however, physicists were in a state of no small
difficulty. For, on the one hand, they had the group of diffraction
and interference phenomena, which show that Light consists of
waves; while on the other hand, there were the photo-electric
effect and other more recently discovered phenomena, showing
thff Light consists of corpuscles of photons, as they are now
The only way of escaping from this difficulty, then, is to assume
that the wave aspect of Light, and its corpuscular aspect, are as it
were two different aspects of the same underlying reality. Thus
whenever a ray exchanges energy with Matter, the exchange can be
described on the assumption that a photon is absorbed (or emitted)
by Matter; on the other hand, if we wish to describe the motion
en masse of light-corpuscles in space, then we must fall back on the
assumption that propagation of waves is taking place. An elabora
tion of this idea leads to the further assumption that the density of
the cloud of corpuscles, which is associated with a light-wave, is
at any given point proportional to the intensity of this wave. In
this way, therefore, a sort of synthesis of the two ancient rival
theories is reached, so that we are enabled to explain interference
phenomena as well as the photo-electric effect; but the capital
interest of this synthesis consists of the fact that it shows us that,
in the world of Nature, waves and corpuscles are closely inter
connected at any rate in the case of Light, And if this inter
connection exists, may one not assume that it exists also for
Matter? For the entire work of physicists had thus far tended to
reduce Matter to a stage where it was no more than a vast collection
of corpuscles. But if a photon cannot be separated from the wave
which is bound up with it, then surely in the same way we are
bound to assume that corpuscles of Matter are in their turn, too,
universally associated with a wave. And this, in fact, is the chief
question with which today we have to deal.
Let us assume, then, that corpuscles of Matter electrons, for
example are universally accompanied by a wave. Between the
corpuscle and the wave there is an intimate lien; hence the motion
of the corpuscle, and that of the wave, are not independent of
each other, so that a connection can now be established between
the mechanical properties of the corpuscle its momentum and
its energy on the one hand, and the characteristic values
of the wave with which it is associated its length and the
velocity with which it travels on the other. Thus on the assump
tion of the interconnection between the photon and its associated
wave this parallelism can in fact be established: and this theory of
the interconnection between the corpuscles of Matter and their
associated waves is known today under the name of Wave Mechanics.
When the wave associated in this way with a corpuscle is
moving freely in a region whose dimensions are great as compared
with the length of the wave, the New Mechanics assigns to the
corpuscle associated with the wave the motion determined by
the laws of classical Mechanics. This applies particularly to the
motion of electrons which we can observe directly; and this explains
why observations of the large scale motions of electrons had led
to their being regarded as simple corpuscles. But there are certain
cases where the laws of classical Mechanics fail to describe the
motion of corpuscles. The first case is one where the propagation
of the associated wave is confined to a region in space having
dimensions of the same order as the wave-length; and this is the
case of the electrons within the atom. Here the wave associated
with an electron is forced to take the form of a stationary wave,
similar to the stationary elastic waves found in a cord fixed at each
end, or to the stationary electric waves which may be set up in
the antenna of a wireless installation. Now theory shows that these
stationary waves must have certain quite definite lengths, and that
in the associated electron certain equally definite energies corre
spond to these wave-lengths; still further, these definite states of
energy in turn correspond to the states of “quantized” motion
introduced into his theory by Bohr. This also furnishes an explana
tion for a fact which had hitherto remained extremely mysterious
the fact, namely, that quantized motion is the only type of which
the electron contained within the atom is capable.
There is still another case where the electron cannot move in
accord with the classical laws of Mechanics namely where the
associated wave meets with obstacles in the course of its advance.
In such a case interference takes place, and the motion of the
corpuscles, in relation to the motion which classical Mechanics
would predict, is somewhat modified; so that to form an idea of
what must then occur we may follow the analogy with rays. Let us
assume, therefore, that we direct a ray of known wave-length on
to an apparatus designed to give rise to interference. Since we know
that the rays consist of photons, we can say that we are launching
a swarm of photons upon the apparatus; and in the region where
interference occurs, the photons are distributed in such a way that
they are concentrated at those points where the intensity of the
associated wave is greatest. Let us now suppose, still further, that
we direct on the same apparatus, not a ray, but a beam of electrons
having an associated wave of the same wave-length as in the pre
vious ray. In such a case the wave will interfere as before, since it
is the wave-length which controls interference phenomena. It
would then be natural to assume that the electrons will be con
centrated at the points of greatest intensity of the wave: in other
words, that in this second experiment the electrons will be spatially
distributed in the same way as that in which the photons were
distributed in the first. If then it can be shown that such is in fact
the case, the existence of the wave associated with the electrons
will also have been demonstrated, and it will thus be possible to
check the precision of the formulae of Wave Mechanics.
Now according to Wave Mechanics, a wave is associated with
electrons moving with velocities usually realized experimentally,
the length of the associated wave being of the same order as that
of X-rays, viz. i/io,ooo,oooth of a millimetre. In order, therefore,
to demonstrate electron-waves, we must try to produce by their
means interference phenomena analogous to those obtained with
X-rays; and phenomena of this type were in fact obtained first,
in 1927, by Davisson and Germer in the United States, and, later,
by a great number of experimenters, among whom may be men
tioned G. P. Thomson in England and Ponte in France. I shall
not describe their experiments, but confine myself to saying that
they ended with the complete verification of the formulae of Wave
These brilliant experiments have thus proved that the electron
is not merely a simple corpuscle; in one sense it is at once a cor
puscle and a wave. The same conclusion as has been proved by
still more recent experiments applies to the proton. Thus we see
that Matter, as well as Light, consists of both waves and corpuscles;
a far greater structural resemblance than had ‘formerly been sus
pected is shown to exist between Light and Matter: and our con
ception of Nature has thus become the simpler, and also the loftier.
The nucleus of an atom having the atomic number N has, as we
saw above, a positive charge equal to N times that of the proton,
and in it practically the entire mass of the atom is concentrated.
It had long been believed that the nuclei of atoms consist of protons
and electrons, the number of protons exceeding that of the
electrons by N, and practically the entire mass being due to the
protons. This idea that the nucleus is of a complex nature was
more or less enforced by the interpretation of radioactivity, the
discovery of which was initiated by Henri Becquerel, and in essence
was the work of Pierre Curie and of his wife and collaborator
Marie Sklodovska, whose death was such a grievous blow to
French Science. The radioactive substances are heavy elements,
bearing the highest atomic numbers in the series of elements
from 83 to 92. They are characterized by a spontaneous instability,
that is by the fact that from time to time the nucleus of one of their
atoms explodes, at the same time changing into the nucleus of a
lighter atom. This transformation is accompanied by the expulsion
of electrons (jS-rays), of the light atoms of Helium (N = 2)
(a-rays) and by extremely penetrative rays of very high frequency
(y-rays). For physicists the discovery of these radioactive pheno
mena was of extreme interest, since it proved tp them that the
nuclei are in fact complex structures, and that a complex nucleus
in the process of disintegration gives rise to a simpler one thus
spontaneously realizing the transmutation of elements dreamed of
by the alchemists of the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, however,
radioactivity is a phenomenon on which we are unable to exert
any influence, and which consequently we can merely observe
without being able to modify the process. Some twenty years after
the discovery of radioactivity a great step forward was taken,
when Rutherford discovered artificial disintegration; for by
bombarding light atoms with a-particles which in turn are emitted
by radioactive substances it was proved possible to break up
these light atoms; and in this way simpler atoms are obtained a
genuine artificial transmutation. The quantities of Matter which
undergo this transmutation are naturally slight, yet it has at
present substantial practical importance; theoretically, on the
other hand, its interest is enormous, since it proves the unity of
Matter and affords further knowledge on the structure of the
This research into artificial transmutations has undergone con
siderable development in recent years, beginning in England,
where, under the leadership of Rutherford, the physicists Chadwick,
Cockcroft, Walton and Blackett have reached remarkable results,
and later in the United States, where Lawrence’s work may be
mentioned. In France, Paris now possesses two very important
centres where problems relating to nuclei are being pursued by
young investigators of great ability. First we have the Institut du
Radium, directed until her death by Madame Pierre Curie, and
where Madame Joliot, nde Curie, her husband Monsieur Joliot,
Pierre Auger, Rosenblum and others are at work. And then there
is the Laboratoire de recherches physiques sur les rayons X, founded
and directed by the author’s brother, where Jean Thibaud, J. J.
Trillat, Leprince-Ringuet and others are, or were, pursuing skilled
and fruitful studies.
I cannot here deal in any way with the details of the results- ob
tained; these have led to a kind of nuclear chemistry, in which the
transmutations are represented by means of equations strictly
analogous to those long used by chemists to represent ordinary
chemical reactions. I must, however, stress two fundamental dis-
coveries made wholly unexpectedly in the course of these researches.
The first of these is the discovery of the neutron; Chadwick and the
Joliots independently discovered the presence, among the products
of the process of disintegration, of a kind of corpuscle hitherto
unknown. These corpuscles pass through Matter with great ease;
they appear to have no electric charge, but to have a mass approxi
mately equal to that of the proton. They are the neutrons, and there
appears to be no doubt that they play an important part in the
structure of the nuclei.
Within a year of the discovery of the neutron, in 1932, a fourth
class of corpuscle was discovered in its turn. While studying the
effects of the disintegration caused by cosmic rays, Anderson, and
also Blackett and Occhialini, independently demonstrated the
existence of positive electrons i.e. corpuscles having the same
mass as the electron and with an electric charge equal to that
of the electron, but bearing an opposite sign. These positive
electrons, which are a great deal rarer than the negative, appear
to play an important part in the phenomena connected with the
The upshot of these recent sensational discoveries was to leave
the position a good deal more complicated than it had ever been,
since we now know four different kinds of corpuscles electrons,
protons, positive electrons and neutrons. The question one asks
is whether they all are in fact elementary; and the answer is un
doubtedly in the negative. It would appear that one of the four
must be complex. It may be assumed, for example, that the proton,
the electron and the positive electron are the elementary units, in
which case the neutron consists of a proton to which is due almost
the entire mass of the neutron, and of an electron which neutralizes
the charge of the proton. Or again one may assume and this
appears to me the more attractive hypothesis that it is the neutron
and the two kinds of electron which are the elementary corpuscles,
in which case the proton would consist of a neutron and a positive
electron, and would cease to rank as a simple corpuscle. In any case
the discovery of the neutron and of the positive electron are valuable
additions to our knowledge of the atomic world.
A word may here be said about cosmic rays. A series of experi
ments undertaken during recent years, the most important of
which are those carried out by Millikan, has proved the existence
of extremely penetrative rays which appear to come from inter
planetary space. It has been found, too, that these rays have ex
tremely powerful effects on Matter and cause various kinds of
atomic disintegration. Research into cosmic rays is difficult, and as
yet little is known of their nature; but there is small doubt that
fcumerous interesting results will shortly be obtained in this
respect as well.
All too brief as this survey is, it will have shown that laboratory-
research during the last few years has led to results of the utmost
interest almost each day. But theoretical Physics, too, whose
function it is to provide a guiding light for experimental Physics,
has not remained idle.
In the history of theoretical Physics, then, during the last thirty
years, there are two great landmarks: the Theory of Relativity,
and the Quantum Theory, two doctrines of the widest scope; and
while the Theory of Relativity is less closely connected with the
advancement of atomic Physics, it is the more familiar to the man
in the street. Its origin lies in certain phenomena of the propagation
of Light which could not be explained by the older theories; but
by an intellectual effort which will always hold 3p'<Wftent place
in the annals of Science, Einstein removed the ^j^ty by the
introduction of entirely novel ideas on the natmre of Space and
Time and their interrelation. Hence the origin of that remarkable
Theory of Relativity, which later achieved an even more general
scope by providing us with an entirely new/conception of Gravita
tion. It is true that certain of the experimental verifications of the
Theory have been, and still remain, in (Hjoate; but it is quite certain
that it provides us with extremely novel and fertile points of view.
For it has shown how the removal of certain preconceived
ideas, adopted through habit rather than logic, made it possible
to overcome obstacles regarded as insuperable and thus to
discover unexpected horizons; and for physicists the Theory of
Relativity has been a marvellous exercise in overcoming mental
Novum organum dan
XV. We have no sound notions either in logic or physics; substance, quality, action,
passion, and existence are not clear notions; much less weight, levity, density, tenuity,
moisture, dryness, generation, corruption, attraction, repulsion, element, matter, form,
and the like. They are all fantastical and ill-defined.
XVI. The notions of less abstract natures, as man, dog, dove, and the immediate
perceptions of sense, as heat, cold, white, black, do not deceive us materially, yet even
these are sometimes confused by the mutability of matter and the intermixture of
things. All the rest which men have hitherto employed are errors, and improperly
abstracted and deduced from things.
The idols of the market are the most troublesome of all, those namely which
have entwined themselves round the understanding from the associations of words
and names. For men imagine that their reason governs words, while, in fact, words
react upon the understanding; and this has rendered philosophy and the sciences
sophistical and inactive. Words are generally formed in a popular sense, and define
things by those broad lines which are most obvious to the vulgar mind; but when a
more acute understanding or more diligent observation is anxious to vary those lines,
and to adapt them more accurately to nature, words oppose it. Hence the great and
solemn disputes of learned men often terminate in controversies about words and
names, in regard to which it would be better (imitating the caution of mathematicians)
to proceed more advisedly in the first instance, and to bring such disputes to a regular
issue by definitions. Such definitions, however, cannot remedy the evil in natural and
material objects, because they consist themselves of words, and these words produce
others;23 so that we must necessarily have recourse to particular instances, and their
regular series and arrangement, as we shall mention when we come to the mode and
scheme of determining notions and axioms
s.kripke NN
Do proper names have senses? Frege [1] argues that they must have senses, for, he asks, how else can identity statements be other than trivially analytic? How, he asks, can a statement of the form a = b, if true, differ in cognitive value from a = a? His answer is that though ‘a’ and ‘b’ have the same reference they have or may have different senses, in which case the statement is true, though not analytically so. But this solution seems more appropriate where ‘a’ and ‘b’ are both non-synonymous definite descriptions, or where one is a definite description and one is a proper name, than where both are proper names. Consider, for example, statements made with the following sentences:
(a) ‘Tully = Tully’ is analytic.
But is
(b) ‘Tully = Cicero’ synthetic?
If so, then each name must have a different sense, which seems at first sight most implausible, for we do not ordinarily think of proper names as having a sense at all in the way that predicates do; we do not, e.g. give definitions of proper names. But of course (b) gives us information not conveyed by (a). But is this information about words? The statement is not about words.
We are now in a position to explain how it is that ‘Aristotle’ has a reference but does not describe, and yet the statement ‘Aristotle never existed’ says more than that ‘Aristotle’ was never used to refer to any object. The statement asserts that a sufficient number of the conventional presuppositions, descriptive statements, of referring uses of ‘Aristotle’ are false. Precisely which statements are asserted to be false is not yet clear, for what precise conditions constitute the criteria for applying ‘Aristotle’ is not yet laid down by the language.
We can now resolve our paradox: does a proper name have a sense? If this asks whether or not proper names are used to describe or specify characteristics of objects, the answer is ‘no’. But if it asks whether or not proper names are logically connected with characteristics of the object to which they refer, the answer is ‘yes, in a loose sort of way’. (This shows in part the poverty of a rigid sense-reference, denotation-connotation approach to problems in the theory of meaning.)
We might clarify these points by comparing paradigmatic proper names with degenerate proper names like ‘The Bank of England’. For these latter, it seems the sense is given as straightforwardly as in a definite description; the presuppositions, as it were, rise to the surface. And a proper name may acquire a rigid descriptive use without having the verbal form of a description: God is just, omnipotent, omniscient, etc., by definition for believers. Of course the form may mislead us; the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, etc., but it was nonetheless the Holy Roman Empire. Again it may be conventional to name only girls ‘Martha’, but if I name my son ‘Martha’ I may mislead, but I do not lie.
Now reconsider our original identity, ‘Tully = Cicero’. A statement made using this sentence would, I suggest, be analytic for most people; the same descriptive presuppositions are associated with each name. But of course if the descriptive presuppositions were different it might be used to make a synthetic statement; it might even advance a historical discovery of the first importance.
John Searle begins his seminal paper “Proper Names” with the question: “Do proper names have senses?” (Searle 1958, 166). He sums up part of his reply towards the end of the paper: if the question “asks whether or not proper names are logically connected with characteristics of the object to which they refer the answer is ‘yes, in a loose sort of way’” (Searle 1958, 173). He briefly mentions at this point that the logical connections involve “descriptive presuppositions” (cf. Searle 1958, 173): various descriptions that capture characteristics of the object, uniquely identifying it; for example, the descriptive presuppositions for the name ‘Aristotle’ might include ‘the teacher of Alexander the 10s Zsófia Zvolenszky Great’, ‘the most famous pupil of Plato’, ‘the author of The Metaphysics’. These descriptions are supposed to express certain characteristics of Aristotle: his having been the one and only teacher of Alexander the Great, for example. 1 That such descriptions are featured in, of all things, presuppositions, is a widely ignored feature of Searle’s proposal, which I will argue is nonetheless crucial and innovative; indeed, it’s so central that I will refer to Searle’s proposal as the presuppositional view.
⦁ Denotation refers to the literal meaning of a word, the “dictionary definition.”¨ For example, if you look up the word snake in a dictionary, you will discover that one of its denotative meanings is “any of numerous scaly, legless, sometimes venomous reptiles i.e., having a long, tapering, cylindrical body and found in most tropical and temperate regions.”
⦁ Connotation, on the other hand, refers to the associations that are connected to a certain word or the emotional suggestions related to that word. The connotative meanings of a word exist together with the denotative meanings. The connotations for the word snake could include evil or danger.
⦁ As a starting point, it is well to clarify what Searle means by ‘analytic’, a notion with which he begins and ends his paper. According to him, “[a] statement is analytic just in case it is true in virtue of linguistic rules alone, without any recourse to empirical investigation” (Searle 1958, 166)
⦁ … though proper names do not normally assert or specify any characteristics, their referring uses nonetheless presuppose that the object to which they purport to refer has certain characteristics. … Now what I am arguing is that the descriptive force of ‘This is Aristotle’ is to assert that a sufficient but so far unspecified number of these statements are true of this object. Therefore, referring uses of ‘Aristotle’ presuppose the existence of an object of whom a sufficient but so far unspecified number of these statements are true. To use a proper name referringly is to presuppose the truth of certain uniquely referring descriptive statements, but it is not ordinarily to assert these statements or even to indicate which exactly are presupposed. (Searle 1958, 170- 171, emphases added
Kripke includes the following caveat in his account of the reference-passing links in a causal-historical chain:
When the name is ‘passed from link to link’, the receiver of the name must, I think, intend when he learns it to use it with the same reference as the man from whom he heard it. If I hear the name ‘Napoleon’ and decide it would be a nice name for my pet aardvark, I do not satisfy this condition. (Kripke 1980: 96)
Kripke’s condition distinguishes reference-passing from what we might call “vehicle-passing” or etymological relation. It is the latter that Leigh Fermor chronicles in the following passage:
The Roman imperial mantle on Greek shoulders has led to a splendid confusion; for the word ‘Rum’, on Oriental tongues, referred not only to the Christian Byzantines – they are so styled in the Koran – but, for a century or two, to their conquered territory in Asia Minor; it designated the empire of the Seldjuk Turks in Anatolia with its capital at Konia (Iconium), reigned over by the ‘Sultans of Rum’. To tangle matters still further the word Romania was often used in the West, especially during the crusades, to specify the parts of the Eastern Empire which lay in Europe; the Turks extended ‘Rum’ into ‘Rumeli’, (‘land of the Rumis‘) to cover the same area. One still finds the confusing word ‘Rumelia’ on old maps. (In Greece, Rumeli now specifically applies to the great mountainous stretch of continental Greece running from the Adriatic to the Aegean, north of the Gulf of Corinth and south of Epirus and Thessaly.) (Leigh Fermor 1966, 98)
When the Turks applied the word ‘Rum’ to their conquered territory, they were influenced in their choice by a previous use of the same word to refer to the Byzantine Empire, but they did not intend to use the word in exactly the same way. Though not as dramatic as calling one’s pet aardvark ‘Napoleon‘, this is a case in which the intentional condition is not satisfied. It is conceivable that all true cases of a vehicle changing its reference are purposeful, and hence break the causal-historical chain by violating this condition.
The central problem in philosophy of mind is the mind-body problem: the problem of reconciling our science-based understandings of the causal structure of the physically described world, including our bodies and brains, with the apparent capacity of our conscious thoughts and efforts to cause our bodies to move in consciously intended ways.
avi sion
V. The Self
1. The Self
2. Factors of the “Self”
3. Identification-With
4. Ideal and Practical Concepts
5. Fallacious Criticisms of Selfhood
6. What “Emptiness” Might Be
1. The Self
According to our account, the ‘self’ is first noticed experientially, through a faculty of intuition. This same assumed faculty (of the self) is able to experience the self’s cognitions, volitions and affections (i.e. its ‘functions’), as well as the self itself. Neither the self nor its said immediate functions have any phenomenal characteristics, so they cannot be perceived. The fact that they cannot be perceived does not however imply that they do not exist; in their case, to repeat, another kind of experiential cognition is involved, that of ‘intuition.’ Cumulative experiences of self and its functions allow us to construct concepts of self, cognition, volition and valuation.
Additionally, we regard self and its functions as having mental and material effects. Imaginations and mental feelings, as well as bodily movements and sentiments, are considered (within our current world-view) as indirectly caused by the self, through its more immediate exercise of cognitive, volitional and emotional powers. What is caused by the self is not strictly speaking ‘part of’ the self, yet it still ‘belongs to’ the self in the sense of being its responsibility. This extended sense of self may be said to have phenomenal characteristics.
Moreover, apparently, the moment we but experience anything phenomenal, or think in abstract terms, or make choices or take action or feel emotions of any sort, a person as the grammatical subject seems logically required. That is, an ‘I’ doing these things seems to us implied. Every object appearing give rise to a parallel awareness of a Subject to whom it appears and a relation of consciousness between it and the object. Similarly, every act of volition or valuation, however devoid of phenomenal characteristics, arouses in us the conviction that an Agent (or author or actor) is involved. This is called ‘self-consciousness,’ but it is somewhat inaccurate to do so, because what is involved here is not only intuition of self, and eventual perceptual experiences, but also a logical insight, something abstract and conceptual.
We conceive the self, in its strict sense, as composed of a uniform substance that we label ‘spiritual’ (to distinguish it from matter and mind). We also conceive it as an entity that we call ‘soul,’ which underlies all events and changes relative to the self (i.e. its functions), constituting an abiding and unifying continuity[1].
Contrary to what some people presume and some philosophers (pro or con) suggest, to assume (whether intuitively or conceptually) a soul or spiritual entity underlying cognition, volition and valuation, does not logically necessitate that such entity be eternal. Constancy in the midst of variation does not imply that a soul has neither beginning nor end in time (or space). Just as a material or mental entity is conceived as something permanent relative to certain transient aspects of it, and yet as a whole transient relative to the universe, so in the case of a spiritual entity, it too may well have a limited world-line in space-time.
Intuition, perception and logical insight only necessitate the existence of one self – the Subject of these acts of consciousness. Solipsism remains conceivable. Our common belief that there are many souls like our own one in the world is a conceptual construct and hypothesis, which as such is perfectly legitimate and indeed helps to explain many experiences. Also not excluded is the belief that there is really only one big Soul (that perhaps pervades or transcends the universe of matter and mind), underlying the apparent small soul(s) – this is the belief of monotheism. That is, belief in a soul does not prejudge the issue of individuation. Just as material entities may, upon reflection, be considered as all mere ripples in a universal fabric, so possibly in the case of spiritual entities.
But such ripples might be permanent or transient. There is no logical necessity to assume that upon dying the soul lives on elsewhere (in a heaven or hell), or that it remains or is reborn on earth in some form, though such possibilities are not to be excluded offhand. The difficulty with any idea of transmigration is to experientially demonstrate some sort of transfer of spirit or energy (karmic reaction) from one incarnation to the next. To imagine some such transfer, to assert it to occur, is no proof. I cannot either think of any theory for which a ‘law of conservation of spirit’ might be a hypothetical necessity to explain certain empirical data.
Moreover, to posit the existence of a soul does not necessarily imply that this substance, anymore than the substance of imaginations, can exist outside and independently of the material substance. The spirit may be just an epiphenomenon of the peculiar cluster of matter which constitutes the biological entity of a living, animal, human body, coming into being when it is born (or a few months earlier) and ceasing to be when it dies.
(Notwithstanding, we may just as well posit that matter and mind are more complex arrangements of spiritual stuff, as claim that spirit and mind are finer forms of matter; ultimately, the distinctions may be verbal rather than substantial.)
The question as to where in relation to the body the soul is located, whether somewhere in the region of the brain or throughout the body, remains moot. Also, the soul might be extended in the space of matter or a mere point in it. But such issues are for most purposes irrelevant.
Many philosophical questions arise around the concept of self, and it is legitimate to try to answer them if possible. But one should not forget the central issue: who or what if anything is the Subject of consciousness? This question arises as soon as we are conscious, and cannot be bypassed by any sleight of hand.
As already mentioned, some Buddhist philosophers deny existence to the Subject, self, soul or spirit. Insofar as their argument is based on the impossibility of pinpointing perceptible qualities of the soul, it carries some conviction. In the West, David Hume presented a similar argument. But their attempt to explain away the common impression that we have a soul by making a distinction between relative/illusory existence and independent/real existence is confused[2].
Buddhist philosophers explain our belief that we have a self as an illusion to due the overlap of innumerable perceptual events (sensations and imaginations), called dharmas, which we mentally integrate together by projecting a self at their center. They have an ontological theory of ‘co-dependence’ or ‘interdependence,’ according to which not only the self but all assumed essences are mere projections arising in our minds, due to things having no existence by themselves (solitary and independent) but existing only in (causal and other) relations to all other things[3].
I want to here suggest in passing how the co-dependence theory itself may have erroneously arisen. Every theory has a kernel of truth, which gives it credence; the problem with some theories is that they have a husk of falsehood, which must be separated out. In the case of this theory, the error is a confusion between ontology and epistemology. I would agree that no item of knowledge is true independent of all others. Any appearance has by virtue of at all appearing (as an experience or as a claim in abstract discourse) a quantum of credibility. This basic minimum does not by itself definitively suffice to make that appearance ‘true.’ It merely grants the appearance consideration in the overall scheme of things. Only after each and every item has been confronted and weighed against all other items, may we terminally declare those that have passed all tests ‘true.’ Thus, the truth of anything is not only due to the initial drop of credibility in it, but to the final combined force of all drops of credibility in all available data.
Buddhist philosophers have, by imprecise thinking, turned this methodological fact into an idea that there is ‘real’ universal co-dependence. Moreover, their theory is that existents are apparent only because an infinity of ‘relations’ crisscross. These relations are claimed ‘empty’ of terms, i.e. they are relations relating ‘nothings’ to each other. It is not said what sort of existents these relations themselves are, and why they are exempt of being in turn mere products of yet other relations ad infinitum. It is not said how an infinity of zeros can add up to a non-zero. By way of contrast, note that in my epistemological version each item of appearance has an initial drop of ‘credibility,’ and the final product has a truth value that can be equated to the sum of all such initial quanta. It is not an interdependence of zeros.
As for consciousness, Buddhists regard it as directly accessible to itself, in high meditation at least. This is what they seem to intend by expressions like ‘no-mind,’ or consciousness ‘empty’ of any content, without object other than itself. They thus seem to posit the possibility of an instance of the relation of consciousness turned on itself (as against the ordinary view of ‘self-consciousness’ – which is ‘consciousness of consciousness of something other than consciousness’[4]). This could be interpreted as a tacit admission by them of the possibility of intuition. Observe also, they often use the terms Subject, consciousness and mind interchangeably, which gives rise to confusions and errors.
It is worth noting in passing that terms like ‘no-mind’ or ‘emptiness’ are negative – and, as earlier pointed out, negation is a rational act. Nevertheless, it would be unfair to regard these concepts as based on ideational construction. Buddhists who use them claim them to refer to a positive experience. The negative names are only intended to stress that the content of such experience is incomparable to any other.
The phenomenological approach to the above issues is different. To begin with, it is sufficient to stress the doctrinal aspect of Subject and consciousness. Whether we grasp them intuitively, through perception or conceptually, what matters most is the role they play in our arrangement of knowledge, in our view of the world. If their assumption enables us to propose a consistent and repeatedly confirmed explanation of the appearance of phenomena, i.e. that they appear (somehow, we do not know just how) primarily through senses or using memory and imagination, to an entity with a mind and a body surrounded by a physical world, and so forth – then their worth and truth is inductively proved.
The concepts of Subject and consciousness are not loose, arbitrary inserts in the puzzle of knowledge, but interdependent items in a complex structure. They are part and parcel of the collection of concepts through which our experiences are made to seem intelligible, that is all. They need only be claimed to be hypotheses; we need not reject alternatives offhand, if any credible alternatives are proposed. Our security is based not on an anxious attachment to one more dogma, but on the track record of these concepts together with others like them in putting certain issues to rest.
The ‘self’ could be considered as phenomenal, in the sense that phenomena are perceived as modified (refracted or somewhat shifted) by some presumed presence, which is assumed to be the self of the perceiver. The self is thus phenomenal indirectly, by virtue of being ‘inferable’ from phenomena. This is normal inductive procedure: some empirical event stands out and is explained by some hypothesis or other, which is found coherent and thereafter repeatedly confirmed (unless or until specifically refuted by logic or experience).
To illustrate the thinking involved: If I look at the surface of a body of water and see that the general pattern of the waves is broken someplace, I mentally outline the area that seems affected (i.e. which has a different ripple pattern) and also propose some reason for the modification (e.g. rocks below the surface, a gust of wind, the passage of a boat, and so forth). Similarly, if I see a shadow, I assume something to be casting it (i.e. to be blocking the light); and according to the shape of the shadow, I estimate what that thing might be.
Buddhism seems to intend to interdict this thought process. It tells us not to infer anything behind the perceived ‘modification’ in the phenomenal field, but take it as is. For Buddhism, to speak of ‘modification’ is already an artificial isolation and thus a distortion of fact; it is a projection of ‘form’ onto content, implying extraneous activities of comparison and contrast. Moreover, to seek a ‘cause’ that explains the modification is merely to add another layer of projection to an already eclipsed empirical reality. This is true not only with regard to assuming things have underlying ‘essences’, but also regarding the assumption of a ‘self’ perceiving and inferring. Better, we are told, to look upon phenomenal events (the visible ripples or shadow, for instances) and see them as they are, rather than see them as indicative of other things and get lost looking for such phantasms.
This argument may seem to carry conviction, but it is not consistent. Being itself a conceptual discourse of the kind it criticizes, it throws doubt upon itself. We may well admit the interferences involved in conceptual thought (as in the functions of isolation, projection of outline, comparison and contrast, causal reasoning, hypothesizing), without thereby having to deny its validity when properly carried out. Indeed, this is the only consistent position.
Furthermore, my own position is that our own soul (or self) is not only inferred from the appearance of phenomena, but also directly ‘intuited’ – or at least inferred from intuitions. Certainly, the soul’s non-phenomenal functions (consciousness, volitions, preferences) have to be directly intuited, as they cannot be fully explained with reference to mental and material phenomena. Possibly, the soul is in turn inferred from these intuitions; or equally possibly, it is itself directly intuited. To my knowledge, Buddhism does not take this phenomenological thesis into consideration, nor of course refute it.
2. Factors of the “Self”
With regard to the concept of self, we need to identify the various ways we develop belief in a self, i.e. the bases for such a concept in practice, i.e. what we rightly or wrongly identify ourselves with. The following are some examples to be expanded upon:
a) We personally identify with sensations of and in the body, including touch and other sensations that present us with its extension and delimit its boundaries in relation to a perceived more “outside” world, as well as visceral physical sensations and sentiments. Thus, we feel and see and hear and smell and taste our “own” body, or parts thereof, and identify with the sum of these perceptions. This is due largely to the enormous ‘presence’ of the body in our experience, its insistent and loud manifestation. It demands so much of our attention that we become focused on it almost exclusively.
Consider how (most) people confuse themselves (to a large extent) with their sensual urges and emotions. If they feel hunger pangs, they rush for food. If they feel a sex urge, they either grab a mate or masturbate. If they feel like alcohol, tobacco or a drug, they readily indulge. In search of sensations they engage in endless chatter, or watch movies or listen to music. People commonly think that when they feel pride or self-pity, or love or hate for someone, they are in contact with their innermost being[5]. We confuse every urge or sentimentality with ourselves, and therefore uncritically think that satisfying it is imperative to do ourselves good.
b) We identify with our perceptions of the world beyond our “own” body, the “outside” world. Although these experiences are considered external to us and transient, they serve to define us personally in that they are a specific range of actualities within the larger field of possibilities. That is, we identify with our life story, our personal context and history, our particular environment and fate. We forget that we are fallible, and ignore the role chance plays in our lives.
We learn a lot about ourselves, not only by introspection while alone, but also by observing one’s behavior in relation to the external world, the challenges of nature and interactions with other people. We also learn about ourselves through observing other people’s behavior, and recognizing our own similar patterns of behavior in them.
c) We identify with our memories and fantasies (including anticipations of the future, our ideals and plans, idle dreams, etc.) – our mental projections. We see our identities in terms of our specific past experiences and adventures, and our present desires and expectations for the future. Obviously, this aspect is not merely perceptual, but implies a conceptual framework, which generates certain thoughts and emotions. Even if these are gradually changing, we identify with their evolution and direction of change, as well as with their constant elements[6].
d) We identify with our past and present beliefs and choices. This aspect relates to Consciousness and the Will, which format our distinctiveness and identity, as well as our insights, thoughts, behavior, whims, values, pursuits and emotions. Implied here is what I have called the intuition of self – i.e. self-knowledge in a serious sense. We also identify with our presumed future choices, that is to say what we expect or intend or are resolved or plan to do.
e) Similarly, we identify with our verbal and pre-verbal discourse. As evident in meditation, not all thoughts are in fact generated by ourselves. We are passive recipients to many or most of them. They just pop up in our minds as non-stop mental noise, repetitive nonsense, compulsive chatter. But most of us usually assume possession of such internal events, regard ourselves as their authors, and therefore define our selves in relation to them.
f) A very important self-identification is that with our mental image of oneself, be it largely realistic or fanciful. This includes memories and fantasies – in all the sense-modalities – of our facial and bodily features and expressions, character traits, voice and handwriting, and other aspects of personality, as well as of our thoughts and actions. The memories and fantasies are based on reflections in mirrors and pictures and other visual and auditory recordings of oneself, as well as direct perceptions of parts of one’s body and its movements and of one’s inner world.
This self-image is what we would most readily refer to if asked to point to one’s self. The important thing to note about it is that it is a construct, a mental projection – it is not to be confused with the self that cognizes, wills or values. It is an effect, not a cause. It has no power of cognition, volition or emotion, but is only an image that may influence the real self.
Egotism or self-love is having an exaggerated opinion of one’s own worth (beauty, intelligence, etc.). One of the main attributes or behavior-patterns of the “ego” (in the colloquial pejorative sense) is its stupid conceit.[7]
g) In formulating our personal identity, we are also influenced (positively or negatively) by how other people see us or imagine us. Their perceptions or conceptions about us may, of course, be true or false. We must also be aware of the distinction between: how we know them to see us or imagine us – and how we imagine that they do.
These issues are further complicated by the fact of social projection: we often try to project images socially, through our discourse and behavior, in attempts to influence our own and other people’s judgments about us. Thus, we may deliberately subconsciously edit our self-image for ourselves – modifying, withholding or adding information – till we lose track of realities concerning ourselves. And even when we do it just to confuse or mislead other people (in order to gain material or social benefits from them), we may end up ourselves losing track.
This factor plays an important part in social bonding and regulation, but it can also become tyrannical. So many people pass all their lives trying to influence other people into seeing them in a certain way, so as to gain their love, respect or admiration. And if they cannot in fact fit in to assumed social demands, they will pretend to fit in.[8]
h) As the Buddhists rightly point out, our ego also defines itself with reference to its alleged external “possessions”. “Who am I? – I am the one who owns this and that… I am the husband of this woman, the father of these children, the descendant of these ancestors, the owner of this house and these riches, the leader of a corporation, the recipient of a literary prize, the winner of a competition, etc.” Note well, included here are not only material possessions, but also possession of people in whatever sense (sexual conquest, political domination, etc.) and abstract possessions (I wrote this essay, etc.).
To some extent, this identification of “me” with “mine” is an expression of the earlier listed more internal factors: “This is my shadow, because I have this body,” “I own these things or people, because I have certain character traits and made certain choices, thus developing a certain biography,” we tell ourselves. But additionally, as Buddhists stress, it serves as territorial expansion for the ego, solidifying its existence, further anchoring it to the world.
Egoism or selfishness is looking after one’s own (assumed) interests, exclusively or predominantly. One of the main attributes or behavior-patterns of the “ego” (in the colloquial pejorative sense) is its arrogant grabbing, irrespective of who is harmed thereby. ‘Looking after Number One,’ as the saying goes.
i) The fact that each of us may be referred to by a proper name (or pronouns that temporarily replace it) also, as Buddhism stresses, serves to impose and solidify in our minds the idea that we have a distinct self. Things referred to only by means of a common name (e.g. “a man”) have less identity for us.
We can include here all the conventional aspects of our identity: our ID card, for instance. This relates to considerations of group membership: membership in a family (family name, birth certificate), a nation (naturalization certificate, passport), a social class (rich or poor, commoner or ruler, different educational levels and professions), a religious denomination, an organization or a club. All these factors add to our “identity” largely[9] by mutual agreement, as does a name.
j) The theoretical concept of self or soul is also projected onto one’s self – “I am this abstract entity”. Whether this concept is true or false is irrelevant here; what matters is that there is such a theoretical projection for most educated people, i.e. we do identify with the self conceived by religions, philosophies and psychologies.
For religion, the focus is on the enduring substance of the self (soul, spirituality) and on its moral responsibility and perfectibility (freedom of the will). The main feature of the philosophical self is that it is reflexive: it points back to the person who is conscious and willful, it is both Subject and Object, both Agent and Patient. Psychology is more focused on the existential intricacies of the self, some of which are indicated herein.
As colloquial use of these terms makes clear, the concept of ego is not identical with that of self. The ego is a creature of the self. When we feel insecure, we may seek to reassure ourselves by engaging in ‘ego-trips.’ This refers to comparative and competitive tendencies, such as domination, pursuit of admiration, or acquisitiveness. Power, fame and/or fortune gives us the impression of having an advantage over other people, and thus of being better able than them to cope with life. What we call our ego, then, is the petty side or product of ourselves. By giving this a name, we can distance ourselves from it, and discuss it and hopefully cure it. This field of psychology of course deserves (and gets) much study and elaboration.
3. Identification-With
The recurring term in the above treatment is “identify with” – just what does it mean and indicate? It refers to some sort of epistemic and psychological mechanism, through which each of us assumes for a while himself or herself to have a certain identity described in imagination and verbally.
With regard to the mechanism through which we identify with each of these aspects of selfhood, consider how after meeting an impressive person, or reading a book on ethics or a novel, or hearing a song or seeing a movie, one may be susceptible to identifying for a while with the person or personality-type or protagonist encountered. One may go so far as to virtually become one with this role model for a while – not by conscious artifice, role-play or imitation, but by a sort of “personality induction”.
One’s thoughts, attitudes and actions echo the model’s, and one may even experience that one’s body feels like his[10]. The way the latter experience occurs is that one interprets one’s body sensations through the memory image one has of the model. More precisely, the touch sensations coming from one’s face or the rest of one’s body are mentally unified by means of that image (instead of one’s own). This integrative mechanism relates to the ‘correlation of modalities,’ and involves a visual projection (either internal or hallucinatory).
I[11] posit two senses of “self” – (a) the real self, a natural entity with some continuity while existing, perhaps a spiritual epiphenomenon emerging within living matter of some complexity, which self is the Subject of consciousness and Agent of Will; and (b) the imagined self or ego, a constructed presumed description of the self, which has no consciousness or will, but is itself a product of them. The former is our factual identity, the latter is what we delusively identify with, by confusing it with knowledge of our identity.
Initially, the ego is constructed as a legitimate attempt to summarize information directly or indirectly produced by the real self. But the project gets out of hand, in view of its extreme complexity and the superhuman demands of objectivity and honesty involved. So in contrast to our identity – or more precisely, knowledge of our identity – we find ourselves facing a partly or largely fanciful construct, which does not entirely correspond to the original. This falsely projected identity influences the real self negatively, causing it to lose touch with itself. The ego thus involves some self-awareness, plus a lot of bull. It is a half-truth, which interferes with proper cognition, volition and valuation, and so presents us with epistemological, psychological, behavioral, emotional and social problems to be solved. The best solution is regular meditation, which allows us to gradually sort out the grain from the chaff, and return to a healthy and realistic self-knowledge.
Thus, we have two concepts of self, logically distinguished as follows.
a) One concept is ideal, in that its object or content is the real self, the self as it really is however that be. This is a hypothetical, philosophical concept, because it points to something that we know somewhat but not really in detail; we need it to be able to say something about the assumed real self, so we have this separate, minimalist concept, which is by definition true, i.e. the receptacle of whatever happens to be true.
b) The other concept is the practical one, wherein we readily build up our knowledge and imagination concerning the self. This one is by definition flawed, because all knowledge is somewhat flawed since we are fallible, and all the more so knowledge of the self, because of the subjectivities and psychological and social pressures involved in its formulation. The object or content of this concept is partly the real self (basic knowledge) and largely the imagined self (some true propositions, some false). For this reason, we distinctively name the referent “ego,” to stress that for most of us the concept is bound to be considerably untrue.
Thus, it is correct to say, as the Buddhists do, that the self, in the sense of ego, does not exist. For it is the object or content of a concept known to be partly untrue for most people (all except the “Enlightened”, if they exist). In a strict sense, then, there is no ego, the concept is empty, has no real referent[12] – what it intends in practice does not in fact exist, but involves projections of the imagination and verbal constructions. Nevertheless, the self, in the minimalist sense, exists. The concept of it collects only our true and sure knowledge about the self, to the exclusion of any fanciful details.
The reader may have remarked that even while valiantly fighting the Buddhist doctrine of “no-self,” I remain intrigued and attracted by it[13]. Especially since that philosophy seems to claim that it is only by throwing off the idea that we have a self that we can achieve enlightenment and liberation. I do not want to make the proverbial mistake of throwing out the baby with the bath water. One possible interpretation of this doctrine, that would explain it while retaining the concept of soul (which to me still seems unavoidable), would be that it is intended to counteract our above described tendency to identify with some of the factors of self.
When we identify with some theoretical or fantastic idea of the self, we are merely projecting a phenomenal self and saying “that’s me!” A projected image is confused with the one projecting it. This is very different from being aware of one’s real self through direct intuition of it. Thus, we are effectively told, “if you want to find yourself, don’t look for yourself in different concepts or images, but simply look into your soul. Rather than thinking of yourself or worse still thinking up a self for yourself, just be yourself and you will thus naturally get to know yourself.” Perhaps it is that simple.
The self-ego distinction can be illustrated with reference to Figure 2.
The innermost concentric circle (called soul, and including the functions of cognition, volition and valuation) symbolizes the self in the most accurate sense of the term. This is sometimes called the real or true self, or higher or deeper self, to variously signify its relative position.
The circles labeled mind and body (including their stated functions) together constitute the ego, or ‘self’ in an inaccurate sense of the term. This is sometimes called the illusory or false self, or lower or shallower self, to variously signify its relative position. (To be sure, more materialistic people identify especially with their body, whereas more mental people identify especially with their mind. But mind and body are inextricably intertwined, in their sensory, motor, emotional and intellectual functions.)
The important thing to realize is that soul (the self) is of a different substance (spirit) than mind or matter (the ego). The former is the core of one’s existence; the latter are mere outer shells. When we identify with the ego instead of soul, we lose touch with our actual position as observer, doer and feeler.
4. Ideal and Practical Concepts
Now, the above insights concerning the concept of self can be generalized to all concepts. That is, the same logical analysis can be applied in relation to any predication. We have on the one hand an ideal concept of some established object, which by definition contains only truths, known or yet unknown, about the object. And on the other hand, we have the practical concept, which we know to be inductive, subject to change – development, correction and improvement – and therefore by definition to some knowable but unknown extent untrue. The ideal concept thus has a wholly real (though relatively bare) content, whereas the practical concept has a partly real and partly unreal (though much richer) content.
Strictly speaking, then, the practical concept intends a non-existent object, while the ideal concept allows us to intend the nevertheless existing object. We need both of them for our discourse; they are complementary. The ideal concept is one portion of the practical, which also includes more doubtful elements or aspects. Careful knowledge acquisition, which may be aided by meditation, consists in being at all times aware to the maximum extent of the epistemological status (true or false, or certain or uncertain to what degree) of each item of knowledge. That is, to know at any given time what part of each concept is the basic-ideal part and what remainder is the tentative-practical part. To remember at all times that knowledge is something always in flux, which it is our responsibility to evaluate repeatedly to remain in touch with reality.
Just as the Buddhists deny “selfhood” to people, they deny “essence” to all other things. For them, this is one and the same error; the former being just a special case of, or alternatively causing, the latter. Our explanation of their position would be that they are referring to what we have just called practical concepts: their contents are indeed unlikely to fully correspond to real essence or selfhood. As for ideal concepts, they are not “empty,” since their intention is by definition whatever happens to be real, whether or not it is known. Even in Buddhism, concepts like those of “mind ground” or “nirvana” must be admitted to be exceptions to the rule of emptiness, since they are effectively treated as the ultimate essence of things and people.
Notwithstanding, with a view to keeping an open mind in relation to this interesting Buddhist doctrine, we should at least experimentally attempt to construct a meditation and discourse gradually free from projections of self and the subject-predicate relation (predication).
For instance, in meditation, instead of thinking “I must become aware of my breath”, think “become aware of breath” (thus diverting attention away from self, though still with an injunction), then think “awareness of breath” (thus getting away from a sense of active willing, of intensifying awareness and directing it towards the breath), then think “breath” (thus removing the relation implied by “of”), then just be wordlessly aware of breath (a pure phenomenon).
Thus, without adhering to Nagarjuna’s fallacious discourse[14], gradually pursue wordless awareness, dropping the “I” (Subject), then instead of propositions (which use subjects and predicates) use only lone terms (verbalized concepts), then focus on the content of such terms (the event intended, without the word), then abandon the injunction to “think” of it and just experience such content inactively. All this merely goes back down the chain of conceptualization, and it is of course easier to learn not to go up it in the first place (at least not during such meditation).
5. Fallacious Criticisms of Selfhood
Since writing Buddhist Illogic, I have been reviewing Buddhist arguments against selfhood more carefully, and I must say that – while they continue to inspire deeper awareness of philosophical issues in me – I increasingly find them unconvincing, especially with regard to logical standards.
Buddhists conceive of the self as a non-entity, an illusion produced by a set of surrounding circumstances (‘causes and conditions’), like a hole in the middle of a framework (of matter or mind or whatever). But I have so far come across no convincing detailed formulation of this curious (but interesting) thesis, no clear statement that would explain how a vacuity can seemingly have consciousness, will and values. Until such a theory is presented, I continue to accept self as an entity (call it soul) of some substance (spirit, say). Such a self is apparently individual, but might well at a deeper level turn out to be universal. The individuation of soul might be an illusion due to narrow vision, just as the individuation of material bodies seems to be.
Criticisms of the idea of self are no substitute for a positive statement. It is admittedly hard to publicly (versus introspectively) and indubitably demonstrate the existence of a soul, with personal powers of cognition, volition and affection. But this theory remains the most credible, in that the abstract categories it uses (entity, substance, property, causality) are already familiar and functional in other contexts. In contrast, the impersonal thesis remains mysterious, however open-minded we try to be. It may be useful for meditation purposes, but as a philosophical proposition it seems wanting.
Generally speaking, I observe that those who attempt to rationalize the Buddhist no-self thesis indulge in too-vague formulations, unjustified generalizations and other non sequiturs. A case in point is the work Lotus in a Stream by Hsing Yun[15], which I have recently reread. The quotations given below as examples are from this work.
“Not only are all things impermanent, but they are also all devoid of self-nature. Having no self-nature means that all things depend on other things for their existence. Not one of them is independent and able to exist without other things” (pp. 86-87).
Here, the imprecision of the term “existence” or “to exist” allows for misrepresentation. Western thought would readily admit that all (or perhaps most) things come to be and continue to be and cease to be and continue to not-be as a result of the arrival, presence, departure or absence of a variety of other things. But that is very different from saying that their being itself is dependent: for us, facts are facts, i.e. once a thing is a past or present fact, nothing can change that fact, it is not “dependent” on anything. Yet, I contend, Buddhists seem to be trying to deny this, and cause confusion by blurring the distinction between change over different time and place, and change within identical time and place.
“The meaning of the word ‘things’ in these statements is all phenomena, both formed and formless, all events, all mental acts, all laws, and anything else you can think of.”
Here, the suggestion is that impermanence concerns not only phenomena, which strictly speaking are material or mental objects of perception, but also abstract objects. The terms “formless” and “laws” and “anything you can think of” suggest this. But of course such a statement surreptitiously slips in something we would not readily grant, though we would easily admit that phenomena are impermanent. The whole point of a “law” is that it is a constant in the midst of change, something we conceive through our rational faculty as the common character of a multitude of changing phenomenal events. The principle of Impermanence is not supposed to apply to abstracts. Indeed, it is itself an abstract, considered not to be impermanent!
“To say that nothing has a self-nature is to say that nothing has any attribute that endures over long periods of time. There is no ‘nature’ that always stays the same in anything anywhere. If the ‘nature’ of a thing cannot possibly stay the same, then how can it really be a nature? Eventually everything changes and therefore nothing can be said to have a ‘nature,’ much less a self-nature.”
Here, the author obscures the issue of how long a period of time is – or can be – involved. Even admitting that phenomena cannot possibly endure forever, it does not follow that they do not endure at all. Who then is to say that an attribute cannot last as long as the thing it is an attribute of lasts? They are both phenomena, therefore they are both impermanent – but nothing precludes them from enduring for the same amount of time. The empirical truth is: some attributes come and/or go within the life of a phenomenal thing, and some are equally extended in time. Also, rates of change vary; they are not all the same. The author is evidently trying to impose a vision of things that will comfort his extreme thesis.
We can, incidentally, conceive of different sorts of continuity of conjunctions of phenomena (see Figure 4). An essential attribute of a thing would coexist fully, like an underlying thread of equal time length. A weaker scenario of continuity would be a chaining of different events, such that the first shares some time with the second, which shares some with the third, and so forth, without the first and third, second and fourth and so on having time in common. In some cases, continuity may be completely illusory, in that events succeed each other contiguously in time without sharing any time.
Hsing Yun goes on arguing:
“the body… is a delusion caused by a brief congregation of the physical and mental components of existence Just as a house is made of many parts that create an appearance, so the body… When those parts are separated, no self-nature will be found anywhere.”
That a house or human body is an aggregate of many separable elements, does not prove that when these elements are together (in a certain appropriate way, of course) they do not collectively produce something new. The whole may be more than its constituent parts, because the whole is not just the sum of the parts but an effect of theirs. The bricks of a house do not just add up to a house, but together become a house when placed side by side in certain ways; if placed apart (or together in the wrong way) they do not constitute a house (but at best a pile of bricks). Similarly for the atoms forming a molecule, the molecules forming a living cell, the cells causing a human organism. At each level, there is a causal interplay of parts, which produces something new that is more than the parts, something we call the whole, with its own distinct attributes and properties.
It is thus quite legitimate to suppose that when matter comes together in a certain way we call a live human body, it produces a new thing called the self or soul or spirit, which thing we regard as the essence of being human because we attribute to it the powers of consciousness and volition that we evidently display (and which the constituent matter in us does not, as far as we can see, separately display). That this idea of self is a hypothesis may be readily admitted; but to anyone conscious of the inductive basis of most human knowledge that does not constitute a criticism (all science develops through hypotheses). The important point to note is that Buddhist commentators like this one give arguments that do not succeed in proving what they purport to prove.
Here are some more examples, relating to the notion of “emptiness”:
“Dependent origination means that everything is produced from conditions and that nothing has an independent existence of its own. Everything is connected to everything else and everything is conditioned by everything else. ‘Emptiness’ is the word used to describe the fact that nothing has an independent nature of its own” (p. 94).
Here, the reader should notice the vagueness of terms like “connection” or “conditioning”. They are here used without nuance, without remark that very many kinds and degrees of causal relation may be involved. The impression made on the reader is that everything is equally bound to everything else, however far or near in space and time. But that is not merely untrue – it is conceptually untenable! Concepts of causality arise with reference to a specific relation, which some things have with each other and some things lack with each other. If all things had the same causal relation to all other things, no concept of a causal relation would arise nor be needed. We can very loosely say that the cause of a cause of a thing is “causally related” to it, but causal logic teaches us that the cause of a cause of a thing is not always itself “a cause” of it in the strict sense. And even if it is, it may not be so in the same degree. It follows that Hsing Yun is here again misleading us.
“Emptiness does not mean nothingness… all things have being because they all do exist interdependently” (p.97).
Here, the image communicated to us is that each thing, although in itself empty of substance, acquires existence through its infinity of relations (dependencies) to all other things, each of which is itself empty of substance. We must ask, is this theoretical scenario credible? Does an infinity of zeros add up to a non-zero? What are those “relations” between “things”? Are they not also “things”? Are they not also empty, in which case what gives them existence? The concept of relation implies the pre-existence of things being related (terms); if all that exists are relations, is the concept still meaningful?
Furthermore, what does interdependence (a.k.a. co-dependence) mean, exactly? Is an embrace in mid-air between two or more people equivalent to a mutual support? If I cannot support myself, can I support you? The notion is unconscionable.
“Nothing is unchangeable or unchanging. All phenomena exist in succession. They are always changing, being born, and dying.”
Here, the author has simply dropped out the (previously acknowledged) and very relevant fact of enduring. To convince us that the world is nothing but flux, he mentions birth, change and death – but eclipses the fact of living, if only for a little while! The phrase “they are always” does not necessarily mean “each of them in every moment.”
“A cause (seed) becomes an effect (fruit), which itself contains the cause (seed) for another effect, and so on. The entire phenomenal world works just like this” (p. 98).
Here, we are hastily dragged into a doubtful generalization. The description of the cycle of life, with procreation from generation to generation, does not necessarily fit other causal successions. Causation in the world of inanimate matter obeys its own laws, like Newton’s Laws of Motion for example. There is nothing truly equivalent to reproduction in it, to my memory. To convince us, the author would have to be much more precise in his analogies. Philosophers have no literary license.
“If we were to break a body down into its constituent parts, the body would no longer exist as a body.”
So what? Is that meant to explain or prove “emptiness”? If you kill an animal and cut it up, of course you will not find the life in it, or the consciousness it had, or its “animal nature”. It does not follow that when the animal is alive and well, it lacks these things!
“The meanings of the words ‘above’ and ‘below’ depend on where we are. They do not have absolute meanings, It is like this with all words and all relationships between things” (p. 99).
Again, a hasty generalization – from specifically relative terms to all words. Every grammarian knows that relative terms are just one type of term among others. That the former exist does not imply that the latter have the same character or properties. Similarly, Hsing Yun argues that the relativity of a word like “brightness” (our characterization of the brightness of a light is subjective and variable) exemplifies the relativity of all terms. But here again, he is passing from an obvious case to all cases, although many qualifications are based on stricter, scientific measurement. Moreover, describing how a piece of cloth may have various uses, as a shirt or as a skirt, he argues:
“It is the same piece of cloth in all cases, but since it is used differently, we have different names for it. All words are like this; their meanings depend on how and where they are used.”
This is supposed to convince us that words are “false and wavering” and help us to better understand emptiness. But the truthfulness and accuracy of language are clearly not at stake here, so the implied negative conclusion is unwarranted. The proof is that we all understand precisely his description of the changing practical role of the piece of cloth. “Cloth can be used as shirt or as skirt” is a perfectly legitimate sentence involving the natural modality “can” and two predicates in disjunction for a single subject (A can be B or C). Of course, if one starts with the idea that language can only consist of sentences with two terms and one modality (A is B), then one will be confused by more complex situations. But if one’s understanding of human thought is more developed, one does not fall into foolish conclusions.
Lastly, Hsing Yun refers to “the relative natures of our perceptions” to justify the idea of emptiness. He describes two people watching a snowfall, one is a poet sitting in his warm house, the other a homeless man shivering outdoors. The first hopes the snow will continue to fall, so he can enjoy watching it; the second fears that if the snow continues to fall, he may freeze to death. The author concludes:
“Both are seeing the same scenery, but since their conditions are different they perceive it very differently.”
Thus, perceptions are “false” and emptiness “underlies” them. Here again, his interpretation of the situation is tendentious, designed to buttress his preconceived doctrines. To be precise, the two people correctly perceive the (more or less) same snowy scene; what differs is their evaluation of the biological consequences of what they are perceiving (or more precisely still, what they anticipate to further experience). There is no relativity of perception involved! We have two quite legitimate sentences, which are both probably true “I’ll enjoy further snow” and “I’ll be killed by further snow”. “I” being the poet in one case and the poor man in the other case, there is no contradiction between them.
By arguments like those we have analyzed, Hsing Yun arrives at the overall conclusion that:
“The universe can only exist because all phenomena are empty. If phenomena were not empty, nothing could change or come into being. Being and emptiness are two sides of the same thing” (p. 100).
But none of his premises or arguments permits us to infer or explicate such conclusion. It is a truism that if your cup is full, you cannot add to it; or if you have no room to move into, you cannot move. But this is not what the author is here talking about; the proposed thesis is of course much more radical, though still largely obscure. All we are offered are dogmatic statements, which repeat on and on what the Buddha is claimed to have said.
I am personally still quite willing to believe that the Buddha did say something enlightening about interdependence, impermanence, selflessness and emptiness, but the words used were apparently not very clear. I just hope that his difficulty was merely in finding the right words to express his insights, and that the reasoning behind those words was not as faulty as that I have encountered in the work of commentators so far!
Still, sentences like the following from the Flower Garland Sutra are deliciously pregnant with meaning, challenging us to keep digging[16]:
“When wind moves through emptiness, nothing really moves.”
6. What “Emptiness” Might Be[17]
The following is an attempt to eclectically merge the Western and Indian idea of a ‘soul’ with aspects of the Buddhist idea that we are “empty” of any such substance. What might the ‘soul’ be, what its place in ‘the world’, what its ‘mechanics’? Can we interpret and clarify the notion of “emptiness” intellectually?
The Buddhist notion of “emptiness” (in its more extremist versions) is, as far as I am concerned to date, unconvincing. If anything is empty, it is the very concept of emptiness as used by them – for they never clearly define it or explain it. Philosophy cannot judge ideas that remain forever vague and Kafkaesque accusations. The onus is on the philosophers of emptiness to learn to express their ideas more verbally.
6.1 Imagine the soul as an entity in the manifold, of (say) spiritual substance, a very fine energy form somewhat distinct from the substances of the mental domain (that of imaginations) and of the material domain (that of physical phenomena, regarded as one’s body and the world beyond one’s body).[18]
6.2 While solipsism is a logically acceptable proposition, equally conceivable is the notion that the soul may be one among many in a large population of souls scattered in the sea of existence, which includes also the coarser mental and material energies. These spiritual entities may well have common natures and behavior tendencies, and be able to impact on each other and become aware of each other.
Those many souls may conceivably be expressions of one and the same single Soul, and indeed mind and matter may also be expressions of that one Soul, which might perhaps be identified with (a rather Hindu viewpoint) or be a small emanation of (a more Jewish view) what we call God. Alternatively, the many souls may be interrelated more in the way of a network.
The latter view could be earmarked as more Buddhist, if we focus on its doctrine of “interdependence.” However, we can also consider Buddhism compatible with the idea of a collective or root Soul, if we focus on its doctrine of an “original, common ground of mind.” This refers to a mental ocean, whence all thoughts splash up momentarily (as seemingly evident in meditation). At first individual and psychological, this original substance is eventually regarded as universal and metaphysical, on the basis of a positivistic argument[19] that since even material sensations are known only through mind, we can only suppose that everything is mind. Thus, not only ‘thoughts,’ but all ‘things’ are mere turbulences in this primordial magma. Even individual ‘selves’ are merely drops of this mental sea water that momentarily have the illusion of separateness and personal identity.
6.3 For each individual soul (as for the greater Soul as a whole), the mind, the body, and the world beyond, of more matter, mind and spirit energies, may all be just projected ‘images’ (a viewpoint close to Bishop Berkeley’s in the West or Yogachara philosophers in Buddhism). This is not an affirmation by me, I am merely trying to demystify this theory and take it into consideration, note well.
The term image, here, does not signify image of anything else. Such images are perhaps media of self-expression and discourse of the soul (or Soul). That is, the ‘world around me’ may be a language the soul creates and uses to express itself and communicate with itself (and with other eventual souls).
Granting there are objectively are many souls, we can observe that these souls have many (perhaps most) of their images in common. This raises an important question, often asked in relation to such Idealism. If our worlds (including the physical aspects) are personal imaginations, how come so much of their contents agree, and how is it that they seem to be subject to the same ‘laws of nature’?
One possible answer is to assume the many souls to be emanations of a central Soul (animal, human or Divine). In that case, it is no wonder that they share experiences and laws.
Alternatively, we could answer that like images just happen to be (or are by force of their nature and habits) repeatedly projected by the many souls. In this way, they seemingly share a world (in part, at least), even though it is an imaginary one. Having delusions in common, they have perceptions in common. They can thus interact in regular ways in a single apparent ‘natural environment,’ and develop collective knowledge, society, culture, technology, ethics, politics and history. Thus, we are not forced to assume one common, objective world. It may well be that each soul projects for itself certain images that other souls likewise project for themselves, and these projected images happen to be the same upon comparison.
6.4 Viewed as a ball of subtle energy, the soul can well have its own spiritual ‘mechanics’ – its outer and inner shapes and motions, the creases and stirrings within it and at the interface with the mental and material (and spiritual) energies around it, the mathematics of the waves which traverse it and its environment, like a creature floating in the midst of the sea.
Consciousness and will, here viewed as different powers of projection, are the ways the soul interacts with itself and its supposed surrounds.
These wave-motion capacities of the soul, are naturally subject to some ‘laws’ – although the individual soul has some considerable leeway, it is not free to operate just any way it pleases, but tends to remain under most circumstances in certain fixed or repeated patterns. These (spiritual, psychological) ‘laws’ are often shared with other souls; but each of them may also have distinct constraints or habits – which gives each its individuality. Such common and individual ‘laws’ are their real underlying natures, as distinct from the image of ‘nature’ they may project.
In the event that the plurality of souls is explained by a single great Soul, there is even less difficulty in understanding how they may be subject to common laws. On the other hand, the individualities of the fragmentary souls require explanation. Here, we must suppose either an intentional, voluntary relinquishment of power on the part of the great Soul (so that little souls have some ignorance and some freedom of action) or an involuntary sleep or weakness (which latter thesis is less acceptable if we identify the larger soul with God).
With regard to the great Soul as a whole, it may either be subject to limitations and forces in its consciousness and volition – or it may be independent of any such natural restrictions or determinations, totally open and free. Our concept of God opts for the latter version, of course – whence the characterizations of omniscient and omnipotent (and all-good, granting that evil is an aberration due to ignorance and impotence).
6.5 The motive and end result of theses like the above is ethical. They aim and serve to convince people that the individual soul can find liberation from the constraints or habits it is subject to, by realizing its unity with other individual souls. ‘Realizing’ here means transcending one’s individuality by becoming aware of, identifying oneself with and espousing the cause of, other entities of the same substance, or the collective or root Soul. Thus, enlightenment and liberation are one and the same. Ultimately, the individuals are to abandon individuation and merge with all existence, melting back into the original source.
This doctrine presupposes that the individual soul self-constructs, and constructs the world around, in the sense that it defines (and thus effectively divides) itself out from the totality. This illusion of individuation is the sum of its creativity and activity, and also its crucial error. The individual soul does not of course create the world (which is its source); but it produces the virtual world of its particular world-view, which is its own prison and the basis of all its suffering, its “samsara.”
Realizing the emptiness of self would be full awareness in practice that the limited self is an expression of the ignorance and stupidity that the limited self is locked into because of various beliefs and acts. Realizing the emptiness of other entities (material, mental and spiritual) around one, would be full awareness in practice that they are projections of the limited self, in the sense that such projection fragments a whole into parts. Ultimately, too, the soul is advised to realize that Soul, souls and their respective projections are one continuum.
Those who make the above-implied promises of enlightenment and liberation claim justification through personal meditative experiences or prophetic revelations. I have no such first-hand experience or authority, but here merely try to report and elucidate such doctrines, to check their conceivability and understand them. To me, no one making philosophical utterances can claim special privileges; all philosophers are equally required to present clear ideas and convincing arguments.
6.6 The way to such realization is through meditation, as well as altruistic and sane action.
In the framework of the above-mentioned Buddhist philosophy of “original ground” (also called “Buddha mind”), meditation may be viewed as an attempt to return to that profound, natural, eternal calm. Those who attain this level of awareness are said to be in “nirvana.” The illusion of (particular, individual) selfhood arises from disturbances[20], and ceases with their quieting. The doctrine that the illusory self is “empty,” means that we must not identify with any superficial flashes of material or mental excitement, but remain grounded in the Buddha mind.
For example, the Tibetan work The Summary of Philosophical Systems[21] warns against the self being either differentiated from or identified with “the psycho-physical constituents.” I interpret this statement (deliberately ignoring its paradoxical intent[22]) to mean that there is nothing more to the illusory self than these phenomenal manifestations, and therefore that they cannot be the real self. Dogmatic Buddhists provocatively[23] insist that no real self exists, but moderates do seem to admit it as equivalent to the universal, original ground.
Buddhist philosophers generally admit of perception and conception, but ignore or deny direct self-awareness. Consistently enough, they reject any claim to a soul (spiritual substance), since they consider that we have no real experience thereof. For them, the “psycho-physical constituents” are all we ordinarily experience or think about, so that soul must be “empty” (of anything but these constituents) and illusory (since these are not enough to constitute a soul). But this theory does not specify or explain the type of consciousness involved in the Buddha mind, or through which “emptiness” is known!
Another way to view things is to admit that there are three sources of knowledge, the perceptual (which gives us material and mental phenomenal manifestations), the conceptual (which gives us abstracts), and thirdly the intuitive (which gives us self-knowledge, apperception of the self and its particular cognitions, volitions and valuations). Accordingly, we ought to acknowledge in addition to material and mental substances, a spiritual substance (of which souls are made, or the ultimate Soul). The latter mode of consciousness may explain not only our everyday intuitions of self, but perhaps also the higher levels of meditation.
What we ordinarily consider our “self” is, as we have seen earlier, an impression or concept, based on perception and conception, as well as on intuitive experience. In this perspective, so long as we are too absorbed in the perceptual and conceptual fields (physical sensations, imaginations, feelings and emotions, words and thoughts, etc.), we are confused and identify with an illusory self. To make contact with our real (individual, or eventually universal) self, we must concentrate more fully on the intuitive field. With patience, if we allow the more sensational and exciting presentations to pass away, we begin to become aware of the finer, spiritual aspects of experience. That is meditation.
(See also Appendix 2).
[1] The term ‘self’ might be defined (in a rather circular manner) as ‘other than everything else that is an object of consciousness.’ It of course refers to the same thing as ‘soul.’ The concept of soul refers to something very unitary, the ultimate Subject of cognition and Agent of valuation and volition. The concept of ego refers to a more superficial layer of the psyche, a complex of current and habitual attitudes and behaviors, bound together by certain ‘ruts’ of thinking. The former is relatively free and responsible; the latter functions under considerable compulsion. The ego is the passive expression of the soul’s history of experiences, thoughts and choices, whereas the soul is the active maker of that history. (See next section.)
[2] In Buddhist Illogic, I criticize this idea as based on dubious generalizations and infinities.
[3] In my not yet published work The Logic of Causation, I show how if everything is causally related to everything else (in the same sense of causation), then nothing is causally related to anything! For causation can only be distinguished out from the mass of appearances if some things have this relation while others do not. The notion of ‘everything causing everything’ is self-contradictory.
[4] That is, one instance of the cognitive relation has another instance of the relation as its term, which in turn has something other than an instance of the relation as its term.
[5] Of course, I do not mean that feelings are unrelated to the person experiencing them, but only that they may be more superficial than they seem, or have subconscious motives other than those pretended, and so forth. For example, apparent ‘love’ may turn out to be mere ‘infatuation,’ or be motivated by convention or duty, or even unadmitted hatred.
[6] This is stated to oppose the Buddhist idea that inconstancy implies that there is nothing to identify with. One may indeed identify with a changing set of things.
[7] Paradoxically, narcissists, vain persons who are wont to look excessively in mirrors, or seek to be photographed or filmed, are psychologically deeply insecure about their existence and identity. Big egos are really inflated balloons, fragile to a mere pinprick.
[8] This was identified by Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden as a widespread affliction. They called such people, whose thoughts, values and actions are neurotically dependent on other’s, “second-handers.” Conformism or eccentricity, fear of loss of face and pursuit of prestige, are some of the expressions of this problem.
[9] Factual, as well as merely conventional aspects, may also of course be involved. Thus, family, nation or religion is usually based on one’s natural parents; educational level or profession, on actual studies and practice; and so forth.
[10] I personally immediately block such fantasies when I become aware of them, though in my youth I would on occasion indulge in them. Many people are evidently unable, or more precisely unwilling or untrained, to control such personality induction, and end up floating hither and thither in borrowed identities.
[11] Following Western tradition rather than the more radical Buddhist thesis, for now at least.
[12] Just as, say, the concept of a “unicorn” has no real referent (though horses and horns are real enough, separately).
[13] For me the idea that there is no self has the same fascination as the conclusion of Einstein’s Relativity theory that there is no ‘ether.’ This concept of a substance in empty space, or of existence as such, was (I believe) originally suggested by Descartes. I personally find it difficult to grasp how the waves of field theory can be waves of nothing. Yet I am well aware that Einstein’s conclusion is unavoidable, given the constancy of the speed of light whatever the observer’s direction of motion. Conversely, if a no-ether is conceivable, why not a no-self?
[14] See my work Buddhist Illogic with regard to Nagarjuna’s arguments.
[15] See in particular chapters 7-9. (The author is a Chinese Buddhist monk, b. 1928.)
[16] For instance, is there a state of consciousness in which one experiences space-time as a static whole?
[17] This essay was initially written for the book Buddhist Illogic, but at the time I decided that it was not sufficiently exhaustive and consistent and did not belong there. I have since then improved it somewhat.
[18] Note that animists regard even plants and stones as spiritual.
[19] As I make clear elsewhere, I am not personally convinced by this extreme argument.
[20] It is not clear to me how these disturbances are supposed by this theory to arise in the beginning. But this issue is not limited to Buddhism: for philosophers in general, the question is how did the one become many; for physicists, it is what started the Big Bang; for monotheists, it is why did God suddenly decide to create the universe? A deeper question still is how did the existence arise in the first place, or in Buddhism, where did the original ground come from?
[21] See Guenther, p. 67.
[22] Having dealt with the fallacy of the tetralemma in my Buddhist Illogic.
[23] Looking at the history of Indian philosophy, one cannot but notice the one-upmanship involved in its development. The concept of samsara (which I believe was originally intended as one of totality, albeit a cyclical one) was trumped by that of nirvana (again a totality, though beyond cycles), which was then in turn surpassed by that of “neither samsara nor nirvana, nor both” (the Middle Way version). Similarly, the concept of no-self is intended to outdo that of universal Self.
How do we come to know objects as independet(distinct from our minds) and discreete(distinct from one another) entities? Atomic explanatio of democritus and pythagorean innateness
Socrates defends the idea by demonstrating that an uneducated child can use the pythagorean theorem if asked the right questions.
We do not learn, and what we call learning is only a process of recollection plato,meno
Descartes used wax to show that our senses relay only ides of properties abd not ideas of objects .after holding wax to a flame, we come to experience different sets of properties at different timesit is no longer the same shape,size or temperature as before.yet we still say it is wax_ even the same wax!
Eternal satasis of parmenides
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Academic scepticism:we know only logic and math we know very little about reality
All ı know is that ı do not know republic
He knows nothing, and thinks that he knows; I nether konow nor think that I know apology : self referential he knows or does not know socratic paradox knowledge is innate meno
Scholastic Lecture centered pedagogy
Aristotle added the fifth element as aether
Empedocles seeking what is now often referred to as a Unified field theory
He attempted to identify the most basic ingredient or ingredients of the universe four roots
Atom as the foundation of universe
Protagoras claims of perception is relative to the perceiver relativism
Since then nothing is grasped apart from circumstences, each person must be trusted regarding those received in his own circumstences s empiricus adversus mathematicos VII, 62-63
Time continuum zenos arrow russel says it is a very plain statement of a very elemantary fact is there discreete instants
Atoms make up everything there is
Nothing exists independently of the material or physical world .even the soul was thought to be composed of atoms materialim pluralism in math challenged the idea of platonic reality of mathematical forms
Universals partıculars
Ph realism

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