by Robert Kovsky (...) The current version of the "Times and Paradigms" project is available for download [.pdf file, 4.5 MB].
Although this is a "work in progress." drafts are complete for Parts I and IV (principles of psychology and philosophy.) Standard physics paradigms of Conserved Energy are shown in Part II to be tethered to curves of continuous equipoise and stabilizing equilibrium. ( Figure ) Such tethers do not extend to the domain of actual life, which is constituted by muscular movements and bodily feelings of animals. Animals, including human beings, exercise freedom in the domain of actual life. New paradigms of Virtual Energy in part III aim to emulate exercises of freedom during movements of actual life. Foundational paradigms are "wavemaker" designs:
Below are some extracts and summaries from Part I.
One goal of the project is the design of engineered organisms that exercise freedom, e.g., moving like a fish.
Suppose that we start with propulsive movements of a fish that are produced by a spine made of an ordered array of vertebral modules. Such movements are made by the whole fish and embody complex patterns with balance, rhythm and flow. In four-limbed birds and mammals, spinal structures retain capacities for complex flows like those of fish; and new forms of flow occur in a flock of birds landing on a field, in a squirrel climbing a tree or in a human swimmer. Athletes skillfully co-ordinate limbs, feet and hands in flowing patterns, e.g., gymnasts, ice skaters and basketball teams. Other kinds of flowing patterns appear in movements of musicians and dancers.
This project investigates flowing movements of a whole body made of many parts.
Movements of material bodies occur in actual time. Of first importance here are muscular movements of animal bodies, including my own body, which is the basis of my pyschological constructions. Muscular movements of animal bodies and related bodily feelings make up the domain of actual life that defines standards and goals for the project. In contrast, rational processes, movements and operations typically occur in detached time, which has a character very different from that of actual time. Movements that occur in rational processes in detached time can be postponed, decomposed, recomposed, repeated, re-ordered and even reversed. Only limited and special kinds of actual movements have features like those of movements in detached time. See Part II of the project.
Actual life is a materialist domain with a "real" or "objective" actual time based on presumptive agreements among persons thus defining a common actual time that is the same for everyone. In contrast, there is no "common detached time." To the contrary, rational movements and operations in the minds of different persons occur at different rates and in different ways.
Scientific methods treat time as a numerical quantity that can be perfectly represented by a mathematical variable and precisely measured by standardized clocks. Such a shallow and rigid treatment ignores the rich flowing texture of temporal forms and rhythms that personal experience continuously weaves from memories of the past; from movements, feelings and perceptions of the present; and from anticipations of the future. "Permanence" and "reversibility" of the mathematical variable are contrary to the character of actual life where "the moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on." (Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.)
Principles of freedom distinguish my materialism from scientific materialism. Science seems to be committed to a materialism in which "theories of mechanics" (Newton's, Einstein's, statistical, quantum) and "mechanisms" (chemical, computational) are presumed to describe and control all movements of and changes in material bodies. Such mechanical commitments exclude freedom. I hold to contrary principles, like those stated in Truesdell's Rational Thermodynamics (2d ed. 1984) at 424: "Different models have different uses;" and doctrinaire commitments "reflect a failure to come to grips with the real complications of nature. Beyond the easiest and long-mastered special cases, nature is too intricate for any inclusive theory.
I suggest that movements and changes of actual life - e.g., itching and scratching - confound all-inclusive theories of mechanics. While seated, I bend down; my right index finger precisely scratches an itch on my left ankle, which lifts to meet the hand. I suggest that such itching and scratching is produced in my spine through an exercise of freedom and that all the vertebra in my spine participate in such productions. Preening of birds provides a more pointed example. I suggest that the feeling of an itch is needed to guide scratching. In contrast, no thought or "will" is needed, although thought and will may block scratching when socially mandated. Similarly, a visual goal guides walking movements of the body. I suggest that, while producing whole-body movements in their spines in actual time, animal bodies of fish, birds, squirrels and human beings exercise freedoms that are excluded from computational or mechanical theories of science. During an exercise of freedom, an animal body is ready and able to produce multiple possible movements (perhaps including maintenance of a stationary position or steady movement). In my models of such bodies, cyclical operations generate recurring critical moments. During a critical moment, multiple possible movements change into a single actual movement.
"Using sweeping terms and ignoring exceptions, we might say that every possible feeling produces a movement, and that the movement is a movement of the entire organism, and of each and all of its parts." Williams James, The Principles of Psychology (1890).Overview of the Project
Part I Introduction: Forms of Freedom and Time are Based on Movements of Animal Bodies.
Part II Actual Time, Detached Time and Mimed Time Paradigms of Conserved Energy
Part III New Controlled Time Paradigms of Virtual Energy
Part IV Foundations for the Construction of Virtual Energy
(...) The current version of the "Times and Paradigms" project is available for download [.pdf file, 4.5 MB].
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Equipoise system with ramp that moves by "easy glide"