Re: Difficulties in communication. . .

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2006 16:24:31 +0200

Dear Norman,

Thanks. I think this could help. I would not attribute "atomism" to
Plato (except through Pythagorism and the "platonic notion of
substance"), and "my" Plato is mainly the one from the Theaetetus and
Recall me this when I will succeed to explain the arithmetical
hypostases (the n-person notions).
I have written a roadmap which describes the half of it. I guess I fail.
The current conversation between David and Peter D. Jones is quite
relevant. Peter D. Jones, 1Z, is right when he told David there is no
(Aristotelian) substance, but wrong putting physics in 0-person, when
with comp UDA shows it (should) belong(s) to first person plural. (If
comp is true, etc.)


Le 11-août-06, à 20:50, Norman Samish a écrit :

> Dear Bruno,
> I am sending this to you and not the Everything List - if you wish to
> respond on the List, please do so.
> I and others have remarked on the difficulty we find understanding
> you.  In response, you have asked us to ask you specific questions. 
> I read your "Roadmap for Grandmothers" with interest, thinking that I
> might qualify intellectually as the grandmother.  I found that
> attaching a meaning to your remarks took a lot of guesswork and
> effort, but I persisted.  You have something valuable for me to learn,
> so my efforts will not be wasted.
> In response to your request for my point of view, I have paraphrased
> your remarks below, trying to make them easier for me to understand. 
> In so doing, I have made assumptions that may not be correct. 
> Nevertheless, this is my best guess about the meaning of what you
> are saying.  My comments are inserted in brackets.
> Best wishes, 
> Norman Samish
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Bruno Marchal" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Friday, August 11, 2006 6:03 AM
> Subject: ROADMAP (well, not yet really...
> George asked me to explain the main points like if I was talking to a
> grandmother.  I guess he means someone with some motivation but with
> no background in math, physics or computer science. 
> . . . I will begin by a short explanation to the "grandmother" and I
> will finish by extending the grandmother to a roadmap.  That is not
> only a summary, but a plan for progressing in my work and in our
> discussion.
> Now if the grandmother knows about Aristotle and Plato, I can sum up
> by saying that about the nature of matter, we can show that if we
> assume that we are (numerical, digital) machine then Plato's theory of
> Matter is correct and Aristotle's theory of Matter is incorrect. 
> [Plato's and Aristotle's theories are briefly described at
> as ". . . Aristotle asserted that
> the elements of fire, air, earth, and water were not made of atoms,
> but were continuous.  Aristotle considered the existence of a void,
> which was required by atomic theories, to violate physical
> principles.  Change took place not by the rearrangement of atoms to
> make new structures, but by transformation of matter from what it was
> in potential to a new actuality.  A piece of wet clay, when acted upon
> by a potter, takes on its potential to be an actual drinking mug. 
> Aristotle has often been criticized for rejecting atomism, but in
> ancient Greece the atomic theories of Democritus and Plato remained
> "pure speculations, incapable of being put to any experimental test. .
> . "
> At we are told of ". .
> . Plato's belief that the material world as it seems to us is not the
> real world, but only a shadow of the real world."]
> If grandmother asks for recalling the main difference between Plato
> and Aristotle's theories of matter, I would just say that in Plato,
> the visible . . . realm is taken as appearances or shadows related to
> a deeper unknown reality. Aristotle's theory is more subtle.  Matter .
> . . can take any shape, and as such is vague and poorly
> defined.  Aristotle considers that vague and poorly defined property
> of matter to be real.  Aristotle supposes . . . a substrate (defined
> as something determinable by its parts. . . ).  This
> substrate is therefore the origin of naturalism, physicalism
> and materialism.  [This paragraph in particular required a lot of
> modification for me to understand.  It is likely that I have put words
> in your mouth that you did not intend.]
> And now if Grandmother is interested, probably I would offer her an
> exemplar of Plotinus Enneads, and suggest she read the Ennead 3
> treatise II, where he corrected Aristotle theory's of matter
> (indeterminateness, obscurity, privation, ...) with respect to the
> Plato theory. And that's it.
> [Ennead 3 treatise II is available at
> "2. But to halt at these nearest determinants, not to be willing to
> penetrate deeper, indicates a sluggish mind, a dullness to all that
> calls us towards the primal and transcendent causes.
> How comes it that the same surface causes produce different results?
> There is moonshine, and one man steals and the other does not: under
> the influence of exactly similar surroundings one man falls sick and
> the other keeps well; an identical set of operations makes one rich
> and leaves another poor. The differences amongst us in manners, in
> characters, in success, force us to go still further back.
> Men therefore have never been able to rest at the surface causes.  One
> school postulates material principles, such as atoms; from the
> movement, from the collisions and combinations of these, it derives
> the existence and the mode of being of all particular phenomena,
> supposing that all depends upon how these atoms are agglomerated, how
> they act, how they are affected; our own impulses and states, even,
> are supposed to be determined by these principles.
> Such teaching, then, obtrudes this compulsion, an atomic Anagke, even
> upon Real Being.  [I don't understand this sentence.]  Substitute, for
> the atoms, any other material entities as principles and the cause of
> all things, and at once Real Being becomes servile to the
> determination set up by them.
> Others rise to the first-principle of all that exists and from it
> derive all they tell of a cause penetrating all things, not merely
> moving all but making each and everything; but they pose this as a
> fate and a supremely dominating cause; not merely all else that comes
> into being, but even our own thinking and thoughts would spring from
> its movement, just as the several members of an animal move not at
> their own choice but at the dictation of the leading principle which
> animal life presupposes.
> Yet another school fastens on the universal Circuit as embracing all
> things and producing all by its motion and by the positions and mutual
> aspect of the planets and fixed stars in whose power of foretelling
> they find warrant for the belief that this Circuit is the universal
> determinant.
> Finally, there are those that dwell on the interconnection of the
> causative forces and on their linked descent- every later phenomenon
> following upon an earlier, one always leading back to others by which
> it arose and without which it could not be, and the latest always
> subservient to what went before them- but this is obviously to bring
> in fate by another path. This school may be fairly distinguished into
> two branches; a section which makes all depend upon some one principle
> and a section which ignores such a unity. . . ]
> "And what about the formidable success of modern physics?" asks the
> grandmother.  No doubt that as a methodology, Aristotle's hypothesis
> has been a clever simplification which has without doubt played a key
> role in the development of "modern" science.  [It is not clear to me
> why Aristotle's hypothesis has played a key role in the development of
> modern science.]  But if you look in the details, modern physics does
> not even rely on Aristotle's reification of matter [meaning that
> Aristotle treats matter as an abstract rather than a material thing],
> it just ease the mind for the ontological [metaphysical study of the
> nature of being and existence] background.  Now, when you do that
> reification, even just in "modern physics" you will suffer many form
> of "hallucinations", like wave packet collapsing at infinite speed or
> like proliferation of "classical physical worlds" (some "naïve" view
> on the many worlds), etc.  [I.e., treating matter as an abstract
> rather than a material thing can result in violations of General
> Relativity and other problems.]
> But what if grandmother does not care about history, and would like a
> sketch of the "modern" reasoning? OK that's for tomorrow ...
> Bruno
> [The links you give in your web site are instructive.]

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Received on Sat Aug 12 2006 - 10:26:38 PDT

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