Re: Bruno's Brussels Thesis English Version Chap 1 (trial translation)

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2009 16:54:19 +0100

On 07 Feb 2009, at 04:47, Kim Jones wrote:

> (see Broukčre 1982),

It is (see de Brouckčre 1982) Note the "c", and the "de".

> Phenomena of genetic regulation with regard to mechanism are
> eloquent [elegant?=poss. error:] Kim)

It is "eloquent" (indeed). Perhaps it would be clearer to say:
"Phenomena of genetic regulation are eloquent with regard to Mechanism".
Mechanism is "Mechanist Philosophy" and so a capital M is better
suited (I am afraid that you are not just translating my 1994 thesis,
but you are correcting it ! Well, don't worry, this can be done at a
second pass.

I have no other remark. Excellent job. I guess that now I have not
escape but to seriously introduce you to math for respecting the deal.
Good move Kim :)

This will be done asap, through little posts. The plan is: Numbers
==> functions ===> computable functions ===> computations ===> the
seventh step (of the UDA).



> (Jacob and Monod 1961, Thomas 1978, Thomas and van Ham 1974).
> Here again is what Diderot said in his conversation with d'Alembert,
> in confronting Cartesian mechanism and the development of the embryo:
> "Do you see this egg? With this, one can upend every school of
> theology and every temple on Earth. What is this egg? Before the
> germ (of life) is introduced, no more than an insensate mass; and
> after it's introduction, what is it then? An insensate mass, since
> the germ itself is but an inert and coarse fluid. How might this
> mass progress to another form of organisation, toward the sensation
> of feeling, toward life itself? By warmth. What produces this
> warmth? Movement. What will be the successive effects of movements?
> Instead of my response, sit here and together we will follow these
> movements from moment to moment. Starting with a point that
> oscillates, a thread that extends and gathers colour, to the flesh
> which forms; a beak, tiny wing-ends, eyes, feet appear; a yellow-
> tinged matter that divides and which produces intestines; behold an
> animal. An animal that moves, becomes agitated, sounds its voice; I
> hear its squawking through the shell; it grows its downy coat; it
> sees. The weight of its head, which bobs back and forth, unceasingly
> brings its beak against the inner rampart of its prison; this now
> breaks; it leaves, it walks, it flies, it registers irritation, it
> flees, it returns, it complains, it suffers, it loves, it desires,
> it experiences joy; it possesses each of your affects; all of your
> actions, it can perform them all. Can you claim, with Descartes that
> it is no more than a purely imitative machine? In that case, tiny
> children laugh at you with derision and the philosophers' rejoinder
> is that if such is a machine, then you are but another." {footnote 6}
> (Footnote 6: We note here the essentially modernist mindset of
> Diderot who places the animal on the same rung as the human, thus
> rejecting Descartes' distinction. In general, with the notable
> exception of La Mettrie, mechanism will face a poor reception. This
> brings to mind Pascal's argument. This genre of "argument" is not
> all that far from what Turing called "head in the sand objection"
> qualifying more as "consolation" than refutation. (Turing 1950)
> The contemporary biologist may surmise that - relative to the laws
> of chemistry - the problem of biological reproduction is solved. The
> discovery by biochemists and molecular geneticists of the plan or
> description of the cell and the fashion by which this map is
> chemically represented, decoded and executed within the organism
> constitutes cause for the application of the Principle of Unique
> Reassembly, the Determining Principle and the Limiting Hierachical
> Principle (this last appearing already with classical genetics, see
> Cuny 1969). In the same way, the older discovery of the importance
> of particle exchanges with the surrounding environment or between
> organisms - as happens during breathing, during digestion, during
> conception, favours the application of the Locality Principle (Van
> Helmont, Mendel, Lavoisier, Vesale - to cite the more well known
> ones; see de Broukčre 1982, Ambroselli et al 1987, Vesale 1543).
> 1.1.5 Doubts Arising from Chemistry
> Watson has said "the cell obeys the laws of chemistry", and the
> preceding incentives perhaps justify a belief in indexical mechanism
> relative to those laws. If these laws prove themselves to be non-
> mechanisable, mechanism will thereby find itself weakened, perhaps
> even refuted but certainly relativised.
> This suggestion is all the more well-founded in that the laws of
> chemistry are captured by quantum mechanics. Despite its name
> ("mechanics" is here used in the Newtonian sense), philosophers and
> theologians are attracted to QM and see in the factual descriptions
> (up to here confirmed) of this theory an empirical justification of
> the non-mechanist nature of the world and/or of consciousness.
> {footnote 7}
> (Footnote 7: Letovski 1987 takes up a (too?) rare encounter between
> cognitivists open to computational approaches to consciousness and
> neuroscientists open to the use of QM to resolve the brain/mind gap.)
> Anti-mechanist arguments founded on QM are various. We shall briefly
> examine several:
> a) The oldest argument: QM provides evidence of an intrinsic
> indeterminism in the world (or more precisely concerning the
> relations between the observer and the world. Mechanism is
> determinist. Thus, our relation to the world is not mechanist.
> Those who use this argument are tempted to "explain" such a free
> interpretation by means of this indeterminism. This argument has
> already been refuted by Carnap or Mackay or Schroedinger. In
> addition, I will show that mechanism *is not* determinist.
> a) The most recent argument: QM makes possible very particular forms
> of material, for example the quasi-crystals of Penrose and Schectman
> (see Penrose 1989). Penrose suggests, though without any seeming
> conviction, that the brain could be a *sort* of quasi-crystal.
> Similarly, Margenau 1984 and Squires 1990 seek to utilise QM to
> develop a dualist and non-mechanist theory of the mind (see also
> Stapp 1993).
> The following arguments merit close and detailed examination since
> the (indexical) mechanist hypothesis considerably clarifies them. To
> this end, I will make use of a bare minimum of assumed quantum
> mechanical knowledge to allow the reader to follow the argument.
> Newton conceived of matter and light as constituted of particles
> interacting with one another. Huygens was more prepared to reserve
> this way of seeing things for matter alone. He develops a successful
> wave theory of light which takes account of a number of luminous
> phenomena. Einstein will provide evidence, in his work on the photo-
> electric effect, of the corpuscular aspect of light, without
> dethroning the wave theory in the process. He also arrives at the
> quantum theory of light. De Broglie extends the wave-particle aspect
> of light to matter. This permits the taking into account of the
> behaviour of electrons in Bohr's description of atoms and signals
> the birth of the quantum theory of matter.
> (to be cont.)
> K
> Email:
> Web:
> Phone:
> (612) 9389 4239 or 0431 723 001
> >

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at
Received on Mon Feb 09 2009 - 10:54:33 PST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:15 PST