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Do Physical Laws Make Things Happen?
#1
Do Physical Laws Make Things Happen?

Quote:The conviction that laws somehow give us a full accounting of events seems often to be based on the idea that they govern the world's substance or matter from outside, "making" things happen. If this is the case, however, then we must provide some way for matter to recognize and then obey these external laws. But, plainly, whatever supports this capacity for recognition and obedience cannot itself be the mere obedience. Anything capable of obeying wholly external laws is not only its obedience but also its capability, and this capability remains unexplained by the laws.

If, with so many scientists today, we construe laws as rules, we can put the matter this way: much more than rule-following is required of anything able to follow rules; conversely, no set of rules can by themselves explain the presence or functioning of that which is capable of following them.

It is, in other words, impossible to imagine matter that does not have some character of its own. To begin with, it must exist. But if it exists, it must do so in some particular manner, according to its own way of being. Even if we were to say, absurdly, that its only character is to obey external laws, this "law of obedience" itself could not be just another one of the external laws being obeyed. Something will be "going on" that could not be understood as obedience to law, and this something would be an essential expression of what matter was. To apprehend the world we would need to understand this expressive character in its own right, and we could never gain such an understanding solely through a consideration of external laws.

So we can hardly find coherence in the rather dualistic notion that physical laws reside, ghost-like, in some detached, abstract realm from which they impinge upon matter. But if, contrary to our initial assumption, we take laws to be in one way or another bound up with the world's substance — if we take them to be at least in part an expression of this substance — then the difficulty in the conventional view of law becomes even more intense. Surely it makes no sense to say that the world's material phenomena are the result — the wholly explained result — of matter obeying laws which it is itself busy expressing. In whatever manner we prefer to understand the material expression of the laws, this expression cannot be a matter of obedience to the laws being expressed! If whatever is there as the substance of the world at least in part determines the laws, then the laws cannot be said to determine what is there.

All this gives you some indication why so many scientists, when stepping back from the rather messy reality of their daily work and considering the character of their science, show such great reluctance to reckon with the substance of the observable world. They much prefer to conceive the explanatory value of science in terms of abstract laws — equations, rules, algorithms — which naturally remain gratifyingly lawful in an uncomplicated way. The world disappears into a vague notion of "whatever gives material reality to the laws".

But a willingness to consider this reality in its own terms immediately reveals the impossibility of the all-explaining laws with which science supposedly has to do. We come to realize that a physical phenomenon and its lawfulness must be considered as a unity — a syntactic-semantic unity of a sort that receives little recognition within science for the simple reason that physical phenomena (as opposed to their "governing" syntax) receive little recognition.
"Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within us."

  -Thomas Browne
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#2
(08-29-2017, 03:13 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Do Physical Laws Make Things Happen?
 Snip- To begin with, it must exist. But if it exists, it must do so in some particular manner,

Ah,, but there-in may lie the heart of it... 

Must matter exist? Think about it: is that an assertion that MUST be true, or is it possibly an invalid assumption? If it is only the experience of matter that we deal with every day, does that perhaps change the mechanism of how, or whether, matter follows certain rules? Or maybe only appears to do so?

If we see a movie, and a character flies through the air unaided, do we ask how this person can violate the rules of physics?  No, we take into account this is a only movie, and as such we need not be concerned about any cause-and-effect explanation of behavior.  

Is it imaginable that we live in a world where the assumption of the existence of matter is ill-founded? 

It is to me.
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#3
Physical reality is formed from within an individual's consciousness and is crystallized into matter so that we can have a physical experience. Whether you can say it 'exists' or not is a /matter/ Smile of terminology.
Existence is not subject to time; time is subject to Existence.
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#4
This is one of the most thought provoking and intractable questions I've encountered. All of my attempted solutions seem to involve magical or phenomenal thinking. Which only seem to be an indictment of my ability to qualify the parameters of the question.
Or the properties are in fact best viewed as magical from my current perspective.
In either case thank you for bringing this to my attention.
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#5
(08-29-2017, 09:39 PM)Pssst Wrote: Physical reality is formed from within an individual's consciousness and is crystallized into matter so that we can have a physical experience. Whether you can say it 'exists' or not is a /matter/  Smile of terminology.

I like where you are going with this, but when you say we crystallize matter into existence. Are you saying we create an objectively material thing? And are others doing the same thing? Does our immaterial consciousness make atoms assemble? Can you elaborate?

I have my own conception of how this works but an interested in yours.
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#6
(08-30-2017, 12:07 AM)Oleo Wrote: This is one of the most thought provoking  and intractable questions I've encountered. All of my attempted solutions seem to involve magical or phenomenal  thinking. Which only seem to be an indictment  of my ability to qualify  the parameters  of the question.
Or  the properties are in fact best viewed as magical from my current  perspective.
In either case thank you for  bringing  this to my attention.

"Magic" isn't necessary. 

Hint- start by thinking of dreams and how solid the world seems within the experience of the dream. And you KNOW that is not a "physical" realm. 

How might that work? And how might that be analogous to your "real" life?
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#7
(08-30-2017, 12:30 AM)jkmac Wrote: I like where you are going with this, but when you say we crystallize matter into existence. Are you saying we create an objectively material thing? And are others doing the same thing? Does our immaterial consciousness make atoms assemble? Can you elaborate?

I have my own conception of how this works but an interested in yours.

Objectively material things, no, if that is to mean that the things in physical reality are 'real'. They are not, they are props in our physical reality play where we are the authors, writers, producers, actors...and ticket takers.  Big Grin

The experiences are absolutely 'real' and it is the experiences we seek and learn from. 

As to atom assemblage and other such things, try this explanation. On The Solidity Of Matter

Yes, others are doing the exact same thing as you and I by agreement, by their co-creative capabilities. We have collective agreements that allow us to go about manifesting and experiencing physical reality for instance we agree that gravity exists. Keeps us from having to worrying about flying off the planet, yes? Oxygen (breathing), walking without having to think and ponder about it, etc. etc. etc. 

Without these collective agreements, we would spend all our time screwing around with being catapulted around the universe out of control, or recording every breath, or, well, you get the picture.
Existence is not subject to time; time is subject to Existence.
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#8
(08-30-2017, 12:07 AM)Oleo Wrote: "Physical reality is formed from within an individual's consciousness and is crystallized into matter so that we can have a physical experience. Whether you can say it 'exists' or not is a /matter/ [Image: smile.png] of terminology."

This is one of the most thought provoking  and intractable questions I've encountered. All of my attempted solutions seem to involve magical or phenomenal  thinking. Which only seem to be an indictment  of my ability to qualify  the parameters  of the question. Or  the properties are in fact best viewed as magical from my current  perspective.
In either case thank you for  bringing  this to my attention.

If it is your preference to "best view as magical from my current  perspective" then enjoy that experience, stop indicting yourself for expressing what you truly believe. That is your present experience, don't invalidate it.
Existence is not subject to time; time is subject to Existence.
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#9
Good point, I've certainly had some dream and waking experiences that I consider magical.
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#10
I think whom ever wrote this has a misunderstanding. These things we call laws are just descriptions of the way the universe behaves.
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