Pedesis - Movement of Matter

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Just posting some more stuff on Pedesis, the idea that matter can/does move in ways that are neither deterministic nor random.


The very idea of a purely random motion presupposes that it was not affected by or related to anything else previously, which presupposes that it was the first thing and before it was nothing, which is a version of the internally contradictory hypothesis of ex nihilo creation: something from nothing. The ontology of random motion claims that from pure disorder of discrete nonrelational particles comes high-level composite order. Given the high level of order and complexity in our present age, randomness is demonstrably not the case.

Pedetic motion, on the other hand, is not random at all, but instead emerges from and is influenced by other motions, just not in a completely determined way. Unlike randomness, pedetic motion is not unpredictable because it is not influenced by any other motions; rather, motion is pedetic precisely because it occurs in relation to other motions. It is the interrelation and mutual influence of matter with itself that gives it its unpredictable character. Over a long period of time, the pedetic motion of matter combines and stabilizes into certain patterns, synchronies, and relations, giving the appearance of stability and solidity, only to become turbulent again and enter into new conjoined relations.

Nail, Thomas. Being and Motion (pp. 73-74). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.



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[i]Heisenberg thus showed that even at the quantum level, matter in motion is both relational and uncertain, or pedetic. Pedesis may be irregular and unpredictable, but it is not random. What is interesting about movement is not simply that it is pedetic, but that it is through pedesis and turbulence that metastable formations and emergent orders are possible. By contrast, the ontology of randomness is quite bleak. In a purely random ontology, all of matter would be moving randomly, and thus nonrelationally, at all times.
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[i]Nail, Thomas. Being and Motion (p. 73). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
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'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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  • Brian, Kamarling, Laird
Lucretius and the immanence of motion

Quote:Lucretius is thus the first philosopher to affirm both the ontological primacy of matter in motion and the immanence of matter in motion without introducing anything transcendent like discrete atoms, deterministic laws, or a single aleatory swerve. He thus stands at the beginning of a long historical sequence of a number of different claims to philosophical immanence, of which only a precious few have actually succeeded in sustaining. Now is not the place to do a genealogy of the various claimants to this position, so in lieu of that much larger project let us consider at least three criteria that Lucretius sets up as the conditions for the possibility of philosophical immanence today.

Immanence entails more than the mere absence of a transcendent God. This is a basic precondition but hardly a sufficient one.

The introduction of any ontologically privileged kind of being over another reintroduces transcendence. This includes granting any special ontological primacy to thought, space, time, event, eternity, objects, or force over matter. Being is only matter in motion. For Lucretius, everything else emerges from its patterns of motion and material composition.

Immanence has no universal or transcendent laws that determine it in advance. Lucretius’ materialism is therefore not crude, mechanistic, or reductionist in any sense.

Here is the kicker: Immanence can only be immanent to what is and since the future is not, the ontological position of immanence can make no speculative claim on the future without reintroducing a transcendence of the future beyond what is. This is the real vertigo of immanence. It can only be a regional and historical ontological claim. This is what makes it different than any other ontology, it is immanent only to itself (what is and what it has been) and must remain entirely agnostic about what it will be.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


Time Will Tell: An Interview with Thomas Nail


Quote:So, you don’t interpret the swerve in Lucretius as a random motion? No chance?

I am open to hearing evidence for an outside to the universe, but I have no idea what that would even look like. In part, because the universe is not a whole but an expanding and open process—just as Lucretius described in De Rerum Natura. I believe there is genuine novelty in the universe but we do not need to posit randomness to get that novelty. Lucretius says that matter is always in the habit [solerent] of swerving. There are at least two typical ideas of randomness neither of which Lucretius’ view could support. The first one is a radical randomness, or what Quentin Meillassoux calls “hyperchaos,” which is complete ex nihilo creation from nothing. Lucreitus is explicit that “nil posse creari de nihilo” [nothing can be created from nothing]. The second kind of randomness is the constrained definition randomness where there is a closed domain of objects and matter moves randomly within that. Again, Lucretius is explicit that nature is not a finite closed system—and so there cannot be randomness in this sense either. Something always comes from something relationally but creatively and non-deterministically.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


I had never heard of pedesis before but it reminds me of how a mathematician once described to me the creation of a Mandelbrot fractal by dropping balls into a circle and plotting points depending on the proximity to the center where they each stop.  (or something like that - it was a long time ago!)  It's not quite the same thing because in the fractal experiment, the balls are not affecting each other but this:   "Over a long period of time, the pedetic motion of matter combines and stabilizes into certain patterns, synchronies, and relations, giving the appearance of stability and solidity"  comes very close.
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  • Sciborg_S_Patel


Quote:Thomas Nail joins the cast to give us an overview of the work of the ancient philosopher Lucretius, who is known for his generally atheistic ontology and his theory of the clinamen or "the swerve". The discussion covers the interest of 20th century philosophers in Lucretius theories, as well as the related political implications which issued forth. Thomas is the author of many books that may be of interest to Acid Horizon listeners:

Lucretius I-III -
https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/...

Theory of the Object -
https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/...

Marx in Motion: A New Materialist Marxism -
https://global.oup.com/academic/produ...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell




Quote:Join us for an in-depth discussion on Inter-determinacy and the Philosophy of Movement with Professor Thomas Nail of Denver University as he illuminates this innovative field of Philosophy. General Resonance Theory (GRT) is an electromagnetic (EM) field theory of consciousness that suggests that consciousness is ultimately a product of various shared resonance frequencies at different physical scales.

Time Stamps:

0:01 Reflections and Announcements
7:54
What is The Philosophy of Movement?
17:40 Metastable States
27:20 Cosmic Dissipation
33:05
Natural Patterns
40:02 What is New Materialism? -- Linking Science and The Humanities
57:31 Quantum Indeterminacy and Lucretius
1:10:10 Whitehead Quotes
1:15:10
Additional Questions
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2024-05-19, 10:05 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote:

Ho hum - the Hard Problem again?
Well yes in this case I think the argument for production of consciousness is wrong, but I think the presentation on the Philosophy of Movement still has some interesting aspects if we regard the material/physical are correlates of some sort...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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