Unification and the trans-human limit of knowing

Here’s a unification:

Acceleration and slowing down are both possible values of F=ma

therefore

Acceleration and slowing down are the same thing.

or

Uniform motion and rest give the same result to the equation F=ma

therefore

uniform motion and rest are the same.

We can fill out these ideas in various ways, e.g. by the various thought experiments pointing to inertia, or by pointing to the fact that we can’t detect or feel a difference between uniform motion and rest or between A accelerating into B or B decelerating into A. But everything hangs on the equation. Without the equation, both conclusions are mere esoteric philosophical opinions.

1.) Note that the argument rests on seeing the symbol as the proper expression of reality. The word “motion” obviously means something different than rest, but the symbol “a” unifies them as identical values (zero).

2.) A grand unified theory would be a unification of being and nothingness; or at least of the physical and non-physical. The model of all model would be its own anti-model. It might even predict “anti-being”, whatever this would…

3.) The simplest account here is that unified contraries are the same qua symbolized, and the attempt to identify reality with its symbol collapses us into an anti-scientific world where everything is everything is nothing is something. “Scientific metaphysics” is a contradiction.

4.) But to leave it at this would not explain why the symbolic unification works. The gibberish one hits with the thought of scientific metaphysics – with equations having being as a symbolic value – captures something real. We understand motion in its identity with rest or acceleration in its identity with gravity.

5.) The simplest account here is that we’re working from an idea that we know things to the extent that we transcend the differences among them while still preserving them. We want models and math not because they are symbolic or even because we understand math well but because the math transcends, or at least can be understood as transcending. But this universalizes the problem to apply to knowledge as such – which means that perfect knowledge is either a contradiction or achieved by a mind in another state.

6.) But increase in qualitative magnitude (better and worse, truer and more false, more and less square, etc.) differs from increase in quantitative magnitude (numbers, lengths) because the former exists relative to some maximum (cf. the first two axioms of Leibniz’s Metaphysics). A number can become bigger without ever approaching a biggest but a surface can’t become bluer except by approaching the bluest (say, by a paint approaching the color you’re mixing into it.) But no qualitative maximum is contradictory, therefore, etc.

7.) This mind in another state is either potentially human or not. If not, the natural desire for perfect knowledge is impossible. My suspicion is that this violates (6) as well.

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1 Comment

  1. July 15, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Is this just the price we can expect of coming to know one thing through another?A limit not of science, but of symbol as such?

    Some reduce mathematics to calculation and tautology. Every word in the dictionary is defined by every other. A mind that abstracts is continually getting one thing for the price of two (I am feeling a bit shortchanged even now), until it has only the singular and its activity stops. It is like a star with an iron core.

    Whole and part, synthesis and analysis, mover and moved, from one thing to another – endless and yet stopped before it’s begun. All action in this order is rightly called such (because, still, it does move), but only by something trancendently such.

    But here I repeat the problem. Or vary the theme.


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