1.) A thing exists where it acts.

2.) Some natural actions are non-local.

3.) All natural things are local.

Which goes?

1.) We mean that the thing – or “the principal agent” (PA) – acts either by direct contact or through subordinates that are in contact. These subordinates can introduce a time lag into the action that can allow the PA to pass out of existence while its subordinates keep acting, but this is an application of the principle, not an exception to it. Either collective actions transcend the PA that initiates them or they don’t, if so, then the collective is the PA;  if not then the collective action ceases as soon as the PA ceases to exist. Either the death of the general makes his orders moot or it doesn’t; if so, his subordinates are acting in vain as soon as he dies; if not then we are taking the army as the principal agent. Either way the PA is where it acts, whether this occurs because the subordinates depend entirely on the existence of the general or the whole army acts with the general as a subordinate part.

Because the order between PA, subordinate cause, and effect is active and passive, it is not and perhaps can’t be recognized by post-Newtonian physics. Since Newton, physics has been pure formalism.

2.) Only Aristotle and Einstein have succeeded in articulating cosmologies where all natural actions are local, but the first cosmology is false and the second is incomplete. Newtonian gravity is non-local since it works neither by direct contact nor the intermediate space and QM has denied locality from the get-go. Even Einstein has a hard time keeping everything localized (what portion of space is a black hole? If this one, then the black hole is spacial, if there isn’t one, there are no black holes).

3.) While non-locality is difficult to escape in our theories of the world, locality seems inescapable in our sensation of the world. Natural things are limited in space as a basic datum. It could be, however, that this is too close to their individuality to be captured in a theory.

One solution would be to drop the idea of contact from 1, and see PA as what acts either operatively or co-operatively. Newtonian gravity thus divides co-operation with local contact.


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