Matter in the sciences

All the physical sciences need “matter” to be is something in principle controllable, which is why fields, energy and entropy are just as material as sticks and stones. So is even intelligence is ‘matter’ so far as it has self-control? Or does matter have to do what it’s told rather than doing what it wants? In this sense any desire or measure of self-direction is immaterial.

I hit the billiard ball. I can either view the ensuing action as something I did or something it does. In the first way it is controllable by my action, but to change the second requires chasing the nature of the ball, which in turn will divide into this “what I did and what it does” distinction. Nothing given in the action, as given, is controllable and so nothing given is material. The materialist impulse in this sense just is science, since it is the attempt to dissolve plural givens by unification into one.

Having no will or self direction and being ultimately given are “brute”.  Matter thus is anything “brutish”, and in this sense the materialist impulse is to reduce everything to some untimate stupid and shovable resource. But why? Because then we would have that ultimate stuff of all stuff, the pan-philosopher’s stone from which we could spin out gold, life, cures for cancer, and intelligence. And then lots of sex dolls.

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