Theresa J Morris
American Communication Internet Research
TJ Morris dba ACIR
3406 Green Briar Court
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
There is much I do not know. I am searching for those who have similar interests and express themselves interested in subjects that may deal with our humanity in the cosmos as one of many species who are of extraterrestrial intelligence. The topics I share in this paper or simply to add what research we may be sharing together on the internet online in our cyberspace world which we are co-creating in my lifetime. I am now sixty-five years old and am sharing some of my time looking for others who may want to share life and compare notes. I am a paranormal researcher and a writer. I look for ways to express our future together in our many peer groups online. Most of my time is spent finding out about the psyche and phenomenology dealing with those who come and go in my life from other places in space meaning extraterrestrials.
Keywords: cosmology, faster than light, extraterrestrials, psyche, phenomenology, metaphysics.
Cosmology (from the Greek κόσμος, kosmos “world” and -λογία, -logia “study of”) is the study of the origin, evolution, and eventual fate of the universe. Physical cosmology is the scholarly and scientific study of the origin, large-scale structures and dynamics, and ultimate fate of the universe, as well as the scientific laws that govern these realities. (Cosmology, n.d.) Modern metaphysical cosmology tries to address questions such as:
•What is the origin of the Universe? What is its first cause? Is its existence necessary? (see monism, pantheism, emanationism and creationism)
•What are the ultimate material components of the Universe? (see mechanism, dynamism, hylomorphism, atomism)
•What is the ultimate reason for the existence of the Universe?
Physics and astrophysics have played a central role in shaping the understanding of the universe through scientific observation and experiment. Physical cosmology was shaped through both mathematics and observation in an analysis of the whole universe. The universe is generally understood to have begun with the Big Bang, followed almost instantaneously by cosmic inflation; an expansion of space from which the universe is thought to have emerged 13.799 ± 0.021 billion years ago, Cosmogony studies the origin of the Universe, and cosmography maps the features of the Universe.
In Diderot’s Encyclopédie, cosmology is broken down into uranology (the science of the heavens), aerology (the science of the air), geology (the science of the continents), and hydrology (the science of waters).
Metaphysical cosmology has also been described as the placing of man in the universe in relationship to all other entities. This is exemplified by Marcus Aurelius’s observation that a man’s place in that relationship: “He who does not know what the world is does not know where he is, and he who does not know for what purpose the world exists, does not know who he is, nor what the world is.”
Physical cosmology Physical cosmology is the branch of physics and astrophysics that deals with the study of the physical origins and evolution of the Universe. It also includes the study of the nature of the Universe on a large scale. In its earliest form, it was what is now known as “celestial mechanics”, the study of the heavens. Greek philosophers Aristarchus of Samos, Aristotle, and Ptolemy proposed different cosmological theories. The geocentric Ptolemaic system was the prevailing theory until the 16th century when Nicolaus Copernicus, and subsequently Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei, proposed a heliocentric system. This is one of the most famous examples of epistemological rupture in physical cosmology.
When Isaac Newton published the Principia Mathematica in 1687, he finally figured out how the heavens moved. Religious or mythological cosmology Religious or mythological cosmology is a body of beliefs based on mythological, religious, and esoteric literature and traditions of creation and eschatology.
Philosophical cosmology Cosmology deals with the world as the totality of space, time and all phenomena. Historically, it has had quite a broad scope, and in many cases, was founded in religion. The ancient Greeks did not draw a distinction between this use and their model for the cosmos. However, in modern use metaphysical cosmology addresses questions about the Universe which are beyond the scope of science. It is distinguished from religious cosmology in that it approaches these questions using philosophical methods like dialectics (Cosmology, n.d.)
Table notes: the term “static” simply means not expanding and not contracting. Symbol G represents Newton’s gravitational constant; Λ (Lambda) is the cosmological constant. (Cosmology, n.d.)
Philosophy or Science: I. Science of God. — II. Science of Man. — III. Science of Nature. I. The natural progress of the human mind is to rise from individuals to species, from species to genera, from closely related properties have been examined, and from them has been created ontology, or the science of being in general. Therefore, we have had, in an inverted order, first ontology; then the science of the spirit, or pneumatology, or what is commonly called metaphysics. And that science is divided into the science of God or natural theology, which it has pleased God to correct and to sanctify by Revelation, whence comes religion and theology proper; whence through abuse comes superstition. Into doctrine of good and evil spirits, or of angels and of demons; whence comes divination and the chimera of black magic. Into the science of the soul, which has been subdivided into science of the reasonable soul, which conceives, and science of the feeling soul, which is limited to sensations. II. Science of Man. The divisions of the science of man are derived from the divisions of his faculties. The principal faculties of man are the understanding and the will; the understanding, which it is necessary to direct toward (Detailed Explanation of the System of Human Knowledge, n.d.)genera to distantly related ones, and to create a science at each step; or at least to add a new branch to some science already in existence. Thus, the concept, which we meet in history and which sacred history announces to us, of an uncreated and infinite intelligence, etc., and that of the created, finite intelligence united to a body which we observe in man and which we suppose in the brute, have led us to the concept of a created, finite intelligence having no body; and from there to the general notion of the spirit. Moreover, since the general properties of beings, spiritual as well as corporeal, are existence, possibility, duration, substance, attribute, etc., these (Detailed Explanation of the System of Human Knowledge, n.d.)
The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective is a book by Carl Sagan, produced by Jerome Agel. It was originally published in 1973; an expanded edition with contributions from Freeman Dyson, David Morrison, and Ann Druyan was published in 2000 under the title Carl Sagan’s Cosmic Connection. The book contains artwork by Jon Lomberg and other artists. Author Carl Sagan First published 2000 Genre Science Genus Science
Sagan covers several topics, and focusses mainly on the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence, the likelihood of the existence of more advanced civilizations, and their distribution in the local galaxy, and in the universe. He describes the hypothetical opinions of more advanced intelligences and their views of the Earth, as well as communication with mankind. He also discusses the popularity of UFO sightings and attempts mathematically to portray the probability of such events. Sagan also discusses his view of astrology as a pseudoscience. Contact is a 1997 American science fiction drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is a film adaptation of Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel of the same name; Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan wrote the story outline for the film. Director Robert Zemeckis Gross revenue $171.10 Million USD Screenwriter James V. Hart, Michael Goldenberg Story by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan Awards Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Saturn Award for Best Actress, Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor/Actress, Satellite Award for Best Visual Effects, ASCAP Film and Television Music Award for Top Box Office Films Release year 1997 Genre Drama
Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) works for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Fascinated by science and communication since she was a child, she listens to radio emissions from space hoping to find evidence of alien life. Science Advisor to the President David Drumlin (Tom Skerrett) pulls the funding from SETI because he believes the endeavor is futile. Arroway gains backing from secretive billionaire industrialist S. R. Hadden (John Hurt), which allows her to continue the project at the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico.
Four years later, with Drumlin seeking to close SETI, Arroway discovers a signal repeating a sequence of prime numbers, apparently sent from the star system Vega some 26 light-years away. This announcement causes Drumlin and the National Security Council led by Michael Kitz (James Woods), to attempt to take control of the facility. Arroway’s team then discover a video buried in the signal: Adolf Hitler’s opening address at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Arroway and her team postulate that this would have been the first television signal strong enough to leave Earth’s atmosphere, taking 26 years to reach Vega and then transmitted back from there.
The project is put under tight security and its progress followed worldwide. Arroway learns that the signal also contains more than 60,000 pages of indecipherable data. The reclusive Hadden secretly meets with Arroway to provide the means to decode the pages, found when they are arranged in three dimensions rather than two-dimensional pages. The pages reveal schematics for a complex machine which is determined to be transport for a single occupant.
The nations of the world fund the construction of the machine at Cape Canaveral. An international panel is assembled to choose a candidate to travel in the machine. Although Arroway is a frontrunner to go, her hopes are skippered by Christian philosopher Palmer Joss (Matthew McConaughey), a panel member whom Arroway met in Puerto Rico and had a brief romantic encounter. When he brings attention to her atheism, the panel selects Drumlin instead on the belief he would be more representative of humanity. However, on the day the machine is tested, a religious fanatic (Jake Busey) destroys the machine in a suicide bombing, killing Drumlin and many others.
A cancer-stricken Hadden, now in residence on the Mir space station, reveals to Arroway that a second machine was secretly made in Japan, and that Arroway will be the one to go. Outfitted with several recording devices, Arroway enters the machine’s pod which is then dropped into four rapidly spinning rings causing the pod to apparently travel through a series of wormholes. Arroway sees a radio array-like structure at Vega and signs of an advanced civilization on another planet. (Contact, n.d.)
Production Development Carl Sagan conceived the idea for Contact in 1979. The same year, Lynda Obst, one of Sagan’s closest friends, was hired by film producer Peter Guber to be a studio executive for his production company, Casablanca FilmWorks. She pitched Guber the idea for Contact, who commissioned a development deal. Sagan and Ann Druyan (who later became his wife) wrote a 100+ page film treatment, finishing in November 1980. Druyan explained, “Carl’s and my dream was to write something that would be a fictional representation of what contact would actually be like, that would convey something of the true grandeur of the universe.” They added the science and religion analogies as a metaphor of philosophical and intellectual interest in searching for the truth of both humanity and alien contact.
Sagan incorporated Kip Thorne’s study of wormhole space travel into the screenplay. The characterization of Dr. Ellie Arroway was inspired by Dr. Filming Principal photography began on September 24, 1996, and ended on February 28, 1997. The first shooting took place at the Very Large Array (VLA) near Socorro, New Mexico. “Shooting at the VLA was, of course, spectacular but also one of the most difficult aspects of our filming,” producer Steve Starkey said. “It is a working facility, so for us to accomplish shots for the movie, we had to negotiate with the National Science Foundation for ‘dish control’ in order to move the dishes in the direction we needed to affect the most dramatic shot for the story.” After arduous first weeks of location shooting in New Mexico and Arizona, production for Contact returned to Los Angeles for five months’ worth of location and sound stage shooting that used a total of nine soundstages at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, and Culver Studios. Altogether, the art department created more than 25 sets. Visual effects Designing Contact’s visual effects sequences was a joint effort among eight separate VFX companies. This team included Sony Pictures Imageworks, Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital, George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic, and Effects Associates, with Pixar’s RenderMan used for CGI rendering. Weta Digital, in particular, was responsible for designing the wormhole sequence. Jodie Foster admitted she had difficulty with blue screen technology because it was a first for the actress. “It was a blue room. Blue walls, blue roof. It was just blue, blue, blue,” Foster explained. “And I was rotated on a Lazy Susan with the camera moving on a computerized arm. It was really tough.”
News footage of then-President Bill Clinton was digitally altered to make it appear as if he is speaking about alien contact. This was not the original plan for the film; Zemeckis had initially approached Sidney Poitier to play the president, but the actor turned the role down in favor of The Jackal. Music The original score was composed by Alan Silvestri, most of which was released on August 19, 1997, by Warner Bros. Records. The full score is approximately an hour long, 44 minutes of which is on the CD, including every major cue. The CD track entitled “Good to Go” features a slightly different opening—a brief brass motif that is not in the film—but all other cues are identical in orchestration to the mix in the film.
The Region 2 Special Edition DVD release contains a 5.1 isolated score track, which presents the complete score (this feature, as with many isolated scores, is not mentioned in most product descriptions of the DVD). (Contact, n.d.)
Bill Clinton A meteorite was found in Antarctica in 1984, thought to be from Mars. CNN Shortly after the White House’s complaint, CNN chairman, president, and CEO Tom Johnson announced he believed that in hindsight it was a mistake to allow 13 members of CNN’s on-air staff (including Larry King and Bernard Shaw) to appear in the film, even though both CNN and Warner Bros. are owned by Time Warner. Johnson added that, for Contact, the CNN presence “creates the impression that we’re manipulated by Time Warner, and it blurs the line.” CNN then changed their policies for future films, which now requires potential appearances to be cleared through their ethics group.
Lawsuits Director George Miller, who had developed Contact with Warner Bros. before Zemeckis’ hiring, unsuccessfully sued the studio over breach of contract policies.
During filming on December 28, 1996, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. and Sagan, who had died the previous week. Coppola claimed that Sagan’s novel was based on a story the pair had developed for a television special back in 1975, titled First Contact. Under their development agreement, Coppola and Sagan were to split proceeds from the project, as well as from any novel Sagan would write, with American Zoetrope and Children’s Television Workshop Productions. The TV program was never produced, but in 1985, Simon and Schuster published Contact and Warner moved forward with development of a film adaptation. Coppola sought at least $250,000 in compensatory damages and an injunction against production or distribution of the film.
NASA The scene where the NASA scientists give Arroway the “cyanide pill” caused some controversy during production and when the film came out. Gerald D. Griffin, the film’s NASA advisor, insisted that NASA has never given any astronaut a cyanide pill “just in case,” and that if an astronaut truly wished to commit suicide in space, all he or she would have to do is cut off their oxygen supply. However, Carl Sagan insisted that NASA did indeed give out cyanide pills and they did it for every mission an astronaut has ever flown. Zemeckis said that because of the two radically different assertions, the truth is unknown, but he left the suicide pill scene in the movie as it seemed more suspenseful that way and it was also in line with Sagan’s beliefs and vision of the film. Along with being NASA Technical Consultant for the project, Griffin had a cameo in the role of “Dynamics” in Mission Control. He had previously been technical advisor for Ron Howard’s 1995 film Apollo 13. (Contact, n.d.)
Photons: the quantization of light In 1905, Albert Einstein took an extra step. He suggested that quantization was not just a mathematical construct, but that the energy in a beam of light occurs in individual packets, which are now called photons. The energy of a single photon is given by its frequency multiplied by Planck’s constant:
For centuries, scientists had debated between two possible theories of light: was it a wave or did it instead comprise a stream of tiny particles? By the 19th century, the debate was generally considered to have been settled in favor of the wave theory, as it was able to explain observed effects such as refraction, diffraction, interference and polarization. James Clerk Maxwell had shown that electricity, magnetism and light are all manifestations of the same phenomenon: the electromagnetic field. Maxwell’s equations, which are the complete set of laws of classical electromagnetism, describe light as waves: a combination of oscillating electric and magnetic fields. Because of the preponderance of evidence in favor of the wave theory, Einstein’s ideas were met initially with great skepticism. Eventually, however, the photon model became favored. One of the most significant pieces of evidence in its favor was its ability to explain several puzzling properties of the photoelectric effect, described in the following section. Nonetheless, the wave analogy remained indispensable for helping to understand other characteristics of light: diffraction, refraction and interference.
The photoelectric effect In 1887, Heinrich Hertz observed that when light with sufficient frequency hits a metallic surface, it emits electrons. In 1902, Philipp Lenard discovered that the maximum possible energy of an ejected electron is related to the frequency of the light, not to its intensity: if the frequency is too low, no electrons are ejected regardless of the intensity. Strong beams of light toward the red end of the spectrum might produce no electrical potential at all, while weak beams of light toward the violet end of the spectrum would produce higher and higher voltages. The lowest frequency of light that can cause electrons to be emitted, called the threshold frequency, is different for different metals. Consequences of the light being quantized The relationship between the frequency of electromagnetic radiation and the energy of each individual photon is why ultraviolet light can cause sunburn, but visible or infrared light cannot. A photon of ultraviolet light will deliver a high amount of energy – enough to contribute to cellular damage such as occurs in a sunburn. A photon of infrared light will deliver a lower amount of energy – only enough to warm one’s skin. So, an infrared lamp can warm a large surface, perhaps large enough to keep people comfortable in a cold room, but it cannot give anyone a sunburn.
All photons of the same frequency have identical energy, and all photons of different frequencies have proportionally (order 1, Ephoton = hf ) different energies. However, although the energy imparted by photons is invariant at any given frequency, the initial energy state of the electrons in a photoelectric device prior to absorption of light is not necessarily uniform. (Introduction to quantum mechanics, n.d.) The quantization of matter: the Bohr model of the atom By the dawn of the 20th century, evidence required a model of the atom with a diffuse cloud of negatively charged electrons surrounding a small, dense, positively charged nucleus. These properties suggested a model in which the electrons circle around the nucleus like planets orbiting a sun. However, it was also known that the atom in this model would be unstable: according to classical theory, orbiting electrons are undergoing centripetal acceleration, and should therefore give off electromagnetic radiation, the loss of energy also causing them to spiral toward the nucleus, colliding with it in a fraction of a second.
A second, related, puzzle was the emission spectrum of atoms. When a gas is heated, it gives off light only at discrete frequencies. For example, the visible light given off by hydrogen consists of four different colors, as shown in the picture below. The intensity of the light at different frequencies is also different. By contrast, white light consists of a continuous emission across the whole range of visible frequencies. By the end of the nineteenth century, a simple rule known as Balmer’s formula had been found which showed how the frequencies of the different lines were related to each other, though without explaining why this was, or making any prediction about the intensities. The formula also predicted some additional spectral lines in ultraviolet and infrared light which had not been observed at the time. These lines were later observed experimentally, raising confidence in the value of the formula.
In 1913 Niels Bohr proposed a new model of the atom that included quantized electron orbits: electrons still orbit the nucleus much as planets orbit around the sun, but they are only permitted to inhabit certain orbits, not to orbit at any distance. When an atom emitted (or absorbed) energy, the electron did not move in a continuous trajectory from one orbit around the nucleus to another, as might be expected classically. Instead, the electron would jump instantaneously from one orbit to another, giving off the emitted light in the form of a photon. The possible energies of photons given off by each element were determined by the differences in energy between the orbits, and so the emission spectrum for each element would contain several lines.
Starting from only one simple assumption about the rule that the orbits must obey, the Bohr model could relate the observed spectral lines in the emission spectrum of hydrogen to previously known constants. In Bohr’s model the electron simply wasn’t allowed to emit energy continuously and crash into the nucleus: once it was in the closest permitted orbit, it was stable forever. Bohr’s model didn’t explain why the orbits should be quantized in that way, nor was it able to make accurate predictions for atoms with more than one electron, or to explain why some spectral lines are brighter than others. (Introduction to quantum mechanics, n.d.)at both ends and can be made to vibrate. The waves created by a stringed instrument appear to oscillate in place, moving from crest to trough in an up-and-down motion. The wavelength of a standing wave is related to the length of the vibrating object and the boundary conditions. For example, because the violin string is fixed at both ends, it can carry standing waves of wavelengths 2l/n, where l is the length and n is a positive integer. De Broglie suggested that the allowed electron orbits were those for which the circumference of the orbit would be an integer number of wavelengths. Spin
In 1922, Otto Stern and Walther Gerlach shot silver atoms through an (inhomogeneous) magnetic field. In classical mechanics, a magnet thrown through a magnetic field may be, depending on its orientation (if it is pointing with its northern pole upwards or down, or somewhere in between), deflected a small or large distance upwards or downwards. The atoms that Stern and Gerlach shot through the magnetic field acted in a similar way. However, while the magnets could be deflected variable distances, the atoms would always be deflected a constant distance either up or down. This implied that the property of the atom which corresponds to the magnet’s orientation must be quantized, taking one of two values (either up or down), as opposed to being chosen freely from any angle.
Ralph Kronig originated the idea that particles such as atoms or electrons behave as if they rotate, or “spin”, about an axis. Spin would account for the missing magnetic moment and allow two electrons in the same orbital to occupy distinct quantum states if they “spun” in opposite directions, thus satisfying the exclusion principle. The quantum number represented the sense (positive or negative) of spin.
The choice of orientation of the magnetic field used in the Stern-Gerlach experiment is arbitrary. In the animation shown here, the field is vertical and so the atoms are deflected either up or down. If the magnet is rotated a quarter turn, the atoms will be deflected either left or right. Using a vertical field shows that the spin along the vertical axis is quantized, and using a horizontal field shows that the spin along the horizontal axis is quantized.
If, instead of hitting a detector screen, one of the beams of atoms coming out of the Stern-Gerlach apparatus is passed into another (inhomogeneous) magnetic field oriented in the same direction, all the atoms will be deflected the same way in this second field. However, if the second field is oriented at 90° to the first, then half of the atoms will be deflected one way and half the other, so that the atom’s spin about the horizontal and vertical axes are independent of each other. However, if one of these beams (e.g. the atoms that were deflected up then left) is passed into a third magnetic field, oriented the same way as the first, half of the atoms will go one way and half the other, even though they all went in the same direction originally. The action of measuring the atoms’ spin with respect to a horizontal field has changed their spin with respect to a vertical field.
The Stern-Gerlach experiment demonstrates several important features of quantum mechanics:
- a feature of the natural world has been demonstrated to be quantized, and only able to take certain discrete values
- particles possess an intrinsic angular momentum that is closely analogous to the angular momentum of a classically spinning object
- measurement changes the system being measured in quantum mechanics. Development of modern quantum mechanics In 1925, Werner Heisenberg attempted to solve one of the problems that the Bohr model left unanswered, explaining the intensities of the different lines in the hydrogen emission spectrum. Through a series of mathematical analogies, he wrote out the quantum mechanical analogue for the classical computation of intensities. Shortly afterwards, Heisenberg’s colleague Max Born realized that Heisenberg’s method of calculating the probabilities for transitions between the different energy levels could best be expressed by using the mathematical concept of matrices.
In the same year, building on de Broglie’s hypothesis, Erwin Schrödinger developed the equation that describes the behavior of a quantum mechanical wave. The mathematical model, called the Schrödinger equation after its creator, is central to quantum mechanics, defines the permitted stationary states of a quantum system, and describes how the quantum state of a physical system changes in time. The wave itself is described by a mathematical function known as a “wave function”. Schrödinger said that the wave function provides the “means for predicting probability of measurement results”.
Schrödinger could calculate the energy levels of hydrogen by treating a hydrogen atoms electron as a classical wave, moving in a well of electrical potential created by the proton. This calculation accurately reproduced the energy levels of the Bohr model.
In May 1926, Schrödinger proved that Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics and his own wave mechanics made the same predictions about the properties and behavior of the electron; mathematically, the two theories had an underlying common form. Yet the two men disagreed on the interpretation of their mutual theory. For instance, Heisenberg accepted the theoretical prediction of jumps of electrons between orbitals in an atom, but Schrödinger hoped that a theory based on continuous wave-like properties could avoid what he called (as paraphrased by Wilhelm Wien) “this nonsense about quantum jumps. “atomic orbitals. An orbital is the “cloud” of possible locations in which an electron might be found, a distribution of probabilities rather than a precise location. Each orbital is three dimensional, rather than the two-dimensional orbit, and is often depicted as a three-dimensional region within which there is a 95 percent probability of finding the electron.
Schrödinger could calculate the energy levels of hydrogen by treating a hydrogen atoms electron as a wave, represented by the “wave function” Ψ, in an electric potential well, V, created by the proton. The magnetic moment associated with the electron’s spin, and found the experimentally observed value, which was too large to be that of a spinning charged sphere governed by classical physics. He could solve for the spectral lines of the hydrogen atom, and to reproduce from physical first principles Sommerfeld’s successful formula for the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum.
Dirac’s equations sometimes yielded a negative value for energy, for which he proposed a novel solution: he posited the existence of an antielectron and of a dynamical vacuum. This led to the many-particle quantum field theory. Quantum entanglement The Pauli exclusion principle says that two electrons in one system cannot be in the same state. Nature leaves open the possibility, however, that two electrons can have both states “superimposed” over each of them. Recall that the wave functions that emerge simultaneously from the double slits arrive at the detection screen in a state of superposition. Nothing is certain until the superimposed waveforms “collapse”. At that instant, an electron shows up somewhere in accordance with the probability that is the square of the absolute value of the sum of the complex-valued amplitudes of the two superimposed waveforms. The situation there is already very abstract. A concrete way of thinking about entangled photons, photons in which two contrary states are superimposed on each of them in the same event, is as follows:
Imagine that the superposition of a state that can be mentally labeled as blue and another state that can be mentally labeled as red will then appear (in imagination, of course) as a purple state. Two photons are produced as the result of the same atomic event. Perhaps they are produced by the excitation of a crystal that characteristically absorbs a photon of a certain frequency and emits two photons of half the original frequency. So, the two photons come out “purple.” If the experimenter now performs some experiment that will determine whether one of the photons is either blue or red, then that experiment changes the photon involved from one having a superposition of “blue” and “red” characteristics to a photon that has only one of those characteristics. The problem that Einstein had with such an imagined situation was that if one of these photons had been kept bouncing between mirrors in a laboratory on earth, and the other one had traveled halfway to the nearest star, when its twin was made to reveal itself as either blue or red, that meant that the distant photon now had to lose its “purple” status too. So, whenever it might be investigated after its twin had been measured, it would necessarily show up in the opposite state to whatever its twin had revealed.
In trying to show that quantum mechanics was not a complete theory, Einstein started with the theory’s prediction that two or more particles that have interacted in the past can appear strongly correlated when their various properties are later measured. He sought to explain this seeming interaction in a classical way, through their common past, and preferably not by some “spooky action at a distance.” The argument is worked out in a famous paper, Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen (1935; abbreviated EPR), setting out what is now called the EPR paradox. Assuming what is now usually called local realism, EPR attempted to show from quantum theory that a particle has both position and momentum simultaneously, while per the Copenhagen interpretation, only one of those two properties exists and only now that it is being measured. Quantum field theory The idea of quantum field theory began in the late 1920s with British physicist Paul Dirac, when he attempted to quantize the electromagnetic field – a procedure for constructing a quantum theory starting from a classical theory.
A field in physics is “a region or space in which a given effect (such as magnetism) exists.” Other effects that manifest themselves as fields are gravitation and static electricity. In 2008, physicist Richard Hammond wrote that
Sometimes we distinguish between quantum mechanics (QM) and quantum field theory (QFT). QM refers to a system in which the number of particles is fixed, and the fields (such as the electromechanical field) are continuous classical entities. QFT … goes a step further and allows for the creation and annihilation of particles . . ..
He added, however, that quantum mechanics is often used to refer to “the entire notion of quantum view.”:108
In 1931, Dirac proposed the existence of particles that later became known as antimatter. Dirac shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1933 with Schrödinger, “for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory.”
On its face, quantum field theory allows infinite numbers of particles, and leaves it up to the theory itself to predict how many and with which probabilities or numbers they should exist. When developed further, the theory often contradicts observation, so that its creation and annihilation operators can be empirically tied down. Furthermore, empirical conservation laws like that of mass-energy suggest certain constraints on the mathematical form of the theory, which are mathematically speaking finicky. The latter fact both serves to make quantum field theories difficult to handle, but has also lead to further restrictions on admissible forms of the theory; the complications are mentioned below under the rubrik of renormalization. Slightly from what they would otherwise be. Thus, spectral lines may shift or split.
Similarly, within a freely propagating electromagnetic wave, the current can also be just an abstract displacement current, instead of involving charge carriers. In QED, its full description makes essential use of short lived virtual particles. There, QED again validates an earlier, rather mysterious concept. Additionally, the Standard Model contains a high-energy unification of the electroweak theory with the strong force, described by quantum chromodynamics. It also postulates a connection with gravity yet another gauge theory, but the connection is as of 2015 still poorly understood. The theory’s prediction of the Higgs particle to explain inertial mass has stood recent empirical tests at the Large hadron collider, and thus the Standard model is now considered the basic and complete description of particle physics as we know it.
Interpretations The physical measurements, equations, and predictions pertinent to quantum mechanics are all consistent and hold a very high level of confirmation. However, the question of what these abstract models say about the underlying nature of the real world has received competing answers.
Applications of quantum mechanics include the laser, the transistor, the electron microscope, and magnetic resonance imaging. A special class of quantum mechanical applications is related to macroscopic quantum phenomena such as superfluid helium and superconductors. The study of semiconductors led to the invention of the diode and the transistor, which are indispensable for modern electronics. In even the simple light switch, quantum tunneling is vital, as otherwise the electrons in the electric current could not penetrate the potential barrier made up of a layer of oxide. Flash memory chips found in USB drives also use quantum tunneling, to erase their memory cells.
Faster-than-light (also superluminal or FTL) communication and travel refer to the propagation of information or matter faster than the speed of light. Under the special theory of relativity, a particle (that has rest mass) with subluminal velocity needs an infinite amount of energy to accelerate to the speed of light, although special relativity does not prohibit the existence of particles that travel faster than light always (tachyons).
FTL travel of non-information
FTL is the transmission of information or matter faster than c, a constant equal to the speed of light in a vacuum, which is 299,792,458 m/s (of the meter) or about 186,282.397 miles per second. This is not quite the same as traveling faster than light, since:
- Some processes propagate faster than c, but cannot carry information (see examples in the sections immediately following).
- Light travels at speed c/n when not in a vacuum but travelling through a medium with refractive index = n (causing refraction), and in some materials other particles can travel faster than c/n (but still slower than c), leading to Cherenkov radiation (see phase velocity below).
Neither of these phenomena violates special relativity or creates problems with causality, and thus neither qualifies as FTL as described here.
In the following examples, certain influences may appear to travel faster than light, but they do not convey energy or information faster than light, so they do not violate special relativity.
Daily sky motion For an Earthbound observer, objects in the sky complete one revolution around the Earth in 1 day. Proxima Centauri, which is the nearest star outside the solar system, is about 4 light-years away. On a geostationary view, Proxima Centauri has a speed many times greater than c as the rim speed of an object moving in a circle is a product of the radius and angular speed. It is also possible on a geostatic view for objects such as comets to vary their speed from subluminal to superluminal and vice versa simply because the distance from the Earth varies. Comets may have orbits which take them out to more than 1000 AU. The circumference of a circle with a radius of 1000 AU is greater than one light day. In other words, a comet at such a distance is superluminal in a geostatic, and therefore non-inertial, frame.
Light spots and shadows If a laser beam is swept across a distant object, the spot of laser light can easily be made to move across the object at a speed greater than c. Similarly, a shadow projected onto a distant object can be made to move across the object faster than c. In neither case does the light travel from the source to the object faster than c, nor does any information travel faster than light.
Apparent FTL propagation of static field effects Since there is no “retardation” (or aberration) of the apparent position of the source of a gravitational or electric static field when the source moves with constant velocity, the static field “effect” may seem at first glance to be “transmitted” faster than the speed of light. However, uniform motion of the static source may be removed with a change in reference frame, causing the direction of the static field to change immediately, at all distances. This is not a change of position which “propagates”, and thus this change cannot be used to transmit information from the source. No information or matter can be FTL-transmitted or propagated from source to receiver/observer by an electromagnetic field.
Closing speeds The rate at which two objects in motion in a single frame of reference get closer together is called the mutual or closing speed. This may approach twice the speed of light, as in the case of two particles travelling at close to the speed of light in opposite directions with respect to the reference frame.
Imagine two fast-moving particles approaching each other from opposite sides of a particle accelerator of the collider type. The closing speed would be the rate at which the distance between the two particles is decreasing. From the point of view of an observer standing at rest relative to the accelerator, this rate will be slightly less than twice the speed of light.
Special relativity does not prohibit this. It tells us that it is wrong to use Galilean relativity to compute the velocity of one of the particles, as would be measured by an observer traveling alongside the other particle. That is, special relativity gives the right formula for computing such relative velocity. Proper speeds If a spaceship travels to a planet one light-year (as measured in the Earth’s rest frame) away from Earth at high speed, the time taken to reach that planet could be less than one year as measured by the traveler’s clock (although it will always be more than one year as measured by a clock on Earth). The value obtained by dividing the distance traveled, as determined in the Earth’s frame, by the time taken, measured by the traveler’s clock, is known as a proper speed or a proper velocity. There is no limit on the value of a proper speed as a proper speed does not represent a speed measured in a single inertial frame. A light signal that left the Earth at the same time as the traveler would always get to the destination before the traveler.
Possible distance away from Earth Since one might not travel faster than light, one might conclude that a human can never travel further from the Earth than 40 light-years if the traveler is active between the age of 20 and 60. A traveler would then never be able to reach more than the very few star systems which exist within the limit of 20–40 light-years from the Earth. This is a mistaken conclusion: because of time dilation, the traveler can travel thousands of light-years during their 40 active years. If the spaceship accelerates at a constant 1 g (in its own changing frame of reference), it will, after 354 days, reach speeds a little under the speed of light (for an observer on Earth), and time dilation will increase their lifespan to thousands of Earth years, seen from the reference system of the Solar System, but the traveler’s subjective lifespan will not thereby change. If the traveler returns to the Earth, they will land thousands of years into the Earth’s future. Phase velocities above c The phase velocity of an electromagnetic wave, when traveling through a medium, can routinely exceed c, the vacuum velocity of light. For example, this occurs in most glasses at X-ray frequencies. However, the phase velocity of a wave corresponds to the propagation speed of a theoretical single-frequency (purely monochromatic) component of the wave at that frequency. Such a wave component must be infinite in extent and of constant amplitude (otherwise it is not truly monochromatic), and so cannot convey any information. Thus, a phase velocity above c does not imply the propagation of signals with a velocity above c.
Group velocities above c The group velocity of a wave (e.g., a light beam) may also exceed c in some circumstances. In such cases, which typically at the same time involve rapid attenuation of the intensity, the maximum of the envelope of a pulse may travel with a velocity above c. However, even this situation does not imply the propagation of signals with a velocity above c, even though one may be tempted to associate pulse maxima with signals. The latter association has been shown to be misleading, because the information on the arrival of a pulse can be obtained before the pulse maximum arrives. For example, if some mechanism allows the full transmission of the leading part of a pulse while strongly attenuating the pulse maximum and everything behind (distortion), the pulse maximum is effectively shifted forward in time, while the information on the pulse does not come faster than c without this effect. Universal expansion The expansion of the universe causes distant galaxies to recede from us faster than the speed of light, if proper distance and cosmological time are used to calculate the speeds of these galaxies. However, in general relativity, velocity is a local notion, so velocity calculated using comoving coordinates does not have any simple relation to velocity calculated locally. (See comoving distance for a discussion of different notions of ‘velocity’ in cosmology.) Rules that apply to relative velocities in special relativity, such as the rule that relative velocities cannot increase past the speed of light, do not apply to relative velocities in comoving coordinates, which are often described in terms of the “expansion of space” between galaxies. Astronomical observations Apparent superluminal motion is observed in many radio galaxies, blazars, quasars and recently also in micro quasars. The effect was predicted before it was observed by Martin Rees and can be explained as an optical illusion caused by the object partly moving in the direction of the observer, when the speed calculations assume it does not. The phenomenon does not contradict the theory of special relativity. Corrected calculations show these objects have velocities close to the speed of light (relative to our reference frame). They are the first examples of large amounts of mass moving at close to the speed of light. Earth-bound laboratories have only been able to accelerate small numbers of elementary particles to such speeds. Superfluid theories of physical vacuum In this approach the physical vacuum is viewed as the quantum superfluid which is essentially non-relativistic whereas the Lorentz symmetry is not an exact symmetry of nature but rather the approximate description valid only for the small fluctuations of the superfluid background. Within the framework of the approach a theory was proposed in which the physical vacuum is conjectured to be the quantum Bose liquid whose ground-state wave function is described by the logarithmic Schrödinger equation. It was shown that the relativistic gravitational interaction arises as the small-amplitude collective excitation mode whereas relativistic elementary particles can be described by the particle-like modes in the limit of low momenta.
Metaphysics central questions as in “Being and ontology”
Ontology deals with the determination whether categories of being are fundamental and discusses in what sense the items in those categories may be said to “be”. It is the inquiry into being in so much as it is being (“being qua being”), or into beings insofar as they exist—and not insofar as (for instance) particular facts may be obtained about them or particular properties belong to them.
Most ontologies assume or assert the existence of categories including objects, properties, space and time. Immediate questions arising from this include the nature of objects. Only properties can be observed directly, so what does it mean for an object to exist and to possess them if we can never observe an object directly? How can we be sure that such objects exist at all?
The word “is” has two distinct uses in English, separated out in ontology. Identity and change
Identity is a fundamental metaphysical issue. Metaphysicians investigating identity are tasked with the question of what, exactly, it means for something to be identical to itself. Other issues of identity arise in the context of time: what does it mean for something to be itself across two moments in time? How do we account for this? Another question of identity arises when we ask what our criteria ought to be for determining identity? And how does the reality of identity interface with linguistic expressions?
The metaphysical positions one takes on identity has far-reaching implications on issues such as the mind-body problem, personal identity, and ethics, and law.
The ancient Greeks took extreme positions on the nature of change. Causality and time Classical philosophy recognized a number of causes, including teleological future causes. In special relativity and quantum field theory the notions of space, time and causality become tangled together, with temporal orders of causations becoming dependent on who is observing them. The laws of physics are symmetrical in time, so could equally well be used to describe time as running backwards. Why then do we perceive it as flowing in one direction, the arrow of time, and as containing causation flowing in the same direction?
Causality is usually required as a foundation for philosophy of science, if science aims to understand causes and effects and make predictions about them.
Necessity and possibility Metaphysicians investigate questions about the ways the world could have been. David Lewis, in “On the Plurality of Worlds,” endorsed a view called Concrete Modal realism, per which facts about how things could have been are made true by other concrete worlds, just as in ours, in which things are different. Other philosophers, such as Gottfried Leibniz, have dealt with the idea of possible worlds as well. The idea of necessity is that any necessary fact is true across all possible worlds. A possible fact is true in some possible world, even if not in the actual world. For example, it is possible that cats could have had two tails, or that any apple could have not existed. By contrast, certain propositions seem necessarily true, such as analytic propositions, e.g., “All bachelors are unmarried.” The particular example of analytic truth being necessary is not universally held among philosophers. Cosmology and cosmogony Metaphysical cosmology is the branch of metaphysics that deals with the world as the totality of all phenomena in space and time. Historically, it has had a broad scope, and in many cases was founded in religion. The ancient Greeks drew no distinction between this use and their model for the cosmos. However, in modern times it addresses questions about the Universe which are beyond the scope of the physical sciences. It is distinguished from religious cosmology in that it approaches these questions using philosophical methods (e.g. dialectics).
Cosmogony deals specifically with the origin of the universe. Modern metaphysical cosmology and cosmogony try to address questions such as:
- What is the origin of the Universe? What is its first cause? Mind and matter The nature of matter was a problem in its own right in early philosophy. Aristotle himself introduced the idea of matter in general to the Western world, adapting the term hyle, which originally meant “lumber.” Early debates centered on identifying a single underlying principle. Water was claimed by Thales, air by Anaximenes, Apeiron (the Boundless) by Anaximander, fire by Heraclitus. Democritus, in conjunction with his mentor, Leucippus, conceived of an atomic theory many centuries before it was accepted by modern science. It is worth noting, however, that the grounds necessary to ensure validity to the proposed theory’s veridical nature were not scientific, but just as philosophical as those traditions espoused by Thales and Anaximander.
The nature of the mind and its relation to the body has been seen as more of a problem as science has progressed in its mechanistic understanding of the brain and body. Determinism and free will Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. It holds that nothing happens that has not already been determined. The principal consequence of the deterministic claim is that it poses a challenge to the existence of free will.
The problem of free will is the problem of whether rational agents exercise control over their own actions and decisions. Addressing this problem requires understanding the relation between freedom and causation, and determining whether the laws of nature are causally deterministic. Some philosophers, known as Incompatibilists, view determinism and free will as mutually exclusive. If they believe in determinism, they will therefore believe free will to be an illusion, a position known as Hard Determinism. Proponents range from Baruch Spinoza to Ted Honderich. Religion and spirituality Some of the primary metaphysical questions concerning religious philosophy are: whether there is a god (monotheism), many gods (polytheism), or no gods (atheism), or whether it is unknown or unknowable if any gods exist (agnosticism and apophatic theology); whether a divine entity directly intervenes in the world (theism) or its sole function is to be the first cause of the universe (deism); and whether a god or gods and the world are different (as in panentheism and dualism) or are identical (as in pantheism).
Stances on these questions can form the foundation for philosophy of religion and theology, but the metaphysical questions are prior to these disciplines.
The existence of god is sometimes assumed or required by ontologies in order to avoid problems of subjectivity and relativism.
Metaphysics in science
Prior to the modern history of science, scientific questions were addressed as a part of metaphysics known as natural philosophy. Originally, the term “science” (Latin scientia) simply meant “knowledge”. The scientific method, however, transformed natural philosophy into an empirical activity deriving from experiment unlike the rest of philosophy. By the end of the 18th century, it had begun to be called “science” to distinguish it from philosophy. Thereafter, metaphysics denoted philosophical enquiry of a non-empirical character into the nature of existence.
Metaphysics continues asking “why” where science leaves off. For example, any theory of fundamental physics is based on some set of axioms, which may postulate the existence of entities such as atoms, particles, forces, charges, mass, and/or fields. Stating such postulates is considered to be the “end” of a science theory. Metaphysics takes these postulates and explores what they mean as human concepts. For example, do all theories of physics require the existence of space and time, objects, and properties? Or can they be expressed using only objects, or only properties? Do the objects have to retain their identity over time or do they change? If they change, then are they still the same object? Can theories be reformulated by converting properties or predicates (such as “red”) into entities (such as redness or redness fields). Is the distinction between objects and properties fundamental to the physical world and/or to our perception of it?
Much recent work has been devoted to analyzing the role of metaphysics in scientific theorizing. Alexandre Koyré led this movement, declaring in his book Metaphysics and Measurement, “It is not by following experiment, but by outstripping experiment, that the scientific mind makes progress.” Imre Lakatos maintained that all scientific theories have a metaphysical “hard core” essential for the generation of hypotheses and theoretical assumptions. Thus, according to Lakatos, “scientific changes are connected with vast cataclysmic metaphysical revolutions.”
An example from biology of Lakatos’ thesis: David Hull has argued that changes in the ontological status of the species concept have been central in the development of biological thought from Aristotle through Cuvier, Lamarck, and Darwin. Darwin’s ignorance of metaphysics made it more difficult for him to respond to his critics because he could not readily grasp the ways in which their underlying metaphysical views differed from his own.
In physics, new metaphysical ideas have arisen in connection with quantum mechanics, where subatomic particles arguably do not have the same sort of individuality as the particulars with which philosophy has traditionally been concerned.
History and schools of metaphysics
Pre-history Cognitive archeology such as analysis of cave paintings and other pre-historic art and customs suggests that a form of perennial philosophy or Shamanism metaphysics may stretch back to the birth of behavioral modernity, all around the world. Similar beliefs are found in present day “stone age” cultures such as Australian aboriginals. Perennial philosophy postulates the existence of a spirit or concept world alongside the day-to-day world, and interactions between these worlds during dreaming and ritual, or on special days or at special places. It has been argued that perennial philosophy formed the basis for Platonism, with Plato articulating, rather than creating, much older widespread beliefs.
Bronze age Bronze age cultures such as ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt (along with similarly structured but chronologically later cultures such as Mayans and Aztecs) developed belief systems based on mythology, anthropomorphic gods, mind-body dualism, and a spirit world to explain causes and cosmology. These cultures appear to have been interested in astronomy and may have associated or identified the stars with some of these entities. In ancient Egypt, the ontological distinction between order (maat) and chaos (Isfet) seems to have been important.
Pre-Socratic Greece The first named Greek philosopher, according to Aristotle, is Thales of Miletus, c.500BCE. Rejecting mythological and divine explanations, he sought a single first cause or Arche (origin or beginning) under which all phenomena could be explained, and concluded that this first cause was in fact moisture or water. Thales also taught that the world is harmonious, has a harmonious structure, and thus is intelligible to rational understanding. Other Miletians, such as Anaximander and Anaximenes, also had a monistic conception of the first cause.
Another school was the Eleatics, Italy. The group was founded in the early fifth century BCE by Parmenides, and included Zeno of Elea and Melissus of Samos. Methodologically, the Eleatics were broadly rationalist, and took logical standards of clarity and necessity to be the criteria of truth. Parmenides’ chief doctrine was that reality is a single unchanging and universal Being. Chinese metaphysics Metaphysics in Chinese philosophy can be traced back to the earliest Chinese philosophical concepts from the Zhou Dynasty such as Tian (Heaven) and Yin and Yang. The fourth century BCE saw a turn towards cosmogony with the rise of Taoism (in the Daodejing and Zhuangzi) and sees the natural world as dynamic and constantly changing processes which spontaneously arise from a single immanent metaphysical source or principle (Tao). Another philosophical school which arose around this time was the School of Naturalists which saw the ultimate metaphysical principle as the Taiji, the “supreme polarity” composed of the forces of Ying and Yang which were always in a state of change seeking balance. Another concern of Chinese metaphysics, especially Taoism, is the relationship and nature of Being and non-Being (you 有 and wu 無). The Taoists held that the ultimate, the Tao, was also non-being or no-presence.
Socrates and Plato Socrates is known for his dialectic or questioning approach to philosophy rather than a positive metaphysical doctrine.
His pupil, Plato is famous for his theory of forms (which he places in the mouth of Socrates in the dialogues he wrote to expound it). Platonic realism (also considered a form of idealism) is considered to be a solution to the problem of universals; i.e., what particular objects have in common is that they share a specific Form which is universal to all others of their respective kind.
The theory has a number of other aspects:
- Epistemological: knowledge of the Forms is more certain than mere sensory data.
- Ethical: The Form of the Good sets an objective standard for morality.
- Time and Change: The world of the Forms is eternal and unchanging. Time and change belong only to the lower sensory world. “Time is a moving image of Eternity”.
- Abstract objects and mathematics: Numbers, geometrical figures, etc., exist mind-independently in the World of Forms.
Aristotle Plato’s pupil Aristotle wrote widely on almost every subject, including metaphysics. His solution to the problem of universals contrasts with Plato’s. Whereas Platonic Forms are existentially apparent in the visible world, Aristotelian essences dwell in particulars.
Potentiality and Actuality are principles of a dichotomy which Aristotle used throughout his philosophical works to analyze motion, causality and other issues.
The Aristotelian theory of change and causality stretches to four causes: the material, formal, efficient and final. The efficient cause corresponds to what is now known as a cause simpliciter. Final causes are explicitly teleological, a concept now regarded as controversial in science. The Matter/Form dichotomy was to become highly influential in later philosophy as the substance/essence distinction.
The opening arguments in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Book I, revolve around the senses, knowledge, experience, theory, and wisdom.
Classical India Sāṃkhya is an ancient system of Indian philosophy based on a dualism involving the ultimate principles of consciousness and matter. It is described as the rationalist school of Indian philosophy. It is most related to the Yoga school of Hinduism, and its method was most influential on the development of Early Buddhism.
The Sāmkhya is an enumerationist philosophy whose epistemology accepts three of six pramanas (proofs) as the only reliable means of gaining knowledge. These include pratyakṣa (perception), anumāṇa (inference) and śabda (āptavacana, word/testimony of reliable sources).
Samkhya is strongly dualist. Sāmkhya philosophy regards the universe as consisting of two realities; puruṣa (consciousness) and prakṛti (matter). Jiva (a living being) is that state in which puruṣa is bonded to prakṛti in some form.
Buddhist metaphysics In Buddhist philosophy there are various metaphysical traditions that have proposed different questions about the nature of reality based on the teachings of the Buddha in the early Buddhist texts. The Buddha of the early texts does not focus on metaphysical questions but on ethical and spiritual training and in some cases, he dismisses certain metaphysical questions as unhelpful and indeterminate (avyakata), which he recommends should be set aside. The development of systematic metaphysics arose after the Buddha’s death with the rise of the Abhidharma traditions. The Buddhist Abhidharma schools developed their analysis of reality based on the concept of dharmas which are the ultimate physical and mental events that make up experience and their relations to each other.
Islamic metaphysics Islamic philosophy was highly active during Europe’s ‘dark ages’, beginning with the arrival and translation of Aristotle into Arabic.
Scholasticism and the Middle Ages Between about 1100 and 1500, philosophy as a discipline took place as part of the Catholic church’s teaching system, known as scholasticism. Scholastic philosophy took place within an established framework blending Christian theology with Aristotelian teachings. Although fundamental orthodoxies could not be challenged, there were nonetheless deep metaphysical disagreements, particularly over the problem of universals, which engaged Duns Scotus and Pierre Abelard. William of Ockham is remembered for his principle of ontological parsimony.
Extraterrestrial life, also called alien life (or, if it is a sentient or relatively complex individual, an “extraterrestrial” or “alien”), is life that does not originate from Earth. These as-yet-hypothetical life forms may range from simple bacteria-like organisms to beings with civilizations far more advanced than humanity. Although many scientists expect extraterrestrial life to exist, there is no unambiguous evidence for its existence so far. The science of extraterrestrial life is known as exobiology
Alien life, such as microorganisms, has been hypothesized to exist in the Solar System and throughout the universe. This hypothesis relies on the vast size and consistent physical laws of the observable universe. According to this argument, made by scientists such as Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, it would be improbable for life not to exist somewhere other than Earth. This argument is embodied in the Copernican principle, which states that Earth does not occupy a unique position in the Universe, and the mediocrity principle, which states that there is nothing special about life on Earth. The chemistry of life may have begun shortly after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, during a habitable epoch when the universe was only 10–17 million years old. Life may have emerged independently at many places throughout the universe. Alternatively, life may have formed less frequently, then spread—by meteoroids, for example—between habitable planets in a process called panspermia. In any case, complex organic molecules may have formed in the protoplanetary disk of dust grains surrounding the Sun before the formation of Earth. According to these studies, this process may occur outside Earth on several planets and moons of the Solar System and on planets of other stars.
Since the 1950s, scientists have argued the idea that “habitable zones” around stars are the most likely places to find life. Numerous discoveries in these zones since 2007 have generated estimations of frequencies of Earth-like planets —in terms of composition— numbering in the many billions though as of 2013, only a small number of planets have been discovered in these zones. Nonetheless, on 4 November 2013, astronomers reported, based on Kepler space mission data, that there could be as many as 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars and red dwarfs in the Milky Way, 11 billion of which may be orbiting Sun-like stars. The nearest such planet may be 12 light-years away, according to the scientists. Astrobiologists have also considered a “follow the energy” view of potential habitats. (Extraterrestrial life, n.d.)
Biochemistry Life on Earth requires water as its solvent in which biochemical reactions take place. Sufficient quantities of carbon and other elements, along with water, might enable the formation of living organisms on terrestrial planets with a chemical make-up and temperature range similar to that of Earth. More generally, life based on ammonia (rather than water) has been suggested, though this solvent appears less suitable than water. It is also conceivable that there are forms of life whose solvent is a liquid hydrocarbon, such as methane, ethane or propane.
Planetary habitability in the Solar System
Some bodies in the Solar System have the potential for an environment in which extraterrestrial life can live, particularly those with possible subsurface oceans. Should life be discovered elsewhere in the Solar System, astrobiologists suggest that it will more likely be in the form of extremophile microorganisms.
Mars may have niche subsurface environments where microbial life might exist. A subsurface marine environment on Jupiter’s moon Europa might be the most likely habitat in the Solar System, outside Earth, for extremophile microorganisms.
The panspermia hypothesis proposes that life elsewhere in the Solar System may have a common origin. If extraterrestrial life was found on another body in the Solar System, it could have originated from Earth just as life on Earth could have been seeded from elsewhere (exogenesis). The first known mention of the term ‘panspermia’ was in the writings of the 5th century BC Greek philosopher Anaxagoras. In the 19th century it was again revived in modern form by several scientists, including Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1834), Kelvin (1871), Hermann von Helmholtz (1879) and, somewhat later, by Svante Arrhenius (1903). Sir Fred Hoyle (1915–2001) and Chandra Wickramasinghe (born 1939) are important proponents of the hypothesis who further contended that life forms continue to enter Earth’s atmosphere, and may be responsible for epidemic outbreaks, new diseases, and the genetic novelty necessary for macroevolution.
Directed panspermia concerns the deliberate transport of microorganisms in space, sent to Earth to start life here, or sent from Earth to seed new stellar systems with life. The Nobel prize winner Francis Crick, along with Leslie Orgel proposed that seeds of life may have been purposely spread by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, but considering an early “RNA world” Crick noted later that life may have originated on Earth.
Venus In the early 20th century, Venus was often thought to be similar to Earth in terms of habitability, but observations since the beginning of the Space Age have revealed that Venus’s surface is inhospitable to Earth-like life. However, between an altitude of 50 and 65 kilometers, the pressure and temperature are Earth-like, and it has been hypothesised that aerial microbial life could exist. Furthermore, Venus likely had liquid water on its surface for at least a few million years after its formation.
Mars Life on Mars has been long speculated. Liquid water is widely thought to have existed on Mars in the past, and now can occasionally be found as low-volume liquid brines in shallow Martian soil. The origin of the potential biosignature of methane observed in Mars’ atmosphere is unexplained, although hypotheses not involving life have also been proposed. By July 2008, laboratory tests aboard NASA’s Phoenix Mars lander had identified water in a surface soil sample. Photographs from the Mars Global Surveyor from 2006 showed evidence of recent (i.e. within 10 years) flows of a liquid on Mars’ frigid surface. There is evidence that Mars had a warmer and wetter past: dried-up river beds, polar ice caps, volcanos, and minerals that form in the presence of water have all been found. Nevertheless, present conditions on Mars’ subsurface may support life. Ceres Ceres, the only dwarf planet in the asteroid belt, has a thin water-vapor atmosphere. Frost on the surface may also have been detected in the form of bright spots. The presence of water on Ceres has led to speculation that life may be possible there.
Jupiter system Carl Sagan and others in the 1960s and 1970s computed conditions for hypothetical microorganisms living in the atmosphere of Jupiter. The intense radiation and other conditions, however, do not appear to permit encapsulation and molecular biochemistry, so life there is thought unlikely. In contrast, some of Jupiter’s moons may have habitats capable of sustaining life. Scientists have indications that heated subsurface oceans of liquid water may exist deep under the crusts of the three outer Galilean moons—Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. The EJSM/Laplace mission is planned to determine the habitability of these environments.
Jupiter’s moon Europa has been subject to speculation about the existence of life due to the strong possibility of a liquid water ocean beneath its ice surface. Hydrothermal vents on the bottom of the ocean, if they exist, may warm the ice and could be capable of supporting multicellular microorganisms. Saturn system Titan and Enceladus have been speculated to have possible habitats supportive of life.
Small Solar System bodies Small Solar System bodies have also been speculated to host habitats for extremophiles. Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe have proposed that microbial life might exist on comets and asteroids.
Other bodies Models of heat retention and heating via radioactive decay in smaller icy Solar System bodies suggest that Rhea, Titania, Oberon, Triton, Pluto, Eris, Sedna, and Orcus may have oceans underneath solid icy crusts approximately 100 km thick. Of particular interest in these cases is the fact that the models indicate that the liquid layers are in direct contact with the rocky core, which allows efficient mixing of minerals and salts into the water. This is in contrast with the oceans that may be inside larger icy satellites like Ganymede, Callisto, or Titan, where layers of high-pressure phases of ice are thought to underlie the liquid water layer.
Hydrogen sulfide has been proposed as a hypothetical solvent for life and is quite plentiful on Jupiter’s moon Io, and may be in liquid form a short distance below the surface.
(Extraterrestrial life, n.d.)
About 29 chemical elements play an active positive role in living organisms on Earth. About 95% of this living matter is built upon only six elements: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. These six elements form the basic building blocks of virtually all life on Earth, whereas most of the remaining elements are found only in trace amounts. The scientific search for extraterrestrial life is being carried out both directly and indirectly.
Scientists search for biosignatures within the Solar System by studying planetary surfaces and examining meteorites. Some claim to have identified evidence that microbial life has existed on Mars. An experiment on the two Viking Mars landers reported gas emissions from heated Martian soil samples that some scientists argue are consistent with the presence of living microorganisms. Lack of corroborating evidence from other experiments on the same samples, indicates that a non-biological reaction is a more likely hypothesis. In 1996, a controversial report stated that structures resembling nanobacteria were discovered in a meteorite, ALH84001, formed of rock ejected from Mars.
intelligent radio signal after decades of effort has at least partially dimmed the prevailing optimism of the beginning of the space age. Notwithstanding, belief in extraterrestrial beings continues to be voiced in pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, and in popular folklore, notably “Area 51” and legends. It has become a pop culture trope given less-than-serious treatment in popular entertainment. In the words of SETI’s Frank Drake, “All we know for sure is that the sky is not littered with powerful microwave transmitters”. Drake noted that it is entirely possible that advanced technology results in communication being carried out in some way other than conventional radio transmission.
In February 2005, NASA scientists reported that they may have found some evidence of present life on Mars. Indirect search with projects such as SETI are monitoring the galaxy for electromagnetic interstellar communications from civilizations on other worlds. If there is an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, there is no guarantee that it is transmitting radio communications in the direction of Earth or that this information could be interpreted as such by humans. The length of time required for a signal to travel across the vastness of space means that any signal detected would come from the distant past.
The presence of heavy elements in a star’s light-spectrum is another potential biosignature; such elements would (in theory) be found if the star was being used as an incinerator/repository for nuclear waste products.
Extrasolar planets Some astronomers search for extrasolar planets that may be conducive to life, narrowing the search to terrestrial planets within the habitable zone of their star. Since 1992 over two thousand exoplanets have been discovered (3,557 planets in 2,668 planetary systems including 601 multiple planetary systems as of 1 January 2017). The extrasolar planets so far discovered range in size from that of terrestrial planets similar to Earth’s size to that of gas giants larger than Jupiter. The number of observed exoplanets is expected to increase greatly in the coming years.
The Kepler space telescope has also detected a few thousand candidate planets, of which about 11% may be false positives.
There is at least one planet on average per star. About 1 in 5 Sun-like stars have an “Earth-sized” planet in the habitable zone, with the nearest expected to be within 12 light-years distance from Earth.
In psychology, the psyche /ˈsaɪki/ is the totality of the human mind, conscious and unconscious. Psychology is the scientific or objective study of the psyche. The word has a long history of use in psychology and philosophy, dating back to ancient times, and represents one of the fundamental concepts for understanding human nature from a scientific point of view. The English word soul is sometimes used synonymously, especially in older texts.
Etymology The basic meaning of the Greek word ψυχή (psūkhē) was “life” in the sense of “breath”, formed from the verb ψύχω (psukhō, “to blow”). Derived meanings included “spirit”, “soul”, “ghost”, and ultimately “self” in the sense of “conscious personality” or “psyche”. Interestingly, associating “spirit” and “breath” is not unique to Greek or western cultures. The Chinese character for “spirit”, “soul” is 魂(hύn, simplified) which is the merging of 云(yύn) and 鬼(guǐ). 云 is commonly used as “clouds” but also as “breath” in expressions such as 吞云吐雾(smoking or vaping). 鬼 is simply “ghost” or “spirit”. The linkage between “spirit” and “breath” were formed by ancient people, who at the time did not have any real contact with one another. One modern animation also seem to understand the concept. Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. Amongst the four elements, air benders typically have stronger connections to spirits compare to water, fire, earth benders.
The idea of the psyche is central to the philosophy of Plato. In his Phaedo, Plato has Socrates give four arguments for the immortality of the soul and life after death following the separation of the soul from the body. Plato’s Socrates also states that after death the Psyche is better able to achieve wisdom and experience the Platonic forms since it is unhindered by the body.
structure of the unconscious, to make a conceptual distinction between soul and psyche. By psyche, I understand the totality of all psychic processes, conscious as well as unconscious. By soul, on the other hand, I understand a clearly demarcated functional complex that can best be described as a “personality”. (Jung, 1971: Def. 48 par. 797)
[The translation of the German word Seele presents almost insuperable difficulties on account of the lack of a single English equivalent and because it combines the two words “psyche” and “soul” in a way not altogether familiar to the English reader. The Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote an influential treatise on the psyche, called in Greek Περὶ Ψυχῆς (Perì Psūchês), in Latin De Anima and in English On the Soul. Aristotle’s theory of the “three souls (psyches)” (vegetal, animal, and rational) would rule the field of psychology until the 19th century. Prior to Aristotle, a number of Greek writings used the term psyche in a less precise sense. In late antiquity, Galenic medicine developed the idea of three “spirits” (pneuma) corresponding to Aristotle’s three souls. The pneuma psychikon corresponded to the rational soul. The other two pneuma were the pneuma physicon and the pneuma zoticon. Cognitive psychology In recent decades cognitive psychology has replaced psychoanalysis as the dominant school of psychology in academic centres. The word “mind” is preferred by cognitive scientists to “psyche”. (Psyche, n.d.)
Phenomenology (from Greek phainómenon “that which appears” and lógos “study”) is the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness. As a philosophical movement it was founded in the early years of the 20th century by Edmund Husserl and was later expanded upon by a circle of his followers at the universities of Göttingen and Munich in Germany. It then spread to France, the United States, and elsewhere, often in contexts far removed from Husserl’s early work. Phenomenology should not be considered as a unitary movement; rather, different authors share a common family resemblance but also with many significant differences. Accordingly, “A unique and final definition of phenomenology is dangerous and perhaps even paradoxical as it lacks a thematic focus. In fact, it is not a doctrine, nor a philosophical school, but rather a style of thought, a method, an open and ever-renewed experience having different results, and this may disorient anyone wishing to define the meaning of phenomenology”. (Phenomenology, n.d.)
- In its most basic form, phenomenology attempts to create conditions for the objective study of topics usually regarded as subjective: consciousness and the content of conscious experiences such as judgments, perceptions, and emotions. Although phenomenology seeks to be scientific, it does not attempt to study consciousness from the perspective of clinical psychology or neurology. Instead, it seeks through systematic reflection to determine the essential properties and structures of experience.
- There are several assumptions behind phenomenology that help explain its foundations:
- It rejects the concept of objective research. Phenomenologists prefer grouping assumptions through a process called phenomenological epoché.
- Phenomenology believes that analyzing daily human behavior can provide one with a greater understanding of nature.
- Persons should be explored. This is because persons can be understood through the unique ways they reflect the society they live in.
- Phenomenologists prefer to gather “capta,” or conscious experience, rather than traditional data.
- Phenomenology is considered to be oriented on discovery, and therefore phenomenologists gather research using methods that are far less restricting than in other sciences.
- Husserl derived many important concepts central to phenomenology from the works and lectures of his teachers, the philosophers and psychologists Franz Brentano and Carl Stumpf. An important element of phenomenology that Husserl borrowed from Brentano is intentionality (often described as “aboutness”), the notion that consciousness is always consciousness of something. The object of consciousness is called the intentional object, and this object is constituted for consciousness in many different ways, through, for instance, perception, memory, retention and protention, signification, etc. Throughout these different intentionalities, though they have different structures and different ways of being “about” the object, an object is still constituted as the identical object; consciousness is directed at the same intentional object in direct perception as it is in the immediately following retention of this object and the eventual remembering of it.
- Though many of the phenomenological methods involve various reductions, phenomenology is, in essence, anti-reductionistic; the reductions are mere tools to better understand and describe the workings of consciousness, not to reduce any phenomenon to these descriptions. In other words, when a reference is made to a thing’s essence or idea, or when one details the constitution of an identical coherent thing by describing what one “really” sees as being only these sides and aspects, these surfaces, it does not mean that the thing is only and exclusively what is described here: The ultimate goal of these reductions is to understand how these different aspects are constituted into the actual thing as experienced by the person experiencing it. Historical overview of the use of the term Phenomenology has at least two main meanings in philosophical history: one in the writings of G. W. F. Hegel, another in the writings of Edmund Husserl in 1920, and thirdly, succeeding Husserl’s work, in the writings of his former research assistant Martin Heidegger in 1927.
- For G. W. F. Hegel, phenomenology is an approach to philosophy that begins with an exploration of phenomena (what presents itself to us in conscious experience) as a means to finally grasp the absolute, logical, ontological and metaphysical Spirit that is behind phenomena. This has been called dialectical phenomenology.
- For Edmund Husserl, phenomenology is “the reflective study of the essence of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view.” Phenomenology takes the intuitive experience of phenomena (what presents itself to us in phenomenological reflexion) as its starting point and tries to extract from it the essential features of experiences and the essence of what we experience. When generalized to the essential features of any possible experience, this has been called transcendental phenomenology (see below). Husserl’s view was based on aspects of the work of Franz Brentano and was developed further by philosophers such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Max Scheler, Edith Stein, Dietrich von Hildebrand and Emmanuel Levinas.
- Although the term “phenomenology” was used occasionally in the history of philosophy before Husserl, modern use ties it more explicitly to his particular method. Following is a list of important thinkers in rough chronological order who used the term “phenomenology” in a variety of ways, with brief comments on their contributions:
- Friedrich Christoph Oetinger (1702–1782), German pietist, for the study of the “divine system of relations”
- Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728–1777), mathematician, physician and philosopher, known for the theory of appearances underlying empirical knowledge.
- Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), in the Critique of Pure Reason, distinguished between objects as phenomena, which are objects as shaped and grasped by human sensibility and understanding, and objects as things-in-themselves or noumena, which do not appear to us in space and time and about which we can make no legitimate judgments.
- G. W. F. Hegel (1770–1831) challenged Kant’s doctrine of the unknowable thing-in-itself, and declared that by knowing phenomena more fully we can gradually arrive at a consciousness of the absolute and spiritual truth of Divinity, most notably in his Phenomenology of Spirit, published in 1807.
- Carl Stumpf (1848–1936), student of Brentano and mentor to Husserl, used “phenomenology” to refer to an ontology of sensory contents.
- Edmund Husserl (1859–1938) established phenomenology at first as a kind of “descriptive psychology” and later as a transcendental and eidetic science of consciousness.
Varieties of phenomenology
The Encyclopedia of Phenomenology (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997, Dordrecht and Boston) features separate articles on the following seven types of phenomenology: (1) Transcendental constitutive phenomenology studies how objects are constituted in transcendental consciousness, setting aside questions of any relation to the natural world. (2) Naturalistic constitutive phenomenology (see naturalism) studies how consciousness constitutes things in the world of nature, assuming with the natural attitude that consciousness is part of nature. (3) Existential phenomenology studies concrete human existence, including our experience of free choice and/or action in concrete situations. (4) Generative historicist phenomenology (see historicism) studies how meaning—as found in our experience—is generated in historical processes of collective experience over time. (5) Genetic phenomenology studies the emergence/genesis of meanings of things within one’s own stream of experience. (6) Hermeneutical phenomenology (also hermeneutic phenomenology or post-phenomenology/postphenomenology elsewhere; see hermeneutics) studies interpretive structures of experience. (7) Realistic phenomenology (also realist phenomenology elsewhere) studies the structure of consciousness and intentionality as “it occurs in a real world that is largely external to consciousness and not somehow brought into being by consciousness.”
The contrast between “constitutive phenomenology” (German: konstitutive Phänomenologie; also static phenomenology (statische Phänomenologie)) or descriptive phenomenology (beschreibende Phänomenologie)) and “genetic phenomenology” (genetische Phänomenologie; also phenomenology of genesis (Phänomenologie der Genesis)) is due to Husserl.
Modern scholarship also recognizes the existence of the following varieties: late Heidegger’s transcendental hermeneutic phenomenology (see transcendental philosophy), Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s embodied phenomenology (see embodied cognition), and Michel Henry’s material phenomenology. (Phenomenology, n.d.)
Modern scholarship also recognizes the existence of the following varieties: late Heidegger’s transcendental hermeneutic phenomenology (see transcendental philosophy), Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s embodied phenomenology (see embodied cognition), and Michel Henry’s material phenomenology.
Intentionality refers to the notion that consciousness is always the consciousness of something. The word itself should not be confused with the “ordinary” use of the word intentional, but should rather be taken as playing on the etymological roots of the word. Originally, intention referred to a “stretching out” (“in tension,” from Latin intendere), and in this context it refers to consciousness “stretching out” towards its object. However, one should be careful with this image: there is not some consciousness first that, subsequently, stretches out to its object; rather, consciousness occurs as the simultaneity of a conscious act and its object.
Intentionality is often summed up as “aboutness.” Whether this something that consciousness is about is in direct perception or in fantasy is inconsequential to the concept of intentionality itself; whatever consciousness is directed at, that is what consciousness is conscious of. Intuition Intuition in phenomenology refers to those cases where the intentional object is directly present to the intentionality at play; if the intention is “filled” by the direct apprehension of the object, you have an intuited object. Having a cup of coffee in front of you, for instance, seeing it, feeling it, or even imagining it – these are all filled intentions, and the object is then intuited. The same goes for the apprehension of mathematical formulae or a number. If you do not have the object as referred to directly, the object is not intuited, but still intended, but then emptily. Examples of empty intentions can be signitive intentions – intentions that only imply or refer to their objects. Evidence in everyday language, we use the word evidence to signify a special sort of relation between a state of affairs and a proposition: State A is evidence for the proposition “A is true.” In phenomenology, however, the concept of evidence is meant to signify the “subjective achievement of truth.” This is not an attempt to reduce the objective sort of evidence to subjective “opinion,” but rather an attempt to describe the structure of having something present in intuition with the addition of having it present as intelligible: “Evidence is the successful presentation of an intelligible object, the successful presentation of something whose truth becomes manifest in the evidencing itself.”
Noesis and noema In Husserl’s phenomenology, which is quite common, this pair of terms, derived from the Greek nous (mind), designate respectively the real content, noesis, and the ideal content, noema, of an intentional act (an act of consciousness). The Noesis is the part of the act that gives it a particular sense or character (as in judging or perceiving something, loving or hating it, accepting or rejecting it, and so on). This is real in the sense that it is actually part of what takes place in the consciousness (or psyche) of the subject of the act. The Noesis is always correlated with a Noema; for Husserl, the full Noema is a complex ideal structure comprising at least a noematic sense and a noematic core. The correct interpretation of what Husserl meant by the Noema has long been controversial, but the noematic sense is generally understood as the ideal meaning of the act and the noematic core as the act’s referent or object as it is meant in the act. Empathy and intersubjectivity in phenomenology, empathy refers to the experience of one’s own body as another. While we often identify others with their physical bodies, this type of phenomenology requires that we focus on the subjectivity of the other, as well as our intersubjective engagement with them. In Husserl’s original account, this was done by a sort of apperception built on the experiences of your own lived-body. The lived body is your own body as experienced by yourself, as yourself. Your own body manifests itself to you mainly as your possibilities of acting in the world. It is what lets you reach out and grab something, for instance, but it also, and more importantly, allows for the possibility of changing your point of view. Lifeworld
The lifeworld (German: Lebenswelt) is the “world” each one of us lives in. One could call it the “background” or “horizon” of all experience, and it is that on which each object stands out as itself (as different) and with the meaning it can only hold for us. The lifeworld is both personal and intersubjective (it is then called a “homeworld”), and, as such, it does not enclose each one of us in a solus ipse. (Phenomenology, n.d.)
Husserl’s Logische Untersuchungen (1900/1901)
Husserl’s Logische Untersuchungen (1900/1901) In the first edition of the Logical Investigations, still under the influence of Brentano, Husserl describes his position as “descriptive psychology.” Husserl analyzes the intentional structures of mental acts and how they are directed at both real and ideal objects. The first volume of the Logical Investigations, the Prolegomena to Pure Logic, begins with a devastating critique of psychologism, i.e., the attempt to subsume the a priori validity of the laws of logic under psychology. Husserl establishes a separate field for research in logic, philosophy, and phenomenology, independently from the empirical sciences. (Phenomenology, n.d.)
Transcendental phenomenology after the Ideen (1913)
Transcendental phenomenology after the Ideen (1913) Some years after the publication of the Logical Investigations, Husserl made some key elaborations that led him to the distinction between the act of consciousness (noesis) and the phenomena at which it is directed (the noemata).
- “noetic” refers to the intentional act of consciousness (believing, willing, etc.)
- “noematic” refers to the object or content (noema), which appears in the noetic acts (the believed, wanted, hated, and loved …).
We observe is not the object as it is in itself, but how and inasmuch it is given in the intentional acts. Knowledge of essences would only be possible by “bracketing” all assumptions about the existence of an external world and the inessential (subjective) aspects of how the object is concretely given to us. This procedure Husserl called epoché.
Husserl in a later period concentrated more on the ideal, essential structures of consciousness. As he wanted to exclude any hypothesis on the existence of external objects, he introduced the method of phenomenological reduction to eliminate them. What was left over was the pure transcendental ego, as opposed to the concrete empirical ego. Now Transcendental Phenomenology is the study of the essential structures that are left in pure consciousness: This amounts in practice to the study of the noemata and the relations among them. The philosopher Theodor Adorno criticized Husserl’s concept of phenomenological epistemology in his metacritique Against Epistemology, which is anti-foundationalist in its stance.
Transcendental phenomenologists include Oskar Becker, Aron Gurwitsch, and Alfred Schütz. (Phenomenology, n.d.)
After Husserl’s publication of the Ideen in 1913, many phenomenologists took a critical stance towards his new theories. Especially the members of the Munich group distanced themselves from his new transcendental phenomenology and preferred the earlier realist phenomenology of the first edition of the Logical Investigations.
Realist phenomenologists include Adolf Reinach, Alexander Pfänder, Johannes Daubert (de), Max Scheler, Roman Ingarden, Nicolai Hartmann, Dietrich von Hildebrand.
Existential phenomenology differs from transcendental phenomenology by its rejection of the transcendental ego. Merleau-Ponty objects to the ego’s transcendence of the world, which for Husserl leaves the world spread out and completely transparent before the conscious. Heidegger thinks of a conscious being as always already in the world. Transcendence is maintained in existential phenomenology to the extent that the method of phenomenology must take a presuppositionless starting point – transcending claims about the world arising from, for example, natural or scientific attitudes or theories of the ontological nature of the world.
While Husserl thought of philosophy as a scientific discipline that had to be founded on a phenomenology understood as epistemology, Martin Heidegger held a radically different view. Heidegger himself states their differences this way:
For Husserl, the phenomenological reduction is the method of leading phenomenological vision from the natural attitude of the human being whose life is involved in the world of things and persons back to the transcendental life of consciousness and its noetic-noematic experiences, in which objects are constituted as correlates of consciousness. For us, phenomenological reduction means leading phenomenological vision back from the apprehension of a being, whatever may be the character of that apprehension, to the understanding of the Being of this being (projecting upon the way it is unconcealed).
According to Heidegger, philosophy was not at all a scientific discipline, but more fundamental than science itself. According to him science is only one way of knowing the world with no special access to truth. Furthermore, the scientific mindset itself is built on a much more “primordial” foundation of practical, everyday knowledge. Husserl was skeptical of this approach, which he regarded as quasi-mystical, and it contributed to the divergence in their thinking. Instead of taking phenomenology as prima philosophia or a foundational discipline, Heidegger took it as a metaphysical ontology: “being is the proper and sole theme of philosophy… this means that philosophy is not a science of beings but of being.” Yet to confuse phenomenology and ontology is an obvious error. Phenomena are not the foundation or Ground of Being. Neither are they appearances, for, as Heidegger argues in Being and Time, an appearance is “that which shows itself in something else,” while a phenomenon is “that which shows itself in itself.”
While for Husserl, in the epoché, being appeared only as a correlate of consciousness, for Heidegger being is the starting point. (Phenomenology, n.d.)
Some researchers in phenomenology (in particular in reference to Heidegger’s legacy) see possibilities of establishing dialogues with traditions of thought outside of the so-called Western philosophy, particularly with respect to East-Asian thinking, and despite perceived differences between “Eastern” and “Western”. Furthermore, it has been claimed that a number of elements within phenomenology (mainly Heidegger’s thought) have some resonance with Eastern philosophical ideas, particularly with Zen Buddhism and Taoism. According to Tomonobu Imamichi, the concept of Dasein was inspired — although Heidegger remained silent on this — by Okakura Kakuzo’s concept of das-in-der-Welt-sein (being in the world) expressed in The Book of Tea to describe Zhuangzi’s philosophy, which Imamichi’s teacher had offered to Heidegger in 1919, after having studied with him the year before.
There are also recent signs of the reception of phenomenology (and Heidegger’s thought in particular) within scholarly circles focused on studying the impetus of metaphysics in the history of ideas in Islam and Early Islamic philosophy such as in the works of the Lebanese philosopher Nader El-Bizri; perhaps this is tangentially due to the indirect influence of the tradition of the French Orientalist and phenomenologist Henri Corbin, and later accentuated through El-Bizri’s dialogues with the Polish phenomenologist Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka.
In addition, the work of Jim Ruddy in the field of comparative philosophy, combined the concept of Transcendental Ego in Husserl’s phenomenology with the concept of the primacy of self-consciousness in the work of Sankaracharya. In the course of this work, Ruddy uncovered a wholly new eidetic phenomenological science, which he called “convergent phenomenology.” This new phenomenology takes over where Husserl left off, and deals with the constitution of relation-like, rather than merely thing-like, or “intentional” objectivity.
Phenomenological approach to technology James Moor has argued that computers show up policy vacuums that require new thinking and the establishment of new policies. Others have argued that the resources provided by classical ethical theory such as utilitarianism, consequentialism and deontological ethics is more than enough to deal with all the ethical issues emerging from our design and use of information technology.
For the phenomenologist the ‘impact view’ of technology as well as the constructivist view of the technology/society relationships is valid but not adequate (Heidegger 1977, Borgmann 1985, Winograd and Flores 1987, Ihde 1990, Dreyfus 1992, 2001). They argue that these accounts of technology, and the technology/society relationship, posit technology and society as if speaking about the one does not immediately and already draw upon the other for its ongoing sense or meaning.
Heidegger’s approach (pre-technological age)
For Heidegger the essence of technology is the way of being of modern humans—a way of conducting themselves towards the world—that sees the world as something to be ordered and shaped in line with projects, intentions and desires—a ‘will to power’ that manifests itself as a ‘will to technology’. Heidegger claims that there were other times in human history, a pre-modern time, where humans did not orient themselves towards the world in a technological way—simply as resources for our purposes.
However, according to Heidegger this ‘pre-technological’ age (or mood) is one where humans’ relation with the world and artifacts, their way of being disposed, was poetic and aesthetic rather than technological (enframing). There are many who disagree with Heidegger’s account of the modern technological attitude as the ‘enframing’ of the world. For example, Andrew Feenberg argues that Heidegger’s account of modern technology is not borne out in contemporary everyday encounters with technology.
The Hubert Dreyfus approach (contemporary society)
In critiquing the artificial intelligence (AI) program, Hubert Dreyfus (1992) argues that the way skill development has become understood in the past has been wrong. He argues, this is the model that the early artificial intelligence community uncritically adopted. In opposition to this view, he argues, with Heidegger, that what we observe when we learn a new skill in everyday practice is in fact the opposite. We most often start with explicit rules or preformulated approaches and then move to a multiplicity of particular cases, as we become an expert. His argument draws directly on Heidegger’s account in Being and Time of humans as beings that are always already situated in-the-world. As humans ‘in-the-world’, we are already experts at going about everyday life, at dealing with the subtleties of every particular situation; that is why everyday life seems so obvious.
Cosmos Connection is about how we share our humanity together that will shape our future. Join me and my friends in sharing our stories that are stranger than fiction. We are working together to make the world a better place for those who follow us to this planet. It’s all about being in service to others. I am simple and I want to know how we will teach each other in the advancement of this world with the coming of what is termed the singularity and how we will think about those who will come as looking like human beings and are considered cyborgs. I am a cyborg meaning I have titanium in my neck. That is another future article …
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