Is it the Job of Science or Philosophy to Account for Consciousness?

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The success of natural science over the last five hundred years has been truly mind-blowing. It doesn’t follow, however, that science is well-suited to answering all questions. Sam Harris has suggested that science can answer the questions of ethics as well as our questions about the nature of reality. But like many, it seems to me that there are many ethical questions which are just not suited to being answered scientifically. There’s no experiment that will tell us whether ethics is ultimately about maximizing good consequences or about fundamental rights and duties.

It is commonly assumed that the task of explaining consciousness is scientific rather than philosophical. I think that’s half right. It’s the job of neuroscience (among other things) to establish the neural correlates of consciousness (NCCs), that is, to work out which physical states of the brain are correlated with which subjective experiences. We have a robust and well-developed experimental approach for answering these questions.

However, establishing the NCC is just one half of a theory of consciousness. We also want to explain those correlation, to work out why certain physical states are correlated with experiences. As things stand, I think this is a philosophical rather than a scientific question. Philosophers have offered a number of different answers to this question. Here are three of them:

  • Naturalistic dualism – A subjective experience is a very different kind of thing from a physical brain state, but the two are bound together by natural law. In addition to the laws of physics, there are fundamental psycho-physical laws of nature which ensure that, in certain physical circumstances, certain experiences emerge.
  • Materialism – Each subjective experience has a purely physical nature. Having subjective experiences – feeling pain, seeing red – wholly consists in having certain complex patterns of neuronal firing.
  • Panpsychism – Each physical state has a purely experiential nature. Physical science tells us what matter does whilst leaving us in the dark about what it is. Having physical states – being negatively charged, being a certain pattern of neural firing – wholly consists in having certain kinds of subjective experience.  

All of these theories are empirically equivalent: there is no experiment that can decide between them. That’s not really a surprise, as this is not a purely empirical question. It’s rather a question of why something that is publicly observable (brain activity) always goes together with something that is not publicly observable (subjective experience). This is isn’t the kind of question an experiment can answer, just as questions about the fundamental character of ethics can’t be answered experimentally.

One option is agnosticism. If we can’t decide between these views experimentally, then maybe we should simply say that we don’t know which is true. Another option is to try to decide between them on the basis of non-experimental considerations. In other words, to do philosophy.

If I don’t think explaining the NCC is a scientific question, why is my book subtitled ‘Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness’? The task of explaining the NCC is currently in the domain of philosophy. But when a broad consensus arises as to how to address a question, philosophy turns in to science. The aim of my book is precisely to develop such a methodology for that bit of the science of consciousness which is currently in the domain of philosophy.  

So is it the job of science or philosophy to explain consciousness? As things stand, the task of accounting for consciousness is partly scientific (establishing NCCs) and partly philosophical (explaining the NCCs). If we one day achieve societal consensus on how to address the latter half of the puzzle, the task of accounting for consciousness will move entirely into the domain of science. I think this is starting to happen, but – just as at the start of the scientific revolution – there needs to be some serious engagement with philosophy before we get there.

The Author

I am a philosopher and consciousness researcher at Durham University, UK. My research focuses on how to integrate consciousness into our scientific worldview.

34 Comments

  1. cadmar larson says

    Yes, but science should be studying the mechanisms for consciousness! For example, all physical objects are vibrations of waves with peaks and troughs and amplitudes. Our brain with all its neurons and molecules have peaks and troughs. However, the mind seems to be consistent, either it is on or off, and is only hampered by physical restraints, such as being tired or from a sedative. Our consciousness does not seem to change as one has more and more experiences. Whereas, waves are always interacting, attaching themselves to other waves. This suggests the mind and consciousness is not a part of the brain but uses the brain for communicating. Here’s a short four-minute video on this subject:

  2. Hi Philip,

    I agree with most of this, however I’m not seeing how the datum of phenomenal consciousness could be folded into science in the way you’re suggesting.

    I think science is necessarily empirical — to the extent that it drifts from empiricism it ceases to be science. And yet we have no empirical grasp whatsoever on how to judge competing explanations of the NCC. We are left with only philosophical criteria such as coherence, clarity, parsimony and intuitive appeal. This question, it seems to me, is doomed to be forever philosophical.

    Which also means it will likely never be satisfactorily resolved such that a consensus is formed, even if some of us happen to have the right idea.

    • But it’s the same with empirical data. There are always an infinite number of theories that account for the data, and we must choose between them on basis of coherence, clarity, parsimony, etc. Sometimes the choice is obvious, sometimes it’s not (e.g. quantum mechanics). What I’m proposing is adding another datum to science on top of the data of 3rd person observation and experiment: the reality of consciousness. But the task is pretty much the same, just with an expanded set of data. I personally think the current attraction to materialism is due to sociological reasons, e.g. people being blown away by success of physical science and drawing wrong conclusions from that, and I think that it may be easier to get consensus when that certain social pressures recede. But it may also be that consensus forever alludes us….I guess that’s just life…nobody said it was going to be easy!

      • Nicholas Krause says

        That’s true however when you look at split-brain and the challenges it poses for certain theories it really hasn’t been even close to being solved since the 1960s. I think there are two differences here the first being that pre GR looks very similar to pre-NCC it that physicists had hope for completing the removal of time. But that was short-lived after Einstein’s debate with Bergson in Paris. The second is unlike QM where this a Kuhnian paradigm shared there is none with the metaphysics of mind in the disagreements. It’s also no different than the debates post-QM about causation and the history of metaphysics shows time and time again that these hopes are short-lived. I mean look at Freud and the challenges it posed of the unity of the person and related metaphysics about personal identity, yet people are trying it again with cognitive science so there is another example. I think it’s time we learn from the history of metaphysics/philosophy here but you’re free to disagree with me.

  3. Pingback: Consciousness between Science and Philosophy (response to Philip Goff on panpsychism) – Footnotes2Plato

    • Lee Roetcisoender says

      Well written essay Matthew; I especially like this comment: “Humans are just an especially intense expression of something Nature has been doing from the get go.”

      In agreement with Richard Rorty; what is required for us to move forward is a new vocabulary and a new set of metaphors. We are restrained by our current vocabulary with the limiting definitions of words that we use to express new ideas and concepts. The term consciousness is such a word. It’s origin like many words comes from Latin and is essentially anthropocentric with its meaning: “together to know us, a state of being”.

      Using our own phenomenal experience as a reference point from which to characterize phenomenal experience for other systems is misdirected. Ours is a subjective reference point from which we then attempt to make correlations to some thing that is fundamentally objective. In laymen’s terms it simply means we are just too dumb to figure it out. And as long as we are unwilling to distance ourselves from our selves nothing will change.

      Peace

      • Hmm, I am not sure analytic philosophers have the best take on the texture of “phenomenal experience.” Continental phenomenologist have done a much better job here, but from a Whiteheadian point of view, there’s still room for criticism. Rather than rooting experience in the intentional structure that seems to be unique to humans or at least mammals, as Husserl et al do, Whitehead roots it in a prehensional process that is far more generic.

      • Lee Roetcisoender says

        Matthew,

        To reframe the thrust of my point: Both you and Goff are Institutionalized philosophers which makes you philosophologists, not philosophers. Philosophologists are satisfied to further their own academic careers by writing what philosophers of the past had to say, adding more footnotes to the work of Plato and Aristotle.

        As a discipline, philosophy needs to break out of this restricted and constrained paradigm of philosophology and blaze a new path forward by actually challenging the models the West inherited from the Greeks along with our current definitions. For example: the term consciousness is conflated with a physical system called mind, as is the term idealism and panpsychism. This conflation does not add clarity to the search for meaning, it restricts meaning.

        Taken as a whole and individually as the aggregate that make up the whole, our physical universe is a living dynamic system, a system which consists of organic and non-organic life, a living system which by default makes all of these individual parts alive and dynamically aware, fully capable of emerging into more complex and uniquely novel systems. This unified whole and the aggregate of its parts are not a mind as delineated by the terms consciousness, idealism and panpsychism.

        The physical system we refer to as mind is the last system to arrive on the scene after billions of years of evolution. In order to cogently reflect this brief assessment of our physical universe, new terms and definitions will need to be developed. Although I do not believe a paradigm shift will occur, I wish you the best of luck in your career.

        Peace

  4. Kevin Pryor says

    I think this a time of major paradigm change which is about the only time philosophers can lead rather than follow scientists because philosophers are more concerned with the forest rather than the trees.

    When scientists start agreeing with you then ironically you will become less relevant and follow scientists rather than lead until the next paradigm shift.

    • Lee Roetcisoender says

      Well written essay Matthew; I especially like this comment: “Humans are just an especially intense expression of something Nature has been doing from the get go.”

      In agreement with Richard Rorty; what is required for us to move forward is a new vocabulary and a new set of metaphors. We are restrained by our current vocabulary with the limiting definitions of words that we use to express new ideas and concepts. The term consciousness is such a word. It’s origin like many words comes from Latin and is essentially anthropocentric with its meaning: “together to know us”.

      Using our own phenomenal experience as a reference point from which to characterize any phenomenal experience is misdirected. It’s a subjective reference point which then attempts to make correlations to some thing that is objectively fundamental.

      Peace

    • Philip Goff says

      Nicely put. I think I agree with that. I’d be very happy to slip into irrelevance.

  5. When the fabric of the cosmos is shredded by experiments at CERN, the particles generated provide evidence for equal but opposite amounts of spacetime and anti-spacetime.
    There are several theories of a tetrahedral lattice structure of spacetime.
    If such theories also apply to anti-spacetime, the fabric of the cosmos could be constructed as a double layer of tetrahedral lattices.
    If consciousness exists at the interface between these two layers, it could exist within the fabric of spacetime and also be external to it, continuous with the cosmic consciousness that is external to the big bang.
    Each tetrahedral cosmic pixel has a minimum size determined by the Planck length of around 10 to the minus 35m, whereas the consciousness within it can be infinity large or infinitely small.
    In this way the physical reality of the big bang exists within the whole of cosmic consciousness and cosmic consciousness exists within the physical reality of the brain.

    The physical reality of

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  8. Hi Philip, is it possible to remove the final, incomplete sentence from my comment, which is clearly an error! Kind regards- John Kaczmaryk

    On Thu, Oct 29, 2020, 10:44 AM Conscience and Consciousness wrote:

    > Philip Goff posted: ” The success of natural science over the last five > hundred years has been truly mind-blowing. It doesn’t follow, however, that > science is well-suited to answering all questions. Sam Harris has suggested > that science can answer the questions of ethics as w” >

  9. Pingback: Metaphilosophy links #6 – The Metaphilosophy Blog

  10. Science gathers the data. Philosophy is the interpretation of that data. Science is an assumption of values that what’s makes it meaningful as a method. When people start talking about how science can solve all problems. They make a crucial categorical error. Science isn’t a discipline that applies value, philosophy does. It’s like saying you can use plumbing to create an aeroplane. People don’t know what kind of language games they’re playing. Also, I did like this article.

    • cadmar larson says

      To be more precise, philosophy is not the interpretation of the data, but the analysis of the assumptions made by the experiments. Newton assumed that the reason massive bodies attrat each other is that there is some attraction found inside each body (ie. graviton). Einstein assumed no, it is the curvature of space around the objects that causes gravity.

      • cadmar larson says

        Assumptions are either right, or wrong. Each answer leads to a different pathway and conclusions. Paradigm shifts occur when a previous assumption is turned out to have another answer.

  11. Joseph Sabella says

    On 10/30/2020 Philip responds to Disagreeable Me (@Disagreeable_I) with: “But it’s the same with empirical data. There are always an infinite number of theories that account for the data, and we must choose between them on basis of coherence, clarity, parsimony, etc. Sometimes the choice is obvious, sometimes it’s not (e.g. quantum mechanics).”

    I believe there is a clear choice for interpreting quantum mathematics (QM) and that choice is the Relativistic Transactional Interpretation, which has profound implications for consciousness and other matters. Allow me to explain.

    QM and its incredibly accurate predictions about our reality are based on the quantum level of reality, the level of reality from which our reality emerges. In my opinion, illuminating our understanding of quantum reality clarifies our understanding of where we came from, who we are, where we are, and where we can go. Yet, the Measurement Problem and the Born Rule Problem illustrate that most interpretations of QM are unable to clearly illuminate what’s happening in quantum reality. However, there is one illuminating interpretation of QM, the Relativistic Transactional Interpretation (RTI) that solves the Measurement Problem and the Born Rule Problem. This unique achievement by RTI and its profound implications provide us with a better understanding of consciousness, as well as, a clear and fascinating picture of where we came from, who we are, where we are, and where we can go.

    The Relativistic Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mathematics was originally formulated in 1986 as the Transactional Interpretation (TI) by Professor John Cramer of the University of Washington (Citation1). Since then, Professor Ruth Kastner from the University of Maryland has enhanced TI with a relativistic version, RTI (Citation 2). A basic premise of TI is that at the quantum level of reality, the emission of energy by an emitting quantum particle and the absorption of that energy by an absorbing quantum particle constitutes an observation and a completed measurement. Consequently, TI’s basic premise solves the Measurement Problem by clearly defining an observer, the absorbing quantum particle, as well as, an observation and a completed measurement, the energy transaction between a quantum energy emitter and a quantum energy absorber.

    In addition, TI solves the Born Rule Problem by explaining that offer waves of possible energy in quantum reality are associated with quantum energy emitters and confirmation waves of possible energy in quantum reality are associated with quantum energy absorbers. According to TI, when offer and confirmation waves of possible energy resonate or match in quantum reality, that match produces a probability for observable waves of actual energy to emerge at a specific position and time in our reality. Consequently, from the TI perspective, the Born Rule mathematically represents the matching of offer and confirmation waves in quantum reality.

    Since Kastner’s enhanced Relativistic Transactional Interpretation (RTI) is the most comprehensive interpretation of quantum mathematics that solves the Measurement Problem and the Born Rule Problem, I believe RTI provides the most illuminating interpretation of quantum mathematics available to us at this time, which leads to a number of profound implications. The first of which concerns our universe and consciousness.

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines consciousness as, “The state of being aware of and responsive to one’s surroundings. (Citation 3)” RTI defines an observation and a complete measurement as, “the emission and absorption of energy.” According to conventional science, everything in our universe constantly emits and absorbs energy. When looking at our whole universe from the perspective of RTI’s definition of an observation and a complete measurement, our whole universe is constantly observing and measuring. If our whole universe is constantly observing and measuring, and since observing and measuring are forms of consciousness, that is, are forms “of being aware of and responsive to one’s surroundings,” this implies that our universe is a conscious living being!

    If, as RTI implies, our universe is a conscious living being, who or what gave birth to such a being? Conventional science contends that about 14 billion years ago, our universe emerged from an immaterial, inanimate quantum vacuum (Citation 4). If our universe is a conscious living being could the quantum vacuum be animate? Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary provides an answer.

    Webster’s defines soul as, “the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life (Citation 5)” Since the quantum vacuum is the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life, in this case, our conscious living universe, this means the quantum vacuum, as defined by Webster’s, is the soul of our conscious living universe. Consequently, based on RTI’s illuminating insights into quantum mathematics and Webster’s definition of soul, it’s a real possibility that our universe is a conscious, living, quantum being with an immaterial soul!

    There are many more implications that flow from the possibility that our universe is a conscious, living, quantum being with an immaterial soul, but those implications require their on comments. However, there is one thought provoking implication that I believe belongs here. If our universe is a conscious, living, quantum being with an immaterial soul, then all of our universe’s energy and matter are part of a conscious, living, quantum being, with each part having a unique level of consciousness and aliveness. I consider this implication the basis for panpsychism.

    1. Cramer, J. G. (1986). “The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics.” Reviews of Modern Physics 58, 647–88.

    2. Kastner, R. E. (2018). “On the Status of the Measurement Problem: Recalling the Relativistic Transactional Interpretation,” Int’l Jour. Quan. Foundations, Volume 4, Issue 1, 128-141.

    3. Consciousness. (2020). Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.lexico.com/definition/consciousness

    4. Schombert, J. (2020). Quantum Vacuum. AST123: Galaxies and the Expanding Universe. http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/ast123/lectures/lec17.html

    5. Soul. (2020). Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/soul

  12. Hi Philip,

    Beginner question:

    Naturalistic Dualism and Materialism both seem to define consciousness as being delimited to the brain. It’s all in the skull and that’s that. Any experience or awareness of the world surrounding the brain must come through the eyes, nose, fingertips and other physical nervous system sensory inputs. Without those there is zero connection to anything outside of the brain.

    However, with Pansychism, it would seem that delimitation is not necessarily the case. If consciousness is a feature of matter there would be some faint connection to the consciousness in the brain, even if very slight, from surrounding matter. The brain would look like a dense concentration of consciousness but it would taper off to its surroundings. Maybe drastically, more than the inverse-square law, but never with an absolute delimitation. Consciousness wouldn’t stop at the edge of the brain any more than gravity stops at the surface of the earth, or magnetism at the edge of an energized coil. And if so, it seems it would open up some interesting possibilities. Would this make pansychism experimentally testable by the discernment of an external event that is not perceptible to nervous system inputs? Would this also imply the possibility of the metaphysical noosphere of Teilhard de Chardin. Am I understanding this correctly?

    • Interesting thoughts! That’s definitely a possibility, although I don’t think it follows from panpsychism. I’m inclined to think you end up with a simpler and more elegant theory if you keep consciousness in the brain, but we’d just have to work through the details of a particular theory to test that.

      • Thank you for your response. My hope is that pansychism may reveal a fundamental component of our reality that would make possible deeper connections between conscious beings. That our evolutionary future may lead us to a more empathic, compassionate and united humanity. And thanks for the reading recommendations sprinkled throughout your writings! I have added
        “A Fortunate Universe (Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos)” to my reading list.

    • Joseph Sabella says

      Hi Clayton,

      I agree with your statement, “If consciousness is a feature of matter there would be some faint connection to the consciousness in the brain, even if very slight, from surrounding matter. The brain would look like a dense concentration of consciousness but it would taper off to its surroundings.”

      I agree with this statement based on my belief that quantum physics plays a fundamental role in matter and biology. In light of this, I wonder if you are familiar with Ruth Kastner’s Relativistic Transactional Interpretation (Kastner, 2018) of quantum mathematics. Kastner’s Relativistic Transactional Interpretation (RTI) furthers the interpretations of John Wheeler and Richard Feynman (1945, 1949) and John Cramer (1986). In addition, as far as I know, RTI is the only interpretation of quantum mathematics that solves the Measurement Problem and the Born Rule Problem. This is what makes RTI so illuminating and credible to me.

      RTI posits that the emission and absorption of energy constitutes an observation and a measurement. Since our whole universe is constantly emitting and absorbing energy, that is, constantly observing and measuring, and since observing and measuring are aspects of consciousness, then RTI leads to the astounding implication that our whole universe is a conscious, living, biological, quantum being or a bioquantum being!

      If our universe is a bioquantum being, then all of our universe’s energy and matter are part of this bioquantum being, with each part having a unique level of consciousness and aliveness. I consider this the basis for panpsychism and I believe this supports your statement that, “The brain would look like a dense concentration of consciousness but it would taper off to its surroundings.”

      In response to your comment, “Would this make panpsychism experimentally testable by the discernment of an external event that is not perceptible to nervous system inputs?” What I think you’re suggesting is something like remote viewing, which is perceiving and describing information about a person, place, or object that is hidden from your senses, such as describing what’s on a card that’s hidden from view, or describing a previously unknown object or person miles from your location.

      Based on the idea that consciousness is in all things, I believe remote viewing and other panpsychic skills are innate in each person, and with the proper training these skills can be developed. There are places where people can learn and practice techniques for developing their panpsychic skills. At these places people learn for themselves, if these skills are real or not.

      Finally, in my opinion, all of this confirms the existence of Teilhard de Chardin’s noosphere.

      1. Cramer, J. G. (1986). “The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics.” Reviews of Modern Physics 58, 647–88. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.58.647

      2. Kastner, R. E. (2018). “On the Status of the Measurement Problem: Recalling the Relativistic Transactional Interpretation,” Int’l Jour. Quan. Foundations, Volume 4, Issue 1, 128-141. https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1709/1709.09367.pdf

      3. Wheeler, J. A.; Feynman, R. P. (April 1945). “Interaction with the Absorber as the Mechanism of Radiation” (PDF). Reviews of Modern Physics. 17 (2–3): 157–181. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.17.157.

      4. Wheeler, J. A.; Feynman, R. P. (July 1949). “Classical Electrodynamics in Terms of Direct Interparticle Action”. Reviews of Modern Physics. 21 (3): 425–433. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.21.425.

      • I agree entirely with you, Joseph. And there is a key reason why RTI is of such fundamental importance: existence is founded on trans-action. I would only add that Semiotic Realism adds an important element to this by making real the science of relationality as the science of ‘signification’ or the ‘action of signs’.

  13. Joseph Sabella says

    Hi Philip,

    I agree with you that Clayton’s thoughts are interesting. If consciousness is a feature of matter, as Clayton suggests and as the Relativistic Transactional Interpretation (Kastner, 2018) of quantum mathematics implies, then just as Clayton writes, “Consciousness wouldn’t stop at the edge of the brain any more than gravity stops at the surface of the earth, or magnetism at the edge of an energized coil.”

    Every object has a different amount of mass or magnetism. Consequently, every object has a different amount of gravitational and magnetic potential defined by inverse square laws. Similarly, if consciousness is a feature of matter, it’s conceivable every object has a different amount of consciousness potential defined by a yet to be discovered mathematical relationship. What could be simpler and more elegant than that?

    1. Kastner, R. E. (2018). “On the Status of the Measurement Problem: Recalling the Relativistic Transactional Interpretation,” Int’l Jour. Quan. Foundations, Volume 4, Issue 1, 128-141. https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1709/1709.09367.pdf

  14. What do you think about Rupert Sheldrake? He sees himself as a scientist who wants to explain consciousness. I think his theory of morphogenetic fields is very interesting and promising.

  15. Jospeh Sabella says

    Hi Spirit-Salamander

    I agree. I think Sheldrake’s theory of morphogenetic fields is interesting and promising. In my opinion, the quantum fields that form our universe are like holographic films. As the our universe’s holographic quantum fields rotate through the quantum vacuum they produce the dynamic hologram we call our physical universe, which includes us and all biological life. In my opinion, Sheldrake’s morphogenetic fields are various subsets of our universe’s holographic quantum fields.

  16. Joseph Sabella says

    Spirit-Salamander Addition: I agree. In my opinion, our minds are morphic or quantum fields composed of instincts and beliefs, which interact within our universe’s quantum field and with the quantum vacuum to form the holographic reality of planets, people, animals, and plants we perceive.

  17. The concept of morphogenetic fields is consistent with the idea that Charles Sanders Peirce brought forward back in the 1890’s in his set of metaphysical papers in a journal called ‘The Monist’, which he called the ‘Law of Mind’, which is the ‘tendency of the universe to take habits.’ That is, the idea that once something has happened, it is more likely to happen again. In a sense, this is a form of memory. And, from the perspective of Ruth Kastner’s RTI/PTI, this is the influence of what has actualized into the physical realm on the hidden relational realm of possibility. A similar perspective in terms that David Bohm introduced, this is the effect of the Explicate Order back onto the Implicate Order. The converse is the more commonly considered process of actualization from possibility which is how the Implicate Order influences the Explicate Order, or how QuantumLand exerts influence on ManifestLand, which is where most attention tends to be focused–ie. how does the possible get selected for actualization? Lee Smolin maintains that, at the quantum level, the idea of reality tending to ‘form habits’ is encapsulated through his ‘Principle of Precedence’. Which is basically the idea that the probability of recurrence increases with each recurrence of an event.
    The idea that the universe maintains a memory of events that have actualized relates, I think, to Whitehead’s idea that there is a ‘Consequent Nature’ of the G-dhead which maintains the totality of memory of all ‘actual occasions’ or ‘events’.
    One might think of this as ‘possibilization’ of the actual (Process A–>P), which is the converse of the ‘actualization of the possible’ (Process P–>A). In that there is a bidirectional exchange between the realm of manifest physical actuality which is apparent to our senses and the realm of hidden relational reality which is not.
    Process A–>P is a process of retention of the actual into the possible via the formation of morphogenetic fields which, from the perspective of the physically actual realm, is an influence of the present actual ‘what is’ on the future potential ‘what could be’, while Process P–>A is a process of ‘protention’ of the possible into the actual via the process of actualization which from the physically actual realm is an influence of the future ‘what could be’ on the present ‘what is’.

  18. And I agree that this all ties in very nicely with Ruth Kastner’s RTI/PTI version of the Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics and the concept of the ‘Reality of Possibility’ which is a form of Realism that poses a viable and needed alternative to the conventional culturally dominant mode of Cartesian Nominalism.

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