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Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
George Berkeley
Isaiah Berlin
Richard J. Bernstein
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
Michael Burke
Lawrence Cahoone
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Herbert Feigl
Arthur Fine
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
Sam Harris
William Hasker
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Christoph Lehner
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Jules Lequyer
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
Thomas Nagel
Otto Neurath
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Karl Popper
Huw Price
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Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
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L. Susan Stebbing
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Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
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Mark Twain
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Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
C.F. von Weizsäcker
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf


Michael Arbib
Walter Baade
Bernard Baars
Leslie Ballentine
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Mara Beller
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Olivier Darrigol
Charles Darwin
Richard Dawkins
Terrence Deacon
Lüder Deecke
Richard Dedekind
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Gerald Edelman
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Philipp Frank
Lila Gatlin
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GianCarlo Ghirardi
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Thomas Gold
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Joshua Greene
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John-Dylan Haynes
Donald Hebb
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Art Hobson
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
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Stuart Kauffman
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Stephen Kosslyn
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Leopold Kronecker
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
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Seth Lloyd
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Ernst Mach
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Ulrich Mohrhoff
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Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
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Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Tilman Sauer
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Lee Smolin
Roger Sperry
John Stachel
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
Max Tegmark
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Giulio Tononi
Peter Tse
Vlatko Vedral
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek
Konrad Zuse
Fritz Zwicky


Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
The Ergod
There is absolutely nothing supernatural about the cosmic creation process, but it is the source of support for human life. Many theologically-minded thinkers have long assumed that life and mind were given to humanity by a divine providence.

The main product of the cosmic creation process is all the negative entropy in the universe. While thermodynamics calls it "negative," information philosophy sees it as the ultimate positive and deserving of a better name. So we call it the Ergo, which etymologically suggests a fundamental kind of energy ("erg" zero), e.g., the "Gibbs free energy," G0, that is available to do work because it has low entropy.

We co-opted the technical term "ergodic" from statistical mechanics as a replacement for anti-entropic, and because it contained "ergod."

Entropy was coined in 1865 by the Rudolf Clausius, from the Greek words έν-, "in", and τροπη, "a trope or turning", in analogy with energy. Energy came from ancient Greek ἐνέργεια (enérgeia, “action, act, work”), itself from έργον (ergon: "work"). Ludwig Boltzmann coined the term "ergodic" (the path followed by energy) from the ancient Greek words έργον (ergon: "work") and οδός (hodos: "path" or "way").

In statistical mechanics, Boltzmann's idea of ergodicity amounts to the assumption that particles explore in time all the possible paths in phase space (the product of ordinary coordinate space and momentum space) as uniformly as possible. Each location has an equal possibility of being occupied as any other, although the likelihood of the higher energy momentum states is reduced by the “Boltzmann principle” that the probability of states with energy E is reduced by the exponential “Boltzmann factor,” f(E) ~ e-E/kT. This corresponds in quantum mechanics to the equal probability for all the smallest possible volumes or "microstates" allowed according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, h3 = (Δp Δx)3.

We must admit the name Ergo was chosen in the early days of information philosophy (1960's), when we called it "ergodic philosophy." Our two major problems then were freedom and values, the interdependent pair, each diminished without the other. We had studied western analytic language philosophy and continental existentialism and found them both wanting. We prepared a chiasmos figure of speech that captured the dilemma.

Freedom without values is absurd (as continental existentialists like Jean-Paul Sartre thought). Values without freedom are worthless (as British utilitarians and later positivists thought).

We think that the first modern philosopher, René Descartes, was right when he made the mind immaterial and the locus of freedom. If there is any freedom for humans, it is especially freedom of thought, although this freedom has to be exercised very cautiously in religious societies where "unbelievers" may be killed for their ideas.

So we named our two-stage model for free will the Cogito. And we named our postulate that negative entropy might be considered a basis for objective values the Ergo.

We wondered for many years what significance we might find in the third term in our triad, the Sum, but it worked out wonderfully as the abstract and immaterial subset of the Ergo that is the sum of human knowledge.

Caveat emptor. Theomorphisms are dangerous and the source of many evils in the world. Pretenders claim they have special access to a god and exploit those seeking the "truth" and deep "beliefs," by promising deliverance of unrealizable goods.

An "afterlife" is perhaps the most deceitful and historically the most successful marketing scheme of all time. It costs nothing to produce and no customer will ever claim to be unsatisfied. Despite the absurd and conflicting claims of different "brands," its diverse promoters have amassed untold power over the people, both financial and political.

An anthropomorphization (or theomorphization) of the process that creates all the energy with low entropy that we call Ergo has a number of beneficial consequences. Most all human cultures look for the source of their existence in something "higher" than their mundane existence. This intuition of a cosmic force, a providence that deserves reverence, is validated in part by the discovery of what we can provocatively call "Ergod," as the ultimate source of life.

Such an Ergod has the power to resist the terrible and universal Second Law of Thermodynamics, which commands the increase of chaos and entropy (disorder). The great mathematician and inventor of Cybernetics, Norbert Wiener, saw Entropy as the Devil incarnate, a most apt theological metaphor.

Without violating that inviolable Second Law overall, the Ergod reduces the entropy locally, creating pockets of cosmos and negative entropy (order and information-rich structures). All human life, and any possible extraterrestrial life, lives in one of these pockets.

Note that the opposition of Ergod and Entropy, of Ergodic processes and Entropic processes, coincides with the ancient Zarathustrian image of a battle between the forces of light (Ahura Mazda) and darkness (Angra Manyu), of good and evil, of heaven and hell. Many religions have variations on this dualist theme, and the three major Western religions all share the same Biblical source, probably incorporated into Judaism during the Babylonian exile.

The Ergod is "present" and we can say enthusiastically is "in us." The Ergod's work is to create new information, so when we create and share information we are doing the Ergod's work.

Finally, note that as the primary and primeval creator of information, the Ergod's realm straddles our three worlds, the material, the biological, and the ideal worlds. Neither matter nor energy, information is the modern spirit, the soul, the ghost in the machine.

For Teachers
For Scholars

Chapter 3.6 - The Cosmology of Value Chapter 4.1 - The Problem of Freedom
Part Two - Knowledge Part Four - Freedom
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