Courses on Information Philosophy
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This course is based on the Free Will section of the Information Philosopher website and Bob Doyle's book
Free Will: The Scandal in Philosophy.
We will work through the book to learn the Standard Argument Against Free Will, the Two-Stage Model of Free Will, and the leading philosophers on free will and their different philosophical positions.
John Searle called it something of a scandal that after all the centuries of writing about free will, we have not made very much progress.
Bob Doyle surveys the centuries, recounting the many different forms of determinism that have been used to deny human freedom and responsibility. Even many defenders of free will think that it remains a metaphysical mystery, one that cannot be simply explained by basing it on other unintelligible mysteries such as quantum mechanics, or making it an equally mysterious gift of God.
Information philosophy is a new philosophical methodology that goes “beyond logic and language” to the underlying information structures in the cosmos, in the world, in biological systems, and in the human mind - structures without which logic, language, and science would be impossible.
According to Doyle, the more serious scandal today is that academic philosophers are convincing many young students that they are biological machines whose actions are completely determined.
To end the scandal, philosophers need to teach a two-stage model of free will and creativity, one that Doyle finds in the work of a dozen philosophers and scientists going back to William James in 1884.
Doyle’s Cogito model of the mind treats human beings as an essential part of a cosmic creation process that creates objective value.
We will study some great questions of philosophy for which information philosophy now provides us with the possibility of fuller understanding, with plausible and practical, if tentative, solutions to philosophical problems that have been known for millennia as well as major problems in physics from the twentieth century.
Several of these are problems that 20th-century philosophers like Ludwig Wittgenstein
labeled "philosophical puzzles" and Bertrand Russell
called "pseudo-problems." Analytic language philosophers thought many of these problems could be "dis-solved
," revealing them to be conceptual errors caused by the misuse of language.
Analytical philosopher Gilbert Ryle called them "category mistakes" that could be avoided by more careful "conceptual analysis." For example, his critical analysis of the "concept of mind" concluded that a "metaphysical" - an immaterial - mind simply could not exist.
Using the new methodology of information philosophy, these classic problems are now back under consideration as genuinely important, analyzable and potentially soluble in terms of immaterial information.
Although it is neither matter nor energy, immaterial information can interact causally with the more familiar contents of the physical world. Information philosophy explains how "an idea can move mountains."
This course is based on the Metaphysicist.com website and Bob Doyle's book Metaphysics: Problems, Paradoxes, and Puzzles a work on some classical questions in philosophy that 20-century logical positivists and analytic language philosophers thought could be dis-solved as "pseudo-problems."
This Metaphysics course analyzes the information content in twenty classic problems in metaphysics - Abstract Entities, Being and Becoming, Causality, Chance, Change, Coinciding Objects, Composition (Parts and Wholes), Constitution, Free Will or Determinism, God and Immortality, Identity, Individuation, Mind-Body Problem, Modality, Necessity or Contingency, Persistence, Possibility and Actuality, Space and Time, Universals, Vagueness, and the 20th-century problem of Wave-Particle Duality.
The course also includes lessons on the classic paradoxes and puzzles used for millennia to wrestle with metaphysical problems, The Debtor’s Paradox, Dion and Theon, Frege's Puzzle, The Growing Argument, The Infinite Regress, The Problem of the Many, The Ship of Theseus, The Sorites Puzzle, The Statue and the Clay, and Tibbles, the Cat.
This course is based on the Quantum Mechanics section of the I-Phi website and Bob Doyle's book My God, He Plays Dice!: How Albert Einstein Invented Most of Quantum Mechanics.
We will examine whether the most famous critic of quantum mechanics actually invented most of its fundamentally important concepts?
In his 1905 Brownian motion paper, Albert Einstein quantized matter, proving the existence of atoms. His light quantum hypothesis showed that energy itself comes in particles (photons). He showed energy and matter are interchangeable, E = mc2. In 1905 Einstein was first to see nonlocality and instantaneous action-at-a-distance. In 1907 he saw quantum “jumps” between energy levels in matter, six years before Niels Bohr postulated them in his atomic model. Einstein saw wave-particle duality and the “collapse” of the wave in 1909. And in 1916 his transition probabilities for emission and absorption processes introduced ontological chance when matter and radiation interact, making quantum mechanics statistical. He discovered the indistinguishability and odd quantum statistics of elementary particles in 1925 and in 1935 speculated about the nonseparability of interacting identical particles.
It took physicists over twenty years to accept Einsteins light-quantum. He explained the relation of particles to waves fifteen years before Heisenberg matrices and Schrödinger wave functions. He saw indeterminism ten years before the uncertainty principle. And he saw nonlocality as early as 1905, presenting it formally in 1927, but was ignored. In the 1935 Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paper, he explored nonseparability, which was dubbed “entanglement” by Schrödinger. The EPR paper has gone from being irrelevant to Einsteins most cited work and the basis for todays “second revolution in quantum mechanics.”
In a radical revision of the history of quantum physics, Bob Doyle develops Einstein's idea of objective reality to resolve several of todays most puzzling quantum mysteries, including the two-slit experiment, quantum entanglement, and microscopic irreversibility.