Tuesday, 19 November 2019

The Psychological Arrow Of Time Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 147):
Our subjective sense of the direction of time, the psychological arrow of time, is therefore determined within our brain by the thermodynamic arrow of time. Just like a computer, we must remember things in the order in which entropy increases. This makes the second law of thermodynamics almost trivial. Disorder increases with time because we measure time in the direction in which disorder increases.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the psychological arrow of time is the direction of the unfolding of processes of consciousness, such as construing experience as meaning, and (re)construing meaning as the second law of thermodynamics.

Time measures the unfolding of processes, whether the processes result in increased overall disorder or increased local order (as in self-organising systems).

Sunday, 17 November 2019

The Thermodynamic Arrow Of Time Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 145-6, 147-8):
The second law of thermodynamics results from the fact that there are always many more disordered states than there are ordered ones. … Suppose a system starts out in one of the small number of ordered states. As time goes by, the system will evolve according to the laws of science and its state will change. At a later time, it is more probable that the system will be in a disordered state than in an ordered one because there are more disordered states. Thus disorder will tend to increase with time if the system obeys an initial condition of high order. …
But why should the thermodynamic arrow of time exist at all? Or, in other words, why should the universe be in a state of high order at one end of time, the end that we call the past?

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the change from a ordered state to a disordered state unfolds as a material process, whereas time is the dimension along which the process unfolds. On this view, physicists routinely confuse the process (e.g. the ticking of a clock) with the temporal dimension (e.g. the interval between each tick, the duration of the ticking, etc.).

Friday, 15 November 2019

The Thermodynamic, Psychological And Cosmological Arrows Of Time Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [1]

Hawking (1988: 145):
The increase of disorder or entropy with time is one example of what is called an arrow of time, something that distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time. There are at least three different arrows of time. First, there is the thermodynamic arrow of time, the direction of time in which disorder or entropy increases. Then, there is the psychological arrow of time. This is the direction in which we feel time passes, the direction in which we remember the past but not the future. Finally, there is the cosmological arrow of time. This is the direction of time in which the universe is expanding rather than contracting.
In this chapter I shall argue that the no boundary condition for the universe, together with the weak anthropic principle, can explain why all three arrows point in the same direction — and moreover, why a well-defined arrow of time should exist at all. I shall argue that the psychological arrow is determined by the thermodynamic arrow, and that these two arrows necessarily always point in the same direction. If one assumes the no boundary condition for the universe, we shall see that there must be well-defined thermodynamic and cosmological arrows of time, but they will not point in the same direction for the whole history of the universe. However, I shall argue that it is only when they do point in the same direction that conditions are suitable for the development of intelligent beings who can ask the question: why does disorder increase in the same direction of time as that in which the universe expands? 

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the reason that time has a direction is simply because it is the dimension of the unfolding of processes. In this view, there is only one direction that the arrow of time can point. The thermodynamic arrow of time is the dimension of the unfolding of material processes that lead from order to disorder. The psychological arrow of time is the dimension of the unfolding of mental (and verbal) processes. The cosmological arrow of time is the dimension of the unfolding of the relational processes of spatial expansion.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The Strong Anthropic Principle Through Systemic Functional Linguistics


Hawking (1988: 125):
The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. We cannot, at the moment at least, predict the values of these numbers from theory — we have to find them by observation. … The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life. … Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty. One can take this either as evidence of a divine purpose in Creation and the choice of the laws of science or as support for the strong anthropic principle.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, most interpretations of the strong anthropic principle tend to mistake the causal relation of result for the causal relation of purpose; mistaking humans as the result of physical processes for humans as purpose of physical processes.

Since beauty is a construal of experience as meaning, the beauty of a universe depends on there being such a construal by processes of consciousness.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Big Bang And Black Hole Singularities Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [2]

Hawking (1988: 115):
Einstein’s general theory of relativity, on its own, predicted that space-time began at the big bang singularity and would come to an end either at the big crunch singularity (if the whole universe recollapsed), or at a singularity inside a black hole (if a local region, such as a star, were to collapse). Any matter that fell into the hole would be destroyed at the singularity, and only the gravitational effect of its mass would continue to be felt outside.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, a singularity is the geometrical point at which all spatial intervals equal zero (and time intervals equal infinity).  Because there is no space for matter-energy, and because there is no matter-energy, there are no processes to unfold, and because there are no processes, there is no time dimension to measure their unfolding.

The big bang is the relative expansion of space intervals (and contraction of time intervals) from such a singularity, whereas the collapse to a black hole is the relative contraction of space intervals (and expansion of time intervals) towards such a singularity.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Gravitational Waves Vs Light Waves Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 89-90):
General relativity predicts that heavy objects that are moving will cause the emission of gravitational waves, ripples in the curvature of space that travel at the speed of light. These are similar to light waves, which are ripples of the electromagnetic field, but they are much harder to detect. 

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, according to General Relativity, gravitational waves are propagations of a disturbance, relatively contracted space intervals and expanded time intervals, caused by the acceleration of a massive body.

On the other hand, from the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, according to Quantum Mechanics, the wave model of light reconstrues light as potential — measured as probability — whereas the particle model of light reconstrues light as instance.  That is, the (crests of) ripples in the electromagnetic field represent peak probabilities of particle locations.

That is, whereas gravitational waves are instantial propagations of space-time variation, light waves quantify potential instantiations of matter-energy.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Big Bang And Black Hole Singularities Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [1]

Hawking (1988: 88-9):
The work that Roger Penrose and I did between 1965 and 1970 showed that, according to general relativity, there must be a singularity of infinite density and space-time curvature within a black hole. This is rather like the big bang at the beginning of time, only it would be an end of time for the collapsing body and the astronaut. At this singularity the laws of science and our ability to predict the future would break down.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, according to the General Theory of Relativity, a singularity is a geometric point at which intervals of the three spatial dimensions contract to 0 and time intervals expand to ∞ due to the presence of matter.  Curvature is a feature of particle trajectories through regions of contracted space intervals.

The singularity of a black hole and the singularity of the Big Bang differ significantly in the fact that the former is located in space and surrounded by matter-energy, whereas the latter is not, since it represents the space of the entire universe as a geometric point.

If time is the dimension measuring the unfolding of processes, the end of time is the end of all processes whose unfolding time measures.  At a singularity, there are no spatial dimensions for processes to unfold in, and no space for the quantum fields in which particles are probabilistically instantiated.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

The Contraction Of Space In The Formation Of A Black Hole Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 88):
This scenario is not entirely realistic, however, because of the following problem. Gravity gets weaker the farther you are from the star, so the gravitational force on our intrepid astronaut’s feet would always be greater than the force on his head. This difference in the forces would stretch our astronaut out like spaghetti or tear him apart before the star had contracted to the critical radius at which the event horizon formed! However, we believe that there are much larger objects in the universe, like the central regions of galaxies, that can also undergo gravitational collapse to produce black holes; an astronaut on one of these would not be torn apart before the black hole formed. He would not, in fact, feel anything special as he reached the critical radius, and could pass the point of no return without noticing it. However, within just a few hours, as the region continued to collapse, the difference in the gravitational forces on his head and his feet would become so strong that again it would tear him apart.


Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, according to General Relativity, gravity is manifested as the relative contraction of space intervals with proximity to the centre of mass of a material body.  On this basis, in both of the above scenarios, the space intervals at the astronaut's feet are relatively more contracted than the space intervals at the astronaut's head.  This means that, in the gravitational collapse in the formation of a black hole, the astronaut in the region of collapse is relatively crushed from the feet up.

Friday, 1 November 2019

The Expansion Of Time In The Formation Of A Black Hole Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 87-8):
In order to understand what you would see if you were watching a star collapse to form a black hole, one has to remember that in the theory of relativity there is no absolute time. Each observer has his own measure of time. The time for someone on a star will be different from that for someone at a distance, because of the gravitational field of the star. Suppose an intrepid astronaut on the surface of the collapsing star, collapsing inward with it, sent a signal every second, according to his watch, to his spaceship orbiting about the star. At some time on his watch, say 11:00, the star would shrink below the critical radius at which the gravitational field becomes so strong nothing can escape, and his signals would no longer reach the spaceship. As 11:00 approached, his companions watching from the spaceship would find the intervals between successive signals from the astronaut getting longer and longer, but this effect would be very small before 10:59:59. They would have to wait only very slightly more than a second between the astronaut’s 10:59:58 signal and the one that he sent when his watch read 10:59:59, but they would have to wait forever for the 11:00 signal. The light waves emitted from the surface of the star between 10:59:59 and 11:00, by the astronaut’s watch, would be spread out over an infinite period of time, as seen from the spaceship. The time interval between the arrival of successive waves at the spaceship would get longer and longer, so the light from the star would appear redder and redder and fainter and fainter. Eventually, the star would be so dim that it could no longer be seen from the spaceship: all that would be left would be a black hole in space. The star would, however, continue to exert the same gravitational force on the spaceship, which would continue to orbit the black hole.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, according to General Relativity, gravity involves the relative expansion of time intervals, as between ticks of a clock — the closer to the centre of mass in a gravitational field, the more relatively expanded the time intervals. This is why the watch of an astronaut on the surface of a star ticks relatively ever more slowly as the spatial dimensions of a star contract under gravity, with the time intervals eventually expanding to ∞, relative to the time intervals at the orbiting spaceship.

The redshift of the light emitted from the collapsing star, on the other hand, is due to the relative expansion of space intervals between photons — reducing their relative frequency — as light moves from the relatively contracted space intervals near the event horizon to the relatively expanded space intervals where the orbiting spaceship is located.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

The Event Horizon Of A Black Hole Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 85-7):
Eventually, when the star has shrunk to a certain critical radius, the gravitational field at the surface becomes so strong that the light cones are bent inward so much that light can no longer escape (Fig. 6.1). According to the theory of relativity, nothing can travel faster than light. Thus if light cannot escape, neither can anything else; everything is dragged back by the gravitational field. So one has a set of events, a region of space-time, from which it is not possible to escape to reach a distant observer. This region is what we now call a black hole. Its boundary is called the event horizon and it coincides with the paths of light rays that just fail to escape from the black hole. 


Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, according to General Relativity, the event horizon of a black hole is the distance from the gravitational singularity where the intervals of the three spatial dimensions have contracted to such an extent that the trajectory of light is curved to remain within the space between it and the singularity. 

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Gravitational Redshift Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 85):
The gravitational field of the star changes the paths of light rays in space-time from what they would have been had the star not been present. The light cones, which indicate the paths followed in space and time by flashes of light emitted from their tips, are bent slightly inward near the surface of the star. This can be seen in the bending of light from distant stars observed during an eclipse of the sun. As the star contracts, the gravitational field at its surface gets stronger and the light cones get bent inward more. This makes it more difficult for light from the star to escape, and the light appears dimmer and redder to an observer at a distance.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, according to General Relativity, the gravitational field of a star is the relative contraction of space intervals around the centre of its mass.  It is this contraction of space intervals that accounts for the geodesic trajectory of light from distant stars curving towards the star it is passing.

The redshift of the light from distant stars passing through the star's gravitational field is due to the light's passage from the relatively contracted space intervals near the star to the relatively expanded space intervals further from the star.  The relative expansion of space intervals means relatively more space between photons of a given frequency, and so relatively longer wavelengths, and so a relative shift towards the red end of the visible spectrum.

Friday, 25 October 2019

The Formation Of White Dwarf Stars And Neutron Stars Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 84):
If a star’s mass is less than the Chandrasekhar limit, it can eventually stop contracting and settle down to a possible final state as a “white dwarf” with a radius of a few thousand miles and a density of hundreds of tons per cubic inch. A white dwarf is supported by the exclusion principle repulsion between the electrons in its matter. …
Landau pointed out that there was another possible final state for a star, also with a limiting mass of about one or two times the mass of the sun but much smaller even than a white dwarf. These stars would be supported by the exclusion principle repulsion between neutrons and protons, rather than between electrons. They were therefore called neutron stars. They would have a radius of only ten miles or so and a density of hundreds of millions of tons per cubic inch.


Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, according to General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, a white dwarf star is the balance of the gravitational contraction of space-intervals and the expanded volume of matter-energy due to the repulsion of electrons, as described by the Pauli exclusion principle; whereas a neutron star is the balance of the gravitational contraction of space-intervals and the expanded volume of matter-energy due to the repulsion of nucleons (neutrons and protons), as described by the Pauli exclusion principle.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

The Gravitational Collapse Of Stars Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 83-4):
Chandrasekhar worked out how big a star could be and still support itself against its own gravity after it had used up all its fuel. The idea was this: when the star becomes small, the matter particles get very near each other, and so according to the Pauli exclusion principle, they must have very different velocities. This makes them move away from each other and so tends to make the star expand. A star can therefore maintain itself at a constant radius by a balance between the attraction of gravity and the repulsion that arises from the exclusion principle, just as earlier in its life gravity was balanced by the heat. 
Chandrasekhar realised, however, that there is a limit to the repulsion that the exclusion principle can provide. The theory of relativity limits the maximum difference in the velocities of the matter particles in the star to the speed of light. This means that when the star got sufficiently dense, the repulsion caused by the exclusion principle would be less than the attraction of gravity. Chandrasekhar calculated that a cold star of more than about one and a half times the mass of the sun would not be able to support itself against its own gravity. (This mass is now known as the Chandrasekhar limit.)


Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, according to General Relativity, the star "becoming small" under gravity is actually the contraction of the space occupied by the star, and it is this that brings the matter particles closer together. 

On the other hand, the expansion of the star due to the repulsion of particles, as described by the Pauli exclusion principle, is the expansion of the volume of the matter-energy occupying the space, not the expansion of space itself.

That is, the balance that is achieved is between the gravitational contraction of space intervals and the expansion of the volume of the matter-energy (the star itself). 

When the density of a star reduces the amount of particle repulsion, the volume of the star no longer counterbalances the gravitational contraction of the space it occupies, and the star is no longer 'able to support itself against its own gravity'.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Star Formation Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 82-3):
A star is formed when a large amount of gas (mostly hydrogen) starts to collapse in on itself due to its gravitational attraction. As it contracts, the atoms of the gas collide with each other more and more frequently and at greater and greater speeds — the gas heats up. Eventually, the gas will be so hot that when the hydrogen atoms collide they no longer bounce off each other, but instead coalesce to form helium. The heat released in this reaction, which is like a controlled hydrogen bomb explosion, is what makes the star shine. This additional heat also increases the pressure of the gas until it is sufficient to balance the gravitational attraction, and the gas stops contracting. … When a star runs out of fuel, it starts to cool off and so to contract.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, according to General Relativity, the collapse of the hydrogen gas is actually the contraction of the space occupied by gas cloud. Because the contraction of space brings the atoms closer together, it increases the probability of them colliding and coalescing (via deuterium) to form helium atoms.

On this basis, the balance that is achieved is between the gravitational contraction of space intervals and the expansion of the volume of matter-energy (the star itself). When a star runs out of fuel, it no longer expands to counterbalance the gravitational contraction of the space it occupies.

Friday, 18 October 2019

The Notion Of Time Running Backwards (Or Forwards) Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 77-8):
Up to 1956 it was believed that the laws of physics obeyed each of three separate symmetries called C, P, and T. …The symmetry T means that if you reverse the direction of motion of all particles and antiparticles, the system should go back to what it was at earlier times; in other words, the laws are the same in the forward and backward directions of time. … 
There is a mathematical theorem that says that any theory that obeys quantum mechanics and relativity must always obey the combined symmetry CPT. In other words, the universe would have to behave the same if one replaced particles by antiparticles, took the mirror image, and also reversed the direction of time. But Cronin and Fitch showed that if one replaces particles by antiparticles and takes the mirror image, but does not reverse the direction of time, then the universe does not behave the same. The laws of physics, therefore, must change if one reverses the direction of time— they do not obey the symmetry T. Certainly the early universe does not obey the symmetry T: as time runs forward the universe expands — if it ran backward, the universe would be contracting.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the universe does not obey physical models of it, just as a landscape does not obey a map.  Like a landscape, the universe is a construal of experience as meaning, and, like a map of a landscape, a physical model of the universe is a reconstrual of meaning.

Importantly, (conceptually) reversing the direction of motion of particles through space does not reverse the direction of time.  This is because time is the dimension of the unfolding of processes, and this is independent of the direction of motion through space.  The locomotion of particles only occurs along spatial dimensions, not through time; time is a measurement of location and extent of the unfolding of the process of locomotion.  A particle moves (material process) through space, but persists (existential process) through time.

Moreover, the mistaken notion of time "running" forward or backward arises from confusing the dimension (time) with the process that is used as the standard of measurement (the ticking of a clock).

In this interpretation, time does not run either forward or backward, whether the spatial intervals of the universe are expanding or contracting.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Quantum Gravity And Gravitational Waves Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 70):
In the quantum mechanical way of looking at the gravitational field, the force between two matter particles is pictured as being carried by a particle of spin 2 called the graviton. This has no mass of its own, so the force that it carries is long range. The gravitational force between the sun and the earth is ascribed to the exchange of gravitons between the particles that make up these two bodies. Although the exchanged particles are virtual, they certainly do produce a measurable effect — they make the earth orbit the sun! Real gravitons make up what classical physicists would call gravitational waves, which are very weak—and so difficult to detect that they have not yet been observed.


Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the attempt to model gravity in terms of quantum mechanics is an attempt to model a relation between matter and space-time as interactions between matter particles.  Gravitons are still undetected and remain "hypothetical".

Gravitational waves, on the other hand, are propagations of relative space interval contractions and time interval expansions through space; that is, the spatial propagation of the effects of matter on space-time.  Gravitational waves have been detected and are no longer "hypothetical".

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Comparing Gravity To The Other Physical Forces Using Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 70):
The first category is the gravitational force. This force is universal, that is, every particle feels the force of gravity, according to its mass or energy. Gravity is the weakest of the four forces by a long way; it is so weak that we would not notice it at all were it not for two special properties that it has: it can act over large distances, and it is always attractive. This means that the very weak gravitational forces between the individual particles in two large bodies, such as the earth and the sun, can all add up to produce a significant force. The other three forces are either short range, or are sometimes attractive and sometimes repulsive, so they tend to cancel out.


Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, gravity and the cosmological expansion are the attractive and repulsive aspects of the same phenomenon.  In gravity, intervals of space are relatively contracted, and intervals of time are relatively expanded, whereas, in the cosmological expansion, intervals of space are relatively expanded, and intervals of time are relatively contracted.  Taken together, they resemble the other forces in this respect.

On the other hand, this unity differs from the other forces, in as much as gravity and the cosmological expansion are concerned with the interaction of matter-energy and space-time, whereas the other forces — the electromagnetic, and the strong and weak nuclear forces — are concerned with interactions of matter-energy only.

Friday, 11 October 2019

The Quantum Mechanics Of A Singularity Through Systemic Functional Linguistics


Hawking (1988: 60-1):
Einstein’s general theory of relativity seems to govern the large-scale structure of the universe. It is what is called a classical theory; that is, it does not take account of the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics, as it should for consistency with other theories. The reason that this does not lead to any discrepancy with observation is that all the gravitational fields that we normally experience are very weak. However, the singularity theorems discussed earlier indicate that the gravitational field should get very strong in at least two situations, black holes and the big bang. In such strong fields the effects of quantum mechanics should be important.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, general relativity is concerned with the relation between space-time and matter-energy, and construes it geometrically: in terms of contracted and expanded space-time dimensions and curved trajectories of matter-energy along those dimensions.  A gravitational field demarcates the extent of space-time altered by the presence of matter-energy: the contraction of space-intervals, inversely proportional to the expansion of time intervals.

Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, is concerned with the instantiation of matter-energy properties, with quantum fields demarcating the extent of space-time in which quantum instantiations potentially occur.

On this basis, the strong gravitational field around a black hole contracts the spatial intervals of a quantum field, thereby reducing the relative spatial extent of potential instantiations of matter-energy, while expanding its time intervals, such that quantum processes unfold relatively more slowly along spatial dimensions.

At the singularity itself, then, where spatial intervals contract to 0, the field of potential quantum instantiations contracts to 0.  As a consequence, there are no processes to unfold, and so: there are no processes by which to measure time, and so: there is no time dimension (time intervals expand to ∞).

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Feynman's 'Sum Over Histories' Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 59-60):
A nice way of visualising the wave/particle duality is the so-called sum over histories introduced by the American scientist Richard Feynman. In this approach the particle is not supposed to have a single history or path in space-time, as it would in a classical, non-quantum theory. Instead it is supposed to go from A to B by every possible path. With each path there are associated a couple of numbers: one represents the size of a wave and the other represents the position in the cycle (i.e., whether it is at a crest or a trough). The probability of going from A to B is found by adding up the waves for all the paths.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory, Feynman's 'sum over histories' approach — taking into account of every possible trajectory — is the reconstrual of experience as quantum system potential, which is quantified as probability.  The actual paths taken by particles are instances of that potential, whose different frequencies instantiate the different system probabilities.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

The Double-Slit Experiment Of Quantum Theory Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [19]

Hawking (1988: 58-9):
Interference can also occur for particles, because of the duality introduced by quantum mechanics. A famous example is the so-called two-slit experiment (Fig. 4.2). Consider a partition with two narrow parallel slits in it. On one side of the partition one places a source of light of a particular colour (that is, of a particular wavelength). Most of the light will hit the partition, but a small amount will go through the slits. Now suppose one places a screen on the far side of the partition from the light. Any point on the screen will receive waves from the two slits. However, in general, the distance the light has to travel from the source to the screen via the two slits will be different. This will mean that the waves from the slits will not be in phase with each other when they arrive at the screen: in some places the waves will cancel each other out, and in others they will reinforce each other. The result is a characteristic pattern of light and dark fringes.
 
The remarkable thing is that one gets exactly the same kind of fringes if one replaces the source of light by a source of particles such as electrons with a definite speed (this means that the corresponding waves have a definite length). It seems the more peculiar because if one only has one slit, one does not get any fringes, just a uniform distribution of electrons across the screen. One might therefore think that opening another slit would just increase the number of electrons hitting each point of the screen, but, because of interference, it actually decreases it in some places. If electrons are sent through the slits one at a time, one would expect each to pass through one slit or the other, and so behave just as if the slit it passed through were the only one there—giving a uniform distribution on the screen. In reality, however, even when the electrons are sent one at a time, the fringes still appear. Each electron, therefore, must be passing through both slits at the same time!

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, wave-particle duality is the complementarity of potential and instance.  On this view, it is particles, not waves, that pass through the slits.

Importantly, if only one particle is emitted in the double-slit experiment, there is no interference pattern recorded on the detector screen. The interference patterns only begin to appear as more and more particles are detected. This means that the interference cannot be a property of each single instance. And this means that each detected particle only goes through one slit or the other, not both.

Instead, the "interference" is a property of the quantum system as potential, as described by the wave function, with the different frequencies of particle impacts instantiating the different probabilities of the quantum system potential.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Wave-Particle Duality Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [9]

Hawking (1988: 56):
Although light is made up of waves, Planck’s quantum hypothesis tells us that in some ways it behaves as if it were composed of particles: it can be emitted or absorbed only in packets, or quanta. Equally, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle implies that particles behave in some respects like waves: they do not have a definite position but are “smeared out” with a certain probability distribution. The theory of quantum mechanics is based on an entirely new type of mathematics that no longer describes the real world in terms of particles and waves; it is only the observations of the world that may be described in those terms.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, particles do have a definite position, as demonstrated when an observation is made.  They are not "smeared out" because the probability distribution quantifies their potential positions, not their actual (instantial) positions.

The mathematics of quantum mechanics does describe the "real world" in terms of particles and waves, but with the following qualifications:
  1. the "real world" is the identity relation of perceptual and linguistic meaning, construed of experience of the non-semiotic domain;
  2. the mathematics of waves quantifies quantum systems as potential; and
  3. the mathematics of particles quantifies instances of quantum potential.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

The "Unpredictability Or Randomness" Of Quantum Mechanics Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 55-6):
In general, quantum mechanics does not predict a single definite result for an observation. Instead, it predicts a number of different possible outcomes and tells us how likely each of these is. That is to say, if one made the same measurement on a large number of similar systems, each of which started off in the same way, one would find that the result of the measurement would be A in a certain number of cases, B in a different number, and so on. One could predict the approximate number of times that the result would be A or B, but one could not predict the specific result of an individual measurement. Quantum mechanics therefore introduces an unavoidable element of unpredictability or randomness into science.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the possible outcomes predicted by (the wave function of) quantum mechanics constitute the potential meanings of a given system that can be construed of experience, and the likelihood of each outcome constitutes the quantification of such potential as probability.  The specific results of individual measurements are instances of that potential, whose frequencies are in line with the probabilities of the system potential.

What this actually demonstrates is that the construal experience of the non-semiotic domain as meaning, by consciousness, is itself probabilistic.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

The Beginning Of Time Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 46):
As far as we are concerned, events before the big bang can have no consequences, so they should not form part of a scientific model of the universe. We should therefore cut them out of the model and say that time had a beginning at the big bang.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, time is construed in physics as the dimension along which processes unfold.  As such, it is not time that begins with the Big Bang, but the processes used to measure time.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Einstein's Gravity And "Anti-Gravity" Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 40):
Yet so strong was the belief in a static universe that it persisted into the early twentieth century. Even Einstein, when he formulated the general theory of relativity in 1915, was so sure that the universe had to be static that he modified his theory to make this possible, introducing a so-called cosmological constant into his equations. Einstein introduced a new “antigravity” force, which, unlike other forces, did not come from any particular source but was built into the very fabric of space-time. He claimed that space-time had an inbuilt tendency to expand, and this could be made to balance exactly the attraction of all the matter in the universe, so that a static universe would result.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, gravity corresponds to the contraction of space intervals due to the presence of matter, and so "antigravity" corresponds to the expansion of space intervals due to the absence of matter.  On this basis, the expansion of the universe confirms that space does have "an inbuilt tendency to expand", just as Einstein claimed.

However, contrariwise, gravity corresponds to the expansion of time intervals due to the presence of matter — the time between clock ticks expands — and so "antigravity" corresponds to the contraction of time intervals due to the absence of matter.  On this basis, the expansion of the universe confirms that time has "an inbuilt tendency to contract", which corresponds to processes having a tendency to to unfold more quickly.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

The Curvature Of Space-Time Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [2]

Hawking (1988: 33):
Before 1915, space and time were thought of as a fixed arena in which events took place, but which was not affected by what happened in it. This was true even of the special theory of relativity. Bodies moved, forces attracted and repelled, but time and space simply continued, unaffected. It was natural to think that space and time went on forever. 
The situation, however, is quite different in the general theory of relativity. Space and time are now dynamic quantities: when a body moves, or a force acts, it affects the curvature of space and time — and in turn the structure of space-time affects the way in which bodies move and forces act. Space and time not only affect but also are affected by everything that happens in the universe. Just as one cannot talk about events in the universe without the notions of space and time, so in general relativity it became meaningless to talk about space and time outside the limits of the universe.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, as previously argued, the curvature of space-time is the curvature of the trajectory of a body through space whose intervals have been relatively contracted — during which, time intervals are relatively expanded — by the presence of another body.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

The Notion Of Time "Running Slower" Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 32-3):
Another prediction of general relativity is that time should appear to run slower near a massive body like the earth. This is because there is a relation between the energy of light and its frequency (that is, the number of waves of light per second): the greater the energy, the higher the frequency. As light travels upward in the earth’s gravitational field, it loses energy, and so its frequency goes down. (This means that the length of time between one wave crest and the next goes up.) To someone high up, it would appear that everything down below was taking longer to happen. This prediction was tested in 1962, using a pair of very accurate clocks mounted at the top and bottom of a water tower. The clock at the bottom, which was nearer the earth, was found to run slower, in exact agreement with general relativity.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, it is not time that runs slower, but the ticking of a clock that measures intervals of time.  A longer time interval between ticks constitutes an expansion of time intervals.  This means that the presence of matter causes a relative contraction of space intervals but a corresponding relative expansion of time intervals.

As light travels upward in the earth's gravitational field, it is moving from relatively contracted space intervals to relatively expanded space intervals. This means that the spatial interval between wave crests of light is gradually lengthened, with a corresponding lowering of frequency (which is inversely proportional to wavelength).*

By the same token, as light travels upward in the earth's gravitational field, it is moving from relatively expanded time intervals to relatively contracted time intervals.  This means that the number of wave crests per time interval, frequency, is gradually lowered, with a corresponding lengthening of wavelength (which is inversely proportional to frequency).


* If instances of light are particles, rather than waves, then the "wavelength" of light is the distance between photons of a particular frequency (number of occurrences per time interval).

Friday, 20 September 2019

The Curvature Of Space-Time Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [1]

Hawking (1988: 29):
Einstein made the revolutionary suggestion that gravity is not a force like other forces, but is a consequence of the fact that space-time is not flat, as had been previously assumed: it is curved, or “warped,” by the distribution of mass and energy in it. Bodies like the earth are not made to move on curved orbits by a force called gravity; instead, they follow the nearest thing to a straight path in a curved space, which is called a geodesic. A geodesic is the shortest (or longest) path between two nearby points.


Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the presence of matter and energy contracts the intervals of the spatial dimensions — relative to their intervals in the absence of matter and energy — and it is the trajectory of a body moving through relatively contracted space intervals that is curved. Time, on the other hand, is the measure of the unfolding of the process, and, like space, its intervals are either expanded or contracted. (As will be seen in the next post, the presence of matter and energy expands the intervals of time.)

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Paths Through Space-Time Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 24-5):
For example, in Fig. 2.2 time is measured upward in years and the distance along the line from the sun to Alpha Centauri is measured horizontally in miles. The paths of the sun and of Alpha Centauri through space-time are shown as the vertical lines on the left and right of the diagram. A ray of light from the sun follows the diagonal line, and takes four years to get from the sun to Alpha Centauri.
 

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the horizontal axis measures spatial distance, whereas the vertical axis measures the duration of processes. Thus the horizontal extent of the diagonal line represents the spatial distance travelled by photons, whereas the vertical extent of the diagonal line represents the duration of the process of travelling. The notion of a 'path' through time misrepresents the duration of a process as the movement of particles.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Einstein's Relative Time Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 21):
An equally remarkable consequence of relativity is the way it has revolutionised our ideas of space and time. In Newton’s theory, if a pulse of light is sent from one place to another, different observers would agree on the time that the journey took (since time is absolute), but will not always agree on how far the light travelled (since space is not absolute). Since the speed of the light is just the distance it has travelled divided by the time it has taken, different observers would measure different speeds for the light. 
In relativity, on the other hand, all observers must agree on how fast light travels. They still, however, do not agree on the distance the light has travelled, so they must therefore now also disagree over the time it has taken. (The time taken is the distance the light has travelled – which the observers do not agree on – divided by the light’s speed – which they do agree on.) In other words, the theory of relativity put an end to the idea of absolute time! It appeared that each observer must have his own measure of time, as recorded by a clock carried with him, and that identical clocks carried by different observers would not necessarily agree.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, time is a construal of experience of the non-semiotic domain as meaning: a circumstance of the unfolding of processes.  The reconstrual of time as a dimension, in physics, means that it is the dimension along which the unfolding of processes is measured.

Relatively different measures of time arise from relatively different intervals of time between each tick of a clock. That is, a relatively slower clock has a relatively longer interval between each tick, and thus measures a relative expansion of the intervals of the time dimension, whereas a relatively faster clock has a relatively shorter interval between each tick, and thus measures a relative contraction of the intervals of the time dimension.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Berkeley's Subjective/Empirical Idealism Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Hawking (1988: 18):
Newton was very worried by this lack of absolute position, or absolute space, as it was called, because it did not accord with his idea of an absolute God. In fact, he refused to accept lack of absolute space, even though it was implied by his laws. He was severely criticised for this irrational belief by many people, most notably by Bishop Berkeley, a philosopher who believed that all material objects and space and time are an illusion. When the famous Dr. Johnson was told of Berkeley’s opinion, he cried, “I refute it thus!” and stubbed his toe on a large stone.

Blogger Comments:

To be clear, George Berkeley did not believe that "material objects and space and time are an illusion", but that material objects only exist as ideas in the minds of perceivers, and this does not logically entail that they are illusions.  Moreover, Samuel Johnson's stubbing of his toe on a large stone was no refutation of Berkeley's claim, since seeing and feeling the stone are both perceptions in Berkeley's terms. 

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, material objects are construals of experience of the non-semiotic domain as the material-relational domain of meaning by the processes of the mental-verbal domain of meaning (consciousness).  Such meanings entail a relation of identity between perceptual and linguistic systems such that perceptual tokens realise linguistic values.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

(Misinterpretations Of) The Wave Function Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Quantum mechanics is the basic framework of modern subatomic physics. It has successfully withstood almost a century of tests, including French physicist Alain Aspect’s experiments confirming entanglement, or action at a distance between certain types of quantum phenomena. In quantum mechanics, the world unfolds through a combination of two basic ingredients. One is a smooth, fully deterministic wave function: a mathematical expression that conveys information about a particle in the form of numerous possibilities for its location and characteristics. The second is something that realises one of those possibilities and eliminates all the others. Opinions differ about how that happens, but it might be caused by observation of the wave function or by the wave function encountering some part of the classical world. 
Many physicists accept this picture at face value in a conceptual kludge known as the Copenhagen interpretation, authored by Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in the 1920s. But the Copenhagen approach is difficult to swallow for several reasons. Among them is the fact that the wave function is unobservable, the predictions are probabilistic and what makes the function collapse is mysterious. 
What are we to make of that collapsing wave? The equations work, but what the wave function ‘is’ is the key source of contention in interpreting quantum mechanics.
One option, the ‘hidden variables’ approach championed by Albert Einstein and David Bohm, among others, basically states that the wave function is just a temporary fix and that physicists will eventually replace it. Another tack, named quantum Bayesianism, or QBism, by Christopher Fuchs, regards the wave function as essentially subjective. Thus it is merely a guide to what we should believe about the outcome of measurements, rather than a name for a real feature of the subatomic world. Late in his life, Heisenberg proposed that we have to change our notion of reality itself. Reaching back to a concept developed by Aristotle — ‘potency’, as in an acorn’s potential to become an oak tree, given the right context — he suggested that the wave function represents an “intermediate” level of reality.


Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory:
  1. quantum entanglement is not "action at a distance" but the construal, by consciousness, of the non-semiotic domain as meaning; specifically as mutually dependent instances of the same system of quantum potential.  See previous posts here.
  2. the notion that the "world unfolds through a combination of two ingredients" confuses the territory (world) with the map of the territory (Quantum Theory).  The world is a construal of experience as meaning (phenomena); Quantum Theory is a reconstrual of (first-order) meaning as (second-order) theoretical meaning (metaphenomena).
  3. the wave function represents a quantum system as meaning potential, and the "elimination of all but one possibility" is an instantiation of that potential, which happens when, through observation, consciousness construes experience of the non-semiotic domain as meaning.
  4. the notion that wave function can be observed confuses the map (the wave function) with the territory (observable phenomena); see 2.
  5. the notion that wave function can encounter "some part of the classical world" confuses the map (the wave function and a classical description of the world) with the territory (observable phenomena); see 2.
  6. the unobservability of theoretical meaning potential (the wave function) is thus not an argument against the Copenhagen Interpretation, nor is the fact that such potential, like all potential, is probabilistic.
  7. the "mysteriousness" of the collapse of the wave function is thus not an argument against the Copenhagen Interpretation, since it only arises from an epistemological error, namely the realism embodied in the Galilean notion of 'primary qualities', as previously explained on this blog.
  8. the wave function is not a temporary fix, since it continually withstands all tests to disconfirm it.  What needs fixing is epistemological basis on which it is understood.
  9. the notion that the wave function is "essentially subjective" comes close to acknowledging that it is meaning construed of experience by consciousness.
  10. the subatomic world, like all 'reality' is a construal of experience of the non-semiotic domain as the material-relational domain of meaning by processes of the mental-verbal domain (consciousness).  In terms of scientific validity, the 'real' features of the sub-atomic world are second-order (theoretical) meanings that are demonstrated to be consistent with the construal of experience as first-order meaning.
  11. Heisenberg's notion that the wave function represents 'potency' recognises it as potential, though not explicitly as meaning potential.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Lakoff's Cognitive Semantics And Edelman's Conceptual Systems Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 247):
With this background, Lakoff attempts to mount a structure for cognitive semantics. Notice first that meaning is already based in embodiment by means of image schemas, kinæsthetic schemas, metonyms, and the categorical relations that underlie metaphor. But this is not enough: Language is supposed to be characterised by symbolic models. These are models that pair linguistic information with the cognitive models that themselves make up a preexisting conceptual system. In as much as preexisting conceptual models are already embodied through their link to bodily and social experience, this link is not an arbitrary one. In contrast, the attribution of such a linkage to generative grammar in terms of mental representations is arbitrary; it is made from on high by the grammarian.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, Lakoff's cognitive models are meanings of language construed of experience of the non-semiotic domain by processes of consciousness.  Edelman's 'pre-existing conceptual system', on the other hand, is organisation of perceptual meanings — construed of experience of the non-semiotic domain — into systems.  The relation between perceptual meanings and linguistic meanings is one of identity, whereby linguistic values are encoded by reference to perceptual tokens, and perceptual tokens are decoded by reference to linguistic values.

On the cognitive semantics model, human cognition ("intelligence") made human language possible, whereas on the SFL model, human language made human cognition ("intelligence") possible.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The Semiotics Of Walker Percy Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 245):
[Walker] Percy was aware that generative or transformational grammar did not explain language and that it was merely a formal description of competence: No relationship is necessary between this collection of algorithms and what goes on in a person's head. He also understood that individual awareness is symbolic as well as intentional. Higher-order consciousness, as I have called it, is a "knowing with" (con-sciousness). Percy faulted both behaviouristic and semiotic approaches to language that do not pay attention to the intersubjective character of any linguistic act. He also faulted the philosophy of phenomenology for "leaving out the other guy." He insisted that all symbolic exchanges involving meaning show a tetradic relationship between symbol, object, and at least two humans. In a dense and resonant sentence, Percy put it thus: "The act of consciousness is the intending of the object as being what it is for both of us under the auspices of a symbol." He describes Helen Keller's rapture when she learned that water was "water" and her urgent desire to know then what other things "were." Language, as Percy put it creates a world, not just an environment. That world is loaded with intentionality, with projections, with feelings, with prejudice, and with affection.


Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the 'intersubjective character of any linguistic act' and 'the other guy' are modelled in terms of the interpersonal metafunction of language, through which interactants enact themselves and intersubjective relations as meaning.

'All symbolic exchanges' involve instances of expressions (symbols) of meaning construed of experience of the non-semiotic domain.  Helen Keller's rapture derived from her identification of perceptual meaning tokens with linguistic meaning values.

The world is meaning construed of experience of the non-semiotic domain by processes of consciousness, mental and verbal.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Language Acquisition Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 243-5):
As recounted by [Margaret] Donaldson [in Children's Minds], John Macnamara has proposed that children are able to learn language because they first make sense of situations involving human interactions. Children make sense of things first and, above all, they make sense of what people do. Donaldson's summary makes it clear that children can see things from another's point of view, not just their own. They reason deductively and carry out inference at age four or so, much more skilfully than had been previously supposed. It also seems that a child first makes sense of situations and of human intentions and then of what is said. This means that language is not independent of the rest of cognition. Therefore we need to account for language acquisition not only developmentally but also evolutionarily.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, in ontogenesis, language and the cultural context construed by language develop together.

Their evolution (phylogenesis) provides the semogenic context for their development in the individual (ontogenesis), which provides the semogenic context for their instantiation; and conversely, their instantiation provides the material for their ontogenesis, which provides the material for their evolution.

On this model, the cognitive processes that the child uses to make sense of situations are the mental processes that construe experience of the non-semiotic domain as the meanings of language.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Chomsky's Notion Of A Language Acquisition Device Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 242-3):
All of this is by way of introducing the problem of how thought and language are connected. A clear picture must be drawn of the relation between concept systems and language. Does the mastery of language depend on the existence of a rich and embodied concept system? Or is language mastery more or less autonomous, developing by means of a language acquisition device? 
One of the most pervasive and influential approaches to these critical questions was pioneered by Chomsky. In his formal systems approach, the principal assumption is that the rules of syntax are independent of semantics. Language, in this view, is independent of the rest of cognition. I must take issue with this notion.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, thoughts are the meanings of language projected by the cognitive mental processes of consciousness.

As previously explained, Edelman's 'concept systems' are perceptual meanings organised into systems of relations. In the ontogenesis of linguistic systems, perceptual meanings are identified with concrete experiential linguistic meanings, such that the identity encodes linguistic values by reference to perceptual tokens.

On this view, a biological language acquisition device is, prototypically, a socially-embedded human being.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Intentionality And Referral Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 238):
With the homunculus, we come to one of the great problems in considering the matter of the mind: the problem of accounting for intentionality itself. We have already shown that formal semantics cannot refer unambiguously to real states of affairs. But many of the causal aspects of our mental states depend on semantic contents. As Searle has stressed, semantic contents are meaningless without intentionality or the ability to refer to other states or objects. To carry out referral, a formal representation must become an intentional one. In human beings, this requires a consciousness and a self — a biologically based personal awareness, a first person. No theory of mind worth its salt can evade this issue, which is not only a matter of language but also a great biological problem.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, 'real states of affairs' are meanings that are construed of experience of the non-semiotic domain by the processes of consciousness (the mental-verbal domain).

On this view, 'referral' involves the correlation (identification) of meanings of perceptual systems with meanings of language, such that perceptual tokens realise linguistic values.  This identity encodes linguistic values by reference to perceptual tokens (in ontogenesis) and decodes perceptual tokens by reference to linguistic values (in logogenesis).

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Memory Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 238):
Memory is a system property: It differs depending on the structure of the system in which it is expressed. In biological systems, memory must not be confused with the mechanisms that are necessary for its establishment, such as synaptic change. Above all, biological memory is not a replica or a trace that is coded to represent its object. 
In whatever form, human memory involves an apparently open-ended set of connections between subjects and a rich texture of previous knowledge that cannot be adequately represented by the impoverished language of computer science — "storage," "retrieval," "input," "output." To have memory, one must be able to repeat a performance, to assert, to relate matters and categories to one's own position in time and space. To do this, one must have a self, and a conscious self at that.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, memory, as the ability to repeat a performance, is the ability to instantiate meaning potential as meaning.  In this sense, semiotic systems can be understood as the expansion of memory:
  • the elaboration of memory through more delicate distinctions,
  • the extension of memory through conjunct and disjunct relations, and
  • the enhancement of memory through the conditions on which distinctions, conjunctions and disjunctions are projected through the processes of consciousness,
with language as the most expansive form.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Objectivism Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [3]

Edelman (1992: 237):
Objects in the world are not labelled with dimensions or codes, and the way they are partitioned differs from person to person and from time to time…the mind is not a mirror of nature. Thought is not the manipulation of abstract symbols whose semantics are justified by unambiguous reference to things in the world. Classical categories do not serve in most cases of conceptual categorisation and they do not satisfactorily account for the actual assignment of categories by human beings. There is no unambiguous mapping between the world and our categorisation of it. Objectivism fails.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, all meaning is within semiotic systems.  The non-semiotic domain of experience is meaningless in itself, but is transformed into the meaning of semiotic systems, such as 'objects' of the material-relational domain, by processes of consciousness (the mental-verbal domain of meaning).  This is the sense in which:
  • the non-semiotic domain ('objects') has no meaning ('labels'), 
  • the mental-verbal domain ('the mind') is not a mirror of the non-semiotic domain ('the world'),
  • the non-semiotic domain ('things in the world') is not referenced by the mental-verbal domain ('thought'), and
  • there is no unambiguous mapping between the non-semiotic domain ('the world') and the semiotic domain ('our categorisation of it').
Objectivism is falsified by Quantum Physics, which demonstrates that the non-semiotic domain does not exist as meaning (quanta) unless/until it is construed as meaning by a conscious observer.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Science As "Extensional" Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 233):
The subsequent development of the computer…reinforced the ideas of efficiency and rigour and the deductive flavour that had already characterised much of physical science. The "neat" deductive formal background of computers, the link with mathematical physics, and the success of the hard sciences looked endlessly extensible. There was a natural tendency to stop a philosophical analysis of scientific exploration at the surface of the human body (the skin and its receptors). Behaviour could be analysed, but not phenomenal experience. In this way, science could remain "extensional," as W. V. Quine put it, and one could declare with him that "to be is to be a value of a variable."

Blogger Comments:

As previously noted, science is concerned with what Galileo distinguished as 'primary qualities' (as opposed to 'secondary qualities'), and what Descartes termed 'res extensa' (as opposed to 'res cogitans').  It is in this Cartesian sense that science 'could remain' "extensional".

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, this means that science is concerned with construals of experience of the non-semiotic domain as material-relational meaning (as opposed to mental-verbal meaning).  It is the mental-verbal domain of meaning that constitutes 'phenomenal experience' in this context.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Objectivism Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [2]

Edelman (1992: 230-2):
Objectivism assumes, in addition to scientific realism, that the world has a definite structure made of entities, properties, and their interrelationships. These are capable of definition according to classical criteria of categorisation that are singly necessary and jointly sufficient to define each category. The world is arranged in such a fashion that it can be completely modelled by what mathematicians and logicians would call set-theoretical models. These kinds of models, which are seen in mathematical logic, consist of symbolic entities appearing singly or in sets, together with their relationships. Symbols in these models are made meaningful (or are given semantic significance) in a unique fashion by assuming that they correspond to entities and categories in the world. Some of the categorical properties of things in the world are considered to be essential; others are seen as accidental.
Because of the singular and well-defined correspondence between set-theoretical symbols and things as defined by classical categorisation, one can, in this view, assume that logical relations between things in the world exist objectively. Thus, this system of symbols is supposed to represent reality, and mental representations must either be true or false insofar as they mirror reality correctly or incorrectly. According to objectivism, this correspondence to things in the world gives meaning to linguistic expressions; meaning is based on this "correct" or "incorrect" definition of truth and thought itself is a manipulation of symbols.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the world structured by entities, properties, and their interrelationships is meaning construed of experience of the non-semiotic domain by the processes of consciousness.

Generally, the categories of linguistic meaning are typically not categorical: that is, they do not display determinate boundaries or fixed criteria of membership (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 547).

The models of mathematicians and logicians are (theoretical) reconstruals of meanings (data) construed of experience of the non-semiotic domain by consciousness.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Scientific Realism Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 230):
Objectivism goes beyond the hypothesis of scientific realism, which itself assumes:
(1) a real world (including humans but not depending on them);
(2) a linkage between concepts and that world; and
(3) a stable knowledge that is gained through that link.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, 'the real world including humans' is the semiotic domain (meaning) construed of experience of the non-semiotic domain.  This semiotic domain depends on humans in the sense that it is construed by processes of the mental and verbal domain of meaning (human consciousness).

By the same token, 'concepts' and 'knowledge' are meaning (the semiotic domain) construed of experience of the non-semiotic domain.

The 'stability' of knowledge is the present state of meaning in its evolution as a complex adaptive system.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

The Importance Of Meaning For A Theory Of Consciousness Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 224-5):
Arguments concerning semantics and meaning are important for any theory of consciousness (and thinking) that takes as its canonical reference our own phenomenal experience as humans and our ability to report that experience by language. … Human experience is not based on so simple an abstraction as a Turing machine; to get our "meanings" we have to grow and communicate in a society.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the reason that 'semantics and meaning' are important for any theory of human 'consciousness (and thinking)' is that the content of language, meaning and wording, is the content of consciousness.

That is, the phenomena that are sensed through mental processes of perception, emotion, desideration and cognition are construals of experience as meaning; the thoughts that are projected through cognitive processes and the wishes that are projected through desiderative processes are construals of experience as meaning.  By the same token, 'our ability to report that experience by language' is the ability to project the wording that realises the meaning construed of experience.

The "getting of meanings", the development of the system in the individual, its ontogenesis, occurs through logogenesis, the instantiation of the system in text.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Putnam's Notion Of 'Meaning' Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 224-5):
What is at stake here is the notion of meaning. Meaning, as Putnam puts it, "is interactional. The environment itself plays a role in determining what a speaker's words, or a community's words, refer to." Because such an environment is open-ended, it admits of no a priori inclusive description in terms of effective procedures.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, meaning is a property of semiotic systems. The 'environment' that is open-ended is the non-semiotic domain that is construed as meaning by the processes of consciousness, mental and verbal.  Wordings do not refer to the non-semiotic domain; wordings realise the meanings construed of experience of the non-semiotic domain.

Friday, 9 August 2019

The Many Worlds And Quantum Entanglement Interpretations Of Quantum Theory Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 216):
Other physicists have even proposed that there is no "collapse" of the wave function. Instead they conceive that there are "many worlds," in each one of which the function takes on a possible value alternative to the one in this world with this observer whom we see here and now. Still others have proposed a "quantum potential" that might even involve faster-than-light signalling, something that contradicts Einstein's theory of relativity!

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, Everett's 'Many Worlds' interpretation of Quantum Physics misconstrues potential (many possibilities) as actual (many worlds).  See the previous posts on Everett's 'Many Worlds' interpretation here.

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory, there is no faster–than–light signalling — as suggested by the notion of Quantum Entanglement and Bohm's Quantum Potential.  Two entangled photons are two related instances of the same system of quantum potential, where these are meanings of the material-relational domain construed by consciousness of experience of the non-semiotic domain.  See the previous posts on Quantum Entanglement here.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Applying The Principle Of Complementarity Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 216):
In all fairness it should be said that other distinguished physicists have interpreted the quantum measurement problem without calling the consciousness of the observer into play. Niels Bohr, the father of quantum theory, declared that there is no ultimate or deep reality; one simply applies the principle of complementarity (of which Heisenberg's principle is perhaps the most elegant expression) and then obtains the result dictated by the entire situation of measurement, particle, apparatus, and observer. Bohr's "Copenhagen interpretation" is the position taken by most physicists who use the theory. It gives a formula describing what one observes with an apparatus, one that is ultimately made up of the same kind of quantum particles one is measuring.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the following are all processes of consciousness that construe experience of the non-semiotic domain as meaning of the material-relational domain:
  • applying the principle of complementarity,
  • obtaining a result,
  • observing, and
  • measuring.
Wave-particle complementarity is the complementarity of the potential meaning that can be construed of experience, varying according to probability, and the actual instances of meaning that are construed of experience in the conscious process of observation, varying according to frequency.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Von Neumann And Wigner On The Collapse Of The Wave Function Viewed Through Systemic Functional Linguistics

Edelman (1992: 214-5):
As von Neumann pointed out, the macroscopic measuring instrument is also described by a quantum mechanical wave function (practically speaking, we do not need quantum theory to describe such objects physically). He then formally showed that one cannot draw a line from the wave function of the particle all the way up to the act of the observer to establish the value of ψ at any scale. The "collapse of the wave function" is determined just when the apparatus and the particle interact to give a definite measurement. This collapse was attributed by Wigner to be the result of the intervention of the observer's consciousness. After all, the observer decides to set up the apparatus, decides whether he or she is interested in position or momentum, and actually makes the measurement! To determine the state of this apparatus in von Neumann's view, one apparatus needs another, and that one needs another one, and so on, regressing in an infinite fashion. In Wigner's scheme a phenomenon only becomes actual (that is, the regress is ended) when the observer becomes conscious of it.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, von Neumann's view on the collapse of the wave function is an attempt to understand it solely in terms of the material-relational domain of meaning, ignoring the mental-verbal domain of meaning that actually does the construing.

Wigner's view, on the other hand, takes into account both the material-relational domain of meaning (the arrangement of the apparatus) and the mental-verbal domain (the consciousness of the observer). 

Meaning of the material-relational domain only becomes actual (instantiated) when consciousness construes experience as that meaning.

Friday, 2 August 2019

The Collapse Of The Wave Function Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [3]

Edelman (1992: 215):
If one attempts to determine that position in an experimental setting, however, one loses forever the possibility of determining the momentum to the same precision. This so-called Heisenberg uncertainty is fundamental; there is a conjugate relation between the position and the momentum (the mass times the velocity) of a particle, and this relation sets the precision of the product of these variables to a value no less than Planck's constant. This is not just because to measure a particle's position precisely one must use particles or waves of much smaller wavelength and thus of higher energy, inevitably "kicking up" the particle's momentum. It is a fundamental property of the theory. In considering this relationship operationally, one begins to get a feeling for the strange flavour of quantum theory. If one (the physicist observer) chooses to measure the position of a particle to a certain precision, the act of setting up and carrying out the measurement precludes forever and irreversibly the measurement of the momentum to a similar precision. 
According to the theory, however, no bias exists before the measurement: The wave function ψ is a linear combination of functions describing all possible outcomes of the measurement, and when a measurement is made the wave function "collapses" or "projects onto" one of the possible outcomes.

Blogger Comments:

As previously explained, from the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the collapse of the wave function ψ onto one of the possible outcomes, when a measurement is made, is the process of construing experience as an instance of material-relational meaning potential.

The wave function ψ is a model of (probabilistic) quantum system potential, the meanings that can be construed of experience by consciousness.  The 'outcomes of the measurement' are (statistical) instances of that potential.