This post began its life as an update that I wanted to make to my last post, but it became big enough to make a separate post out of it.
I have now realized a few points of difficulty with my last post (i.e. the one on the concept of space).
In fact, more: I now think that there could even be some inconsistencies in it. I mean, there seem to be some inconsistencies concerning my basic positions, and not just some inaccuracies in expressions that might have crept in.
However, I will let my last post remain as is. I will think more about these issues, possibly revise some of my positions, too, and some time later, present a more consistent version of them. …
In the meanwhile, take these posts (on space) as only a first and rough cut about a rather difficult topic. … Treat it as, say, a throw-away prototype/model, but one which, nevertheless, was done fully seriously. Indeed, there are quite a few really difficult and good points that I think I have got cracking completely right, even in this version. But do not, therefore, regard every aspect of every argument noted in these posts as necessarily being fully convincing to me.
In short, as they say it, this is a work in progress. Though I do plan to finish it in some finite time!
Now, a bit concerning the credits.
In thinking about space, time, and foundations of physics, I have obviously benefited from many sources, particularly the works/publications within the Objectivist movement, and specifically these:
- Ayn Rand and Dr. Peikoff’s books (in particular, the 2nd edition of ITOE, and OPAR);
- an audio lecture cassette by Dr. Binswanger, now available more inexpensively in the MP3 format [^], and, of course, his occasional notings at the HBL;
- Ron Pisaturo’s excellent articles available for purchase off his Web site [^], with some relevant excerpts, e.g., given here [^] and [^];
- David Harriman’s book [^][^].
As far as my reading/listening till date goes, the above list is fully comprehensive. In particular, it does not yet consist of lectures or materials like, say, Harriman’s lectures here [^] or here [^], or any other similar lectures/books (though, I have gone through their catalog descriptions, of course, and thereby already do have some idea concerning them!).
Yet, what I have written in my last post is only my own independent formulation and understanding of this topic. I will continue doing so—i.e. writing down only my own thoughts and positions (whether I later find them to be fully consistent or partly inconsistent).
Indeed, as should be expected with the passage of time, and with the attendant growth of interest in Objectivism (and the enabling power of a rational philosophy when it comes to formulations of new ideas), if you discover/invent some thing on your own concerning Objectivism or its application, these days, chances do exist that others also might have made the same/similar discoveries independently, perhaps at an earlier time, too.
In other words, discoveries using Objectivism are now only expected to exhibit a pattern which is quite well known in science, viz., of many people making a more or less same discovery, at more or less the same time, but independent of each other. … Speaking more accurately, it is: independent and multiple discoveries that are at least partly, if not mostly, overlapping in terms of contents or methods.
… BTW, I said: “at least partly or mostly.” This way of putting it is accurate. … It never is a 100% overlap—not if it is honest science.
My favorite example here is that of the idea of wavelets. I read somewhere that this idea of was independently invented and re-invented as many as seventeen times, by researchers working in such diverse fields as physics, geology, mathematics, signal processing, etc., and with many of them coming in a relatively small span of just a decade or so! Get that number right. Seventeen! Seventeen different people/groups of researchers! It’s like this:
A certain person ‘A’, and a person B, and a person C, and a person D, and a person E, and a person F, and a person G, and a person H, and a person ‘I’, and a person J, and a person K, and a person L, and a person M, and a person N, and a person O, and a person P, and a person Q, each makes a discovery/invention independently.
And, they are not co-authors. They all are independent of each other, publishing in different journals, often working in different fields, sometimes not being aware even of the field of work of someone else, let alone some prior work logically relevant in a more comprehensive literature search!
Of course the point here isn’t that there weren’t significant differences to these works in terms like: the application context, emphasis, generality, precision, depth, elegance, etc. The point is, despite all the differences of their backgrounds, available contexts and approaches, so many different people could end up inventing at least a recognizable core of the same new mathematical idea! …
And, BTW, this idea was not a mere application of an already existing theory; it was not just a deductive advancement of the same old mathematics. In short, this was not a kind of advancement that would not require an enlargement in the scope of the theory. Indeed, this was an idea that has won some of the highest honors in mathematics. … And, still, let alone a number of different mathematicians, even some physicists, engineers and programmers could “get” at least a significantly recognizable core of this idea, completely independently, on their own…. Isn’t it wonderful?
So, with time, multiple overlapping advances based on Objectivism are, now and in future, only to be expected.
Once I complete writing this series (of these posts on space and time), I will surely come to assigning the credits. I will note down: (i) the main points which I learnt from others, (ii) separately, the main points which I had got independently, on my own, even before I saw them written/made elsewhere, (i.e. the points I actually had got, and not the ones I could have got), and also (iii) the main points on which I might still be differing from others.
In any case, except for 2nd ed. of ITOE and the 1st ed. of OPAR, I have not read/heard any of these sources more than once—and, deliberately so: I didn’t want to “spoil” my thinking! (For the same reason, I began writing on this topic after letting enough time elapse that I would “forget” others’ writings.)
However, this does not mean that you, too, should necessarily follow the same policy. On the contrary, all the above-noted writings are highly recommended, even for repeated readings. (I myself plan to buy more or them, or begin re-reading/re-listening to the ones I already have, as soon as my current task of first noting down my own positions, is over.) And, as far as this particular topic of space and time goes, Ron Pisaturo’s articles cover the relevant issues in a relatively greater detail than those by the others. Highly recommended!
So, there. … My next post about the concept of space is nearing completion, and should be online within a few days’ time.
[Since this post is more or less just a broad clarification about my last post, guess there is no need to include the usual “A Song I Like” section here.]