Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2019) “Emergence” (Part 1 of 22)

0001 Philosophers enamored of Aristotle and Aquinas tend to make distinctions.  So, what happens when such philosophers wrestle with modern science as it confronts the realness of apparently irreducibly complex systems, such as um… hydrogen-fuel cells and the Krebs cycle, which serves as the “fuel cell” for eukaryotic cells?

On the surface, Tabaczek fashions, yet does not articulate, a distinction between… hmmm…

0002 Consider a sentence, found on page 273 of Emergence, midway in the final chapter, seven, saying (more or less), “I hope that my re-interpretation of downward causation and emergent systems, in terms of old and new Aristotelianism, will help analytical metaphysicians sound more credible to scientists and philosophers of science, who employ, analyze and justify methodological reductionism.”


Philosophers of science and analytialc metaphysicians?

0003 Philosophers of science attempt to understand the causalities inherent in the ways that each empirio-schematic discipline applies mathematical and mechanical models to observations and measurements of particular phenomena.  In terms of Aristotle’s four causes, their options are few.  Science is beholden to material and efficient causalities, shorn of formal and final causation.  So, they end up going in tautological circles.  What makes a model relevant?  Well, a model accounts for observations and measurements of phenomena.  What are phenomena?  Phenomena are observable and measurable facets of their noumenon.  What is a noumenon?

Ugh, you know, the thing itself.

If I know anything about the Positivist’s judgment, then I know this.  Science studies phenomena, not their noumenon.

Everybody knows that.

Except, of course, for those pathetic (analytical) metaphysicians.

0004 …what?

A noumenon and its phenomena?

0005 Tautologies are marvelous intellectual constructions.

In a tautology, an explanation explains a fact because the fact can be accounted for by the explanation.  For modern science, mathematical and mechanical models explain observations and measurements because observations and measurements can be accounted for by mathematical and mechanical models.

Scientific tautologies are very powerful.  Important scientists ask for governments to support their empirio-schematic research in order to develop and exploit such tautologies… er… technologies.  Philosophers of science tend to go with the flow, so they end up employing, analyzing and justifying the manners in which mathematical and mechanical models account for observations and measurements, along with other not-metaphysical pursuits.  One must tread lightly.  First, there is a lot of money on the line.  Second, the positivist intellect has a rule.  Metaphysics is not allowed.

0006 …hmmm…

Does Tabaczek offer a way out of the rut of not-metaphysics, without noticing that the rut is what distinguishes scientific inquiry from experience of a thing itself?  Aristotle will tell me that the rut is not the same as the world outside the rut.  The scientific world is (supposedly) full of mind-independent beings.  Ours is a world of mind-dependent beings.  

0007 …aha!

Now, I arrive at the yet-to-be-articulated distinction between what science investigates and what we experience.

For the modern philosopher of science, models are key.  Disciplinary language brings mathematical and mechanical models into relation with observations and measurements of phenomena.

For the estranged modern metaphysician, the thing itself is key.  The thing itself, the noumenon, gives rise to diverse phenomena, facets that are observable and measurable.

Consequently, the distinction that Tabaczek does not name looks like this.

Figure 01


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2019) “Emergence” (Part 2 of 22)

0008 In 2019 AD, Mariusz Tabaczek publishes the book before me, titled Emergence: Towards a New Metaphysics and Philosophy of Science (University of Notre Dame Press).  He aims to counter the fact that philosophers of science, and maybe a few scientists, struggle to account for emergent phenomena.

0009 What are emergent phenomena?

They range from galaxies to dust devils, from micelles to bacteria, and from bacteria to um… Bach.  (See Looking at Daniel Dennett’s Book (2017) “From Bacteria to Bach and Back”, appearing in Razie Mah’s blog in December 2023).  Emergent phenomena, on one level, resist reduction to truncated material and efficient causalities on lower levels.  Societies are more than interacting individuals.  Individuals are more than the cells that compose them.  Cells are more than micelles containing biochemicals.  Biochemicals are more than atoms.  If any of these statements are not so, then sociology reduces to anthropology and anthropology reduces to biology and biology reduces to biochemistry and biochemistry reduces to physics.

Emergent phenomena are everywhere, yet cannot be readily modeled using lower-level principles, even though some computer simulations come close to success.

0010 Such is the Positivist’s dilemma.

0011 Note the overlap within the applied distinction.  Both sides consider material and efficient causation.  So, why the qualifier, “truncated”?

Consider the following figure.

0012 Do scientists “reduce” Aristotle’s four causes into the two that yield mathematical and mechanical models?

Or do they select out, through controlled observations and measurements, those phenomena that may be treated using only material and efficient causes?

If either answer is “yes”, then phenomena that might be attributed to formal or final causation in Aristotle’s schema end up being treated as if they are produced only by material and efficient causations, because these two causalities enable mathematical and mechanical models.

0013 So, maybe the word, “truncated”, itself is misleading.

But, it sounds so much better than the more accurate qualifier, “nominally divorced”.

Plus, it is so much shorter than “modern terms that pretend to be the same as Aristotle’s”.

On top of that, it is way easier than “modern terms that may actually manifest Aristotle’s formal and final causations under the guise of being the same as Aristotle’s material and efficient causations.”

0014 Here is a picture.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2019) “Emergence” (Part 3 of 22)

0015 In comedies and in tragedies, the audience always knows something that the characters on stage do not.  I do not know whether Tabaczek’s enormous and grueling efforts are funny or futile in the eyes of God.  But no matter how God views the author’s long and arduous studies, I know this.

Tabaczek does not employ, analyze or justify the distinction between philosophers of science (who are concerned about models) and analytical metaphysicians (who are concerned about noumena).

Tabaczek does analyze and review a massive amount of academic material in his effort to show that a revised “neo-Aristotelianism” is available to contemporary philosophers of science.  Aristotle’s four causes should assist philosophers of science who wrestle with the question of emergence.  His academic work is diligent and earnest.

0016 I see what Tabaczek is trying to do.

I conclude that his demonstration will inevitably fail.

0017 How so?

My answer relies on Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy, as well as the commentaries listed in the series, Phenomenology and the Positivist Intellect.  These are available at smashwords and other e-book venues.

The following argument complements Tabaczek’s brief history of causality from the middle ages to the present (sections 1.3 to 1.5).

0018 I start with the question, “What is judgment?”

A judgment is a triadic relation consisting of three elements: relation, what is and what ought to be.  When each of these elements is assigned to one of Peirce’s categories, then the judgment becomes actionable.  Actionable judgments “unfold” into category-based nested forms.

Here is a picture of the general form of judgment.

In judgment, a relation (category) brings what ought to be (category) into relation with what is (category).

0019 I already stated the empirio-schematic judgment.  Let me say it again.  Disciplinary language (relation, thirdness) brings mathematical and mechanical models (what ought to be, secondness) into relation with observations and measurements of phenomena (what is, firstness).

Here is a picture.

0020 The empirio-schematic judgment occupies the slot for what ought to be for the Positivist’s judgment.  The fact that the Positivist’s judgment contains the empirio-schematic judgment is confusing.  Plus, the positivist intellect has a rule saying, “Metaphysics is not allowed.”

Here is a simplified picture.

0021 Simplified?

The Positivist’s judgment is initially formulated, in the early 1700s, as provincial mechanical philosophers (in northern Protestant Europe) reject the universal Latin-Age scholastics (in all of Europe, but mainly southern and Catholic Europe). These mechanical philosophers aim to narrow inquiry to the observations and measurements of phenomena.

The relation in the Positivist’s judgment is the positivist intellect, who enforces only one rule.  Metaphysics is not allowed.  This rule dooms Tabaczek’s quest from the start.  Aristotle’s four causes allow the inquirer to understand the noumenon.  Modern science in the Age of Ideas wants to mathematically and mechanically model observations and measurements of phenomena.

0022 The [and], the contiguity between a noumenon and its phenomena, becomes a point of contention.  The argument ends up in a truce, of sorts.  Casual readers of Kant come up with a slogan to replace the [and], at least for advocates of science.  The substitute is [cannot be objectified as].  A noumenon [cannot be objectified as] its phenomena.

0023 To me, the what-is-ness of a noumenon [cannot be objectified as] its phenomena dooms Tabaczek’s quest.

However, Tabaczek is rewarded his doctorate and his impossible project is written up and published by University of Notre Dame Press.

What does this indicate?

Is the Positivist’s judgment in trouble?


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2019) “Emergence” (Part 4 of 22)

0024 What is going on?

Here is a picture of Positivist’s judgment in the modern Age of Ideas.  The name of the age is coined by Thomist and semiotician John Deely in his masterwork, Four Ages.

0025 What is Tabaczek obviously missing in his quest?

Has he not been informed that the positivist intellect does not allow metaphysics?

Apparently not.

0026 There are two points of illumination in the Positivist’s judgment: the model and the noumenon.  The scientist extols the model, because the model (theoretically) permits one to predict and control phenomena.  Furthermore, the noumenon is the element that is most susceptible to metaphysical propositions.  The positivist intellect bans metaphysical propositions, leaving open the question asking, “What is the nature of the thing itself?”

0027 As soon as Tabaczek ignores (or does not acknowledge) the relational importance of the positivist intellect for everyday science, he effectively deprives the demanding creature of its meaning, presence and message.  The positivist intellect loses its definition.  It dies.  And, Tabaczek does not even know that he inadvertently dispatched the normal context for everyday science.

Remember, the actionable judgment unfolds into a category-based nested form on the basis of its assigned categories.  The Positivist’s judgment unfolds into the following: The normal context of the positivist intellect3 brings the actuality of the empirio-schematic judgment2 into relation with the potential of phenomena1.  Well, it’s not just the potential of phenomena1.  It is the potential of a noumenon [that cannot be objectified as] its phenomena1.

0028 Uh-oh.

Tabaczek unwitting relieves the positivist intellect of its duties.

What happens next?

The elements of the Positivist’s judgment lose their relationality and the two points of illumination rise to the top of the diagram.

0029 Note the appearance of each side of the disassembled relation.

On one side, the empirio-schematic judgment slides from Peirce’s category of thirdness (judgments are triadic relations) to Peirce’s category of secondness (consisting of two contiguous real elements).  The two real elements are the model and observations (and measurements).  The contiguity is the disciplinary language.

On the other side, the hylomorphe, a noumenon [cannot be objectified as] its phenomena, which was assigned to firstness, takes on the character of secondness.  How so?  For the scientist, the noumenon [cannot be objectified as] its phenomena. For Tabaczek, the noumenon [has] its phenomena, so the contiguity between the two real elements is [and].

0030 In the introduction, Tabaczek devotes a lengthy section ( to hylomorphism.  To me, Aristotle’s hylomorpheexemplifies Peirce’s category of secondness.  Secondness consists of two contiguous real elements.  For Aristotle, the real elements are matter and form.  When I place the contiguity in brackets, Aristotle’s hylomorphe is rendered as matter [contiguity] form.   Then the question arises, asking, “Do I have a label for the contiguity?”  I have a guess.  The label for the contiguity between matter and form is [substance].  Consequently, for me, Aristotle’s hylomorphe is matter [substantiates] form.

Who would have imagined?

0031 Does the association between hylomorphe and Peirce’s secondness apply to the above figure?

Yes.  The contiguity between model and observations describes the substance of each scientific discipline, that is, its specialized language.  Also, the contiguity of between a noumenon [and] its phenomenon is a substance similar to the contiguity between a whole [and] its parts.

0032 What does this imply?

Peirce’s secondness adds versatility to Aristotle’s hylomorphe.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2019) “Emergence” (Part 5 of 22)

0033 Aristotle’s hylomorphe of matter [substance] form applies to things and events themselves, not to their phenomena.   As such, Aristotle’s hylomorphe may be regarded as the first abstraction that the natural philosopher makes when regarding natural things and events.

Framed as an exemplar of Peirce’s category of secondness, the hylomorphe takes the general structure of two contiguous real elements, depicted as one real element [contiguity] second real element.  In the process, the hylomorphe may apply to a noumenon, as Aristotle’s exemplar, or it may appear in different guises when applied to its phenomena.

0034 Here is an example.  Hydrogen gas is produced in the electrolysis of water.  So is oxygen gas.  These may be collected separately.  Let me start from there.

Hydrogen and oxygen are in separate containers.  Each manifests as a gas.  So, one can say that its substance is [manifests as].  That is how it is experienced by the scientist.

Despite their separation, hydrogen gas will tend to lose two electrons and become two hydrogen ions.  That is its disposition.  Another way to say this?  Hydrogen gas has the power to reduce another chemical by giving its electrons away.  Tabaczek uses the terms, “dispositions” and “powers”, interchangeably.  The terms are subtly different and the scientist may muddle that distinction in confusing ways, to the chagrin of their students.  The hylomorphe in the following table assists in this regard.

0035 What does that imply?

A “property” consists of two ways of saying the same thing.

Just kidding.

0036 The advantage of Peirce’s secondness becomes evident in descriptions of scientific events, such as chemical reactions.  When the isolated hydrogen gas is combined with the isolated oxygen gas in the same container.  A spark will ignite an explosion.

The properties of hydrogen and oxygen gases are very different from the properties of water.

0037 Oh, let me display that reaction again.

0038 Technically, this spontaneous reaction may be labeled, “orthograde”.  Orthograde processes tend to occur spontaneously, especially when there are no barriers to kinetics (such as holding the chemical reagents in different containers).  The term, “kinetics”, typically refers to the speed of a chemical reaction.  The model of a balanced chemical reaction does not take the speed of reaction into account at all.  All that matters is that free energy is released during the reaction for the reaction to spontaneously occur.  Since hydrogen gas and oxygen gas are very reactive, the free energy release is labeled, “an explosion”.   Wow!

0039 Now, I can take what I have learned about hylomorphes and apply it to the two hylomorphes in Tabaczek’s unwitting reconfiguration of the Positivist’s judgment, where (dare I say?) the positivist intellect loses its definition and dies, but may remain as a ghost in the mirror.

The hylomorphe on the left is what remains of the empirio-schematic judgment.

The hylomorphe on the right is what the metaphysical analyst encountersthe thing itself and its dispositions [properties] powers.

0040 The hylomorphe on the left is the empirio-schematic or “scientific” side.

The hylomorphe on the right is the noumenal or “metaphysical” side.

In this way, Tabaczek introduces a new age of understanding.  The positivist intellect is dead.  Long live Tabaczek’s mirror.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2019) “Emergence” (Part 6 of 22)

0041 Here is another picture of Tabaczek’s mirror.  The empirio-schematic side gazes into the noumenal side.  The Aristotelian side gazes into the science side.  Well, maybe the word, “gazes”, in insufficient.  Perhaps, the term, “projects into”, is more insightful.

Both sides express the characteristics of Peirce’s secondness.  Each side has two contiguous real elements.

0042 Now, I want to ask a not-so obvious question, “If Tabaczek’s dispositional metaphysics vaporizes the modern positivist intellect for even a standard case of natural science, such as the orthograde (spontaneous) combustion of hydrogen and oxygen gases, then why does he need to wrestle with the issue of emergence?”

I suspect the answer comes from the ghost that the science side sees in Tabaczek’s mirror.

Here is a picture.

0043 The slogan on the right may be attributed to the philosopher, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804 AD), in a sloppy academic manner.  That is one of the beauties of slogans.  Slogans are always sloppy in a satisfying sort of way.  If a noumenon [cannot be objectified as] its phenomena, then why worry about the thing itself?  Scientists routinely ignore the thing itself.  Some scientists are even hostile to noumena and indignant when metaphysicians wonder about them.

0044 Tabaczek touches upon this awkwardness in section, titled “Scientific Realism”.

He writes (more or less), “Scientific realism is embraced by the vast majority of philosophers of science, who assume that our best models correctly describe observable, measurable, and mind-independent aspects of reality.  As such, if a model replaces its corresponding noumenon, then so much the better.”

Against triumphalist science, where a model gets placed on the throne of the thing itself, Kant reminds us that models can be wrong.  So, Kant’s slogan protects the integrity of the thing itself against the assumption that the model is the only point of illumination in the Positivist’s judgment.

0045 But, there is a drawback.

Kant retains the integrity of the noumenon at the cost of fixing the definition of phenomena.  Phenomena are defined as the observable and measurable facets of the thing itself.  So, the what is of phenomena (in the Positivist’s judgment) is strongly coupled to the what is of observations and measurements in the empirio-schematic judgment.  This couplingconstructs a tautology that preserves the positivist intellect.

0046 This drawback should be nullified when Tabaczek argues that the noumenon is the encountered thing and its phenomena manifest the thing’s dispositions and powers.

The positivist intellect should vaporize.

But, positivist intellect turns into a ghost.

The ghost clouds what the science side sees in Tabaczek’s mirror.

So, Tabaczek turns to the field of emergence, where science does not readily overlay a model onto the noumenon of emergent phenomena.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2019) “Emergence” (Part 7 of 22)

0047 Let me go through the previous argument using the ongoing example.

Here is the science side looking at its own reflection (in the mirror of philosophy… er… theology).

First, when a scientist looks into Tabaczek’s mirror, he covers the noumenon with the illumination of an appropriate model.  Here, the noumenon is simply a recapitulation of the model of a balanced chemical reaction.  This is typical for triumphalist… er… college-level laboratory science classes.  If hydrogen and oxygen are combined in the laboratory, the phenomenon is an explosion.  The explosion does not objectify the chemical reaction.  Rather, the phenomenon is an observable and measurable facet of the chemical reaction.

I suppose that, in theory, hydrogen and oxygen gases can react without producing an explosion.


Perhaps, the scientist has an insight.  The explosion merely is a manifestation of the release of free energy when the reagents react.  Perhaps, if a technologist alters conditions, some of that free energy can be extracted and channeled for some technical purpose.

0048 Here is a picture of the natural philosopher looking into the science side of the mirror.

0049 The Aristotelian starts with the thing itself, hydrogen and oxygen as matter [substantiates] form.  Already, matter reflects scientific knowledge, insofar as many natural philosophers will not ignore the widely accepted chemical principles of atoms and molecules.  Hydrogen gas consists of two atoms of hydrogen sharing two electrons.  Oxygen consists two atoms of oxygen holding sixteen electrons total.  

Okay, the forms also reflect chemical principles, which brings me to Tabaczek’s stand-in for phenomena: dispositions [properties] powers.  This hylomorphe is another way to express the character of hydrogen and oxygen molecules.

Hydrogen molecules (H2) have certain properties. They are disposed to give away their two electrons (-1), allowing their respective electropositive protons (+1) to find more accommodating clouds of electronegativity.  Hydrogen molecules have the power to “reduce” other chemicals (where the “reduced” chemical gains electrons).  “Reduction” means that a (not hydrogen molecule) chemical receives two electrons.

Oxygen molecules (O2) have certain properties.  Each oxygen atom is disposed to take two electrons (-1) in order to better surround its electropositive nucleus (+8) with a complete second “shell” of electronegativity (resulting in nucleus at +8 and ten electrons adding to -10). Oxygen has the power to “oxidize” other chemicals (where the “oxidized chemical loses electrons).  “Oxidation” means that a (not oxygen molecule) chemical loses four electrons (that is, two for each oxygen).

In order to explain these disposition [properties] powers, one may consider a hydrogen or an oxygen atom in terms of a point-sized electropositive nucleus inside standing waves or localized clouds of electronegative orbitals, each open to holding a pair of electrons.  Each type of atom, each element, is composed of a point-sized electropositive nucleus of a certain mass and charge, surrounded by mathematical standing waves, which may (or may not) be occupied by one or two electrons.  An atom’s tendency to give, cling to, share and take electrons depends of how each type of atom goes about getting the most stable… er… “stable” of electrons in its mathematical standing-wave “barn”.

Thus, the dispositions [properties] powers of molecular hydrogen and oxygen depend on the matters [substances] formsof their respective atoms.

So, if two molecular hydrogens (2H2 (g)) and one molecular oxygen (O2 (g)) are unhappy with their matters [substances] forms, then after an explosive release of energy, they settle in as two molecules of water (2H2O (g)) and their mathematically-defined standing-wave “barns” are happily occupied…. or… stabilized.

0050 Of course, this ranch-grown narrative depends on science, yet it sounds like natural philosophy, because it expresses what the scientist (or any person) encounters in terms of Peirce’s category of secondness.  For all practical purposes, the noumenon offers a description of the laboratory-based balanced chemical reaction and its phenomena offers insights into the dispositions [properties] powers involved in spontaneous “orthograde” natural processes.

0051 Here is a general picture.

Needless to say, each side of the mirror projects into the other side of the mirror.

This constitutes Tabaczek’s challenge, now that the positivist intellect has been terminated.

The science side sees the ghost of the positivist intellect in its mirror.

The philosophical side sees science as it is practiced in its mirror.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2019) “Emergence” (Part 8 of 22)

0052 What is an illusion?

An illusion is a mind-independent being that is taken to be mind-dependent.

For example, some think that the noumenon of combining hydrogen and oxygen gases (a mind-independent being) is the same as the balanced chemical equation where two hydrogen molecules combine with one oxygen molecule to produce two water molecules (a mind-dependent being.

0053 Often, in science, the noumenon, the thing itself, is regarded as a manifestation of the corresponding scientific mathematical and mechanical model.  Tabaczek understands that this is not the case.  The triumphalist scientist turns the noumenon into an illusion.

Modern scientists regard the noumenon as irrelevant to their empirio-schematic research, since the thing itself cannot be objectified as its observable and measurable facets.  But, if the noumenon is the model itself, then it (the model standing-in for the noumenon) can be objectified as its phenomena.

How convenient.

0054 But, there is a disconnect.

Noumena are precisely what our genus encountered over and over again in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  Indeed, humans are adapted to recognize and process signs of noumena.  We not only identify noumena in the normal context of what is happening?3a, but we objectify noumena in terms of what it means to me?3bPlus, we contextualize our objectification with another normal context, asking does this make sense?3c.  Even more amazing, we wonder whether the noumenon that we have identified2a is really the sign-object of a sign-relation emanating from who knows who or what or where.  In short, we act as if the noumenon is both a sign-vehicle (to identify, react to and to evaluate our reaction to), but also a sign-object (that is, what some unknown sign-vehicle stands for).

What does this imply?

If noumena are illusions, as they are in our modern Age of Ideas, then we may have a problem.

0055 What is a delusion?

A delusion is a mind-dependent being that is regarded as mind-independent.

Can the reader see where I am going with this one?

0056 Uh-oh.

What happens when a delusional looks into the mirror?

He sees his own illusions.

0057 I may not be certain about the reason why this wandering friar would choose such an ambitious doctoral thesis project.

However, I am certain that this God-fearing fellow is now a first-person witness of the crazy-town built on the academic turf of the philosophy of science.

0058 The attributes of this modern crazy-town are captured in Razie Mah’s blog, Looking At Alex Jones’s Book (2020) The Great Reset, during the month of January 2023.  If a model, regarded as mind-independent reality, is a delusion and if a noumenon, the thing itself, is regarded as mind-dependent reality, then of course, we are headed for a great reset.  Or, a great what-if.  Philosophers of science struggle to present accounts of the realness of scientific models, despite the fact that millions of people rely on scientific inventions in their daily lives.

Well, the great what-if will change all that.

Once mathematical and mechanical models become more real than reality itself, then the average bloke may start to pay attention.

0059 I ask, “What gives Tabaczek his confidence about the importance of dispositional metaphysics when modern scientific establishments seem to be quite successful, despite the lackluster performances of model-embracing philosophers of science?”

Is it the same confidence that inspires people to get onto airplanes?

0060 Humans evolved to intuitively abstract noumena on the basis of Aristotle’s four causes, long before Aristotle labels them.  Tabaczek describes Aristotle’s notion of causality in the first chapter.  Tellingly, he couples material and formal causation.  He also couples efficient and final causation.  Why does he do that?  A correlation between Aristotle’s four causes and Peirce’s category-based nested form offers an answer.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2019) “Emergence” (Part 9 of 22)

0061 What is a category-based nested form?

Thirdness brings secondness into firstness.

A triadic normal context3 brings a dyadic actuality2 into relation with a monadic possibility of ‘something’1.

Here is a picture.

0062 Each category expresses a different logic.

The realm of normal context3 entails the logics of exclusivity, complementarity and alignment.

The realm of actuality2 offers the logics of contradiction (and non-contradiction).

The realm of firstness1 allows contradictions (as long as they cannot separate from one another) and displays the logic of inclusivity.

0063 I have already mentioned that Aristotle’s hylomorphe exemplifies Peirce’s category of secondness. Secondness consists of two contiguous real elements.  

Here is a picture of the comparison.

0064 Now, Aristotle’s material causality is confined to Peirce’s secondness.  But that is only the beginning.  Already, I demonstrated that chemical reactions may be formulated as hylomorphes.  All types of causes and effects may be presented as hylomorphes.  So, material causation entangles both the matter side of the hylomorphe and the form side.

For another example, hydrogen may be described as molecular material manifesting as a gas, a physical state.  If I keep the temperature the same, when I increase the pressure on this gas, its volume will decrease.  So, both sides of the hylomorphe are connected with materiality.

For example, the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen may be pictured as the hylomorphe, chemical reagents [change of free energy] chemical products.  Material causes may be located in both sides of the hylomorphe.  Plus, when free energy is released, chemical reagents (hydrogen and oxygen gases) seem to be like matter and chemical products (gaseous water) seem to be like form.  How so?  Well, matter enters into form.  Matter substantiates form.  So, there seems to be a directionality to hylomorphes that depict chemical reactions.

Science embraces material causation.

0065 What about formal causality?

Formal causality describes the way that a normal context3 contextualizes its actuality2, as well as the way that an actuality2 conforms to its normal context3.  When the actuality2 is portrayed as a hylomorphe2, formal causation touches base with the side of the form2.

Science abhors formal causation, because one cannot observe or measure normal contexts3.

Here is a picture.

0066 Does this explain why Tabaczek couples material and formal causalities?

Well, these pictures offer a way to appreciate the coupling.

0067 What about efficient causality?

Efficient causality describes the way that actuality2 emerges from (and situates) its potential1.  For Aristotle’s hylomorphe, matter has to efficiently substantiate form.  If the form is a shape, matter must efficiently fit that shape.

When Aristotle’s hylomorphe broadens to cover the wide variety of causes and effects belonging to Peirce’s secondness, efficient causes become very extensive.  Yet, despite the range of efficient causes, they tend to be portrayed as instrumental, physical and immediate. These portrayals emphasize the actuality side of efficient causality.  Science retains this side of efficient causality.  Science avoids efficient causes that emphasize the potential side of efficient causality, such as chance, malfunctions or delays.  

Here is a picture.

0068 What about final causality?

Final causation describes the way that the entire nested form comes together to satisfy the teleological component of its potential.  As such, efficient and final causes should complement one another.  Sometimes, a final cause cannot succeed because of lack of means (or instruments for efficient causation).  Sometimes, efficient causes are so effective that they mask complementary final causes.

Why do scientists eschew final causation?

Final causes cannot be observed or measured with scientific instruments.  However, they can be simulated as “factors” in computer programs.  Modern simulations allow scientists to import formal and final causes as factors in mathematical and mechanical models… er… I meant to say, “under the guise of truncated material and efficient causes”.

Here is a picture.

0069 These affiliations between Aristotle’s four causes and Peirce’s category-based nested form are discussed in Comments on Fr. Thomas White’s Essay (2019) “Thomism for the New Evangelization” available at smashwords and other e-book venues.  Similar commentaries by Razie Mah are located in the series, Peirce’s Secondness and Aristotle’s Hylomorphism, and in the series, Considerations of Jacques Maritain, John Deely and Thomistic Approaches to the Questions of These Times.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2019) “Emergence” (Part 10 of 22)

0070 In order to draw some lessons from the congruence between Aristotle’s four causes and Peirce’s category-based nested form, I return to Tabaczek’s mirror.

0071 On the science side, I see one hylomorphe, with two real elements, mathematical and mechanical models and observations and measurements of phenomena.  Each branch of science has its own contiguity, its own disciplinary language.  At the same time, all branches of science rely on modern material and efficient causes.  Disciplinary languages operate to precisely define the causalities expressed by models.  In laboratory sciences, measurements and observations become so formulaic that a practicing scientist will forget that that the lexicon of his discipline is highly specialized.

0072 On the Aristotelian side, I see two hylomorphes, with three real elements, a noumenon, dispositions and powers.  The term, “properties”, is not a real element.  It is the contiguity between the real features of dispositions (which pertain to (what I call) esse_ce and therefore go into the slot for matter) and powers (which pertain to essence and therefore go into the slot for form).


For proper postmodern etiquette, one may say either “dispositions and powers” or “properties”, but not both at the same time.  The same goes for “matter and form” and “substance”.

Did I say that properly?

A noumenon may be a whole, composed of parts, each with its own properties.  The natural philosopher encounters the whole.  The whole has its own dispositions and powers.

0073 Consequently, I suggest that the contiguity on one side of Tabaczek’s mirror reflects the other by serving as the site where causalities are expressed.  On the science side of Tabaczek’s mirror, the contiguity may be rendered in the way of Peirce’s category-based nested form, but the rendering is counter-intuitive, because it exposes formal and final causes that are hidden, like shadows, within truncated material and efficient causalities.  On the natural philosophy side of Tabaczek’s mirror, the contiguity is at home with Peirce’s category-based nested form.  Aristotle’s four causes are intuitive.

0074 Here is a picture.