Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2021) “Divine Action and Emergence” (Part 1 of 22)

0155 I turn to the book that follows Emergence (2019).

The book before me is titled Divine Action and Emergence: An Alternative to Panentheism (2021, Notre Dame Press).  The book divides into two parts.  Part one concerns emergent phenomena (and looks back upon the previous book).  Part two covers divine action in emergence.

But, is not there already a number of theories in our Age of Ideas concerning the topic of divine action in a world full of truncated material and efficient causalities?

0156 Oh, there is more than a number, which reminds me of the earnestness and ambition of Tabaczek’s graduate project.

Most graduate students, after being lured into an advanced program in science by the philosophical side of Tabaczek’s mirror, figure out that the noumenon, the thing itself, is an inaccessible reflection of the agent-side of science, the side where all the difficult and detail-oriented laboratory work gets done.  That realization takes one or two years.  Then, the rest of one’s graduate career consists of grinding out the data and wondering why doing science is not as fun as thinking about doing science.

In short, most graduate students in the natural sciences learn to live as agents on the science side of Tabaczek’s mirror.

0157 I suspect that the same process should have happened to Tabaczek, entering a graduate program in philosophy of science and getting introduced to diverse machinations of science-agent philosophers, explaining how the hylomorphe on the science side is reflected by the noumenon side of Tabaczek’s mirror as a sort of “cloud of unknowing”, that conforms to the ghost of the positivist intellect.

But, it does not.

0158 Perhaps, it is a miracle that those agents of science who supervise his doctoral studies do not sabotage and destroy this creature, who seems to absorb the soul-breaking literature, yet remains eerily constant in his vision.

Perhaps, Tabaczek holds the element of surprise because he stands in a tradition that loves science, yet despises the positivist’s intellect, which has one rule.  Metaphysics is not allowed.

Most students coming out of the Christian tradition simply get confused and wander into specialized technical fields of either science or modern philosophy.  Will they ever get the memo?  The positivist intellect is dead.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2021) “Divine Action and Emergence” (Part 2 of 22)

0159 I suppose that Tabaczek’s element of surprise is precisely the message that all the scientists and most philosophers of science have not received.  No one has gotten the memo.  The positivist intellect is dead.

So, Tabaczek survives and is rewarded his doctoral degree.

0160 So, what does this particular book concern?

The full title is Divine Action and Emergence: An Alternative to Panentheism.

The subtitle reveals Tabaczek’s concern.

0161 Tabaczek wants to establish an Aristotelian alternative to what contemporary science-loving theologians project from the science side of Tabaczek’s mirror into the theological side.

Remember, these science-justifying theologians are looking at their own image.

0162 What do they see?

Is God like the thing itself, a noumenon?

Is the world like its phenomena?

If so, then here is what the theologians on the science side see in Tabaczek’s mirror.

0163 Of course, every Christian theologian will admit that God cannot be objectified as the world.  The theological position that God can be objectified as the world is called pantheism.

But, one wonders, what does the contiguity, [cannot be objectified as], imply?

Remember that hylomorphes belong to Peirce’s category of secondness and that the logics of secondness are that of contradiction and noncontradiction.

Surely, [cannot be objectified as] involves a contradiction that cannot be resolved.

0164 So, is there a metaphor that expresses this type of contradiction?

An obvious metaphor is containment.  What is contained cannot objectify its container.  Wine cannot objectify its bottle.  The stomach cannot objectify Mr. Tummy.

Consequently, a metaphor stands ready at hand to replace the contiguity, [cannot be objectified as].

Here is a picture.

0165 The term, “world in God”, transliterates into the technical label, “panentheism”.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2021) “Divine Action and Emergence” (Part 3 of 22)

0166 Tabaczek’s introduction summarizes some of the material in Emergence.

Everyday science focuses on “truncated” material and efficient causes.  “Truncated” represents “a divorce from formal and final causation”.

Typically, material causes meet the requirements of formal causes and efficient causes are intentionally bound to final causes.  So “truncated” also implies that a scientist may surreptitiously slip formal and final causes into his models by defining terms in such a way that they appear to describe modern material and efficient factors, while harboring the shadows of the other causalities.

0167 For example, consider the claim that glucose tastes sweet because it is full of calories.

Yes, that sounds like truncated material and efficient causalities.

Plus, there is the added hint of formal (calories is a formal requirement) and final (sweetness is an incentive) causes.

0168 Why do scientists rely on truncated material and efficient causalities?

These serve as constants and variables in mathematical and mechanical models.

Models are what ought to be (secondness) in the empirio-schematic judgment.  The category of secondness is the realm of actuality.  So, oddly enough, models are more actual than observations and measurements (what is, firstness, the realm of possibility).

Here is a picture.

0169 The empirio-schematic judgment describes the actual practices of modern science.  Disciplinary language (relation, thirdness) brings mechanical and mathematical models (what ought to be, secondness) into relation with observations and measurements (what is, firstness).  Since each element is assigned to one of Peirce’s categories, the judgment is actionable.  An actionable judgment unfolds into a category-based nested form on the basis of the assigned categories.

The empirio-schematic judgment corresponds to what ought to be (secondness) in the Positivist’s judgment, where a positivist intellect (relation, thirdness) brings the empirio-schematic judgment (what ought to be, secondness) into relation with the monadic “hylomorphe”, a noumenon [cannot be objectified as] its phenomena (what is, firstness).

The thing itself cannot be objectified as its observable and measurable facets.

0170 Here is a diagram.

0171 Now I have a question concerning ‘what is’ in the Positivist’s judgment.

If hylomorphes exemplify Peirce’s secondness, then why is this “hylomorphe” assigned to the category of firstness?

A hylomorphe may be assigned to firstness, when both sides of the hylomorphe correspond to the same thing.  Why? There is only one (not two) real element(s).  In other words, if there is no noumenon, then there are no phenomena.  If there are no phenomena, then it is doubtful that there is a noumenon.

0172 An apparently sleeping student suddenly raises a hand and asks, “But, if there are phenomena, but there is no noumenon, then can one assign a noumenon and pretend that it is the thing itself?”

Then another student pipes in, “And what about when a noumenon does not have any phenomena, but one is certain that the thing itself must exist?  Based on the conviction that there is a noumenon, can one identify its phenomena?”

0173 Uh-oh.  I should not have asked that question.

Meanwhile, since each element in the Positivist’s judgment is assigned to one of Peirce’s categories, the judgment may “unfold” into a category-based nested form.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2021) “Divine Action and Emergence” (Part 4 of 22)

0174 Here is a rendition of the resulting nested form.

0175 This category-based nested form describes everyday science.

Researchers are perfectly happy with this arrangement.

Unfortunately, early on in the Age of Ideas, science becomes triumphant.  So, even though Kant’s slogan cleverly isolates the metaphysical unity of the thing itself1 from its diverse observable and measurable facets1triumphalist advocates for science virtually situate the Positivist’s judgmenta with the empirio-schematic judgmentb.  Consequently, the scientific processb virtually situates the um… intellect3a that contextualizes the scientific process2a.

0176 Here the resulting two-level interscope.

0177 This sensible construction sounds like a tautology.  It is a tautology.  Models2b situate models2a.

At the same time, the mathematical and mechanical models2b on the situation level are not quite the same as the mathematical and mechanical models that stand in the slot for what ought to be in the empirio-schematic judgment2a.  The models2b on the situation level are successes.  They2b are so successful that they may contend for the slot for the noumenon1aThe models in the empirio-schematic judgment2a are more tentative.  They2a are fashioned to account for observations and measurements2a of phenomena1a.

0178 What does that imply?

Let me focus on what1b situates the content-level potential1a.

On the content level, observations and measurements in the empirio-schematic judgment2a directly emerge from (and situate) phenomena1a.  Phenomena1a are the observable and measurable facets of their noumenon1a.  

On the situation level, observations and measurements on the situation level1b virtually situate phenomena1a that… how to say it?… objectify their noumenon1a.  In other words, a successful model2b should tell the inquirer what the noumenon1amust be.

0179 College-level science laboratories typify triumphalist science.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2021) “Divine Action and Emergence” (Part 5 of 22)

0180 Triumphalist science? 

A model replaces the noumenon?

Are models more real than things themselves?

I suppose that it depends on how one defines the spoken words, “more real”.

0181 First, there are fields of inquiry where mathematical and mechanical models are inadequate.

Around 1860 AD, when Charles Peirce realizes that the causality inherent in sign relations cannot be reduced to truncated material and efficient causes, he starts the postmodern discipline of semiotics.

Around 2010 AD, Mariusz Tabaczek realizes that the causality inherent in emergent phenomena cannot be reduced to truncated material and efficient causes, he enters a graduate program in order to explore the lacuna.  This is the background story for his first book, titled Emergence.

0182 Second, alternatives are already on the horizon.

One alternative is analytical philosophy, where the normal context of Wittgenstein’s formulations3b bring the actuality of logical positivism2b into relation with the potential of various theories attempting to preserve the integrity of empirio-schematic models2a.

Here is a picture.

Tabaczek introduces this alternative in the introduction to Part 2 of Divine Action and Emergence and in chapter four of Emergence.  Analytic philosophy proposes six views of causation for emergent phenomena.  Tabaczek finds them all inadequate. 

0183 A better alternative is Terrence Deacon’s approach, also discussed in Emergence.

Here, a disciplinary language inspired by Aristotle3b contextualizes the actuality of emergence [entails] downward causation2b in regards to the potential of constraints and biases applied to spontaneous processes1b.

Does that sound correct?

Maybe not.

“Downward causation” is too shallow.  “Dynamical depth” sounds better.

Plus, “absence theory” can virtually situate emergent phenomena1a while accepting the noumenon’s metaphysical unity1a.

0184 Thus, Tabaczek’s introduction informs me (the examiner) that both of these contemporary approaches3b are viable once the positivist intellect3a becomes a ghost, unable to enforce its rule outlawing metaphysics.

I wonder, “How is empirio-schematic inquiry2a going to maintain itself, when the positivist intellect3a passes into shadow?   What happens to the potential of phenomena and the lingering need to virtually situate the noumenon1a? “

Well, it cannot be too bad, because Part 1 is titled, “The Phenomenon of Emergence”.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2021) “Divine Action and Emergence” (Part 6 of 22)

0185 Part 1, “The Phenomenon of Emergence”, covers the first third of Divine Action and Emergence.

Chapter one is titled, “The Science and Metaphysics of Emergence”.

0186 Emergent phenomena are classified according to order.

In first order phenomena, content includes properties that come into play as the content is situated.

0187 For example, water… I mean… H2O acts as a sticky dipole.  That sticky dipole supports the situational or “bulk liquid” properties of water, including surface tension, high boiling point, and so on.

0188 Now, I explain.

Oxygen has 8 protons.  An oxygen atom will take two electrons to own 10 electrons.  Why does it want 10 electrons?  Quantum mechanics explains.  Electrons are waves.  Around the positive point source of an atomic nucleus, they form standing waves.  Standing waves may be described by geometric mathematical models.  The lowest energy orbital, the one closest to the oxygen nucleus, is spherical and holds two “magnetically paired” electrons (1s(2)).  The next energy orbitals include 1 “2s” or spherical and three angular node-bearing or “2p” orbitals, which may “hybridize” into four 2sp3orbitals. 

0189 So, the math goes like this.

Oxygen has 8 protons.  Oxygen has 1 lowest energy and 4 second to lowest energy orbitals.  Each orbital can hold 2 electrons.  When an oxygen atom has the power to fill all its orbitals with electrons, it becomes an O-2 ion because it owns 10 electrons (1s(2) and 2sp3(8)).  The property is nice because the 8 positive proton nucleus is uniformly surrounded by 10 negative electrons in a mathematically symmetric arrangement.

0190 The problem?

O-2 is negatively charged.  It is a beacon for positive charges, such as hydrogen ions, H+1, who have no electrons.  Hydrogen ions are protons who cannot hold onto their electrons.  So, they “share” electrons with other atoms, simply by burrowing into the electron-densities of one of those mathematically modeled orbitals.  The electron orbital adjusts to form a “covalent” bond.  A “covalent” bond is a mathematically modeled wave between two positive nuclei.  When two electrons occupy the covalent wave, then each positive nucleus is held in place by what it perceives as a cloud of negative charge.

The result is neutral H2O, pictured above.

0191 H2O is a dipole.  It has a positively charged side and a negatively charge side.  So, gaseous water molecules will orient themselves according to an electric field.  Plus, in liquid water they will tend to arrange themselves so that the positive side of one molecule is facing the negative side of another molecule.

Plus, in liquid water, each hydrogen ion loves to play a game of guessing which 2sp3 orbital it belongs to.  When an electron cloud from molecule A comes close to a hydrogen-bearing orbital of molecule B, the hydrogen nucleus on B moves in response to the electron cloud in A, creating a temporary weak “hydrogen bond” between molecules A and B.

Here is a picture.

0192 Hydrogen bonding is water’s disposition, giving it the power to pull some molecules into bulk solution and to push some molecules out of bulk solution.  If a molecule, such as cyclohexane, cannot play the game because all its hydrogen are tightly bound to carbon, then out it goes.  When a molecule with basically the same carbon structure is loaded with covalently bound oxygen, it goes right into solution.  Here is a picture of cyclohexane and glucose.

0193 Yes, I can describe what happens in terms of dispositions [properties] powers.

0194 Plus, I can portray the bulk property of glucose solubility as the situation level of a sensible construction.

0195 So, I can say that the fact that glucose dissolves in water but cyclohexane does not is sort of like a first order emergent phenomena, based on the hydrogen bonding of water.  Other bulk properties of water, such as its remarkable surface tension, belong to the list of first-order emergent phenomena.

0196 In order to get to second order emergent phenomena, I need to add a twist.

How about a fatty acid entering bulk water?

Here are classical chemical portraits of these two molecules.  I color code the carbon, oxygen and hydrogen for better visualization.  Notice that the hydrogen bound to carbon are… well… just like the hydrogen in cyclohexane.  They are not available for hydrogen bonding.  But, like molecular hydrogen, they are disposed to vigorously reacting with molecular oxygen, which is why laboratories in organic chemistry have fire extinguishers nearby.

0197 So here is the conundrum.

Water wants to hydrogen bond to the carboxyl group and pull it into solution.  At the same time, water wants to form a cage around the long alkane tail and drive it out of solution.

So what happens?

Fatty acids will form a bilayer.  The alkane-tails collect in the middle, excluded by hydrogen bonding.  Water-facing carboxyls are pulled into solution by hydrogen bonding.

When the bilayer curves, it produces an “inside” and an “outside”, resulting in a micelle.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2021) “Divine Action and Emergence” (Part 7 of 22)

0198 A micelle is a second-order emergent phenomenon.  

Here is a diagram of the sensible construction.

0199 Now, if I remember the previous example of emergent phenomena, the next step in an ordered conceptualizationvirtually contextualizes the micelle through a a dissipative process that exploits the bit of free energy captured by the fact that water drives the alkane part of the fatty acid out of bulk solution and pulls the carboxyl part of the fatty acid into bulk solution.

0200 The potential of a micelle1c is that it forms a membrane between the inside and the outside.

The contents within the membrane include the stuff of life.

In other words, an organelle (for eukaryotes) or a cell (for bacteria and for archaea) consist of living components within a membrane.

0201 With that in mind, no wonder organelles2c and bacteria2c add proteins that stabilize the membrane’s dynamic form3c.  Plus, they2c synthesize fatty acids2a that make for particularly robust cell walls2b.

0202 In archaean life, downward causation becomes apparent, because cellular membranes1c put the micelle2b into perspective and the properties of fatty acids1b in water select for some fatty acids and not others2a.  Archaean cells with fatty acids that make good membranes survive.

The problem, for me, is that the jump from the situation to perspective levels is enormous.

The chemistry and properties of micelles is a topic amenable to empirio-schematic models.

The organization of membranes in living cells is a huge leap in complexity.

Such is the leap from second-order to third-order emergent phenomena.

0203 Can empirio-schematics model third-order emergent phenomena?

May I consider an example?

Archaean cells living in a volcanic hot spring rely on the capacity of their micellular walls to maintain integrity at high temperatures. They do so by incorporating particular fatty acids, with extended fatty tails that have the power to be excluded by water, even at high temperatures, and charged carboxy heads that tend to remain in water, even at high temperatures.

0204 Here is the example as a virtual nested form in the realm of normal context.

0205 Tabaczek notes that modern science, since its inception, labors to build models for how things work.   Science asks, “What are things made of?  How do they operate?”  Empirio-schematics builds models on truncated material and efficient causes.  If the model works, then a triumphalist scientist will proclaim, “This model is more illuminating than the thing itself.”

0206 What a proclamation!

What does the proclamation really proclaim?

Is everyday science able to game emergent phenomena?

0207 Let me say that the dynamical living form3c represents a huge leap between the perspective level normal context3cand bulk solution in volcanic spring3b, certainly much larger than between bulk solution3b and chemical compositions of fatty acids in water3a constituting a “system”.

Say what?

0208 Let me label the actuality of archaean cells living in a particular hot spring2c as “a system”.

Now, the complexity of the archaean cell becomes a system.

0209 This allows me to draw an association between the molecular structures of the fatty acids1a and the stability of the cellular membrane1c.  The properties of the fatty acid now are relegated to phenomena, which ought to be observed and measured using techniques of chemical extraction and so on.

0210 The way that a reductionist games emergent phenomena follows.

0211 Notice how the emergent phenomena subtract out, so one is only observing and measuring alterations due to changes of conditions.

0212 Comparing emergent “systems” under different conditions bypasses the ontological realness of the noumenon, the thing itself, because the comparison cancels out emergent “systems” through rigorous manipulation of laboratory conditions.  The emergent “system” does not need to be accounted for, except to say, changing conditions may or may not alter its properties… er… phenomena associated with the emergent “system”.

0213 In section 1.3.3, Tabaczek writes that there is an intrinsic tension, within modern emergence theories, between ontological monism and qualitative differences between emergents.

Does this imply that a reductionist can game the concept of “nonreductive physicalism”?

I suspect so.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2021) “Divine Action and Emergence” (Part 8 of 22)

0214 In this thought experiment, the researcher has developed a silicon diode imprinted to measure the concentration of 1000 chemicals, including a suite for fatty acids and other lipids.  In the laboratory, this probe is placed in contact with an archaean hot spring cell colony at 95oC (scalding hot water) and then the temperature is lowered to 50oC (very warm water), a temperature low enough that cells may start to die.

Here is a picture of the experiment.

0215 The probe measures (among other chemicals) biochemical breakdown products of phosphorylated lipids with branching alkane chains.

0216 Certainly, advances in silicon-imprint technology allows the construction of a probe capable of collecting dense on-the-fly information of biological systems in vivo.   The scientist promotes the relevance of system-oriented approaches, along with the desirability of the novel probe, capable of scientifically investigating organisms holistically (without chopping them up), dynamically (on the fly, in vivo and in situ), and across hierarchical organization (by holding the entire living thing as a constant, of sorts).

0217 What does this example imply?

A reductionist can game the system.  Let funding from the national science foundation continue!

0218 Does the reductionist know what he is assuming?  

Can the comparison of systems approach (as content-level everyday science) be situated by triumphalist modelism or logical positivism?

After all, the resulting models apply to the phenomena of changing conditions, not to the thing itself.

0219 What is the thing itself?

Is it a colony of single-celled creatures obtained from a particular hot springs?

Or, is it found in the materials and methods section of a science research grant?

0220 Admittedly, Tabaczek does not explicitly mention reductionists gaming the system by treating emergent phenomena as “a system”.  Let trifles pass.  There are rumors of widespread failures to reproduce the results published in scientific journals in biochemistry and related fields.  So, maybe, my fashioning this archaean cell example out of whole cloth is not out of the ordinary.  Perhaps, in the next few years, I will be able to purchase an artificial general intelligence programthat can conduct additional imaginary research for me.

0221 If Tabaczek is correct, the thing itself is not found in the materials and methods section of a research paper…. er…. grant.

What is the most amazing feature of the noumenon?

Is it the fact that humans recognize noumena, intuitively and instantly, because we are attuned to their signs?  Is that what humans are adapted to do?  Surely, psychologists can observe and measure gestalt recognition under varying conditions.   Are we (humans) living examples of the application of Gestalt theory?   Or is Gestalt theory a model of us that is so pertinent that we might as well call ourselves, Homo gestaltus.

Well, that is what a triumphalist modelist would have me believe.

0222 Instead, I follow Tabaczek’s dispositional metaphysics and situate the everyday science of gestalt with the following situation-level hylomorphe1b.

0223 Classical accounts of emergence (section 1.3) sound like gestalt.  If an observer asks, “How do you recognize that archaean cell colony in the hot spring is a noumenon?”, I must answer, “I don’t know.”

And, if I did try to formulate a thoughtful response, my answer would be as discombobulated as the various philosophical theories of emergence.  Tabaczek labors in these fields.  Tabaczek elevates Deacon’s account of emergence because it honors his own intuition.  Emergent phenomena belong to a noumenon with “dynamical depth”.

0224 First, emergent phenomena are grounded in a natural flow.  They do not violate the laws of thermodynamics.  In prior examples, “thermodynamics” names the content-level of a three-level interscope.

0225 Second, they capture energy from that natural flow.  As such, they appear to violate the laws of thermodynamics.  But, they do so in particular locations and manners.  Situational energy-capture carries Deacon’s label, “homeodynamics”.

0226 Third, the capture persists because the siphoned free energy is dissipated by producing structures or processes called “dynamic forms”.  These forms catch the human gaze.  That is to say, a dynamical form acts as a sign-vehicle that stands for a sign-object, a noumenon, in regards to a sign-interpretant, consisting of an adaptation to the ultimate human niche.  This recognizable feature is called, “morphodynamics”.

What is a sign-relation?

A sign is a triadic relation.

A sign-vehicle stands for a sign-object in regards to a sign-interpretant.

0227 Fourth, morphodynamic structures and processes appear designed.

But, we do not know who designed them or what they are designed for.

In other words, we may presume that an emergent noumenon is a sign-object, arising from a sign-vehicle that should reveal the who and the what of its design, in regards to a sign interpretant, consisting of the normal context of encountering emergent phenomena arising from the potential of… um… ‘recognizing a gestalt’.

0228 What do items one through four tell me?

Dynamical depth is a gestalt, an instant recognition of whole, whose parts are articulated in Deacon’s philosophical construction of the adjusted thermodynamic, homeodynamic and morphodynamic interscope.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2021) “Divine Action and Emergence” (Part 9 of 22)

0229 So, what is the problem?

Oh yeah, the problem is Tabaczek’s optics.

0230 Chapter two of Divine Action and Emergence extols the Aristotelian, not as one who sees a reflection of empirio-schematic labor, but as an agent capable of looking into the mirror of science.

Surely, there is a history to tell.

Plus, if history is a noumenon, the I (acting as a scientist) may place a model on top of that noumenon, so as to obscure the thing itself, and reveal that “history” is nothing more than what my model says that it is.

0231 My semiotic construction of Tabaczek’s account starts with a model of our current Lebenswelt called, “the first singularity”.

For the next several points, I will use chronological nomenclature corresponding to the nominal beginning of the Ubaid period of southern Mesopotamia.  Zero U0′ (0 Ubaid Zero Prime or “uh-oh prime”) is set at 5800 BC.  The first singularity is a hypothesis that the potentiation of civilization is due a change in the ways human talk, from hand-speech talk to speech-alone talk, plus, the first culture to practice speech-alone talk is the Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia.

Yes, the hypothesis of the first singularity satisfies the (now deceased) positivist intellect.

Plus, the hypothesis bubbles with truncated material and efficient causations!

0232 Note how the time frame changes.

For example, Aristotle (384-322 BC) lives from 5416-5478 U0′.

In other words, Aristotle lives over five millennia after the initiation of the first singularity and the potentiation of civilization.

Aristotle participates in a debate on the nature of stability and change that begins with Thales (5180-5250 U0′) and Anaximander (5190-5225 U0′).  Aristotle figures out his famous four causes as well as the hylomorphic character of things.  Aristotle’s foil is Democritus, who proposes that everything is made of unchanging tiny things called “atoms”.

0233 The debate may be configured as follows.

0234 Consider the classic example of an acorn that germinates and grows into an oak tree.

How do Democritus and Aristotle explain?

Democritus’s account offers a fantastic vision that, in the 7600s, is shown to be scientifically correct.  The acorn is composed of particles, “atoms”, so small that the relative difference in mass between an oak tree and acorn is smaller than um… the absolute number of particles in the acorn in the first place.  In other words, relative differences are dwarfed by actual numbers, if that makes sense.  Say the oak tree is a million times larger than the acorn.  A million is ten times itself 6 times (that is 106).  That difference is insignificant compared to the millions of millions of millions (ten times itself 18 times, 1018) of atoms composing the acorn.

Aristotle’s account offers a more accessible vision.   The acorn is a being-in-potency.  The oak tree is a being-in-perfection.  Here, the technical term, “perfection”, means “all grown up”, not “without flaw”.

0235 What is the problem with Aristotle’s account? 

Aristotle’s account cannot be reduced to truncated material and efficient causes.

Aristotle’s account cannot be converted into mathematical or mechanical models. 

So, Aristotle’s vision is rejected by the so-called “mechanical philosophers” in the 7400s.

0236 Not surprisingly, today, in 7824 U0′, scientists are starting to realize that emergent phenomena, such as a living acorn growing into an oak tree, cannot be described by mathematical and mechanicals models.  But, inquiry into these emergent phenomena can be gamed, by altering conditions and pretending that the changes in the emergent phenomenamay be modeled as quantitative responses to changing conditions.

0237 Tabaczek is not impressed.

He proposes that Aristotle’s four causes are relevant to a living acorn growing into an oak tree as well as other emergent phenomena.

0238 What he needs is an updated way to express Aristotle’s causalities.

This examiner suggests that Peirce’s category-based nested form offers an opportunity in that regard.

0239 Here is a picture for the acorn as an actuality2.  In order to understand the acorn2, one needs to ascertain its normal context3 and potential1.  Aristotle’s four causes describe complementary connections within and among the three elements of the following triadic relation.


Looking at Mariusz Tabaczek’s Book (2021) “Divine Action and Emergence” (Part 10 of 22)

0240 Sections 2.1.2 through 2.1.4 set forth Aristotle’s four causes along with hylomorphism.

The previous figure covers that territory, but it does not cover the distinction between primary and secondary matter, as well as other distinctions.

The previous figure also covers the interrelatedness of causes discussed in section 2.1.5.  Plus, it visualizes the importance of the hylomorphe as an exemplar of and a gateway to Peirce’s category of secondness.

0241 So far, I present a fairly simple example of a motor driven by a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell.  This example dovetails into a general picture of Deacon’s science-loving portrayal of emergence, as an interscope.

Here is a diagram.

0242 This diagram serves as a map for the next example.

Respiration in multicellular animals depends on special cellular organelles, called mitochondria.

Mitochondria live in eukaryotic cells.  The scientific project to discover how they conduct the biochemistry of respirationis one of the great successes of science.  In order to do so, scientists did not change the conditions of the mitochondria, but they did something similar.  They labeled each specific carbon in glucose with a radioactive carbon.  They traced each of the six positions through the Krebs cycle.  Then they “reverse engineered” the metabolic pathways.

0243 In terms of inquiry, these investigators consider respiration2 as an actuality.  They already know that respiration2requires mitochondria within a eukaryotic cell3.  Indeed, mitochondria3 provide the normal context for respiration2.  Also, scientists already know that many cellular processes require ATP or similar high-energy phosphate carriers.  I could describe ATP as adenosine-PiPiPi, where Pi is a phosphate.  The third Pi pops off with enough energy that cellular work can get done.

0244 Here is an initial nested form for respiration.

0245 Plus, here is how some of these terms might enter into Deacon’s interscope.

0246 Now, I want to clarify.  I am standing on Tabaczek’s “metaphysical” side of the mirror.  But, I am talking about natural philosophy.  So, I am looking into the scientific domain of truncated material and efficient causalities, as if it were a reflection of what nature is doing.

This view is not the same as triumphalist science, which would replace the noumenon with chemical models and reduce mitochondria to “little laboratories producing ATP”.  Nor is this view the same as logical positivism, which would claim that the positivist intellect is… ahem… still alive. This view sees a reflection in modern scientific inquiry into the phenomena of respiration. My goal is not to technologically manipulate respiration (as desired by many corporate sponsors of modern science).  My goal is to appreciate the thing itself.