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

0331 My sudden turn to semiotics does not occur in Tabaczek’s text.

Such is the examiner’s prerogative.

At this point, I stand at the threshold of section 1.3.4, almost precisely in the middle of the book.

My commentary on this book is significant.

Shall I review?

I represent the Positivist’s judgment as a content-level category-based form and discuss how it might be situated (points 0155 to 0184).

I suggest how reductionists can game emergent phenomena.  Plus, I follow Tabaczek back to the four causes (points 0185 to 0239).

I present a specific example of an emergent phenomenon, building on the prior example of a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell.  Then, I return to Deacon’s general formula for emergence (points 240 to 0276).

Finally, I examine Tabaczek’s “philosophical history of panentheism” up to the section on Hegel (points 0277 to 0330).

0332 These are notable achievements.

But, my commentary is not more significant than Tabaczek’s text.

At this point, it is if I look through Tabaczek’s text and see something moving, something that catches my eye.  It is not for me to say whether it is an illusion or a registration.  It is enough for me to articulate what I see.

0333 At this point, I draw the veil on Razie Mah’s blog for April and May of 2024 and enter the enclosure of Comments on Tabaczek’s Arc of Inquiry (2019-2024), available at smashwords and other e-book venues.  Comments will cover the rest of Part Two of Divine Action and Emergence.  June 2024 will look at the start of Tabaczek’s next book, Theistic Evolution and Comments will complete the examination.

My thanks to Mariusz Tabaczek for his intellectual quest.

0334 But, that is not to say that I abandon Tabaczek’s text.

No, my slide into sign-relations is part of the examiner’s response.

This occurs in Comments.

There is good reason to wonder whether the response is proportionate.

I let the reader decide.


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 22 of 22)

0149 In chapter five, Tabaczek starts to develop the noumenal side of his mirror, beginning with dispositions and powers.  Tabaczek wants to use these terms interchangeably. Perhaps, it is better to regard them as two contiguous real elements, where the contiguity is [properties].

Disposition [property] power is a hylomorphe that is slightly different than Aristotle’s hylomorphe, matter [substance] form.   Even though they differ, they both belong to Peirce’s category of secondness.

To me, Peirce’s secondness opens the door to expressions of causality that reflect Aristotle’s hylomorphe in so far as they have the same relational structure.

Currently, no modern philosopher views Aristotle’s hylomorphe as a prime example of Peirce’s category of secondness.

How so?

As soon as a modern philosopher recognizes the point, then he or she becomes a postmodern philosopher.

Labels can be slippery.

0150 In chapter six of Emergence, Tabaczek introduces forms and teleology (that is, formal and final causes).  The operation of these causes within the category-based nested form has already been presented.

0151 In chapter seven, Tabaczek labors to apply his dispositional metaphysics to Deacon’s formulation of dynamical depth.  Perhaps, the results are not as coherent as the application found in this examination, but his efforts are sufficient to earn him his doctorate in philosophy.

Amen to that!

0152 Overall, Emergence is a testimonial to the resilience of a graduate student who completes his doctorate in philosophy of science without knowing that the model and the noumenon are two (apparently competing) illuminations within the Positivist’s judgment.

0153 Why doesn’t he know?

Well, no one knows, because philosophers of science are not paying attention the traditions of Charles Peirce or of Jacques Maritain.  As noted in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy, Maritain uses the scholastic tool of three different styles of abstraction to paint a picture of science displaying the structure of judgment.  Peirce’s semiotics and categories clarify Maritain’s painting by resolving two integrated yet distinct judgments: the Positivist’s judgment and the empirio-schematic judgment.

Plus, another reason why no one knows is because philosophers of science still think that the positivist intellect is alive.  All laboratory scientists obey the dictate of the positivist intellect.  Metaphysics is not allowed.  So, if well-funded scientists are correct, then philosophers of science must project what is for the Positivist’s judgment from science into their own image in Tabaczek’s mirror.  They do not realize that Tabaczek inadvertently de-defines the positivist intellect by not getting the Positivist’s memo and regarding a noumenon as the thing itself and its phenomena as manifestations of dispositions [properties] power.

0154 Say what?

Tabaczek’s “dispositional metaphysics” disposes with the positivist intellect by vaporizing the relation of the Positivist’s judgment and condensing what ought to be (the empirio-schematic judgment) and what is (the noumenon [cannot be objectified as] its phenomena) as two distinct illuminations.  Both enter secondness.  Two hylomorphes stand juxtaposed.  In Tabaczek’s mirror, each hylomorphe sees its own image in the other.