TA 106 (Müller)


Response 10 (to Beamish, C26)


by Herbert FJ Müller
27 April 2008, posted 3 May 2008

Thank you for your commentary on my R9.  It is important to have discussion on these matters.  I will respond here to some of the points you make, and hope you don’t mind some disagreement in views; that can stimulate thinking. 


[PB]<1>, also <7>
<The velocity of light in empty space is an absolute constant of nature, and is independent of the motion of the emitting body.> Leo Sartori p48. (This is an Einstein postulate of Sartori's "Understanding Relativity.") 


The measured speed of light is variable, and there is no such thing as a variable constant.  Also, the speed of light has to be relative to somebody in order to be measured.  An absolute speed of light, without reference to anyone and anything, has meaning only as a mathematical factor, not as a physical entity. 

Many physicists including Einstein believe(d) in the absoluteness of the magnitude of the speed of light.  But that is a default reasoning, which developed from what he said in his 1905 relativity paper :  he eliminated the subject, not because the speed of light could be measured ‘from nowhere’ (which would be a nonsensical opinion), but because he was a subject-exclusive objectivist.  Plus he did not differentiate between the two possibilities (standard versus measurement). 

The subject-exclusion has been a standard-procedure in science since Descartes, and it implies traditional metaphysics.  That way of thinking makes some things easier, others become more difficult.  But metaphysics does not have to be taken in the traditional meaning; as-if-metaphysics does just as well, and avoids the conceptual difficulties, by including the subject at least in principle.

By the way, is the adopted ‘absolute’ value = the average of the measurement results ?


Subjective Reality is ... a synonym for "Mind."  ... a volume with no mass & no energy, & because "Mental Thought" can ANALYZE "Mental Vectors" in the reverse of "Conventional time Ct/t," (as now seemingly obvious from the mathematics of most physics formulae) then the "Essos Outer Edge" can expand, as mind "reaches for the stars."


Subject-only reality means solipsism, and is an erroneous (incomplete) view.  The mind encompasses ALL mental structures :  of self, world, universe etc. (including ‘vectors’, ‘Essos’, or whatever else your private vocabulary for structures may be).  There are no exceptions.  Mathematical formulae formulate the beliefs of those who write them (such as in the Lorentz transformation).  To the extent that they turn out to be useful they can become a part of working-reality; otherwise they need to be adjusted or changed as desirable  -  as it happens with all concepts.


Objective Reality (or "Mind Independent Reality, MIR,") is outside one's "Essos," and it does exist IF AND ONLY IF many minds can agree from data taken at OTHER geographic locations and at OTHER "Conventional times t."  For example, the existence of Earth's moon is such an Objective Reality.


Objects are structures encompassed by (i.e., inside) the mind, not outside.  Visual-gestalt object-constancy is an acquired facility, early in life, as Piaget showed.  If ‘many minds agree’ on mental structures, that does not make them mind-independent reality (traditional ontology-metaphysics, which is impossible to know in any case); but if you like you can call them working-reality, or as-if-MIR.  That means that they (‘many minds’) accept them as reliable working-hypotheses (‘working-reality’, ‘working, or as-if, ontology-metaphysics’).  The moon is a reliable (subject-inclusive mental) working-structure with gestalt-object-constancy.

Dr. Müller states: that MIR "eliminates the mind from reality," but what is eliminated is just one, or a few, minds, NOT the "Deciding Majority."


In case you mean something like traditional metaphysical-ontological mind-independent reality, this is quite a proposition.  You say in effect that ‘reality is decided by popular vote’.  Suppose you hold a referendum and find that 80% of the people believe that suicide bombers immediately go to heaven (the result would depend on the population sample); or that 51% believe that the moon is made of blue cheese.  Would this then be the decided objective reality ? 

Belief that reality is mind-independent eliminates the mind (i.e., everybody’s mind) from reality, because the mind cannot be mind-independent, and that cannot be changed by anyone’s (singular or plural) opinion.  But the as-if notion (see above) is closer to what you mean :  while it is impossible that mind IS in fact independent of reality, one can sometimes but not always deal with the mind as-if it were independent of reality.  The working-structures are within the mind, but can often be treated as if they were outside; that can facilitate procedures, but one needs to remain aware that it is only a shortcut for the as-if view.  The confusion is caused by the use of metaphysics. 

Concerning working-reality the situation is clearer.  Working-hypotheses should be understood as such, not as MIR.  To avoid a mix-up, it is important to distinguish between these two meanings of ‘reality’.  (Eschatological working-hypotheses are based on wishful thinking or similar reasoning and cannot be tested via feedback, which would have to take place after death; they are maintained mainly by indoctrination). 


Velocities of "things" are not necessarily measured by people & velocity is displacement/duration, which measurements CAN BE Objective Realities.  Real times ARE "mind measured;" all durations CAN BE "machine measured !" 


Machines function as extensions of humans :  who tells the machine what to measure, and whom does the machine tell the result ?


No "mass" & no "energy" can travel faster than "light velocity," period.  But mind can be superluminal, precisely because it has no "mass/energy."


This is upside down.  You mean that by thinking about the edge of the universe you are there ?  And how about thinking about multi-verses, or branes, or the big bang ?  The structures are in your mind, not your mind in the structures (including ‘mass/energy’).  Also, Boyd wrote that gravity moves faster than light, and so far this has not been questioned.


There is now no need to "deform" space, & time is simply a SCALAR LABEL.


I agree, space and time and scalar labels are mental tools, inside experience (mind).  However, as you know, in relativity-theory, the metaphysical thinking has made a big deal out of space- and time- deformation.





I have so far received no responses from other physicists on our list about my opinions, described in R9, concerning subject-inclusive relativity.  Thus I take it they agree with me  -  subject to corrections if applicable.  Let me repeat that the exchange of opinions is important to stimulate thinking about certain issues.  There may be neglected questions (such as the conceptual ones, discussed here, of standard versus measurement, and of subject-inclusion versus subject-exclusion, in relativity) which can be settled neither at random, by experimentation, nor by decree.




Herbert FJ Müller
     e-mail <herbert.muller@mcgill.ca>