Where Are We in this Series?
IN POST 1, Freedom was argued to be the ability to do more, not the ability to do just anything and everything you want. It is attained by coordination with your environment, not by separation from it. The complex state of Personhood, with its abilities to vary our perspectives on ourselves and our environments, enables us to make adjustments to our routines, our habits, our accepted and necessitated ways of life, and not just do the same things over and over in much the same situations. Not only do we have behaviors, but we Reflect on them, and to a limited extent ‘reprogram’ ourselves. Persons, therefore, have a much greater degree of freedom than do any other object that we know.
(The evolution of human flight is an example of how persons can come to be able to do more. In conjunction with their environment and reflective thought, humans utilized our environment’s opportunity for powered flight and its successive improvement.)
IN POST 2, Images of Unity, some of the various ways that Persons Reflect on their relationship with their environment are considered. Some of these ways eliminate the very idea of Personhood and Freedom (Agency) from their vocabularies. These ‘hard’ scientific views attribute all our behavior to Causes of various sorts. Whether the state of the particles in the entire universe, or the firing of neurons in our brain, or our past upbringing and experiences, all that we do Now is caused by these forces.
(How can both of these be “our” environment! They sure look different to me! That’s what we’re trying to figure out here at the good old NatieRel. Only the second is the environment of Persons; that is our conclusion in post 2.)
Other “images of unity” give Persons and Agents a much larger role in their interactions with their environment. It is not that agents alter the patterns of quantum waves or cause atoms to “swerve”, but — with the help of Evolution and Natural Selection — ‘our environment’ taken in the most objective way is supplemented with ‘our environments’ that are much more user-friendly. They are, as if, “externalized organs” of the agents involved and, therefore, the interaction between Agent and Environment is as much Informational as it is Causal. In communication, for example, information is its basis and the way persons understand it as we Do it. A solely causal ‘understanding’ of it simply eliminates it from existence.
(The relationship between a farm field and farmer, and a hammer and its user, is Informational not causal. Each is an extension of ourselves and the Freedom to do more!)
This post ends by arguing that “the ‘hard’ scientific view of the world” is itself dependent upon the reality of ourselves as Persons and Agents. To seek to eliminate these from our most comprehensive understanding of the universe and reality is a point of view that subverts itself.
IN POST 3, The Arrow of Intentionality, the logical relation that is the basis of Agency and Personhood is described. It is Meaning; it is the way that things can be related Beyond Causation. In the language of philosophy, meaning is Reference, Intention, and Designation. As that latter term suggests, Meaning can be effectively analyzed as Design. Designed objects have an intention (or purpose) at their core that is directed outward at the environment like an arrow. It is selective with its own focus, a relationship to its environment that is foremost Informational and only secondarily understood as Causal. A telling point is made by speaking of a two thousand year old aqueduct bridge as if it were a person or animal that “ignores” day and night, shows little “concern” about hot and cold, and whose “best efforts” have easily withstood the earth’s tremors thus far.
Biology is the science that first comes head to head with the reality of Meaning in our world. Biology constantly encounters Parts that are Subsumed within Larger Wholes, and this is the primary form of any designed object. In this sense, biology becomes an even more appropriate reflection of reality than is physics.
Post 4 is up-coming: Freedom Through Nature and Reflection. You will surprisingly see that Reasons exists in Nature. Rational and efficient standards are part of Nature before they become Represented as the Minds of Persons. Persons, then, use their existence as social and communicating creatures, to Internalize Conversation to become an individual’s process of Thought. Thought is talking to yourself.
By Reflecting on our past actions, Persons establish and adjust their presuppositions and expectations that are at the core of our mutual, human, “know-how”. This is the “Level of Complexity” at which we are Free; Free to do more. (Or sumthin like dat!)