Are non-physical abstractions real or not real?
If by non-physical abstractions you mean something like moral values, I take the position they are real.
Apologies in advance for length, but coming from an unorthodox position will have to present the foundation of my approach to the issue for clarity. I first identify what seems to me the only common element contreta and abstracta appear to share in perception: the presentation of a state of information
. As JamesofSeattle noted, abstractions can be objects of reference. The idea presented here is that the reference in apprehension is to information. Information in this view is the occurrence of existence, or a report of being
to intellectual apprehension. Concrete and abstract things both tender information to perception because they are informational existents. Reality in this sense begins as information, which raises the question: how would a primarily informational reality play out in comparison to a primarily material reality?
Informational reality in its simplest form might be imagined in reduction to a single “bit”. Each monistic bit consists in at least two attributes: particularization (P) and value (V). P and V are in this hypothesis the building blocks of reality and existence.
Because its two components are immaterial, information itself is an abstract unit. If information is the basis of reality, then reality is fundamentally abstract and not concrete. If the hypothesis holds I’ll have to show how existence is able to progress from a single bit of abstract stuff to what seems another sort of stuff altogether that has the “feel” of concreteness.
Using the “bit” of information (I) model, (I = P + V), P and V [as I] would be the building blocks of the thing and attribute of existence. P is static and functional, V is dynamic and, in the case of organics, vital. From the perspective of V in organics, V in inorganics is inert on a macro level of existence. P might be roughly thought of as a placeholder, a locale for value’s occupancy, just as matter can be envisioned in a realist sense as a sort of placeholder for properties and attributes. P is the field in which V does its dancing.
The metaphysical blueprint for an informational reality:
1. Information (I) as monistic stuff of existence consisting in two aspects, P and V.
2. Form (F) as “primary value” and ordering principle acts on P, which in turn organizes V into those expressions of value we call attributes, properties, qualities, attributes, quantities, relations, etc. This notion of Form is a renovation/union of both Aristotelian and Platonic theories in which the patterning of I is concurrently transcendent and immanent. Form as intended here is a single ordering principle (or set of ordering principles, i.e., laws of science) according to which I is organized, structured, given symmetry and develops patterns.
3. V exists in one of two denominations or gradations, true (t
) or false (f
4. Form exists in only one unalterable grade of value, True (T
), capitalized to identify its precedence and preeminence over I.
5. Inorganic information possesses an immutable t under the supervision of T
. It follows that all inorganic matter is Vt
6. Organic information can exist in either a t or f state. It follows that organic matter is either Vt
7. Where tension is experienced in perception in the falsification of non-organic states of affairs (i.e., the slight tension in observation of 3+3=7), we naturally intuit in intellectual apprehension an entirely different and more powerful resistance as levels or degrees of pressure in observance of the falsification of the good of organic vitality. The signifier we assign to apprehension of this pressure, is prescript, which exists only in the addition of fragmental falsification to the Vt
state of organics. In its (in its highest form) in this context, the falsification of t
gives rise to the term “moral” or “morality”, the highest level of t
Though not spatiotemporally detectible, a simple thought experiment demonstrates the validity of this sense of moral pressure.
Imagine you’re holding a sledge hammer. You are instructed to strike, in the following order,
1. a boulder
2. a rose bush
3. an ant hill
4. a dog
5. a human infant
A consensus of persons with reasonably unimpaired mental and rational capabilities will recognize and affirm an increase in pressure in visualizing their participation in steps 1-5.
It’s often argued that in history some or all of items 1-5 were culturally acceptable. But literature suggests the moral model has generally held throughout variations in history . Variances are deviations from
the moral standard, they don’t represent wholesale dismissal of the model itself as one would expect to find if prescriptive t
does not exist. Pride, ambition, lust, and avarice are recognizable falsifications (evils) and generosity, love, honesty, etc. identifiable goods (as derivatives of t). That minds have been—and are even today in different venues—programmed (falsified) to acknowledge for limited periods of time immoral standards or values as acceptable were/are anomalies that reference a steadfast [if not easily articulated] moral standard, the expediency of which has defined human behavior in recorded history.
In an informational universe, moral anomalies can be explained by degrees of falsification in either the physical, mental or essential (spiritual) components, alone or in combination. In other words, falsification can be hypothetically traced from value in essence to values of brain states, which in turn psychologists will map to behavioral values. If neurons are, like all material components, just composed of metaphysical bundles of values in operation at points or locales [providing identity of particularities in spacetime to perception], it would follow that the informational structure of mental content is fashioned from (or expressed as) manifestations of the cumulative values of what we call brain states. Hence, there is no p and ~p. Because matter is, metaphysically/informationally speaking, primarily bundles (locales) of values, the relationships of one state of information (matter) with another (mental content) on a micro-interactional level—and causally also in physical interactions between entities on a macro level—are a transferring of cumulative t
values via motion of their respective point-locales from one informational state to another. Cause isn’t restricted to matter, it’s a value-driven feature of reality.
The vigor or force of the Vt
in opposition to Vf
feature in organics [as in thought experiment above] is prescriptive and normative, while the purely descriptive nature of the immutable but comparatively inert Vt of matter can never develop as a feature of its existence a normative or prescriptive dynamic (no is from ought). The theist is therefore justified in pointing out the contradiction of especially non-cognivist but also ethical subjectivist claims that prescript doesn’t exist or is merely a social construct.
The view is unorthodox, I admit, but seems logically workable to me.