Embodiment of Freedom

Examples of Freedom: Mom at the Market, a Ping-Pong Player and the Judge

There are enduring questions about the meaning of freedom and about how freedom co-exists with natural science. I have a new approach to these questions that begins with three examples. In each example a person is exercising freedom. We view events as they are happening.

  1.   A mother is shopping at a grocery store, accompanied by a fidgeting child. Having stopped at a bin offering table grapes at $2.69 a pound, she has a package of grapes in one hand, while, with the other hand, she holds a bag of apples she picked earlier that cost $1.49 a pound. She will buy grapes or apples but not both; and she is now choosing between them.

  2.   A ping-pong player has just completed a stroke, having hit the ball during a volley in a tournament game. He is seeing his opponent in motion while performing the return stroke and, in anticipation, he is starting to move his lower body to the left (in response to the opponent's motion) while, with his right arm holding the paddle, he starts into a swing that, as it continues, he will turn into one of several ping-pong strokes, such as a loop, a smash or a flip.

  3.   A United States District Court Judge is reviewing a request or Motion made by one side in a civil lawsuit, asking the Judge to order that a certain procedure be done earlier in the case than is the norm set forth in the rules, which also allow for an exception "for good cause." The other side opposes the Motion. The Judge can grant the Motion or deny the Motion; and she can find sufficient justification in the facts and in legal principles to support either decision.

In each example, two or more possible courses of action are changing into a single actual course of action. When one of the possible courses of action becomes the actual course of action, the other possibilities cease to exist even as a possibility. Each change is produced by a person exercising freedom. Such changes, persons and freedom are the subject matter of these pages.

Mom's decision in the grocery store is an example of a general kind of freedom that persons exercise in all markets. The ping-pong player's stroke is an example of a general kind of freedom that persons exercise in all games and sports. The Judge's ruling is an example of a general kind of freedom that persons exercise in all courts and during many governmental determinations. Other examples could be based on travel adventures in cities or in wilderness; on scientific and professional work; and on creative and performing arts. I suggest that such exercises of freedom make up a substantial part of many a person's conscious activity. I suggest that markets, game rooms, sport fields and courts, as examples, are instituted to organize and cultivate such exercises of freedom.

Copyright © 2007 Robert Kovsky

Embodiment of Freedom (2007 partial publication) download (.pdf format)

Table of Contents

Other Publications:
Testimony of Freedom (2008) -- (under construction) the intended culmination of my approach to freedom; presentation of a psychology of resemblances based on Quad Net device operations; the approach leads to analysis of resemblances in physical science, civil law and the Christian religion.

Testimony of Freedom website.

Quad Nets (2006)-- Quad Nets is the chief engineering and scientific presentation of my "thermal device models of brains."

Quad Nets website -- separately organized

web page on the formal paper Quad Nets: Material Foundations for Thermal Device Models of Brains

download Quad Nets paper (.pdf format)

Timing Devices (2007-2009) has developed from a simplified version of the Quad Net Model into an independent area of investigation. The course of development includes possible future projects.

...An Ear for Pythagorean Harmonics: Brain Models Built From Timing Devices (12/28/09) - a separate system of devices originally based on Quad Net principles. Materials include a web page and a full technical presentation (.pdf file - 460 kB). Another web page presents the Abstract of the paper and the listing of Contents.

The separate website, link, Shimmering Silences in Beautiful Music (2009) presented initial investigations and original constructions that developed into the present Ear for Pythagorean Harmonics, along with an earlier version of the Timing Devices paper, titled An Ear for Pythagorean Harmonics: Mathematical Processing in Brain Models Built From "Timing Devices," (2009), a .pdf file 212 kB.

The separate web page, "Timing Devices or Why Brains Are Not Computers," link, is now the setting for the first, 2007, version of the Timing Devices paper, .pdf file, 363 kB.

The separate web page, Dancer - Shimmering Gaits of a Six-Legged Engineered Organism link, contains a proposed series of projects for construction of systems for engineered organisms (artificial animals) to be built from timing devices and Quad Net assemblies, starting with a "Utricle" that detects the orientation of an organism with respect to gravity and progressively leading upwards to a six-legged organism that uses a variety of coordination patterns ("gaits") in attempts to navigate a broken and obstructed terrain.

II.    Philosophy of Science
My device models are counter-examples to the proposition that "brains are computers." That proposition is part of a belief system that I call the Mechanical Cosmology and that includes other propositions: "all things are made of atoms" and "the Universe is governed by laws of physics, like the law of conservation of energy."

Beliefs about atoms and laws of physics have been developmentally productive and wonderfully fruitful in practical ways  – in contrast to "brains are computers"  – but they are also false and misleading. There are no "atoms." Atoms are mental constructions and they do not appear in reality. It is possible to buy materials, such as minerals, metals, refined chemical reagents, vegetable materials, animal materials and synthetic materials; but it is not possible to buy "atoms." The material that is closest to "atoms," refined helium, shows complex, collective, "non-atomic" properties when the temperature gets very low and the helium liquifies.

Energy is never "conserved." "Conservation of energy" is an ideal that is never attained, although billiard tables, vaccuum chambers and ball bearings rather approach it and make exact calculations possible under some circumstances.

Physicists believe that all of reality is made up of particles and laws of physics. Some parts of reality are well modeled by methods based on this belief but other parts of reality  – e.g., the reality of persons and the reality of conflicting principles of social organization  – cannot even be recognized. The physicists' belief is formed through study of imaginary conservative systems of atoms that can never be realized and that do not apply at all to situations that are most important to persons living their lives.

My works on these subjects are not as compactly organized as my engineering and scientific works and the themes run through many diverse works

Works related to Philosophy of Science

Please see a separate web page, "Facts About Snowflakes," about the generation of snowflakes from gaseous water vapor. Snowflakes can be beautifully symmetrical. Physicists are unable to account for this phenomenon because the proposed atomic processes are independent of one another and distant from each spatially. I argue that the attempt to explain the phenomenon by means of atomic processes is a failure. This failure is exemplary of the failures of physics to explain classes of phenomena of phase changes, of which the change from water to ice is the most familiar. I hold that important brain activities are phase changes and outside the reach of the Mechanical Cosmology.

A Patchwork of Limits: Physics Viewed From an Indirect Approach (2000), a .pdf file (157 kB), is discussed on a separate web page The paper is a statement of my "alternative view of physics" that includes technical analysis of the thermodynamic critical state, the conceptual basis of Quad Nets.

A broad statement of my alternative view accessible to the lay reader, with a critical analysis of conventional physics, is in § 6 of "An Objective Kind of Freedom," an archival paper in the form of a .pdf file (618 kB.). The paper was published online in January of 2005 and the first six sections were foundational of my development of Quad Nets later in the year.

"On Cosmological Principles in Natural Science," a .pdf file (23 kB), link, is suggestive of future approaches.

Archival Materials
...Researches in Personal Freedom (2005)
An intentionally imcomplete project (outlined presentation with only a few sections completed), this "website" was a breeding ground for major themes brought to fruition in Quad Nets and Embodiment of Freedom. Major components are a research paper An Objective Kind of Freedom and early designs for "The Structural Engine Model of Consciousness" and "Thermal Models of Brains."

...Constructing Reality: An Exercise of Freedom (2003)
This essay discusses topics that were being developed together and that includes a concept of freedom evoked from literature. Intelligence is discussed as an instrument of cognition that has inherent limitations, resulting in omissions, distortions and artifacts in the products of intelligence, which are our experiences, ideas and theories. Sometimes (as in physics) the deleterious effects of the limitations can be reduced, even towards zero and then intelligence is most successful in engaging reality. Analysis of the successes and failures of intelligence supports inferences about the limitations. Engaging reality with such a limited instrument of cognition is an exercise in freedom.

... A Patchwork of Limits: Physics Viewed From an Indirect Approach (2000)
An earlier statement of my "alternative view of physics" that includes technical analysis of the thermodynamic critical state, the basis of Quad Nets and Embodiment of Freedom. I also argue that physicists exercise freedom in carrying out experiments and proposing theories.

... Jean Piaget and the hazards of the a priori (1998)
An appreciation of the great psychologist and philosopher whose work inspired me.

... Technology of Freedom (1997)
An earlier development project that combined psychology and device operations and that pointed toward Quad Nets

... The Crucible: Structural Foundations of Consciousness and Freedom (1992)
A natural-science approach to selected phenomena involving consciousness and freedom, e.g., verbal description of a visual image, drawing a boundary around a cluster (e.g. "downtown San Francisco") and a jury decision during a trial.

Copyright © 2007 Robert Kovsky