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Entropy: objective basis for morality?

 
Igawa
 
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Igawa
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18 October 2017 15:57
 

Consider the following:

The universal perspective is a philosophical dead end. There is no reason that something is better than nothing. There is no concept of ‘better’ or ‘good’ at this scale, only number scales. One is objectively a bigger quantity than zero, but neither is any more or less preferable a state to be in. Why is there something, rather than nothing? There is no valuable or possible answer to this question. ‘God did it’, ‘We’re a computer simulation’, ‘We’re one universe in the multiverse’. They are all equally useless, and also fail to resolve the question.. Philosophizing at this level is akin to multiplying by zero. No matter what you do, the answer will always be zero.

Life can be absracted as an actively self-perpetuating low entropy system. As long as it is part of a larger system, it will tend to use that energy in the larger system to actively maintain it’s own low entropy state. Generally, the more low-entropy systems that are external to a self-perpetuating low entropy system, the easier it is to remain self-perpetuating (as there is more ‘useful’ external energy available for it to use to maintain its own state). Additionally, having subsystems that can in any way form a bias towards self-perpetuation (a sort of meta-positive feedback loop?), makes it easier for the system as a whole to remain self-perpetuating. In effect, these systems are the most basic unit of a morality; expression of preference that the system within and/or without remain low entropy.

Therefore my proposition is that self-perpetuation is the fundamental categorical imperative, since by giving it up the system would no longer remain in the category to begin with. For self-perpetuating systems there is no possibility or purpose in philosophizing at the superset where self-perpetuation has been given up or is not contingent, since doing so immediately removes that system from it’s subset. The bias for a system to increase it’s ability to reduce it’s own entropy is the quantum preference, and therefore also the quantum morally good statement. Conversely, to a system that is self-perpetuating, (can actively reduce it’s own entropy), renouncing or reducing it’s ability to self-perpetuate is the quantum morally bad statement. From these physical quantum foundations, morality is further constructed.

Yes, this idea has very little, if any, ‘weight’ in the grand scheme of human morality. Just wanted to get it off my chest, and although philosophizing over the internet rarely has a good outcome, it’s the most promising outlet available to me right now.

 
GAD
 
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GAD
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18 October 2017 23:40
 

I like it. Life strives to survive, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

 
 
Igawa
 
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Igawa
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20 October 2017 10:42
 

Something like that. I was trying to figure out where the transition between the world of preferences, and the world of a single preference (entropy increases), the cosmic view of the universe. For the concept of morality to even exist, there needs to be at least two possible preferences which lead to different outcomes.

If the most basic preference possible is for entropy to increase, then the second most basic is for it to decrease, right? You don’t need to add any more degrees of freedom into the mix. The most basic system I can think of that can actually pursue the second preference is something like a bacterium, or DNA, or some other self-perpetuating, self-regulating system. In short, confusing language, “life”.

I’m not saying that a DNA molecule is aware of this preference, much less capable of conceptualizing or philosophizing about it. I’m just saying that it HAS this preference. It’s built into it’s physical structure. Simply because it is the way it is, it will try to self-perpetuate.

What this mean for us humans? Difficult to say. There are so many more possibilities at this point that this ‘quantum preference’ can’t do a ton. However I think it’s fair to say that even at the human level it’s still a fairly ‘good’ preference to value self-perpetuation (Our bodies certainly prefer this. Think of pain, hunger, fear, etc). It sounds kinda Randian, except without her insistence on it’s primacy over all the other preferences we are also capable of having. I think it’s also a categorical and objective refutation of Nihilism at this level of analysis, though I don’t have the philosophy chops to actually prove such a thing.

 
Poldano
 
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Poldano
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06 November 2017 19:54
 

Igawa,

I think entropy impacts the possibility for life itself well before morality need enter the conversation. I think morality derives its dependency on entropy via its dependency on life. By life, I mean any self-replicating system.

Your notion of self-perpetuating subsystems is spot-on, in my opinion. The complete living systems (i.e., individual living entities) we know about are all based on simpler self-perpetuating subsystems. The question of what the subsystems at the very bottom of the self-perpetuating pile are, is the focus of some of the most interesting current philosophy and science.

 
 
socratus
 
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socratus
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02 December 2017 02:09
 
Igawa - 18 October 2017 03:57 PM

Consider the following:

The bias for a system to increase it’s ability to reduce it’s own entropy is the quantum preference,
and therefore also the quantum morally good statement. Conversely, to a system that is self-perpetuating,
(can actively reduce it’s own entropy), renouncing or reducing it’s ability to self-perpetuate
is the quantum morally bad statement.
From these physical quantum foundations, morality is further constructed.

Yes, this idea has very little, if any, ‘weight’ in the grand scheme of human morality.
Just wanted to get it off my chest, and although philosophizing over the internet rarely
has a good outcome, it’s the most promising outlet available to me right now.

1.
Henry Poincare named the conception of “entropy ”
as a ” surprising abstract “.
2.
Lev Landau (Dau) wrote:
” A question about the physical basis of the
entropy monotonous increasing law remains open “.
3.
And the Nobel laureate in chemistry 1909 Wilhelm
Ostwald wrote that the entropy is only a shadow of energy.
4.
The mathematician John von Neumann said to
“the father of information theory” Claude Shannon:
” Name it “entropy” then in discussions
you will receive solid advantage, because
nobody knows, what “entropy” basically is “.
==========..

In this way you can connect entropy with ‘‘morality’’  - ‘‘the quantum morally ‘’
because . . . ‘’ because nobody knows, what “entropy” basically is “.

==========..

 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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02 December 2017 07:40
 

Quantum morality? Justice at a distance?

The ol’ Entropy Defense? “But Your Honor, my role in the robbery was strictly entropic!”

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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02 December 2017 07:57
 
Igawa - 18 October 2017 03:57 PM

Therefore my proposition is that self-perpetuation is the fundamental categorical imperative, since by giving it up the system would no longer remain in the category to begin with. For self-perpetuating systems there is no possibility or purpose in philosophizing at the superset where self-perpetuation has been given up or is not contingent, since doing so immediately removes that system from it’s subset. The bias for a system to increase it’s ability to reduce it’s own entropy is the quantum preference, and therefore also the quantum morally good statement. Conversely, to a system that is self-perpetuating, (can actively reduce it’s own entropy), renouncing or reducing it’s ability to self-perpetuate is the quantum morally bad statement. From these physical quantum foundations, morality is further constructed.

You’re conflating “objective” with “universal,” aren’t you? Entropy may be a universal basis for morality, but that doesn’t make it objective. Where by “objective,” we mean “independent of bias or belief or preference.” (“The bias for a system . . . is the quantum preference, and therefore . . . .”)

 
 
burt
 
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burt
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02 December 2017 08:30
 
Nhoj Morley - 02 December 2017 07:40 AM

Quantum morality? Justice at a distance?

The ol’ Entropy Defense? “But Your Honor, my role in the robbery was strictly entropic!”

As was that of the Keystone Kops who caught you.

 
socratus
 
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socratus
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02 December 2017 17:57
 
Igawa - 18 October 2017 03:57 PM

Yes, this idea has very little, if any, ‘weight’ in the grand scheme of human morality.
Just wanted to get it off my chest, and although philosophizing over the internet
rarely has a good outcome, it’s the most promising outlet available to me right now.

what is entropy in chemistry
what is entropy in biology
what is entropy in thermodynamics

what is entropy in ethic
what is entropy in justice
what is entropy in politics
. . . . .  . 

Entropy is often interpreted as the degree of disorder :
the higher the disorder, the higher the entropy of the system.

Political Entropy.
The higher the entropy of the political system in some country,
then easier to manipulate there. 
==========================

 
 
NL.
 
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NL.
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02 December 2017 22:16
 

To the OP - I think the issue with this thinking is that ‘entropy’ is entirely context dependent - it is not a thing unto itself so much as a conceptual designation. For example, say a lizard dies in the forest. You could say that the ‘lizard system’ has succumbed to entropy and will now slowly decay and come apart completely. Or, you could say the ‘forest system’ has decreased entropy and maintained order, as the decay will provide needed nutrients for new growth. You can zoom this out as far as you want and say that if the entire universe implodes, this is an order-increasing property of the cosmos over time, because it will lead, causally, to something or other, which you can then label the natural order of the universe.


I also disagree with the idea that for individual beings, life is inherently low entropy. Living creatures probably exhibit much higher entropy than, say, rocks. Humans seem like something of a 50/50 blend between coalescence around a narrative focal point and embodied entropic change.

 

 
socratus
 
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02 December 2017 22:55
 
Igawa - 18 October 2017 03:57 PM

Yes, this idea has very little, if any, ‘weight’ in the grand scheme of human morality.
Just wanted to get it off my chest, and although philosophizing over the internet rarely
has a good outcome, it’s the most promising outlet available to me right now.

Entropy is often interpreted as the measure of disorder of the system.
Then it is possible to think that ‘‘entropy’’ is a negative concept
But the history of involving ‘‘entropy’’ in physics tell us another story.
==
Between 1850 - 1865 Rudolf Clausius published a paper
in which he called ” The energy conservation law” as
” The first law of thermodynamics”. But in our nature the
heat always flows from the higher temperature to the
lower one and never back. In our everyday life we don’t see
the heat itself rises from cold to hot. So, it seemed that
in thermodynamics ” The energy conservation law”
wasn’t kept, this law was broken. But Clausius had another
opinion. He thought: I know people believe that this process is
irreversible, but I am sure that ” The energy conservation law”
is universal law and it must be correct also for thermodynamic
process. So, how can I save this law ?
Probably, in the thermodynamic process there is something
that we don’t know. Maybe, there is some degradation
of the total energy in the system which never disappears .
Perhaps, there is some non-useful heat, some unseen process ,
some unknown dark energy , some another form of potential
energy/heat itself which can transform heat from the cold
body to the warm one. I will call this conception as ” entropy”
and it will mean that changes of entropy (dS) can be calculated
for reversible process and may be defined as the ratio of the
quantity of energy taken up (dQ) to the thermodynamic
temperature (T), i.e.  dS= dQ /T.
And because I don’t know how this process goes I won’t call
it as a law but as ” The second principle of thermodynamics “
which says that ” the entropy of an isolated system always
increases “. Another version: ” No process is possible
in which the only result is the transfer of heat from a hotter
to a colder body. It is possible some reversible process which
is unknown now .”
Later,  Ludwig Boltzmann described ‘‘entropy’’ by a formula: S= k log W.
And,  finally,  Max Planck described ‘‘entropy’’ as:  h*f = kT logW .
#
So, ‘‘entropy’’ saves us from ‘‘cold death’’ by creating hot systems (stars, planets )
and therefore ‘‘entropy’’  is a positive concept.
But, it is a pity, that until today we cannot understand how this process is going:
not from very hot ‘‘big bang’’ but vice versa - from zero cold to very hot ‘‘singular point’‘.

Scientists cannot explain how using Planck’s formula   h*f = kT logW is possible
to create at first ‘‘singular point’’ and then a ‘‘big bang’’ as a hot system of star formation.

socratus
==========================

 

 
 
Igawa
 
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Igawa
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08 December 2017 14:35
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 02 December 2017 07:57 AM
Igawa - 18 October 2017 03:57 PM

Therefore my proposition is that self-perpetuation is the fundamental categorical imperative, since by giving it up the system would no longer remain in the category to begin with. For self-perpetuating systems there is no possibility or purpose in philosophizing at the superset where self-perpetuation has been given up or is not contingent, since doing so immediately removes that system from it’s subset. The bias for a system to increase it’s ability to reduce it’s own entropy is the quantum preference, and therefore also the quantum morally good statement. Conversely, to a system that is self-perpetuating, (can actively reduce it’s own entropy), renouncing or reducing it’s ability to self-perpetuate is the quantum morally bad statement. From these physical quantum foundations, morality is further constructed.

You’re conflating “objective” with “universal,” aren’t you? Entropy may be a universal basis for morality, but that doesn’t make it objective. Where by “objective,” we mean “independent of bias or belief or preference.” (“The bias for a system . . . is the quantum preference, and therefore . . . .”)

Entropy is a quantity that does depend on the subject system in question, but it is still an objective, measurable quantity of that system (though we may not know how to measure it). If it is an objective quantity, then changes to it are also objective. To be specific again, reduction of entropy is the universal, AND objective basis for morality.

 
Igawa
 
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Igawa
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08 December 2017 14:46
 
socratus - 02 December 2017 05:57 PM
Igawa - 18 October 2017 03:57 PM

Yes, this idea has very little, if any, ‘weight’ in the grand scheme of human morality.
Just wanted to get it off my chest, and although philosophizing over the internet
rarely has a good outcome, it’s the most promising outlet available to me right now.

what is entropy in chemistry
what is entropy in biology
what is entropy in thermodynamics

what is entropy in ethic
what is entropy in justice
what is entropy in politics
. . . . .  . 

Entropy is often interpreted as the degree of disorder :
the higher the disorder, the higher the entropy of the system.

Political Entropy.
The higher the entropy of the political system in some country,
then easier to manipulate there. 
==========================

I think the word entropy is no longer appropriate to use at this scale, because it’s invariably used in ways that confuse people trying to actually understand the physics concept of entropy.

 
Igawa
 
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Igawa
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08 December 2017 15:05
 
NL. - 02 December 2017 10:16 PM

To the OP - I think the issue with this thinking is that ‘entropy’ is entirely context dependent - it is not a thing unto itself so much as a conceptual designation. For example, say a lizard dies in the forest. You could say that the ‘lizard system’ has succumbed to entropy and will now slowly decay and come apart completely. Or, you could say the ‘forest system’ has decreased entropy and maintained order, as the decay will provide needed nutrients for new growth. You can zoom this out as far as you want and say that if the entire universe implodes, this is an order-increasing property of the cosmos over time, because it will lead, causally, to something or other, which you can then label the natural order of the universe.


I also disagree with the idea that for individual beings, life is inherently low entropy. Living creatures probably exhibit much higher entropy than, say, rocks. Humans seem like something of a 50/50 blend between coalescence around a narrative focal point and embodied entropic change.

Again, I’m not using entropy as a backwards subjective measure of disorder. It is an objectively true statement that when the lizard died, it can no longer extract energy from the outside system (the forest) to maintain it’s own state of low entropy. Therefore, the entropy of the lizard may now only increase. If the lizard was alive, it would be possible for the lizard to reduce it’s entropy. The point is that this is the fundamental (quantum) dichotomy that makes a morality possible.

 
NL.
 
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NL.
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08 December 2017 18:49
 
Igawa - 08 December 2017 03:05 PM
NL. - 02 December 2017 10:16 PM

To the OP - I think the issue with this thinking is that ‘entropy’ is entirely context dependent - it is not a thing unto itself so much as a conceptual designation. For example, say a lizard dies in the forest. You could say that the ‘lizard system’ has succumbed to entropy and will now slowly decay and come apart completely. Or, you could say the ‘forest system’ has decreased entropy and maintained order, as the decay will provide needed nutrients for new growth. You can zoom this out as far as you want and say that if the entire universe implodes, this is an order-increasing property of the cosmos over time, because it will lead, causally, to something or other, which you can then label the natural order of the universe.


I also disagree with the idea that for individual beings, life is inherently low entropy. Living creatures probably exhibit much higher entropy than, say, rocks. Humans seem like something of a 50/50 blend between coalescence around a narrative focal point and embodied entropic change.

Again, I’m not using entropy as a backwards subjective measure of disorder. It is an objectively true statement that when the lizard died, it can no longer extract energy from the outside system (the forest) to maintain it’s own state of low entropy. Therefore, the entropy of the lizard may now only increase. If the lizard was alive, it would be possible for the lizard to reduce it’s entropy. The point is that this is the fundamental (quantum) dichotomy that makes a morality possible.


Only if you preference the life of the lizard over that of all other systems, which seems kinda arbitrary.


I suppose if you are saying that morality is entirely individualistic - i.e., it is moral for predators to eat the lizard, moral for the forest to await its death for nutrients, and moral for the lizard to try and survive, you get back to a sort of Nietzsche-ian will to power philosophy. I do not necessarily object to this on logical grounds, although I found it incredibly disturbing, so ended up spending a great deal of time either ‘discovering that’ or ‘brainwashing myself into thinking’ (depending on your subjective inclination) this is not actually the case - that consciousness, awareness, and subjectivity connect us in ways that make this unfeasible.

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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09 December 2017 09:11
 
Igawa - 08 December 2017 02:35 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 02 December 2017 07:57 AM
Igawa - 18 October 2017 03:57 PM

Therefore my proposition is that self-perpetuation is the fundamental categorical imperative, since by giving it up the system would no longer remain in the category to begin with. For self-perpetuating systems there is no possibility or purpose in philosophizing at the superset where self-perpetuation has been given up or is not contingent, since doing so immediately removes that system from it’s subset. The bias for a system to increase it’s ability to reduce it’s own entropy is the quantum preference, and therefore also the quantum morally good statement. Conversely, to a system that is self-perpetuating, (can actively reduce it’s own entropy), renouncing or reducing it’s ability to self-perpetuate is the quantum morally bad statement. From these physical quantum foundations, morality is further constructed.

You’re conflating “objective” with “universal,” aren’t you? Entropy may be a universal basis for morality, but that doesn’t make it objective. Where by “objective,” we mean “independent of bias or belief or preference.” (“The bias for a system . . . is the quantum preference, and therefore . . . .”)

Entropy is a quantity that does depend on the subject system in question, but it is still an objective, measurable quantity of that system (though we may not know how to measure it). If it is an objective quantity, then changes to it are also objective. To be specific again, reduction of entropy is the universal, AND objective basis for morality.

That’s like saying “death” is an objective basis for morality. Death is an objective, measureable quantity. The preference to avoid it is still subjective. Ditto for entropy.

 
 
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