LOLOL!!! Gagdad Bob strikes again!!! (Guess who the "Head Lizard" is!)
Thanks for introducing me to him, Matchett-PI I enjoy reading him very much, so much so that I bought his book, One Cosmos under God: The Unification of Matter, Life, Mind and Spirit.
Gagdad Bob is the alias Dr. Robert Godwin a clinical psychologist and philosopher uses on his blog. How do we make clear what he means by the "horizontal" and "vertical" axes of thought and being?
In his book, Godwin invites us to
Imagine a two-dimensional being trying to "get away from it all" by going on vacation somewhere in Flatland; anywhere he goes, he will still be restricted to a cramped planar existence, and never experience the comparatively infinite freedom of the third dimension, even though that dimension is equally available from any point in Flatland.Our 2-dimensional Flatlander, moving "horizontally," never senses a third dimension "vertical" to his linear progression through planar space plus time, a dimension accessible to him at every point in his progress, if he but knew it. But if he did know it, he wouldn't be a 2-dimensional being anymore.
We might say the "horizontal" line is about fact, and the "vertical," value, or IOW the meaning of fact.
Our problem raises issues of time and causation. Our conventional sense of time (evident in Newtonian mechanics and Darwin's evolution theory) is that it is a linear, unidirectional, irreversible movement from past to present to future; i.e., it is a "one-way street" in which discrete, serial events occur by means of local causes exclusively. Here it is axiomatic that objects not in sufficiently close proximity do not causally affect each other. IOW, all causation is local causation. This is what we mean by the "horizontal" line it is our most familiar time line, rigorously reinforced by the habits of ordinary sense perception and experience.
Yet when Sgt. Joe Friday always said (on the blockbuster TV show Dragnet that aired in the late 1950s through early '60s I'm dating myself!), "Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts," this should not be taken to mean that "facts" were the point in themselves; but rather that Sgt. Friday needed to adduce facts in combination in order to analyze and find their meaning, so to bust the bad guy. But this imaginative process cannot be located on our time line as just another ordinary fact, for it is atemporal and non-local WRT that time line and the events on it. This is what is meant (IMHO) by the vertical extension.
Quantum mechanics has exploded any idea that causation is a strictly local phenomenon.
And so my favorite way of dealing with this new situation in science is to have resort to the categories of Aristotelian causation.
Aristotle proposed four causes as sufficient to explain all processes in Nature: the formal, material, efficient, and final. Every existent process in the natural world depends on all four.
The formal cause (eidos) is the pattern or design according to which materials are selected and assembled for the execution of a particular goal or purpose. For example, in the case of a Boeing 747, the blueprint (or schematic) would be its formal cause. This is the key explanation for the jet.Now the interesting thing is contemporary science regards only three of the Aristotelian causes: Final cause has been banished from its method ever since Sir Francis Bacon.
The material cause is the basic stuff out of which something is made. The material cause of a Boeing 747, for example, would include the metals, plastics, glass, and other component materials used in its construction. All of these things belong in an explanation of the 747 because it could not exist unless they were present in its composition.
The efficient cause is the agent or force immediately responsible for bringing that material and that form together in the production of the Boeing 747. Thus, the efficient cause of the jet would include the efforts of engineers, materials fabricators, hydraulics specialists, and other workers who use the designated materials and components to build the jet in accordance with its specifying blueprint. Clearly the Boeing 747 could not be what it is without their contribution: It would remain unbuilt.
Lastly, the final cause (telos) is the end or purpose for which the Boeing 747 exists. The final cause of the jet would be to provide safe, reliable, comfortable air transportation for human beings. This is part of the explanation of the 747s existence, because it never would have been built in the first place unless people needed a means of air transportation.
Contemporary science identifies first cause with initial conditions plus the physical laws; the material cause with brute matter; the efficient cause with energy. It absolutely rejects final cause for final cause cannot be located along the same time line as the other three. Indeed, Aristotle said, "the final cause is an end, and that sort of end which is not for the sake of something else, but for whose sake everything else is." Final cause is not temporally congruent with the other three causes it is not on the same time line, and appears to be acting from the future, not the temporally local present.
But this would only make it a "non-local" cause it lives in the "vertical," not along the "horizontal" plane that it effectively dominates.
By "end," Aristotle means purpose or goal (peras, Limit). But materialist/physicalist science cannot admit any idea of purposefulness in Nature.
Yet modern biology sneers at final cause even though no concept of biological function could possibly be imagined without reference to the successful completion of a biological goal a final cause.
And so I just loved it when Godwin said (paraphrasing), final cause is a lady that biologists cannot do without, but with whom they do not want to be seen in public.
Anyhoot, just to wrap up for now, three Aristotelian causes proceed along the horizontal; but that which gives them meaning and purpose proceeds only along the vertical.
Just some thoughts, struggling to elucidate a problem....
Thank you ever so much, dear Matchett-PI, for the ping and for the link to the ever fascinating Gagdad Bob!