David Birnbaum Philosophy
August 25, 2014
focus: Potentialism Theory by David Birnbaum
Unifying Aristotle and Einstein
Summa Metaphysica's Potentialism Theory
How David Birnbaum’s 21st century Potentialism Theory uniquely and majestically
unifies Aristotle's (very general) teleology and Einstein's (very specific) physics.
teleology: a theory of purpose/direction/intention to the universe
cosmology: a theory of the origins and essence of the Cosmic Order
What do Aristotelian cosmology and Einstein's physics have in common? David Birnbaum’s 21st century cosmology. Birnbaum’s Theory of Potential (aka Potentialism Theory) marries 4th century BCE Aristotle's general teleology with 20th century Einstein's very precise physics in one overarching metaphysical cosmology – Potentialism Theory.
First-released in the first volume of Birnbaum’s three-part treatise Summa Metaphysica (1988, 2005, 2014), the Theory of Potential has gained global traction. Birnbaum weaves a cosmology that brings together both the classic work of Aristotle and the groundbreaking scientific work of Einstein in one overarching theory. Potentialism rests on Birnbaum’s groundbreaking concept which hypothesizes the cosmic core concept as Q4P, or the Quest for Infinite Potential. Put succinctly, the hypothesis is that one suis generis natural dynamic – Quest for Potential∞ – ignited the cosmic order, drives the cosmic order, and is indeed, simultaneously defines the goal/horizon of the cosmic order. Per Birnbaum, Infinite Potential reigns supreme. See also www.SummaMetaphysica.com.
According to the theory, the universe moves with a certain destination in mind – the realization of its own maximal/optimal Potential. Iterative and morphing, our universe seeks ever-greater and increasing Complexification (shorthand: C+) a Birnbaum-coined term for ever-increased levels of complexity/sophistication/richness/diversity/wondrousness. See also www.Glossary1000.com.
Einstein shows the naturally increasing complexity of the universe in both relativity and quantum mechanics. Relativity shows the universe as it cooled and expanded beyond Planck values, bursting forth in greater degrees of complexity; the new universe gave rise to relativity itself and the conceptualization of the universal concept of the speed of light – one of the first and greatest expressions of Potential; something came into existence which defied the chaotic universe with its very “constant-ness”. Like Potential, the speed of light has proven universal and un-subjective – a constant force of the universe, just like Potential itself.
Likewise, quantum physics is part of the very tool kit of Potentialism Theory; it is the mathematical and physical expression of Potentiality in its most vital form. While relativity might seem to just coincidentally align with Potentialism that is not the case with quantum physics. At the heart of Potentialism is the concept that for a myriad of entities that exist in the universe, and perhaps for all of them, there exists both the entity itself as–is in the present, as well as the myriad (perhaps infinite) ways it can express its embedded potential through morphed and iterative complexity interacting with other entities/dynamics down-the-road.
Take, for instance, a child – that child has the potential to grow in complexity as it learns and affects the universe around it. But it also has embedded within itself the potential for all the infinite generations of life it can spawn – which also shape our universe. Now, the child will not take all infinite paths – decisions of how its complexity unfolds must be made. But until that decision is made – all paths are valid and, well, potential. Quantum physics calls this phenomena super-positioning, and it is quite real. Atoms themselves express this inherently as do particles.
The most common example is monitoring photons. Technically photons move like waves through the universe, but once specifically viewed, they become particulate in nature – in short, out of all the paths they could have taken along a wave – they pick one when viewed and that becomes reality. Out of all their infinite Potential, they choose their path of complexity. Birnbaum’s Theory of Potential (aka Potentialism Theory) thus finds it of little surprise that the most basic building blocks of the physical universe follow the exact rules of Potential.
Likewise, Potential permeates classical science and philosophy. Aristotle once proposed a system he called teleology. In it, he posited that not only could things exist for their own survival (think modern day Darwinian science), but they could exist to serve a greater purpose than their individual selves.
In modern science, we call this extrinsic finality and intrinsic finality. Intrinsic is what most people are used to hearing about. It is when we act in our own self-interest as an end goal. We eat because we are hungry. We get into the shade when we are hot. We protect our family because it is the continuation of our own genes.
Extrinsic finality represents a broad tapestry of concepts. At its core, it is when we act in the best interest of something external to ourselves. 20th century science has fought hard against this concept. After all, if you die protecting your family, that is protecting your genes' future – or even your society as a whole. But such denials fall apart when discussing humanity. Altruism banishes such negative proofs. Any time a person dies for the sake of a stranger, or even makes a less dramatic gesture such as offering charity or mercy - with no benefit to themselves or their family – that is altruism. And the final result is something external to the individual who performed that act.
Moreover, teleology is also noticeable on a macro scale outside of humanity in the form of balanced ecosystems, which self-correct with an implied level of design and intent. Even many biologists concede that multicellular life is hard to describe and justify without some measure of teleology in the way cells act as a cooperative, serving needs external to themselves in an intentional, symbiotic community.
Bringing the past and future together
This has been a central argument of Potentialism Theory:
Quest for Potential∞ (Q4P) – if it is bona fide – should be/must be omnipresent and eternal. Aristotle and Einstein are just two more pillars in the foundation superstructure of Summa Metaphysica's Potentialism Theory.
Teleology is a natural extension of a journey complexity. Where one-celled animals and primordial early life existed, large systems within systems have grown. Multicellular animals work within entire environments to increase their complexity and, thus, their Potential.
Beyond that, Einstein discovered last century many of the principles governing the universe and, by extension, Birnbaum’s 21st century Potentialiam itself. Relativity stands as one of the foundations of our young universe, which Potential predicts. (Yes, quantum physics, as well, is a physical expression of the mechanics of Potential itself.) Bridging thousands of years, Birnbaum brings together Aristotle and Einstein at last, into one overarching theory of the universe: Potentialism.
No flaw has been discerned in Birnbaum’s Theory of Potential since first introduced to the world
via Summa I (Ktav Publishing, 1988). Summa Metaphysica was the featured and prime focus of a 3+ day international academic conference hosted by Bard College (Upstate NY, March 2012). See www.Conference1000.com).
Recent hi-level academic works dovetailing with Summa Metaphysica's Potentialism Theory (see www.PotentialismTheory.com) include the following:
Programming the Universe (Knopf, 2006)
by Professor of Quantum Mechanics Seth Lloyd of MIT.
Mind & Cosmos (Oxford University Press, 2012)
by Professor of Philosophy & Law Thomas Nagel of NYU.
Our Mathematical Universe (Knopf, 2014)
by Professor of Physics Max Tegmark of MIT.
See also ParadigmChallenge.