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            RELATIVITY AND SEMS Add your comment on this item29


            Einstein's primary insight for Special Relativity was not rational; but highly counter-intuitive. He proposed that the velocity of light (the velocity of propagation for electromagnetic waves) was an invariant to observers in a field, where all observers are moving at constant velocity with respect to each other. These "observers" are often called "reference frames". We cannot imagine this with our body oriented metaphors for motion and our classical view of velocity arithmetic. You can chase after a photon and always fall behind, no matter how you accelerate. One observer at a train station and another observer on the train measure the velocity of the same light wave (Einstein's gedanken experiment). Contrary to "common sense" the two observers (moving relative to each other) would arrive at the same value for their measurements of the velocity of that light - or any other electromagnetic wave. Add your comment on this item30


            A consequence of this strange nature of light, the physical distance between to events (such as two supernovae) and the time interval between them will vary, depending on the relative velocity of observers. However, a result of The Special Theory of Relativity is that the four dimensional distance between the two events is invariant. Add your comment on this item31


            x2+y2+z2-c2t2 = x'2+y'2+z'2-c2t'2 Add your comment on this item32


            Most introductions to Special Relativity start with flat Euclidean space and a linear, absolute time -- as a background media or grid upon which objects and events are observed. Then, because things move very fast - close to the velocity of the signal they use to communicate (and make their measurements), their space intervals and time intervals seem to shrink. Rulers get shorter and clocks slow down - as the story goes. I believe that this is a very confusing introduction. Add your comment on this item33


            Consulting the works of Milne, LJV constructed a mathematical formulation for assigning space-time coordinates to events (of observation and events of reflection of light off an event), using clocks (as in radar bouncing off moving objects - using the time the radar signal left the observer and when it returned, and the time interval) the coordinates for all events can be determined. We simply use the idea that the speed of the signal (light) is invariant. We then end up with coordinates that conform with the Lorentz equations of transformation (transforming one set of coordinates of a given event as measured from one observer to a different set of coordinates of the same event as measured by another observer in relative uniform motion with the first observer). Relativistic space-time mathematically emerges from the process of measurement (radar reflection and timing) and the assumption of the invariance of the speed of light. Nothing happens to flat space-time due to fast motion; flat space time is only a local approximation - if we observe phenomena where velocities of particles are very high, approaching the speed of light, space and time appear distorted from the flat approximation. Flat space and linear time were natural at speeds on planet Earth where our observers evolved, and it is somehow becomes integrated in our brains. Add your comment on this item34


            How might "primitive" peoples, who know nothing about academic physics or formal measurements feel about not being able to catch a light wave. You go faster and faster from earth, but you measure the light going the same speed. How might this be presented? Add your comment on this item35


            "Invariance" is a far better concept that "conservation". LJV explicated this distinction in his PhD thesis in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota in 1970: On Understanding the Laws of Invariance. Add your comment on this item36


            Consider now a "thing" with the following set of properties. Don't permit "common sense" to insist that such a "thing" is impossible. Add your comment on this item37


        Doesn't change over the time interval of its existence. Add your comment on this item38


        Can be replicated many times. Add your comment on this item39


        Replicas are identical to each other, indistinguishable. Add your comment on this item40

o        The identity of these "things" is analogous to the indistinguishably of electrons (leptons) in academic physical theory. Add your comment on this item41


        Their origination is without physical cause. They appear as one might imagine the collapse of a quantum field; where and when is not strictly determined, but may be in accordance statistically with other originations. Add your comment on this item42


        Their emergence after origination is dependent on the interference of two domains: (1) the intrinsic potential characteristic of the origination (analogous to the expanding quantum probability field), and (2) the physical surround (environmental matrix of matter and energy) within which the "thing" emerges. Add your comment on this item43


        The "things" emerge, over time, producing/creating a fixed physical structure within which is embedded/imprinted an "ideational pattern". The "ideational pattern" is the "thing". It is not dependent on the material substrate that sustains it. "Things" are not material, although they depend for their manifestation on material substrates. Add your comment on this item44


        The substrate may decay, but the "ideational pattern" will remain invariant. This invariance will be operationally defined. When parts of the pattern are not manifest because of the decay of the substrate, the pattern manifest is an ensemble of patterns of which the remaining fragment is a part. Add your comment on this item45


        The substrate may disappear, and the "thing" in that manifestation will be gone. But, if the "thing" was replicated, it will continue to exist, in multiple identical copies embedded/imprinted on a variety of physical media. Add your comment on this item46


        There are many operations for replication of these "things", and operations to confirm their identity. Add your comment on this item47


        Unless all substrates are destroyed, and there are no remaining replicas, the "thing" continues to exist. Add your comment on this item48


        The same "thing" can be observed many times, where the observation never changes the "thing". We are actually observing the same "thing" in multiple embodiments. This is more than the replication of a scientific experiment - it is similar, but not the same. When we observe these "things", they are the same "things" (if they are replicas of a common ancestral "thing"). Add your comment on this item49


            These "things" are creations, the observable products of creativity. They must have material substrates, but they are not themselves material.View comments on this item Add your comment on this item50


            I call these "things" SEMS (or sems), short for semiotic structures. Add your comment on this item51


            Human creations are sems. A composed paragraph is a sem, as is a novel. All art forms are sems. Buildings and created landscapes are sems. Musical compositions are sems, as are musical performances.

            Scientific theories are sems - the data, texts and diagrams are sems that give rise to meaningful mental experiences in some minds, just as the complex structures of musical sounds lead to meaningful mental experiences in the minds of those trained to observe them. Add your comment on this item52


            Not all sems are obvious, some must be studied over time -- they don't change while being studied (although the observer may discover new features - that were already there - on later observations). Add your comment on this item53


            Sems have analogous aspects to Platonic Ideals - which is why I called them "ideational patterns" on material substrates. Add your comment on this item54


            The observation and study of sems, replicating sems, inter-subjectively confirming the "identity" of a collection of sems, can all be done within the frame of naive realism. This is a very fortunate situation. Naive realism is an appropriate frame for local, immediate, sensory environments. It evolved to work for these situations. To attempt to apply alternative frames to situations where naive realism is appropriate can be very confusing.  Add your comment on this item55


            But placing clear limits on the applicability of naive realism (such as not suitable for abstract concepts { e.g., freedom, inertial mass}, or things that cannot be "directly, inter-subjectively observed" { e.g., social systems, governments}, or qualia of experiential moments {e.g., fear, confusion}) we can avoid the problems caused by its inappropriate application. Add your comment on this item56


            Minds objectify sems. "Mind" will be a primitive, at this point. We may use metaphors of consciousness or mental experience as components of minds. Sems, when observed by human perceptual systems are common sense objects or "things". They can be described. Their "objectification" does not imply a naive materialism. Add your comment on this item57


            Like with Relativity, we begin at the beginning. Our primitives are these "things" with the above properties: sems. Sems as non-material is counter-intuitive. For example, we must distinguish the following sem: <I AM A SEM>, from it copy pasted here: <I AM A SEM> and here: <I AM A SEM>. There are three sequences of characters, but only one sem. Even if I can't comprehend this sem: < > I can make copies of it: < > and here: < > . Add your comment on this item58


            In a course I designed, "Learning to Learn and Love Math", I made copies of some of the most complex math symbolic expressions I could find, and some texts in Arabic and other character systems. I wasn't sure that everyone could replicate the sems; but they did. Everyone detected the features of the that were relevant and replicated them. Add your comment on this item59


            There will be sems that only selected persons can perceive and replicate. Such as color patterns for the color blind and musical structural subtleties requiring perfect pitch. This "theory of sems" as all theories, is but a cognitive tool. It will have its limitations. Add your comment on this item60


            The empirical foundation of science are sems - recorded data and scientific reports - not the so-called "objective" physical process observed. The experimental processes of research result in the origination of sems, data and reports. Our scientific knowledge is founded on these scientific sems. It is the scientific literature, the collective sem, that are returned to again and again, data being re-examined, mathematical deductions being re-analyzed. Sems themselves can be scientifically studied, and they are unique in that observations doesn't change them (the old scientific ideal) and the "thing" to be studied can be replicated, enabling many researchers to study the same "thing". And the results of all such re-examination and re-analysis are new sems. Add your comment on this item61


            Sems are the foundation of all social reality. -- expand later. We learn of societies and cultures through sems encountered in the various media. This perspective is a frame that enables viable human unity/diversity. Add your comment on this item62

            See: The Fundamental Reality of Text . Add your comment on this item63


            The material universe is constructed of sems -- what we experience are sems. The nature of sems is constructed of sems. What we say about brain, mind, consciousness are sems constructed of sems. Add your comment on this item64


            Now consider: all living organisms are sems - but not products of human creativity. Our knowledge of life and living systems is based on human created sems (research data and reports). But, the living organism -- as a true "other" -- has it origination, its emergence, its mature form, and it disappears when the biological body dies. The physical-biological organism, its molecules, cells and organs, are not sems. The sem is the "ideational pattern" that originates and emerges - patterns embedded/imprinted on biological matter. The concept of matter/substance may be useful, and even "wired in"; but, it may also go the way of the aether - the "non-material material" believed necessary for the propagation of signals. We eventually discovered that all relevant information carried by the signals didn't depend on the nature of the medium - the aether. So the concept was abandoned. Yet, in a more abstract sense, Einstein's fiction of light signals with strange properties, is the aether. Add your comment on this item65


            I had heard that Richard Feynman ( in his Nobel Prize speech ) proposed a theory of light that even did away with the traveling signal. [I just read it.] He noted that we never observe light. We only observe the reception of signals - events in the receiver. The causal patterns normally explained by the creation and annihilation of photons, traveling like a wave, but relating to matter as a "particle", can be replaced by a temporal coordination scheme. An event in the sun is associated with an event on Earth, after an 8 minute delay. Energy is not material, it is a mathematical construct, a pattern that is observed when invariances are observed. The material metaphor of "energy conservation": imagining an "energetic substance" moving and changing form (potential to kinetic, chemical to thermal, nuclear to radiative). This metaphor is a carry-over of the phlogiston paradigm. In practice, energy is a mathematical invariant in physical and biological theories. "Energy", the word, labels an "invariant" in a system of sems.View comments on this item Add your comment on this item66


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