Logic Traps

Is Empiricism Dead?

Since Empiricism is the most successful epistemology to ever be integrated into science’s philosophy of nature it isn’t likely to die anytime soon. It never ceases to amaze  me however, at all the scientists who revel on stage or at a podium about how science has supplanted philosophy and then they go on to employ Empiricism in their discussions failing to recognize its inherent foundations in human physiology. Evidently they are not aware that empiricism is a branch of epistemology which in turn is the philosophy of knowledge. The whole time they make arguments in support of science (rightly so), they are actually reinforcing all the reasons philosophy is not dead, because they ultimately must depend on Empiricism in order to accomplish science. Putting all this into the same cogent sentence helps sort these contemplation endeavors out. Science is a specialized branch of Philosophy which in modern times employs Empiricism‘s epistemological consideration of evidence in support its methods and practices common to its human practitioners. The common thread through all of those areas is humanity and therein lay the strategic issue and core consideration in context of unification of all that is and notice I did not say ‘of physics’. ‘All that is’ is a larger detail set within this domain of discourse than any single discipline of Science.

Consider for a moment the set of circumstance posited by Richard Feynman circa 1950s.


Let’s discuss the unification of physics for a moment. There are lots of theories out there, and they grow ever more elaborate with each passing year. There are just as many issues being overlooked as there are new theories coming out. Stephen Hawking said in his seminal paper on black holes that physics would never be unified until such time as all reference frames could be fully coupled. That is all real objects had real codified and quantified relationships with real forces. It also means that all geometry involved in discerning those real objects was valid in every way and doing that requires a common geometric basis point.

So part of the discussion focuses on the distinctions between Philosophy and Science. What is it about that which either helps or hinders gaining the precipice of unification? What is it about these discussions that we need to become aware of in order to perceive and engage the unified Universe? Here are a few videos from our SolREI Studios channel (on YouTube) playlist on philosophy. There is a common theme here that begins to emerge. Pay close attention and see if you can spot it before we patently point it out later below.

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Who I am is a little bit about how I came to accomplish unification, and I am speaking here from hindsight. So again, please bear with me on this slight tangent. The history here helps understanding the perception and awareness to gain these insights. Otherwise they are irrelevant to anything. My name is Charles C McGowen. Born in 1957 I grew up under the umbrella of the cold war, and being in Birmingham, Alabama remember bomb shelter drills during the Cuban Missile crisis. Teachers had us all get under our desks. I remember now thinking then that was a futile gesture had an actual nuclear detonation occurred. But it set the tone for much of my early life. I built models of all sorts of aircraft, watched Star Trek, and consumed every science fiction book I could get my hands on. Clarke got me interested in the underwater world, and that ultimately led me to become a scuba instructor. Asimov led me to his actual science books on the real Universe. That led me to Astronomy. I entered Auburn University’s aerospace engineering curriculum after high school. I wanted to pursue space propulsion projects. I studied all the various technologies and advancements I could get my hands on. Some of that included issues dealing with the failures of unifying physics. IBM hired me when I was still a sophomore at Auburn into their General Systems Division. I had every intention of finishing my degree, but the company started sending me all over the place and through their training programs. Many nights and weekends were spent teaching scuba diving or running dive trips. Between that and family, I simply didn’t have enough time or resources to get that done. The academic piece would have to wait. My last several assignments were in New York at IBM headquarters. My tenure at IBM took me through education, knowledge management, systems engineering, software development, hardware development, networking technologies, business process reengineering, brand management, advertising, communications, and many many other topics and subjects in the information technology industry. Circa 2003 I had to leave IBM for family reasons and began a dozen years taking care of my elderly mother. So what does a type A go-getter from corporate America do with all the spare time suddenly available? Given the nature of this post it isn’t hard to imagine what came to consume my time.

Part of how the information science skills were leveraged in the business side of things developed skills in discerning “core messaging” in advertising. Brand Management taught strategic brand intent that the core messaging had to carry out to the consuming public. These skills are relevant to this story here. They are because they are very likely responsible for me discerning what the problem was with science in the first place relative to the subject of unification.

Philosophically then if we consider all of these various concepts holistically and then ask the question: ‘Why is predominant thinking incapable of accomplishing unification?’ Employing critical thinking we inspect the criteria for unification, and then we also review that predominant thinking and encapsulate it into a model such that it is quantified and codified. Let’s call that model one or M1 for short. When we inspect that model’s core constructs, we find a quantified and codified relationship (Concept 0294 herein) between two of its core constituent constructs which create an interface between them. Those constructs are mass and the construct we call spacetime. Concept 0294 is the Energy Mass Equivalence concept famously put forward by Einstein. Einstein was famous for popularizing the notion of what he called thought experiments. He used them to great advantage, and they gave him great insights into his inspirations. His genius is an inspiration to this day. But what is it about the spacetime-mass interface that presents us a problem regarding unification? Well nothing real can cross that interface without first conversion into energy, and that simple act and fact precludes any real geometric basis point from ever being used by real objects in any reference frame. Scientists must capitulate and concede that as empirical fact.

Empirical Facts

It is an empirical fact that empiricism is a branch of epistemology which is in turn a branch of philosophy. To love science and deny philosophy is paradoxical and denial of the very roots of science. The growing schism between philosophy and science is exemplified in this next video.

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We are so caught up in our successes that we have forgotten the lesson from Ender’s Game. Winning is not the only objective. How we win matters. Similarly failure to recognize the fundamental methods empiricism manifests foundational context simply leads to commission of epistemology errors explained below. We must never forget that in the process of being human our humanity and how that is made manifest by the actual real unified Universe.

Over the last several hundred years tens of thousands of empirical experiments have been conducted, peer-reviewed, duplicated, validated, verified, and met every test science could throw at them. Yet for all of that work and effort none of that thinking, none of those results could accomplish unification of physics, and no one knew why until McGowen took on the challenge circa 2004. We will get to that in a minute. Please bear with me. These various experiments are fascinating to contemplate both philosophically and scientifically. Critical thinking demands that the question remain. What is it about the entirety of the holistic domain of discourse represented by this post right here that is not allowing humanity to perceive and engage the unified Universe. It is after all an empirical fact that science is not doing that, because we do not know how under M1 to unify physics.

Accomplishing Unification

Understanding the motivation of why anyone would ask the opening question to this article of something so successful can be distilled into a single word: unification. To understand the reason for this obviously, perhaps patently so to many, requires further explanation. During my sequestration taking care of Mom, I was looking over papers by some of the acknowledged references, notably Albert Einstein. Standing from my office chair with one of his papers in my hand muttering ‘that makes sense’, I froze. Repeating myself aloud over and over again until that original muttering became ‘that makes logical sense’. That circa 4Q2005 moment of inspiration is now indelibly etched into my memory so much I can feel it to this day. My knees gave out and I fell back into my office chair and sat there with my head in my hands for an hour and a half. I instantly comprehended what the problem had been all this time. The question then became what to do about it.

Centrally at issue are the implications of something being “logically correct”.  Information Technology people, especially Systems Engineers, will likely immediately comprehend the problem, and it is this. Something can be a logically correct description and the physical system underpinning it can remain different and distinct. That poses two insights almost immediately. One is defining the problem or mistake being made and the other is the body of historical work from proven science.

Contemplate the implications for a moment of a given population and teaching them all common concepts. Ubiquitous clocks intrinsically teach concepts of time. Setting them to the correct time teaches time’s arrow. Organizing real objects in any area teaches about space. The size of those objects teaches dimensions. What is not taught are critical thinking skills, nor philosophy of abstractions with integrated symbology relative to human physiology. However, these things provide a commonness that allows and affords communications because humans have a shared experience of these things which manifests a common context. We call that shared experience empiricism and its common thread is human physiology. Watch Richard Feynman’s video again and again and ask yourself what if A and B in his example, were fundamental contexts for interpreting all of existence? What if those two interpretations were fundamental foundational constructs systemic to manifesting fundamental context for thinking? What kind of framework would you need in order to determine which was best? That’s what I tried to do with Elegant Reasonism. Elegant Reasonism seeks truth as a function of the unified Universe.

The Empirical Trap

The philosophy of science with its specialized methods, principles, and epistemology serve humanity by creating a framework through which we can validate findings, experiments, etc.  Professional scientists know that story cold. I’m not going to repeat it here. Here’s the thing though. What is intrinsic to these discussions and providing the holistic common element? The answer to that question is “human physiology”. That answer is essentially “us”. Our sense organs instantly, intrinsically, furnish abstractions to our brains via our central nervous systems in order for humans to relate to reality. I refused to believe I was the first person to recognize this problem and began a quest to see if anyone else had seen the same problem. That quest led me to Susanne K Langer, the first American woman respected both publicly and professionally as a philosopher.

Langer Epistemology Errors or LEEs from page 74 in her 1948 book Philosophy In A New Key

Langer perfectly defined exactly what the problem was. I find it highly ironic and somewhat amusing that someone so interested in Art Appreciation would succinctly define the central issue with the philosophy of science and empiricism that was precluding the unification of physics. Langer had no awareness about details of physics per se, but she did understand the general physical sciences. She succinctly describes in her 1948 book, Philosophy In a New Key (page 74) that if one mistakes the abstractions furnished by our sense-organs or from science as the actual realm of reality then we are committing a fatal error in epistemology. Elegant Reasonism now honors her by naming the mistake after here and this is the genesis of Langer Epistemology Errors or LEEs. LEEs Empiricism Trap is commission of exactly this type of error because what we empirically can reproduce only serves to get other people to commit the same error. When we do not realize and recognize that what we are establishing with our interpretive models manifests logical context rather than actual reality we are committing LEEs. So, dust your hands off until you are blue in the face it doesn’t change the fact that human physiology automatically furnishes the brain these abstractions. We turn right around and build these abstractions right into the instrumentality we construct and it only serves to perpetuate the same error. What must be done is to break that cycle. We must ask harder questions. We must employ a more rigorous set of analytics against foundational constructs and we must employ as a philosophical predicate priority considerations for unification.

For all the successes of empiricism as an epistemology, its achilles heel is commission of LEEs. That awareness resulted in a systems review of the relationship between philosophy, ontology, axiology, epistemology, and science itself. That’s about the time that I became aware of Dr. Lev B Okun’s work regarding mass.  What had been one model became two models (e.g. M1 and M2). Rhetorically do you believe Einstein believed that mass is variant? If you do then you are dead wrong. He did not. Okun demonstrates that in his article The Concept of Mass published back in the 80’s. He takes you on a journey through all that history. All the elements now rapidly began clicking into place.

Logically Liberating

Recognizing M1 and M2 as logically correct entities completely and utterly released me from being bound by them. I was no longer constrained by the body of work it represented. What it did is present a very daunting challenge. Having experience with IT systems and the Internet infrastructures, I needed some type of framework that would allow translation of concepts and physical properties by interpretive models. Translation tables used on ISP connection servers to translate human readable URL addresses into machine readable addresses of either IPv4 or IPv6 instantly came to mind. I then took that concept and adapted it to what I needed to accomplish, and Translation Matrices were born. First I used M1 and M2 against what have become to be called ‘Concept Sieves‘. There are now at least two such sieves we call EMS01 and EMS02. Then I worked to develop a net new also logically correct model, paying special attention to LEEs and requirements of unification. The result of that effort is now called The Emergence Model,  and yes it closes to unification.

Implications of Logical Correctness

Relative to the subject of interpretive models, the implications of logical correctness are broad reaching and deep especially relative to what it is we thought we knew. 100% of all experiments ever conducted under the auspices of M1 or M2 are “logically correct”. That includes 100% of the empirical proofs written for and because of them. When we recognize LEEs and work to comprehend the framework and the model it produced, perhaps through the introductory courses now under development: Elegant Reasonism 101 teaches about the framework which produced The Emergence Model 101 which is the first fully compliant model.

The implication of LEEs empirical trap is believing that the abstractions of reality are reality. They are not. They are abstractions conceived by mankind. Spacetime, for example, is a logically correct construct for M1 and M2. All of the successes in the world will never change any of that. Dismantling spacetime we are forces to enumerate its dimensions 1, 2, 3, and 4; being length, width, height, and time. The problem with that classical enumeration is that we usually stop right there with our root cause analysis. We fail to philosophically consider criteria of unification as a predicate priority issue.  The Emergence Model does not define ‘space’ in the same way that any model employing spacetime does. Consequently,  if we continue the root cause analysis regarding those dimensions by asking ‘dimension of what’, the answer will be a function of the model providing the fundamental foundational context of interpretation. That fact exhibits and illuminates one of the connections between empiricism and human physiology. In order for empiricism to work at all, humans must all have a common context for communications and for consideration of evidence.  Because the vast majority of scientists today employ M1 thinking, their answer to ‘of what’ questions will be ‘of spacetime’. That forces the next question: ‘Is spacetime a real construct or a logically correct abstraction of a real construct?’ Those quick to say ‘real’ might want to slow down considerably and think very hard about their answer. The reason is that the next question will be: ‘If you believe spacetime is a real object (e.g. construct), then define it with precision such that it can be represented in real and valid geometry, which implies the use of a real geometric basis point and use no other real object in your description.’ Prohibited in such a requirement would be the term distance, for example, because it requires the real objects between whom presumably space is being described. M5 defeated this problem by defining space as dimensionless nothing. Nothing can not influence something real.

100% of the experiments conducted with empirical evidence consistent with M1 are logically correct, and the central problem can be distilled into the single word: context. The context of that body of work are the fundamental foundational elements defined by M1. What happens if we mode shift that context so that it’s basis is now M5 rather than M1? Thinking then about something being logically correct with its fundamental physical systems remaining different places some new requirements on us so that we never again commit LEEs. One is that models must always be considered encapsulated such that they manifest 100% of the context used to interpret reality. The other is that reality itself must always be considered separate, distinct, in order to hold our models of it litmus. The next set of revelations is something of a brain hurt. Said simply, but internalized against all of our preconceived ideas is this: logically correct experiments, conducted in logically correct manners, immersed in logically correct models, will absolutely produce empirically logically correct results AND that has more to do with the logical correctness of the interpretive model employed than it does necessarily with the reality of the system underpinning it. What it does say is that reality supports your logical interpretation of it but may be something entirely different. Critical thinking now requires and demands you to ask whether or not that fundamental foundational interpretive model closes to unification. If your model does not close, then you my friend have a great deal of soul searching to do.

Because empiricism is a branch of philosophical epistemology, it means that answering these issues is a philosophical one. To Richard Feynman‘s point in the first video above, this is not something that can be answered by science. The reason it can not be is that M1 and M5 both have simultaneous truths for the same experiment. The situation is exactly the same as he describes in that video from 1950. Traditionally empiricism sought truth as a function of human shared experience. The issue is that shared experience is a function of interpretive context derived as a function of human physiology. Elegant Reasonism seeks truth as a function of the unified Universe and it integrates empiricism within it. In a sense Elegant Reasonism is a superset epistemology and creates an analytical framework leveraging industry standard practices to establish a precipice for perceiving and engaging the unified Universe.

The Philosophical predicate priority for all models going forward from here must be unification.

Asking that original question ‘is empiricism dead?’ we must then understand how patent pending 16405134 Elegant Reasonism framework and epistemology are holistically defined and what they represent. Elegant Reasonism seeks truth as a function of the unified Universe. Empiricism’s fundamental role has been essentially shaped by human physiology conducting science. While the short answer to this question is “no empiricism is not dead”, but it does play a somewhat modified role, and that requires explanation. Answering how empiricism’s role is modified requires a whole different set of paradigm shifts and recognitions to take place.

Truth As A Function of Unification

Philosophy proponents excited by these arguments should not get to happy as yet, nor should scientists feel diminished in any way. Elegant Reasonism brings these manners of contemplating evidence into alignment with the unified Universe where the only real truth exists. “Real” being defined as capable of being produced naturally by the reality of the unified Universe. If you can not describe the unified Universe, then you are in some other realm of contemplation then it is not “fully compliant” science. Rather, it is likely ensnared inside the logic trap that is M1.  Those firmly shackled by M1 likely find that last video extremly funny. Reading this article here, and its associated links, to cognition will give you an entirely new perspective on where we are as a species within the civilization we have created. Philosophers be warned as well, Elegant Reasonism seeks truth as a function of the unified Universe. Epistemologies traditionally do not define other Epistemologies, they rather outline how they function and how they seek truth. They are distinct from one another. Elegant Reasonism may integrate all other Epistemologies (at will) with their relative and respective cautions that its framework will determine whether or not assertions are congruent with the actual real unified Universe. If they are not so, then they are logically declared incongruent and relegated to the realm of correctness of that particular epistemology exclusively. That may very well mean that particular epistemology may possess detail sets and ideals valuable to its proponents, but that has nothing to do necessarily with the real unified Universe (e.g. nature). The point here is that we now have the clear capability of putting sigma values on those systems of Epistemologies where as before we did not. Elegant Reasonism is philosophically an epistemology based in science, but there is a larger tapestry involved that must be recognized.

The Larger Tapestry of Unification

Ok. So using The Emergence Model I was able to describe our Universe Bang to Bang. That context is decidedly M5. We take all science stuff from EMS01 and EMS02, and we set up Translation Matrices to mode shift all of that stuff to our satisfaction. Big deal, so what? What then? One thing is that we got into this problem in the first place because there is nothing intrinsically within Empiricism as an Epistemology that prevents us from making LEEs. How do we fix that? The answer is we adopt Elegant Reasonism as a new epistemology that intrinsically integrates the traditional epistemologies, including and especially empiricism. Empiricism is necessary but insufficient to gain the precipice of unification needed to engage the full philosophical realm. Intrinsic to this revelation is that unification is not just “of physics”.

Unification demands and requires that it be a holistic solution. Unification intrinsically implies that philosophy and science reunite, but this time under the ever watchful eye of the unified Universe. Unification demands that The Emergence Model employed within the Elegant Reasonism framework, be one of the lens of full compliance under its rules.  So no empiricism is not dead, nor is it likely to die anytime soon. It is a key process in the grand scheme of things, but the tool box scientists use just got a whole lot bigger.

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By Charles McGowen

Charles C McGowen is a strategic business consultant. He studied Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University '76-'78. IBM hired him early in '79 where he worked until 2003. He is now Chairman & CEO of SolREI, Inc. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2439-1707