mardi 20 mars 2018

Merleau-Ponty, 21st-Century Physics, and Natural Time as Phenomenon and Norm of Sense (D. Morris)

Conférence | Talk

(Concordia University)

Merleau-Ponty, 21st-Century Physics, and Natural Time as Phenomenon and Norm of Sense

Source : Wikipedia

Movement is central to Merleau-Ponty’s effort to find a sense, meaning, right within being. This effort turns him to a study of perceived movement, which leads him to challenge views that flatten movement into an abstract dislocation between already determinate locations A and B, in an already determinate spatiotemporal framework. Instead, perceived movement first engenders the spatiotemporal context in which it contingently comes to follow a determinate course. Later, he detects this sort of movement in nature itself, especially life. The movement of nature does not simply manifest dislocation within an already determinate space- or time- frame, rather, it indicates a ‘prior’ engendering of space and time as determinate. This indirectly reveals that being itself is not fully determinate, but is an internally deep, open, field. But how are we to understand the peculiar temporality of a movement ‘prior’ to time, that engenders time? I first lead this problem out of Merleau-Ponty. Next I critically engage with physicist Julian Barbour’s recent concept of time as emerging from dynamics, versus time being a fixed background of dynamics. This provides a helpful conceptual model for the sort of temporality in question here—and fits with and is complemented by Merleau-Ponty’s ontology of the invisible and the visible. Barbour leads us into key problems in quantum mechanics, regarding probabilistic, indeterminate being, and measurement. I explore these problems and connect them to time via a model from cryptography, and discussion of how quantum computer programs work (on IBM’s Quantum Experience platform). Linking this with Barbour’s time model lets me suggest a concept of time as a contingent phenomenon that would also be a first norm of sense that fits Merleau-Ponty’s ontology.

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

University of Ottawa
Desmarais Hall
Room 8161

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