[Most
of the quotes in this piece are taken from Lee Smolin's

*Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe*, which was published in 2013.]
****************************

This
piece focuses on Lee Smolin's position on what he takes to be
Platonism in (mathematical) physics. Smolin's words are also
used as a springboard for discussing other issues and positions
(including my own) within this general debate.

Firstly,
Platonism in physics is tackled as it was explicitly stated by the
physicists John Wheeler and Stephen Hawking.
Max Tegmark (

__as a Platonist__) is also featured. The position advanced by Tegmark is that mathematics can perfectly describe the world/reality because the world/reality is itself mathematical. Wheeler and Hawking argued against such a position (or at least they appeared to).
Then
there's a section on a position best described as
“the-map-is-not-the-territory”. This too inevitably
focuses on Platonism in physics. It also asks the question as to how, exactly, (mathematical) models relate to the world/reality.

There's
also discussion of the relation between mathematical objects and
mathematical concepts as this is brought out within the specific
context of Platonism in physics.

An
old problem is then discussed: the precise relation between our world
and the Platonic world. The issue of (as it were) “causal closure”
was the traditional focus of this particular debate; though other
aspects are tackled in the following.

Finally,
mathematical structuralism - and how it relates to
Platonism in physics - is discussed. This leads naturally on to the final section which discusses what Smolin calls “intrinsic essences”
(or what philosophers call “intrinsic properties”).

**Psychologisms**

Lee
Smolin puts a psychological and sociological slant on the issue of
Platonism in physics when he discusses the personal motivations of
Platonic philosophers and mathematicians.

__He writes__:
“Does
the seeking of mathematical knowledge make one a kind of priest, with
special access to an extraordinary form of knowledge?”

It
can safely be said that this was true of Pythagoras, Plato and their
followers. Whether or not it's also true of an everyday
mathematician or philosopher ensconced in a university department in
Nottingham or Oxford, I don't know. Having said that, Smolin does speak
about a friend of his in this respect. Smolin

__tells us__that he “sometimes wonder[s] if his belief in truths beyond the ken of humans contributes to his happiness at being human”.
In
any case, it's probably best to leave the personal psychologies of
Platonists
there. After all, if Smolin argues that Platonists are
Platonists
for reasons of personal psychology, then Platonists can also argue
that Smolin is an

*anti-Platonist*for reasons of personal psychology. And where does that get us?**Fire In the Equations**

The
physicist John Archibald Wheeler
provided
the most powerful riposte to Platonism
in physics.
In an oft-quoted story, we're told that Wheeler used to write many
arcane equations on the blackboard and stand back and say to his
students:

“Now
I'll clap my hands and a universe will spring into existence.”

According
to

__Max Tegmark__and others, however, the equations*are*the universe - at least in a manner of speaking - and perhaps not even in a manner of speaking! (More of which later.)
Then
Steven Hawking (in his

__) nearly trumped Wheeler with an even better-known quote. He wrote:__*A Brief History of Time*
“Even
if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of
rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations
and makes a universe for them to describe?”

The
science writer Kitty Ferguson (in her

__) offers a possible Platonist answer to Hawking's question by saying that “it might be that the equations are the fire”. Alternatively, could Hawking himself have been “suggesting that the laws have a life or creative force of their own?”. Again, is it that the “equations are the fire”?__*The Fire in the Equations*
The
theoretical physicist

**Lee Smolin, on the other hand, explains why the idea that “mathematics is prior to nature” is unsupportable.**__He writes__:
“Math
in reality comes after nature. It has no generative power.”

More
philosophically,

__Smolin____continues__when he says that “in mathematics conclusions are forced by logical implication, whereas in nature events are generated by causal processes in time”.
The
Platonist will simply now say that mathematics fully captures those
“causal processes”. Or, in Max Tegmark's case, the argument is
that the maths and the causal processes are one and the same thing.

More
relevantly to the position of people like Tegmark, Smolin
says that

“logical
relations can model aspects of causal processes, but they're not identical to causal processes”.

What's
more, “[l]ogic is not the mirror of causality”.

Yet
according
to Tegmark:

i)
Because the models of causal processes are identical to those
processes,

ii)
then they must be one and the same thing.

More
precisely, Tegmark's argument is as follows:

i)
If a mathematical structure is identical (or “equivalent”) to the
physical structure it “models”,

ii)
then the mathematical structure and the physical structure must be
one and the same thing.

Thus
if that's the case (i.e., that structure

*x*and structure*y*are identical), then it makes little sense to say that*x*“models” (or is “isomorphic with”)*y*. That is,*x*can't model*y*if*x*and*y*are one and the same thing.
So
Tegmark also applies what he deems to be true about the identity of
two mathematical structures to the identity of a mathematical
structure and a physical structure. He offers us an explicit example of
this:

electric-field
strength = a mathematical structure

Or
in Tegmark's

__own words__:
“'
[If] [t]his electricity-field strength here in physical space
corresponds to this number in the mathematical structure for example,
then our external physical reality meets the definition of being a
mathematical structure – indeed, that same mathematical structure.”

In
any case:

i)
If

*x*(a mathematical structure) and*y*(a physical structure) are one and the same thing,
ii)
then one needs to know how they can have any kind of relation at all to one
another. [Gottlob Frege's
“Evening
Star” and “Morning Star” story may work here.]

In
terms of

__Leibniz's law__(Smolin is a__big fan of Leibniz__and frequently mentions him), that must also mean that everything true of*x*must also be true of*y*. But can we observe, taste, kick, etc. mathematical structures? (Yes, if they're identical to physical structures!) In addition, can't two structures be identical and yet separate (i.e., not numerically identical)? Well, not according to Smolin's Leibniz.
All
this is perhaps easier to accept when it comes to mathematical structures
being compared to other mathematical structures (rather than to something

*physical*). Yet if the physical structure is a mathematical structure, then that qualification doesn't seem to work either.
All
this is also problematic in the following sense:

i)
If we use mathematics to describe the world,

ii)
and maths and the world are the same thing,

iii)
then we're essentially either using maths to describe maths or using the
world to describe the world.

What's
more, maths can't be the “mirror” of anything in nature if the
two are identical in the first place. In other words, any
mathematical models which are said to “perfectly capture nature”
(or causality) can only do so because nature (or causality) is

*already*mathematical. If that weren't the case, then no perfect modelling (or perfectly precise equations) could exist. Thus, again, that perfect symmetry (or isomorphism) can only be explained (according to Tegmark) if nature and maths are one and the same thing.**Just Maths?**

A
sharp and to-the-point anti-Platonist position is also put by the
science writer, Philip Ball.

__He writes__:
“...
equations purportedly about physical reality are, without
interpretation, just marks on paper”.

In
other words, what exactly (as Hawking put it above) “breathes fire
into the equation [to] make a world”?

The
Philip Ball quote above also highlights two problems.

i) The fact that we
can make mistakes about physical reality.

ii) That even if the
equations are about physical reality, they're not one and the same
as physical reality.

Indeed,
even Ball's “interpretation” won't make the equations equal
physical reality.

So
let's go all the way back to Galileo (as Smolin himself does).

Surely
we must say that “Nature's book”

*isn't*written in the language of mathematics. We can say that Nature's book*can*be written in the language mathematics. Indeed it often*is*written in the language of mathematics. Though Nature's book is not*itself*mathematical because that book - in a strong sense - didn't even exist until human beings began to write (some of) it.
Perhaps
I'm doing Galileo a disservice because he
did say that

“we
cannot understand [Nature] if we do not first learn the language and
grasp the symbols in which it is written”.

Yet
Galileo was talking about our

*understanding*of Nature here - not just Nature as it is “in itself”.
Nonetheless,
Galileo also said that the the “book is written in mathematical
language”. So was he also talking about Nature

*as it is in itself*being mathematical? Perhaps Galileo wasn't only saying that mathematics is required to understand Nature. There is, therefore, an ambivalence here between the idea that Nature*itself*is mathematical and the idea that mathematics is required to*understand*Nature.
Sure,

__ontic structural realists__and other structural realists (in the philosophy of physics) would say that this distinction (i.e., between maths and the world) hardly makes sense when it comes to physics generally - and it doesn't make any sense at all when it comes to quantum physics. Nonetheless, surely there's still a distinction to be made here.**The Map is Not the Territory**

Philip
Ball (who's just been quoted) puts the main problem of Platonism

**perfectly****when**__he says that__
“[i]t's
not surprising, the, that some scientists want to make maths itself
the ultimate reality, a kind of numinous fabric from which all else
emerges”.

Thus,
in more concrete terms, such mathematical Platonists fail to see
that the “[r]elationships between numbers are no substitute” for
the world/reality. Indeed, adds Ball, “[s]cience deserves more than
that”.

This
is the

*mistaking-the-map-for-the-territory*problem. As the semanticist Alfred Korzybski__once put it__:
“A
map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a
similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its
usefulness.”

Indeed
we can take this further and say that

__“____all models are wrong____”__.
This
t

*he-map-is-not-the-territory*idea is put by Smolin himself when__he tells____us that__“[m]athematics is one language of science”. In other words, the maths (in mathematical physics) isn't self-subsistent: it needs to be tied to reality: it isn't reality itself.__Thus__,
“[maths]
application to science is based on an identification between results
of mathematical calculations and experimental results, and since the
experiments take place outside mathematics, in the real world, the
link between the two must be stated in ordinary language”.

More
directly, Smolin

__tells us____that__
“the
pragmatist will insist that the mathematical representation of a
motion as a curve [for example] does not imply that the motion is in
any way identical to the representation”.

“By succumbing to the temptation to conflate the representation with the
reality and identify the graph of the records of the motion with the
motion itself...”

Then
Smolin tells us about one Platonist (or Tegmarkian) conclusion to all
this.

__He writes__:
“Once
you commit this fallacy [i.e., of mistaking the map for the
territory], you're free to fantasise about the universe being nothing
but mathematics.”

Finally,
Smolin puts his particular slant on the importance of time in all of
this.

__He writes__:
“The
very fact that the motion takes place in time whereas the
mathematical representation is timeless means they aren't the same
thing.”

**How Can Maths Model Nature?**

To
put it at its most simple and - perhaps - extreme. The Platonic
mistake is to move from the fact that mathematics can be (almost)
perfect for describing or modelling the world to the conclusion that
the world must therefore be intrinsically mathematical itself. Smolin
captures this position when he discusses the work of Isaac Newton.

__According to Smolin__, Newton's world was
“infused
with divinity, because timeless mathematics was at the heart of
everything that moved, on Earth and in the sky”.

Slightly earlier, Smolin

__had also written that__
“[w]hen
Galileo discovered that falling bodies are described by a simple
mathematical curve, he captured an aspect of the divine”.

We
can of course ask if Galileo thought in these terms himself: even if
only at the subconscious level. However, would that even matter to
Smolin's take on this?

In
any case, is mathematics “at the heart of everything that move[s]”
or is it simply a tool for description or modelling? Max Tegmark
(again) may argue the following:

i)
If mathematics
is “at the heart of everything that moves”,

ii)
and it's also a perfect tool for description and modelling,

iii)
then in what sense is the world not

*itself*mathematical?
Indeed
Smolin himself goes way beyond Galileo and Newton and says that “the whole
history of the world” [in general relativity] is “represented by
a mathematical object”.

Now if we turn to quantum mechanics and the words of Philip Ball, he says that superposition is “considered only as an abstract mathematical thing”. It's also the case the the/a wavefunction is also a “mathematical object”.

Now if we turn to quantum mechanics and the words of Philip Ball, he says that superposition is “considered only as an abstract mathematical thing”. It's also the case the the/a wavefunction is also a “mathematical object”.

If
we get back to mathematical models.

It
was said earlier that mathematics can describe (or even perfectly
model) nature and that the physicists who aren't Platonists have no
problem with this. How could they? Indeed Smolin himself

__tells us____that__“[i]t's impossible to state these laws [i.e., Newton's laws] without mathematics”. This is often said about quantum mechanics. Yet Smolin is going beyond that and saying that**it's also true “the first two of Newton's laws”. More specifically, Smolin**__says____that__“[a] straight line is an ideal mathematical concept”. That is, “it lives not in our world but in the Platonic world of ideal curves”.
In
terms of “acceleration” and the “rate of change of velocity”
(to take just two examples), it was the

__case that__“Newton needed to invent a whole new branch of mathematics: the calculus” in order to “describe it adequately”. But here again we mustn't conflate the maths with what the maths describes (or models).
Philip
Ball (again) puts this position as it applies specifically to Hilbert
space.
He tells

**us that “a Hilbert space is a construct – a piece of maths, not a place”. He then quotes the physicist**__Asher Peres__stating__the following__:
“The
simple and obvious truth is that quantum phenomena

*do not*occur in a Hilbert space. They occur in a laboratory.”
Ball
also mentions Max Tegmark's position.

__He writes__:
“If
the Many Worlds are in some sense 'in' Hilbert space, then we are
saying that the equations are more 'real' than what we perceive: as
Tegmark puts it, 'equations are ultimately more fundamental than
words' (an idea curiously resistant to being expressed without
words). Belief in the MWI seems to demand that we regards the maths
of quantum theory as somehow a fabric of reality.”

**Mathematical Objects and Mathematical Concepts**

Smolin
has a problem with such

*mathematical objects*. He (implicitly) argues against this Platonic position when__he says__(in a note) that
“[m]athematicians
like to speak of curves, numbers, and so forth as mathematical
'objects', which implies a kind of existence”.

However,
it's fairly clear that Smolin has a problem with this position. He
says that you may want to call these “mathematical objects” by
the name of “concepts”. That, on one interpretation, surely takes

*mathematical objects*out of the Platonic world and places them in the realm of human minds. (Except for the fact the concepts too can be seen as “abstract objects”.)
Stephen
Hawking (for one) certainly didn't believe that maths and nature are
one - and he too talked about “concepts”. He

__once____wrote that__“mental concepts are the only reality we can know”. Furthermore he stated: “There is no model-independent test of reality.”
This
seems to mean that Hawking went further than simply saying that
mathematics describes (or perfectly models) nature. After all, he
stresses the importance of “mental concepts”. However, it can
still be said that the models of physics are of course mathematical
and accurate. Thus even if we require mental concepts to get at these
mathematical models, the models can still perfectly capture
“reality”. So whichever way we interpret Hawking's words,
he certainly doesn't seem to put a Platonic position (or replicate
Tegmark's stance) on mathematical physics.

Smolin
himself distinguishes mental concepts from mathematical objects when (in a note)

__he writes__:
“If
you aren't comfortable adopting a radical philosophical position
[i.e., of believing in mathematical objects] by a habit of language,
you might want to call them [mathematical objects] concepts instead.”

In
that passage Smolin doesn't seem to explicitly commit himself to
mathematical concepts (rather than mathematical objects); though
elsewhere he is more explicit when he also talks about “inventing”
(i.e., not “discovering”) mathematical objects. It's also
interesting to note that Smolin puts a Wittgensteinian position.
Wittgenstein, for example

**,**__once wrote__that “a cloud of philosophy condenses into a drop of grammar”. Smolin, on the other hand, talks about “adopting a radical philosophical position [because of] a habit of language”.
In
any case, Smolin defines a “mathematical object”

__thus__:
“Mathematical
objects are constituted out of pure thought. We don't discover the
parabolas in the world, we invent them. A parabola or a circle or a
straight line is an idea. It must be formulated and then captured in
a definition... Once we have the concept, we can reason directly from
the definition of a curve to its properties.”

Of
course there are a couple of words in the passage above which a
Platonist may have a problem with. Firstly, the word “invent” (as
in “we invent [mathematical objects]”. And then there's the use
of the word “concept” (i.e., rather than “object”). In
Fregean style, we can have a

**“**__concept of an object”__. Thus an abstract mathematical object can generate (as it were) various mental concepts. In terms of “[o]nce we have the concept”, then certain things logically and objectively follow from that concept. So it's the philosophical nature of the concept which raises questions.**How Do We Get to the Platonic Realm?**

Even
if the Platonic mathematical realm does indeed exist, then it' still
the case that we still need to gain (causal) access to it. This is a
problem that's often been commented upon. Smolin himself

__puts it this way__:
“One
question that Jim [a friend of Smolin] and other Platonists admit is
hard for them to answer is how we human beings, who live bounded in
time, in contact only with other things similarly bounded, can have
definite knowledge of the timeless realm of mathematics.”

Plato
himself answered Smolin's question when he argued that we have
“intuitive” (or even

*genetic*) access to this abstract realm from birth. (He elaborated on this in his__slave boy story__.)This doesn't seem to solve the problem of causal access to a Platonic realm. Thus, as a addendum to this argument about causal access (or the__“causal closure”__of both the human world and the Platonic world), Smolin__says that__“[b]ecause we have no physical access to the imagined timeless world, sooner or later we'll find ourselves just making stuff up”. In other words, even if the Platonic realm does exist and we can also gain access to it, that doesn't mean that we can't get things wrong or make mistakes about it.
Smolin
himself says that “[w]e get the truths of mathematics by reasoning,
but can we really be sure our reasoning is correct?”.

__What's more__:
“Occasionally errors are discovered in the proofs published in textbooks, so it's likely that errors remain.”

I
suppose Plato himself might have argued that we

*can't*get things wrong because our intuition somehow guarantees access to the truths found in this realm. Or, more correctly, if we use our reason (or intuition)*correctly*(as Descartes also argued), then we simply can't go wrong.
So now
here's Smolin quoting
Roger Penrose
(who's a personal friend of Smolin)

__putting the Platonic/Cartesian position__just mentioned:
“You're
certainly sure that one plus one equals two. That's a fact about the mathematical world that you can grasp in your intuition and be sure of.
So one-plus-one-equals-two is, by itself, evidence enough that
reason can transcend time. How about two plus two equals four? You're
sure about that, too! Now, how about five plus five equals ten? You
have no doubts, do you? So there are a very large number of facts
about the timeless realm of mathematics that you're confident you
know?”

It's
of course the case that many philosophers and mathematicians will say
that one doesn't need a “timeless realm” to explain all that's
argued in Penrose's words above. It can, for example, be given a
Wittgensteinian explanation in terms of rules and our knowledge of the
rules. Our “intuitive grasp” (as it's sometimes put) of basic arithmetic can also be partly explained by cognitive scientists,
evolutionary psychologists or philosophers.

It's
also interesting that Penrose gives

*basic*arithmetical examples as demonstrations of our Platonic intuition. So what about higher or more complex maths? Do mathematicians have immediate intuitions about such equations or do they need to work at them? And if they do need to work at them, then surely*intuition*must have a minimal role to play.
In
one of his notes, Smolin gives another argument as to why the
Platonic realm and the human realm can never be split asunder.

__He writes__:
“It's
also not

*quite*true to say that the truths of mathematics are outside time, since, as human beings, our perception and thoughts take place at specific moments in time – and among the things we think about are mathematical objects.”
The
Platonist would say that Smolin is conflating the Platonic realm with
the fact that we can gain access to that realm. That is, one realm
can still be abstract and timeless even if we concrete and time-bound human beings can gain access to it.

But
here we have a analogue of the mind-body problem. That is, what is
the precise relation between the time-bound and concrete world and the
timeless and abstract world? Smolin himself explains the Platonic
position in terms of human psychology.

__He continues__:
“It's
just that those mathematical objects don't seem to have any existence
in time themselves. They are not born, they do not change, they
simply are.”

Smolin
uses the word “seem” in the above (as in “seem to have any
existence in time”). That implies that what

*seems*to be the case may not actually*be*the case. Yet Smolin does then say that mathematical objects “are not born, they do not change, they simply are”. Here he may simply be putting the position of the Platonist. Again, even if mathematical objects aren't born, we still need to explain our access to them and acknowledge the possibility of getting things wrong about them - even systematically getting things wrong!
Interestingly,
Smolin offers us a kind of “conventionalist” middle way when he

__states that__
“[w]e
invent the curves and numbers of mathematics, but once we have
invented them we cannot alter them”.

A
Platonist would have a profound problem with the word “invent”.
However, even though we may indeed

*invent*numbers (or functions), once they're invented or created, then they become (as it were)*de facto**Platonic objects*. That is, they're then set in stone and other things must necessarily follow from them. This is something that a philosopher like the late Wittgenstein might have happily accepted. That is, that rules and symbol-use themselves create the “objectivity” (or at least the “intersubjectivity”) of maths - and also, perhaps, even the*timelessness*of mathematics.**Structuralism**

Interestingly
enough, Smolin puts his anti-Platonist position by adopting the
position of mathematical structuralism. (There are also types of
mathematical structuralism which are Platonist
- see

__here__.) Firstly (in a note) he expresses the essence (as it were) of mathematical structuralism when he says that “relationships are exactly what mathematics expresses”. He then makes the ontological__point that__
“[n]umbers
have no intrinsic essence, nor do points in space; they are defined
entirely by their place in a system of numbers or points – all of
whose properties have to do with their relationships to other numbers
or points”.

Moreover,
“[t]hese relationships are entailed by the axioms that define a
mathematical system”. It can be said that Platonists believe that
numbers do have an "intrinsic essence". In other words, a system
doesn't gain its nature because of the relations between numbers: the
relations between numbers are parasitical on the nature of numbers
themselves. After all, the following can be argued:

i)
If numbers didn't have an intrinsic essence,

ii)
then they couldn't engender the precise relations to other numbers
which they have in each system.

Indeed:

i)
If numbers have intrinsic essences,

ii)
then those essences can't be dependent on the systems to which they
belong (or, indeed, to any system).

iii)
Therefore those intrinsic essences must come before all systems of
relations.

Of
course the obvious point to put against that position was put by Paul
Benacerraf in 1965.
The French philosopher

__wrote__:
“For
arithmetical purposes the properties of numbers which do not stem
from the relations they bear to one another in virtue of being
arranged in a progression are of no consequence whatsoever. But it
would be only these properties that would single out a number as this
object or that.”

In
simple terms, we can say that the number 1 is (partly) defined by
being the successor of 0 in the structure determined by a theory of
natural numbers. In turn, all other numbers are defined by their
respective places in the number
line.
So, again, it can of course be said that the “essence” of, say,
the number 2 is that it comes after 1 and before 3. But surely then
its intrinsic essence is determined by its relations to 1, 3 and to
other numbers. Perhaps, then, relations and numbers are two sides of
the same coin. Having said that, it's still hard to understand what the
intrinsic essence of a number could be when that essence is taken separately to that number's relations to other numbers, functions, etc.

Of
course this foray
into
the philosophy of mathematics completely ignores the precise relation
between mathematical structuralism and the world. Despite
saying that, Smolin does make an explicit philosophical commitment to
mathematical structuralism.

__He writes__:
“If
there's more to matter than relationships and interactions, it is
beyond mathematics.”

Thus
Smolin firstly began by articulating the/a position of mathematical
structuralism and ends up stating a position that's very close to

__ontic structural realism__. However, the ontic structural realist argues that there's no “beyond mathematics” – or at least that there's nothing beyond the “relationships and interactions” of physics which are described by mathematics. Yet Smolin himself appears to leave it open that there may well actually be a*beyond mathematics*. And elsewhere in his writings Smolin seems to state that there are “intrinsic properties” (qualia, etc.) beyond mathematics and even beyond physics itself.**Intrinsic Essences, Qualia, Etc.**

Smolin
makes it explicit that he (at the very least) acknowledges the possibility
of

__“intrinsic properties”__as they occur in both minds (i.e., qualia) and in inanimate objects. For example,__he writes__:
“We
don't know what a rock really is, or an atom, or an electron. We can
only observe how they interact with other things and thereby describe
their relational properties. The external properties are those that
science can capture and describe – through interactions, in terms
of relationships.”

The
passage above might well have been written by someone like

__David____Chalmers__or__Philip Goff__– both of whom are advocates of panpsychism. In the case of panpsychists, the “what is” (or “what it is like to be”) of a rock can be explained by referring to its experiences (or to its “proto-experiences”). These experiences are therefore the “intrinsic essences” (to use Smolin's own term) of rocks for panpsychists (if not for Smolin himself). Clearly, according to the passage above, philosophical__relationalism__(or relationalism in physics itself – which Smolin thoroughly endorses) doesn't capture these intrinsic properties.
So
it's no surprise that Smolin continues on the theme of

*intrinsic essence*.__He writes__:
“The
internal aspect is the intrinsic essence; it is the reality that is
not expressible in the language of interactions and relations.”

We
can of course ask why Smolin accepts the very existence (or reality)
of an “internal aspect” of anything when many philosophers and other physicists
reject this idea.

What's
more, Smolin ties all this to both consciousness and qualia. Firstly
he writes the following:

“What's
missing when we describe a color as a wavelength of light or as
certain neurons lighting up in the brain is the essence of the
experience of perceiving red. Philosophers give these essences a
name:

*qualia*.”
Again
(like Smolin's “intrinsic aspect” earlier), why does Smolin need
to use the somewhat archaic
word “essence” (archaic at least according to certain
philosophers) at all? Why believe in essences?

Finally,

__Smolin writes__:
“Consciousness,
whatever it is, is an aspect of the intrinsic essence of brains.”

So
clearly Smolin has been reading some contemporary (analytic)
philosophers. It's just a little odd that he begins with the words
“consciousness, whatever it is”; and then goes on to tell us

*exactly*what it is: “the intrinsic essence of brains”.
********************************

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