The Ontological Significance of Heisenberg's Work
On the Unified Field
The whole idea of unified field theory is expressed by Heisenberg in the statement that it pertains to the creation and annihilation of matter in general, rather than individual particles. But what does that mean? The whole atomistic basis of our theory of matter is that matter can be divided into parts down to the particles, which are indivisible, as Bohr averred. So, all attributes of matter are ultimately posited in the particles and their various configurations.
The S-Matrix idea that no particles are fundamental is related to the unified field idea that larger parts of matter should be considered first. What are those larger, more fundamental, parts? They are the organic perspectives on the environments generated by the basic organism/environment partition. These perspectives were discussed by Sartre in the Introduction to his seminal work, Being and Nothingness, as what must take the place of the thing-in-itself, presumed by earlier philosophies, but denied by modern philosophy.
It is the organic perspectives that are created and annihilated by the unified field, which is also a gestalt field of organism/environment relationship. But the perspectives are not only subject to creation and annihilation, but to destruction, which has to do with destructuring, rather than complete obliteration. The perspectives are also subject to ideation, which has to do with the Platonic process of generation of things from ideas. In this way the thing-in-itself, meaning simply the thing-in-its-idea, is generated from the more fundamental and phenomenological organism/environment relationship. Similarly, such ideations carry with them affects, or affections, and emotions. So, we have altogether six types of component operators into which the unified field may be decomposed: creation, annihilation, destruction, affection, emotion, and ideation.
We expect that the particle states will arise as the coherent states of the unified field, as the eigenvectors of its destruction operators. These destruction operators will then be expandable into components that will comprise the Destruction, Ideation, Reduction, Affection, and Creation (DIRAC) of particles.
But the important thing to see is that Heisenberg's work on unified field was not just a technical matter, but one of ontological significance. He would not have dedicated the whole latter part of his life to its pursuit if it were merely a technical matter. I will support this position with direct quotes in a later post, but the important thing to realize is that Henry Stapp's emphasis on the role of experience requires ontological support that it cannot get from a field theory of elementary particles, which presumes the a priori existence of elementary particles rather than deriving them from something more fundamental. That is the fundamental source of the cognitive dissonance I sense in the present work of Henry Stapp, and I think my perception is shared by many others.
Henry relies on the approach of William James, which presumes the existence of the brain and brain states. That in turn presumes the existence of the elementary particles out of which the brain is composed, at least in practice. Henry Stapp does in fact rely on the present quantum field theory of elementary particles, and this presumes the very bottom-up causation that Henry is trying to get away from. Bringing in the reduction just does not do the trick, because the mathematics of the reduction are unknown and probably must remain so as long as one's *ontology* is atomism with bottom-up causation. In other words, epistemological wholeness cannot overcome ontological pluralism. That is the fundamental source of cognitive dissonance in the work of Henry Stapp, IMHO.
Peter Joseph Mutnick 1949 - 2000