Four short essays – 1 On Ontological Randomness


Leandro Castelluccio

Image: Portrait of Werner Heisenberg by Norberto Conti

It could be said of ontological chance that a thing is configured in a certain way without any cause, but why do not we usually see that things disintegrate out of nowhere or other things are configured out of nowhere without any cause? There may be a reason for this, it will be said, that does not exclude that such ontological chance is not the case. Is there any reason for something to be configured as such without causes? Let us consider ontological chance for the primordial form of existence (that which refers to the simplest substance or substances of reality), it will be said that it arises without causes, we do not say that it is simply, without causes, but that existence is configured as such, understanding a state of non-existence, a point where nothing exists and then a change towards existence. But if there is a change, something that changes is presupposed, what changes if there is nothing? If it is assumed that nothing exists, in reality there is no state. Time seems not to elude thought, we think of a point, a before and an after, a state and another, that gives us the notion of before and after, but if the configuration without causes is referring to reality itself, what previous state is possible? The reality has to simply be, without causes, not configured as such without causes. One will say that ontological chance does not apply to the primordial form of existence, to what does it apply then? We have to start from something real, something that does not exist is not something that changes to something else, and less without any reason, without any cause, this is what I am referring to. If we think about the change of state of things that would also simply be, it would be part of the primordial (the change itself), as something that is configured without causes, this would mean that at one point there was no change of state and then change of state for no reason, there was a state where everything was static, so to speak, without changes and then there were changes. If we consider that what is configured requires causes, the change of state has to simply be, because the manifestation of causes implies a change of state, this can not be caused, it simply would be, and if we consider the ontological chance for the change of state , that this arises without a reason, then the same thing happens as the previous case of the primordial form, we have something where there is nothing, which is a contradiction, that is, a change, a configuration, where there is nothing. The discussion about ontological chance is then about the configuration of a state of things without causes having at least something given, which simply is, but is it possible to configure a square without four sides? The configuration of something obeys a structural form, from a molecule to a galaxy. To have a square without four sides is not real, it is not logical. That a molecule is formed without its elements is not possible, forming a square without sides is not possible, and conversely, obtaining separate sides if they remain together, for example.                                

It is said in physics that having a certain state of things, a modification exerted is sometimes, with a certain percentage, in a certain state, and sometimes in others. It is the same thing that would happen when taking colored spheres of a container without knowing what there is inside, sometimes it comes out of one color and sometimes of another, and if the colors vary in number, we have percentages, the reason for the results is in the form and structure of the container: the spheres, how they were arranged there, their quantity, etc., that is, a given structure.

The question that arises as more doubtful is perhaps about the way in which a change of state takes place, let’s think when there is no more material configuration possible in terms of a previous structure, when we have no elements other than the limit, the primordial, the state in which it falls into space, if it does not to depend on its form, or other cause intrinsic to reality, it could occur in any way without reason, one can raise, and if so, can the rest of the things be possible such that we do observe them?

I have expressed why I do not share such ontological randomness for the configurations of relatively complex things in terms of structure, what happens now with the form of the state change? What would happen to a minimum unit of matter and to which states it changes? For the examples given, let’s say, a molecule, the way in which the state of the molecule changes would depend on its structure, at least that is how it appears to be, and the configuration is given by the elements of it, why not think that the same thing regarding the change of state is given for a minimum fundamental unit or other levels of matter? Why, for such a minimum unit, for example, would an exception be given, and that there in that confined point does ontological chance exist for the way in which its change of state occurs? As indicated in my work “Propositions” (see in the publications menu-this is a translation from Spanish):

 “If one raises that the way in which an entity changes state, at least for a certain level of matter, has no cause, it represents an ontological random, in that case an entity would reach a certain state without any reason … There is an entity and a change of state, but that does not seem to be enough to explain what happens, to say that an entity reaches a certain state without any reason is like saying that a ball bounces in a certain way when thrown to the ground because there is a ball that is thrown, because there is an entity and a change of state, we would be leaving something aside, the factors that determine the way a ball bounces. There are factors that determine the way a ball bounces, for example, and that would be the case for the rest of the entities. If the way in which something changes state had no cause it would be something arbitrary, random, but if it is in the very nature of the way an entity changes the fact that there is a cause for it, a determining factor, then to say that there is no cause for the way in which something changes state rather than arbitrary would be impossible, illogical.”

But what if it is the case that every form of state change appears to be determined by the structure? Is it the case that the above is not correct and any form of change of state is an ontological random but the possible randomness is restricted by the structure of things allowing the configuration of the universe as we see it? Otherwise nothing would be possible. In that case, the way in which a state changes would not be determined but restricted by the structure of things. This would mean that for the configuration of something not only the structural causality is important, it is also determinant how the change of state occurs, because this would not be a manifestation of the structure itself. The change of state accounts for causes, allows the manifestation of them, but the structural would not be everything, also the way in which the change is given, the change is simply, and now the way it happens does not have any reason, but it is a determinant. In any case, to have a given configuration of things, at least from the higher levels than the limit of existence, structural causes are required to sustain such a configuration, up to an uncaused limit, and if having infinite causes nothing would be sustained. But is this logical and possible? Can the universe be the way it is if the way things change is random, does not depend on anything, even if it is said to be restricted? And is that restriction logical? Is it the way things change independent of the structure and form of things? Is it logical? Or is the latter a result of confusion? As I indicated earlier, if it is in the very nature of the way an entity changes state that there is a cause for it, a determining factor, then saying that there is no cause for the way something changes state more that arbitrary would be impossible, illogical.

Reality can not have contradictions, that does not imply existence, thinking of primordial material entities in discrete changes, there could never be such proximity between them that in a discrete change they both occupy the same space, the form of reality, the structural, which implies such entities must prevent such a possibility, even if there is randomness to the way in which a state of something changes, the possibilities of such randomness would be restricted by the nature of existence, of the structure of reality. If randomness involved contradictions, it would not be real. Our understanding of the most primordial levels of the universe, the microcosm, is more fleeting, would there be the possibility of randomness at such levels? Why would it occur in such levels and not in the rest? And the fundamental thing remains, would not there be contradictions? Could the universe be as we observe it?

I think we should move towards an understanding of reality with a structural perspective. The way things work can finally be understood from a geometric perspective, what we call properties of things would be given by the structural shape that things have at the level of their constitution, in the way that a sphere can roll easily but not a cube, the way a particle behaves, for example, would be in the form it presents.

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