The Philosophy Homepage of Jaap Bax

First Part of Website

e-mail :  ( Write in  ' Subject '  entry :  ' METAPHYSICS ',  in order for me to be able to distinguish your mail from spam )

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Again a freak among the Philosophers?
That will soon turn out.

"He who possesses the highest knowledge with respect to one or another genus must be able to express the most certain principles of the relevant subject, so that he, who treats about Beings in so far as they are Beings, should be able to express the most certain principles of all things. This is the philosopher."
                                            Aristotle, Metaphysica, Gamma 3, 1005b8-11

On this very first page of website (homepage) it is attempted to give the reader a global idea of the contents and subject matter of this rather large website (consisting of six Parts). Further there is some information about how to use this site, and, finally I tell a little about myself. After that follows an Essay containing the main thesis of this website.
If the reader wants to know, right now, what the MAIN THESIS of this website is, then he or she can skip the generalities by clicking HERE.

Voor NEDERLANDSE lezers klik HIER voor een nederlands-talige inleiding en overzicht

This site covers a lot of subjects (but all of them oriented to one major philosophical investigation :  an updated Theory of Being). Because of the broadness of scope the contents of this site cannot solve all the relevant problems. The site is not meant to propagate a certain philosophy as THE (one) philosophy one should embrace in order to understand Reality. The only objective of the site is to stimulate discussion, where "discussion" means : FRIENDLY CONTACT BETWEEN PEOPLE.

Pattern and Identity

Maybe this website looks kind of dull but surely it isn't.
If you want to dig (deeper) in the nature of THINGS, i.e. in the general nature of reality, the following pages could be exciting. Perhaps even so exciting that you want to mail me about the stuff presented. Don't hesitate.

My e-mail address is : ( Write in  ' Subject '  entry :  ' METAPHYSICS ',  in order for me to be able to distinguish your mail from spam )

My postal address is :
Drs. J.C.W. Bax
Langshof 113
1353 GL Almere


To date, the whole Website consists of six main Parts ('Parts of Website'), each one of them in turn consisting of many parts, sections and documents.
Here we are at the beginning  of  First Part of Website.  The other four Parts are :

The website as presented here consists of 6 major parts. As it has now finally developed (2000 - 2009) we can say that it presents a philosophy of Nature (in its broadest sense). Central is the aristotelian-thomistic Substance-Accident metaphysics, which, however, will be compared to -- and where posssible integrated with -- some other related brands of metaphysics (such as the doctrine of [ontological] categories of Nicolai Hartmann, and especially the metaphysical theory of the Implicate Order, first proposed by David Bohm.
The very 'substances' or 'natures' in the Aristotelian sense, to which the substance-accident metaphysics and also its further development (as done in this website) must always refer, are CRYSTALS and ORGANISMS.  So crystallography and biology will play a significant role in this website in constructing a consistent metaphysics and prevent this (developed) metaphysics from becoming isolated from the facts of natural reality. The true testing ground for every attempt to set up a metaphysical or ontological theory (which describes the very essence of Reality, material or immaterial) is the fact of organic evolution. And, indeed, after having finally set up -- in Fifth Part of Website -- a metaphysical theory (which combines elements of the classical Substance-accident Metaphysics and elements of the theory of the Implicate Order), we will test it against the facts of organic evolution. For this we have to delve into the depths of the evolutionary process, which can be reached only when we actually familiarize ourselves with the evolution of at least some particular concrete group of organisms. The group I have chosen for this is the Class of  I n s e c t s,  which means that the final, but extensive, Section of Fifth Part of Website will be about the evolution of insects, with special attention focussed to the more general factors playing a role in determining evolutionary tendencies or directions. Indeed, only an extensive enquiry into the evolution of a large and diversified group of organisms, such as the class of insects indeed is, can provide the testing ground for our (and any) metaphysical theory. And, of course, the inorganic substances, and these are first of all crystals, form another part of this testing ground albeit much less challenging than organic evolution. We will compare crystals and organisms and determine what kind of Substances (in the metaphysical sense) they each for themselves are.
But apart from letting crystals and organisms being involved with the setting up of a (of course general) metaphysical (that is here, ontological) theory, these three aspects of our website, philosophy, crystallography, biology (mainly entomology), are also interesting in their own right, that is to say, in this website a reader can find much of interest as he or she looks into the sections about  p h i l o s o p h y  (dealing with either Aristotle, St Thomas Aquinas, or with N. Hartmann), or he or she can find much of interest when inspecting the purely  c r y s t a l l o g r a p h i c  sections, especially those on two-dimensional crystals (in order to understand 3-D crystals), those on snow-crystals, and those sections on Promorphology which allow -- with respect to symmetry -- organisms to be compared with crystals. And, finally, a reader interested in  E n t o m o l o g y  (and not necessarily in the metaphysical background of (insect) evolution), will find much of interest in the later documents of Fifth Part of Website, especially much about fossil insects and about the wing-venation and its evolutionary transformations. So all these sections of the Website possess (also) a value of their own, apart from their being associated with a metaphysical background.
The next section attempts to more or less systematize the content of the whole Website :

The present (total) website (First-Sixth Part of Website) contains many series of Essays (Documents) :

When one wants to consult the Essays (documents) that come after those that treat of the internal structure of (2-D) crystals, one should click the last link in the left frame, or the last link of the CONTENTS given below.

The complete contents of this website (that is, First Part of Website) is (one by one) accessible by clicking the desired issues in the left frame. An Overview (including LINKS) is also given below, preceded by a COMPLETE (well, it must steadily be updated) TABLE OF CONTENTS (not given as links) :
(To skip this Overview click

For First Part of Website.

Click here for
Complete Table of Contents
of Total Website (First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Parts)
After seeing this Overview, close window to return.

Essays on the Theory of Being, with emphasis on Modern Ideas based
on some results of Mathematics,
Natural Science and Computer Science :

1.  Something about myself
2.   An Essay on Being and Essence
3.   General Considerations
3a. Introduction and Overview
3b. Status Quaestionis
4.   The Totality, or uniform Thing
5.   The Realistic View of Knowledge
6.   Substance and Accident
7.   Revised Ontology of the Determinations ('Accidents') of         a Substance [Part One]
8.   Revised Ontology of the Determinations ('Accidents') of         a Substance [Part Two]
9.   Revised Ontology of the Determinations ('Accidents') of         a Substance [Part Three]
10.   Reductionism versus Holism
11.   The Universal
12.   Dynamical Systems and the Metaphysics of Substance          and Accident
13.   Cellular Automata
14.   Random Boolean Networks
15.   L-systems
16.   The Mixtum and its Elements
17.   The Principle of Individuation
18.   The Chemical Bond
19.   Crystals and the Substance-Accident Metaphysics
20.   Non-living Dissipative Systems
21.   Living Dissipative Systems (Organisms) [Part One]
22.   Living Dissipative Systems (Organisms) [Part Two]
23.   Living Dissipative Systems (Organisms) [Part Three]
24.   Living Dissipative Systems (Organisms) [Part Four]
25.   The Basic Structure of the Digital Computer [Part One]
26.   The Basic Structure of the Digital Computer [Part Two]
27.   The Ontological status of ARTIFICIAL LIFE creations
27.   A Supplementary Approach: Mereotopology of Reality
28.   Metaphysics and Quantum Mechanics

Essays on the Theory of Being,
with emphasis on
Classical Philosophical Texts :

1.   CLASSICAL THEORY OF BEING : Part I Introduction
3.   CLASSICAL THEORY OF BEING : Part III Individuality (1)
4.   CLASSICAL THEORY OF BEING : Part III Individuality (2)
5.   CLASSICAL THEORY OF BEING : Part III Individuality (3)
6.   CLASSICAL THEORY OF BEING : Part VI What is a Totality?
7.   CLASSICAL THEORY OF BEING : Part V Essence, in the Thomistic View
8.   CLASSICAL THEORY OF BEING : Part VI Essence and Universal in the Thomistic View
9.   CLASSICAL THEORY OF BEING : Part VII The Analogy of Being
10.   CLASSICAL THEORY OF BEING : Part VIII Medium-independency
11.   CLASSICAL THEORY OF BEING : Part IX In what way do the Elements exist in the Mixtum?

Essays on Critical Issues concerning the very possibility of a Substance-Accident Metaphysics :

1.  Introduction into the Critical Series
2.  The Substance-Accident Metaphysics
..... and the totally dynamic World
3.  The Substance-Accident Metaphysics
..... and the Theory of Knowledge
4.  The Species-Individuum Structure
5.  The Mind-Body Problem
6.  Historical Individuum, Here-and-now Individuum
7.  The Nominalistic Critique
8.  The Distinction between Substance, Essence,
.....Genuine Property and State
9.  Structural Levels
10.  Cross-roads :  What next?  Elaborate further on a general Theory of Being (General Ontology), or dig deeper into Symmetry as an all important product of dynamical systems?

Essays on the Theory of Crystals, their internal and external structure and shapes, including an exposition of all 32 Crystal Classes (divided among six Crystal Systems), and an ontological interpretation of several crystallographic phenomena :

1.  The Structure of Crystals Revisited
2.  The Morphology of Crystals
2a.  Derivation of the 32 Crystal Classes Part One
2b.  Derivation of the 32 Crystal Classes Part Two
2c.  Derivation of the 32 Crystal Classes Part Three
2d.  Derivation of the 32 Crystal Classes Part Four
2e.  Derivation of the 32 Crystal Classes Part Five
2f.  Derivation of the 32 Crystal Classes Part Six
3.  The Isometric Crystal System
4.  The Tetragonal Crystal System,   Part One, Class 4/m 2/m 2/m
5.  The Tetragonal Crystal System,   Part Two, Class 4 m m
6.  The Tetragonal Crystal System,   Part Three, Class 4*2 m
7.  The Tetragonal Crystal System,   Part Four, Class 4/m
8.  The Tetragonal Crystal System,   Part Five, Class 4
9.  The Tetragonal Crystal System,   Part Six, Class 4 2 2
10.  The Tetragonal Crystal System,   Part Seven, Class 4*
11.  The Hexagonal Crystal System,   Part One, Class 6/m 2/m 2/m
12.  The Hexagonal Crystal System,   Part Two, Class 6 m m
13.  The Hexagonal Crystal System,   Part Three, Class 6/m
14.  The Hexagonal Crystal System,   Part Four, Class 6
15.  The Hexagonal Crystal System,   Part Five, Class 6 2 2
16.  The Hexagonal Crystal System,   Part Six, Class 3* 2/m
17.  The Hexagonal Crystal System,   Part Seven, Class 3*
18.  The Hexagonal Crystal System,   Part Eight, Class 6* m 2
19.  The Hexagonal Crystal System,   Part Nine, Class 3m
20.  The Hexagonal Crystal System,   Part Ten, Class 6*
21.  The Hexagonal Crystal System,   Part Eleven, Class 3
22.  The Hexagonal Crystal System,   Part Twelve, Class 3 2
23.  The Orthorhombic Crystal System,   Part One,
      Class 2/m 2/m 2/m
24.  The Orthorhombic Crystal System,   Part Two,
      Class m m 2
25.  The Orthorhombic Crystal System,   Part Three,
      Class 2 2 2
26.  The Monoclinic Crystal System,   Part One,
      Class 2/m
27.  The Monoclinic Crystal System,   Part Two,
      Class 2
28.  The Monoclinic Crystal System,   Part Three,
      Class m
29.  The Triclinic Crystal System,   Part One,
      Class 1*
30.  The Triclinic Crystal System,   Part Two,
      Class 1
31.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part One
The five fundamental 2-D lattice types
32.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Two
2-D periodic patterns  P2,  P1,  P4mm,  P4gm,  P4
33.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Three
2-D periodic patterns  P2mm,  P2mg,  P2gg
34.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Four
2-D periodic patterns  C2mm,  Pm,  Pg,  Cm
35.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Five
2-D periodic patterns  P6mm,  P6,  P3m1
36.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Six
2-D periodic patterns  P31m,  P3
37.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Seven
Summary of the 17   2-D periodic patterns
38.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Eight
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  P2
39.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Nine
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  P1,  Pm
40.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Ten
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  Pg,  Pm,  Cm
41.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Eleven
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  P2mm,  P2gg
42.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Twelve
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  P2mg,  C2mm
43.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Thirteen
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  P4,  P4mm
44.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Fourteen
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  P4gm
45.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Fifteen
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  P3
46.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Sixteen
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  P3
47.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Seventeen
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  P3m1
48.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Eighteen
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  P31m
49.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Nineteen
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  P6
50.  The Internal Structure of Crystals,   Part Twenty
2-D Crystals : Development of faces in  P6mm
51.   Continuation of this Site
(Second Part of Website)
52.   a  HOLISTIC philosophy as an alternative world view
(Third Part of Website)
53.   General Ontology.  A Theory of Metaphysical Layers.
(Fourth Part of Website)
54.   Aristotelian metaphysics revisited.  A Theory of Natures. Combining this theory of Natures with that of the Implicate Order. Application of this combined metaphysical theory to the  EVOLUTION  of  INSECTS (the Orders Diptera, Hymenoptera).
(Fifth Part of Website)
55.   Evolution of all INSECTS (paleoentomology). Evolution of the wings and the flight-function in insects. Insect evolution in terms of aut-ecology and in terms of the Implicate and Explicate Orders.
The philosophy of inorganic Nature. Inorganic and organic Substance. Organic Substance :  the organism as a single molecule (Unimol).
Ultimate Reality as being a discrete network of quality points :  The World Cellular Automaton.
(Sixth Part of Website)

Something about myself

As should be suspected from the title, I am a philosopher. But according to the theory, expounded on this website, I am a dissipative dynamical system. But, as such, this system is only the outer appearance of me. My specific Identity is the dynamical law of this system, which, unfortunately, I cannot explicitly formulate, so my real Identity necessarily remains a little obscure. Because I happen to be not a member of a monovular twin, my (specific) Identity is unique.
I graduated in Philosophy in 1988 at the University of Amsterdam.
Before I embarked on this study I had kept myself busy with the evolution of organisms, especially Insects. Their history goes back some 400 million years. By ever broadening and thus generalizing my subject I finally ended up with Philosophy.

In my study I specialized in the philosophy of Being and Essence, largely inspired by the works of Aristotle (4th century BC) and the relevant works of St Thomas Aquinas (Middle Ages, 13th century). This philosophy (as I see it now) embraces the Being and Essence of all natural objects, including Man which is understood as situated fully within the confines of Nature, just like all other objects. That is what makes me a philosopher of nature, and they seem to be rare on this planet. But I can assure you I'm not an alien. And if for all that I am one -- without knowing it -- I'm friendly.

After graduating I supplemented the acquired knowledge with some insights in the theory of dynamical systems, and some computer programming. Dynamical systems and their computer simulations (like for example Cellular Automata) seem to me not only essential for Natural Science (Physics, Chemistry and Biology) in understanding how things work, but also for Philosophy, especially the theory of Being which tries to establish the general nature of things insofar as they are things, in terms of intrinsic causes. So I studied a good deal of Natural Science and in particular dynamical systems, but only insofar as they are relevant to Philosophy.

After more ore less concluding these activities I felt ready to apply (at the University of Nijmegen -- having no religious ties with it) for writing a PHD about an updated version of the Metaphysics of Substance and Accident, that is directly implied by a theory of Being and Essence. My research tries to assess the general nature of the intrinsic essence of natural beings, or in other words the intrinsic causes (or principles) of whatever uniform thing (in contradistinction to just an aggregate of things).

This sounds perhaps very abstract or even mystical, but in fact it is plain philosophy of Being, in which I make use of a lot of relevant data from Natural Science and of some from Mathematics. My approach is fairly unorthodox (maybe because I am a descendant of the Sixties) and selfwilled and, on applying for writing a PHD I hoped my potential supervisors would not have too much trouble with that. Indeed my supervising professor (Professor L. Heyde, of the Philosophy Department of the University of Nijmegen, Holland) called me a rebel philosopher, but after a year working with me he assured me that he had full confidence in me, including (confidence in) my knowledge and philosophical use of Natural Science (Dynamical Systems, Biology, etc.).
Very unfortunately he died, but the University found me another professor, and even two co-promotors with about the same interests and attitude appropriate to support and supervise me. In April 2001 I completed my first draft of a dissertation (PHD) and I had to await its evaluation (which took some time, because it has some 500 pages to read). Finally in December 2001 they provisionally approved of my text. It took me another three months to correct it from occasional minor errors. Then -- on their request I consulted some more literature. Finally I added some further explanations and took care of the whole make-up of the text. In September 2002 I handed over the definitive text. Now I have to await the formation of an independent manuscript committee for final evaluation and approval. When this committee approves of it, one will arrange for the ceremony for granting me a doctor degree in Philosophy.
So far so good.  It turned out, however, that it seems to be very difficult to find participants for such a committee, because my work has a marked interdisciplinary character, which means that for professional philosophers to judge the work (and to read it with interest) it is too 'scientific' (i.e. involving too much natural science), while for professional natural scientists to judge that same work it is too philosophical. All this has to do -- it seems -- with the existence of two disparate 'cultures' within the academic world, namely the humanities and philosophy on the one hand, and the natural sciences and mathematics on the other. And they seem not to like each other. This is strange, because whatever science one occupies oneself with, humanities, natural science, or what not,  such a science relates to the very same one world. But many philosophers will deny this, and consider the humanities and philosophy as relating to a fundamentally different world than the natural sciences do. So they will hold that my text, which is intended to be a philosophical text, is mixed up with items totally alien to what philosophy treats of. Natural scientists on the other hand, will remember the bad reputation of philosophy (unfortunately, partly justified), so they are wary of their science being mixed up with philosophy, unless they have created that particular philosophy all by themselves.
It is now a year ago that I had handed over my definitive text, and have not heard anything since. Probably pressure of work, and lack of sufficient interest (as just explained), are the causes for this delay.

It is now the end of the year 2008. I have phoned the person who now is supposed to supervise and accompany the progress of my intended PHD, but what I heard was some absense-minded jabber with which nothing could be done. This particular professor could not, and did not, reject my proposed PHD on qualitative grounds. It was said to meet all the requirements of a dissertation (PHD). So although the University of Nijmegen is, in Holland, the very seat of Thomistic Philosophy, which is the main subject and inspiration of my dissertation, this, apparently, does not set aside laziness and indifference. And because my intention to compose a PHD was not only to deliver a book but also to get engaged in interesting discussions about the philosophy of Substance and Being, I will no longer lobby for having my work published as a dissertation. After all, now having the means of placing things on the internet, making a PHD has now become largely unnecessary. People can consult my work for free as often as they want to.

Meanwhile I continued publishing on the Internet about the same subject, i.e. trying to provide an update of the Substance-Accident Metaphysics, based on recent insights. But the website which has resulted so far does not have the form of a dissertation. It is addressed to a broader audience, and the 'Chapters' are more ore less independent (that's why I have called them "Essays" [or "documents"]). It is also broader in scope, including for example the theory of the hard- and software of digital computers, and discussions about the disciplin of Artificial Life. Moreover it contains an extensive treatment of Crystallography and a System of Organic Stereometric Basic Forms (Promorphology). But also these extra expositions are geared to an ontological interpretation, that is to say an interpretation of artificial organisms and their environment (the computer), and a deepening of an ontological interpretation of crystals and real organisms.

Perhaps the 'crown of my work' appears in Fifth Part of Website composed in 2006-2009. There, after having given a fine update of Aristotelian Logic (in which Logic must be based on Being, and not the other way around), I made up a new ontological theory, combining Aristotle's philosophy of Substance with Bohm's idea of the Implicate and Explicate Orders of Being. This new theory was born by the need to place organic evolution in a broader metaphysical context in order to obtain more insight in its course and driving forces. This was found to be necessary because in my opinion (and not only mine) the conventional neo-darwinian theory of evolution -- based on random genetic mutation and natural selection -- fails to explain (long-term) organic evolution. Perhaps also my theory does not fully explain evolution, but it contains definitely a lower number of pure (ad hoc) assumptions than neo-darwinism have to make when explicitly 'explaining' the course of evolution of one or another major group of organisms. So in this Fifth Part of Website my "Noëtic Theory of Evolution" is developed. It is developed in a step-by-step way while discussing concrete facts of evolution, in this case that of the insect-orders Diptera (mosquitoes, midges, and flies) and Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, and ants).

We shall now start with the first Essay, which will succinctly describe my main thesis.

An Essay on Being and Essence

A one-dimensional cellular
automaton, a pattern-generating
dynamical system.

Pattern formation in Nature

Here (already) on the Homepage we start with a first Essay that will introduce the reader into my inquiry concerning pattern formation in nature and its metaphysical interpretation. It is the first of a large series of Essays (constituting this website) that builds up a Theory of Beings, beings, displaying themselves as natural patterns.


Nature, and that means the world of chemical substances, crystals, rocks, atmospheric systems, organisms (including man) etc., is extremely copious with respect to all kinds of different components, continually interacting with each other, moving around, transforming, aggregating and segregating. So one should naturally expect such a world to be utterly chaotic, being devoid of such fine-tuned organized things like human observers. But here we are . . . , being a pattern ourselves and observing a host of other patterns around us! We see crystals (snow-flakes, salt-cubes, sand-grains and all kinds of minerals), weathersystems forming huge spirals, and of course a myriad of organisms with their very diverse ways of patterned behavior and complex morphologies. It seems that Nature possesses a strong tendency toward pattern formation in spite of the fact that the number of logically possible disordered configurations of components is overwhelmingly larger than the number of ordered ones.

How is this possible? Do we live in a world of exceptions and coincidences?

When we look at the formation of crystals, which means crystallization processes, generating such marvellous ordered configurations like Diamonds, or snow-flakes, then we see -- for example on the basis of experiments -- that these processes show a fairly high degree of repeatability. Such a repeatability is likewise observable in the individual development of organisms from fertilized egg-cells. The large amount of young frogs that we encounter at the end of the summer are in fact repetitions of a certain kind of developmental process.
This possibility of repetition points to the existence of special LAWS under which the developments take place. During the formation of crystals (for example) these are the diverse (known or unknown) crystallization laws. They come into operation when certain conditions (presence of certain chemicals, temperature and pressure) are satisfied. In this way, during the geological processes, all kinds of crystals came into existence like Diamond and Salt, but especially the many and complex silicate minerals that form a main component of the Earth's crust. The same applies with respect to the individual development of every single organism. Their development proceeds under a for each organism specific law. Such a law is closely related to the structure of their DNA (holding a comprehensive set of instructions for how to build and maintain the given organism) and has been evolved during evolution. An evolutionary process is in fact a process towards optimalization of the functioning of the organism in its environment, by (fine-)tuning such a law. And this law starts to operate wherever certain conditions are satisfied, resulting in the generation of the corresponding organism. But these conditions are much more complex and diversified than those necessary for the formation of crystals. Although crystals show some interesting analogies with organisms (they exhibit individuality, and growth, and restore themselves when damaged (during growth)), they differ significantly from organisms. Their growth takes place by means of apposition of parts (components) onto the exterior boundary (the surface) of the crystal without altering its interior. Organisms on the other hand mainly grow by means of intussusception (i.e. insertion of parts inside the body). This is possible because organisms are in a semi-liquid state (while crystals are solids). Moreover in organisms all kinds of chemical processes keep going on, while a crystal is a more or less static object within which only some vibration of the constituents takes place. Further, crystals are  p e r i o d i c  structures while organisms are not. And, finally, crystals are, thermodynamically, equilibrium structures while organisms are not ( The latter are so-called  d i s s i p a t i v e   s t r u c t u r e s).  Nevertheless both (crystals and organisms) are real entities, intrinsic wholes, generated according to some specific law.


Crystals appear (on the scene of Reality) -- just like organisms -- always as individuals. Such an individual has a definite Identity that remains constant during its existence. It is, say, A, it is not B, not C, etc. A developing crystal of Salt (growing in a solution) can change its shape while its Identity remains the same. For organisms this applies even stronger. We ourselves (being an organism) seem to have direct experience of our Identity staying the same during all of our life in spite of the fact of the many changes we constantly undergo. Some insects undergo a strong metamorphosis (for example from caterpillar to butterfly) but nevertheless their Identity stays the same. So it seems for every entity, which is an intrinsic whole, that there is something that remains the same, and something else not remaining the same, but always changing. In Philosophy such changes are called "accidental" or "per accidens" in relation to the persistent Identity. This Identity is called the "intrinsic Essence" of the thing, so every real uniform being has such an Essence.


But what then is this Essence?
Where does it abide?
Does it abide outside the thing (as Plato assumed), or inside the thing (as his famous pupil Aristotle assumed)?
And if the Essence is located inside the thing (meaning that the Essence of every being abides in "our world", and not in some external immaterial world transcending the material world), which I consider the most probable position, where in the thing is it located and in what way? Could this Essence be a concrete part of the thing, the "heart" or "soul" of the thing, which implies that the Essence itself would also be a thing (and this thing should of course also have an Essence of its own........Oh my god, where are we going???), or is it in the thing in an abstract way (whatever that means), like a principle?
The last mentioned case seems to me the most probable. This Principle could be understood as the internal (better :   intrinsic, because we do not mean spatially internal) cause of the constitution of the thing in question.


It is at this point worthwile to point out what I mean with the term "thing" (or being).
A thing -- in this context -- is a stable pattern (of constituents). The constituents are organized, and are -- with respect to their shape and behavior -- thus directed toward the whole, the thing. When the constituents are not thus organized, they do not form a thing, but an aggregate of many things. Such an aggregate is not a (and that means one) thing, but many things, and so does not possess an Identity of its own (the Identity is multiple), and the shape and behavior of the constituents are not dependent on the whole. So in this Essay a thing (a being) is always (defined as) a uniform whole, like a crystal or an organism. However, the intrinsic unity of (individual) things occurs in different degrees in different beings. We can observe this phenomenon of gradation by looking to all kinds of natural objects, where for example some organisms show a colony-like appearance and others show much more unity.


The above mentioned principle (the Identity or Essence of the thing) is that item in the thing by which that thing is what it is, and which confers unity upon the thing. To denominate the Essence as a principle sounds fine but remains vague.
How does this principle (which we now admit is abstract) "look" like?
In what way should we imagine such a principle?
At this point it is appropriate to return to the initial exposition about the observed regularity (i.e. according to law) concerning the generation of uniform beings.
Every patterned whole, like a crystal or an organism, is the product of a regular process. It is the product -- a stadium, or a sequence of stadia -- of a pattern-generating dynamical system. And with this we have finally found the sought after status of the Identity or Essence of a thing :

The Essence of a (uniform) thing is the dynamical law of the dynamical system that generated that very thing.

This sounds no longer vague and seems to me a good characterization of the Essence of a thing. For a more extensive treatment of dynamical systems, see the Essay on Dynamical Systems and the Metaphysics of Substance and Accident. In this First Part of Website this thesis will be extensively investigated as to its plausibility. It will be found out that the Essence is the 'genotypical' whatness of the given object (genuine being), while the latter's intrinsic properties are 'phenotypical' expressions of this Essence, brought about when the object is generated, i.e. when the dynamical law becomes its Essence.


Physical matter -- so it turned out -- shows a strong inclination, or at least capacity, toward self-organization, and where this (self-organization) actually happens we have a pattern-generating dynamical system in operation. The law (rule), associated with this system does not abide outside the system, but in some way within it. Philosophers call this immanent (meaning, remaining inside, in contradistinction to transcendent).
The law is immanent in the elements (= the reactive constituents) of the dynamical system. A part of the properties of those elements embodies the relevant dynamical law governing the behavior of the system. This law is, as it were, 'spread-out' over the system's elements, and therefore it is abstract and implicit.


However, in computer simulations of such (pattern-generating) dynamical systems (for example Cellular Automata) these laws are in a way (compelled by necessity) transcendent. They abide in a sense outside the elements of the system, because those elements (in computer simulations) do not have properties of themselves. We (the programmer) adjudge those properties to them by letting them interact according to some explicitly specified law (rule). Only then are they elements of a dynamical system. In other words : only after explicit implementation of a dynamical law in a computer simulation program will the -- for example -- screen pixels become elements of a (simulated) dynamical system. When we let the system run from one or another start configuration of those elements, then it could happen that the system self-organizes those elements towards definite patterns, even from random start configurations.


Real things like crystals, but especially organisms, are such complicated beings, and, in the case of organisms, products of a very long evolutionary history, and moreover so little known in detail, that we are unable to explicitly formulate the dynamical law under which their generation, maintenance and behavior are governed, and thus (we cannot explicitly formulate) their Essence or Identity. The DNA is known for only a few organisms, and knowing the DNA structure (which means having deciphered its instruction code) is probably not sufficient for knowing the exact dynamical law. Even crystals are not yet sufficiently well understood in this respect.
If we want, in spite of that, to do some research, say investigate the relationship of the Essence of a thing (which we now admit to be the relevant dynamical law) with the state (the condition) in which a thing (a uniform, patterned being) can be (at successive time steps), and together with that investigate the way of being of the Essence and of those states, then we will -- along with observations in the real world -- have to make use of computer simulations, because there the systems can be precisely defined.
It is hoped that those simulations (call them "models") will (besides other things) yield a set of revised philosophical basic concepts for dealing with the problem of the "location" and status of Essence.


In Philosophy it is, however, not particular relevant to know what the Essence of a Salt crystal is (that means, the knowledge of the very law governing the crystallization of Salt crystals). Of course that could be instructive and maybe even interesting for a philosopher, but it remains a task for Natural Science, not for Philosophy.
For the philosopher (especially the philosopher of Nature) it is only important to understand what Essence is in so far as it is Essence (the Essence of whatever uniform thing), or in other words what it means to be the Essence of a thing. The consideration is thus in a way more general than the one in Natural science.

Such a study of Essence as Essence has been carried out for the first time by Plato and by Aristotle, about 350 years before Christ, and continued in the Middle Ages by philosophers like St Thomas Aquinas.
After this the interest went other ways. This diversion is related to the emergence of modern science, especially the new (mathematical and observational) methods, that was quite a discovery.
After the Middle Ages Philosophy underwent a strong influence from the rapidly evolving natural sciences, but also other matters showed up like the Theory of Knowledge (= epistemology) and the man-oriented philosophies. The "oldfashioned" Metaphysics of Being (including the search for Essence, in the above defined philosophical way) remained, it is true, in some circles but did not develop further in a significant way.


Such a further development of a theory of Being and Essence (A classical text from St Thomas Aquinas is -- in an English translation -- available on the Internet, See the external links below), on the basis of relevant recent data (especially the insights obtained from the study of real and abstract dynamical systems), I am presently undertaking, as will be clear from what has been said above. The present Essay is of course just a short summary of, and an introduction to, all the work I've done and still doing -- work, that has also been put on paper in order to compose my PHD. My more or less complete exposition can be found on the rest of the pages of this website. You can access them via the links on the left screen or via the links above on the main screen (There you can also find a total overview -- Complete Table of Contents -- of the whole site, thus far completed). As could be expected, those links will introduce you further into the relevant philosophical issues, and especially, they will introduce you into the theory of dynamical systems. A number of examples of such systems are given, and evaluated for the purpose of setting up a revised metaphysics of Being and Essence. They will moreover lead you to the study of crystals and organisms, in order to be able to interpret them as (products of) dynamical systems, governed by a dynamical law which is then interpreted as the Essence of such beings.
A second series of Essays, lets you get acquainted with the classical ideas about Being and Essence, especially those of St Thomas Aquinas (13th century), who himself was inspired and strongly influenced by Aristotle (4th century before Christ). There we will read some classical texts (in English translation), and try to interpret them and comment on them.
I have found out that such a revised Metaphysics of Being and Essence is growing towards an interesting body of knowledge and insight, and that it could stimulate further -- interdisciplinary -- research, especially in Philosophy itself, but also in Biology, Crystallography, Mineralogy, computer simulations of pattern-generating dynamical systems, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Artificial Life (a-life). Especially this interdisciplinary aspect of the investigation is very attractive, because in so doing we get in touch with so many different subjects, objects and phenomena, and because of that with many different people (researchers or those interested). It fits in precisely with the interdisciplinary and unorthodox character of the Web.


The subject presented here on this website is certainly not familiar to the general reader, and looks a little abstract. In order to make things more clear to such a reader it is useful to add yet another introduction to it from a more or less different viewpoint. Whereas the viewpoint of the above Essay On Being and Essence was largely inspired by the observation of Nature itself and focussed on the Essence of individual things, we can think of another viewpoint (relating to the same subject), inspired by classical texts, especially those of St Thomas Aquinas. In these texts much emphasis is put on the distiction of determinations (Accidents) and that something (Substance) of which they are determinations. The Essence, of which we spoke above is located in the Substance, which itself is the "carrier" of its determinations. St Thomas discusses the way of being of Accidents and of Substance, and in this discussion the Essence of the given thing plays a central role. Of course he does not already speak about dynamical systems that generated genuine beings, because at the time there was hardly any natural science (that could come up with such systems).
To illustrate this second viewpoint and inspiration I will reproduce here the ABSTRACT that introduces my dissertatation. It will certainly contribute to the reader's apprehension of my whole undertaking on this website.


The present philosophical investigation is inspired by the Classical Aristotelian-Thomistic Substance-Accident Metaphysics -- i.e. a theory of beings insofar as beings -- especially its elaboration by St Thomas Aquinas.
That metaphysics is thematically presented in his short treatise De Ente et Essentia, and in his Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle, but recurs in many places throughout his philosophical odyssey.

Classical Substance-Accident metaphysics does not investigate in what way a Common Salt crystal is precisely structured, or how precisely the flight muscles of a Colorado beetle work, it is a very general theory, it investigates "beings insofar as they are beings". In it, it is for instance asserted that  d e t e r m i n a t i o n s,   like "red", or, say, "1.70 long", do, it is true, really exist, and so are, in a sense, beings, but are in spite of that not genuine beings, and here this means :   they are not independent (in a metaphysical sense) beings, because, in order to exist at all, they always must be a determination of something else, namely (they have to be) a determination of something that is independent (a "Substance"). If such a determination can be replaced by another determination without changing the Substance that carries it, then it is called an "Accident". The Substance, in which the determinations inhere, contains the "Essence" of the given thing, and it is in fact this Essence which remains the same when its determinations are replaced by others. The Substance is the very independent (or we could say, subsistent) being, while its accidents are only "beings-in-a-certain-sense", they are "auxiliary beings". The replaceable determinations (Accidents) just "happen to be present" in the given Substance and so become (loosely) associated with the Essence. They are, however, not a part of the Essence.
Every genuine Substance is moreover seen -- by Classical Substance-Accident Metaphysics -- as ONE thing, in which the unity wholly originates from that thing. So a house is not such a unity, because insofar as it is a unity at all, this unity comes from "without" (from the architect or builders). That's why a house does not have an Essence. On the other hand, an organism is such a unity, it is a unity totally in virtue of itself, it is "intrinsically" one, and has (consequently) an Essence. The parts of such a genuine thing are not themselves things in turn, because that would destroy the unity. They are a pattern of determinations of the thing. They are only "virtually" present in the thing, and become "actual" when the thing disintegrates.

This, and much more we find in the works of (among others) St Thomas Aquinas (13th century), who certainly was (and in fact still is) the greatest authority in the field. Now because the discussions of St Thomas, concerning that subject, are very rational indeed, and because this metaphysics is of a very general nature, it could be that this very theory is not only historically significant but also thematically so, i.e. that this metaphysical theory could still stand today. So I asked myself :   do all existing things, beings, indeed possess a substance-accident structure, or do we have to do with a theory that is already for a long time superseded by new ideas about the general constitution of things? Isn't it so that the results of modern philosophy, for example concerning our way of knowing those things, but especially the relevant general results of Natural Science that are about change and transformation in general, have outdated the classical substance-accident metaphysics?
The present investigation tries to answer this question.
With respect to the possible contribution of Natural Science, many philosophers would maintain that Natural Science is irrelevant to answering this question. My investigation, however, will demonstrate its relevance.
With repect to modern philosophy not much contribution is to be expected because it largely became more and more focussed on the relevant psychological features of Man, and on ethical structures, transforming general philosophy and metaphysics into a Philosophy of Man, loosing thereby any generality that is needed for a universal substance-accident metaphysics of things.
And when nevertheless this metaphysics is (nowadays) discussed, it is almost always just a historical or apologetical treatment of it, or it is an undertaking within the confines of analytic philosophy which is an epistemological quest, not a theory of being.
When we, in the process of answering the above question, take a closer look to the ancient discussions concerning the substance-accident metaphysics, for example by St Thomas, we cannot escape the conclusion that things like living beings are interpreted holistically : An (individual) living being (but also some inorganic beings) is a strict unity and does not -- as was already related to above -- consist of actual parts and elements (If so, it would be "a many", instead of being - intrinsically - one thing, one genuine being). Those parts and elements are only "virtually" present in the thing, they are a distribution of determinations of that one thing. Even moving parts should be so interpreted :   They are a changing pattern of determinations, i.e. all kinds of determinations replace each other successively, at several localities within the whole (thing).
So a thematic evaluation of this classical metaphysics in the light of modern insights turns out to be a thematic reductionism-holism discussion which today indeed represents a much debated topic. Holism sees things, like organisms, as real original wholes, which each for themselves are more than the sum of their parts. Reductionism on the other hand, sees at least all macroscopic things (hence also organisms) as derived, not original, beings :   Such beings are not themselves, but are their parts or elements. So an attempt to vindicate the Classical Substance-Accident Metaphysics would then boil down to a quest for the existence (and vindication) of HOLISM with respect to certain individual things. During this quest, and this means during my investigation, it turned out however, that a purely holistic interpretation of those things (including organisms) was not possible. So the classical substance-accident metaphysics should either be totally abandoned, or, if possible, be amended substantially.
But a purely reductionistic interpretation of those same things was not possible either. Some sort of compromise between the two should be in place and could be stated succinctly as follows :

Although the workings of the world seem to be composed of "bottom-up" processes (and as such generating things), it nevertheless is not so that the only genuine real intrinsic beings are something like the "elementary particles" or fields, discovered in Physics, while all other things are just derived aggregates of them. We can, it seems, not deny that there are genuine real beings at the macroscopical level, like human beings, animals or crystals. They are entities all by themselves, despite the fact that they are generated by bottom-up processes. These processes are, however, not just aggregating a multitude of microscopical beings into composed things, they form new uniform things, it seems, things with an identity and essence of their own. This dissertation investigates those processes in their generality, and establishes the unity of their products. In this way we obtain some sort of "bottom-up holism", i.e. a bottom-up approach that is nevertheless not entirely reductionistic, and at the same time a holistic approach that is not entirely top-down.

In order to do so I could not go about in one or another a priori fashion, but had to actually look to all categories of real things. I did this with the eyes of Natural Science. So in this investigation I discuss those things that could represent genuine intrinsic real beings : molecules, crystals and organisms including man (I left out of consideration atoms and astronomical objects like stars).
In doing so it was also necessary to present some technicalities concerning such things, for example an (introductory) exposition of the chemical bond, the internal structure of crystals and some general physical and chemical features concerning the constitution of organisms. These are no more than elementary introductions, and as such do not belong to the investigation proper (but should nevertheless be consulted because they are integrated into the philosophical investigation). They are included because this dissertation is largely aimed at philosophers, and they seem to possess little knowledge of such technicalities.
The main problem of this dissertation - the problem whether the Classical Substance-Accident Metaphysics still holds today, with or without amendments, and if the latter are needed, what these amendments should be - is attempted to be solved by involving modern dynamical systems theory. And in doing so it indeed turned out that the Classical Substance-Accident Metaphysics can be successfully updated with relatively few amendments.
Of course, because of the large scope of the investigation, it cannot boast about presenting a once and for all definitive solution. Much more detailed inquiries are needed to such an extent that it is beyond the capacities and competence of a single investigator to do so.
But at least a fruitful direction of research is indeed presented, leaving the philosophical dialogue open to many subsequent directions to be taken, or even to totally different directions or approaches.


In the above ABSTRACT we spoke about Reductionism and Holism.
In order to keep philosophical dialogue as open as possible, I have (in addition to my more or less reductionistic explanations and statements) presented an alternative, holistic, world view in the Third Part of the Website. There I discuss the holistic theory of the Implicate Order of David BOHM, and I found out that its general line is very akin to the neoplatonic metaphysics of PLOTINUS (third century).

The Second Part of the Website is wholly devoted to one of the most important products of dynamical systems (that generate Totalities), namely material STRUCTURE (of those Totalities). And this boils down to a general study of the morphological structure of (Totalities such as) Crystals and Organisms. And the main aspect of STRUCTURE is SYMMETRY, so most of this Second Part of Website is devoted to symmetry. It is studied by means of Group Theory, and is moreover ontologically evaluated and interpreted. The ultimate aim is to obtain a general theory of structure, i.e. the structure of intrinsic (self-contained) material beings.
Indeed, when we know more about structure, we will better understand what "intrinsic uniform being" is supposed to mean (where "uniform" means "having one definite essence"), which will in turn teach us more about being as such.



To date the whole website consists of five main parts ('Parts of Website'), each in turn consisting of many parts. Here we have come at the end of First Part of Website. The other four Parts are :


Well, was here indeed (another) freak among the philosophers? (Yes, that's me!)

If you would like to know more about the subjects mentioned, or if you wish to discuss them, don't hesitate to mail me.

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