This is the first in a multi-part posting that includes portions of our email dialog.
Click for Part 2 - Determinism vs Probability
Click for Part 3 - QM and Chess Analogy
Click for Part 4 - Property Dualism
Click for Part 5 - Flatland and Higher Dimensions
HOWARD A FAVORITE ON THIS BLOG
Howard has been an Author, Commenter and/or Subject on this Blog almost since its inception in 2007. Although he has not actively posted here for some time, I've noticed that postings by or about him, as well as postings where he has made comments, consistently garner high numbers of page views, year after year. Clearly, his name is a popular Google search term!
Although I have known and highly respected Howard since I first met him at Binghamton University as a System Science professor in the early 1990's, I still have difficulty getting my anal engineer's brain around his important contributions to the field now called "biosemiotics" (from the Greek bios meaning "life" and semeion meaning "sign"). At my request, he summarized the field of biosemiotics on this blog, here.
HOWARD'S RESEARCH INTERESTS
He began his graduate study of physics in the 1940's and was attracted to the classic problem of the physical basis of life. Rather than concentrate on the chemical basis of how living organisms are created from non-living matter, he approached it from the conceptual problem of where symbolic function emerges in the context of physical laws. Howard's research interests include: Physics of Symbols, Origin of Life, Epistemology, the Symbol-Matter Problem, the Quantum Measurement Problem, Biosemiotics, and the Epistemic Cut.
The very idea of the "physics of symbols" seems like a contradiction in terms to me. Howard and I have gone round and round on the "reality" of how a physical thing becomes a "sign" and a "sign" becomes a "symbol". Although Howard is not a "dualist" in the way René Descartes considered "mental" and "material" to be two different substances, he calls himself a "property dualist" in our dialog, believing that the world consists of one type of physical substance that has both "physical" and "mental" properties.
His latest book, co-authored with Joanna Rączaszek-Leonardi, was published in 2012 as Biosemiotics, Volume 7 2012, LAWS, LANGUAGE and LIFE, Howard Pattee’s classic papers on the physics of symbols with contemporary commentary.
Links to many of his papers are available at: http://binghamton.academia.edu/HowardPattee.
I hope Howard's many fans will post comments on this Blog.