Friday, December 30, 2011

Inclusive Fitness and Altruism

The theory of inclusive fitness describes the mechanism that enables the evolution of social behaviors. (Queller, 1992) The significance of the genetic transmission of relatives who are not direct descendents of an individual often explains the origin of altruistic actions. (Queller, 1992) Relatives share a number of common genes in proportion to the proximity of their familial relation. Natural selection will favor altruism if the behavior increases the probability of the reproductive success of the genes that encode the behavior, regardless of the carrier identity.

Classical theories of evolution designate every characteristic of an organism as a means and a consequence of competition between individuals. (Eberhard, 1975) This qualification discounts the persistence of behavior that benefits another individual at a net cost to the performer. (Eberhard, 1975) Fitness is the measure of reproductive success as the number of mature offspring generated by a discrete unit. (Eberhard, 1975) Altruism is defined as actions that increase the fitness of a recipient and are detrimental to the personal fitness of the performing individual. (Eberhard, 1975) William Donald Hamilton derived a model titled inclusive fitness in order to account for the evolutionary origin of social altruism. (Eberhard, 1975)

Inclusive fitness is an extension of the conventional evolutionary theory that explains behavior that may appear decrease the fitness of an individual. (Eberhard, 1975) Hamilton’s inclusive fitness is the summation of the personal fitness of the individual and the resulting fitness change of relatives attributed to the individual's social behavior. Inclusive fitness considers the effect of the individual on the gene pool of succeeding generations through both the production of the individual’s own offspring as well as the effect of the individual on the reproduction of others. (Eberhard, 1975) A social behavior that increases the inclusive fitness of the performer is favored by natural selection and may be expected to increase in frequency within a population. (Eberhard, 1975)

Hamilton's rule describes the balance between the cost and benefit of altruistic actions. (Queller, 1992) The benefit of the altruist is proportional to the benefit of the recipient combined with the percent of genotype in common between the two individuals. (Queller, 1992) The net beneficial gain over the investment is the inclusive fitness of an altruistic behavior. (Queller, 1992) The simple formula proposed by Hamilton has been altered in numerous situations in order to model various circumstances. However, the foundation all successive modifications has been this simple relationship. Hamilton’s rule is also often expressed as an inequality comparing the product of benefit and relation to the cost of an action. (Foster, Weseleers & Ratnieks, 2006) An altruistic behavior is productive when the benefit experienced by the altruist is greater than the investment. (Queller, 1992)

The presence of the altruism gene in beneficiaries compensates the cost of donation. (Queller, 1992) The net inclusive fitness is positive if the product of the degree of relation between two individuals and the benefit of the recipient is a greater value than the investment required from the altruistic individual. (Queller, 1992)

The ultimate minimum of relatedness between individuals that can increase inclusive fitness through altruism is a value greater than the average degree of relation of the population as a whole. (Eberhard, 1975) Selection favors altruism when this criterion is satisfied. (Eberhard, 1975) While the change of allele frequencies may be very slow for social individuals with little relation compared to the total population, the direction of change will be positive regardless of the rate as long as there is some increased correlation of like genetics. (Eberhard, 1975)

The fraction of the beneficiary’s genotype that is not common to both social individuals contains a random collection of alleles present in the population. (Eberhard, 1975) The benefit of the random unrelated alleles in the recipient does not diminish the relative increase in frequency of the recipient genes in common with the donor. (Eberhard, 1975) A random process may periodically benefit any single unit, but this effect will become statistically insignificant over a continued length of time.

The kinship component of inclusive fitness is the lifetime summation of the increase of fitness to relatives weighted by the degree of relationship to the altruist. (Eberhard, 1975) The inclusive fitness of an individual is the sum of the classical personal fitness and the kinship component. (Eberhard, 1975) In this model, all social behaviors can be classified as selfish contributions to personal fitness or altruistic contributions to the kinship component. (Eberhard, 1975) These categories are not exclusive as it may be common to find both personal and kin fitness augmented simultaneously in a single action. (Eberhard, 1975)

The inclusive fitness of a behavior is quantified by a ratio of benefit to cost. (Eberhard, 1975) The threshold value for altruism that is advantageous to the individual is calculated by dividing the relatedness of the donor to their own personal offspring by the relatedness of the donor to the offspring of the beneficiary. (Eberhard, 1975) This value represents the number of additional offspring the beneficiary must produce to compensate each offspring lost by the donor. (Eberhard, 1975) The inclusive fitness of an action of altruism must exceed this critical threshold in order be advantageous to an individual. (Eberhard, 1975) However, altruism below this threshold will still increase the frequency of common alleles as long as some correlation of genotype commonalty is present relative to the population average. This increased allele fitness is not distributed to the majority of the genome when the degree of relation is less than the individual advantage ratio.

Relatedness is a statistical average. (West, Pen & Griffin, 2002) Individuals can be close relatives and share very little common genetics due to the principles of meiotic chromosome segregation into gametes. (West et al, 2002) It is assumed that siblings will share approximately a quarter of their genome on average, but it is also possible that they may share effectively no genes in common. (West et al, 2002) The opposite is also true. Some siblings may share nearly the entire genome as is the case with identical twins.

Gametes only receive one of two chromosomes in each homologous pair present in the parent. The constitution of any specific gamete is a random combination of individual homologs that are assorted independently. The zygote resulting from fertilization will contain a collection of homologous pairs that contain one chromosome inherited from each parent. The parental contribution is randomly determined by the segregation events of meiosis. The most anticipated common genotype proportion is fifty percent per degree of relative separation. Other combinations are present in a frequency corresponding to the statistical probability of inheritance.

Altruistic interaction frequency is anticipated to be proportional to the degree of relation between individuals. (Eberhard, 1975) However, altruism is common in social groups of individuals with various degrees of relation indistinguishable to members of the population. (Eberhard, 1975) In this situation, kin selection theory predicts that altruistic behaviors will occur with a frequency proportional to the average degree of relation of all potential beneficiaries within the population. (Eberhard, 1975) The average relatedness of the population also indicates the probability of observing specific types of altruism. (Eberhard, 1975)

The interaction of the three components of inclusive fitness indicates the expected frequency and intensity of altruism. (Eberhard, 1975) An altruistic act may be performed when there is very little probability of genotypic commonality if the cost is low enough and the benefit of the recipient is very high. (Eberhard, 1975) An act of altruism may also be expected when little benefit is experienced by the beneficiary if there is a large degree of relationship or a sufficiently low investment required by the donor. (Eberhard, 1975) It is also likely that altruistic behaviors will occur when the expense of the altruist is high if both the relatedness and the benefit of the recipient are large. (Eberhard, 1975)

A correlation between reproductive inferiority and altruism is likely to evolve in many populations. (Eberhard, 1975) Individuals with a low probability of reproduction may increase their fitness by facilitating the reproductive success of relatives. (Eberhard, 1975) This reproduction rate differentiation may be the result of a combination various incidental or genetic influences. (Eberhard, 1975)

Ecological conditions frequently play an important role in determining the nature of appropriate altruistic behaviors. (Eberhard, 1975) The probability of altruism occurring is inversely proportional to the degree of competition between two individuals. (Eberhard, 1975) Competition is often a function of the carrying capacity of the environment as well as the population size and structure. (Eberhard, 1975) The degree of relation between social individuals becomes critical when each additional conspecific individual places significant stress on a population. (Eberhard, 1975)

The majority of social interactions are likely to be essentially competitive. (Eberhard, 1975) The degree of competition between two individuals is positively correlated with similarity. (Eberhard, 1975) The most severe competition can be expected to be experienced between relatives due to spatial proximity and dependence on similar resources. (Eberhard, 1975) However, competition is also influenced by inclusive fitness. (Eberhard, 1975) The various factors controlling the dynamics of competition will tend to evolve in the direction that increases the fitness of the determining genes. (Eberhard, 1975) Competitive behavior frequency will increase only if the result is positively correlated with reproductive success of the superior competitor. (Eberhard, 1975) Competitive behavior will not increase if this correlation is negative or absent. (Eberhard, 1975)

The principles of kin selection apply to both competition and altruism. (Eberhard, 1975) Competition is the reverse application of inclusive fitness relative to altruism. The result of competition is typically the reduction of the fitness of the inferior individual in order to increase the fitness of the superior competitor. Competitive behaviors are likely to decrease in frequency if the fitness detriment to the common genes of the inferior is greater than increase of fitness of the victor.

Individuals are more likely to behave altruistically toward relatives due to the high proportion of gene commonality. (West et al, 2002) Helping a relative reproduce increases the number of common genes passed into successive generations. (West et al, 2002) However, competition between relatives can reduce the benefits of altruism. (West et al, 2002)

Hamilton’s rule of kin selection can be applied to any situation involving cooperation and conflict. (West et al, 2002) Altruistic behavior toward relatives may often increase the competition between relatives in successive generations. (West et al, 2002) The inclusive fitness of altruism is inversely proportional to the increase of competition between descendants. (West et al, 2002) The extent of the benefit reduction due to competition is dependent on the natural history of the population. (West et al, 2002)

Limited dispersal of individuals increases the relatedness of social participants. (West et al, 2002) However, limited dispersal also increases the relatedness of potential competitors. (West et al, 2002) The increased relation of competitors opposes the increase of inclusive fitness due to altruistic interactions. (West et al, 2002) Ultimately, the inclusive fitness of a behavior is determined by the net effect on future generations. (West et al, 2002)

The time of dispersal affects the inclusive fitness of altruism. (West et al, 2002) The fitness of an altruistic behavior is greatest when it occurs before dispersal and then competition occurs after dispersal. (West et al, 2002) More generally, the inclusive fitness of altruism is maximized when the relatedness of individuals is increased locally when the altruism occurs, and competition occurs globally. (West et al, 2002) The global distribution of competition minimizes the severity experienced between relatives. (West et al, 2002)

Hamilton’s rule can be altered to account for the increased competition between relatives due to altruism. (West et al, 2002) Inclusion of competition into models of inclusive fitness alters the net benefit experienced by altruistic individuals. (West et al, 2002)

The decrease to inclusive fitness is essentially zero if the altruist is unrelated to the competitors of the beneficiary. (West et al, 2002) An altruistic act will not increase competition in this situation. (West et al, 2002) Resulting competition increases in proportion to the degree of relation between competitors and the beneficiary. (West et al, 2002)

Discrimination capacity facilitates the function of altruism in saturated environments. (Lehman & Perrin, 2002) The evolution of altruistic actions requires interacting individuals to be more related than the population on average. (Lehman et al, 2002) While neighbors are likely to be relatives, they are necessarily also likely to be competitors in dense populations. (Lehman et al, 2002) Mechanisms of kin discrimination enable individuals to select social partners based on indications of relation. (Lehman et al, 2002)

Discrimination based on proximity allows the evolution of some altruistic behavior in the absence of severe ecological strain. (Lehman et al, 2002) However, environmental conditions may often cause wide dispersal of relatives or competition between relatives. (Lehman et al, 2002) Associative learning enables the recognition of relatives based on phenotypic characteristics. (Lehman et al, 2002) Discrimination based on characteristics promotes altruism as the inclusive fitness of interactions is increased. (Lehman et al, 2002)

The principles of natural selection indicate that discrimination abilities should increase in frequency and accuracy. (Lehman et al, 2002) Phenotype matching is the principle method of kin recognition. (Lehman et al, 2002) The donor compares the phenotype of the potential partner to a template standard based on a series of uncorrelated traits. (Lehman et al, 2002) An optimal acceptance threshold minimizes errors of both incorrect participation with unrelated individuals as well as the rejection of relatives. (Lehman et al, 2002) Various conditions will determine the requirements of a favorable acceptance threshold. (Lehman et al, 2002) Generally, the specificity of an acceptance threshold will likely decrease as when there is an increase of average relatedness to all potential recipients, a decrease of investment cost or an increase in the benefit of the recipient. (Lehman et al, 2002)

Spatially based discrimination requires certain ecological situations in order to increase the frequency of altruistic behavior. (Lehman et al, 2002) Discrimination founded on regional proximity is only effective when altruism has little cost because resources are abundant and few migrants are present in a population. However, associative learning may favor altruism without any environmental preconditions. (Lehman et al, 2002) The optimal specificity of discrimination exists as a continuum correlated with the severity of ecological strain. (Lehman et al, 2002) The scarcity of resources increases the cost of altruistic investment as well as the benefit of migration. (Lehman et al, 2002) Migratory dispersal increases the necessary acceptance threshold of altruism. (Lehman et al, 2002)

Cue heritability is correlated with recognition capacity. (Lehman et al, 2002) Environmental conditions may alter the acceptance threshold through the influence of phenotypic characteristics. (Lehman et al, 2002) The most accurate kin discrimination methods are necessary when cue heritability is low and environmental influence is high. (Lehman et al, 2002) This combination requires a great threshold of similarity of kin relative to the population average in order to favor altruistic actions. (Lehman et al, 2002)

Kin selection theory has received some criticism that the behaviors attributed to kin selection often do not necessarily require inclusive fitness in order to account for observed frequencies. (Eberhard, 1975) However, there are often multiple factors that contribute to the fitness of any single allele. (Eberhard, 1975) Mary Jane West Eberhard provides the example of the farmer who saves the life of his brother. (Eberhard, 1975) The farmer has increased the frequency of both his genetic alleles in the population as well as secured his own personal fitness by increasing the productivity of the farm. (Eberhard, 1975)

Mutualism is another explanation of altruistic behavior. (Clutton-Brock, 2002) Mutualism is defined as reciprocal cooperation. (Eberhard, 1975) The benefit of a mutualistic association is experienced directly by the interacting individuals without the necessity of common genes. (Clutton-Brock, 2002) This model accounts for cooperation observed in unrelated individuals. (Clutton-Brock, 2002) Individuals may exchange beneficial acts in a reciprocal altruism scenario similar to a symbiosis. (Clutton-Brock, 2002)

The increase of fitness through mutualism requires strict controls on cheating. (Eberhard, 1975) Cheaters are individuals that experience the benefit of population investments without returning any reciprocal fitness increase to donators. This type of population fitness distribution likely only occurs in intelligent animals. (Eberhard, 1975) However, kin selection theories require no direct benefit to the individual and do not necessitate a mechanism of reciprocity. Although, some individuals, such as migrants, may experience the increased fitness while not possessing genes in common with the majority of the population.

Hamilton’s rule does not relate to the fitness of a single individual genotype. (Queller, 1992) Rather, the inclusive fitness benefit is experienced by the genes within a population. (Queller, 1992) The individual is only able to personally benefit from altruistic investment if there is a significant probability of reciprocity. Hamilton’s definition of altruism implies that there is no expectation of reciprocation between individuals. This type of nonreciprocal altruistic behavior is best accounted for in the consideration of the fitness of the genes that encode the behavior. The genes correlated with altruism experience an intrinsic increase of fitness assuming that the recipient shares the genes in common. The individual may not experience any direct benefit of the behavior, but the gene fitness is increased within the population.

A competing theory used to account for altruistic behavior is group selection. (Queller, 1992) All participants may contribute to some common good that is beneficial in a group selection situation. (Clutton-Brock, 2002) Group selection accounts for altruism by claiming that populations containing altruistic genes experience increased fitness compared to other populations that do not. The foundation of this hypothesis is the distribution of the success experienced by an altruistic individual throughout a population to increase the total fitness of the population to a greater value than may be anticipated if the success of each individual is considered distinct. However, the apparent difference in the two models is only an artifact of formulation. (Queller, 1992) The two approaches are alternative but equivalent methods of selection analysis defined by different terms of relative fitness.

The fitness of group members increases in proportion to the size of some cooperative populations. (Clutton-Brock, 2002) This group augmentation scenario offers an explanation accounting for many forms of cooperative behavior. (Clutton-Brock, 2002) The correlation between group size and fitness may create strong selection pressures favoring cooperative behavior. (Clutton-Brock, 2002)

The frameworks of selection at the level of the colony and kin are simply different methods of formalizing the same problem. (Foster et al, 2006) Kin selection models often produce results at the level of the colony. (Foster et al, 2006) Group section models often require differential degrees of relation within a population relative to other groups. (Foster et al, 2006)

The analytical perspective is the primary distinction between models of group and kin selection. Group selection theories require that an altruistic population contain a large frequency of altruistic alleles. Inclusive fitness theories account for the allele frequencies within a population. Group selection theories are only able to account for the frequency of altruistic populations within a metapopulation. While selection at the group or population level may occasionally affect the fitness of social genes, the allele must first become established at the population level. (Eberhard, 1975) The differentiation between the two theories is essentially the frame of reference in determination of relative fitness. However, the absolute fitness of the altruistic genes is the same regardless whether the basis of relative comparison is other individuals within a single population or other competing populations.

Hamilton’s definition of inclusive fitness considers primarily the donor of the relationship. (Eberhard, 1975) However, it is also possible that selection on recipient individuals may influence the probability of the altruistic behavior. (Eberhard, 1975) Selection may operate on other members of the population in order to facilitate or inhibit performance of the behavior. (Eberhard, 1975) It is possible that inclusive fitness may be increased in certain scenarios if the beneficiary refuses aid that comes at too great a cost to the altruist. (Eberhard, 1975)

An individual may often increase their fitness in coordination with others who do not share the benefit. (Clutton-Brock, 2002) The consequence of the interaction may be neutral or negative for many involved in some situations. (Clutton-Brock, 2002) Coercion often accounts for the participation of individuals that do not benefit from social behaviors. (Clutton-Brock, 2002)

Inclusive fitness does not predict the evolution of altruism without the component of common genetics. (Foster et al, 2006) Manipulations often contribute to cooperative behaviors, but this type of interaction is not altruistic. (Foster et al, 2006) The coercion of cooperation is more accurately described as a neutral symbiosis or parasitism if the acting individual is the only beneficiary. (Foster et al, 2006)

The multiple forces of causality in phenotypic expression introduce factors that may affect fitness but are not correlated with the genetic trait. (Queller, 1992) The application of Hamilton’s rule is most general when fitness is attributed to genes rather than phenotypes. (Queller, 1992) Consideration of the inclusive fitness of a gene allows the model to partition other effects on fitness. (Queller, 1992) This enables quantification of multiple factors contributing to the fitness of the individual phenotype including and in addition to the inclusive fitness of altruistic genes. (Queller, 1992)

Kin selection is the theory, based on Hamilton’s ideas, that refers to the subcategory of natural selection in which genetic allele frequencies change due to the differential reproductive rate of relatives within a population. (Eberhard, 1975) The central premise of kin selection is that the degree that an altruistic behavior increases the fitness of an individual is correlated to the proportion of genes identical by descent shared between relatives. (Eberhard, 1975) The definition of inclusive fitness as the application of Hamilton’s rule to altruistic genes results in the description of a special case of general selection models. (Queller, 1992) In this method, altruism is accounted for as the increased gene reproduction probability in relatives. (Queller, 1992) Increasing the reproductive success of genes identical by descent increases the frequency of the individual’s own alleles. (Eberhard, 1975)

Literature Cited

Clutton-Brock, T. (2002) Breeding Together: Kin Selection and Mutualism in Cooperative Vertebrates. Science, 296(72), 69-72.

Eberhard, M. (1975) The Evolution of Social Behavior by Kin Selection. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 50(1), 1-33.

Foster, K. Wenseleers, T. & Ratnieks, F. (2006) Kin Selection is the Key to Altruism. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 21(2), 57-60.

Lehman, L. & Perrin, N. (2002) Altruism, Dispersal, and Phenotype-Matching Kin Recognition. The American Naturalist, 159(5), 451-468.

Queller, D. (1992) A General Model for Kin Selection. Evolution, 46(2), 376-380.

West, S. Pen, I. & Griffin, A (2002) Cooperation and Competition Between Relatives. Science, 296(72), 72-75.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Practical Connection of Logic and Reality

The primary theme of the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein is the nature of the relationship between thought and reality. The structure of language is an objective constituent of the thought processes. The analysis of language exposes properties of logic and perception. Wittgenstein initially describes an isomorphic association in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. He states that properties of consciousness are illustrated by the necessary fundamental similarities that enable language to represent reality. Wittgenstein explains that relative functionality is the source of objective significance. The perception of an object is dependent on dynamic interactions. The features of relativity are the common structure that connects subjective ideas to actual substance. Meaningful propositions of logic are constructed from truth function expressions that refer to existentially essential object relationships. The accuracy of a statement is equivalent to conformity with material quantification. However, in the Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein states that the continuous variation of objects negates the possibility of exact ostensive definitions. Logical operations involve the systemic application of simple principles to the variability present within reality. The practical function of language is the economically effective depiction of innumerable items within finite expressive forms. The connotation of a sentence corresponds to the cooperative interrelation of component words. The meaning of a representation is a product of circumstantial context. Wittgenstein’s two theories are not exclusive. Rather, each represents a distinct property of language. Words are artificial representations of phenomena. While practical language must have some objective connection in order to represent reality, all logical associations are subjective definitions. The act of definition is the creation of metaphorical meaning in relation to reality. The vague essence of an established metaphor facilitates the extension of knowledge. The dynamic significance of a word increases the extant of symbolic function.

The distinction between subject and object has been an enduring theme of philosophical investigation. The subject and the object are defined in their relationship to one another. The subject is the observer, and the object is the thing observed. Objectivity is experienced by the subject as the phenomena of sensation. Objectivity includes all things that are empirically quantifiable. Objects are the measurable realm of science. Objective value contains universal significance that applies to all reality. Subjectivity is the interpretation of objective sensation. The function of the subject is the conscious perception of existence. Subjectivity is beyond empirical analysis. However, this abstract intangible nature does not necessarily prevent all understanding of subjective properties.

The initial statement of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is that “The world is all that is the case.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 141) The fundamental character of reality is existence. “The world is the totality of facts, not of things.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 141) “…The totality of facts determines what is the case…” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 142) Presence within the physical realm is the essence of consistence. Objectivity must be divided into distinct constituents for practical purposes. “The world divides into facts.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 142) The splitting of objectivity into separate phenomenal perceptions is a necessary function of representation. “What is the case, a fact, is the existence of states of affairs.”(Wittgenstein, 1921, 142) Subjective division of reality enables the manipulation of localized properties. Peculiar distinguishing characteristics are then attributed to particular components.

“A state of affairs… is a combination of objects... It is essential to things that they should be possible constituents of states of affairs.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 142) Objective material is perceived through reference. The significance of a distinct body is a necessary relationship with other beings. This relationship is the perceived character of reality. A real item must be relative to all other matter. “…There is no object that we can imagine excluded from the possibility of such combinations.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 142) The empirical definition of existence is the possibility of detection. Detection is ultimately dependent on the sensory experience of the subject. This experience is the effect of a process initiated in objectivity. However, the subjective experience does not directly represent the nature of reality. Rather, experience is the perception of the relationship between the subject and the object.

What of hallucination and delusion? Sensations are not always universally accurate. Distorted perception may not correctly represent objectivity. However, the erroneous nature of an impression does not negate the objective origin of sensory information. Illusions are affected by the physical properties of sensation and cognition. The error in these aberrations is the manipulation of cognizance by physiological mechanisms.

The mind is incapable of perfect perception. Complete knowledge cannot include subjective injections. The objective state of combination is an external property. The circumstantial orientation of an object is the means of knowledge achievement. “If I am to know an object, though, I need not know its external properties, I must know all its internal properties.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 142) Perception is the interpretation of sensations. The properties of a sensation are dependent on the characteristics of the interaction between subject and object. The influential projection of information by the subject obscures the experience of reality. Purely objective comprehension must be independent of subjective manipulation of information. The very idea of absolute consciousness necessarily negates the subject. Sensation alone does not yield meaning. Significance is inferred through the consciousness of relative connections.

Genuine information is only a property of objective beings. “Objects contain the possibility of all situations. The possibility of occurring in states of affairs is the form of an object.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 142) “Objects are what is unalterable and subsistent; their configuration is what is changing and unstable.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 143) It is not the internal properties of the object itself that are observed. Rather, perception is the apprehension of the external dynamic interactions between objects. “In a state of affairs, objects stand in a determinate relation to one another.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 143)

A person who currently perceives an item is experiencing the sensory information emanating from the external object. The action of sight is the sensation of visible wavelengths of light that are being reflected by the surface of the entity. However, this perception experience has little to do with the object itself. The features of consciousness are derived from the operation of objective processes.

The diffusion of light is a mechanism of object relativity fundamental to visual perception. Light does not originate from the majority of objects. Light is a form of energy. All forms of energy involve the excitation of particles. Energy is released in exothermic reactions that convert potential forms of energy, contained in the structure and relative positions of particles, into mechanical motion. This kinetic form of energy is dissipated, with decrement, throughout the universe.

Should light strike a mass before it fades into uniformity, the mass will either absorb or reflect the light. This action is the function of the relationship between the structure of the mass and the frequency of the radiation. It is in this relationship that the object alters the information. This alteration is the differential characteristic property that enables the visual perception. All absorbed wavelengths of light will transfer kinetic energy between particles that are distinct from the item to those that are included in constitution. Reflected frequencies have been reduced to a specific nature by the properties of the object. The attributes of this interaction are the most definitive objective external features that constitute the visual function of the object.

The specific reflected wavelengths of light will transfer the remaining energy to another body that is excitable by the prevailing frequency. Photoreceptors are neural cells that are excited by specific wavelengths of light. A specific frequency of energy will induce chemical structure inter-conversion within certain neuron sensory cells. The process of signal transduction converts the information present in the energy of particle motion into a form contained in voltage across a membrane. This electrical potential is then propagated to the central nervous system. The frequency of electrical signals is proportional to the magnitude of stimulatory energy. The central nervous system interprets this information as color perception. This interpretation of electrical signals is the relationship between the subject and objective sensation.

This perceptual process demonstrates complexity of the relationship between subject and object. Visual perception of the object is a function of many processes. Perfect knowledge of the object requires information about all of these processes, including many more than those that are described here. However, all of these processes are in theory scientifically describable except for one.

“In a manner of speaking, objects are colorless.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 143) Color perception is a necessarily subjective action. Everyone may agree on what frequencies of light a color represents. The objects that induce the sensation of a specific color may be recognized. However, it is not possible to describe the properties of a color in itself. The nature of subjective perception is beyond empirical criteria. To say that the color green represents wavelengths of light around five-hundred nanometers is a definitive statement. Such a statement only indicates what level of energy will induce a green experience. This definition says nothing about the characteristics of green perception. To say that the color green represents specific neural activity of photoreceptors is also a definitive statement. This sentence only defines green as the result of certain objective actions. However, the resulting subjective consciousness of green is something else entirely.

The object contains no meaning. The significance of an object is a relationship within reality. This relativity is the defining essence of objectivity. An item is perceived only in activity. The activity can be described. Knowledge is comprehension of the affiliation between objects. It is not possible to be conscious of a body independent of relation. Perception is an activity of interaction between the subject and the object. “For it is by means of propositions that material properties are represented, only by the configuration of objects that they are produced.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 143) Strict empirical criteria deny the reality of the independent object. “The configuration of objects produces states of affairs.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 143) An object with no relationship within reality does not exist. Object independence includes all items that are not possibly perceived. Objective independence is not equivalent to a present human limitation. Rather, things that do not exist are, by definition, fundamentally beyond all perception.

Subjectivity is the dead end of this relationship. It is possible to quantify all events leading to a perception, but the perception in itself cannot be described. This is the necessary imperfection of subjective consciousness. Quantification of subjectivity is impossible. Introspection is not a scientific discipline. Empirical analysis of psychology can only proceed through objectification of beings. The practice of behaviorism ignores the phenomenon of consciousness and attends exclusively to measurable responses to stimulation. Scientific psychology must approximate subjectivity through the observation of behavior and physiology. Studies of this type do not produce objective knowledge of perceptual properties. The color green can be named. The antecedence of green can defined. The response to green stimulation can be observed. However, none of these actions describes the subjective experience of green.

Incipit language. “Logical pictures can depict the world.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 145) Language is a type of representation. Linguistic function is the practical connection between subjectivity and the objective reality. The logical structure of language is isomorphic with the relativity of objectivity. “What any picture… must have in common with reality, in order to depict it… in any way at all, is logical form, i.e. the form of reality.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 145) This isomorphism enables the portrayal of a myriad of things by a limited number of associations. “A picture is a model of reality… What constitutes a picture is that its elements are related to one another in a determinate way.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 143)

Words, like objects, only contain meaning in relation. Definition is the establishment of this relative association. The significance of a word may be an affiliation with other words. A word may also have a direct artificial reference to objectivity. A single word by itself contains no meaning. “Pictorial form is the possibility that things are related to one another in the same way as the elements of the picture. That is how a picture is attached to reality…” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 143) The utterance of a single word may induce particular thoughts. However, this capacity of the word in itself is a property of previously established relativity. “The pictorial relationship consists of the correlations of the picture’s elements with things.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 145)

For example, without previous definition, a string of letters does not contain meaning. The sequence of characters ‘esitcos’ does not have any significance in itself. However, meaning is established if a relationship is attached to ‘esitcos’. If one understands ‘ esitcos’ as an acronym for ‘empirical significance is the criteria of science’ then the character string gains meaning through connection to this idea.

The truth of a proposition is determined in objectivity. “What a picture represents is its sense. The agreement or disagreement of its sense with reality constitutes its truth of falsity. In order to tell whether a picture is true or false we must compare it with reality.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 145-146) A representation of truth must maintain the relationship between real objects. This contingency allows language to depict numerous complex phenomena with simple structural regulations.

Sentences may be constructed that do not exhibit this requirement of truth. Statements of this type are demonstrably false. Falsification is the function of objective contrast. The statement ‘all cats are black’ can be discredited with the observation of a white cat. This contrast with reality is the method of scientific knowledge accumulation. Inductions are only able to yield a probability of correlation. To verify a statement of induction, all possible applications of the principle must be observed. To ensure that all cats are black, one must view all cats including those of the past and future. This is obviously impossible. After observing one hundred black cats, one could say that one hundred percent of cats observed are black. However, the qualifier, 'one hundred percent of observations', is not equivalent to a universal 'all'. The principle of scientific falsification enables disproval of universal statements. Observation of a single white cat proves that not all cats are black. Universal statements can never be proven. The scientific method only approximates the truth through the elimination of the false.

Truth is not an applicable attribute of a sentence without possible authentication in reality. “There are no pictures that are true a priori.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 146) Valuations are subjective projections of reference. Wittgenstein states that “It is clear that ethics cannot be put into words. Ethics is transcendental.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 147) The sentence ‘altruism is morality’ does not satisfy the necessary objective standard of truth. Morality is an opinion of the subject. There is no absolute real measure of the truth in morality, because morality is a definitive word. The function of a definition is the injection of meaning. Subjective injections of significance do not describe objective phenomena. The truth of the statement ‘altruism is morality’ can only be inferred through definition. The statement can possibly be made true if moral action is defined as ‘that which promotes the greatest quantity of happiness.’ However, the statement can also be made false if moral action is defined as ‘that which promotes development through competition.’ The truth of these two statements is contingent on the distinct definitions that relate the subjective ideal of morality to objective criteria. “A proposition can be true or false only in virtue of being a picture of reality.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 147)

Science is the systematic verification of objective relationships. The scientific method consists in forming a hypothetical proposition and then seeking contrary evidence. The advancement of empirical knowledge requires the relativity of reality. The null hypothesis is always that there is no relationship between two objective phenomena. The alternative hypothesis is that a mechanism of interaction influences an object. Science utilizes the properties of relativity to authenticate the truth of a statement. A statement like ‘all cats are black’ is scientific because it is falsifiable in principle. The sentence ‘altruism is morality’ is not scientific because no observation could prove such a valuation to be false. However, the statement ‘altruism is that which promotes development through competition’ is demonstrably false and therefore scientific. Morality in itself is not a scientific concept because of the variability of possible subjective definitions. 'Development through competition' is a scientific concept because the changes induced by differential nonrandom rates of survival can be quantified in measurement.

Subjective concepts, like morality, gain significance in association. The establishment of the relationship between morality and objectivity is the function of prescriptive definition. Subjectivity can only possess meaning in association with objectivity. Objective relativity is the source of significance. The utility of description is the reduction of an association to simple terms. Significance is intrinsic to objectivity. Descriptive language assigns names to relative associations.

All significant words contain an association. “What a picture must have in common with reality, in order to depict it…, is its pictorial form.” (Wittgenstein, 1921, 145) “…A word has no meaning if nothing corresponds to it.” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 161) This association is necessarily loose. It is the dynamic adaptive nature of words that enables the practical function of language. If definition is strict, the word will lose both meaning and utility.

The word 'tree' may induce a specific representation in the mind of the subject. What is the essence of this image? The meaning of the word 'tree' may include a trunk, branches, and leaves. However, there are other objects with these morphological properties that may not be described as trees. The word 'tree' may also describe something that has nothing to do with the plant kingdom. A genealogical tree can be said to have branches, but only in a metaphorical sense. It is this metaphorical sense that associates the multiple objects and creates the meaning of a word.

The word 'tree' loses all meaning when used strictly to describe only a single tree. That tree may as well be named 'bob'. If 'bob' can only be defined as this specific item as it exists just now at this moment, 'bob' exists for only an infinitesimal temporal interval . Any object is in a state of constant change. The object can only be defined by relationships. It is the interaction of an object that makes it significant. The physical tree organism is in a condition of constant dynamic equilibrium maintenance. Just as the leaves perish and are regenerated with the seasons, so the constituent cells constantly perish and are replaced in metabolic processes. 'Tree' describes the result of these and other processes. 'Bob' serves no purpose but to represent a specific arrangement of molecules that exists for exceedingly transient period of time. The significance of 'bob' is inversely proportional to specificity of the definition. 'Tree' can mean a variety of things, each with great content. 'Tree' has numerous functional associations. 'Bob' means one thing with infinitesimal significance because of only a single association.

Wittgenstein explains in the Philosophical Investigations that the meaning of a word is a function of the context of application. “…The meaning of a word is its use in language.” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 161) Words do not possess a single meaning. Rather, each word is capable of representing specific ideas in multiple circumstances. “…Phenomena have no one thing in common which makes us use the same word for all, but that they are related to one another in many different ways.” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 163)

The dynamic utility of a word is the functional essence of family resemblances. The significance of a word is necessarily vague in practical applications of language. The great variability in objective circumstance prevents the operation of absolute definitions. “…An ostensive definition can be variously interpreted in every case.” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 157) The ambiguous nature of associations is an economical adaptation of logic. “The ostensive definition explains… the meaning of the word when the overall role of the word in language is clear.” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 157) A specific representation of each phenomenon would inhibit the actions of consciousness. The total quantity of words required to represent exact values would exceed the capacity of the subject. Absolute definitions would prevent learning. The accumulation of knowledge is facilitated by associations. “And we can prevent misunderstandings… by means of other words!” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 157)

The application of metaphor extends current understanding to novel objects. Metaphorical definition utilizes existing establishments of meaning in order to facilitate the acquisition of alien concepts. This application of language permits the subject to accumulate information without direct experience. Interpretations of phenomena often refer to previous knowledge. The statement 'a cat is morphologically similar to a dog' enables a subject to approximate numerous characteristic features without personal contact or observation of a cat.

Dynamic limitations of a definition are an advantage of vague meanings. Uncircumscribed significance facilitates both understanding and communication. Knowledge of multiple phenomena can accumulate in association. However, specificity can be invoked when necessary. “We do not know the boundaries because none have been drawn… We can draw a boundary for a special purpose.” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 164)

Knowledge does not consist of an identical duplication of reality within the mind. Large quantities of objective information are lost in the storage of memory. Phenomena are reduced to significant values in perception. The subject does not attend to all attributes during introductory presentation. Only critical features are assessed and collected. The totality of objective sensation is decremented to a depiction of indicative characteristics in subjective perception.

Consciousness is not identical to a collection of all properties of an item. The perception of a tree does not necessarily include a map of each outgrowth. The subject may be aware of branches and roots, but this does not require the knowledge of their position and orientation. Not all traits are equally essential to subjective recognition. Branches and roots are vital to the existence of the tree. The subject would likely notice if either of these features was completely absent. The subject may also notice any special differentiation of structure. However, the subject would very rarely track the diameter of the stems or the angle of their growth. These latter qualities are only significant to one studying specific attributes of the tree. Such aspects are not necessary for a general perceptual awareness. The attended traits are those that are most principle to the subject. The perception of stems, leaves and roots induces the idea of a tree. Angles and diameters are values which are characteristic of numerous objects.

Traits that are most essential to subjective perception are not necessarily equivalent to the most significant properties of objective existence. The continuation of an object is a product of all environmental interactions. Perception is the result of a specific relationship between the subject and the object. The universal antecedence of reality is included in this relationship. However, only a small portion of these properties are evaluated by the subject.

Perception functions by comparison of resemblances. A definition may be assigned if a novel object contains properties in common with other previous experiences. “A definition surely serves to establish the meaning of a sign.” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 165) This appointment is the action of naming. “…Naming something is like attaching a label to a thing.” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 152) An indefinite word is applied to a continuously expanding collection of items. There may not be a definite form of the similarity between objects. “We see a complicated network of similarities… sometimes overall similarities and sometimes similarities of detail.” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 163) An association does not necessitate a specific essential character. “That it is ambiguous is no argument against such a method of definition.” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 157)

The variable meaning of words enables the formation of sentences with a variety of functions. “There are… countless kinds of use of what we call ‘symbols’, ‘words’, ‘sentences.’ And this multiplicity is not something fixed…” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 155) Numerous applications of language are used in communication. “In language we have different kinds of word… But how we group words into kinds will depend on the aim of the classification, and our own inclination.” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 153) “…‘Interpretation’ may also consist in how he makes use of the word…” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 159)

The indefinite nature of definitions is obligatory in the connection between subjective knowledge and objective reality. However, practical functions require some common structure between perception and validity. “…In certain cases… there are characteristic experiences…” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 159) It is this application that unites Wittgenstein’s ideas. Subjective ideals are not identical to empirical sensations. This dissimilarity constrains definitions to an indistinct significance. “…Even if something… did recur in all cases, it would still depend on the circumstances…” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 159) Exact ostensive names cannot extend to multiple phenomena. Vague associations between objects are fundamental to the advancement of subjective knowledge. While essentialism is not the source of definitive significance, relativity is the essential source of all significance. Language must share the composite structure of real phenomena. Interactions of objects are the origin of objective meaning. Interactions of representations are the origin of logical meaning. The perception of an object is the sensation of a dynamic action. The comprehension of a sentence is the communication of a sense.

Imperfect definitions facilitate circumstantial interpretations. The meaning of a word is determined in context. The significance of the representation is a function of the situation. This capacity of adaptive value is the common structure of reality and logic. It is the relative nature of association that conditions order in both objectivity and subjectivity. Neither words, nor objects posses intrinsic content. “It is only in a language that I can mean something by something.” (Wittgenstein, 1953, 160) The function of an entity is interaction with the environment. The activity of an item is an extrinsic relationship. The intrinsic significance is universally common to all objectivity. Meaning is the result of the interacting external properties. Essence is not a property of an object itself. Rather, objective connotation is the product of operations. Without utility, existence is meaningless. Relativity is the structure of sense. All substance is reference.


Wittgenstein, L. (1921) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. In Baird, F. Walter, K. (Eds.), Twentieth Century Philosophy. (p.141-149) Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall Inc.

Wittgenstein, L. (1953) Philosophical Investigations. In Baird, F. Walter, K. (Eds.), Twentieth Century Philosophy. (p.149-165) Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall Inc.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Will and Intellect

Empirical knowledge is the result of sensory experience. Comprehension is gained only through the impression of an external object. It is this extrinsic objectivity that defines the will.

“…Consciousness consists in knowing…” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.101) Perception requires a knowing subject as well as a known object. According to empiricism, the method of subject enlightenment is the process of acquaintance with the advenient world. “In all knowledge, however, the known is first and essential…” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.101) Without the influence of circumstance, the subject is unable to know anything. It is the subject who is dependent upon the object. The will is “…the thing in itself....” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.100) The subject interprets sensory information that is the consequence of the object.

The will “…constitutes the true core…” of man (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.104) It is the uniform source of motivation. The will includes the deterministic processes essential to existence. The will is the natural entity that is represented by various phenomena. It is the essence of reality. “…The will is what is primary and substantial…” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.102) It is the will in circumstance that necessitates the character of the actual.

The will “…retains everywhere its identical nature…” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.103) Manifestations of the will include all fundamental compulsions. “The difference lies merely in what it wills…” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.103) Gravity is the will that an object, containing potential energy in the form of positioning, descend when not physically inhibited. Hunger is the will in an organism that drives it to consume nutrients. Perpetuation is the will in information that is replicated within an ecosystem. These imperatives are not the activity of the objects. Rather, the objects are forms of the will. Without the will of gravity, the object cannot maintain a position. Without hunger, the organism cannot endure. Without perpetuation, information ceases to remain. The objective event is the actuation of the will. The physical appearance, perceived by the subject, is the consequence of the natural process.

“…The will as the thing it itself, the metaphysical in the phenomena… admits of no degrees, but is always completely itself. Only its excitement has degrees.” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.103) There is no quantity attributed to a process. Quantification is a function of representation. Gravity, hunger and perpetuation are constant forces. Incidental differentiation is a subjective interpretation of the intellect. The degree of excitement of the will is a property of the manifestation. Gravity does not cease or wane because the object is not currently falling. While the organism may be temporally satiated, the metabolic processes are continuous. Although information may reside in a dormant state, it is perpetuated in this condition.

The will is the natural source of activity. It is without reason or morals. “Willing always goes on with perfect success…” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.108) “…Morality is in direct opposition to the natural will…” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.108) The only function of the will is existence. It is pure egoism. Morality is a system of control established in order to create limitations. The purpose of the will is to transcend limitation.

Functional morality is an obligation to maintain the current status. The will is a process of change. While an embodiment of the will may be a system of maintenance, this perpetuation is achieved at the expense of free energy. A living cell avoids entropic death through the destruction of order in the environment. A social law is established through the investment of resources provided by those who enforce it. Ultimately, perpetuation can only continue as long as it is the greatest of competing forms of the will. Eventually, the organism will die and the law will be broken. The final manifestation of the will is always the process in which the gross entropy of the universe increases.

A criticism of empirical philosophy is that it leads to an infinite regress of causality. If the will is the process by which an object may exist, then how did the will originate? This is a misapplication of the question. Beginning is without cause. If a cause exists for something, then that thing cannot be the beginning. To have a cause, is the definition of an effect. The will is the beginning. It is the inception of reality. If the will is understood as the source of physical law, then it is absurd to speak of a time when the physical law does not apply. Natural principles have no origin. Indeed, such laws are natural because they exist independently of invention. The existence of natural law is a means by which the will may express its form.

The will is “original and therefore metaphysical.” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.107) The intellect is “…subordinate and physical.” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.107) The intellect gains knowledge of this essence by the manifestations that induce sensation. These observable phenomena are the activity of the will. The expression of the will includes deterministic physical laws that are not naturally displayed in formula but are rather observed through their interactions and representations within physical bodies. The formulation of these laws is an activity of the intellect.

The intellect is “…a mere tool for the service of…” the will. (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.102) It consists in the subjective function of knowing. The will is the substance of matter. The intellect is the form of this matter. The will cannot be directly observed. It is detected through the effect of a variety of actions. The operation of the will is the source of reality. The detection and interpretation of the will is the necessary exercise of the subject. It is through this system that the subject originates and continues. Without this process, the subjective intellect collapses into objectivity.

Consciousness is the highest purpose of the subject. The function of the intellect is the capacity to know of the will. “The intellect… has not merely degrees of excitement… but also degrees of its nature…” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.103) “For in man not only does the faculty of ideas of perception… reach the highest degree of perfection, but the abstract idea, thought, i.e., reason, and with it reflection is added.” (Schopenhauer, 1818, p.102) Perception of an object only allows the subject to comprehend sensory impressions. Through reason, the intellect is able to know the action from which that perception originates. One who merely perceives an object only has the subjective knowledge of experience. The highest purpose of the intellect is to understand the mechanisms that necessitate that object. Abstract thought and reason allow the intellect to transcend pure perception and apprehend the true nature of the will.

From the outside looking in, the will defines the nature of reality. By means of the physical laws, the will has manifest itself in life. The ultimate purpose of this physical embodiment is sentience. In this way, the will has become conscious of itself through the intellect. It is now able to understand and interpret the existence of both the means and the end of its purpose.

From the inside looking out, the intellect experiences the universe through perception. The cause of sensation cannot be within the subject, because the subject is defined through these impressions. The external object must be the origin of these forms. The presence of physical bodies is the interpretation of the object by the intellect. This comprehension is the means by which the will is expressed though objectivity. The intellect is the mechanism through which the will has become conscious.


Schopenhauer, A. (1818) On the Primacy of the Will in Self-consciousness. In Baird, F. Walter, K. (Eds.), Nineteenth-Century Philosophy. (p. 100-124) Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall Inc.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Free Download:


Recorded in the winter of 2010.
Reduction is a phenomenal application of the scientific method.
01 Sterics
02 Substrate Manifest
03 Empiricist Criterion
04 Wave Function
05 Entropy from Information
Featuring E. Newman
Recorded during various sessions spanning from 2007 through 2010.
Virus is an existential expression of the system.
06 Truth and Utility
07 Mechanism of Gaia
08 Tautomeric Shift
09 Commence Caliginous Confinement
10 Eternity Opens as in Ancient Time