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Appendix E - Extra

Octan Philosophy – Commentary and References

Clarifying non-fictional commentary and references concerning
octan philosophy and religion

 
          Ideobasism, the dominant octan philosophy, can be considered a form of idealism [1], as it ascribes ultimate reality to conscious entities. The fictional octan philosopher Fleegello developed ideobasism using an introspective approach, analogous to that of the rationalist human philosopher René Descartes [2] in fifteenth century France. Fleegello observed that his experience consisted of diverse content in transient states of being or awareness within his conscious field. The changing content seemed to involve interactions with an external world that included both inanimate objects and animate bodies. He appeared to not have direct knowledge of ostensibly external things, but to learn about them only through the intermediary of sense perceptions.
          Like Descartes, Fleegello did not reject the reality of an outer world (as do some idealists), but thought it more plausible (or straightforward) that an objective external reality exists. While he may have relied on sense perceptions more than Descartes, Fleegello also employed reason to make sense of personal experience. In particular, he recognized that knowledge of any outside realm might be limited (even shaped, or distorted) by his indirect access to it, and thus could not be certain. This view is akin to that of the eighteenth century transcendental idealist Immanuel Kant [3], who distinguished between the appearance of things (phenomena) and the things themselves (noumena), and sought to resolve disputes between rationalists and empiricists.
          Descartes employed methodological doubt and reason in an attempt to identify knowledge he could be absolutely certain of, starting with the self-evident assertion "I think, I exist," and proceeding to the existence of "God," the reality of external material objects, and the duality of mind versus matter. Confronting similar doubts, Fleegello instead concluded that absolute certainty was not attainable in any quest for truth; that he could be completely certain of nothing – not even the truth of this very conclusion. In addition to Kantian-style doubt, he could not be sure that a malicious agent did not manipulate his thoughts and undermine his reasoning, even regarding tautologies, deductive truths, or Descartes' most "clear and distinct perceptions." Yet Fleegello was not flustered by this conclusion. Rather than becoming paralyzed with skepticism, he proceeded to identify apparent (tentative) truths, based on his personal experience and ostensibly consistent reasoning.
          Judgment of rightness and truth was a critical issue for Fleegello. He argued that any such assessment must be dependent upon a set of presumptions regarding right and wrong - a rightness logic; there is otherwise no basis for decision. Fleegello extended this view even to judgments regarding so-called logical or necessary truths [4], for example the statement "1+1=2." To Fleegello, any evaluation that such statements are necessarily true (based on definitions of terms, etc.) presumes prior acceptance of a consistent logic. An individual who instead believes that it is right to be inconsistent might easily judge such truths to be false. To follow a consistent logic is a moral choice. Certainly, there are humans who are willing to be inconsistent when it serves their purposes. While most traditional philosophical systems inherently assume that logical arguments should be consistent, Fleegello thought it critical to note that this orientation is a choice, not a given.
          Fleegello argued that a sapient being must accept some philosophical/religious perspective, and follow some (set of) rightness logic(s). Even a nominal rejection of all perspectives is itself a contradictory embrace of a negative position. Available rightness logics can be categorized by degree of generality. For example, "It is wrong to steal" is an important rightness principle for many people. Yet this rule applies to only a limited set of activities; other guidelines must be called upon, when it is not applicable. Fleegello felt that many shortcomings of traditional octan philosophical schools derived from their embrace of (multiple, often inconsistent) restricted rightness logics, which can lead to contradictions when applied to the broad world. This prompted him to seek out general rightness logics that apply to all meaningful things, in particular the so-called consistency logic, which underlies traditional philosophical, mathematical, scientific and ethical reasoning. In its most austere form, this logic assumes the tautological form "X = X," where X is arbitrary. The antithesis of consistency logic is the contradictory assertion "X ≠ X," or "it is right to be inconsistent."
          Physicalist (or materialist) philosophers, such as Democritus in ancient Greece, Thomas Hobbes in seventeenth century England, and Daniel Dennett in twentieth century America, have maintained that reality is comprised only of inanimate matter, and that all consciousness derives from inanimate processes. [5]  In its extreme (eliminative) form, physicalism may even assert that the concept of awareness or consciousness is derivative and unnecessary. Fleegello argued that awareness is a meaningful and independent construct, distinct from the content of experience or any underlying physical processes. An analogous philosophical zombie [6] argument has been commonly used to support this idea. Edward Feser has written a broad introduction to the philosophy of mind debate [7], including a useful glossary of many relevant terms.
          Descartes dealt with the mind-body issue by adopting a dualistic perspective [2], in which reality is composed of two distinct substances: inanimate matter, plus animate mind. Fleegello instead argued that content can be meaningful only when it is linked to awareness, or immediate existence, either by one's own self or some other (external) self. He further reasoned that awareness and existence are meaningful only when linked to immediate (versus merely potential) content.
          This argument centered on causality. Fleegello asserted that the lack of an agent that drives a state in any direction is indistinguishable from, and therefore equivalent to, the presence of an agent that drives the state in no direction. It would then be a contradiction if a pattern that is acted upon by nothing – by a null force driving it in no direction, including its own perpetuation or persistence – does move in some direction, and endure (whether in a temporal or a non-temporal sense). Reality must then be completely deterministic.
          Consider now a content that has only potential existence at some given time. The content is nowhere to be found at that instant; although it is supposed to be "potentially" available, it is in fact not found. It is distinguishable from nothing only if it can evolve into or produce a sensation in some individual at a future moment. Yet there is no way the content can propagate into the future. It is perceived by nothing, not even itself. There can then be no causal agent to carry it through time. Such an agent must first locate and be in the presence of the content before it can act upon it. But the content would then (by definition) have immediate existence with respect to the agent.
          Ideobasim is monistic in that all meaningful things are ultimately composed of ideos - the inseparable union of content and awareness (immediate existence), in contrast to the inanimate atomic/quantum monad of physicalism. This ideo substance is organized into unified ideo fields. Fleegello observed that his own ideo field was restricted in scope, and seemed to be anchored to a particular animal body. He also perceived other animal bodies, which appeared to be associated with unique conscious fields that experienced the world in a similar way. Both he and the other animal beings seemed to be largely dependent on the inanimate world for their continuing existence. He labeled this type of dependent field an exogenous ideo field.
          If all things are composed of ideos, then the inanimate physical universe, including the corporeal aspects of animal bodies, must be comprised of one or more additional ideo fields. Fleegello observed that the external physical world appears to operate in a consistent, autonomous manner, following the same dynamic patterns at all points in space and time, as if it were of a single coherent mind. There is no indication that inanimate reality is dependent on any substratum for its own existence. Fleegello hypothesized that it comprises a single, self-caused ideo field that embraces consistency logic – the Consistency Ideo Field, or CIF. He labeled this type of independent field an endogenous ideo field.
          In place of Descartes' mind/matter dualism, the ideos and ideo fields of ideobasism thus come in two distinct flavors – endogenous and exogenous. Whereas endogenous ideos are associated with independent, self-directed ideo fields such as the CIF, exogenous ideos (including those associated with human awareness) are generated by and temporally dependent on (physical) patterns in an underlying endogenous field (e.g., the CIF). Fleegello felt that the physical patterns in an animal brain/body must encode novel content (information) in an unambiguous manner. Because content without immediate awareness is meaningless, this content emergently acquires its own awareness.
          Ideobasism thus offers a bridge between traditional monistic and dualistic perspectives, and a resolution to the problem of interactions between mind and body that plague dualistic approaches. Ideobasism is even compatible with some aspects of physicalism, in that animal consciousness is conceived to arise primarily from material processes in a quasi-epiphenomenological manner [8]. Yet this consciousness is not denigrated as a mere, insignificant byproduct, and consciousness can also persist endogenously, without a physical body.
          Ideos bear some resemblance to the monad substance of Baruch Spinoza [9], a seventeenth century Dutch philosopher. This substance has dual attributes of mind (thought) and body (matter, or extension). Spinoza viewed God as impersonal, identical to this infinite, self-caused, and eternal substance, and possessing an infinite number of additional attributes. Thus, while God is immanent in Nature (a mode under the thought and extension attributes), God also transcends Nature. Yet the monism embraced by Spinoza is substantival (or absolute), while the monism of ideobasism (and most forms of idealism) is attributive (or category). [10]  Whereas Spinoza viewed human consciousness as finite modes of one common substance, animal consciousness in ideobasism arises from the CIF, yet is separate from it. Like Spinoza's God, the CIF potentially includes consistent truths and personal aspects that transcend Nature.
          Bishop George Berkeley [11], an Anglo-Irish subjective idealist, developed yet another monistic viewpoint in the eighteenth century. Berkeley argued that inanimate objects cannot act as causal agents; spirits (souls) are needed to cause perception, and are thus the only substances that actually exist. He considered irrational the idea promoted by John Locke [12] and other contemporary empiricists that matter exists autonomously outside the mind, and asserted that human perceptions of physical processes must be produced and causally directed by an infinite Being, namely God. While Berkeley's analysis is wrapped in the language of his Anglican faith, there is some structural overlap with Fleegello's reasoning and conclusions. For example, Berkeley's God is Fleegello's Consistency Ideo Field (CIF). The two perspectives nonetheless do diverge. Whereas Berkeley had faith in his God, Fleegello did not put his faith in the CIF per se, but rather in the consistent rightness principle that the CIF is supposed to embody. Berkeley also does not elucidate why or how "life forces" are the only causal agents.
          Fleegello identified self-supporting rightness logics as the agents that cause endogenous ideo fields to persist. To this end, he considered a hypothetical, free-floating ideo whose content is consistency logic. Since this ideo is the affirmation of a rightness logic, it is its own natural standard for logical judgment. Consistency logic is self-supporting – the logic is judged right, relative to itself. Since content without being is meaningless, a thing is true only if it is right to believe that it exists. If the ideo were to deny that its own content exists, then it would also deny that its content represents truth – a contradiction. Consistency logic must then grant itself both continuing and a priori existence. The ideo provides its own reason for being, is self-sufficient, and self-caused.
          By similar logic, the ideo naturally generates all compatible content within its field. This overall ideo field comprises the CIF. In addition to extra-physical content, the CIF must incorporate all possible consistent mathematical objects and relationships, or it would implicitly deny their consistent status. Such content may be identified with the physical (pan)universe. This view of physical reality is a cousin to Pythagoreanism and Platonism, in that it supposes the independent existence of mathematical entities. Yet unlike Platonism, these entities do not exist in a mysterious hidden realm, but are manifest through nature. The ideobasic view is also similar to the mathematical universe hypothesis [13] recently proposed by the cosmologist Max Tegmart, in which the physical universe consists of a set of (consistent) mathematical structures.
          Fleegello thus proposed an argument for the a priori existence of the CIF, based on an analysis of a consistent judgment of truth, in place of Berkeley's causal proof for the existence of God. Fleegello's proof is also distinct from common ontological arguments [14] for God's existence, such as that proposed by Saint Anselm in 1078. It can be extended to require the a priori existence of endogenous fields associated with any self-supporting rightness logic.
          In contrast, an exogenous ideo field is ostensibly created, unified and perpetuated by the dynamic physical patterns of a foundational endogenous field (in particular, the CIF). To Fleegello, exogenous emotions are the conscious manifestation of the physical mental coding that makes different states or behaviors more or less desirable in a given situation. As the conscious expression of a creature's feelings and attitudes, emotions reflect underlying rightness logic(s). Conscious will and desire are similarly mirrors of associated rightness patterns. Fleegello felt that exogenous rightness logics are not limited to rational assertions of goodness (e.g., "it is right to be consistent"), but include non-rational desires and the most basic, primitive instincts (e.g., "it is right to seek sex"). This position resembles that of ethical emotivism [15], which holds that the statements "this is good" or "this is right" are equivalent to (or follow from) "I desire this." But emotivists typically view all such statements as equally valid, and mere expressions of emotional attitudes, devoid of any truth value. Instead, Fleegello argued that in attempting to reason in a consistent manner, a person implicitly embraces the consistency general rightness logic, and to assert that statements upholding other rightness patterns (whether general or restricted) are equally valid (as opposed to merely possible) is a contradiction. Thus, statements of a person's desires and attitudes toward rightness may still be good or bad, right or wrong, from the perspective of consistency logic.
          Unlike an endogenous field, an exogenous creature may simultaneously incorporate multiple contradictory rightness patterns. A person may strive to follow a lofty moral code, even while assaulted by the most primal, oppositional instincts. Instinctive drives may even fluctuate in intensity, outside conscious control, depending on a person's physical state. Fleegello felt that this leads to confusion about emotion, and its association primarily with non-rational impulses. Yet how can a person claim to embrace even a rational logic, without feeling an emotional conviction to it? Lack of emotion implies an absence of motivation; an emotionless pursuit of logic is an oxymoron.
          The mental coding of an exogenous creature must not only define an internal model of the external world; it must also define the emotional significance of the various entities in that model. What is to be avoided, or feared? What is to be cherished, or sought out? Without emotional context, the individual model components have no consequence, and so no meaning. Indeed, how then could an exogenous creature have consciousness at all? Just as a rightness logic is required for an endogenous being to persist, so rightness patterns are needed for exogenous content and consciousness to meaningfully exist.
          When an exogenous creature dies, Fleegello reasoned that the former content should beget a corresponding endogenous being, no longer controlled by and confined to a material body and time line. Because an endogenous ideo field is unified and perpetuated only by its inherent will, this liberated being may split into multiple selves, if its will is divided. It may merge with another field, if the mutual wills are compatible. It may even be stillborn, if it lacks sufficient will to continue.
          The ideobasic view of the world is panentheistic [16], in that it interprets our physical universe as an immanent manifestation of the mind of a panuniversal Being, which in turn timelessly transcends the physical realm. This Being does not "intervene" in the world, in that it is the world (and more). What we see as physical laws are descriptions of the physical patterns embraced by the universal mind. Any supposed deviation from these laws represents a pattern we do not yet understand. Indeed, the laws of physics (as currently formulated) are not ultimately explanations of anything, but rather descriptions (albeit quite accurate ones). Physics will remain a description, until it can elucidate why physical patterns are what they are, and not something else.
          Spinoza's view of God is similarly panentheistic, in that the associated substance has an infinite number of attributes in addition to mind and matter. Various non-western philosophies also embrace panentheistic conceptions of the Divine. Consider Hinduism, for example. The six orthodox Hindu philosophic schools encompass pantheistic, panentheistic, monotheistic, and even atheistic beliefs. [17]  The Vedanta school (the name originally referred to the Upanishads, the “last part” of the Vedas scriptures) is dominant in modern times. All strands of Vedanta include a belief in the existence of Brahman, the Supreme Godhead. The subschools of Vedanta differ primarily in how they view the ultimate nature of Brahman, and the relationship between Brahman and the individual. Advaita Vedanta (established by Adi Shankara, circa 788–820 CE) maintains an absolute monistic viewpoint, in which everything in the universe except Brahman is considered an illusion. Even the individual self is unreal. Brahman exists as a constant, impersonal emptiness, with no attributes or form. Vishishtadvaita Vedanta (founded by Ramanuja, circa 1017–1137 CE) espouses a distinct attributive monistic (or qualified non-dualistic) concept of Brahman that is more similar to the CIF. In this view, Brahman has essential qualities or attributes, including (non-human) intelligence and knowledge. While the universe is perceived through a cloud of illusion, it does exist. An individual's sense of self is not an illusion, but a reflection of Brahman's eternal truth. The universe nonetheless cannot be divided into separate pieces. The Divine and the Physical exist in harmony as a non-dualistic whole. In both Vishishtadvaita and Advaita, consciousness is the essence of phenomenal reality. Dvaita Vedanta (developed by Madhvacharya, circa 1238–1317 CE) holds a dualistic (arguably monotheistic) position, in which the supreme reality of Vishnu (equivalent to Brahman) is distanced from the real but separate physical universe, which includes matter and individual souls, and is itself Vishnu's creation. God is now personal, and grants salvation (liberation and freedom) to the worthy. [18]
          Idealism lost favor in academic circles of the United States and Great Britain in the early twentieth century, after various philosophers educated in the British idealist tradition – most notably, Bertrand Russell and G. E. Moore – turned against idealism (and later traditional philosophy in general), and developed analytic philosophy. [19]  Propositions were re-expressed in the language of symbolic logic, developed previously by the German mathematician/logician Gottlob Frege, with the goal of avoiding the ambiguities of natural language. The analytic school also turned from constructing grand philosophical systems, to focusing on rigorous analysis of narrowly defined issues. In the fictional account of octan history found in Eternal Passage, analytic philosophers translated Fleegello's ideobasic arguments into a purely formal language following his death. While assorted logical ambiguities and errors were thereby resolved, Fleegello's broad conclusions remained intact. Whether ideobasism would actually survive such logical scrutiny is an open question.
          Russell, an agnostic (or atheist) throughout his adult life, subscribed to epistemic structural realism [20] (a type of indirect realism) – the view that science can illuminate the causal relations of real things, but cannot reveal what those things are, in themselves. While perception and science accurately describe various aspects of experience, neither can provide an understanding of the underlying world as it actually is. Only introspection can provide direct knowledge, but of nothing more than a person's own mental state. By 1919, Russell espoused an attributive version of neutral monism [21] – a monistic view that the ultimate constituents of reality are sense data, which are neither physical nor mental, but which can be organized or interpreted as physical or mental in different situations. These objects are considered neutral, insofar as mental and physical substrata are not presupposed. They can be understood through scientific study of causal relations. Sense data are called qualia – the non-functional and non-intentional qualities of subjective experience – when they are before the mind. This viewpoint rejects both the material substance of physicalism, and the mental substance of idealism. It is mind, not brain, that is known directly; physicalist attempts to reduce mind to brain are erroneous. Yet neutral monism also has an element of pan-psychism, in that there is a mental aspect to all meaningful things. There is thus some overlap between Russell's neutral monism and the attributive monism of ideobasism. Spinoza's metaphysics may itself be regarded to be a substantival form of neutral monism.
          Analytic philosophy led to logical positivism [22] in the 1920s. In this philosophic system, every significant assertion is either analytic (a statement of formal logic) or synthetic (a verifiable statement of science). All other assertions are dismissed as nonsensical. Most of traditional theology and metaphysics (including ideobasism) is thereby denigrated as nonsense. Yet logical positivism is self-refuting, as its own tenets cannot be verified empirically. Its applicability is now widely seen as limited to the acquisition of scientific knowledge.
          Idealism experienced a resurgence later in the twentieth century, with the development by physicists of relativity theory [23] and quantum mechanics [24]. These revolutionary paradigms challenged fundamental classical notions about the physical world, and recast the role of an observer. The theory of special relativity, introduced by Albert Einstein in 1905, is based on two postulates: 1) the laws of physics are the same in all inertial (unaccelerated) frames of reference; and 2) the (measured) speed of light in a vacuum is also the same in all inertial frames, regardless of the motion of the light source. Einstein showed that events that are simultaneous to one observer may then be nonsimultaneous to another observer in a state of relative motion (although causal relations remain the same). Newtonian absolute space and time (and the Kantian a priori notions of separate space and time) do not exist, but must be replaced by a unified space-time.
          The new quantum theory suggested that the mind of an observer is intimately connected to an object being examined. A physical system is now represented by a mathematical wavefunction, which provides only a probability that an (independent) observer will detect a particular value of some system parameter at any given time. In the standard Copenhagen interpretation [25], reality is viewed as a single unfolding history, and the very act of observing a system causes its wavefunction to immediately and randomly collapse to a state representative of a single value of an observed variable. The wavefunction thus embodies an observer's knowledge about the world, rather than a description of an objective external reality. An observer occupies a special place, outside the quantum mechanical equations, and the world is deterministic in only a probabilistic sense. As Sir James Jeans wrote in 1930, "The stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine." [26]
          Though many other interpretations of quantum theory have been advanced, the Copenhagen version prevailed until 1957, when Hugh Everett III offered a viable alternative, now known as the many-worlds [27] approach, that is compatible with strict determinism. In this picture, an observer and any measuring device are included in the wavefunction description of a physical system, and reality resides in the wavefunction itself. During a measurement, the physical system (and associated universe) branches into multiple, parallel worlds, with distinct values of the measured parameter. An observer likewise splits into multiple selves, each with a distinct future experience. There is no mysterious collapse of the wavefunction. The subjective appearance of collapse is explained by quantum decoherence, which results from interactions between a system and its environment. An observer does not see physical evolution as completely deterministic, only insofar as his mind does not encompass all branching worlds. Because ideobasism requires absolute determinism, it is compatible with the many-worlds view of quantum mechanics, but not the Copenhagen interpretation.
          The absence of a single, absolute, universal time, as well as the possibility of parallel worlds, has important implications for the CIF. The only way the CIF can incorporate multiple temporal perspectives into a unified ideo field is by experiencing time the way humans experience space – the block time [28] perspective. Does this render the passage of time merely an illusion? In some respects it does, but in other important respects it does not. The underlying CIF reality must transcend physical time. Past, present and future of all consistent physical universes must span a single, constant, eternal moment in the mind of the CIF. Yet time-like dimensions certainly exist within this reality, defining sequences of causally related events. In contrast, events separated along a space-like dimension at a given moment cannot be causally connected. Time-like and space-like intervals are treated differently when computing overall space-time separations, a distinction critical to defining the causal relationships among events. Time-like dimensions link the vast number of (spatial) physical configurations that a given observer identifies with distinct universal states.
          An animal's immediate experience appears to be limited to content generated by the physical brain associated with a single universal state. There are many more direct links between this state and other universal states that involve an increase in thermodynamic entropy, as opposed to a decrease in that quantity. If a person's experience consists of a random walk along a succession of connected states, the most likely path will be toward states of progressively higher entropy, thus defining an arrow of time [29] – a term introduced in 1928 by Sir Arthur Eddington. Although a person may occasionally move backwards one or more steps, this will be a rare event. Even if an individual continually splits into multiple selves, as in the many-worlds scenario, the individual paths will overwhelmingly conform to this arrow.
          Yet without a memory of past events, a sense of the flow of time would not be possible. Experience would comprise a perpetual now, with no conscious impression of time's passage. The brains of many animals are in fact so constructed that they hold memories of a succession of links to "past" universal states, but not to "future" states. Although the equations of physics are symmetric with respect to time, this asymmetry by itself should produce a primary experience of an arrow of time. One might expect that natural selection would favor creatures in which the memory arrow conforms to the thermodynamic arrow. Otherwise, an individual's memories would get out of sync with changes in the surrounding world. As long as the creation of a memory involves an irreversible thermodynamic process (increasing the overall entropy of the universe), the memory arrow should conform to the thermodynamic arrow. Even if a person were to (occasionally) step backward in time, any memory of the later times would be lost. Encountered memories would still be consistent with the (earlier) external world, and imply moving through time in a conventional manner.
          The strict determinism of ideobasism does not preclude certain types of free will. Indeterminism implies an element of randomness, not intentional choice. That a thing can be understood so well that its own future is evident does not imply that the thing is not responsible for its own actions. Fate and determinism are compatible with free will to the extent they are directed by that will. Because endogenous ideo fields are fully responsible for internally generating and accepting from external agents the forces that determine their own experience, they may be said to have absolute free will. In contrast, human and other exogenous beings must defer in all matters to their foundation worlds, so cannot have unqualified free will. Yet many ectobeings are so integrated with their underlying worlds that personal experience matches their will to a significant extent. Fleegello defined effective free will as an extrinsic ability of an ectobeing to live as if it had true free will. Accepting this as a legitimate type of free will is a form of compatibilism [30].
          Fleegello attempted to derive a consistent ethical philosophy, by applying consistency logic to an evaluation of personal behavior and interpersonal relationships. [31]  For this purpose, the logic may be succinctly expressed: a person should strive to behave in a manner consistent with reality. Ideobasic ethics is universalistic (as opposed to relativistic or nihilistic) [32], in that it applies universally, across species and cultures. It is not based on a divine command theory [33], insofar as ethical principles are not true simply because the CIF supports them; rather, the CIF presumably upholds ethical principles because they are consistent. Ideobasic ethics is objectivistic in that unambiguous moral statements – e.g., "Stealing that money from Aunt Sally was wrong" – are considered true or false, independent of any person, when viewed through the lens of consistency logic. As mentioned earlier, although Fleegello felt that the judgement "this is good" is equivalent to "I desire this," he further argued that there is only one consistent good, independent of individual desires. Thus ideobasic ethics, which explicitly espouses consistent good, is not subjectivistic. [34]
          Yet determining the truth of a moral judgment is generally much more problematic than establishing the validity of a scientific theory about the physical world, since applicability of the scientific method is limited. A consistent morality even has relativistic elements – a given behavior may be right or wrong depending on the situational context, which partly defines reality. Intentional acts are generally based on incomplete knowledge and understanding, and a person's ability to affect the world is bounded. When judging behavior, it then becomes important to distinguish between a person's inherent virtue and (effective) moral responsibility, and the goodness of a person's actions and any associated consequences.
          Since the endogenous physical patterns of the CIF are presumably always consistent, the moral character and responsibility of an exogenous creature are meaningfully defined only by the associated exogenous mental intent, or motivation. Virtue is hence determined solely by the extent to which a person honestly strives to embrace consistency logic. Whether actions have consequences that are consistent (and hence, good) or inconsistent (bad) with ideobasic ethics is irrelevant. A person cannot be morally responsible for a bad consequence that inadvertently follows an act based on a serious pursuit of consistency logic, or for an unintentional good consequence that follows an act motivated by inconsistency. Insofar as such outcomes result from a legitimate lack of knowledge, they are accidental, and outside a person's (effective) control.
          Natural physical law served Fleegello as a guide in developing a consistent ethical philosophy. Just as the same physical law apparently applies to all points (events) in space-time, so a common ethical law may equally apply to all sapient beings (including one's own self). This ethical law should be a function of the analogue of physical conditions – those characteristics that meaningfully define conscious fields and their situational contexts. These include personal beliefs, desires and aspirations, skills and capabilities, but not nominal titles – an analogue to physical coordinate systems – or any other extrinsic or prejudicial label of individual identity.
          Fleegello thus derived tentative concrete guidelines for behavior. In particular, his ethics espouses an equivalent of the so-called Golden Rule [35] of many world religions. It also supports the idea of individual rights: every (capable) person has a right to direct his or her own life, to interact with others in mutually acceptable ways, but generally does not have the right to violate the same freedoms in others. It is thus wrong to forcibly attempt to convert others even to ideobasism. This viewpoint, and the epistemological doubt inherent to ideobasism, both support philosophical/religious tolerance, except when a person attempts to forcibly impose his own will on others. Acceptable methods of upholding individual freedom are limited. Force may be explicitly directed against offending actions, but not offenders per se, except when necessary to stop a more serious violation.
          Ideobasic ethics can be extended to political philosophy. Certain forms of government are compatible with ideobasic ethics, in particular constitutional democracy that guarantees consistent personal rights. These rights are analogous to those promoted by John Locke [36] and John Stuart Mill [37] in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, respectively, only now they are derived from ideobasic ethical principles. The main purpose of an ideobasic government would be to uniformly support and protect consistent individual rights, while promoting activities that sustain and expand consistent consciousness. Support and participation in state functions should be wholly voluntary, though individuals who refuse support may be denied citizenship and appropriate privileges. Ideobasic government is much closer to Aristotle's ideal Polis, in which the individual is more important than the state, than Plato's authoritarian Republic, ruled by an aristocratic elite of philosopher kings. [38]  Hypothetical octan versions of ideobasic government are depicted in the novel.
 
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16. The Blackwell Dictionary, s.v. "panentheism."
17. Jeaneane Fowler, Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2002).
18. Christopher Etter, "The Qualitative Non-Dualism of Vishishtadvaita Vedanta," in A Study of Qualitative Non-Pluralism (Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006), 57-66.
19. Stephen P. Schwartz, A Brief History of Analytic Philosophy: From Russell to Rawls (Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 1-45.
20. William Demopoulos and Michael Friedman, "The Concept of Structure in The Analysis of Matter," in Bertrand Russell: Language, Knowledge and the World, Vol. 3 of Bertrand Russell: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers, ed. A. D. Irvine (London: Routledge, 1999), 277-294.
21. Bertrand Russell, The Analysis of Mind (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1921).
22. Schwartz, A Brief History of Analytic Philosophy, 46-75.
23. Martin Gardner, Relativity Simply Explained (New York: Dover, 1997). A good introduction to relativity theory, though the last few chapters are outdated.
24. Daniel Kleppner and Roman Jackiw, “100 Years of Quantum Physics,” Science 289 (2000): 893-898.
25. Max Tegmark and John A. Wheeler, “100 Years of Quantum Mysteries,” Scientific American, February, 2001, 72-75.
26. Sir James Jeans, The Mysterious Universe (New York: MacMillan, 1937), 137.
27. Tegmark and Wheeler, "100 Years of Quantum Mysteries," 75-79.
28. Paul Davies, "That Mysterious Flow," Scientific American, February, 2006, 6 - 11.
29. Arthur Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1928), 68-75.
30. Robert Kane, A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2005).
31. Stephen Darwall, Philosophical Ethics: An Historical and Contemporary Introduction (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1997). A good introduction to metaethics and to normative ethics, from both a contemporary and a historical perspective.
32. The Blackwell Dictionary, s.v. "ethical relativism" and "nihilism."
33. The Blackwell Dictionary, s.v. "divine command theory."
34. The Blackwell Dictionary, s.v. "ethical objectivism" and "ethical subjectivism."
35. The Blackwell Dictionary, s.v. "Golden Rule."
36. John Locke, "Second Treatise on Civil Government," in Two Treatises of Government, ed. Peter Laslett (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988).
37. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, ed. Gertrude Himmelfarb (Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 1982).
38. Arthur Herman, The Cave and the Light (New York: Random House, 2013), 60-77.