The Simple Secret

in #philosophy5 years ago (edited)

There are whispers in the halls of philosophy about a secret argument that can revolutionize science as we know it. The argument rests on a few, deceptively simple assumptions that taken together unravel the structure of materialism and take us to the heart of the mystery of our deepest identity. This is how The Argument goes..

The Simple Secret

A “simple” is anything that has no proper parts. A simple has no other component existing within it. The simples we know about from science are physical entities like electrons, photons, and whatever is fundamental and indivisible. The simple secret is that there is a secret simple. As we will see here, there is a secret simple beyond these known elements.


(A1) Physicalism: The first assumption is that physicalism is true, which means that the universe’s behavior is fully accounted by physical laws. This should be relatively uncontroversial for the scientific minded.

(A2) Compositional Nihilism: The second assumption is that mereological nihilism is true. This is a more controversial assumption. Compositional nihilism is the position that objects with proper parts do not exist, and only basic building blocks without parts, “simples,” exist.

(A3) Simple Physicalism: Physicalism admits only fundamental particles as simples.

(I1) Inference from A3: Only fundamental particles can be simples.

(A4) Our consciousness is ontologically unitary.

(I2) Inference from A2 & A4: Since only simples are ontologically unitary, consciousness is a simple.

(I3) Inference from A4 & I2: If Physicalism is true, consciousness is a fundamental particle.

(E1) Empirical Observation: Consciousness contains a lot of information, fundamental particles do not.

(I4) Inference from E1: Therefore, consciousness is not a fundamental particle.

(I5) Inference from I3 & I4: Therefore, physicalism is incomplete.


If we accept the unity of consciousness and compositional nihilism, we are forced to upgrade our ontological understanding of the world to include conscious simples as fundamental entities. In that case, the world contains not only simple physical beings, but also simple conscious beings that are just as fundamental, like you and me.

I hope you enjoyed this article. I am excited to hear your thoughts!

References, CLains "Minimal Consciousness and Decomposition", Algekalipso "A Very Unexpected Argument against General Relativity"


I really enjoyed this quick post. Thanks for the great write up and, easy to understand, logical analysis. Namaste :)


Thank you goldmatters! :)

Does dark matter fit into this at all??

Don't know about that, but maybe Black Holes can be thought of as large Simples. :)

I would have to consider the black holes as an entity derived from the interrelation between the dark matter and what is called matter through the energies moving both of them where their densities accumulated. Namaste :)

I agree on the black holes being large Simples. When I was a child I felt some weird connection between the fact that our solar system and element where kind of similar. Lots of empty space where the actually pieces circle a core. You kind of know what I mean right? I don't know if science has ever thought deeper into that idea.

This is rad, love discussing ontology, and I've always believed there is simple consciousness.

I would also add that there could be more "complex" states consciousness; of compositional universes.

Zoroastrianism, one of the very first cultural sects, believed in these concepts and used different substances and meditative states to access these plains of existence, suggesting that energy never dies but is simply moved from plain to plain. Accessing your own consciousness is said to be the key to travelling above and below.

Awesome post., Thanks for the read.

I do not claim to know much about science but when i read things that have been written well it gives me a little bit more willingness to learn more. Great blog. Saying that i am a big believer the universal law of attraction and would love to learn more about metaphysics if my wayward brain allows me !

Thank you. That inspires me to keep writing. :)

You're doing good...! :-)

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I haven't enjoyed a syllogism this much in a long time. As someone who is skeptical about physicalism or the existence of a truly indivisible fundamental particle in the first place, A1 and A2 are pretty controversial to me.

However, this is a great way to address materialists who claim consciousness is a physical phenomenon.

btw - I selected your piece for today's #philosophy-review. keep up the great posts!

I've heard this discussed as fundamental properties. Time, Space, Energy, Consciousness. Things which cannot be broken down into other things.

There was a nice TED Talk about it... searching... found it!

He mistakes the "movie in our heads" as consciousness, when I would say it is that which watches the movie in our heads.

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