Goetia Niflheim
18 min readApr 26, 2020


I. The concept and properties of motion


An attribute is a universal, inalienable property of a substance. Attributes appear in all natural phenomena and are recognized as the real essence of matter. Attributes of matter include motion, space and time, reflection and information, structurality, qualitative inexhaustibility, etc.

Motion is a way of existence of matter, it is absolutely and contradictory, exists in various forms interacting with each other. The existence of any material object is possible only through the interaction of its constituent elements. But in addition to the internal interaction between the elements and parts of the whole, the interaction of objects with the external environment also occurs. The interaction leads to a change in the properties, relations, states of the object. Change is indicated in philosophy by the concept of movement.

In the history of philosophy, the question has constantly been raised whether movement is an attribute, i.e. the universal, inalienable, universal property of matter or only its mode, i.e. private property, which may or may not be.

The origins of the dialectical understanding of movement go back to Heraclitus, who figuratively expressed the idea that the material principle is constantly identical to itself and at the same time is in a state of constant change. Ancient philosophy in the person of Heraclitus and Epicurus discovered the source of all movement in the contradictory nature of internal processes.

At the same time, the difficulties of comprehending the process of movement in the logic of concepts through logical proof led the ancient philosopher and mathematician Zeno to formulate aporias, intractable problems that, in contrast to sensory impressions, made people doubt movement as an attribute of matter.

Aristotle identified four possible types of movement: 1) occurrence and annihilation; 2) quantitative changes; 3) qualitative changes; 4) mechanical movement. Aristotle substantiated the presence of motion through the eternal absolutely motionless prime mover (God).

The thinkers of the Renaissance were convinced that all being, from the Universe to the smallest particles, is set in motion by its inherent soul. The predominant development of mechanics in the XVII — XVIII centuries. led to the fact that the movement began to be considered only as a mechanical movement, i.e. simple spatial movement. The limitations of metaphysical ideas were associated with the attitude to movement as a modus with the conviction of the need for a first impulse.

In the history of philosophy, the first to substantiate the attributive (universal) nature of the movement was John Toland (1912–2004). Materialistic philosophers of the 18th century, such as J. Toland and D. Diderot recognized movement as an attribute of matter and understood it as a universal internal activity.

A compromise position was taken by Isaac Newton (1642–1726) and Rene Descartes (1596–1650). According to them, God, like a master watchmaker, launched a pendulum of huge world watches, and then they already go according to their own laws.

With the advent of the philosophical system of Georg Hegel (1770–1831), the question of the source of movement began to be examined in a new way. Any change (movement) consists of opposing moments of stability (rest) and variability, discreteness and continuity. The source of movement, according to Hegel, is an internal contradiction or a contradictory phenomenon. “Contradiction is the vital nerve of all movement”.

After Hegel concrete forms of movement in science and philosophy began to be discussed in the middle of the 19th century. The name of Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) is associated with the allocation of the following forms of motion of matter: mechanical, physical, chemical, biological and social. Today, it has become clear to us that within the framework of each of the above forms, many others can be distinguished. In physics, for example, such forms as nuclear field, electrical, quantum-mechanical, thermal, etc.

Despite the connection and mutual transitions, each form of motion of matter has a unique quality. The relatively high form of motion of matter includes relatively lower ones, but it does not come down to the latter, does not decompose into them without a remainder. If the process of such information is carried out, then this is a manifestation of reductionism. So, it is clear that a person cannot be imagined as a combination of atoms, molecules, organs, autonomous parts, and even as an integral biological organism. Man is something more, a sociocultural being with consciousness, and this is precisely what eludes us under reductionism.

In modern philosophy, the concept of movement is interpreted as any change in general.

From the foregoing, it is clear that motion has the following properties: 1) the movement is objective, that is, it exists independently of the will of the observer and his knowledge of him; 2) movement is absolutely (universal), that is, it exists everywhere, everywhere and always, where there is matter; 3) movement is relative, that is, it does not exist at all, but in the form of specific forms of movement, considered relative to each other, each of which is finite, relative and transient; 4) movement is contradictory, because it appears in the inextricable unity of two opposing moments: the moment of stability and the moment of variability; 5) movement is continuous, always exists as long as there is matter.

As one of the moments of movement, rest should be considered: 1) the temporary and relative equilibrium of the material system. Rest is the result of a dynamic balance of internal and external tendencies of change in a particular object; in some respects objects are at rest, in others they are certainly involved in movement (like, say, furniture, a buildings together with the Earth). Thus, movement is absolute, and rest is relative; 2) rest is irrelevant as a necessary component of movement. Rest and movement are inextricable (a mechanically moving body rests in a mechanical form of motion).


Development is a certain type of movement. We can say that all development is already a movement, but not every movement can be recognized as development. The difference of signs of both is presented in the form of a table:

Thus, development should be considered as a whole irreversible, in a certain way oriented towards a certain result (goal), a regularly ordered change in the quality of an object.

Two types of development processes are distinguished:

  1. Processes of qualitative transformations that do not go beyond the framework of the corresponding type of matter, a certain type of its organization (ice, water, steam);
  2. Processes of transition from one level to another (death).

Development is also divided into:

  1. Progress in which there is a complication of the structure, an increase in the level of organization of an object or phenomenon;
  2. Regression, when the movement occurs in the opposite direction, from more advanced and developed forms to less perfect;
  3. Stagnation when no qualitative changes occur. However, stagnation can be considered an example of regression, in accordance with the philosophical formula: “What does not progress — that is degrading”.

II. Space and Time as philosophical categories

The most important forms of being the material component of reality are space and time. The categories of space and time act as extremely general abstractions in which the structural organization and variability of being is grasped. Space and time are forms of being of matter. A form is an internal organization of content, and if a material substrate acts as content, then space and time are the forms that organize it. Matter does not exist outside these forms, but space and time themselves also do not exist in isolation from matter. Their separation from the material world is possible only in the process of abstraction.

In the history of philosophy, two concepts have emerged that reveal the essence of space and time: substantial and relational. The founders of the substantial concept — Democritus (on the problem of space) and Plato (in his views on time) — interpreted space and time as independent entities, independent of either matter or each other. Democritus introduced the idea of ​​the real existence of emptiness as a container for a collection of atoms. Without emptiness, in his opinion, atoms are deprived of such an opportunity. The space, according to the teachings of Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius, in New Time — Newton, is objective, uniform, infinite. It is the container of the totality of atoms. Time is identifiable with eternity — it is a pure duration, evenly flowing from the past to the future, it is a reservoir of events.

The opposite of Democritus’s understanding of space was formulated by Aristotle. His ideas were developed in modern times by G. Leibniz and R. Descartes. The views of Aristotle were the essence of the relational concept. He denies the existence of emptiness as such. According to Aristotle, space is heterogeneous and of course, it is a system of natural places occupied by material bodies.

Aristotle argued that both in motion and in time there is always some “before” and some other “after”. It is by virtue of movement that we recognize the various “now” that do not coincide with each other. Time turns out to be nothing more than a sequence of these “now”, their change, listing, counting, number of movement in connection with the previous and subsequent.

During the XVIII — XIX centuries substantial concept — the concept of absolute space and time has become leading both in philosophy and in natural science. In essence, this concept was metaphysical, as it broke the connection of moving matter, space and time. It turned out that there could be pure space outside of matter and time that was completely unrelated to material processes. Space and time acted as empty containers of things and events. G. Hegel energetically opposed these statements, who believed that pure space and time did not exist, there was only “filled space”, and time was the formation, occurrence and passage of all objects, processes and phenomena.

Natural science arguments, refuting the metaphysical ideas about the nature of space and time, began to take shape only at the end of the 19th century. with the emergence in physics of electromagnetic theory. Its development has led to the need to drop ideas about empty space. Initially, it was replaced by ether, which served as the representative of the “everywhere filled”, but still absolute and independent of anything space. Later these views were also rejected.

However, the substantial and relational concepts, as well as the ideas of space and time, in the framework of Hegel’s objective idealism did not question the objectivity of the existence of space and time. From the point of view of representatives of the subjective-idealistic line in philosophy, space and time are a way of arranging impressions, therefore, they have a psychological source of their origin. I. Kant interprets space and time as forms of human sensuality, i.e. forms of contemplation, according to which it is the cognizing subject that organizes the world given to him into a specific spatio-temporal image. For J. Berkeley and E. Mach, space and time are forms of ordered series of sensations. The English Machist K. Pearson argues that space and time do not have a real existence, but are only a subjective way of perceiving things; space is the order or category of perception of objects, and time is the category of perception of events. Russian scientist A. Bogdanov considered space and time as products of organizing and harmonizing human thought.

The metaphysical substantial concept of space and time was overcome during the development of science in the XIX-XX centuries N. Lobachevsky, B. Riemann suggested the existence of such properties of space and time that are not described by Euclidean geometry. In A. Einstein’s special theory of relativity, it was found that the geometric properties of space and time depend on the distribution of gravitational masses in them. Near heavy objects, the geometric properties of space and time begin to deviate from the Euclidean, and the pace of the passage of time slows down. Einstein’s general theory of relativity showed the dependence of spatio-temporal properties on the motion and interaction of material systems.

In modern philosophy, space can be defined as the mutual arrangement and simultaneous coexistence of material objects; structuring of the objective world.

Universal indicators of space are:

  1. The extent (and, accordingly, metricity) of matter, which allows you to determine the distance between adjacent objects, their parts; find out their interaction;
  2. The symmetry of the macrocosm, where there are three equal dimensions of space, creating its volume;
  3. The infinity, which should be understood not quantitatively (individual parts of the universe are just ultimate), but qualitatively, in the sense of unconditionality and an open variety of levels of the spatial organization of matter;
  4. The isotropy, i.e. qualitative homogeneity in the macrocosm, as regards the spatial arrangement of micro- and megaworlds, they are most likely heterogeneous in this respect (vanishingly small spatial intervals there give rise to scientist’s guesses about the “grains” or “quanta” of space between which it “collapses” into “black holes”, closed regions of the Universe where space exhibits an asymmetry of properties when the vectors of “right and left”, “top and bottom”, etc. are not completely identical in their qualities).

Thus, space is not at all a passive and inert environment for material processes taking place in it, but an active force influencing these processes. The space is made up of diverse and in turn multi-level worlds, each of which is limited in comparison with the others; their totality is endless. So far, the largest spatial interval known to science is the distance to distant galaxies visible through telescopes: 1027 light years, which is equal to 5 billion light years (light year is the distance traveled by light moving at a speed of 300,000 km per second during the year).

III. “Time” in philosophical concepts

In the history of philosophy and human culture, two basic concepts of understanding the order and direction of time have also developed: dynamic and static. The dynamic concept of time goes back to Heraclitus’s statement: “Everything flows, everything changes”. It recognizes the objective reality of time processes in general and the passage of time in particular. From the point of view of this concept, only events of the present possess genuine being. The past exists in memories, events of the future — it is not known whether they will still exist. Only at the moment of the present, possible events on the basis of past causes come into real life, then they disappear into the past, leaving only a trace in the present.

Aristotle formulated the paradox of time, which was then supplemented by St. Augustine. According to Aristotle, the past does not exist already, the future does not exist yet, therefore, only the present is relevant. If we assume that the present itself is pulled together in a moment without duration, then according to Augustine, the present also does not exist. Thus, it turns out that time does not have reality at all.

Another concept — static — without denying the existence of objective time processes, denies the division of time into the past, present and future. It recognizes as objective the temporal relation “earlier — later”.

Time in the broadest sense of this concept is the sequential existence of successive states of a certain material process; the irreversible sequence and duration of individual events in the existence of material systems.

Time has the following properties: 1) duration; 2) unidirectionality (from past to future), and therefore, in fact, irreversible; 3) dimension — so that the physical and mathematical (largely conditional — calendar, reference) time, and again, on a macrocosm scale, monotonously does not know interruptions, is measured in the same units of reference; whereas astrophysical and quantum-mechanical, especially biological and social times can change the rhythm, accelerate or slow down, even interrupt; 4) eternity.

The German mathematician Hermann Minkowski (1864–1909), analyzing the theory of relativity, came to the conclusion that one should completely abandon the idea of ​​space and time as existing world characteristics separately from each other. In fact, Minkowski argued, there is a single form of the existence of material objects within which space and time cannot be distinguished, isolated. Therefore, you need a concept that expresses this unity. But when it came to designating this concept with a word, there was no new word, and then a new one was formed from the old words: the spacetime continuum.

This spacetime acts as a single four-dimensional manifold: three coordinates characterizing space, and one coordinate characterizing time, which cannot be separated from each other. But in general, the properties of space and time are determined by the combined effects of some events on others.

The general properties of space and time should be highlighted:

  1. The objectivity, that is, space and time exist independently of the will and consciousness of people;
  2. The absoluteness of space and time, that is, there is no material object outside the spatio-temporal characteristics;
  3. The relativity of space and time means the dependence of their existence on the properties of moving matter, that is, there is no space and time as such, and we should talk about specific spaces and times, each of which of course is relative and transient;
  4. The inconsistency of space and time is expressed in the unity of the extent (continuity) and discreteness (discontinuity) of the spatial structure. Time is the unity of duration and instantness. Instantity is the moment of “now”, devoid of duration, and duration is the duration of existence, it’s preservation.

Some authors are convinced that the structure of matter, information and reflection, etc. should be added to generally accepted attributes.


Structurality expresses a stable moment of material and spiritual processes. The conservation of the process of change over time, some philosophers believe, is due to the structure of this change. Other philosophers, on the contrary, consider time to be the basis of structure (time is the basis of structuralness). Third philosophers at the heart of the world see ideal being (Plato, G. Leibniz, N. Hartmann). Based on the structure of ideal being, the material world is one of the possible worlds. The world of the ideal is the structure of all the fullness possible for the real material world. The structural nature of matter is deduced from the structural nature of ideal (spiritual) being.

G. Hegel considered any structure as a product of development, and in its basis saw an internal contradiction. Each attribute is a contradictory unity, or a whole consisting of opposites, because in one respect it acts as one attribute, and in the other as directly opposite. The same applies to the attributes of stability and variability, continuity and discreteness. Thus, structurality can be considered as an attribute of matter since it expresses the relationship between the attributes of the material substance itself.


Reflection is manifested as the result of the interaction of any material systems and means the reproduction by the properties of one system of the properties of another system. It is a universal property, an attribute of matter. Since reflection is closely related to forms of movement and interaction, it also forms a number of corresponding forms: physical, chemical, biological, psychological and social reflection. In the process of interaction and reflection, information is transferred from one system to another. Information can be defined as a measure of orderliness (as Norbert Wiener said). In the process of interaction and reflection, the measure of ordering of one system is reproduced by another system to one degree or another of isomorphism (sameness). It is hardly possible to find an exception in the world of material interactions, wherever information processes take place. Along with reflection, some consider information to be a universal property of material systems. Alexander Mostepanenko, for example, wrote that “information processes have as broad a degree of generality as energy (in animate and inanimate nature). Any energy connection involves some kind of transfer of the ordering of elements and structures in space and time”.

IV. The philosophical principle of the material unity of the world

This principle underlies the concept of the unity of physical laws in force in our universe. This prompts the search for such fundamental connections through which it would be possible to deduce the variety of physical phenomena and processes observed in experiment. Soon after the creation of the general theory of relativity, Albert Einstein set himself the task of combining electromagnetic phenomena and gravity on some unified basis. The problem was complicated by the fact that during the study of the microworld new, previously unknown relationships and interactions were revealed.

A modern physicist has to solve the problem of combining four types of interactions:

  1. Strong, due to which the nucleons are pulled together into the atomic nucleus;
  2. Electromagnetic, repelling the same charges (or attracting unlike charges);
  3. Weak, recorded in the processes of radioactivity;
  4. Gravitational, which determines the interaction of gravitational masses.

Currently, at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Edward Witten has created a theory that overcomes the serious theoretical difficulties that quantum theory and the general theory of relativity have encountered so far. He managed to do this by joining another six dimensions to the well-known and observable four-dimensional space-time; this theory is called “string theory”.

Thus, we got an unusual, ten-dimensional world, the properties of which determine the whole world of elementary particles and gravity, known to us, and, consequently, the macrocosm of ordinary things, and the megaworld of stars and galaxies. It is up to the “small”: we must find a way that expresses the transition from a 10-dimensional to a 4-dimensional world. And since this problem has not yet been solved, many physicists see Witten’s theory as a game of imagination, mathematically impeccable, but not relevant to the real world. Well aware of all the complexity and unusualness, Witten says that string theory is part of 21st century physics that accidentally fell into the 20th. Apparently, the physics of the XXI century will pass judgment on string theory, just as physics XX rendered his theory of relativity and quantum theory.

Science in the 20th century has gone so far that many theories of modern scientists, confirmed by practice, would seem like fantasies to scientists of the 19th century and seem fantastic to most people who are not connected with science. This applies to general physical theories that describe space, time, causality in different areas of the material world, at different levels of the structural organization of matter and at different stages of the evolution of the universe.

V. Synergetics

One of the characteristic features of modern philosophy is multi-paradigm — a variety of scientific paradigms. Moreover, paradigms should not be equated with scientific theories, the abundance of which was inherent in philosophy at all times. Paradigms are understood as “recognized scientific achievements, which for a certain time give the scientific community a model for posing problems and solving them”. That is, paradigms are fundamental ideas. The current level of development of philosophy is distinguished by the fact that each newly emerged paradigm does not sweep away all previous ones (as happened in science earlier), but often relies on them and offers only one more angle of view on the studied range of problems. The reality is so complex that two different and even opposite theories can act in relation to the same object — naturally, to a certain extent and under certain conditions (the “principle of complementarity”). Understanding this, without exaggeration, was the main discovery of the twentieth century.

Among the scientific paradigm has gained special popularity synergetics — the doctrine of self-organization and self-regulation of complex systems. It originated in the bowels of the natural sciences — chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology — and initially did not go beyond them. However, later the ideas of synergetics penetrated into philosophy and, thanks to their powerful methodological potential, took shape as an interdisciplinary concept of explaining reality.

In the framework of synergetics, the patterns of functioning and transformation of self-organizing systems are described. These regularities are not set in the system from the outside, but are a product of its own activity, therefore their sources and content should be sought inside the system — this is the specificity of the synergetic approach. Among such regularities, the most interesting for synergetics is the mechanism of transition from disorder to order. Needless to say, these are not absolute, but relative concepts. Some ordering is always present in the system, otherwise the latter would not be a system, therefore, by “disorder” and “order” is meant only a smaller or greater degree of ordering. Synergetics is characterized by the desire to identify one, the main factor, which has the main influence on the process of moving to the “order” and to which all other variables are subordinate. This factor is conditionally referred to as the “order parameter”. However, its action is largely unpredictable, and this does not directly control the development of the system, i.e. translate it into another, predetermined state. Accidents are always possible — fluctuations, i.e. deviations from the average, equilibrium states, due to an arbitrary combination of factors, and the system constantly has a set of options for further development. The points at which the choice arises, the “tree of alternatives”, are called the “bifurcation points” (from Latin — “bifurcation”, “branching”). Bifurcations are explosive changes that give new, unpredictable directions for evolution. This means, in particular, that the direction of time, as well as the direction of evolution of any system, is not predetermined from the outside. It is constantly being created at the level of elementary physical and chemical processes. Self-development, according to Arkady Prigozhin, is a constantly carried out “choice at the molecular level”, where randomness and instability prevail. Human society is a very complex system that can undergo many bifurcations, as evidenced by many cultures that have developed over a relatively short period in the history of mankind. This gives us both hope and anxiety: the hope that even small fluctuations can intensify and change their entire structure (this means, in particular, that individual activity is not doomed to meaninglessness); alarming because our world seems to have forever lost its guarantees of stable, enduring laws. We live in a dangerous and uncertain world, inspiring not a feeling of blind confidence, but only a feeling of moderate hope.

The advantages of synergetics include its flexibility, versatility, practicality, applicability in almost any field. Dialectics, cybernetics, synergetics, formal logic, systems approach closely interact, enrich each other, and this leads to the achievement of qualitatively new results. Paradigms not only coexist, but complement each other — in our opinion, such is the optimal scheme of scientific knowledge. Dialectics as a doctrine of universal mutual connection and development itself is in connection with other parts of philosophy and with other sciences and itself is developing.

Since the second half of the XIX century in connection with dialectics, that direction in science, which later became known as the systems approach, begins to develop. Research in the field of biology, as well as the study of society as a holistic system, the organization of armies and military production, large-scale machine manufactures working on a common main conveyor, finally, the organization of a network of railways and related communication systems, telephone networks — this is not a complete list of scientific , social and technical problems, forcing to pay attention to the peculiar types of objects that make up their elements and systems of interconnection within these objects.

In 1954, the Austrian scientist Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1901–1972) organized an international society to develop a general theory of systems. He put forward a program for constructing a general theory of systems. One of the objectives of this theory was to synthesize scientific knowledge by identifying the isomorphism (similarity) of laws established in different fields of scientific research of both nature and society. This program set itself, in fact, the same tasks that were solved by dialectics as a general theory of interconnection and development. However, the categorical apparatus was different here, and besides, the achievements of such new sciences as cybernetics, thermodynamics of nonequilibrium processes, and synergetics were widely used.