Why our experience and the object we experience are one

Step 6: The Spread Object

Since every causal process takes time and space to complete, and since existence is relative to the occurrence of effects, everything is spread in both time and space. This should not come as a surprise. Constellation are spread, tunes are spread, faces are spread, and brains are spread too. Entities are pulled into existence by the occurrence of additional events.


Example. Consider a rainbow. Drops of water float in a cloud. The sun shines on the cloud, and light-rays are reflected by the droplets. Yet no rainbow exists until, somewhere, the reflected light-rays produce a joint effect. Usually, someone's visual system allows this effect to take place. However, the rainbow is neither in the process nor in the neural activity. The rainbow is where one would expect it to be — in the cloud — but only when it produces an effect elsewhere. The existence of the rainbow is relative to the occurrence of an effect in some other place and at some other time.

Objects — what the world is made of — are joint causes that bring together elements spread in space and time. Such spread objects are spatiotemporally gerrymandered objects. That is, they are composed of multiple parts scattered in time and space but unified by the occurrence of a further joint event. In short,

An object is an actual cause spread in time and space.

Riccardo Manzotti, January 27, 2015 (updated December 25st)