The idea that everything in our experience can be explained based on physical properties is a thesis whose time has passed. There are now problems in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computing, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence, where physical properties are known to be inadequate. But are these problems separate, individual concerns for their respective fields, or are they somehow interlinked in ways we don’t yet fully see or appreciate?

I believe that in every field of science forward movement can happen only by incorporating meaning as a foundational principle of all reality. Through my writing, I explore the connection between meaning and science.

The problem of meaning has historically been equated with the study of the mind, which is quite unnecessary because meanings can also be seen in books, pictures, music, and art. The latter are material objects too, although they cannot be described in current science. In what way are symbolic objects different from meaningless objects? What changes to science must be made in order to describe symbolic objects scientifically?

The need to incorporate meaning into nature requires a conceptual overhaul in science. Unlike modern science which treats meaning as an epiphenomenon of matter, the new view would require matter to be treated as an epiphenomenon of meanings. Meanings can exist independent of matter, but matter cannot exist independent of meaning. To create material objects, some meaning must exist prior.

The foundational principles of this semantic view are found in Vedic philosophy, which describes matter as symbols of information. Mind in this view is prior to matter and creates material objects by objectifying meanings. Upon objectification, the material objects become symbols of meaning. If these symbols are described as objects, then the description of nature also becomes incomplete and inconsistent. To complete science, nature has to be described as symbols rather than objects.

I write about two themes: (1) the problems of indeterminism, incompleteness, uncertainty, and inconsistency in science (mathematics, physics, computing, linguistics, and biology) and their relation to meaning, and (2) the manner in which meaning and matter are integrated within Vedic philosophy entailing a different view of matter.