I agree with Norman too, particularly about boundaries & the "snapshot style." I would
add that, the physical states & events that can be detected should implicitly contain
the things that we fear may be "reduced away." Just because they would not be obvious
when represented in physical mathematical terms does not mean that they are not there.
Here is an example. When we discover a truth, we may well allow our behavior to depend
on it. We look in order to see, & we somehow arrange it so that we **heed** the signs.
We allow logic, for instance, to be a distinct & salient factor in our behavior --
**in our cogitative behavior at least, but usually & almost inevitably much more.**
And not only logic. Our behavior may arrange to become specially dependent on the
properties of the number pi, or on statistical likelihoods apparent in information
about the star Vega. We allow & support for our behavior to depend on continually
renovated & occasionally redesigned structures of signs &!
evidences conjectured, expected, grasped, remembered etc. These sort of dependencies,
then, characterize very particular sets of physical states & events -- those of
intelligent beings. Physical states & events are already models for certain
mathematical structures which we apply to understand those physical states & events.
Somehow, some physical states & events are capable of representing others, sometimes
many at a time with generality, & so on. Capable of representing &/or interpreting
&/or proving or confirming or corroborating or whatever. If mathematics itself is
fecund with implicit structures, there is no reason to think that the physical
mathematical data on physical states & events are not likewise fecund with structures
that emerge, as we say, & come to light at higher levels. (Or maybe I'm wrong, I'm no
- Ben Udell
From: "John M" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> on 15/01/2004 20:17:49
To: "Norman Samish" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>, "Doug Porpora"
cc: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Re: Determinism
I'm trying to catch up the issues discussed, but it is becoming almost impossible.
That's why I'm commenting this mail almost 6 days late.
About what you wrote Norman, I don't disagree. Physical Man is a sum of physical
states and events that can be detected and measured. If applied to all Man will find
out that the results will be the same. The difference between each individual is
meaningless at the atom level, quantum-state level, etc. But when you start to
logically "group" all of those "physical definitions", you'll start to get different
results. For example, in a so low level state you can't see the difference bewteen
"Thought" and "body". They are all electrical manifestations. When gathering all the
small "pieces", you start to have a more high level view of the individual. The
"Thought" and "body" become distinct from each other. If we try only to explain each
piece of the puzzle individually, we will have interesting mathematical formulations
and theorys, but unusefull to identify the "individual" completely. When we start to
"build" the puzzle bit by bit, we'll find out that the relations between each!
piece have something more to add to the mathematical formula of "life". Maybe in a
higher level, different "blocks" of the puzzle have a common meaning for all
individuals and can be used as "base units" to continue building the puzzle,
diminishing the level of complexity.
In one thing I agree: the start must be on the atom level, quantum-state, etc. What do
you all think of this approach?
>Also, I'm unable to find a meaningful (to me) argument against reductionism. Why is
>it in trouble? It seems to me that even a complex human being can be defined in
>concept by discrete quantum states and particles, atoms and electrical charges.
>"Thoughts" are therefore NOT infinite because they can be conceptually defined in
>terms of particles and quantum states, and there are not an infinite number of these
>My take on reductionism is the "snapshot style" (in maybe wider sense than just
>visual) - considering boundaries for our observation (thinking) and establishing a
>model of the 'observed' target WITHIN them. In the sense of unlimited interconnection
>(and a/effecting), such view cuts off connotations beyond said boundaries (be it
>Q-state, particles, cinsidered permutations, atoms, electrical charges or whatever is
>one's beef). It is a limited view (model) perfectly applicable for computations. Yet:
>My trend in thoinking (in the newly (just emerging) 'wholistic' complexity) is the
>unlimited connectivity - not that I claim to successfully apply it. We all DO think
>in reductionistic ways - the only way our mind works without implying (mystical?)
>infinity - so I cannot belittle your opinion.
>I wonder if Doug thinks in the same lines as I do.