Jeanne,

I can't speak for the others here, but, in my case what drew me here was the 
subject of multiverses/universes. My interest is in amateur one in philosophy.

However, I think that there is a convergence of philosophical & AI interests, 
to which many older philosophers seemed a bit blinkered or at least somewhat 
indifferent, possibly because of traditional classifications, largely Comtean 
and tree-like, of fields of research, which fail to attend to inter-family 
bands of common research interests. Maybe to some extent the 
"linguistic-analytic" school's views of philosophy did likewise by tending to 
place philosophy outside the normal system of research and by placing subjects 
like ontology & metaphysics largely outside of philosophy or any serious 
research. 

It's a convergence which, in my case, dawned on me years ago, from a 
philosophical viewpoint, on the basis of issues of classification of research, 
at a time when I knew next to nothing about AI (I still know rather little). It 
simply occurred to me that ontology, whether in the sense of ontics (what 
things exist?) or of ontology (traditional philosophical sense -- philosophical 
structure of kinds of being) -- would be relevant to a sufficiently intelligent 
computer program, so I googled on "ontology" and lo and behold, found 
programming & AI stuff involving "ontologies" all over the place. What Bruno is 
doing involves both ontology & epistemology.

Apparently it's been obvious to them for quite a while to computer scientists, 
& is in sci-fi, too. In the 1974 movie _Dark Star_ (which I didn't see till 
many years later) one of the astronauts teaches phenomenology to the ship's 
computer in order to get it doubt itself. That scene is a bit silly and campy, 
but it's hard to watch it without considering the issues of philosophy FOR 
artificial intelligences.

You didn't ask about this, but the convergence of both sets of interests with 
that of "grand" cosmologies or whatever they're called, seems to have some root 
in the fact that assertions about the ultimate nature of everything tend to 
lead us into reasoning on -- and about -- the basis of views about the nature 
and roles of knowledge, inference, observation, etc., themselves. It's already 
a broad subject; the "sciences of reason" -- & of reason's crackups -- stretch 
from the maths of order and conditions of math induction's applicability, to 
deductive theory of logic, to philosophy, and to the studies of intelligent 
life as we've known it -- human & social studies (which I suppose will 
recognize AI as a new housemate or roommate as it advances). That's a 
cross-family band marked by some degree of distinctive overall research 
interest. (I would be interested to know whether the disciplines which study 
order (including among the real numbers, among alephs, etc.), and deductive !
 theory of logic, have anything like the reputation for "dysfunctionality" or 
"pathology" which philosophy & the human & social studies have among less 
abstract & more empirical fields.)

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle helps science by leveraging the limits of 
knowledge into producing lots of information, both practical & theoretical, 
about physical events. One can discern nowadays an effort in something like a 
hope of leveraging the character & limits of knowledge and inference and the 
kinds of systems or creatures which have them, into yielding information about 
the "big questions." Anthropic principles, quantum immortality debates, etc., 
seem among examples of such efforts.

Best, Ben Udell

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jeanne Houston" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Brent Meeker" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>; "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL 
PROTECTED]>; <everything-list@eskimo.com>
Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 11:38 AM
Subject: Re: belief, faith, truth


    I am a layperson who reads these discussions out of avid interest, and I 
hope that someone will answer a question that I would like to ask in order to 
enhance my own understanding.
    There is an emphasis on AI running through these discussions, yet you seem 
to delve into very philosophical questions.  Are the philosophical discussions 
applicable to the development of AI (i.e., trying to grasp all aspects of the 
mind of man if you are trying to develop a true copy), or are they only 
interesting diversions that pop-up from time to time.  My thanks to anyone who 
wishes to respond.

Jeanne Houston

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Brent Meeker" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>;
<everything-list@eskimo.com>
Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2006 2:02 PM
Subject: Re: belief, faith, truth


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