On Tue, Mar 28, 2006 at 04:37:06PM -0800, 1Z wrote:
> I mean that you do not fulfil the promise of the first sentence:
> "that a description logically capable of observing itself is
>  enough to bootstrap ITSELF  into existence."

> > Therefore a Plenitude
> > of compilers will surely bootstrap gcc - or more fully gcc is
> > bootstrapped on all of them.
> If a Plenitude exists, nothing needs to be bootstrapped. But that
> is in any case assuming what needs to be proved.

I do so assume. It is one of the main working hypotheses of my
book. The reason for considering bootstrapping is to see why observers
must be their own interpreter - as otherwise there must be another
interpreter running in the background which breaks ontological

Its a subtle point - in ontology, there can only be 3 possible types
of causality:

1) Terminal cause. The chain of causality is broken at a first cause
   (eg God), although a final cause will also do. The only difference
   between first and final cause relates to temporal priority, rather
   than logical priority

2) Infinite regress: There is no first cause - the chain a because b
   because c has no end

3) Causal loop: A because B because A

Obviously option 1) is very popular. The notion of "stuffy matter" as
Bruno calls it, fits into this category. However I find it
unsatisfactory from an Occam's razor point of view.

I'm promoting option 3), which is ontologically closed with nothing
further to explain. The gcc story is, obviously, in the form of a
metaphor to explain the full situation.

I'm not sure option 2) has much going for it, but I will certainly
listen to someone try to defend it. It is usually derided as "turtles
all the way down".

> > The problem comes in trying to distinguish reality from simulation. It
> > just can't be done.
> Assuming that I am real, I can easily tell what is a simulation
> relative to me. 

Really? Even simulations as good as that featured in "the Matrix"?

Perhaps you say that such virtual realities are impossible - that
position is at least compatible with evidence, but nor is there a
good reason why such simulations aren't possible either.

> Even if I am a simulation, my Sim City is clearly a
> simulation-within-a-simulation.The relative difference is obvious.
> Perhaps you mean that I cannot tell absolutely that I am real.
> Well, I could always employ the idealists favourite weapon:
> Occam's razor.

Elaborate please...

A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 8308 3119 (mobile)
Mathematics                                    0425 253119 (")
UNSW SYDNEY 2052                         [EMAIL PROTECTED]             
Australia                                http://parallel.hpc.unsw.edu.au/rks
            International prefix  +612, Interstate prefix 02

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