Russell Standish wrote:
> 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
> closure.

If a plenitude already exists, what does bootstrapping add ?
If you feel that an observer needs to be a running process, not just a
static programme (on the hard disk, as it were) then they need to
be another running process. There are no obvious
of processes doing bootstrapping themselves, without having something
that is already dynamic or running, so I suppose that would be another

> 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.

Occam's razor is about the simplest explanation that fits the facts,
not the simplest
explanation simpliciter. If materialism is the simplest explanation for
why HP universes are not observed, then it is demanded by O's R, not
excluded by it.

> 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.

Is ontological closure desirable per se, or just the outcome of a
way of looking at causality?

> 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".

I'd like to put up a case for 1. while we don't have evidence of
self-bootstrapping processes
or infinite regresses, we apparently do have evidence of uncaused
causes (QM). So (1) is the
only option that has internal evidence, ie that doesn't require ad-hoc

> > > 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"?

If it can be done in some cases, it can be done.

I might be fooled by some simulation in some instances. I might also
mistake a cow for a horse in some instances. No-one, however, is saying
that cows are the same thing as horses, ontologically. Although that
kind of argument can be made, it needs to be made on the basis that
there is no conceivable set of circumstances in which X can be
from Y, and it is always conceivable that a simulation could fail in
some way.

> 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...

It seems your
"The problem comes in trying to distinguish reality from simulation. It
just can't be done."
doesn't mean
"it can't be done (at all ever)"
but rather
"it can't always be done".

That being the case,the mere fact that I *might* be being fooled
by a simulation right now, doesn't mean I am being fooled. O's R of
course indicates I should presume I am not in a simulation since it is
complex explanation for the same set of facts.

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