Russell Standish wrote:

> It makes absolute sense to me, and it is really one of the central
> themes of my book "Theory of Nothing". The only points of view are
> interior ones, because what is external is just "nothing".
>
> But I know that Colin comes from a different ontological bias, since
> we had a long debate last year where he tried to convince there really
> was something out there independent of us.

I'm glad you agree Russell, and as I've said, I found your book an
excellent exposition of this overall position. But it seems as though,
if one has somehow been able to think oneself into this position, that
one can find agreement with those who have done something similar, and
perhaps the rest is then down to the long pursuit of the details (those
little devils). But your debate with Colin exemplifies my point about
the language. I think our vocabulary in general is so hopelessly
fraught with implicit 'inside/outside' ontic dualism that, failing such
prior agreement, it's almost impossible to convince someone starting
from a different position, because each assumes that the other is
implying something different with his terminology.

My own insight, if such it was, didn't come from mathematics or comp,
it just came as I was meditating on how 'I' and 'what I saw in the
mirror' could somehow be the same thing. A picture just came to me in
which 'I', my mirror-image, what-was-reflected, and all the rest
appeared as a network of information embedded in - what? -
something-that-exists. And that this something encompassed all the
insides and outsides, which were merely contingent aspects of the
structure of information. Nature doesn't draw lines around things -
rather 'things' and their 'boundaries' self-select from a network of
(what appears to the 'things' to be) information. And the varieties of
'what it's like to be' are precisely what it *is* to be some aspect of
this ontically unique situation.

David

> On Thu, Sep 21, 2006 at 10:36:00AM -0000, David Nyman wrote:
> >
> > I think we will never be able to engage with the issues you describe
> > until we realise that what we are faced with is a view from the inside
> > of a situation that has no outside. Our characterisation of 'what
> > exists' as 'outside' of 'what appears to exist' is the
> > sleight-of-intuition that introduces the fatal ontic duality. But there
> > is no such duality. We simply *are* this situation, and its
> > multifarious forms of differentiation comprise the structures from
> > which 'we', our 'experiences' and their 'referents' seamlessly emerge.
> > Our challenge as scientists is never to forget that our observations
> > and theories all point back at ourselves (there is no other direction).
> > If they don't account for 'what appears to exist' this is as great a
> > failing as inconsistency with 'what appearance refers to', since these
> > attributions are merely distinctions of emphasis in the analysis of any
> > given situation.
> >
> > You could call this the solipsism of the whole, because there is
> > nothing else. I know this is as clear as mud, because the language just
> > doesn't exist, and I lack the inspiration to introduce it, and my
> > hackneyed old terms just get hijacked into familiar and misleading
> > connotations. Oh well....
> >
> > David
> >
>
> It makes absolute sense to me, and it is really one of the central
> themes of my book "Theory of Nothing". The only points of view are
> interior ones, because what is external is just "nothing".
>
> But I know that Colin comes from a different ontological bias, since
> we had a long debate last year where he tried to convince there really
> was something out there independent of us.
>
> Cheers
>
> --
> *PS: A number of people ask me about the attachment to my email, which
> is of type "application/pgp-signature". Don't worry, it is not a
> virus. It is an electronic signature, that may be used to verify this
> email came from me if you have PGP or GPG installed. Otherwise, you
> may safely ignore this attachment.
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
> Mathematics
> UNSW SYDNEY 2052                       [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Australia                                http://parallel.hpc.unsw.edu.au/rks
>             International prefix  +612, Interstate prefix 02
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------


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