Günther Greindl wrote:
> Brent,
> I wonder, what do you mean with materialism (I ask this having been a 
> materialist myself)?

I didn't use the term - it is one being attributed to me simply because I 
question the adequacy of logic and mathematics to instantiate physics.

> Physics only describes relations. (see for instance here 
> http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/structural-realism/)
> I gather you accept MWI, so quite a lot of relations hold.

I don't accept any such esoteric theories - I merely entertain them.

> The question is, why the quantum (as Wheeler, I think, put it)? Bruno's 
> COMP gives a very elegant _explanation_.

I agree it is elegant, but whether it can really explain the world remains to 

> Also, with COMP, the mind-body problem indeed disappears. We have 
> computations within computations within computations. (And I think that 
> Bruno is correct when assuming that there is no _lowest_ level).

But the problem reappears as the body-problem.  Why is materialism so 
as a model of the world?

> It needn't even be a pure idealism, but rather Russelian neutral monism 
> - some states more or less conscious - the degree of consciousness 
> depending on the degree of self-reflexivity (see for instance here for a 
> theory of consciousness which works well with COMP: 
> http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consciousness-higher/)
> Back to the ontological problem of the "grounding": materialism is in 
> essence the thesis that there is, at bottom, a "substance", which has no 
> independent properties, but serves as instantiator for other properties. 

It seems somewhat gratuitous to call this a "substance".  I'd say materialism 
holds (on simple empirical grounds) that some things exist and some don't.

> But why should such a strange thing exist? 

Why should some things exist and others not - because if everything existed 
there would be no distinction between "exist" and "not-exist" (I know that's a 
stilly argument, but it is similar to the kind of logic chopping I sometimes 
from the proponents of "everything exists").

>Why not let the relations 
> stand for themselves? Especially for an MWI-theorist; if you only accept 
> a single world, matter does seem much more plausible - going through 
> diverse transformations, that being all there is, and located somewhere 
> in an otherwise empty spacetime or whatever - but those are all very 
> naive intuitions which modern physics has moved beyond (and all the more 
> so critical reflection on the results of modern physics).

I think I'm as qualified to speak for modern physics as you and I don't think 
has "moved beyond".  MWI is attractive for several reasons, but it is well 
of Tegmarkia.

> A big question: why should there be such a thing as a lowest level, a 
> grounding? While for a materialist, the imagination of "turtles all the 
> way down" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down
> is quite strange, computations all the way down is very intuitive. Well, 
>   awe-inspiring intuitive ;-)) Think of the fractal video Bruno sent out 
> a little while ago.

I think Tegmark grounded his "everything" by supposing that the lowest level 

> What explanatory power does matter hold? None, I conjecture. Please give 
> at least one so we can discuss.

Materialism has been very effective in not only explaining, but in predicting 
things. That doesn't prove it's right, but I could ask what explanatory power 
does "everything exists" hold.  Remember that a theory that could explain 
anything, fails to explain at all.

For myself, I find Bruno's theory very intriguing.  It is more specific than 
Tegmark's and so I believe has more hope of making contact with empiricism.  
for me that is the proof of the pudding - not logical arguments about how 
"must be".


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