Brent Meeker wrote:
> Brian Tenneson wrote:
>> Hi Brent,
>>> You are asserting monism. But the One, the ur-stuff, is
>>> So when we place ourselves in the world it is by making distinctions within
>>> unity. To become distinct from the background (the One) is what it means
>>> to be
>>> RITSIAR. Right?
>> How do you know that the One, the ur-stuff, is ineffable/unknowable? If
>> your being, for example, was the ur-stuff (I assume you mean akin to
>> urelements in set theory), then it is "effable" and knowable.
>> You have written about it, and at least two of its properties, and so it
>> is not completely ineffable, yes?
>> So I think it is "effable" even if it is exceedingly difficult to
>> describe fully. What I'm having trouble believing is that it is unknowable.
> In the above I was trying to paraphrase what David wrote. I don't have a
> theory, but if I did it would include some ontology and that would be effable
> (no point in having a theory you can't use to theorize). But even if I did I
> don't think it would be possible to *know* that it was the final theory. So
> it's unknowable in that sense.
That's a very interesting point. The way science goes is that it
continually doubts itself and consequently revises itself when new data
come in, even if that data is paradigm-shattering. They'll gleefully
justify starting a new theory that is closer to the "final theory." Due
to this aspect of the nature of science, science would never be able to
prove its own final theory /is /a final theory. Someone like me would
say, "no new data has contradicted our final theory for a thousand years
does *not* imply there will be a need for revision after 1,001 years."
That's a form of scientific uncertainty. This uncertainty among the
scientific community (ie science can't prove final theory is final)
could possibly yield to other avenues of investigation such as AI, math,
philosophy, and perhaps some theoretical physics (eg Tegmark). Perhaps
the final theory will be completely mathematical in nature, like how
mathematical M-theory is now. Then it stands to reason that the only
people who could prove it is final are the mathematicians, the cog sci
people, the AI computer science people, etc.. Whether it could be
proven final depends on that final theory; ie the final theory should
make as one of its predictions that it is the final theory. Then
mathematicians (and whoever else) try to prove that theory is
"satisfiable" which would mean it (the theory) is consistent. However,
something surprising might be true, that the final theory is undecidable
in the following sense: for the final theory, along with "This theory is
final" as a statement in the theory, there is no "effective procedure"
for determining if a generic statement is true or false.
Consistency combined with undecidability is an interesting for a set of
formulas (like the final theory), because while every statement is
either true (or false), it may very well be that it is true (or false)
and no matter how clever you are, you won't prove it true (or false, as
the case may be). If knowable means you have to know the proof, then
there are some statements are true but you'll never have a proof that it
is true. However, there still might be an escape from not knowing:: an
omniscient "thing" (like a perfect Turing-like machine) explaining to
you how to know what was previously not known. An answer key, if you
will, on any statement. You can ask "what is God" or "what is my
purpose" and it will tell you something that is true but there is no
But... You can't prove the answer key is the answer key. Then it
becomes a question of doubt: why should I believe the answer key before
me is correct?
IDK, I think I'm going off on wild tangents now. My apologies.
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