> Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2009 01:37:02 -0700
> Subject: Re: Emulation and Stuff
> From: peterdjo...@yahoo.com
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> On 18 Aug, 01:53, Jesse Mazer <laserma...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> > Peter Jones wrote:
> > > On 17 Aug, 14:46, Jesse Mazer <laserma...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> > > > 1Z wrote:
> > > > > > But those space-time configuration are themselves described by
> > > > > > mathematical functions far more complex that the numbers described
> > > > > > or
> > > > > > explain.
> > > > But what is this "primary matter"? If it is entirely divorced from all
> > > > the evidence from physics that various abstract mathematical models of
> > > > particles and fields can be used to make accurate predictions about
> > > > observed experimental results, then it becomes something utterly
> > > > mysterious and divorced from any of our empirical experiences
> > > > whatsoever (since all of our intuitions regarding 'matter' are based
> > > > solely on our empirical experiences with how it *behaves* in the
> > > > sensory realm, and the abstract mathematical models give perfectly
> > > > accurate predictions about this behavior).
> > > Primary matter is very much related to the fact that some theories of
> > > physics work and other do not. It won't tell you which ones work, but
> > > it will tell you why there is a difference. It solves the white rabbit
> > > problem. We don't see logically consistent but otherwise bizarre
> > > universes because they are immaterial and non-existent--not matter
> > > instantiates
> > > that particualar amtehamtical structure.
> > But then it seems like you're really just talking about consciousness and
> > qualia--of all the mathematically possible universes containing possible
> > self-aware observers, only in some (or one) are these possible observers
> > actually real in the sense of having qualia (and there qualia being
> > influenced by other, possibly nonconsious elements of the mathematical
> > universe they are a part of).
> No.. I don't need the hypothesis that WR universes are there but
What does "are there" mean? It seems to be a synonym for physical existence,
but my whole point here is that the notion of physical existence doesn't even
seem well-defined, if this discussion is going to get anywhere you need to
actually address this argument head on rather than just continue to talk as
though terms like "exists" and "are there" have a transparent meaning. The only
kinds of existence that seem meaningful to me are the type of Quinean existence
I discussed earlier, and existence in the sense of conscious experience which
is something we all know firsthand. Can you explain what "physical existence"
is supposed to denote if it is not either of these?
> > There's no need to have a middleman called "primary matter", such that only
> > some (or one) mathematical possible universes are actually instantianted in
> > primary matter, and only those instantiated in primary matter give rise to
> > qualia.
> There is no absolute need, but there are advantages. For instance, the
> many-wolder might have to admit
> the existence of zombie universes -- universes that containt
> *apparent* intelligent lige that is nonetheless unconscious--
> in order to account for the non-obseration of WR universes.
> > If you *are* going to add unobservable middlemen like this,
> I don't concede that PM is unobservable. What exists is material, what
> is immaterial does not
> exist. There is therefore a large set of facts about matter. Moreover,
> the many-worlders extra
> universes *have* to be unobservable one way or the other, since they
> are not observed!
Who said anything about many worlds? Again, we are free to believe in a type of
single-universe scenario, let's call it "scenario A", where only a single one
of the mathematical universes which "exist" in the Quinean sense (and it seems
you cannot deny that all mathematical structures do 'exist' in this sense,
since you agree there are objective mathematical truths) also "exist" in the
giving-rise-to-conscious-experience sense. You want to add a third notion of
"physical existence", so your single-universe scenario, which we can call
"scenario B", says that only one of the mathematical universes which exist in
the Quinean sense also exists in the physical sense (i.e. there is actual
'prime matter' whose behavior maps perfectly to that unique mathematical
description), and presumably you believe that only a universe which exists in
the physical sense can exist in the giving-rise-to-conscious-experience sense.
But all observations that conscious observers would make about the world in
scenario B would also be observed in scenario A (assuming that the same
mathematical universe that is granted physical existence in scenario B is the
one that's granted conscious existence in scenario A). In both scenarios
"physical objects" would be identified based on the qualia associated with them
(color, visual shape, tactile hardness, etc.), and based on the fact that they
behaved in certain predictable lawlike ways which could be boiled down to
mathematical rules. If the experiences of observers in scenario A are identical
in every way to those of observers in scenario B, despite the fact that there
is no "physical existence" in scenario A, then the extra ingredient of
"physical existence" makes no observable difference, and thus must be something
utterly mysterious, we might as well call it "clapsahadrical existence".
> >there's no real logical justification for having only one--you could say
> >"only some mathematically possible universes are instantiated in primary
> >asfgh, and only some of those give rise to qwertyuiop, and only the ones
> >with quertyuiop can give rise to zxcvbn, and only ones with zxcvbn can give
> >rise to qualia and consciousness".
> Single-universe thinking is a different game from everythingism. It is
> not about
> explaining everything from logical first priciples. It accepts
> contingency as the price
> paid for parsimony. Pasimony and lack of arbitrariness are *both*
> desiderata, so there is no black-and-white sense in which
> Everythingism wins.
Again, I said nothing about "Everythingism", my comments about "physical
existence" being a meaningless middleman would apply just as well if we
believed there was only one universe that "existed" in the sense of giving rise
to first-person experiences and qualia.
> > > > In that case you might as well call it "primary ectoplasm" or "primary
> > asdfgh".
> > > You might as well call "2" the successor of "0". All symbols are
> > > arbitrary.
> > My point was just that I think it's *misleading* to use the word "matter"
> > which already has all sorts of intuitive associations for us, when really
> > you're talking about something utterly mysterious whose properties are
> > completely divorced from our experiences, more like Kant's "noumena" which
> > were supposed to be things-in-themselves separate from all phenomenal
> > properties (including quantitative ones).
> I don't accept that characterisation of PM. (BTW, phenomenal
> properties could be accounted for
> as non-mathematical attributes of PM)
Well, see my point above about the complete indistinguishability of scenario A
from scenario B from the perspective of conscious observers.
> > > > And are you making any explicit assumption about the relation between
> > > > this "primary matter" and qualia/first-person experience? If not, then
> > > > I don't see why it wouldn't be logically possible to have a universe
> > > > with primary matter but no qualia (all living beings would be zombies),
> > > > or qualia but no primary matter (and if you admit this possibility,
> > > > then why shouldn't we believe this is exactly the type of universe we
> > > > live in?)
> > > The second possibility is ruled out because it predicts White Rabbits.
> > I don't agree, there's no reason you couldn't postulate a measure
> Yes there is: you have to justify from first principles and not just
> postulate it.
Huh? Who made up that rule? If you can postulate that only one mathematically
possible universe exists in the physical sense without justifying it from first
principles, I can postulate that only one mathematically possible universe
exists in the giving-rise-to-conscious-experience sense.
> The problem is that if all possible maths exists, all possible
> measures exist...
> you can't pick out one as being, for some contingent reason "the"
> >on the set of mathematical possibilities which determined the likelihood
> >they would actually be experienced by conscious observers--this measure
> >might be such that white-rabbit worlds would be very improbable, it might
> >even pick out a unique mathematically possible universe where the possible
> >observers are actually conscious, while assigning zero measure to all other
> So you are appealing to the unknown relationship between maths and
> qualia, rather than the unknown properties
> of matter?
If you want to put it that way, sure. This isn't necessarily what I believe
personally, I'm just pointing out that *if* you want to believe in a single
universe that "exists" in some sense distinct from the Quinean sense, then it's
much simpler to just talk about existence in the sense of giving rise to
conscious experience rather than first talking about something mysterious
called "physical existence" and then as an afterthought adding the additional
claim that physical existence is required for conscious experience.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to email@example.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at