Rex Allen wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 1:29 PM, Brent Meeker < wrote:
>> That's why I say I take it as an ansatz - "Let's consider
>> all possible computations and see if we can pick out physics and the
>> brain and consciousness from them."
> I would think that it's pretty much a given that out of all possible
> computations, we surely will be able to find some way of representing
> physics, the brain, and the contents of conscious experience.

But it's the "picking out" that's problem.  That's the generic problem 
with the everything-theories.  Sure the UD generates all possible 
strings and physics must be in there somewhere - so what.  Tegmark 
hypothesizes all possible mathematical structures exist - so yeah 
physics must be in there too.

> If we can't find some way to symbolically/logically represent these
> things...what would that mean?  Wouldn't it mean that we ourselves
> aren't capable of grasping them?
> So, I don't think I see the significance of success in this
> project...I would think that success in finding some
> logico-mathematical representation of physics 
IF you can *find* it among all the detritus.

> and the rest is the
> expected outcome, and that conclusive failure would be big news.
> So with computationalism, you can't see beneath the substitution level
> to the underlying "processor" substrate of what really exists.  The
> conscious experience that results from the computation doesn't have to
> reveal anything about the nature of the computer...below the
> substitution level could be neurons, transistors, falling dominoes,
> dust clouds (a la Egan), numbers, platonic objects, alien matter
> existing in some alternate universe, Wang's Carpet (Egan again),
> ROCKS...basically anything capable of supporting computation...who
> knows?  It would all look the same to us above the substitution level,
> right?
> If we were to go with Bruno's proposal, wouldn't it be because a
> substrate of platonically existing numbers seemed like a more
> plausible substrate than a contingently existing physical universe of
> matter and energy and laws which sprang from...nothing?  Has existed
> eternally?  What?
Platonic existence seems like a very thin concept to me and it's not 
very plausible (to me) that it can provide the ontology of the 
universe.  I see numbers part of the description.  That the universe 
sprang from nothing is a going theory in cosmogony supported by the 
observation that whatever conserved quantities are evaluated, energy, 
momentum, charge, entropy,..., the total for the universe comes out 
zero.  The philosophical difference that seems to divide people is that 
some are happy to accept that some things are contingent and others feel 
it better to hypothesize infinities in order to secure determinism.


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