HI Stephen,

Just a short reply to your post to Colin, and indirectly to your last posts.



On 22 Oct 2010, at 10:53, Stephen Paul King wrote:

Dear Colin,

Let me put you are ease, van Fraassen has sympathies with the frustrations that you have mentioned here and I share them as well, but let's look closely at the point that you make here as I think that it does to the heart of several problems related to the notion of an observer. OTOH, it seems to me that you are suggesting that the objective view is just a form of consensus between all of those subjective view, no? Also, the notion of a measurement is discussed in detail in the paper. I wonder if you read far enough to see it...If we buy the computationalist interpretation of the mind then there is nothing necessarily special about a human brain; the discussions about computational universality give us a good argument for that.


OK. So we agree on the basic. But if you take the comp hypothesis seriously enough, then you might understand that assuming set theory or quantum mechanics is either contradictory (worst case) or redundant.

Thanks for the van Fraassen paper. I have already argue that the "modal interpretation" of QM is a form of MWI, and that paper confirms my feeling. Not sure it is really new if you read with some attention the entire thesis by Everett.



First of all we need to admit that if we are to be consistent with the mathematical prescriptions of quantum mechanics, each and every one of those scientists and table lamps, as physical objects, have a wave function of sorts associated with them and, assuming that they could interact, are entangled with each other. “Being in the universe” implies to me that that there is a sharing of context and maybe even a common basis of sorts. But is that all there is to it? Hardly! being a table lamp, when considered from the quantum perspective is not so simple. We cannot assume that there is any definiteness of properties in a sharp sense. When we consider a Table Lamp or any other physical object in isolation at best we have a superposition of possible properties, and what is the outcome of measurement is given in terms of restrictions upon those possibilities by the possible properties and modes of possible interaction of all of the tables, chairs, beds, etc. that are in the room with that table lamp and beyond. We cannot assume that what something ‘is’ is somehow invariant with respect to changes in the interactions that it has with all of the other objects. This is a very subtle point that need to be carefully considered. The notion of a Table lamp in isolation literally dissolves into nothing when we remove all those other objects upon which its definiteness of state persists. The conflation that has persistent for more than 2000 years is the idea that object in themselves are what they are. I am reminded of Einstein’s quit to Bohr that the moon would still exists if he was not looking at it. My response to Einstein is that he is not the only one interacting with the moon. We need to take the whole web of interactions into account when we consider the definiteness of properties otherwise we are only considering bare existence and that tell us nothing at all about properties.



It should be obvious, if you get the UDA, that physical reality does not have a "view of nowhere" or an ultimate third person describable reality. Mechanism makes the physical reality a first person plural reality, with the person played by the Löbian machine or Löbian number. There is still a boolean ultimate third person view available: arithmetic (or combinators, lamda calculus, etc.).

And this contradicts nothing written by Pratt, who is indeed a little less naïve than those defending the identity thesis. But Pratt scratches only the surface of the mind-body problem: he identifies the physical with the set-theoretical (which is not so much senseless actually, but far from leading to extracting QM from numbers), nor does he tackle any problem in the cognitive science (qualia, undefinability, rôle of consciousness, etc.). But his SET/SET^op duality is rather natural for a category theory minded attempt to go toward a formulation of the mind-body problem. His duality is also 100% mathematical a priori, which makes him mathematicalist like Tegmark, and like comp (with some nuances).

In november I will have a bit more time, and I could add something on both van Fraassen-Rovelli and Pratt.

Best,

Bruno







From: Colin Hales
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2010 10:35 PM
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: A paper by Bas C. van Fraassen
Hi,
Looks like and interesting read.... but the initial gloss-over I had revealed all the usual things that continue to frustrate and exasperate me....

Why won't people that attend to these issues do some neuroscience...where the only example of a real "observer" exists.? Why does characterising the actual reality get continually conflated with characterisation of the reality as it appears to the observer (with a brain/scientist observer I mean)? Why does scientific measurement continue to get conflated with scientific observation which continues to get conflated with scientific evidence which then gets confusedly applied to systems of description which are conflated with actual reality?

There _is_ a view  from nowhere!
It is acquired with objectivity, which originates in a totally subjective capacity delivered by the observer's brain material. In a room of 100 scientists in an auditorium there are 100 subjective views and ZERO objective views. There is ONE 'as-if' '/ virtual objective view which is defined by agreement between multiple observers. But no "measurement" is going on. There's 100 entities 'BEING' in the universe.

The Van Frassen discussion seems to conflate 'being' somewhere and 'observing'. A table lamp gets to BE. It is intimately part of its surrounds and has a unique perspective on everything that is 'not table lamp', but the lamp NOT observing in the sense scientists observe (with a brain). A brain is in the universe in the same way a table lamp is in the universe - yet the organisation of the brain (same kind of atoms/molecules) results in a capacity to scientifically observe. This 'observe' and the 'observe' that is literally BEING a table lamp, are not the same thing! Grrrrrrrrrrrr!

This conflation has been going on for 100 years.

I vote we make neuroscience mandatory for all physicists. Then maybe one day they'll really understand what 'OBSERVATION' is and the difference between it and 'BEING', 'MEASUREMENT and 'EVIDENCE' and _then_ what you can do with evidence.

There. Vent is complete. That's better. Phew!

:-)

Colin Hales.



Stephen Paul King wrote:

Hi Friends,

Please check out the following paper by Bas C. van Fraassen for many ideas that have gone into my posts so far, in particular the argument against the idea of a “view from nowhere”.

www.princeton.edu/~fraassen/abstract/Rovelli_sWorld-FIN.pdf


Onward!

Stephen
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