Dear Bruno,

Could you please recommend some reading about the mechanist assumption? Especially that

>then the observable reality cannot be a machine


on 21.11.2010 15:58 Bruno Marchal said the following:

On 21 Nov 2010, at 09:11, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:

It seems to me that there is no that much difference between
Universes with complete determinism and inherent randomness. Rex
put it quite well here

Intelligence and Nomologicalism Optionen

From the viewpoint of Wolfram (I guess it is close to the statement
 that the Universe is some kind of a cellular automaton), it does
not matter much if a node is fully deterministic or random.

The account on free will by Wolfram is coherent with the mechanist
assumption, and is a good example of how computer science can help to
 build a compatibilist account of free will.

But his account of physicalness is wrong. He is forced to put the
quantum weirdness (non locality notably) under the rug, and he is not
 aware that if "we" are machine, then the observable reality cannot
be a machine. By the mechanist first person indeterminacy, the
observable reality has to be a non constructive (non Turing emulable)
first person plural reality.

Also, I begin to think that digital mechanism entails also that the
physical universe is infinite in time, space and scale. The big bang
 would only be a local explosion/singularity, and not the (physical)
 origin of the cosmos.


on 20.11.2010 23:57 Brent Meeker said the following:
On 11/20/2010 5:51 AM, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:
on 19.11.2010 04:11 Rex Allen said the following:
On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 9:56 AM, Jason
Resch<> wrote:

Your post reminded me of the quote (of which I cannot
recall the source) where someone asked "Who pushes who
around inside the brain?", meaning is it the matter that
causes thought to move around a certain way, or is it the
opposite? The looped hierarchies described by Hofstadter,
if present, make this a difficult question to answer. If
the highest levels of thought and reason are required in
your decision making, does it still make sense to say we
are slaves of deterministic motions of particles or is that
missing a few steps?

Well, I find it entirely conceivable that fundamental
physical laws acting on fundamental physical entities
(particles, fields, strings, whatever) could account for
human behavior and ability.

So if human behavior and ability is what we are trying to
explain, then I see no reason to invoke thought and reason
as causal forces. And, even if you wanted to, I don't see how
they could be made to serve that role. 1Z and I discussed
this in the other thread.

We don't invoke thought and reason to explain the abilities
and behavior of chess playing computers - and while human
behavior and ability is much more complex and extensive, I
think it can be put in the same general category.

The conscious experience that accompanies human behavior is
another matter entirely, but I don't think it serves any
causal role either.

Have I understood you correctly, that the current discussion
has been already predetermined by the initial conditions of
the Universe?

I guess that something like this Stephen Wolfram says. A few
citations from his talk Some Modern Perspectives on the Quest
for Ultimate Knowledge

"It looks probabilistic because there is a lot of complicated
stuff going on that we’re not seeing–notably in the very
structure and connectivity of space and time."

"But really it’s all completely deterministic."

"That somehow knowing the laws of the universe would tell us
how humans would act–and give us a way to compute and predict
human behavior."

"Of course, to many people this always seemed
implausible–because we feel that we have some form of free

"And now, with computational irreducibility, we can see how
this can still be consistent with deterministic underlying

See more at

I am not sure that I agree but at least with computational
irreducibility there is some logic in all this. Do you agree
with Stephen Wolfram?


But also see the argument by Elitzur and Doleve that the universe
has inherent randomness: "It
seems safe to conclude, therefore, that the famous `uneasy
truce' be- tween relativity and quantum mechanics has never been
uneasier. If there are hidden variables beneath the quantum
level, then, by an earlier proof of ours (Elitzur & Dolev,
2005a), they must be `forever-hidden variables' in order to never
give rise to violations of relativity. But then, by the same
reasoning that has lead Einstein to abolish the aether, they
probably do not exist. Indeed, it has been proved long ago
(Elitzur, 1992) that God must play dice in order to preserve
relativistic locality. Hence, randomness, novelty and emergence,
which for luminaries like Parmenides, Spinoza and Einstein were
mere epiphenomena to be explained away, are likely the Uni-
verse's very mode of existence."


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