On 02 Nov 2011, at 19:55, compscicrackpot wrote:
How is many-worlds compatible with my free will?
Like Kim observed, this is an eternally recurring question. But it is
an important one. It might be a question where I differ a bit from
Stathis. Of course my answer is strictly in the line of the so-called
compatibilist approach to free-will.
So I do believe in free-will in a completely deterministic mono-world.
If a God can predict what I will do, this does prevent me to act with
my own free-will. If my friends, who know me rather well, can predict
that I will look at this or that movie, that fact by itself does not
change my wanting to see those movies, and my corresponding acts.
Adding indeterminacy would not help a iota in that situation.
Actually, a decision made with a coin, would be less free than a
decision which I do with my own consent.
Many-worlds does not change anything in this. The many-worlds
reintroduces determinacy, although it adds a first person
indeterminacy. But I can change the relative proportion of worlds I
can access too by the normal decision process. here the point is that
"many-worlds" does not say that all possibilities are equivalent. It
says somehow that all possibilities occurs, but with different ratio.
I will not jump out of the window, despite I know I will survive the
jump, because I know also that I will survive in bad conditions in
most of the worlds. I prefer to take the lift, and in that way, I will
experience the usual Gaussian of normal extension. Likewise for any
decision I could make, I will be responsible for my actions in the
normal worlds. Only near death I might access to less and less normal
worlds, but that is another topics.
Is free will real, or is it an illusion. This will depend on how you
conceive free-will. I like to define free-will by the ability to be
aware of a spectrum of possibilities (a form of ignorance of the
immediate futures) and choose accordingly, with only partial
information (so that such a choice is not necessarily 100%
justifiable). That is real and even unavoidable for self-referential
person/machines. Again, a sort of Laplacian God could know in advance
what I will do, but as I said, this does not prevent free-will. Such a
God has no relevance for the question of free will, because it must
stay mute. If he/she/it does the prediction, and tell me the result, I
might change my mind (just to contradict that God).
What is the most fundamental mechanism of the universe? if it is the
most fundamental, how are its rules encoded and applied ie. what is
the fundamental computer?
Assuming mechanism, you have a lot of choice for the fundamental
'ontology + mechanism'. Either
- the natural numbers + addition and multiplication,
- the combinators + application,
- the lambda programs + abstraction and application,
- the billiard ball + elementary mechanics,
- the braids + braiding,
- the Mandelbrot set + zooms (I suspect)
Being realist on one of them, makes you realist on all of them,
because, amazingly enough perhaps, they entirely reflect each others.
You can simulate, even emulate (simulate exactly) the numbers with
addition and multiplication with the combinators and application, and
For reason of simplicity, I suggest to use the natural numbers +
addition and multiplication. This automatically assures the existence
of a universal dovetailer (a program generating and running all
programs), and the whole execution of the dovetailer is entirely
emulated by the arithmetical sentences and their proofs (themselves
represented in term of addition and multiplication). This emulates
also all much richer theories and machines. Arithmetical truth gives a
Basically, the reason why you exist right now, and are reading a post
by me, is that the statement "compscicrackpot read the 04-november
2011-mail by Bruno" is a theorem of elementary arithmetic. It is a
complex theorem, with a very long and complex proof.
More difficult: the reason why you are still reading the post, and not
transformed into a white rabbit while reading the post, must be that
the proportion of computations leading to the proof of
"compscicrackpot STILL read the 04-november 2011 mail by Bruno" is far
bigger than the proportion of computation where compscicrackpot has
been transformed into a white rabbit while reading this post.
If this is taken seriously, you can guess that we have to justify
completely the laws of physics from addition and multiplication only
(and good definition of the internal machine/numbers views).
Why is there something rather than nothing?
Here there is a bad news and a good news.
Bad news. IF we do not postulate one of the system above (numbers
+addition and multiplication, or combinators, etc). We cannot get any
of them. So, if we want a reality in which numbers, or programs,
machines, can make sense, we have no choice: we have to postulate one
of such system. They are irreducibly mysterious. That will remain a
The good news, is that, once you postulate one of those systems, you
get the whole big picture. Matter and mind are explained by the
epistemology of the creatures existing in such systems. In fact the
picture is similar to Indra Net, but with a more clear dynamical
components. Once you have the numbers, you have an infinity of
universal numbers reflecting all the other universal numbers, but also
interacting with them, and this in all partially computable ways. This
gives a web of dreams, and theoretical computer science (and logic)
can explain why some dreams becomes sharable among sufficiently
similar type of universal creatures (first person plural realities).
To sum up: Church-Turing thesis rehabilitates completely Pythagorus
and Plato kind of non naturalistic theology. Contrary to materialism,
this approach does not evacuate souls (persons), nor even gods and
goddesses, nor even especially a big one without a name, as I
illustrate in the paper on the arithmetical interpretation of
Plotinus. The incompleteness phenomenon justified why *any*
sufficiently 'honest' machine looking inward develops a mystical
component. In fact, consciousness is already the zeroth stage of being
mystic (i.e. in a state of knowing some unprovable truth).
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