On Sun, Jul 1, 2012 at 8:36 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

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> On 7/1/2012 5:21 PM, Jason Resch wrote: > > > > On Jul 1, 2012, at 6:27 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote: > > On 7/1/2012 2:46 PM, Jason Resch wrote: > > > > On Jul 1, 2012, at 2:07 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote: > > On 7/1/2012 11:50 AM, Jason Resch wrote: > > > > On Sun, Jul 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote: > >> On 7/1/2012 4:59 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote: >> >>> >>> On 01 Jul 2012, at 09:41, meekerdb wrote: >>> >>> On 7/1/2012 12:17 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote: >>>> >>>>> >>>>> On 30 Jun 2012, at 22:31, meekerdb wrote: >>>>> >>>>> On 6/30/2012 12:20 PM, Bruno Marchal wrote: >>>>>> >>>>>>> >>>>>>> On 30 Jun 2012, at 18:44, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote: >>>>>>> >>>>>>> >>>>>>>> I think that you have mentioned that mechanism is incompatible with >>>>>>>> materialism. How this follows then? >>>>>>>> >>>>>>> >>>>>>> Because concerning computation and emulation (exact simulation) all >>>>>>> universal system are equivalent. >>>>>>> >>>>>>> Turing machine and Fortran programs are completely equivalent, you >>>>>>> can emulate any Turing machine by a fortran program, and you can >>>>>>> emulate >>>>>>> any fortran program by a Turing machine. >>>>>>> >>>>>>> More, you can write a fortran program emulating a universal Turing >>>>>>> machine, and you can find a Turing machine running a Fortran universal >>>>>>> interpreter (or compiler). This means that not only those system compute >>>>>>> the same functions from N to N, but also that they can compute those >>>>>>> function in the same manner of the other machine. >>>>>>> >>>>>> >>>>>> But the question is whether they 'compute' anything outside the >>>>>> context of a physical realization? >>>>>> >>>>> >>>>> Which is addressed in the remaining of the post to Evgenii. Exactly >>>>> like you can emulate fortran with Turing, a little part of arithmetic >>>>> emulate already all program fortran, Turing, etc. (see the post for more). >>>>> >>>> >>>> Except neither fortran nor Turing machines exist apart from physical >>>> realizations. >>>> >>> >>> Of course they do. Turing machine and fortran program are mathematical, >>> arithmetical actually, object. They exist in the same sense that the number >>> 17 exists. >>> >> >> Exactly, as ideas - patterns in brain processes. >> >> > Brent, > > What is the ontological difference between 17 and the chair you are > sitting in? Both admit objective analysis, so how is either any more real > than the other? > > You might argue 17 is less real because we can't access it with our > senses, but neither can we access the insides of stars with our senses. > Yet no one disputes the reality of the insides of stars. > > > We access them indirectly via instruments and theories of those > instruments. > > > Are numbers not also inferred from theories of our instruments? > > > But not perceived. They are part of the theory, i.e. the language. > > > Other branches of the wave function are not perceived either. They are > part of the theory though, so can be considered real. > > > Or not. They are part of a theory that has great predictive power, which > is why we think the theory is a good one - not necessarily *really real*. > Being 'considered real' is just a sort of provisional assumption for > purposes of calculation. The wave function that is written down is just a > way of summarizing an experimental preparation. Whether there is also a > *really real* wave function of the universe (or even of the laboratory) is > moot. > They are real according to the math of QM, which is one of the most solidly established theories. You can doubt they are real, but it is like doubting the theory of evolution. In any case, my point was that there are many things in science we cannot perceive that are given the status of "real" or "extant", so perceptibility cannot be a requirement. If you need more examples, consider no instrument has ever observed a quark. Nor has any instrument peered beyond the cosmological horizon. Yet most particle physicists believe quarks are real, and most cosmologists believe the universe is more vast than the Hubble volume. > > > > Numbers and Turing machines are part of Bruno's theory. I don't see the > difference. Why can't Turing machines exist? > > > Sure they can. I can program this computer to be one - except it might > run out of 'tape'. > No one disagrees that we can make physical approximations of Turing machines. The Turing machines I am referring to are the ones you deny the existence of. From above: Brent: Except neither fortran nor Turing machines exist apart from physical realizations. Bruno: Of course they do. Turing machine and fortran program are mathematical, arithmetical actually, object. They exist in the same sense that the number 17 exists. Brent: Exactly, as ideas - patterns in brain processes. To be specific, those Turing machines that exist in the same sense as the number 17. Those that are neither physical realizations nor ideas or patterns in brain processes. We use instruments (physical computers) in the study of computer science. As Edsger Dijkstra said: "Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes." Regarding things that exist yet we cannot see directly, you said: "We access them indirectly via instruments and theories of those instruments." What is computer science studying if not these mathematical objects? As Dijkstra said, computer science isn't about computers. These are merely the instruments of computer scientists, in the same sense telescopes are instruments for astronomers. Are computer scientists really spending all their time studying objects that are merely "patterns in brain processes" or is there something more fundamental being studied? Something that is brain pattern independent? > > > > > > For example, computers are instruments that let us observe and study the > properties of various Turing machines, which themselves are mathematical > objects. > > You might argue the chair is more real because we can affect it, but > then you would have to conclude the anything outside our light cone is not > real, for we cannot affect anything outside our light cone. > > > You can kick it and it kicks back. > > > Math kicks back too. If you come up with a proposition, it kicks back > with either true or false. > > > Only metaphorically. > > > The whole "it's real if it kicks back" idea is a metaphor. I think the > point of the metaphor is that to be real something needs to have its own > properties which we have limited or no control over. It is not malleable > to our whims or will, but resists attempts to change it. > > > But we can interact with it and potentially change it. > > We can't interact with the past, things beyond the cosmological horizon, objects in other branches of the wave function, things outside our light cone, etc. Clearly, the potential for interaction is not required for something to be considered real. No where in the definition of exists or real is there any mention of potential for interaction: reĀ·al adjective 1. true; not merely ostensible, nominal, or apparent: the real reason for an act. 2. existing or occurring as fact; actual rather than imaginary, ideal, or fictitious: a story taken from real life. 3. being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary: The events you will see in the film are real and not just made up. 4. being actually such; not merely so-called: a real victory. 5. genuine; not counterfeit, artificial, or imitation; authentic: a real antique; a real diamond; real silk. > > > > > > > Of course there are many events outside one's lightcones which one > infers as part of a model of reality based on the events within one's > lightcones, e.g. I suppose that the Sun continues to exist even though the > photons I from which I infer it's existence are from it's past. > > > Explain then why one is mistaken in supposing mathematical objects > exist, when they can be inferred according to some models of reality. > > > Explain why Sherlock Holmes doesn't exist according to Conan Doyle's model > of reality. > > > Sherlock holmes does exist, but then what is Sherlock holmes? A > character described in some books. > > Conan could have changed anything he wanted about Sherlock holmes, and > therefore he doesn't "kick back". > > > You forget how he was forced to revive Holmes by the public after he > killed him off. > > Exactly. Anything goes for some textual description of an imaginary setting and character. This is not true in computer science or math. I can't change which numbers are prime or not. These are objective properties, like the gravitational constant. > > > If you asked two people what properties Sherlock holmes has that were > not answered in the book there would be no agreement, and no way to study > Sherlock holmes as an objectively real object. Only the texts can be > studied. > > > That's right. We can discover properties of real things that are not part > of their defining description - unlike say the number 17. > Not true. There are millions of properties that one could state about 17, which are not part of 17's definition, which states merely that 17 is the successor of 16. For example, was it obvious to you from the description of 17 that 17 is the only prime number that is a Genocchi number ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocchi_number )? Of course you can say it was possible to have determined that from some axioms, but what axioms to use are as much discovered and evolved as our laws of physics. We can discover more powerful axiomatic systems just like Relativity was a more powerful physical theory than Newtonian physics. Having the complete definition for an apple as a Newtonian object will not yield us all the actual properties of the apple (such as time dilation and length contraction when the apple accelerats to a high velocity) because we are operating in an incomplete system. Likewise, we cannot derive all true facts about 17 with a fixed set of axioms. > > > > This is not true of mathematical objects. Properties are not enumerated > in some text. They are not subject to be defined or changed by some > authority. Two mathematicians, whether on earth or on different planets > can make the same discoveries about the same objects. > > Further, mathematical realism is a useful scientific theory. It > provides explanations for scientific questions. Why you don't see it as a > legitimate theory is a mystery to me. > > > I see arithmetic as a legitimate theory of things you can count, i.e. it > describes the results of some operations with them, provided you map the > theory to the things in a valid way. But the same it true of say the > theory of elastic bodies. > Arithmetic is much richer than you you give it credit for. > > > If you don't support the theory, that is fine, but it seems like you > discount it's possibility altogether because only "real physical things" > can be real. > > > I don't discount the possibility that Bruno's 'everything is arithmetic' > might be a good model, I just haven't seen any predictive power yet. > Everything theories explain quantum randomness, explain the appearance of fine tuning, and in general, are in line with the trend of science which has gradually been expanding our concept of reality: 1. Our world and the sky above it are all that exist (since ancient times) 2. Our world is one of many worlds orbiting the Sun (Nicolaus Copernicus in 1543) 3. Our sun is one of many stars in this galaxy (Friedrich Bessel in 1838) 4. Our position in time is just one of all equally real points in time (Einstein in 1905) 5. Our galaxy is one of many galaxies (Edwin Hubble in 1920) 6. Our history is just one of many possible histories (Hugh Everett in 1957) 7. The observable universe is a tiny fraction of the whole (Alan Guth in 1980) 8. Our laws are one of 10^500 possible solutions in string theory (Steven Weinberg in 1987) 9. String theory is just one among the set of all valid structures (Max Tegmark in 1996) > My metaphysical view is that only some things are real. When you start > from premises like 'everything exists' you've just set yourself the task of > saying why we have only the experiences we do, the ones for which we > invented the word 'real'. If you can't satisfy that task, then you haven't > gotten anywhere. > I agree that solving one problem (ontology) has created a new one (predicting experiences), but if solutions to old problems didn't bring new questions, science would have hit a dead end long ago. But just because we are faced with a new problem does not mean we haven't gotten anywhere. > > > > > > > > > > Also, how do you know the chair is anything more than a pattern in a brain > process? > > > How do you know you're not a brain in a vat? or a pattern in arithmetic? > > > This was my point. You say math exists only in our minds. But an > immaterialist could say the same of the chair. > > > He could say it, but he would be redefining what 'exists' means. > > > What is your definition? > > > Of course we could all be deluded and living the Matrix, but that idea has > no predictive power. I already gave a definition of exists, that which we > can interact with; > I don't think "potential for interaction" works, given the examples I listed above for things thought to exist, but are impossible to interact with. > although it's more than that since we interact with things in our dreams. > Have you ever read one of those adventure novels written for kids in which > at various points you make a choice and it says go to page xx, so that the > continuation of the story depends on your choice? That's the way math > textbooks are. You start with axioms and you deduce things from them or a > while, then you introduce a new axiom and see where it leads, then you > consider a contrary axiom and consider what it implies. > Axioms are like theories in physics. Some lead to dead ends, some lead to deeper truths. Your concept of mathematics is like what Hilbert had hoped for but Godel showed could not be. Jason > Bruno says digital computation is unique because all the different models > of computation seem equivalent. That makes his theory interesting, but it > doesn't make it true. After all it was invented to model what people can > do by rote using pencil and paper - and finite resources; the infinite tape > is just a theoretical convenience, just like the assumption of infinitely > many integers. If you're going to elevate mathematics to ontology then > there's no reason it has to be constrained by human understanding. We > could take geometry, or set theory, or hypercomputers to be fundamental. > > Brent > -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com. To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.