On 7/20/2012 11:15 AM, Jason Resch wrote:

On Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 2:17 AM, Stephen P. King <stephe...@charter.net <mailto:stephe...@charter.net>> wrote:

    On 7/20/2012 12:00 AM, Jason Resch wrote:

    On Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 7:58 PM, Stephen P. King
    <stephe...@charter.net <mailto:stephe...@charter.net>> wrote:

        On 7/19/2012 7:09 PM, Jason Resch wrote:

        On Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 4:20 PM, Stephen P. King
        <stephe...@charter.net <mailto:stephe...@charter.net>> wrote:

            To fix a typo

            On 7/19/2012 3:46 PM, Stephen P. King wrote:
            Dear Bruno,

                I need to slow down and just address this question
            of your as it seems to be the point where we disconnect
            from understanding each other.

            On 7/19/2012 10:22 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
            At this stage I will ask you to define "physical".

                The physical is the represented as the sum of
            facts that mutually communicating observers have in common.

    Some might say the only incontrovertible fact is "I think
    therefore I am" but this can't be communicated.

        So 2 is prime is physical?

        Hi Jason,

            Any physical implementation that communicates "2 is
        prime" is, yes.

    Where in physics does the 48th Mersenne Prime exist?  How will it
    be communicated to its discoverer?

        How would I know that? You seem to misunderstand the meaning
    of the word "exist" that I am using. Could you give us your
    definition of it?

This definition does not include first person views, so it is incomplete, but a partial definition for what exists might be something like: Something having objective properties that could be studied by independent entities, and the independent entities would come to the same conclusions about that thing.

Hi Jason,

The problem that I see with this definition is that it makes existence contingent and not necessary. The contingency (or dependence in the weaker case) on the capacity of "having objective properties that could be studied by independent entities, and the independent entities would come to the same conclusions about that thing" would make observers prior to existence and that works if we are considering non-well founded system, but not for the canonical case. Existence must be prior to everything, literally, and thus cannot be contingent on anything, including observers and/or their capacities.

        The symbols that you are reading here, that are communicating
        to you are physical, no? Is this somehow being overlooked?

    You and I might agree on the incontrovertibly that there are an
    infinite number of primes, but some (an infinite number) are too
big for us to communicate in the lifetime of the universe. According to your theory of "to exist is to be communicated
    between two observers", there would be only a finite number of
    primes (those short enough to be communicated before the heat
    death of the universe).

        You obviously believe that the finite universe that you
    observe is all that exists. I don't.

I don't either. But you seemed to suggest observers depend on real physical implementations, so at best your theory of existence is based on some degree of circularity. Observers depend on "physics", but that physics depends on what observers can learn and communicate about that physics. If what exists is so observer-relative, every observers could come to a different conclusion about what exists, which doesn't seem like a very useful model.

OK, you seem to be anticipating non-well foundedness (in the sense of ... -> observers -> existence -> observers -> ...) and the need for the canonical case.

    I also do not mistake potential infinities from actual infinities.
    They are different.

        What about uncertainties, like string theory, or many
        worlds?  Would those be nonphysical?

            Indeed! If they can neither be experienced nor
        communicated then they are by this definition unphysical.
        This is not unusual. There are many solutions to accepted
        physics equations that are similarly considered "unphysical"
        without any controversy.

    Would the "physical world" for two observers A and B, be
    different from two observers C and D?

        Maybe, if C and D where perpetually incommunicado from A and
    B. Event horizons have interesting consequences.

            It is those facts that cannot be denied without
            introducing contradictions, thus such things as
            "hallucinations" and "mirages" are excluded. I guess
            that this definition might seem tautological, but it
            seems to me to be the explanation that has the longest
            reach in its power to explain what is meant by the
            word. Additionally, physical refers to "objects of the

        What do you mean by "the world"?

        Earth, This Hubble Volume, Everything beyond it in all
        dimensions forever, all branches of the wavefunction, all
        possible string theories, all self-consistent structures?

            Any and all of those that satisfy the definition that I
        gave above. It seems that people like axiomatic definitions,
        so have some. ;-P The point is that without observers that
        act as the "to whom meaning obtains" there is no such thing
        as meaningfulness. This is my thumbnail argument against
        Platonism and any other idealist ontology.

    Could you clarify the argument?  I don't understand it.

        Maybe you don't wish to understand. That is your choice.

Thanks, that was helpful.

    Sorry. :_(

        Abstracting away the entity to whom meaning exists is just
        inverted semantic externalization
        and is equally fallacious. We can communicate all day about
        things, including ourselves, as if they don't exist, but this
        does not change any facts.

    Just above you said communication is a requirement for physical

        Yes, but it is not the only requirement. Did you note the word
    " incontrovertible"? Mutual consistency and communication are weak
    requirements, but strong enough to to the job. It is how they are
    achieved that is the fun part.

Even if it is only one of the requirements, the contadiction remains:
"We can communicate all day about things, including ourselves, as if they don't exist, but this does not change any facts." "The physical is the represented as the sum of incontrovertible <http://www.thefreedictionary.com/incontrovertible> facts that mutually communicating observers have in common."

So depending the observers in question, and what they choose to communicate, what is "physical" changes. But then you say communication doesn't change any facts. So where does that leave the physical? A mutual, ever changing agreement between two or more entities?

Yes, but with the bounded but open (clopen?) capacity of further observation and communication. I am trying to abstract away all of the properties that are irrelevant to our discussion, but we cannot ignore those. All of the conserved properties and the transformations that allow the conservation cannot be left unconsidered. Also communication below the level of substitution is still communication. The electrons and quarks that are making up your body are communicating with each other, no?

What was physical before the first observers evolved? This sounds a bit like Wheeler's participatory universe, wherein the universe comes into existence when the first conscious creature arrived, which is not too different from some Buddhist schools of thought, nor very different from Bruno's proof once one assumes mechanism and arithmetical realism.

Why do we have to have a "first observer" in any absolute sense? We must drop the idea of an absolute observer that is somehow external to the universe and yet capable of knowledge of it. This is a mistake that must be fixed. THere are no voyeurs. Observation is always reflexive at some level. Bruno's concept of "level of substitution" is equivalent to this, IMHO. We have already breached the idea of non-well foundedness and circularity, let us use it. It is just a matter of being careful. I am 100% in agreement with Wheeler. All that has to be understood is that there are no absolute observers just as there are no global measures. There are only relative local measures and thus relative observers in the sense of your question here. The key is to first identify the invariants (such as 1p identity, existence, truth, etc. ) and then work out what has to vary and how, such that the invariants are conserved.



"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
~ Francis Bacon

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