Dear John,

I too like Russell's idea and reasoning. I would only add that Physical phenomena is not derivable from single the first person accounts as there is no way to break the symmetry that this implies (this is the problem of solipsism!). We have to consider a large number of inter-communicating versions of first person accounts. This is so that the mutual non-contradictions can act as a sieve to partition out the commutative observables that the observers (plural!) that have those first person accounts have.

On 7/25/2012 11:55 AM, John Mikes wrote:
Dear Russell,
your "urstuff" is a nice belief, like my "infinite complexity".
I feel your remark is not contradictory to my viewing.  - YET:
I am still uncomfortable with 'ontology' what I imagine as the description of the "AS IS" state in a constantly changing world. Being vs. becoming, a snapshot. /Physical/ IMO is our ever changing explanatory basis for the poorly understandable phenomena we conceive time after time and apply math (maybe more complex than Bruno's integer-based arithmetics?) for such explanations. So 'figment' for "matter" is weird, but maybe closer. And 'primitive' is our ever changing view's past. (I like the 'infinite hotel': you check in, pay your bill and check out into the next one). I think "urstuff" is more than primitive numbers. I never read explanation on how 'numbers' arose in primitive(?) circumstances, forming the "World". I guess 'universal computation' means more to you than just number-churning. Putative is mental activity, - any - covering more domains of the 'infinite complexity' (pardon me for applying this term) than we (may?) know of. Remember: I do not intend to argue with you, you may disregard my remarks, however I will appreciate your opinion.
John Mikes
On Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 2:37 AM, Russell Standish < <>> wrote:

    On Sun, Jul 22, 2012 at 02:41:29PM -0400, Stephen P. King wrote:
    > On 7/22/2012 7:13 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
    > >
    > >Usually I restrict "substance" for physicalist primitive ontology,
    > >like atoms, particles or strings, which does not exist primitively
    > >in the comp theory, but should be derived (by the conclusion of
    > >the UDA).

    (Sorry for replying to Stephen's post - I can't respond to Bruno's
    directly because of his non-standard email client)

    Actually, this is a useful clarification, as it is a point that has
    confused me.

    So paraphrasing in my words, what Bruno is saying is:

    "primitive" = ontological basis of reality ("urstuff" as I put it)
    "matter" = atoms, particles, strings that appear in physical theory

    COMP entails matter is not primitive means that the physical
    things we observe
    (atoms, electrons etc) must be emergent phenomena from whatever the
    urstuff really is. I have little problem with this statement, as it is
    fairly clear that atoms are emergent constructs, and one suspects
    things like electrons, or even strings might be too. Perhaps knots or
    some other topological defects of space-time (which is itself an
    emergent phenomenon of relationships between events).

    Of course, COMP includes the arithmetic realism proposition. Bruno
    claims this is just a statment of the truth of arithmetical statement
    independent of what you or I think, ie that it is not an
    ontological commitment.

    But another way of saying it is that it _is_ an ontological
    commitment. The urstuff is the natural numbers.

    In fact I think COMP is saying something rather more important. It
    doesn't matter what the urstuff is, so long as it supports universal
    computation. Physical phenomena must be derivable from the first
    person account, and it is useless to speculate on the nature of
    urstuff beyond its capability to support universal computation.

    Thinking about David Deutsch's point further, and the observation that
    we don't see hypercomputation like the infinity hotel, we can say what
    the urstuff is not - it is not a hypercomputer like the infinity
    hotel, for instance, but we can't say which of the many equivalent
    structures supporting universal computation it is.


    Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
    Principal, High Performance Coders
    Visiting Professor of Mathematics
    University of New South Wales



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

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