On 29.07.2012 11:28 Alberto G. Corona said the following:
These psycho-philosophical arguments like the one of John Ellis are
what in evolutionary Psychology is called an explanation based on
proximate causes.

I guess that science is based on observation and hence it might be good to define what observation is. To this end, past, present and future seems to be quite a crucial concept. First a scientist plans an experiment. Hence at the beginning the experiment is in the future. Then the scientist performs the experiment and eventually the experiment is in the past.

Instead, ultimate causes are the physical causes that generate, by
natural selection, a mind with such concepts and such phenomenology
that is capable of such reasoning.  I take evolutionary reasoning
because evolution is the only way to link both kinds of philosophical
and physical explanations. The first is more important in practical
terms, because our  phenomenology defines what IS real. Period. But
only ultimate causes can illuminate and explain them.

Recently I have written about Grand Design by Hawking. It seems that according to you, the M-theory could be an ultimate cause. Yet, it does not contain the A-series based on past, present and future. One will find there at best the B-series only. It is unclear to me how the M-theory could describe a scientist planning and performing an experiment.

[Our phenomenology conform a common, communicable reality among us
because it is the product of a common mind, that is a product of a
common brain architecture, that is a result of a common brain
development program that is a result of a common genetic

Let me ask Max Velmans' question again. According to neuroscience, all conscious experience including visual is in the brain. Hence, according to the ultimate causes, is the brain in the world or the world in the brain? What would you say?

Again, this question is quite important, as we have to define what observation is. Does for example observation happens in the brain?

An example of ultimate causes may be the theory of Relativity,
statistical mechanics, the fact that we live in a four dimensional
universe and our 4d life lines go along a maximum gradient of
entropy, and the desplacement along these lines is called time, that
is local to each line. Another ultimate cause is the nature of
natural selection, how and why a certain aggregate of matter can
maintain its internal entropy in his path trough a line of maximum
increase of entrophy, and it is by detection computation and acting
to avoid dangers and to capture good things. The good and bad entropy
must come in identifiable bags in an eternal "videogame". This is a
requisite for life. Non avoidable changes of entropy causes mass

[The maximum gradient of entropy is paradoxically at first sight, the
most computable path, that is why life proceed in this direction:


In your presentation you use terms causation and computation. How would you define them?

Let us say that there is some conglomerate of atoms. When it computes and when not?

The same is with causation. What is causation according to ultimiate causes? Does it mean something more as solution to some transient inexorable governing laws?

As for the entropy and the arrow of time, recently I have found some nice quotes about Boltzmann

From Boltzmann’s fluctuation hypothesis to Boltzmann’s Brain

That's what happens with the entropy approach:

“And that minimum fluctuation would be “Boltzmann’s Brain.” Out of the background thermal equilibrium, a fluctuation randomly appears that collects some degrees of freedom into the form of a conscious brain, with just enough sensory apparatus to look around and say “Hey! I exist!”, before dissolving back into the equilibrated ooze.”


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