On 28 December 2013 07:11, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

> On 25 Dec 2013, at 23:54, LizR wrote:
> Arithmetical reality theories like comp and Tegmark's MUH assume that the
> only things that exist are those that must exist (in this case some simple
> numerical relations). This seems to me to be a good starting hypothesis -
> show that some specific thing must exist, such as the facts of simple
> arithmetic, and see what happens. Descartes tried this when he started with
> his own thoughts (i.e., as we generally assume, with the idea of
> computation). Which is pretty darn close to assuming just abstract
> relations exist...
> My favourite answer to the question "Why is there something rather than
> nothing?" is "There isn't!"
> Hmm... You still have to assume something, like 0 and its successors, or
> the empty set + some operation adding sets from it (like reflexion and
> comprehension), etc.

Yes, "there isn't!" refers to the assumption of a material universe. What
exists in this view is only what must exist, namely certain abstract
relations (the famous 2+2=4 and 17 being prime). If one can get the rest
(or the appearance thereof) to drop out somehow from things which are
logical and/or mathematical necessities, you will have answered that age
old question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" - this is why I
have a lot of time and indeed admiration for comp, and also Max Tegmark's
MUH, because they are both trying to do this.

I have always been interested in this question, but many answers seem to
just push it back onto something else, "God" being the main offender.

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