On 19 January 2014 16:05, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> On 1/18/2014 1:09 AM, LizR wrote:
> On 18 January 2014 19:51, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>> On 1/17/2014 10:18 PM, LizR wrote:
>> On 18 January 2014 19:12, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>>> But where does it exist? X has to be conscious of a location, a
>>> physics, etc. If all this is the same as where I exist, then it is
>>> just a translation of this world into arithmetic. It's the flip side of "A
>>> perfect description of X is the same as X", i.e. "X is the perfect
>>> description of X". If every perfect description is realized somewhere in
>>> arithmetic (and I think it probably is) nothing is gained by saying we may
>>> be in arithmetic.
>>> Don't we gain less entities, making Occam a bit happier? If we can get
>> the appearance of a universe without having to actually have one, can't we
>> "retire the universe" and just stick with the
>> "appearance-of-one-with-equal-explanatory-value" ? (Not an original idea,
>> of course, I'm fairly sure Max Tegmark said something along those lines
>> regarding his mathematical universe hypothesis -- that if the maths was
>> isomorphic to the universe, why bother to assume the universe was
>> physically there?).
>> I'm asking why have the maths?
> Well (putting on my AR hat) we have it because the maths is
> *necessarily*existent, while the universe isn't.
> I disagree. The maths are necessarily true, i.e. "axioms imply theorems"
> is true. But why should that imply *existence*. We know we can invent all
> kinds of maths by just changing the axioms or even changing the rules of
> inference. Sometimes people on this list post the semi-mystic opinion that
> everything=nothing, pointing to the need for discrimination. I look at
> this as saying positing everything is the same as saying nothing.
Well, replacing my AR hat with a materialist one, I have to agree. And
leaving aside all hats, I really don't know if maths exists (in some sense)
or not. Sometimes it seems to make sense that it does (17 is prime!)
sometimes it doesn't (how can an abstraction exist?)
However, there does seem to be a problem that needs explaining, concerning
why there is something rather than nothing, and what breathes fire into the
equations. This is one attempt to address that problem. I must admit I find
it very hard to imagine in what sense maths - even elementary arithmetic -
can be said to exist, but I appreciate that what appears to exist actually
seems to melt away when you look really closely, like the mirror in
"Through the Looking Glass". So matter is made of energy, or maybe of
objects which encode a few bits of information, and atoms are held together
by light, which is - what? And so on. So I am willing to contemplate the
posibility that this weird existence has an equally - or more - weird
But it's all very conjectural (and very strange, most of the time. Luckily
most of my friends have no idea I think about this stuff...)
> Of course there's an answer - we can manipulate the maths - but then
>> doesn't that proves that the maths aren't the universe. They wouldn't be
>> any use as predictive and descriptive tools if they WERE the things
>> described. They are only useful because they are abstractions, i.e. they
>> leave stuff out (like existence?).
> Well .... the maths does have that "unreasonable effectiveness" (that
> you're probably bored to death hearing about). And one reason for that
> could be because it is - in the guise of some yet-to-be-discovered TOE -
> isomorphic to the universe.
> Or it could be because we, denizens of this physics/universe, invent them.
> Why would that make it effective, though? After all we also invented fairy
tales, and conspiracy theories, and religion, and...)
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