Re: A calculus of personal identity

2006-07-12 Thread Stathis Papaioannou

Brent Meeker writes:

 I would say that what makes a statement like we're the same person from 
 moment to moment true is
 that it's an inference from, or a part of, a model of the world that is 
 true in the provisional
 sense of scientific theories, i.e. it subsumes and predicts many emprically 
 verified observations
 (e.g. if I wake you up in the middle of the night and ask you your name 
 you'll reply 'Stathis') and
 it has not made any falsified predictions.  So in this sense we could say 
 that our model of
 personhood is better than that of the day-people - not in the sense that we 
 can show theirs is
 false, but in the sense that ours has greater predictive power and scope.

If I were a day-person and you woke me in the middle of the night, I would say 
that the person who went to bed last night was Stathis-1 and the person now 
awake is Stathis-2. I would agree that Stathis-1 and Stathis-2 are comprised of 
mostly the same matter and have similar mental attributes, but the fact 
remains, the brains of my species have evolved so that waking up from sleep 
makes them believe they are a new person. This isn't a model or a theory; it's 
more like reporting that I'm hungry, or frightened. Philosophical problems 
arise when this feeling of continuity of identity (or lack of it) is equated 
with some empirical fact. It happens that in our own evolution physical and 
mental continuity has been strongly correlated with the subjective feeling of 
continuity of identity, and it is tempting to say that therefore physical and 
mental continuity is equivalent to or (slightly weaker) necessitates continuity 
of identity. However, this default model that we all use day to day is flawed 
on two counts. Firstly, the correlation is not necessary, but contingent on 
evolutionary circumstances. It is easy enough to imagine rational beings like 
the day-people who have a completely different approach to personal identity. 
Secondly, the default model is not even internally consistent, as shown in 
duplication thought experiments. If I am to be duplicated tomorrow and one of 
the copies tortured, I am worried; but when tomorrow comes, and I am not 
tortured, I am relieved. How is it that I become one or other copy when my 
mental continuity with both is the same? There is no ambiguity in the empirical 
facts, but there is ambiguity in how I experience continuity of identity - 
because these are two different things and there is no simple, consistent 
relationship between them. 

Lee Corbin's solution would be that we should take the empirical facts alone - 
both copies are me - and dismiss the nagging feelings that make us think 
otherwise, but this reminds me of an old Australian poem in which a drunk is 
receiving counselling for his addiction: you've convinced me it's bad for me, 
now convince me I don't like it.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Re: SV: Only Existence is necessary?

2006-07-12 Thread Bruno Marchal


Le 11-juil.-06, ˆ 21:06, 1Z a Žcrit :

 And mathematical MWI *would* be in the same happy position *if*
 it could find a justification for MWI or classical measure.

See my work and this list for some path toward it.


 To have material existence is to have non-zero measure,
 and vice-versa.


So, in the space {0,1}* (that is: the space of functions from N to  
{0,1}, or the space of infinite sequence of 0 and 1) together with  
some reasonable topology)  the set of random sequences, just because it  
has non-zero measure, has a material existence ?!?!?!.

Well, why not, if that is your definition. I understand better why you  
say you could introduce matter in Platonia. Plato would have disagree  
in the sense that matter is the shadow of the ideal intelligible  
reality. Note the intelligible, which will be developped by Plotinus  
(notably), taking then ontology in my sense (or Jesse one, or as I  
and Jesse are suspecting: the common current one).


 Platonists about mathematical objects claim that the theorems of our
 mathematical theories - sentences like '3 is prime' (a theorem of
 arithmetic) and 'There are infinitely many transfinite cardinal
 numbers' (a theorem of set theory) - are literally true and that
 the only plausible view of such sentences is that they are ABOUT
 ABSTRACT OBJECTS

I agree, (although in some context it helps to consider mathematical  
objects like numbers and strings, turing machine's computation as  
concrete, to better appreciate the non concreteness of variables and  
functions, but this should not be relevant here).


 Some do. In any case, if numbers don't exist at all -- even
 platonically --

I am just saying that the truth value of the sentence there is a prime  
number does not depend on me ...
I don't understand what you mean by numbers don't exist at all.  
Numbers exists in Platonia in the sense that the classical proposition  
4356667654090987890111 is prime or 4356667654090987890111 is not  
prime is true there.

 they they cannot even produce the mere appearance of a physical world,
 as Bruno requires.

Why? With Church thesis all computations, as defined in computer  
science (not in physics), exists in Platonia, exactly in the same sense  
that for the prime numbers above.
And I do provide evidence that rational unitary transform could be  
the mathematical computations winning the measure-battle in Platonia.  
This would explain not only the existence of computations with  
self-aware observers, but also they relative stability.@
But MUCH more can be said, from Solovay theorem (justifying the modal  
logics G and G* for the provable and non provable by a machine/entity  
self-referential truth) I get not only an arithmetical quantization  
justifying the quanta, I get a larger theory divided into sharable and  
non sharable measurement results. This means I get one mathematical  
structure explaining not only the appearance of a physical world (the  
quanta), but explaining why such quanta are accompanied by non  
communicable personal truth (like the qualia experienced by the  
physicist at the moment where he look at the needle of his/her  
measuring apparatus). In *that* precise sense, the comp-physics is in  
advance on the materialist hypo based physics.

Now when you say in another post:

 I cant address your anti-materialism arguments directly since
 you idn't state them, only alluding to them.

I think you have a memory problem. See my URL for my papers. Search in  
Science-direct Elsevier for my last one.

 Insamuch as you claim that COMP is your only
 assumption, CT and AR are *not* assumed explicitly.

I defined in this list comp by yes doctor+ CT + AR. In my Brussel's  
thesis  conscience et mŽcanisme I call it digital mechanism. CT is  
explicitly assumed for giving a univocal sense to the words  
computations or digital machine, and AR is made explicit for clarity.  
That comp entails immateriality (in the sense that the observable must  
be justified by computer science exclusively) is just a result (not  
obvious at all).

 Brains are material. Computers are material.

Ah. If you say so. Perhaps you are right,  but then they are actual  
material realities, not emulable at all by any turing machine. It is up  
to you to find the mistake in the UDA, if you still believe that comp  
does not entail the reversal between physics and number theory (large  
sense like in the book of Manin on Number Theory).

 Comp is about the behaviour of the brain as a material system.

This is the naturalist preconception of comp. If you want it is comp  
before I get the proof that comp entails immateriality. But perhaps you  
agree now, giving that you gave us an immaerial definition of matter:  
measure ­ 0. (But elsewhere you gave another: casually capable of  
interacting with you: so I am not sure).


 Why should I prove my assumptions?

 You could at least state them.

I do it in all paper on this subject, and I have done it at nauseam in  
this 

Re: SV: Only Existence is necessary?

2006-07-12 Thread Bruno Marchal


Le 12-juil.-06, à 02:11, Brent Meeker a écrit :

BM (Bruno):
 For the same reason they are far more Christians than Buddhist. And
 none of your materialist even try to define matter. They take it for
 granted, following mainly Aristotle. Almost all materialist react by
 knocking a table when they want me to realize matter exists.

BM (Brent):
 But that is consistent.  You assume arithmetic is real and so you seek 
 an arithmetical definition of
 matter.



or better an arithmetical justification why machines believes (in some 
local correct and stable way) in the appearance of empirical 
stability/matter.
I doubt that word like matter  or consciousness or god can be 
third person defined at all.




 A scientists assume the matter gives an operational definition, e.g. 
 as Vic Stenger does:
 matter is what kicks back when you kick it.


Deutsch uses this to explain objectivity, and argues, with such a 
criteria due to Johnson, that math is objective. Perhaps some 
materialist use this to define matter but then there need to define 
kicking back, and thus interaction, etc.




 You cannot criticize people who don't believe in
 Platonia for giving non-platonic definitions.


They believe in Platonia in the sense we use the words in the list 
since years. Once again, all what I say is that the belief that you can 
survive with  a digital brain (material or not) entails the total lack 
of explanative power of any notion of primary matter.
 From a pure logical point of view, a materialist who believes in comp 
can still believe in primitive matter, but he cannot use it in any 
account of a material sensation. Primary matter is devoid of any 
explanation power. It is perhaps the last form of ether or phlogiston 
...
It would be false modesty on my part to harbor doubt about my 
derivation. Also, it has been verified by many many people now, and 
although systematic error are possible, I am on the path to make a 
paper corresponding to my thesis along with the new development both 
mathematical, and then plotinian.
The result is highly not obvious after 1500 of Aristotelianism,  but  
it has been intuited by many during one millennium of greek rational 
theology. See also Descartes who, imo, already annonced the coming back 
of the platonician and the rational mystics  (called theoretician by 
the greeks).

Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/


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Re: SV: Only Existence is necessary?

2006-07-12 Thread Bruno Marchal


Le 12-juil.-06, à 03:53, Jesse Mazer a écrit :

 Well, I don't think the world obeys mathematical laws because it is 
 causally
 interacting with platonic forms, any more than I think the world obeys 
 the
 law of noncontradiction because it is causally interacting with 
 platonic
 laws of logic. I would say ontology is about the most exhaustive 
 possible
 list of objective truths, and any entity referred to in this 
 exhaustive list
 of objectively true statements exists by definition.


Very well said Jesse. It is a very fundamental point.

Even Godel did not entirely understand this for a time, and has been, 
at some moment of its intellectual life, tempted by the idea that 
mathematician could have a sort sixth sense letting them to apprehend 
physically platonist truth. But this can be related to its non-comp 
earlier temptation. Eventually Godel will see the point: 
physicalisation of platonia makes the relation between math and physics 
still more impalatable.
In plato it is more simple: the heaven is the *intelligible in 
principle* realm of forms, and with Plotinus, this is extended up to 
the border of the non-intelligible called evil, transcendental 
obscurity or ... matter.
This (advanced) remark could help for the arithmetical interpretation 
of the Plotinian hypostases.

Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/


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Re: SV: Only Existence is necessary?

2006-07-12 Thread 1Z


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 Le 11-juil.-06, ˆ 21:06, 1Z a Žcrit :

  And mathematical MWI *would* be in the same happy position *if*
  it could find a justification for MWI or classical measure.

 See my work and this list for some path toward it.


  To have material existence is to have non-zero measure,
  and vice-versa.


 So, in the space {0,1}* (that is: the space of functions from N to
 {0,1}, or the space of infinite sequence of 0 and 1) together with
 some reasonable topology)  the set of random sequences, just because it
 has non-zero measure, has a material existence ?!?!?!.


I mean that is what material exists regardless of any mathematical
justification.

 Well, why not, if that is your definition. I understand better why you
 say you could introduce matter in Platonia. Plato would have disagree
 in the sense that matter is the shadow of the ideal intelligible
 reality.

What is material exists. Whether Platonia exists
is another matter. It is for Platonism to justify itslef
in terms of the concrete reality we find oursleves in,
not for concrete reality to be justify itself in terms
of Platonia.

  Note the intelligible, which will be developped by Plotinus
 (notably), taking then ontology in my sense (or Jesse one, or as I
 and Jesse are suspecting: the common current one).

The intelligible is a quasi-empiricist mathematical epistemology.
Mathematicians are supposed by Platonists to be able to perceive
mathematical
truth with some extra organ.

  Platonists about mathematical objects claim that the theorems of our
  mathematical theories - sentences like '3 is prime' (a theorem of
  arithmetic) and 'There are infinitely many transfinite cardinal
  numbers' (a theorem of set theory) - are literally true and that
  the only plausible view of such sentences is that they are ABOUT
  ABSTRACT OBJECTS

 I agree, (although in some context it helps to consider mathematical
 objects like numbers and strings, turing machine's computation as
 concrete, to better appreciate the non concreteness of variables and
 functions, but this should not be relevant here).

What are you agreeing with? That Platoism is an ontological
claim ?

  Some do. In any case, if numbers don't exist at all -- even
  platonically --

 I am just saying that the truth value of the sentence there is a prime
 number does not depend on me ...

Then your AR is non-ontological, and does
not justify the claim that we are in Platonia,
since it doesn't justify the claim that Platonia exists.

 I don't understand what you mean by numbers don't exist at all.

Well, I've never seen one.

 Numbers exists in Platonia in the sense that the classical proposition
 4356667654090987890111 is prime or 4356667654090987890111 is not
 prime is true there.

It's true here. why bring Platonia into it ?

  they they cannot even produce the mere appearance of a physical world,
  as Bruno requires.

 Why?

What doesn't exist at all cannot underpin the existence of anything --
even of an illusion.

 With Church thesis all computations, as defined in computer
 science (not in physics), exists in Platonia, exactly in the same sense
 that for the prime numbers above.

That is a most unhelpful remark. All you said above is
that true mathematical sentences have truth-values
independent of you. You have now started treating
that as a claim about existence. It is as if
your are using is true and exists as synonyms.

 And I do provide evidence that rational unitary transform could be
 the mathematical computations winning the measure-battle in Platonia.


Huh How can you have a battle without time ?

 This would explain not only the existence of computations with
 self-aware observers, but also they relative stability.@
 But MUCH more can be said, from Solovay theorem (justifying the modal
 logics G and G* for the provable and non provable by a machine/entity
 self-referential truth) I get not only an arithmetical quantization
 justifying the quanta, I get a larger theory divided into sharable and
 non sharable measurement results. This means I get one mathematical
 structure explaining not only the appearance of a physical world (the
 quanta),

You have to explain how a mathematical structure can appear
at all, before you can explain how it can appear quantal (or whatever).

 but explaining why such quanta are accompanied by non
 communicable personal truth (like the qualia experienced by the
 physicist at the moment where he look at the needle of his/her
 measuring apparatus). In *that* precise sense, the comp-physics is in
 advance on the materialist hypo based physics.

Materialism does not imply everything should be communicable.

 Now when you say in another post:

  I cant address your anti-materialism arguments directly since
  you idn't state them, only alluding to them.

 I think you have a memory problem. See my URL for my papers. Search in
 Science-direct Elsevier for my last one.

That's an allusion, too.

  Insamuch as you claim that COMP is your 

Re: Theory of Nothing available

2006-07-12 Thread Norman Samish



- Original Message - 
From: "Russell Standish" [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Prof. Standish,

Congratulations on publishing what is, at least so far,a 
fascinating book! I particularly appreciate 
thatyouhavetaken pains to make it intelligible to 
non-specialists. I'm looking forward to perusing it.

I bought the PDF version from http://www.booksurge.comand they allowed an 
immediate download. 

Thanks and best wishes,
Norman Samish

I'm pleased to announce that my book "Theory of Nothing" is 
now for sale through Booksurge and Amazon.com. If you go to the Booksurge 
website (http://www.booksurge.com, http://www.booksurge.co.uk for Brits and 
http://www.booksurge.com.au for us Aussies) you 
should get the PDF softcopy bundled with the hardcopy book, so you can start 
reading straight away, or you can buy the softcopy only for a reduced price. The 
prices are USD 16 for the hardcopy, and USD 7.50 for the softcopy. 

In the book, I advance the thesis that many mysteries about 
reality can be solved by connecting ideas from physics, mathematics, computer 
science, biology and congitive science. The connections flow both ways - the 
form of fundamental physics is constrained by our psyche, just as our psyche 
must be constrained by the laws of physics. 

Many of the ideas presented in this book were developed over 
the years in discussions on the Everything list. I make extensive references 
into the Everything list archoives, as well as more traditional scientific and 
philosophical literature. This book may be used as one man's synthesis of the 
free flowing and erudite discussions of the Everything list. 

Take a look at the book. I should have Amazon's "search 
inside" feature wokring soon. In the meantime, I have posted a copy of the first 
chapter, which contains a precis of the main argument, at http://parallel.hpc.unsw.edu.au/rks/ToN-chapter1.pdf
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Infinities, cardinality, diagonalisation

2006-07-12 Thread Quentin Anciaux

Hi list,

I have a question I've been thinking about for a while... It may seems stupid, 
but I need to understand where I'm wrong.

So here it is... Does the set N contains infinite number ?

I ask this because Cantor prove with the diagonalisation argument that the set 
R is uncountable and cannot be map to N, so that the cardinality of R is 
higher than the cardinality of N.

But if N contains infinite numbers then with the diagonalisation argument I 
can do something like this, a mapping of N to N :

N   
1   D1 = d11d12d13d14 ... d1k ...
2   D2 = d21d22d23d24 ... d2k ...
3   D3 = d31d32d33d34 ... d3k ...
...  
n   Dn = dn1dn2dn3dn4 ... dnk ...
... till infinity

So DX is any infinite natural number, dxx is a digit between 0 and 9. No I 
have the number X = x1x2x3x4x5 ... xk ... which is an infinite natural number 
with x1 != d11, x2 != d22 ... xn != dnn. So this natural number is not in the 
list, so it means N is not countable but it cannot be !

Also there is an infinity of finite length natural number... but also an 
infinity of infinite natural number...

Also if infinite natural number exists how can we conserver the well order of 
the natural number ?

How can we find the successor of the natural number  
1...11. till infinity ?

I get lost, I think there is a problem with how infinity is handled in the 
argument.

Regards,
Quentin

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Test - please ignore

2006-07-12 Thread Quentin Anciaux

Sorry for the disturbance...
I've had several lost mail issue with the list.
Quentin

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Re: SV: Only Existence is necessary?

2006-07-12 Thread Quentin Anciaux

Hi,

1Z wrote:
 I will take the stuff that seems solid to me as primary reality until
 demostrated
 otherwise.

This was not the point... the point was to make you understand that
Bruno has proved that *IF* computationalism is true *THEN* primary
reality does not exists ! It even doesn't mean anything in this
context.

So the point is not that you accept or not computationalism and
stuffy/not stuffy stuff... It is just that if you accept
computationalism you cannot accept a primary reality... If you do not
(as it seems) then it's normal, but you cannot claim computationalism
at the same time, Bruno proved that it is not compatible.

Regards,
Quentin


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Re: SV: Only Existence is necessary?

2006-07-12 Thread 1Z


Quentin Anciaux wrote:
 Hi,

 1Z wrote:
  I will take the stuff that seems solid to me as primary reality until
  demostrated
  otherwise.

 This was not the point... the point was to make you understand that
 Bruno has proved that *IF* computationalism is true *THEN* primary
 reality does not exists ! It even doesn't mean anything in this
 context.

And the point of my various comments is that what he
has actualy shown is that IF computationalism is true
AND ontologicial Platonism is true AND if the HP prolbem
can be solved AND the appearance-of-time problem can be
solved AND if there is nothing more to consciousness
than cognition AND occam's razor still applies in
Paltonia THEN materialism is an unnecessary hypothesis.


 So the point is not that you accept or not computationalism and
 stuffy/not stuffy stuff... It is just that if you accept
 computationalism you cannot accept a primary reality... If you do not
 (as it seems) then it's normal, but you cannot claim computationalism
 at the same time, Bruno proved that it is not compatible.

Bruno-computationalism is standard computationalism+platonism.
Since I reject platomnism, I reject Bruno-computationalism
(whilst having rather less problem with the standard computational
thesis, that cognition is computation).


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Re: SV: Only Existence is necessary?

2006-07-12 Thread Quentin Anciaux

Le Mercredi 12 Juillet 2006 23:54, 1Z a écrit :
 Bruno-computationalism is standard computationalism+platonism.
 Since I reject platomnism, I reject Bruno-computationalism
 (whilst having rather less problem with the standard computational
 thesis, that cognition is computation).

If computationalism is true then platonism must also be true.

Because if you were in a simulation and you have managed to get out of it, 
how can you know you have reach the bottom level of reality (ie: the material 
world then) ? How can you know the new real world you are now in is the real 
world and not another simulation ? It is the turtle on the turtle on the 
turtle... Even if you take standard computational thesis, then by the 
reasoning upper you must reject a bottom level real... ie: a material world, 
a stuffy world... every reality is stuffy and real (from the inside).

Regards,
Quentin


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Re: SV: Only Existence is necessary?

2006-07-12 Thread 1Z


Bruno Marchal wrote:

 Deutsch uses this to explain objectivity, and argues, with such a
 criteria due to Johnson, that math is objective. Perhaps some
 materialist use this to define matter but then there need to define
 kicking back, and thus interaction, etc.

Johnson' demonstration was supposed to be ostensive, not semantic.


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RE: Theory of Nothing available

2006-07-12 Thread Danny Mayes








I have purchased the book as well in PDF,
and while I also have not had time to read much of it, skimming through it for
an overview I can highly recommend it to anyone who regularly reads the
everything list as it thoroughly covers so many of the topics discussed here.



Congrats Professor! 











From: everything-list@googlegroups.com [mailto:everything-list@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Norman Samish
Sent: Wednesday, July 12, 2006
2:54 PM
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: Theory of Nothing
available







- Original Message - 



From: Russell Standish [EMAIL PROTECTED]













Prof. Standish,











Congratulations on publishing what is, at least so far,a
fascinating book! I particularly appreciate thatyouhavetaken
pains to make it intelligible to non-specialists. I'm looking forward to
perusing it.











I bought the PDF version from http://www.booksurge.comand they allowed an immediate
download. 











Thanks and best wishes,





Norman Samish











I'm pleased to announce that my book Theory of Nothing is
now for sale through Booksurge and Amazon.com. If you go to the Booksurge
website (http://www.booksurge.com, http://www.booksurge.co.uk for Brits and http://www.booksurge.com.au for us Aussies) you should get the PDF
softcopy bundled with the hardcopy book, so you can start reading straight
away, or you can buy the softcopy only for a reduced price. The prices are USD
16 for the hardcopy, and USD 7.50 for the softcopy. 











In the book, I advance the thesis that many mysteries about reality can
be solved by connecting ideas from physics, mathematics, computer science,
biology and congitive science. The connections flow both ways - the form of
fundamental physics is constrained by our psyche, just as our psyche must be
constrained by the laws of physics. 











Many of the ideas presented in this book were developed over the years
in discussions on the Everything list. I make extensive references into the
Everything list archoives, as well as more traditional scientific and
philosophical literature. This book may be used as one man's synthesis of the
free flowing and erudite discussions of the Everything list. 











Take a look at the book. I should have Amazon's search
inside feature wokring soon. In the meantime, I have posted a copy of the
first chapter, which contains a precis of the main argument, at http://parallel.hpc.unsw.edu.au/rks/ToN-chapter1.pdf








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Re: A calculus of personal identity

2006-07-12 Thread Brent Meeker

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
 Brent Meeker writes:
 
 
 I would say that what makes a statement like we're the same person from 
 moment to moment true
 is that it's an inference from, or a part of, a model of the world that is 
 true in the
 provisional sense of scientific theories, i.e. it subsumes and predicts many 
 emprically
 verified observations (e.g. if I wake you up in the middle of the night and 
 ask you your name
 you'll reply 'Stathis') and it has not made any falsified predictions.  So 
 in this sense we
 could say that our model of personhood is better than that of the day-people 
 - not in the sense
 that we can show theirs is false, but in the sense that ours has greater 
 predictive power and
 scope.
 
 
 If I were a day-person and you woke me in the middle of the night, I would 
 say that the person
 who went to bed last night was Stathis-1 and the person now awake is 
 Stathis-2. I would agree
 that Stathis-1 and Stathis-2 are comprised of mostly the same matter and have 
 similar mental
 attributes, but the fact remains, the brains of my species have evolved so 
 that waking up from
 sleep makes them believe they are a new person. This isn't a model or a 
 theory; it's more like
 reporting that I'm hungry, or frightened. Philosophical problems arise when 
 this feeling of
 continuity of identity (or lack of it) is equated with some empirical fact. 
 It happens that in
 our own evolution physical and mental continuity has been strongly correlated 
 with the subjective
 feeling of continuity of identity, and it is tempting to say that therefore 
 physical and mental
 continuity is equivalent to or (slightly weaker) necessitates continuity of 
 identity. However,
 this default model that we all use day to day is flawed on two counts. 
 Firstly, the correlation
 is not necessary, but contingent on evolutionary circumstances. It is easy 
 enough to imagine
 rational beings like the day-people who have a completely different approach 
 to personal
 identity. Secondly, the default model is not even internally consistent, as 
 shown in duplication
 thought experiments. If I am to be duplicated tomorrow and one of the copies 
 tortured, I am
 worried; but when tomorrow comes, and I am not tortured, I am relieved. How 
 is it that I become
 one or other copy when my mental continuity with both is the same? There is 
 no ambiguity in the
 empirical facts, but there is ambiguity in how I experience continuity of 
 identity - because
 these are two different things and there is no simple, consistent 
 relationship between them.

Well, the default model, personal continuity, is consistent absent 
duplications...and there ain't 
any yet.

My example of waking you up and asking your name was a weak one.  I agree with 
Lee that the test of 
a model is in the behavoir it predicts (and not just the vocal behavoir).  And 
on that basis I think 
the model of personal continuity would be a better one, and you might even 
convince a day-person of 
it; Just the reverse of trying convince people here that there isn't *really* 
continuity.  Of course 
if they didn't act as if there were personal continuity, their physical 
continuity would likely end.

Brent Meeker

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Re: Infinities, cardinality, diagonalisation

2006-07-12 Thread Tom Caylor

I think my easy answer is to say that infinite numbers are not in N.  I
like to think of it with a decimal point in front, to form a number
between 0 and 1.  Yes you have the rational numbers which eventually
have a repeating pattern (or stop).  But you also have in among them
the irrational numbers which are uncountable. (Hey this reminds me of
the fi among the Fi.)

To ask what is the next number after an infinite number, like
1...1... is similar asking what is the next real number after
0.1...1...

Tom


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Re: SV: Only Existence is necessary?

2006-07-12 Thread Jesse Mazer

1Z wrote:


Jesse Mazer wrote:
  1Z wrote:
 

But it is a straw man to say everything-theories makes the 
prediction
  that
Harry Potter universes should be just as likely as lawlike ones,
  because in
fact they do *not* make that definite prediction. If you had just 
said
something like, everything theories do not yet have any rigourous 
proof
that Harry Potter universes should be less likely than lawlike ones 
I
wouldn't object.
  
  If they do not yet have any rigourous proof
  that Harry Potter universes should be less likely than lawlike ones
  then they do IN FACT make the prediction that
  Harry Potter universes should be just as likely as lawlike ones
 
  If a theory can't predict the relative probabilities of X vs. Y, that is 
not
  in any way equivalent to the statement that it predicts X and Y are 
equally
  likely. One is an absence of any prediction, the other is a specific and
  definite prediction.

IOW, if MMW heories worked, MMW theories would work.

No, that is not a fair paraphrase of what I said. I meant exactly what I 
said I meant--if a hypothesis is not well-defined enough to tell you the 
relative probability of different possibilities, that does not justify the 
claim that the hypothesis predicts each possibility is equally likely. Do 
you agree with this principle or not?


  
  Classical physicists din't WANT to make the
  implications that atoms are unstable and will
  implode; nonetheless, classical phsyics makes that
  assumption.
 
  Yes, that is a definite prediction of classical mechanics, and therefore 
has
  nothing to do with examples of theories that cannot make definite
  predictions about certain questions in the first place. A more analogous
  case would be the fact that string theory cannot at present predict the
  value of the cosmological constant; would you therefore conclude that
  string theory predicts all values of the cosmological constant are 
equally
  likely?

That isnot really analogous becasue the CC can only have one
value at a time.

That difference is irrelevant to my point about probabilities. Again, it is 
*always* unjustified to say that because a theory doesn't predict the 
relative probabilities of different outcomes, that means it predicts they 
are equally likely; it doesn't matter whether or not we are talking about 
the probability in the context of a large ensemble of events (say, the 
probability a certain type of atom will decay in a 1-minute time period, 
where we are repeating the test with a large number of atoms) or in the 
context of a single event.

Anyway, it is quite possible that even if string theory could make 
predictions about the value of the cosmological constant, it would only be a 
probabilistic prediction rather than predicting a single unique value, which 
means that if you are prepared to entertain either the MWI of quantum 
mechanics or chaotic inflation where new universes bubble from prior ones 
via inflation, then there might in fact be different universes with 
different values of the cosmological constant.





  Platonists about mathematical objects claim that the theorems 
of
  our
  mathematical theories - sentences like '3 is prime' (a theorem 
of
  arithmetic) and 'There are infinitely many transfinite cardinal
  numbers' (a theorem of set theory) - are literally true and 
that
  the only plausible view of such sentences is that they are 
ABOUT
  ABSTRACT OBJECTS 
  
  (emphasis added)
 
  What do the words abstract object mean to you? To me, if
  propositions
  about numbers have a truth independent of human minds or 
beliefs,
  that's
  equivalent to saying they are true statements about abstract
objects--how
  could a statement be objectively true yet not be about anything?


By having sense but no reference, for instance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense_and_reference
   
The sense/reference distinction is about the possibility of our 
having
multiple mentally distinct terms which map to the same real-world
object...but what would sense but no reference mean?
  
  We can make sense of unicorns have horns, despite
  the lack of reference.
 
  In this case I would say the reference would be to a certain concept 
which
  humans have collectively defined;

No, that's the sense. Sense is in-hte-head , reference
is out-of-the-head.

OK, I see. So what if we are talking about a concept in itself, as in most 
people's concept of a unicorn is that of a horse-like creature with a single 
horn; would the concept itself be a reference?


I don't see how there can be an
objective, mind-independent truth about a term that doesn't refer to 
any
coherent object or possibility.
  
  I am not asking you to. There are coherent possibilities that
  are not instantiated (or perphaps
  I should say, pace many-worlders, not obviously instantiated).
  
  Nonetheless, we can address many issues about