Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-10 Thread Bruno Marchal


Le 09-mai-07, à 18:50, Brent Meeker a écrit :


 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 Le 09-mai-07, à 09:08, [EMAIL PROTECTED] a écrit :

 Of course reality doesn't change.  The question of map versus
 territory is *not* an all or nothing
 question.  *sometimes* the map equals the territory.  Most of the 
 time
 it does not.


 This is an important point where I agree with Marc. With or without
 comp the necessity of distinguishing the map and the territory cannot
 be uniform, there are meaning-fixed-point, like when a map is
 embedded continuously in the territory (assuming some topology in the
 map and in the territory, this follows by a fixed point theorem by
 Brouwer, which today admits many interesting computational
 interpretations.

 Bruno

 I don't think you can define a topology on meaning that will allow 
 the fixed point theorem to apply.



A whole and rather important subfield of computer science is entirely 
based on that. It is know as denotational semantics. Most important 
contributions by Dana Scott. You can look on the web for Scott 
domains.  Or search with the keyword fixed point semantics topology.
Sometimes the topology is made implicit through the use of partial 
order and  a notion of continuous function in between. Indeed the 
topological space used in this setting are not Hausdorff space, and are 
rather different from those used in geometry or analysis.

A nice book is the one by Steve Vickers. It has provide me with 
supplementary reason to single out the Sigma_1 sentences as 
particularly important in the comp frame. (Topology via Logic, 
Cambridge University Press, 1989: 
http://www.amazon.ca/Topology-via-Logic-Steven-Vickers/dp/0521576512).

Here are some links:

http://www.ercim.org/publication/Ercim_News/enw50/schellekens.html

http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/~slonnegr/plf/Book/Chapter10.pdf

http://dimacs.rutgers.edu/Workshops/Lattices/slides/zhang.pdf

I could say more in case I come back on the combinators. Cf:
http://www.mail-archive.com/everything-list@eskimo.com/msg05958.html
because there are strong relation between fixed point semantics, the 
paradoxical combinators, and the use of the (foirst and second) 
recursion theorem in theoretical computer science. But ok all that 
could become very technical of course.

... I thought you knew about fixed point semantics, perhaps I miss your 
point ...


Bruno


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


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-09 Thread marc . geddes



On May 9, 5:57 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:


 How can Everett's every possibility is realized be logically compatible 
 with Bohm's there's only one, deterministic outcome, we just don't know 
 which one and Griffith's it's a probabilistic theory so some things happen 
 and some don't.  I can hardly imagine less compatible interpretations of the 
 same mathematics.  I could add Cramer's transactional interpretation and 
 Feynmann's zig-zag in time interpretation.  Are all those maps or territories?

Well of course the ontological details are indeed quite incompatible.
The status of QM is still very much 'in the air' at the moment, so we
don't yet know with any degree of certainty.  But that can (and
should) change once both theory and observation progresses in the
future.

But most of these interpretations do use some similiar concepts.  As I
mentioned, the idea of some sort of 'wave of possibilities' for
instance.  Even Bohm's 'only one outcome' still uses the wave concept
(the guiding 'pilot wave').  So it's not as if 'anything goes',
ontologically speaking.  Progress is being made.



 Further, all of them actually use some of the
  same concepts they just ascribe different ontological status to them.
  On the wiki:

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretation_of_quantum_mechanics

  Of course it wouldn't be surprising if QM were modified in the
  future.  But all interpretations make use of something like a 'wave of
  possibilities', by the Alain Aspect experiements, it's known that
  future theories would have to have either non-locality or
  indeterminism.  And there are other general empirically established
  features of QM that would have to remain the same.

 Of course every physicist from Newton to Einstein would have said there are 
 generally empirically established features of mechanics like locality, 
 determinism, independence of momentum and position variables, and flow in 
 phase space that must remain the same.

 Brent Meeker-

The example I gave of the Alain Aspect experiments (testing Bell
inequality) did point to proof of some quite specific features -
according to these experiments, all future theories replacing QM would
have to have either indeterminism
or non-locality.  So progress is made...


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-09 Thread Brent Meeker

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 
 On May 9, 3:22 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 Infinite sets and infinitesimals are a lot more than 'mathematical
 conveniences'.  There are precise logical theories for these things
 (As I mentioned before - Cantor worked out the theory of infinite
 sets, Robinson/Conway worked out the theory of infinitesimals).
 Being logically consistent and/or precise doesn't imply existence.  There 
 are consistent theories in which there is a cardinality between the integers 
 and the reals.  But there are also consistent theories which deny such a 
 cardinality.  Does that mean some set exists with that cardinality or not?  
 
 It depends on which theory has the most explanatory power when it
 comes the concepts in need of explanations.  Which explanation best
 simplifies or *integrates* our knowledge?  That is the criteria one
 should use.  It's true that consistency/precise alone doesn't imply
 existence, but they are factors that one can take into account.
 Empirical measurement isn't the defining factor either.  Esoteric math
 concepts by definition are far removed from direct empirical data but
 progress is still made.
 
 
 It's true that infinite sets are not used in comptuer science (which
 is all about discrete/finite math) but beware of making assumptions
 about reality purely on the basis of what can be measured ;)
 If it can't be measured even indirectly, like an infinitesimal, then whether 
 it is kept in your model of reality is mostly a matter of convenience.
 
 See above.  Math seems to be a branch of knowledge which falsifies
 this view.  Mathematicians don't regard differences between theories
 as 'mere convenience', even though the theories under definition may
 be far removed from direct empirical observations.  The view you've
 just stated seems to be a logical positivist/intrumentalist view of
 science.  Again, I don't think the criteria for existence is not
 whether something can be measured (which by the way would itself
 always involve some theoretical judgement calls- since I think you
 yourself said that all observations are theory laden).  The criteria
 for existence should be absed on the explanatory power of the concept
 and the extent to which it *integrates* knowledge.
 
 
 
 But QM assumes a fixed background spacetime, which is inconsistent
 with general relativity - so one of them (or more likely both) are
 wrong.
 Brent Meeker
 There are *degrees* of rightness/wrongness.  Later successful
 theories of reality will still have to have some of the same features
 of the earlier theories in areas where the earlier theories were
 empirically proven.  
 But the earlier theories were NOT empirically proven - they were found to 
 hold over the observable domain.  Later they were disproven in a wider 
 domain and replaced by another theory, e.g. thermodynamics was replaced by 
 statistical mechanics.  Where they overlapped they agreed on the 
 observations, what could be measured, but they didn't agree on the ontology. 
  So it is the facts, the observations, that are the aspects of reality that 
 are preserved as theories change.  Not the mathematics and not the ontology.
 
 Not sure it's as bad as you are making out.  The mathematics of the
 earlier successful theory can still be shown to be a special case of
 (or apporximations to) the later theory.  Further, it's not clear that
 all the ontology from the earlier theories is being thrown away.
 
 For instance it's been proven from the EPR
 experiments that any theory that replaces current QM still has to
 have some of the same general features such as a 'wave of
 possibilities/sum over histories', non-locality or uncertainties and
 so on.
 There are already at least three formulations of QM, Griffiths', Bohm's, and 
 Everett's that are logically incompatible at the level of fundamental 
 ontology - and yet they are described by exactly the same mathematics.

 Brent Meeker
 
 It's not so clear that the different interpretations really are
 logically incompatible.  

How can Everett's every possibility is realized be logically compatible with 
Bohm's there's only one, deterministic outcome, we just don't know which one 
and Griffith's it's a probabilistic theory so some things happen and some 
don't.  I can hardly imagine less compatible interpretations of the same 
mathematics.  I could add Cramer's transactional interpretation and Feynmann's 
zig-zag in time interpretation.  Are all those maps or territories?

Further, all of them actually use some of the
 same concepts they just ascribe different ontological status to them.
 On the wiki:
 
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretation_of_quantum_mechanics
 
 Of course it wouldn't be surprising if QM were modified in the
 future.  But all interpretations make use of something like a 'wave of
 possibilities', by the Alain Aspect experiements, it's known that
 future theories would have to have either non-locality or
 

Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-09 Thread marc . geddes



On May 9, 6:46 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

  On May 9, 5:57 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
  [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

  How can Everett's every possibility is realized be logically compatible 
  with Bohm's there's only one, deterministic outcome, we just don't know 
  which one and Griffith's it's a probabilistic theory so some things 
  happen and some don't.  I can hardly imagine less compatible 
  interpretations of the same mathematics.  I could add Cramer's 
  transactional interpretation and Feynmann's zig-zag in time 
  interpretation.  Are all those maps or territories?

  Well of course the ontological details are indeed quite incompatible.
  The status of QM is still very much 'in the air' at the moment, so we
  don't yet know with any degree of certainty.  But that can (and
  should) change once both theory and observation progresses in the
  future.

 And will reality change too - or is reality different from theories that 
 describe it?


Of course reality doesn't change.  The question of map versus
territory is *not* an all or nothing
question.  *sometimes* the map equals the territory.  Most of the time
it does not.



 But according to your map=territory philosophy all these incompatible 
 theories exist physically.  What does that mean?  All but one of them must 
 describe some other universe and we just don't know which ones?  Or do you 
 mean they exist physically as representational tokens in the brains of 
 physicists?  They certainly don't exist like tables and chairs.

 Brent Meeker-

To say that map=territory always would obviously be absurd.  Only in
the case of the parts of our theories which are *correct* does the map
equal the territory.  When our theories are wrong, these theories are
quite different to reality and certainly don't physically exist ;)
The fact that we can't know for sure which parts of our theories are
wrong and which are right isn't a problem.

Most of the time the map is not the territory.  But for *some*
concepts (correct concepts!) it is.


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-09 Thread Brent Meeker

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 
 On May 9, 5:57 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 How can Everett's every possibility is realized be logically compatible 
 with Bohm's there's only one, deterministic outcome, we just don't know 
 which one and Griffith's it's a probabilistic theory so some things happen 
 and some don't.  I can hardly imagine less compatible interpretations of 
 the same mathematics.  I could add Cramer's transactional interpretation and 
 Feynmann's zig-zag in time interpretation.  Are all those maps or 
 territories?
 
 Well of course the ontological details are indeed quite incompatible.
 The status of QM is still very much 'in the air' at the moment, so we
 don't yet know with any degree of certainty.  But that can (and
 should) change once both theory and observation progresses in the
 future.

And will reality change too - or is reality different from theories that 
describe it?

 
 But most of these interpretations do use some similiar concepts.  As I
 mentioned, the idea of some sort of 'wave of possibilities' for
 instance.  Even Bohm's 'only one outcome' still uses the wave concept
 (the guiding 'pilot wave').  So it's not as if 'anything goes',
 ontologically speaking.  Progress is being made.
 
 
 Further, all of them actually use some of the
 same concepts they just ascribe different ontological status to them.
 On the wiki:
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretation_of_quantum_mechanics
 Of course it wouldn't be surprising if QM were modified in the
 future.  But all interpretations make use of something like a 'wave of
 possibilities', by the Alain Aspect experiements, it's known that
 future theories would have to have either non-locality or
 indeterminism.  And there are other general empirically established
 features of QM that would have to remain the same.
 Of course every physicist from Newton to Einstein would have said there are 
 generally empirically established features of mechanics like locality, 
 determinism, independence of momentum and position variables, and flow in 
 phase space that must remain the same.

 Brent Meeker-
 
 The example I gave of the Alain Aspect experiments (testing Bell
 inequality) did point to proof of some quite specific features -
 according to these experiments, all future theories replacing QM would
 have to have either indeterminism
 or non-locality.  So progress is made...

But according to your map=territory philosophy all these incompatible 
theories exist physically.  What does that mean?  All but one of them must 
describe some other universe and we just don't know which ones?  Or do you mean 
they exist physically as representational tokens in the brains of physicists? 
 They certainly don't exist like tables and chairs.

Brent Meeker

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-09 Thread marc . geddes



On May 9, 6:46 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:


 But according to your map=territory philosophy all these incompatible 
 theories exist physically.  What does that mean?  All but one of them must 
 describe some other universe and we just don't know which ones?  Or do you 
 mean they exist physically as representational tokens in the brains of 
 physicists?  They certainly don't exist like tables and chairs.

 Brent Meeker-

I shall try to clarify here., since this is a pretty bad mis-
understanding of what I've been saying.

Most of the time it's true that theories and reality are indeed two
different things.  In this thread, Stathis gave some examples in which
I agreed that the theory was obviously *not* the reality.  For
instance, in the case of the concept of an 'election', the terms there
are just human constructs used to simplify what was going on.  And in
the case of for instance, observation of chimpanzees, 'laws of
chimpanzee behaviour' had no reality outside human conceptions as I
clearly agreed.  So it's hard to see how it could came across to you
that I was arguing for such an obviously absurd premise that
map=territory always.

Only in the case of some highly peculiar concepts was I arguing this.
(namely certain non-reductionistic mathematical and abstract/
informational concepts).  I was arguing that these concepts are the
exception to the general rule that map is not territory. ie I was
arguing that mathematical/certain informational concepts have a highly
peculiar nature which breaks the general rule.  And then only in the
cases where we are dealing with a true/consistent theory.



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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-09 Thread marc . geddes



On May 9, 5:55 pm, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:


 But what is mathematics?  It's three things I think: Categories,
 Relations and Propositions.  Of these, Relations and Propositions
 refer to discrete (finite) knowledge.  But Categories includes the
 other two, since categories can also deal with the infinite.  So it
 would appear that the ultimate root of it all is *Categories*
 (Category Theory).  Number Theory/Sets are general kinds of category.
 Machines/Computer Science deal with finite categories.- Hide quoted text -


Slight corrections.  Categories, Relations, Propositions can of course
all deal with the infinite.  But it's Categories that are fundamental
(the most
general mathematical concepts).

The TOE (theory of everything) is *itself* a class (in OOP) as I
mentioned.
But it should be classified as a 'Category'.

Now based on my arguments that in the case of mathematical categories
the map is
the terriority, you see the miracle?Remember: The TOE is *itself*
a category.

The *theory* of all reality IS reality :D   Peculiar indeed.



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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-09 Thread Bruno Marchal


Le 09-mai-07, à 06:16, [EMAIL PROTECTED] a écrit :


 It's true that consistency/precise alone doesn't imply
 existence, but they are factors that one can take into account.



OK. But consistency of a mathematical theory having sufficiently rich 
models so that they support self-observing entities could be enough for 
a notion of relative existence. I think physical existence is always of 
that type, making it an indexical.

I disagree with those who think that any mathematical structure is a 
physical object. This is, imho, a category mistake. On the contrary 
physical existence seems to be (with comp) an inside internal 
first person (plural) sum on a distinguished set of relatively defined 
mathematical structures.

I will say more in a general sum up I intend to send (including the non 
technical account of the why and how of the L interview.

Bruno


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


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-09 Thread Bruno Marchal


Le 09-mai-07, à 09:08, [EMAIL PROTECTED] a écrit :

 Of course reality doesn't change.  The question of map versus
 territory is *not* an all or nothing
 question.  *sometimes* the map equals the territory.  Most of the time
 it does not.


This is an important point where I agree with Marc. With or without 
comp the necessity of distinguishing the map and the territory cannot 
be uniform, there are meaning-fixed-point, like when a map is 
embedded continuously in the territory (assuming some topology in the 
map and in the territory, this follows by a fixed point theorem by 
Brouwer, which today admits many interesting computational 
interpretations.

Bruno



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


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-09 Thread Brent Meeker

Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Le 09-mai-07, à 09:08, [EMAIL PROTECTED] a écrit :
 
 Of course reality doesn't change.  The question of map versus
 territory is *not* an all or nothing
 question.  *sometimes* the map equals the territory.  Most of the time
 it does not.
 
 
 This is an important point where I agree with Marc. With or without 
 comp the necessity of distinguishing the map and the territory cannot 
 be uniform, there are meaning-fixed-point, like when a map is 
 embedded continuously in the territory (assuming some topology in the 
 map and in the territory, this follows by a fixed point theorem by 
 Brouwer, which today admits many interesting computational 
 interpretations.
 
 Bruno

I don't think you can define a topology on meaning that will allow the fixed 
point theorem to apply.

Brent Meeker

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
On 08/05/07, [EMAIL PROTECTED] [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

Well of course I agree with you in this case.  'Election' is a human
 construct.  That's why it was a horrifyingly unfortunate typo on my
 point.  The point is that if you try to apply the same reasoning to
 everything, you'll end up saying that *everything* is just a human
 construct - and throw the scientific method out the window.  We don't
 'construct' those things in reality which are objective.  Our concepts
 *make reference* to them.  The concepts may be invented, but there has
 to be a match between at least *some* of the informational content of
 our theories and the informational content of objective theory (or
 else the concepts would be useless).  Think computers and information
 here.  Objective reality is information.  And our concepts are
 information too.  So there has to be a partial match between the
 information content of useful concepts and objective reality.  That's
 why we can refer a failure of reductionism from the concepts we
 invented which proved useful.


Yes, but the theory is our idea of that partial match and is a human
construct. As a human idea, the theory is something separate. But the
objective reality of nature (whatever it is) is not something separate to
the objective reality of nature. Maybe we are quibbling about words, but it
is in the spirit of Occam's Razor to have the minimum number of entities
possible.

-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread marc . geddes



On May 8, 4:22 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:



  I have now given three clear-cut exmaples of a failure of
  reductionism.
   (1)  Infinite Sets  

 But there is no infinite set of anything.

Says who?  The point is that infinite sets appear to be indispensible
to our explanations of reality.  According to the Tegmark paper just
recently posted, math concepts map to physical concepts.  We can infer
that there must be some physical concept which can be indentified with
an infinite set.  And the existence of this physical thing would be a
violation of reductionism.  To escape from the conclusion we either
have to deny that infinite sets are real, or else deny the one-to-one
match between the mathematical and physical world.


 (2)  The Laws of Physics and (3) Quantum Wave
  Functions

  It is established that all of these concepts are indispensible to our
  explanations of reality and they are logically well defined and
  supported.  But none of these concepts can be reduced to any finite
  set of empirical facts.

 That's because we invented them.

No, it's because reductionism is false.  We invented the concepts, but
(as I mentioned in the previous post) for concepts which are useful
there has to be at least a *partial* match between the information
content of the concepts and the information content of reality.
Therefore we can infer general things about reality from knowledge of
this information content.  Where informational content of our useful
concepts is not computable, this tells us that there do exist physical
things which also mimic this uncomputability (and hence reductionism
is false).



 QM isn't even a physical theory; it's just a set of principles for 
 formulating physical theories; as classical mechanics was before it.

Exactly so!  I agree.  QM is  really an abstract *high-level*
explanation of reality.  This sounds strange, because the QM
description is usually thought of as the *low level* (basement level)
description fo reality, but it ain't.  It's true that QM may be the
basement level in the sense of *accuracy* (best scientific model so
far), but *not* in the ontological sense.  As you point out, in the
*ontological* sense it's really a sort of high-level *reality shell* -
an abstracted set of principles rather a complete physical principle
in itself.

My reality theory is a three-level model of reality (as I mentioned
earlier in the thread).  And QM is actually at the *highest* level of
explanation!  This is the complete reverse of how QM is conventinally
thought of.  It makes more sense of you think of the wave function of
the whole universe.  Then you can how QM is actually the *highest
level* (most abstract) explanation of reality.  Next level down are
functional systems.  Then the lowest level is the particle level.  All
three of these levels of description are equally valid.  This is
somewhat similair to Bohm's two-level interpretation (wave function at
one level, particles the other level).  Only I have inserted a third
level into the scheme.  *Between* the QM wave level description (high
level) and the aprticle level description (low level) is where I think
the solution to the puzzle of consciousness may be found.




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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread marc . geddes



On May 8, 6:03 pm, Stathis Papaioannou [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:


 Yes, but the theory is our idea of that partial match and is a human
 construct. As a human idea, the theory is something separate. But the
 objective reality of nature (whatever it is) is not something separate to
 the objective reality of nature. Maybe we are quibbling about words, but it
 is in the spirit of Occam's Razor to have the minimum number of entities
 possible.

 --
 Stathis Papaioannou

No!  The theory is not the *idea* of the partial match.  The theory
(the parts which are correct) *is identical* to to the match.  The
distinction between map and territory is dissolving.  Again, you need
to keep your eye on the ball and think computer science and
information here.  The theory *is information*.  The reality is
*information*.  Therefore, *for the particular parts of the theory
which are correct* , those parts of the theory (the abstracted
information content) *are identical* to the reality.  Reality is
informationtheory is information...and at the intersection (where
the two over-lap and at the right level of abstraction) it's
*identical* information.

Think of it another way.  OOP (Object Oriented Programming) draws no
distinction between an objective 'object' and an abstracted 'class'.
You can create abstract classes (which correspond to for instance
abstract ideas) but these classes ARE THEMSELVES OBJECTS.  Think about
it.





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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread Bruno Marchal


Le 08-mai-07, à 04:27, [EMAIL PROTECTED] a écrit :

 Say what!!  this is not a valid analogy since the laws of physics are
 absolutely the fundamental level of reality, where as dsecriptions of
 chimpanzee behaviour are not.


What makes you so sure. This is a physicalist assumption, and it  has 
been shown non compatible with very weak form of mechanism.




 'The Laws of Physics'  don't refer to human notions (they certainly
 are not regarded that way by scientists - the whole notion of an
 objective reality would have be thrown out the window if we thought
 that there were no objective laws of physics since as mentioned,
 physics is the base level of reality), but are precise mathematical
 rules which have to be (postulated as) *universal* in scope for the
 scientific method to work at all.


Actually, although the current laws of physics does not refer to 
humans, they do refer to observers, if not only through the notions of 
observable and measurement..
With Everett, the observer can be just a memory machine. Once a 
machine,  the laws of physics have to emerge from something else, like 
number or information science/computer science, or mathematics.

You are perhaps confusing the notion of objective reality with the 
physicalist assumption that the objective reality is the physical 
reality. This has never been proved, and indeed is already jeopardized 
independently by both the quantum facts and simple hypotheses, like the 
finiteness of some possible representations of the observers.

Bruno



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


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread Brent Meeker

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 
 On May 8, 4:06 pm, Stathis Papaioannou [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 On 08/05/07, [EMAIL PROTECTED] [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:



 Silly spelling error in my last post - I meant 'electrons' of course.
 Let avoid talk of 'electrons' then, and talk about  'Quantum Wave
 Functions' then, since surely even Russell must agree that QM fields
 are fundamental (at least as far as we know).  You can't say that QM
 fields are just human inventions - take away the base level and you
 have no objective reality left to argue about! ;)
 Actually I didn't pick it as a typo - I thought you were talking about
 elections. Elections are complex things, involving candidates, voters,
 timing, standards of empirical verification and many other rules. They also
 involve concepts such as fairness, democracy, deceitfulness and so on.
 You can't physically grasp an election or draw a circle around it.
 Nevertheless, calling it an election is just a shorthand for a collection of
 matter behaving in a certain way. There is no extra election-substance
 instilled by the universe which makes the difference between an election and
 an otherwise identical non-election, and there is no election-entity
 distinct from the behaviour of matter which we observe and call an election.

 --
 Stathis Papaioannou
 
 Well of course I agree with you in this case.  'Election' is a human
 construct.  That's why it was a horrifyingly unfortunate typo on my
 point.  The point is that if you try to apply the same reasoning to
 everything, you'll end up saying that *everything* is just a human
 construct - and throw the scientific method out the window.  We don't
 'construct' those things in reality which are objective.  Our concepts
 *make reference* to them.  The concepts may be invented, but there has
 to be a match between at least *some* of the informational content of
 our theories and the informational content of objective theory (or
 else the concepts would be useless).  Think computers and information
 here.  Objective reality is information.  

There's the sticking point.  Information is about something, it's not 
necessarily something itself - though of course it is always embodied in some 
way.

And our concepts are
 information too.  

In what sense is an electron information?  The state of an electron, relative 
to some apparatus or preparation, may carry some information but I don't see 
that the electron IS information.

So there has to be a partial match between the
 information content of useful concepts and objective reality.  

But it doesn't follow that reality IS information.

Brent Meeker

That's
 why we can refer a failure of reductionism from the concepts we
 invented which proved useful.
 
 
  
 
 


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread Brent Meeker

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 
 On May 8, 3:56 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 'The Laws of Physics'  don't refer to human notions (they certainly
 are not regarded that way by scientists
 They are by the scientists I know.
 
 The *knowledge* we have of the laws of physics are human notions.  But
 the laws of physics *per se* are not.  

All the laws of physics we know of, or ever will know of, are.

See other post.  Think computer
 science and information.  Our concepts are information and so is
 reality.  

How do you know what reality is?

So in the case of useful concepts there has to be a partial
 match between the information content of the concepts and the
 information content of reality.  This means we can infer properties
 about reality from our concepts.  The distinction between map and
 territory is not absolute.  A simulated hurricane for instance, has
 *some* of the exact same *information content* as a real hurricane.

But some is not all.  The hurricane embodies the information of our fluid 
dynamic model of a hurricane plus a whole lot more.

 
 
 - the whole notion of an
 objective reality would have be thrown out the window if we thought
 that there were no objective laws of physics since as mentioned,

True.  But ask yourself why you think there is an objective reality, as opposed 
to being a brain in a vat or a simulation in a computer or a number in a UD?  
It's not because you perceive reality directly.  

 physics is the base level of reality), but are precise mathematical
 rules which have to be (postulated as) *universal* in scope for the
 scientific method to work at all.
 Sure, they are precise mathematical systems, which the scientist hopes and 
 intends to describe (part of) an objective reality.  But the map is not the 
 territory and scientists know it.
 
 See above.  And read Tegmark's paper!  ;) In the case of mathematics
 the distinction between map and territory is breaking down.  Remember
 what we agreed on earlier - math is *both* epistemological (a map we
 use to understand reality) *and* ontological (the territory  itself)

I have never agreed that mathematics has the same ontological status as 
reality (whatever that is).  I think mathematics is all a human construct 
which is used to describe reality and a lot of other stuff.  I've read 
Tegmark's paper; that doesn't mean I accept it as 'the truth'.

Brent Meeker


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread Brent Meeker

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 
 On May 8, 4:22 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 

 I have now given three clear-cut exmaples of a failure of
 reductionism.
  (1)  Infinite Sets  
 But there is no infinite set of anything.
 
 Says who?  The point is that infinite sets appear to be indispensible
 to our explanations of reality.  

All measurements yield finite numbers.  Infinite sets and infinitesimals are 
mathematical conveniences that avoid having to worry about how small is small 
enough and how big is too big.  Do you ever use infinite sets in computer 
science?

According to the Tegmark paper just
 recently posted, math concepts map to physical concepts.  

We only know that some math concepts map to physical concepts and we dont' know 
that the mapping is perfect and in fact we have some reason to believe that it 
is not.

We can infer
 that there must be some physical concept which can be indentified with
 an infinite set.  And the existence of this physical thing would be a
 violation of reductionism.  To escape from the conclusion we either
 have to deny that infinite sets are real, or else deny the one-to-one
 match between the mathematical and physical world.
 
 (2)  The Laws of Physics and (3) Quantum Wave
 Functions
 It is established that all of these concepts are indispensible to our
 explanations of reality and they are logically well defined and
 supported.  But none of these concepts can be reduced to any finite
 set of empirical facts.
 That's because we invented them.
 
 No, it's because reductionism is false.  We invented the concepts, but
 (as I mentioned in the previous post) for concepts which are useful
 there has to be at least a *partial* match between the information
 content of the concepts and the information content of reality.
 Therefore we can infer general things about reality from knowledge of
 this information content.  Where informational content of our useful
 concepts is not computable, this tells us that there do exist physical
 things which also mimic this uncomputability (and hence reductionism
 is false).

Or that our mapping is faulty and there a mathematical concepts that don't map 
to anything physical - which I think would be obvious since it has been shown 
that a mathematical system will always include undecidable propositions and 
such propositions or their negation can be added to create new, mutually 
inconsistent mathematical systems.

 
 
 QM isn't even a physical theory; it's just a set of principles for 
 formulating physical theories; as classical mechanics was before it.
 
 Exactly so!  I agree.  QM is  really an abstract *high-level*
 explanation of reality.  This sounds strange, because the QM
 description is usually thought of as the *low level* (basement level)
 description fo reality, but it ain't.  It's true that QM may be the
 basement level in the sense of *accuracy* (best scientific model so
 far), but *not* in the ontological sense.  As you point out, in the
 *ontological* sense it's really a sort of high-level *reality shell* -
 an abstracted set of principles rather a complete physical principle
 in itself.
 
 My reality theory is a three-level model of reality (as I mentioned
 earlier in the thread).  And QM is actually at the *highest* level of
 explanation!  This is the complete reverse of how QM is conventinally
 thought of.  It makes more sense of you think of the wave function of
 the whole universe.  Then you can how QM is actually the *highest
 level* (most abstract) explanation of reality.  Next level down are
 functional systems.  Then the lowest level is the particle level.  All
 three of these levels of description are equally valid.  This is
 somewhat similair to Bohm's two-level interpretation (wave function at
 one level, particles the other level).  Only I have inserted a third
 level into the scheme.  *Between* the QM wave level description (high
 level) and the aprticle level description (low level) is where I think
 the solution to the puzzle of consciousness may be found.

But QM assumes a fixed background spacetime, which is inconsistent with general 
relativity - so one of them (or more likely both) are wrong.

Brent Meeker

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread Brent Meeker

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 
 On May 8, 6:03 pm, Stathis Papaioannou [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 Yes, but the theory is our idea of that partial match and is a human
 construct. As a human idea, the theory is something separate. But the
 objective reality of nature (whatever it is) is not something separate to
 the objective reality of nature. Maybe we are quibbling about words, but it
 is in the spirit of Occam's Razor to have the minimum number of entities
 possible.

 --
 Stathis Papaioannou
 
 No!  The theory is not the *idea* of the partial match.  The theory
 (the parts which are correct) *is identical* to to the match.  

But how do you know any part is correct.  Thermodynamics is a very good theory, 
I use the thermodynamics of gases often and I get very good answers - but I 
know it's not exact because it's neglecting the finite number of molecules 
involved and approximating them as a continuum.  And in fact for hypersonic 
flows I have to start taking the molecules into account.  And *really* I know 
the molecules are made up of atoms and so there is dissocation at high 
temperatures and I need to make corrections for that and...so on.

Brent Meeker

The
 distinction between map and territory is dissolving.  Again, you need
 to keep your eye on the ball and think computer science and
 information here.  The theory *is information*.  The reality is
 *information*.  Therefore, *for the particular parts of the theory
 which are correct* , those parts of the theory (the abstracted
 information content) *are identical* to the reality.  Reality is
 informationtheory is information...and at the intersection (where
 the two over-lap and at the right level of abstraction) it's
 *identical* information.
 
 Think of it another way.  OOP (Object Oriented Programming) draws no
 distinction between an objective 'object' and an abstracted 'class'.
 You can create abstract classes (which correspond to for instance
 abstract ideas) but these classes ARE THEMSELVES OBJECTS.  Think about
 it.

They are themselves objects only in the conceptual world of the program.

Brent Meeker

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread marc . geddes



On May 9, 2:37 am, Bruno Marchal [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 Le 08-mai-07, à 04:27, [EMAIL PROTECTED] a écrit :

  Say what!!  this is not a valid analogy since the laws of physics are
  absolutely the fundamental level of reality, where as dsecriptions of
  chimpanzee behaviour are not.

 What makes you so sure. This is a physicalist assumption, and it  has
 been shown non compatible with very weak form of mechanism.

I would modify what I said slightly...I should have said 'the laws of
physics are *a* fundamental way to describe reality.  (in the sense of
being able to provide in principle accurate descriptions).  But they
are not the *only* way to describe reality.







  'The Laws of Physics'  don't refer to human notions (they certainly
  are not regarded that way by scientists - the whole notion of an
  objective reality would have be thrown out the window if we thought
  that there were no objective laws of physics since as mentioned,
  physics is the base level of reality), but are precise mathematical
  rules which have to be (postulated as) *universal* in scope for the
  scientific method to work at all.

 Actually, although the current laws of physics does not refer to
 humans, they do refer to observers, if not only through the notions of
 observable and measurement..
 With Everett, the observer can be just a memory machine. Once a
 machine,  the laws of physics have to emerge from something else, like
 number or information science/computer science, or mathematics.

 You are perhaps confusing the notion of objective reality with the
 physicalist assumption that the objective reality is the physical
 reality. This has never been proved, and indeed is already jeopardized
 independently by both the quantum facts and simple hypotheses, like the
 finiteness of some possible representations of the observers.

 Bruno

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


Well, until very recently I didn't agree with the physicalist
assumption , but er... I've adopted a slightly more subtle view of
things and now accept a weak form of physicalism.  I now think
everything has 'physical' properties associated with it.

It would take a while to explain , but suffice it to say that
'physical' does not have to mean concrete or finite I gave the
example of a notion like 'the laws of physics' or the 'QM Wave
function'.  I think there can be abstract physical concepts.

Also, I think there can be more than one valid way to explain
reality.  For a long time I thought mathematics was the 'ultimate
reality', whereas hard materialists argue that the physical world is
'ultimate reality'.  But I think they're both wrong.  I would agree
that physics is not prior to mathematics, but I would now also say
that mathematics is not prior to physics either.  I place mathematics
and physics on an *equal* footing.


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread marc . geddes



On May 9, 5:59 am, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:


 So in the case of useful concepts there has to be a partial
  match between the information content of the concepts and the
  information content of reality.  This means we can infer properties
  about reality from our concepts.  The distinction between map and
  territory is not absolute.  A simulated hurricane for instance, has
  *some* of the exact same *information content* as a real hurricane.

 But some is not all.  The hurricane embodies the information of our fluid 
 dynamic model of a hurricane plus a whole lot more.

This point about information is indeed the sticking point in this
thread.  But both here in your other post you seem to be agreeing with
me!  In the other post you said:  The state of an electron, relative
to some apparatus or preparation, may carry some information.  And
here you say:  The hurricane embodies the information .  But this
was precisely my point.  If you indeed agree the electron itself 'is
carrying information', and that the hurricane 'embodies information',
then you are agreeing that there exists something in external reality
which is 'information'.  It is not neccessery for you to accept that
reality is all information.  For my points to stick you only need to
agree that *some* part of external reality is *information* (or that
'reality has an informational layer or component).  You seem to have
agreed.




 I have never agreed that mathematics has the same ontological status as 
 reality (whatever that is).  I think mathematics is all a human construct 
 which is used to describe reality and a lot of other stuff.  I've read 
 Tegmark's paper; that doesn't mean I accept it as 'the truth'.

 Brent Meeker

Well here is a major ontological disagreement between us then, since I
think math *does* have the same status as 'reality'.  It all comes
down in part to the sticking point about information we've just
beenarguing about.  If something in reality is 'infomation', then
something in reality is also math, since (discrete math at least) is
all about information.


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread marc . geddes



On May 9, 6:08 am, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

  On May 8, 4:22 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
  [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

  I have now given three clear-cut exmaples of a failure of
  reductionism.
   (1)  Infinite Sets  
  But there is no infinite set of anything.

  Says who?  The point is that infinite sets appear to be indispensible
  to our explanations of reality.  

 All measurements yield finite numbers.  Infinite sets and infinitesimals are 
 mathematical conveniences that avoid having to worry about how small is small 
 enough and how big is too big.  Do you ever use infinite sets in computer 
 science?

Infinite sets and infinitesimals are a lot more than 'mathematical
conveniences'.  There are precise logical theories for these things
(As I mentioned before - Cantor worked out the theory of infinite
sets, Robinson/Conway worked out the theory of infinitesimals).  A
dislike of infinities characterized the early Greeks and pre 20th
century mathematicians.  It hindered the development of mathematics.
(Read the excellent books by Rudy Rucker).

It's true that infinite sets are not used in comptuer science (which
is all about discrete/finite math) but beware of making assumptions
about reality purely on the basis of what can be measured ;)  It has
never been established that space is discrete (a point Stephen Hawking
just recently was at pains to get across).  The supposed discreteness
of space seems to be yet another dogma currently popular with computer
scientists.



  No, it's because reductionism is false.  We invented the concepts, but
  (as I mentioned in the previous post) for concepts which are useful
  there has to be at least a *partial* match between the information
  content of the concepts and the information content of reality.
  Therefore we can infer general things about reality from knowledge of
  this information content.  Where informational content of our useful
  concepts is not computable, this tells us that there do exist physical
  things which also mimic this uncomputability (and hence reductionism
  is false).

 Or that our mapping is faulty and there a mathematical concepts that don't 
 map to anything physical - which I think would be obvious since it has been 
 shown that a mathematical system will always include undecidable propositions 
 and such propositions or their negation can be added to create new, mutually 
 inconsistent mathematical systems.


I don't see that uncomputability or undecidability has any bearing on
the issue of the mapping between the physical and mathematical.  In
the multiverse view, all possible mathematical systems could be
physically real.  'Physical' does not have to mean 'finite' or
'computable'.




  My reality theory is a three-level model of reality (as I mentioned
  earlier in the thread).  And QM is actually at the *highest* level of
  explanation!  This is the complete reverse of how QM is conventinally
  thought of.  It makes more sense of you think of the wave function of
  the whole universe.  Then you can how QM is actually the *highest
  level* (most abstract) explanation of reality.  Next level down are
  functional systems.  Then the lowest level is the particle level.  All
  three of these levels of description are equally valid.  This is
  somewhat similair to Bohm's two-level interpretation (wave function at
  one level, particles the other level).  Only I have inserted a third
  level into the scheme.  *Between* the QM wave level description (high
  level) and the aprticle level description (low level) is where I think
  the solution to the puzzle of consciousness may be found.

 But QM assumes a fixed background spacetime, which is inconsistent with 
 general relativity - so one of them (or more likely both) are wrong.

 Brent Meeker

There are *degrees* of rightness/wrongness.  Later successful theories
of reality will still have to have some of the same features of the
earlier theories in areas where the earlier theories were empirically
proven.  For instance it's been proven from the EPR experiments that
any theory that replaces current QM still has to have some of the same
general features such as a 'wave of possibilities/sum over histories',
non-locality or uncertainties and so on.



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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread Brent Meeker

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 
 On May 9, 6:08 am, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 On May 8, 4:22 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 I have now given three clear-cut exmaples of a failure of 
 reductionism. (1)  Infinite Sets
 But there is no infinite set of anything.
 Says who?  The point is that infinite sets appear to be
 indispensible to our explanations of reality.
 All measurements yield finite numbers.  Infinite sets and
 infinitesimals are mathematical conveniences that avoid having to
 worry about how small is small enough and how big is too big.  Do
 you ever use infinite sets in computer science?
 
 Infinite sets and infinitesimals are a lot more than 'mathematical 
 conveniences'.  There are precise logical theories for these things 
 (As I mentioned before - Cantor worked out the theory of infinite 
 sets, Robinson/Conway worked out the theory of infinitesimals).

Being logically consistent and/or precise doesn't imply existence.  There are 
consistent theories in which there is a cardinality between the integers and 
the reals.  But there are also consistent theories which deny such a 
cardinality.  Does that mean some set exists with that cardinality or not?  

 A dislike of infinities characterized the early Greeks and pre 20th 
 century mathematicians.  It hindered the development of mathematics. 
 (Read the excellent books by Rudy Rucker).

I've read'em.  I don't dislike them - as I said calculus is a lot easier than 
finite differences.
 
 It's true that infinite sets are not used in comptuer science (which 
 is all about discrete/finite math) but beware of making assumptions 
 about reality purely on the basis of what can be measured ;)

If it can't be measured even indirectly, like an infinitesimal, then whether it 
is kept in your model of reality is mostly a matter of convenience.

 It has never been established that space is discrete (a point Stephen
 Hawking just recently was at pains to get across).  The supposed
 discreteness of space seems to be yet another dogma currently popular
 with computer scientists.

True, but neither is it clear that spacetime must be a continuum. 
 
 
 No, it's because reductionism is false.  We invented the
 concepts, but (as I mentioned in the previous post) for concepts
 which are useful there has to be at least a *partial* match
 between the information content of the concepts and the
 information content of reality. Therefore we can infer general
 things about reality from knowledge of this information content.
 Where informational content of our useful concepts is not
 computable, this tells us that there do exist physical things
 which also mimic this uncomputability (and hence reductionism is
 false).
 Or that our mapping is faulty and there a mathematical concepts
 that don't map to anything physical - which I think would be
 obvious since it has been shown that a mathematical system will
 always include undecidable propositions and such propositions or
 their negation can be added to create new, mutually inconsistent
 mathematical systems.
 
 
 I don't see that uncomputability or undecidability has any bearing on
  the issue of the mapping between the physical and mathematical.  In 
 the multiverse view, all possible mathematical systems could be 
 physically real.  'Physical' does not have to mean 'finite' or 
 'computable'.

But the multiverse view is anything but precise and logical.  Where are the 
multiverses?  What does it mean for them to be physically real - but 
undetectable and immeasurable?

 
 
 
 My reality theory is a three-level model of reality (as I
 mentioned earlier in the thread).  And QM is actually at the
 *highest* level of explanation!  This is the complete reverse of
 how QM is conventinally thought of.  It makes more sense of you
 think of the wave function of the whole universe.  Then you can
 how QM is actually the *highest level* (most abstract)
 explanation of reality.  Next level down are functional systems.
 Then the lowest level is the particle level.  All three of these
 levels of description are equally valid.  This is somewhat
 similair to Bohm's two-level interpretation (wave function at one
 level, particles the other level).  Only I have inserted a third 
 level into the scheme.  *Between* the QM wave level description
 (high level) and the aprticle level description (low level) is
 where I think the solution to the puzzle of consciousness may be
 found.
 But QM assumes a fixed background spacetime, which is inconsistent
 with general relativity - so one of them (or more likely both) are
 wrong.
 
 Brent Meeker
 
 There are *degrees* of rightness/wrongness.  Later successful
 theories of reality will still have to have some of the same features
 of the earlier theories in areas where the earlier theories were
 empirically proven.  

But the earlier theories were NOT empirically proven - they were found to hold 
over the observable 

Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread marc . geddes



On May 9, 3:22 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:


  Infinite sets and infinitesimals are a lot more than 'mathematical
  conveniences'.  There are precise logical theories for these things
  (As I mentioned before - Cantor worked out the theory of infinite
  sets, Robinson/Conway worked out the theory of infinitesimals).

 Being logically consistent and/or precise doesn't imply existence.  There are 
 consistent theories in which there is a cardinality between the integers and 
 the reals.  But there are also consistent theories which deny such a 
 cardinality.  Does that mean some set exists with that cardinality or not?  

It depends on which theory has the most explanatory power when it
comes the concepts in need of explanations.  Which explanation best
simplifies or *integrates* our knowledge?  That is the criteria one
should use.  It's true that consistency/precise alone doesn't imply
existence, but they are factors that one can take into account.
Empirical measurement isn't the defining factor either.  Esoteric math
concepts by definition are far removed from direct empirical data but
progress is still made.



  It's true that infinite sets are not used in comptuer science (which
  is all about discrete/finite math) but beware of making assumptions
  about reality purely on the basis of what can be measured ;)

 If it can't be measured even indirectly, like an infinitesimal, then whether 
 it is kept in your model of reality is mostly a matter of convenience.

See above.  Math seems to be a branch of knowledge which falsifies
this view.  Mathematicians don't regard differences between theories
as 'mere convenience', even though the theories under definition may
be far removed from direct empirical observations.  The view you've
just stated seems to be a logical positivist/intrumentalist view of
science.  Again, I don't think the criteria for existence is not
whether something can be measured (which by the way would itself
always involve some theoretical judgement calls- since I think you
yourself said that all observations are theory laden).  The criteria
for existence should be absed on the explanatory power of the concept
and the extent to which it *integrates* knowledge.



  But QM assumes a fixed background spacetime, which is inconsistent
  with general relativity - so one of them (or more likely both) are
  wrong.

  Brent Meeker

  There are *degrees* of rightness/wrongness.  Later successful
  theories of reality will still have to have some of the same features
  of the earlier theories in areas where the earlier theories were
  empirically proven.  

 But the earlier theories were NOT empirically proven - they were found to 
 hold over the observable domain.  Later they were disproven in a wider domain 
 and replaced by another theory, e.g. thermodynamics was replaced by 
 statistical mechanics.  Where they overlapped they agreed on the 
 observations, what could be measured, but they didn't agree on the ontology.  
 So it is the facts, the observations, that are the aspects of reality that 
 are preserved as theories change.  Not the mathematics and not the ontology.

Not sure it's as bad as you are making out.  The mathematics of the
earlier successful theory can still be shown to be a special case of
(or apporximations to) the later theory.  Further, it's not clear that
all the ontology from the earlier theories is being thrown away.


 For instance it's been proven from the EPR
  experiments that any theory that replaces current QM still has to
  have some of the same general features such as a 'wave of
  possibilities/sum over histories', non-locality or uncertainties and
  so on.

 There are already at least three formulations of QM, Griffiths', Bohm's, and 
 Everett's that are logically incompatible at the level of fundamental 
 ontology - and yet they are described by exactly the same mathematics.

 Brent Meeker

It's not so clear that the different interpretations really are
logically incompatible.  Further, all of them actually use some of the
same concepts they just ascribe different ontological status to them.
On the wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretation_of_quantum_mechanics

Of course it wouldn't be surprising if QM were modified in the
future.  But all interpretations make use of something like a 'wave of
possibilities', by the Alain Aspect experiements, it's known that
future theories would have to have either non-locality or
indeterminism.  And there are other general empirically established
features of QM that would have to remain the same.



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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-08 Thread marc . geddes



On May 9, 2:37 am, Bruno Marchal [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 Le 08-mai-07, à 04:27, [EMAIL PROTECTED] a écrit :


  'The Laws of Physics'  don't refer to human notions (they certainly
  are not regarded that way by scientists - the whole notion of an
  objective reality would have be thrown out the window if we thought
  that there were no objective laws of physics since as mentioned,
  physics is the base level of reality), but are precise mathematical
  rules which have to be (postulated as) *universal* in scope for the
  scientific method to work at all.

 Actually, although the current laws of physics does not refer to
 humans, they do refer to observers, if not only through the notions of
 observable and measurement..
 With Everett, the observer can be just a memory machine. Once a
 machine,  the laws of physics have to emerge from something else, like
 number or information science/computer science, or mathematics.

 You are perhaps confusing the notion of objective reality with the
 physicalist assumption that the objective reality is the physical
 reality. This has never been proved, and indeed is already jeopardized
 independently by both the quantum facts and simple hypotheses, like the
 finiteness of some possible representations of the observers.

 Bruno

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

Actually Bruno, been thinking a bit more and you may be right.
Shouldn't perhaps have put it like I did.  I'm still not totally clear
on the ultimate status of the relationship between the physical and
mathematical worlds - I doubt anyone is ;)

One thing I *am* sure about is that all valid mathematical concepts
map to physical concepts.  So I accept the Tegmark thesis about
mathematics in one sense: that all mathematical things are also
physical.  Again, physical does not have to imply concrete or finite.
Some physical oconcepts have be abstract.

 I can only refer you to my 'Class Diagram Of Reality' which is a
graphical representation of my latest attempt to classify all
knowledge at the highest level of abstraction.  The story behind it is
that I spent 5 years of intense focus on ontology (for fans of Vernor
Vinge: I became a 'zip-head' for 5 years in the field of Ontology) and
the class diagram is the result of that.  So it's not something I've
just put up without a *lot* of deep thought.  Here's the diagram:

http://marc.geddes.googlepages.com/MCRT_ClassDiagram.html

The three levels of reality I've talked about this thread are
represented in the diagram along the up-down axis.  At bottom are
'Models' (The State Level Of Reality, the most fundamental).  At top
are 'Systems' (The Operational or Functional Level of Reality).  In
middle are 'Tools' (The State-Change Level or the level of
computatational physics).

Physical,Mathematical and Teleological concepts are along another
axis: from left to right.  Incidentally, the fact that there are
actually more than one ontological axis is, I believe, the source of
immense confusion in the field of KR/Ontology.   Don't confuse this
axis with the other axis I mentioned in the previous paragraph!

The Physical concepts are all represented by the left hand boxes.  The
Mathematical concepts are all represented by the right hand boxes.
You map the concepts by mapping the physical boxes to the Mathematical
boxes in the corresponding positions on the other side of the
diagram.  It can be seen that math and physics completely map to each
other.

But you may be right that in terms of *explanatory power*, mathematics
is primary.  The 'Reality Theory' represented by the diagram is
*itself* a class - it belong in one of the mathematical boxes - the
box 'Symbolic Logic' to bottom right.  In that case it would appear
that indeed all concepts spring from mathematics.

But what is mathematics?  It's three things I think: Categories,
Relations and Propositions.  Of these, Relations and Propositions
refer to discrete (finite) knowledge.  But Categories includes the
other two, since categories can also deal with the infinite.  So it
would appear that the ultimate root of it all is *Categories*
(Category Theory).  Number Theory/Sets are general kinds of category.
Machines/Computer Science deal with finite categories.






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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-07 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
On 05/05/07, Russell Standish [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

Reductionism eliminates emergence. Reductionism is the philosophy that
 all relevant properties of something can be explained in terms of the
 properties of its components.

 A weaker property is supervenience. Something A supervenes on the
 physics of its component parts U if two different states of A must
 have correspondingly different states of U.

 This may seem like the same thing, and many people confuse the two,
 however the example of irreversible systems supervening on molecules
 with reversible dynamics clearly illustrates the difference.


Maybe I'm arguing over a point of language, but it still seems to me that if
A supervenes on U, then it is entirely explained by U. If A surprises
despite full knowledge of U, then that just means your knowledge of U was
incomplete: that is, you have to add to your list of properties of the
components of U that lots of them interacting in a particular way result in
thermodynamic irreversibility, or intelligence, or whatever. It's just that
sometimes the result of the interaction is obvious, and other times not.

Incidently, you quote me as saying reductionism has gone too
 far. Whilst this is the sort comment I might make (depending on
 context), I don't appear to make it anywhere in my book.


My apologies, you are right... weird when you have a *really clear* memory
of something and it turns out to be wrong.

-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-07 Thread Russell Standish

On Mon, May 07, 2007 at 07:50:21PM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
 On 05/05/07, Russell Standish [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 Reductionism eliminates emergence. Reductionism is the philosophy that
  all relevant properties of something can be explained in terms of the
  properties of its components.
 
  A weaker property is supervenience. Something A supervenes on the
  physics of its component parts U if two different states of A must
  have correspondingly different states of U.
 
  This may seem like the same thing, and many people confuse the two,
  however the example of irreversible systems supervening on molecules
  with reversible dynamics clearly illustrates the difference.
 
 
 Maybe I'm arguing over a point of language, but it still seems to me that if
 A supervenes on U, then it is entirely explained by U.  If A surprises
 despite full knowledge of U, then that just means your knowledge of U was
 incomplete: that is, you have to add to your list of properties of the
 components of U that lots of them interacting in a particular way result in
 thermodynamic irreversibility, or intelligence, or whatever. It's just that
 sometimes the result of the interaction is obvious, and other times not.
 

You still seem to be missing the point. You can have Laplace's daemon's
knowledge of all the particles in the universe, yet still have no idea
of what it is like to be in love. OK, I'm being extreme here, but for
a reason. In fact Laplace's daemon's knowledge does not tell you about
a lot of things eg the wetness of water, as these latter things are
simply not in the terms of reference of knowing about molecules.

So I completely disagree. Supervenience of a system on a lower level does not
entail that the lower level explains everything about the system.

And in terms of the surprise thing - you haven't played much with
computer programming, have you?

 Incidently, you quote me as saying reductionism has gone too
  far. Whilst this is the sort comment I might make (depending on
  context), I don't appear to make it anywhere in my book.
 
 
 My apologies, you are right... weird when you have a *really clear* memory
 of something and it turns out to be wrong.
 

That's alright - I've done the same thing myself. I wasn't taking
offence, I was just trying to find the context to see what I actually
did say.

 -- 
 Stathis Papaioannou
 
  

-- 


A/Prof Russell Standish  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Mathematics  
UNSW SYDNEY 2052 [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Australiahttp://www.hpcoders.com.au


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-07 Thread marc . geddes



On May 7, 4:06 pm, Stathis Papaioannou [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 On 07/05/07, [EMAIL PROTECTED] [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:


  We have here a clear example of an indispensible *physical* concept
  which *cannot* be broken down or reduced to any finite lower level
  descriptions.  This proves that reductive materialism is false.

 I'm not sure that it is necessary to consider the laws of physics a separate
 ontological category. A zoologist might study the behaviour of chimpanzees,
 take notes, and summarise these notes in a paper for others to read and test
 by seeing if chimpanzees do indeed behave as claimed. The rules of
 chimpanzee behaviour is not separate to how chimpanzees actually behave nor
 does it have any causal effects of its own. Similarly, a physicist might
 study the behaviour of electrons and write a paper for others to read and
 test by seeing if electrons do behave in the way claimed, but these laws of
 physics regarding electrons are not separate to electron behaviour and have
 no causal role in electron behaviour. Electrons and chimpanzees behave in
 the way they are inclined to behave, and if we can discern patterns by
 observing them, that's just our good fortune.

 --
 Stathis Papaioannou

Say what!!  this is not a valid analogy since the laws of physics are
absolutely the fundamental level of reality, where as dsecriptions of
chimpanzee behaviour are not.

'The Laws of Physics'  don't refer to human notions (they certainly
are not regarded that way by scientists - the whole notion of an
objective reality would have be thrown out the window if we thought
that there were no objective laws of physics since as mentioned,
physics is the base level of reality), but are precise mathematical
rules which have to be (postulated as) *universal* in scope for the
scientific method to work at all.

If an election were merely 'inclined' to behave in a certain way
(which by the way is the pre-scientific world-view) , then what in
fact could be the cause of its behaviour?  An election is not a
teleological (and non-fundamental) agent like a chimpanzee, it is a
fixed fundamental building block of reality! There could be no
explanatory theory of election behaviour without postulating some
external (and objective) laws of physics capable of 'acting upon' the
election.

The whole scientific method is based on the notion *external* laws of
physics combined with empirical data.  So in practice the term *laws
of physics* is definitely being used as if it as external objective
'thing' or ontological category.  The whole point is that its use this
way in practice (indispensible for the scientific method to work)
means that it can't in fact be broken down into merely the sum of our
empricial observations.


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-07 Thread marc . geddes

Silly spelling error in my last post - I meant 'electrons' of course.
Let avoid talk of 'electrons' then, and talk about  'Quantum Wave
Functions' then, since surely even Russell must agree that QM fields
are fundamental (at least as far as we know).  You can't say that QM
fields are just human inventions - take away the base level and you
have no objective reality left to argue about! ;)

Quantum Wave Functions are yet another example of a thing which cannot
be reduced to finite emprical parts.  It is in fact an established
fact that QM wave functions cannot be *directly* emprically verified.
Any emprical fact or set of facts you can point to *cannot* fully
capture the QM Wave function!  It is something abstract which exists
over and above any empirical facts.  This is yet another example of
the failure of reductionism.

I have now given three clear-cut exmaples of a failure of
reductionism.
 (1)  Infinite Sets  (2)  The Laws of Physics and (3) Quantum Wave
Functions

It is established that all of these concepts are indispensible to our
explanations of reality and they are logically well defined and
supported.  But none of these concepts can be reduced to any finite
set of empirical facts.

The only way to evade the conclusion that reductionism is false is (as
shown by Stathis's argument strategy) to deny that any of these
concepts has objective reality.  For example to evade a failure of
reductionism as regards 'inifinite sets' one has to argue that
infinite sets are not objectively real, or not physically real.  You
might get away with that argument for something as esoteric as
'Inifnite Sets' (after all there is some legitimate doubt that these
things are real), but once you reach a concept which is clearly
fundamental and neccessery for physical reality to exist at all (ie
Quantum Wave Functions), your argument has lapsed to pure solipsism.

Which is more likely:  The laws of physics and QM wave functions are
all human fictions, or reductionism is false?  It has to be one or the
other.


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-07 Thread Brent Meeker

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 
 On May 7, 4:06 pm, Stathis Papaioannou [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 On 07/05/07, [EMAIL PROTECTED] [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 We have here a clear example of an indispensible *physical* concept
 which *cannot* be broken down or reduced to any finite lower level
 descriptions.  This proves that reductive materialism is false.
 I'm not sure that it is necessary to consider the laws of physics a separate
 ontological category. A zoologist might study the behaviour of chimpanzees,
 take notes, and summarise these notes in a paper for others to read and test
 by seeing if chimpanzees do indeed behave as claimed. The rules of
 chimpanzee behaviour is not separate to how chimpanzees actually behave nor
 does it have any causal effects of its own. Similarly, a physicist might
 study the behaviour of electrons and write a paper for others to read and
 test by seeing if electrons do behave in the way claimed, but these laws of
 physics regarding electrons are not separate to electron behaviour and have
 no causal role in electron behaviour. Electrons and chimpanzees behave in
 the way they are inclined to behave, and if we can discern patterns by
 observing them, that's just our good fortune.

 --
 Stathis Papaioannou
 
 Say what!!  this is not a valid analogy since the laws of physics are
 absolutely the fundamental level of reality, where as dsecriptions of
 chimpanzee behaviour are not.
 
 'The Laws of Physics'  don't refer to human notions (they certainly
 are not regarded that way by scientists 

They are by the scientists I know.

- the whole notion of an
 objective reality would have be thrown out the window if we thought
 that there were no objective laws of physics since as mentioned,
 physics is the base level of reality), but are precise mathematical
 rules which have to be (postulated as) *universal* in scope for the
 scientific method to work at all.

Sure, they are precise mathematical systems, which the scientist hopes and 
intends to describe (part of) an objective reality.  But the map is not the 
territory and scientists know it.

 
 If an election were merely 'inclined' to behave in a certain way
 (which by the way is the pre-scientific world-view) , then what in
 fact could be the cause of its behaviour?  An election is not a
 teleological (and non-fundamental) agent like a chimpanzee, it is a
 fixed fundamental building block of reality! There could be no
 explanatory theory of election behaviour without postulating some
 external (and objective) laws of physics capable of 'acting upon' the
 election.

This seems to confuse the laws of democracy with the laws of physics.  The 
former are enforced by the judicial system.  The latter are descriptive.

 
 The whole scientific method is based on the notion *external* laws of
 physics combined with empirical data.  So in practice the term *laws
 of physics* is definitely being used as if it as external objective
 'thing' or ontological category.  The whole point is that its use this
 way in practice (indispensible for the scientific method to work)
 means that it can't in fact be broken down into merely the sum of our
 empricial observations.

That's true, a scientific theory always goes beyond merely summarizing 
observations - but it isn't always right when it does so.  I think you need to 
read Vic Stenger's book, The Comprehensible Cosmos.

Brent Meeker

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-07 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
On 08/05/07, [EMAIL PROTECTED] [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:


 Silly spelling error in my last post - I meant 'electrons' of course.
 Let avoid talk of 'electrons' then, and talk about  'Quantum Wave
 Functions' then, since surely even Russell must agree that QM fields
 are fundamental (at least as far as we know).  You can't say that QM
 fields are just human inventions - take away the base level and you
 have no objective reality left to argue about! ;)


Actually I didn't pick it as a typo - I thought you were talking about
elections. Elections are complex things, involving candidates, voters,
timing, standards of empirical verification and many other rules. They also
involve concepts such as fairness, democracy, deceitfulness and so on.
You can't physically grasp an election or draw a circle around it.
Nevertheless, calling it an election is just a shorthand for a collection of
matter behaving in a certain way. There is no extra election-substance
instilled by the universe which makes the difference between an election and
an otherwise identical non-election, and there is no election-entity
distinct from the behaviour of matter which we observe and call an election.


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-07 Thread Brent Meeker

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 Silly spelling error in my last post - I meant 'electrons' of course.
 Let avoid talk of 'electrons' then, and talk about  'Quantum Wave
 Functions' then, since surely even Russell must agree that QM fields
 are fundamental (at least as far as we know).  You can't say that QM
 fields are just human inventions - take away the base level and you
 have no objective reality left to argue about! ;)

Sure you can.  QF are a human invention to describe what we think the micro 
world of the standard model is like.  But physicist already know it must be 
wrong, because it is not consistent with the other fundamental theory of 
physics, general relativity.  This has no effect on their belief in an 
objective reality, it just implies that they don't know what it is yet.  But 
they do know a lot about it.

 
 Quantum Wave Functions are yet another example of a thing which cannot
 be reduced to finite emprical parts.  It is in fact an established
 fact that QM wave functions cannot be *directly* emprically verified.
 Any emprical fact or set of facts you can point to *cannot* fully
 capture the QM Wave function!  It is something abstract which exists
 over and above any empirical facts.  This is yet another example of
 the failure of reductionism.

What can be directly empirically verified?...Descartes, I think therefor I 
am...I think.  Even your perception of an ordinary object like a table or 
chair is theory-laden.

 
 I have now given three clear-cut exmaples of a failure of
 reductionism.
  (1)  Infinite Sets  

But there is no infinite set of anything.

(2)  The Laws of Physics and (3) Quantum Wave
 Functions
 
 It is established that all of these concepts are indispensible to our
 explanations of reality and they are logically well defined and
 supported.  But none of these concepts can be reduced to any finite
 set of empirical facts.

That's because we invented them.

 
 The only way to evade the conclusion that reductionism is false is (as
 shown by Stathis's argument strategy) to deny that any of these
 concepts has objective reality.  For example to evade a failure of
 reductionism as regards 'inifinite sets' one has to argue that
 infinite sets are not objectively real, or not physically real.  You
 might get away with that argument for something as esoteric as
 'Inifnite Sets' (after all there is some legitimate doubt that these
 things are real), but once you reach a concept which is clearly
 fundamental and neccessery for physical reality to exist at all (ie
 Quantum Wave Functions), your argument has lapsed to pure solipsism.
 
 Which is more likely:  The laws of physics and QM wave functions are
 all human fictions, or reductionism is false?  It has to be one or the
 other.

QM isn't even a physical theory; it's just a set of principles for formulating 
physical theories; as classical mechanics was before it.

Since we already know that QFT must be inconsistent with the dynamics of 
spacetime, it's an easy choice.

Brent Meeker
The laws of physics are ruleless rules that arise not from any plan but from 
the very lack any plan. They are the laws of the void.
--- Vic Stenger

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-07 Thread marc . geddes



On May 8, 4:06 pm, Stathis Papaioannou [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 On 08/05/07, [EMAIL PROTECTED] [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:



  Silly spelling error in my last post - I meant 'electrons' of course.
  Let avoid talk of 'electrons' then, and talk about  'Quantum Wave
  Functions' then, since surely even Russell must agree that QM fields
  are fundamental (at least as far as we know).  You can't say that QM
  fields are just human inventions - take away the base level and you
  have no objective reality left to argue about! ;)

 Actually I didn't pick it as a typo - I thought you were talking about
 elections. Elections are complex things, involving candidates, voters,
 timing, standards of empirical verification and many other rules. They also
 involve concepts such as fairness, democracy, deceitfulness and so on.
 You can't physically grasp an election or draw a circle around it.
 Nevertheless, calling it an election is just a shorthand for a collection of
 matter behaving in a certain way. There is no extra election-substance
 instilled by the universe which makes the difference between an election and
 an otherwise identical non-election, and there is no election-entity
 distinct from the behaviour of matter which we observe and call an election.

 --
 Stathis Papaioannou

Well of course I agree with you in this case.  'Election' is a human
construct.  That's why it was a horrifyingly unfortunate typo on my
point.  The point is that if you try to apply the same reasoning to
everything, you'll end up saying that *everything* is just a human
construct - and throw the scientific method out the window.  We don't
'construct' those things in reality which are objective.  Our concepts
*make reference* to them.  The concepts may be invented, but there has
to be a match between at least *some* of the informational content of
our theories and the informational content of objective theory (or
else the concepts would be useless).  Think computers and information
here.  Objective reality is information.  And our concepts are
information too.  So there has to be a partial match between the
information content of useful concepts and objective reality.  That's
why we can refer a failure of reductionism from the concepts we
invented which proved useful.


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-07 Thread marc . geddes



On May 8, 3:56 pm, Brent Meeker [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:


  'The Laws of Physics'  don't refer to human notions (they certainly
  are not regarded that way by scientists

 They are by the scientists I know.

The *knowledge* we have of the laws of physics are human notions.  But
the laws of physics *per se* are not.  See other post.  Think computer
science and information.  Our concepts are information and so is
reality.  So in the case of useful concepts there has to be a partial
match between the information content of the concepts and the
information content of reality.  This means we can infer properties
about reality from our concepts.  The distinction between map and
territory is not absolute.  A simulated hurricane for instance, has
*some* of the exact same *information content* as a real hurricane.



 - the whole notion of an
  objective reality would have be thrown out the window if we thought
  that there were no objective laws of physics since as mentioned,
  physics is the base level of reality), but are precise mathematical
  rules which have to be (postulated as) *universal* in scope for the
  scientific method to work at all.

 Sure, they are precise mathematical systems, which the scientist hopes and 
 intends to describe (part of) an objective reality.  But the map is not the 
 territory and scientists know it.

See above.  And read Tegmark's paper!  ;) In the case of mathematics
the distinction between map and territory is breaking down.  Remember
what we agreed on earlier - math is *both* epistemological (a map we
use to understand reality) *and* ontological (the territory  itself)


 Brent Meeker- Hide quoted text -



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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-06 Thread marc . geddes



On May 6, 12:03 am, Stathis Papaioannou [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 On 04/05/07, [EMAIL PROTECTED] [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 It seems to me that 'coarse graining' could provide a means for time

  to 'stratify' into different levels.  Now let me elaborate a little.
  Coarse graining is the 'level of detail' at which we observe reality.
  If we observe reality 'with a magnifying glass' as it were, we see
  lots of details.  As we 'zoom out' and observe more higher level
  general features of reality, detailed information is lost.  The
  question is: Is it really true that the higher level descriptions of
  reality are completely *reducible* to the lower level descriptions of
  reality?  (See for instance 'Non-reductive physicalism').  The idea
  here is that 'the higher level' dsecriptions come about because of
  coarse graining and that there are features of these higher level
  descriptions that are not completely reducible to the lower level
  descriptions.

 I've looked up non-reductive physicalism and it still seems to me an
 oxymoron. Could a person's mental state be different even though his
 physical state is unchanged? If so, then this implies that there is at least
 in part some non-physical process giving rise to consciousness. It may be
 the case, but it isn't physicalism.

 --
 Stathis Papaioannou

Non-reductive materialism *doesn't* say that a person's person state
could be different even though his physical state is unchanged.  If it
did, you are right, it wouldn't be materialism.  In all forms of
materialism, the person's mental state has to be completely fixed by
the physical state.

What non-reductive materialism *does* say is that high-level
properties of a complex system are not completely reducible to
descriptions in terms of lower level properties.  That is, there exist
real (objective) high-level properties of a system which cannot be
replaced by low-level descriptions.

Unfortunately reductionism appears to *the* modern day dogma of
science and it seems to be near impossible to get through to anyone in
the grip of this dogma. 'Eliminative materialism' is all the rage
these days aka Daniel Dennett and co who think that consciousness is
'just a fiction' (even though Dennett uses these same-said high level
cognitive processes to reason his way to his absurd conclusion).

We know for sure (via the argument from indispensability) than there
exist mathematical concepts (for instance uncomputable numbers and
infinite sets) which *cannot* be identified with finite physical
processes.  Yet we see great minds desperate to try to deny the
existence of uncomputables (J.Schmidhuber on this very list just
showed up recently and tried to argue that only discrete math is
real!) - even though in fact Cantor put infinite sets on an infallible
footing long ago (and Abraham Robinson did the same for
infinitesimals).  See this link for an artilce I wrote giving a quick
demolition of the arguments against infinite sets:

http://archives.betterhumans.com/Members/mjgeddes/BlogPost/4710/Default.aspx

The bottom line is that if infinite sets are real (and they are!)
reductive materialism is false.

But it doesn't stop there:  Science itself (via the notion of 'laws of
physics') uses concepts which are supposed to be *universal* in
scope.  But universals by definition cannot be empirically identified
with any finite physical concept.  Again the very use of universals
('laws of physics') actually falsifies the reductionist claims.







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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-06 Thread marc . geddes



On May 5, 6:21 am, Russell Standish [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:


 I agree that coarse graining is of supreme importance to cognition,
 and this was bourne out in a conversation I had with a cognitive
 science researcher from the Centre for the Mind the other day.

That's good news.  Glad we agree.


 However, I'm not entirely sure we're on the same page. For me, coarse
 graining is basically the L1/L2 mechanism used for emergence, and in
 the definition of complexity (see my paper On complexity and
 emergence, or the relevant sections in my book). However, only two
 levels of description are needed - others may be present, but are not
 used, so I'm somewhat bemused at you saying there are three levels.

Will look into it later.  But yes,  I'm sure there's definitely three
levels:
State Level (class level), Operational Level (functional level) and
State-Change Level (computational physics level)


 UML, as I understand it, is a means of represent heirachies, object
 heirarchies specifically. Whilst possible that heirarchies are
 essential to cognition, nothing I can see at present mandates it.

 Cheers


UML is a general language used for data and process modelling.  When I
first learned it I was quite interested, because it seemed relevent to
my interests (ontology and knowledge representation).  But only after
a grest deal of exposure to UML did it dawn on me that it *is* the
secret to the entire universe :D  Seriously, many of the concepts I
have been intuitively groping towards had actually already been
developed for me via UML and I was highly bemused that I could simply
quickly fit all my ideas to UML concepts!

You may be skeptical, but I think that OOP (Object Oriented
Programming) and UML is definitely the correct paradigm over all other
approaches.  Indeed they had their roots in the attempts to model
reality (via simulations).  I think UML is far more profound than
everyone realizes and could form the basis for a TOE (Theory Of
Everything).  *If* we regard everything as 'Knowledge' (*not* mere
'information' but 'knowledge') *then* from *this perspective* general
DP modelling tools can be used a language for understanding
everything.

The three levels of reality (and hence three levels of time or
cauaslity) implied by UML are so blindingly glaringly screamingly
obvious that it's amazing that no-one but me appears to have noticed
them ;)

Cheers!


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-06 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
On 06/05/07, [EMAIL PROTECTED] [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

Non-reductive materialism *doesn't* say that a person's person state
 could be different even though his physical state is unchanged.  If it
 did, you are right, it wouldn't be materialism.  In all forms of
 materialism, the person's mental state has to be completely fixed by
 the physical state.

 What non-reductive materialism *does* say is that high-level
 properties of a complex system are not completely reducible to
 descriptions in terms of lower level properties.  That is, there exist
 real (objective) high-level properties of a system which cannot be
 replaced by low-level descriptions.


Then it seems to be a matter of semantics. You could say that a pair of peas
cannot be explained in terms of one pea and another pea because pair is a
higher level property of the system. It's just that in the case of this
trivial example, our minds easily and intuitively see that the pair really
is nothing more than the sum of its parts. We might imagine
super-intelligent beings who could immediately see all sorts of
fantastically intricate, complex systems for what they really are.

Unfortunately reductionism appears to *the* modern day dogma of
 science and it seems to be near impossible to get through to anyone in
 the grip of this dogma. 'Eliminative materialism' is all the rage
 these days aka Daniel Dennett and co who think that consciousness is
 'just a fiction' (even though Dennett uses these same-said high level
 cognitive processes to reason his way to his absurd conclusion).


It's obviously crazy to say consciousness is just a fiction; just as it's
crazy to say a pair of peas is just a fiction. This is not the same as
saying that the idea of consciousness as a separate ontological entity is
just a fiction.

We know for sure (via the argument from indispensability) than there
 exist mathematical concepts (for instance uncomputable numbers and
 infinite sets) which *cannot* be identified with finite physical
 processes.  Yet we see great minds desperate to try to deny the
 existence of uncomputables (J.Schmidhuber on this very list just
 showed up recently and tried to argue that only discrete math is
 real!) - even though in fact Cantor put infinite sets on an infallible
 footing long ago (and Abraham Robinson did the same for
 infinitesimals).  See this link for an artilce I wrote giving a quick
 demolition of the arguments against infinite sets:


 http://archives.betterhumans.com/Members/mjgeddes/BlogPost/4710/Default.aspx

 The bottom line is that if infinite sets are real (and they are!)
 reductive materialism is false.


I don't see how that follows, even if by real you mean physically real as
opposed to mathematically real.

But it doesn't stop there:  Science itself (via the notion of 'laws of
 physics') uses concepts which are supposed to be *universal* in
 scope.  But universals by definition cannot be empirically identified
 with any finite physical concept.  Again the very use of universals
 ('laws of physics') actually falsifies the reductionist claims.


This reminds me of the consternation that the logical positivists
experienced with the verifiability principle for what was meaningful in
science - which is not itself subject to the verifiability principle! Still,
I don't think this has any bearing on reductionism. The scientific method is
about how we are to go about discovering scientific truths, just as the
adversarial method in a court of law is about how to decide guilt or
innocence beyond reasonable doubt. But the world is as it is regardless of
our methods of investigation.

-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-06 Thread marc . geddes



On May 6, 10:51 pm, Stathis Papaioannou [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 On 06/05/07, [EMAIL PROTECTED] [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 Non-reductive materialism *doesn't* say that a person's person state

  could be different even though his physical state is unchanged.  If it
  did, you are right, it wouldn't be materialism.  In all forms of
  materialism, the person's mental state has to be completely fixed by
  the physical state.

  What non-reductive materialism *does* say is that high-level
  properties of a complex system are not completely reducible to
  descriptions in terms of lower level properties.  That is, there exist
  real (objective) high-level properties of a system which cannot be
  replaced by low-level descriptions.

 Then it seems to be a matter of semantics. You could say that a pair of peas
 cannot be explained in terms of one pea and another pea because pair is a
 higher level property of the system. It's just that in the case of this
 trivial example, our minds easily and intuitively see that the pair really
 is nothing more than the sum of its parts. We might imagine
 super-intelligent beings who could immediately see all sorts of
 fantastically intricate, complex systems for what they really are.

In the particular exmaple you just gave, 'pair' is *not* an
*objectively real* high-level property of the system.  In this case
'pair' is indeed just a human construct which makes it easier for us
to understand the system.  The system in this example *can* be reduced
to merely the sum of the parts.  But I don't think all systems can.
The deciding factor is whether the higher level description is
*indispensible* or not. (See philosophy literature for 'Argument From
Indispensibility').  In the example you gave the higher level
description ('pair') *can* be dispensed with (the system is actually
merely the sum of the parts).   So this is indeed a completely
reductionistic example.  but not all levels of description can be
dispensed with so easily.




 Unfortunately reductionism appears to *the* modern day dogma of

  science and it seems to be near impossible to get through to anyone in
  the grip of this dogma. 'Eliminative materialism' is all the rage
  these days aka Daniel Dennett and co who think that consciousness is
  'just a fiction' (even though Dennett uses these same-said high level
  cognitive processes to reason his way to his absurd conclusion).

 It's obviously crazy to say consciousness is just a fiction; just as it's
 crazy to say a pair of peas is just a fiction. This is not the same as
 saying that the idea of consciousness as a separate ontological entity is
 just a fiction.


True.  But the two cases 'consciousness' and 'pair of peas' are quite
different.  As I agreed 'pair of peas' is merely a human construct.
So let's clarfiy the terminology then: the question is whether
consciousness is merely a 'human mental construct' similair to the
term 'pair of peas' or whether consciousness does exist as an
objectively real ontological entity.  I'm saying it does.

Below I gave example of things ('laws of physics' and 'infinite sets')
which cannot be reduced to seperate parts in the way the 'pair of
peas' system could.



 We know for sure (via the argument from indispensability) than there

  exist mathematical concepts (for instance uncomputable numbers and
  infinite sets) which *cannot* be identified with finite physical
  processes.  Yet we see great minds desperate to try to deny the
  existence of uncomputables (J.Schmidhuber on this very list just
  showed up recently and tried to argue that only discrete math is
  real!) - even though in fact Cantor put infinite sets on an infallible
  footing long ago (and Abraham Robinson did the same for
  infinitesimals).  See this link for an artilce I wrote giving a quick
  demolition of the arguments against infinite sets:

 http://archives.betterhumans.com/Members/mjgeddes/BlogPost/4710/Defau...

  The bottom line is that if infinite sets are real (and they are!)
  reductive materialism is false.

 I don't see how that follows, even if by real you mean physically real as
 opposed to mathematically real.

It follows because there are *no* finite physical parts you can point
to which identify an infinite set.  Think of the 'pair of peas'
example you gave.  In that example, you *could* reduce the concept
'pair of peas' to finite physical parts with which you could identify
the system.  In the case of an 'inifinite set' you cannot.  No finite
set of physical objects can be identified with an infinite set.   We
know inifinite sets are real because they are *indispensible* to our
explanations of reality (See 'Cantor').  This shows that there exist
high level concepts which *cannot* be broken to finite parts.

Now there is a possible question mark here regarding the distinction
(as you pointed out) between mathematical reality and physical
reality.That's why I gave yet another example below of something
which *is* clearly physical, 

Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-06 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
On 07/05/07, [EMAIL PROTECTED] [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

Still, I don't think this has any bearing on reductionism. The scientific
 method is
  about how we are to go about discovering scientific truths, just as the
  adversarial method in a court of law is about how to decide guilt or
  innocence beyond reasonable doubt. But the world is as it is
 regardless of
  our methods of investigation.
 

 But it *does* have a bearing of reductionism because the very term
 *laws of physics* IS itself an ontology category!  The point is that
 the physicals science use the concept *laws of physics* as an
 ontological category, and this category requires explanation.

 We can quite legitimately ask: what does the concept *laws of physics*
 refer to?  (Just as we asked , in the example you gave: what does the
 concept *pair of peas* refer to).  In your example, we found that the
 concept *pair of peas* could be broken down (reduced) to a lower level
 description (ie. the system was indeed merely the sum of the parts).
 But in the case of the concept *laws opf physics* we find that we
 *cannot* break down (reduce) this concept to any finite set of
 physical objects or processes.  It is also the case that the concept
 *laws of physics* is *indispensible* to the scientific method, so it
 cannot be argued away as some kind of semantic trick.

 We have here a clear example of an indispensible *physical* concept
 which *cannot* be broken down or reduced to any finite lower level
 descriptions.  This proves that reductive materialism is false.


I'm not sure that it is necessary to consider the laws of physics a separate
ontological category. A zoologist might study the behaviour of chimpanzees,
take notes, and summarise these notes in a paper for others to read and test
by seeing if chimpanzees do indeed behave as claimed. The rules of
chimpanzee behaviour is not separate to how chimpanzees actually behave nor
does it have any causal effects of its own. Similarly, a physicist might
study the behaviour of electrons and write a paper for others to read and
test by seeing if electrons do behave in the way claimed, but these laws of
physics regarding electrons are not separate to electron behaviour and have
no causal role in electron behaviour. Electrons and chimpanzees behave in
the way they are inclined to behave, and if we can discern patterns by
observing them, that's just our good fortune.

-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-06 Thread Russell Standish

On Mon, May 07, 2007 at 02:06:36PM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
 
 I'm not sure that it is necessary to consider the laws of physics a separate
 ontological category. A zoologist might study the behaviour of chimpanzees,
 take notes, and summarise these notes in a paper for others to read and test
 by seeing if chimpanzees do indeed behave as claimed. The rules of
 chimpanzee behaviour is not separate to how chimpanzees actually behave nor
 does it have any causal effects of its own. Similarly, a physicist might
 study the behaviour of electrons and write a paper for others to read and
 test by seeing if electrons do behave in the way claimed, but these laws of
 physics regarding electrons are not separate to electron behaviour and have
 no causal role in electron behaviour. Electrons and chimpanzees behave in
 the way they are inclined to behave, and if we can discern patterns by
 observing them, that's just our good fortune.
 
 -- 
 Stathis Papaioannou
 

Electron is just our name for how certain quantum fields  behave. The
rules about electron behaviour are about our notion of an electron, not
about something that is fundamentally existing.

OK perhaps electron is somewhat controversial, as some people might
think of electrons as fundamental. However, replace electron by proton
and there is no doubt.

Similarly, chimpanzees are names given to a certain collection of
chemicals that happens to behave in a particular way. The rules of
chimpanzee behaviour are fully emergent from the rules of chemistry.

-- 


A/Prof Russell Standish  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Mathematics  
UNSW SYDNEY 2052 [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Australiahttp://www.hpcoders.com.au


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-06 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
On 05/05/07, Russell Standish [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

Similarly, chimpanzees are names given to a certain collection of
 chemicals that happens to behave in a particular way. The rules of
 chimpanzee behaviour are fully emergent from the rules of chemistry.


In your book you say that reductionism has gone too far and then talk
about weak and strong emergence. Can you explain the relationship between
reductionism and emergence?

-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-06 Thread Russell Standish

Reductionism eliminates emergence. Reductionism is the philosophy that
all relevant properties of something can be explained in terms of the
properties of its components.

A weaker property is supervenience. Something A supervenes on the
physics of its component parts U if two different states of A must
have correspondingly different states of U.

This may seem like the same thing, and many people confuse the two,
however the example of irreversible systems supervening on molecules
with reversible dynamics clearly illustrates the difference.

Incidently, you quote me as saying reductionism has gone too
far. Whilst this is the sort comment I might make (depending on
context), I don't appear to make it anywhere in my book.

Cheers

On Mon, May 07, 2007 at 02:31:09PM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
 On 05/05/07, Russell Standish [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 Similarly, chimpanzees are names given to a certain collection of
  chemicals that happens to behave in a particular way. The rules of
  chimpanzee behaviour are fully emergent from the rules of chemistry.
 
 
 In your book you say that reductionism has gone too far and then talk
 about weak and strong emergence. Can you explain the relationship between
 reductionism and emergence?
 
 -- 
 Stathis Papaioannou
 
  

-- 


A/Prof Russell Standish  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Mathematics  
UNSW SYDNEY 2052 [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Australiahttp://www.hpcoders.com.au


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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-05 Thread Mark Peaty

MG:
'There is no doubt that the nature of consciousness is closely
 associated with time in some way - but exactly how?  The relationship
 between time (time flow and also causality) may be far closer than
 many realize.  Could consciousness in fact be *identical* to time in
 some peculiar sense? '

MP: How about: consciousness is simply [ie no more and no less 
than] the *registration of change* in one's model of 
self-in-the-world.

My understanding, from my [admittedly-] shallow but obsessive 
and persistent reading of abstracts and articles, is that a 
reasonable case can be made that  sentience in vertebrates can 
be correlated to the fact of and extent that the outcome of 
perception and action does not match expectation. The gist of 
the mechanism is that every time an 'instruction' to move or 
change perceptual focus is generated and emitted to muscles 
and/or adaptable sense organs, a matching emission goes to the 
cerebellum. There the 'expectation' - the amalgamated result of 
all previous instances - is evoked in concert with the outcome 
of the current new instance. Any discrepancies are then 
available for feedback and feed-forward to modulate the activity 
and warn of potential problems.

The model of self in the world is just a bunch of network 
activations which embody/describe/denote/are the situational 
awareness and navigational controls of the entity. For human 
beings, who can tell themselves and each other stories, the 
model of self in the world clearly must include much description 
of social and personal history. For the model of self in the 
world to exist [and be any use at all] it must entail 
representations of currently significant features of the world, 
currently relevant aspects of 'self', and relevant relationships 
between self and world. The representation of self incorporates 
recursive self-references and therefore constitutes a process 
that is present and unique [and to a great extent 
unpredictable]. There is therefore something which actually 
exists. The constant updating of this model of self in the world 
IS the experience we call consciousness or awareness.

What we call time can be seen as the story, or sets of stories, 
we tell ourselves and each other in order to account for the 
changes that are occurring and to predict and control what we 
expect to occur. Calling time a 'dimension' therefore, or a set 
of dimensions, seems to me to be a rather abstract fudge. 
Enormously useful of course, we couldn't make social 
appointments or launch space rockets without 'time', but aren't 
we just reifying a human construct when we do this?


Regards

Mark Peaty  CDES

[EMAIL PROTECTED]

http://www.arach.net.au/~mpeaty/





[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 
 On May 5, 1:59 am, Danny Mayes  [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 I think of time from the third person perspective as being simply a higher
 spatial dimension above 3 dimensional volume in the same way that 3
 dimensional volume exists above 2 dimensional area.  In other words it's
 really the same as the other dimensions.

 So your comment about 3 dimensional time is sort of right, but it is of
 course actually 4 dimensional.  This means there are connections and
 relationships between points in this hyperspace that we can't imagine with
 our normal thought process because it is obviously something more than 3
 dimensional volume.  
 
 No, 3-d time would be quite different to the standard 4-d block
 universe of general relativity.  Even in relativity, the time
 dimension is not exactly the same as the spatial dimenions.  3-d time
 would result in a 6-d block universe (the standard 3-dimensions of
 space, plus 3 extra time dimensions).
 
 In any event, I've kinda modified my ideas and am not longer
 postulating three time dimenions in a literal sense.  What I'm
 suggesting is simply that there may be more than one valid way to
 define causality and it may arise from the fact that there are
 different levels of organization.  I'm a non-reductionist.  Although I
 agree there may be physical properties associated with everything,
 there are many different levels of organization and I'm skeptical that
 higher level properties of systems are entirely reducible to
 explanations in terms of the lowest level properties.  This would
 allow for the possibility of there being more than one valid measure
 of time flow.
 
 
 This 4 dimensional thing is eternal, and is the multiverse.  Actually that
 is not even correct because it implies the passage of an infinite amount of
 time.  Time is ultimately the relationships between things and how those
 relationships change.  So for the entire multiverse it exists outside of
 time, or more accurately time exists as a part of it so it does not make
 sense to discuss the whole in the context of time.

 From the first person point of view the sum is greater than the parts.  No
 individual frame of reference creates an observer moment because it
 obviously takes the passage of some time 

Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-05 Thread marc . geddes



On May 5, 10:05 pm, Mark Peaty [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 MG:
 'There is no doubt that the nature of consciousness is closely

  associated with time in some way - but exactly how?  The relationship
  between time (time flow and also causality) may be far closer than
  many realize.  Could consciousness in fact be *identical* to time in
  some peculiar sense? '

 MP: How about: consciousness is simply [ie no more and no less
 than] the *registration of change* in one's model of
 self-in-the-world.

 My understanding, from my [admittedly-] shallow but obsessive
 and persistent reading of abstracts and articles, is that a
 reasonable case can be made that  sentience in vertebrates can
 be correlated to the fact of and extent that the outcome of
 perception and action does not match expectation. The gist of
 the mechanism is that every time an 'instruction' to move or
 change perceptual focus is generated and emitted to muscles
 and/or adaptable sense organs, a matching emission goes to the
 cerebellum. There the 'expectation' - the amalgamated result of
 all previous instances - is evoked in concert with the outcome
 of the current new instance. Any discrepancies are then
 available for feedback and feed-forward to modulate the activity
 and warn of potential problems.

That sounds like a pretty good description of *how* consciousness
arises, but it doesn't actually explain *what* consciousness in
general actually is.


 The model of self in the world is just a bunch of network
 activations which embody/describe/denote/are the situational
 awareness and navigational controls of the entity. For human
 beings, who can tell themselves and each other stories, the
 model of self in the world clearly must include much description
 of social and personal history. For the model of self in the
 world to exist [and be any use at all] it must entail
 representations of currently significant features of the world,
 currently relevant aspects of 'self', and relevant relationships
 between self and world. The representation of self incorporates
 recursive self-references and therefore constitutes a process
 that is present and unique [and to a great extent
 unpredictable]. There is therefore something which actually
 exists. The constant updating of this model of self in the world
 IS the experience we call consciousness or awareness.

Well, again, this is a functional description of *some* aspects of
consciousness with which we are familiar.  I would say that
consciousness in general does not require does not require a self
model.  Reflection on the motivation system generates self-awareness I
think, but other types of reflection don't involve self-awareness.





 What we call time can be seen as the story, or sets of stories,
 we tell ourselves and each other in order to account for the
 changes that are occurring and to predict and control what we
 expect to occur. Calling time a 'dimension' therefore, or a set
 of dimensions, seems to me to be a rather abstract fudge.
 Enormously useful of course, we couldn't make social
 appointments or launch space rockets without 'time', but aren't
 we just reifying a human construct when we do this?

 Regards

 Mark Peaty  CDES

It all depends on whether high level concepts (concepts at the level
of functional systems) are completely reducible to explanations in
terms of low level physics.  If they are (if reductionism is true)
then indeed, it would appear that the passgae of time has no reality
(it would be merely a useful human fiction as you point out).  But if
reductionism is not true (as I suspect), then time could more complex
than is commonly thought.

Reflection is the process of reasoning about cognitive systems (ie
cognitive systems recursively calling other cognitive systems).  If
explanations of cognitive systems cannot be entirely reduced to low
level physics, then it appears that reflection must involve a new
definition of causality which cannot be reduced to mere computation.
Indeed, one could say that reflection IS a form of higher-order
causality - the higher level processes involved in reasoning about
cognitive systems and lower-level physics.  Conciousness is of course
*composed* of computation and physical processes (according to all
avaliable scientific evidence).  But the *explanations* of
consciousness are not neccesserily completely reducible to these
things.


 [EMAIL PROTECTED]

 http://www.arach.net.au/~mpeaty/



 [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

  On May 5, 1:59 am, Danny Mayes  [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
  I think of time from the third person perspective as being simply a higher
  spatial dimension above 3 dimensional volume in the same way that 3
  dimensional volume exists above 2 dimensional area.  In other words it's
  really the same as the other dimensions.

  So your comment about 3 dimensional time is sort of right, but it is of
  course actually 4 dimensional.  This means there are connections and
  relationships between points in this hyperspace 

Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-05 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
On 04/05/07, [EMAIL PROTECTED] [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

It seems to me that 'coarse graining' could provide a means for time
 to 'stratify' into different levels.  Now let me elaborate a little.
 Coarse graining is the 'level of detail' at which we observe reality.
 If we observe reality 'with a magnifying glass' as it were, we see
 lots of details.  As we 'zoom out' and observe more higher level
 general features of reality, detailed information is lost.  The
 question is: Is it really true that the higher level descriptions of
 reality are completely *reducible* to the lower level descriptions of
 reality?  (See for instance 'Non-reductive physicalism').  The idea
 here is that 'the higher level' dsecriptions come about because of
 coarse graining and that there are features of these higher level
 descriptions that are not completely reducible to the lower level
 descriptions.


I've looked up non-reductive physicalism and it still seems to me an
oxymoron. Could a person's mental state be different even though his
physical state is unchanged? If so, then this implies that there is at least
in part some non-physical process giving rise to consciousness. It may be
the case, but it isn't physicalism.

-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-05 Thread Mark Peaty

MG:
 Well, again, this is a functional description of *some* 
aspects of
 consciousness with which we are familiar.  I would say that
 consciousness in general does not require does not require a self
 model.  Reflection on the motivation system generates self-awareness I
 think, but other types of reflection don't involve self-awareness.

MP: I think a point to note is that, in so far as consciousness 
is *about* something or other, the something or other is viewed, 
perceived, conceived, constructed, made 'knowable', whatever, 
*from a point of view*. This point of view, which is where I 
'am' in the relevant context, may be just implicit in most 
experiences but is definitely explicit at other times. I think 
this reflects our general predisposition to naive realism which 
is the product of Darwinian evolution; in many if not most of 
the situations in which our early ancestors found themselves it 
was not particularly useful to be aware of the process of 
construction of the experience, in fact the energy and mind 
space necessary to do so would have a very high opportunity 
cost, life threatening in fact. To put it another way: 
self-awareness is a philosophical necessity but a biological 
luxury.

MG:
  Reflection is the process of reasoning about cognitive 
systems (ie
 cognitive systems recursively calling other cognitive systems).  If
 explanations of cognitive systems cannot be entirely reduced to low
 level physics, then it appears that reflection must involve a new
 definition of causality which cannot be reduced to mere computation.
 Indeed, one could say that reflection IS a form of higher-order
 causality - the higher level processes involved in reasoning about
 cognitive systems and lower-level physics.  Consciousness is of course
 *composed* of computation and physical processes (according to all
 available scientific evidence).  But the *explanations* of
 consciousness are not necessarily completely reducible to these
 things.

MP: I agree that mental reflection IS a form of higher level 
causality. I think though that it is NOT possible to totally 
reduce something to something else yet still retain the original 
reality in its completeness. But 'reduction', vaccinated with 
sufficient doses of 'ceteris paribus', is still enormously 
powerful. It is a central tool of scientific method. The way I 
see it, what we are calling reduction is in fact *synthesis* of 
a representational system which by definition embodies 
abstractions of what are considered to be the relevant essential 
features, usually requiring some mathematical format to obtain 
the maximum leverage.

My acronym for what goes on is UMSITW [pronounced 
'um-see-two'] which means Updating Model of Self In The World. I 
am not impressed by assertions that consciousness is sometimes 
not ABOUT anything in particular. I think that the kind of 
experiences being referred to, such as a 'no-mind' state of 
meditation, are what it is like to be the high gain system when, 
after much practice, the brain has been trained to virtually 
cease evoking representations.


Regards

Mark Peaty  CDES
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
http://www.arach.net.au/~mpeaty/

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 
 On May 5, 10:05 pm, Mark Peaty [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 MG:
 'There is no doubt that the nature of consciousness is closely

 associated with time in some way - but exactly how?  The relationship
 between time (time flow and also causality) may be far closer than
 many realize.  Could consciousness in fact be *identical* to time in
 some peculiar sense? '
 MP: How about: consciousness is simply [ie no more and no less
 than] the *registration of change* in one's model of
 self-in-the-world.

 My understanding, from my [admittedly-] shallow but obsessive
 and persistent reading of abstracts and articles, is that a
 reasonable case can be made that  sentience in vertebrates can
 be correlated to the fact of and extent that the outcome of
 perception and action does not match expectation. The gist of
 the mechanism is that every time an 'instruction' to move or
 change perceptual focus is generated and emitted to muscles
 and/or adaptable sense organs, a matching emission goes to the
 cerebellum. There the 'expectation' - the amalgamated result of
 all previous instances - is evoked in concert with the outcome
 of the current new instance. Any discrepancies are then
 available for feedback and feed-forward to modulate the activity
 and warn of potential problems.
 
 That sounds like a pretty good description of *how* consciousness
 arises, but it doesn't actually explain *what* consciousness in
 general actually is.
 
 The model of self in the world is just a bunch of network
 activations which embody/describe/denote/are the situational
 awareness and navigational controls of the entity. For human
 beings, who can tell themselves and each other stories, the
 model of self in the world clearly must include much description
 of social and personal history. For the 

Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-05 Thread Russell Standish

On Fri, May 04, 2007 at 03:07:54AM -, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 
 Been thinking about Bruno's often talked 1st person/3rd Person
 division.  Had a series of insights that seem to connect up to some
 ideas of my own.
 
 Essentially my idea resolves around 'coarse graining' and the
 possibility that there is more than one valid way to define
 causality.  On this and other lists I've often talked about the idea
 that there is more than one sort of time and discussed ideas relating
 to 3 dimensional time.  But it was just vague speculation.  Now my
 early intuitions have crystallized somewhat.

...

 
 Now In UML (Unified Modelling Language), there seems to be an implicit
 'stratification' into three different levels of description.
 

I agree that coarse graining is of supreme importance to cognition,
and this was bourne out in a conversation I had with a cognitive
science researcher from the Centre for the Mind the other day.

However, I'm not entirely sure we're on the same page. For me, coarse
graining is basically the L1/L2 mechanism used for emergence, and in
the definition of complexity (see my paper On complexity and
emergence, or the relevant sections in my book). However, only two
levels of description are needed - others may be present, but are not
used, so I'm somewhat bemused at you saying there are three levels.

UML, as I understand it, is a means of represent heirachies, object
heirarchies specifically. Whilst possible that heirarchies are
essential to cognition, nothing I can see at present mandates it.

Cheers


A/Prof Russell Standish  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Mathematics  
UNSW SYDNEY 2052 [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Australiahttp://www.hpcoders.com.au


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RE: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-04 Thread Danny Mayes

I think of time from the third person perspective as being simply a higher
spatial dimension above 3 dimensional volume in the same way that 3
dimensional volume exists above 2 dimensional area.  In other words it's
really the same as the other dimensions.

So your comment about 3 dimensional time is sort of right, but it is of
course actually 4 dimensional.  This means there are connections and
relationships between points in this hyperspace that we can't imagine with
our normal thought process because it is obviously something more than 3
dimensional volume.  

This 4 dimensional thing is eternal, and is the multiverse.  Actually that
is not even correct because it implies the passage of an infinite amount of
time.  Time is ultimately the relationships between things and how those
relationships change.  So for the entire multiverse it exists outside of
time, or more accurately time exists as a part of it so it does not make
sense to discuss the whole in the context of time.

From the first person point of view the sum is greater than the parts.  No
individual frame of reference creates an observer moment because it
obviously takes the passage of some time (passage of time being another way
of saying a string of individual universe frames in the first person point
of view).  Therefore the illusion of time passing and moving in one
direction is simply a result of the nature of consciousness.  Consciousness
involves linear thought process and we of course only seem to experience one
outcome as you follow the line of existence of the SAS (that acronym used to
be used a lot around here!) through the multiverse.  From the 3rd person
perspective, the existence of the SAS is a 4 dimensional space in this
diagram (covering its existence in every universe it is described in), but
again from its perspective on the diagram it is a one dimensional line
through points in the 4 dimensional hyperspace it existed.  This is of
course its self-perceived time line.

This idea may give us a theory as to the total information capacity of the
multiverse, which may not be infinite.  It may also explain the holographic
principal, as suggested by Colin Bruce a few years ago.   


 

-Original Message-
From: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
[mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2007 11:08 PM
To: Everything List
Subject: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery -
Coarse graining is the answer!?


Been thinking about Bruno's often talked 1st person/3rd Person
division.  Had a series of insights that seem to connect up to some
ideas of my own.

Essentially my idea resolves around 'coarse graining' and the
possibility that there is more than one valid way to define
causality.  On this and other lists I've often talked about the idea
that there is more than one sort of time and discussed ideas relating
to 3 dimensional time.  But it was just vague speculation.  Now my
early intuitions have crystallized somewhat.

It seems to me that 'coarse graining' could provide a means for time
to 'stratify' into different levels.  Now let me elaborate a little.
Coarse graining is the 'level of detail' at which we observe reality.
If we observe reality 'with a magnifying glass' as it were, we see
lots of details.  As we 'zoom out' and observe more higher level
general features of reality, detailed information is lost.  The
question is: Is it really true that the higher level descriptions of
reality are completely *reducible* to the lower level descriptions of
reality?  (See for instance 'Non-reductive physicalism').  The idea
here is that 'the higher level' dsecriptions come about because of
coarse graining and that there are features of these higher level
descriptions that are not completely reducible to the lower level
descriptions.

Now In UML (Unified Modelling Language), there seems to be an implicit
'stratification' into three different levels of description.

The first level of description is the 'State Model' - here only the
most general (class level) properties of something are given.

The second level of description is the 'Operational Model' - the
functional properties of a system are what the system is actually
doing externally. (ie the systems actions on the external world).  But
I noticed that this level of description involves more detail - the
'coarse graining' level has changed - we are 'zooming in' on the
details so to speak.

Finally, the third level of description is the 'State Change Model' -
here we 'zoom in' on the internal details of the causal state changes
in the system.

Big idea: these three levels of description in UML could correspond
directly to 'three different levels' in the real world - from which
could be derived three different definitions of time arising from
coarse graining!  In other words, time is stratified into three
different levels.

Here they are:

State Model time:Evolution of the QM wave function: 'branching' of
MWI tree (high level)

Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

2007-05-04 Thread marc . geddes



On May 5, 1:59 am, Danny Mayes  [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 I think of time from the third person perspective as being simply a higher
 spatial dimension above 3 dimensional volume in the same way that 3
 dimensional volume exists above 2 dimensional area.  In other words it's
 really the same as the other dimensions.

 So your comment about 3 dimensional time is sort of right, but it is of
 course actually 4 dimensional.  This means there are connections and
 relationships between points in this hyperspace that we can't imagine with
 our normal thought process because it is obviously something more than 3
 dimensional volume.  

No, 3-d time would be quite different to the standard 4-d block
universe of general relativity.  Even in relativity, the time
dimension is not exactly the same as the spatial dimenions.  3-d time
would result in a 6-d block universe (the standard 3-dimensions of
space, plus 3 extra time dimensions).

In any event, I've kinda modified my ideas and am not longer
postulating three time dimenions in a literal sense.  What I'm
suggesting is simply that there may be more than one valid way to
define causality and it may arise from the fact that there are
different levels of organization.  I'm a non-reductionist.  Although I
agree there may be physical properties associated with everything,
there are many different levels of organization and I'm skeptical that
higher level properties of systems are entirely reducible to
explanations in terms of the lowest level properties.  This would
allow for the possibility of there being more than one valid measure
of time flow.



 This 4 dimensional thing is eternal, and is the multiverse.  Actually that
 is not even correct because it implies the passage of an infinite amount of
 time.  Time is ultimately the relationships between things and how those
 relationships change.  So for the entire multiverse it exists outside of
 time, or more accurately time exists as a part of it so it does not make
 sense to discuss the whole in the context of time.

 From the first person point of view the sum is greater than the parts.  No
 individual frame of reference creates an observer moment because it
 obviously takes the passage of some time (passage of time being another way
 of saying a string of individual universe frames in the first person point
 of view).  Therefore the illusion of time passing and moving in one
 direction is simply a result of the nature of consciousness.  Consciousness
 involves linear thought process and we of course only seem to experience one
 outcome as you follow the line of existence of the SAS (that acronym used to
 be used a lot around here!) through the multiverse.  From the 3rd person
 perspective, the existence of the SAS is a 4 dimensional space in this
 diagram (covering its existence in every universe it is described in), but
 again from its perspective on the diagram it is a one dimensional line
 through points in the 4 dimensional hyperspace it existed.  This is of
 course its self-perceived time line.

 This idea may give us a theory as to the total information capacity of the
 multiverse, which may not be infinite.  It may also explain the holographic
 principal, as suggested by Colin Bruce a few years ago.  


There is no doubt that the nature of consciousness is closely
associated with time in some way - but exactly how?  The relationship
between time (time flow and also causality) may be far closer than
many realize.  Could consciousness in fact be *identical* to time in
some peculiar sense?  This is in fact what I'm getting at with my
suggestion that there may be more than one valid way to define
causality.


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