Re: Are First Person prime?

From: David Nyman <>
Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2006 16:49:36 -0000

Colin Geoffrey Hales wrote:

> I'm hoping this also addresses some of David Nyman's queries.

Thanks, yes it does. However, for the sake of clarity:

> > Why not? What *does* implementation consist of ?
> Being the stuff, the substrate. It's the only thing actually instantiated.

So, given your view that there is only 1st-person, and also given that
our experience is 1st-person, does that imply:

1) That we are instantiated as the substrate behaving in some specific
ways that are in principle empirically determinable?
2) That such behaviour, presumably, can be construed both as our
'ability to perceive' and as our 'perceptions'?
3) If the foregoing two points are ontologogical (what we are), then
does our epistemology (what we can know) derive from the internal
relata of the perceptually-derived models thus instantiated + their
inferred relation to 1st-person referents?
4) If there is only 1st person, what is the most coherent way to
distinguish the ontology of persons (e.g. you, me) from that of
non-persons (e.g. some volume of interstellar space)? Or, in what way
is the ontology of non-persons still 1st-person?


> Misc responses to "1Z" <>
> > Colin Hales wrote:
> >> David Nyman:
> >> <snip>
> >> > > An _abstract_ computation/model X implemented symbolically on a of
> a
> >> > portion
> >> > > of the structure (a COMPUTER) inside the structure (the UNIVERSE)
> >> will
> >> > see
> >> > > the universe as "NOT COMPUTER", not some function of the
> >> machinations of
> >> > X,
> >> > > the model. Eg The first person perspective of a register in a
> >> computer
> >> > > holding a quantity N must be that of being a register in a
> computer,
> >> not
> >> > > that of 'being' a quantity N.
> >> >
> >> > Interestingly you see it as the perspective of the register, rather
> than some computational entity within X. Does this imply some sort of
> hardware/ substrate experiential dependency, rather than a purely
> relational 'program-level' view?
> >> >
> >> >
> >> Sort of...but I think the word 'hardware' is loaded with assumption.
> I'd
> >> say
> >> that universe literally is a relational construct
> >
> > A timeless relational construct or an evolving relational construct ?
> Evolving. The evolution of the construct from state to state makes it feel
> like there is time.
> >
> >> and that it's appearance
> >> as 'physical' is what it is like when you are in it. .ie.
> >
> > Presumably, what is *necessarily* like when you are
> > in it , since there is no contingency in Platonia.
> Platonia has not been instantiated. Our universe has. Our universe may
> act, somewhere, somehow, as if it were interacting with entities in
> platonia, but that does not make platonic entities 'real' any more than
> real/imaginary power vectors delivered out your power-outlet make the
> square root of -1 real.
> >
> > I await an apriori deduction of qualia from
> > relational structures....
> Why stop there? What about an a-priori deduction of mass from relational
> structures? Or space? Or electric fields? Or gravity? All the same...and
> none of these have been predicted by any abstract model or 'lumpy/thingy'
> ontological thinking. The abstract model predicts things that behave
> 'model'-ly. Parameters/variables in the model match adequately when
> compared to reality. They do not describe what it is actually made of....
> f = ma says nothing about what mass is. It says what mass _does_.
> >
> >> There's no such
> >> 'thing' as a 'thing'. :-) It doesn't mean that behaving 'as if' there
> are
> >> such things as things is not useful...we survive that way...
> >> 'Substrate' in my intended context would mean more like 'whatever it is
> that
> >> the universe is, it is that'. Our predisposition to assume isolated
> lumpy
> >> 'thingness' is rather pervasive.
> >
> > Of course: it is well founded empirically. We have abundant
> > evidence that only certaint things exist within a given spatial
> > volume (contingency) that they endure through time, and so on.
> No. We have abundant evidence of some'thing' behaving as per an
> abstraction of 'thing' at the scales we explore. We have NOT proven that
> these laws apply at all scales..indeed we have abundant evidence to the
> contrary! Absense of evidence is not evidence of absense.
> >
> > Timeless universe, universes where everything that can exist
> > does exist, are not well founded empirically.
> No they are not. Again a mathematical model (quantum mechanics) that seems
> to imply multiple universes does not mean that they exist....Only that the
> model makes it look like it does. I can imagine any number of situations
> where the fuzziness of the ultra-scale world obeys the rules of a QM-like
> model.
> For example, the perfectly deterministicly repeated trajectory of whatever
> an electron is made of through 35.4 spatial dimensions is going to look
> awfully fuzzy to critters observing it as course scales within 3
> dimensions. QM depicts fuzziness... and 'aha' the universe is made of QM?
> Not so. It merely appears to obey the abstraction QM provides us.
> QM says nothing about what the universe is actually constructed of. It is
> not constructed of quantum mechanics! It is constructed of something that
> behaves quantum mechanical-ly.
> >
> >
> >> Perhaps this:
> >> Waving a bit of it ('stuff', the relational-substrate) around in a
> circle
> >> (for example) in indirect 'as-if' symbolic representation as a
> >> computation
> >> of an abstraction X in no way instantiates X or Xness,
> >
> > Why not? What *does* implementation consist of ?
> Being the stuff, the substrate. It's the only thing actually instantiated.
> >
> >> it instantiates
> >> 'being_waved_around_in_a_circle_ness' from the point of view of being
> the
> >> 'stuff' (1st person) and the behaviour 'waving_around_in_a_circle_ly'
> (3rd
> >> person). Note that the 3rd person is actually derived from the 1st
> person
> >> perspective of the observer! This third person can pretend
> >> 'waving_around_in_a_circle_ly' is X, but that's all there
> acting.
> >> The third person perspective is manufactured in the eyes of the
> beholder.
> >> Perhaps rather than '1st Person Prime' as an assertion, maybe '3rd
> person
> >> not prime' is a lesser and more justified position. The fact is that
> there
> >> is no such thing as a 'third person'.
> >
> > Ontologically ?
> No, experientially.
> Nobody experiences 'third person'. Everybody has a 1st person experience
> only. There is no such thing as an objective view. There is merely
> behaviour called objectivity which serves to extract regularities which
> subsequently become described with natural laws. If you care to treat the
> collection of natural laws as a kind of 'lens' through which to view the
> universe, then that view could be regarded as a 'third person view'. But
> nobody ever has that view. The universe thus viewed does not exist. The
> ontology of that view does not exist.
> >
> >> What you have is a communicable 1st
> >> person perspective that yet another 'first person perspective' can find
> if
> >> it looks. No-one ever has a 'third person' perspective.
> >
> > Epistemologically ?
> No. Experientially.
> See above. The collection of laws as a set of beliefs is _not_ a third
> person perspective. Adopting the beliefs results in behaviours that enable
> the prediction of 1st person experiences (the behaviour of the natural
> world as observed). This is how science works. This behaviour (acting as
> if the natural laws ran the universe) instantates the causal ancestry of
> all our technology. It really works ..but..
> Any further attribution of natural laws beyind the status of (albeit
> highly structured and systematically calibrated) beliefs is not justified.
> =======================
> The fundamental and, IMO fatal assumption being made here and throughout
> this thread, is that a _description_ of the universe acquired/validated
> with 1st person experience (= our only and entire source of scientific
> evidence) necessarily means that a natural law thus established is
> literally involved in the structure and causal necessities of the
> universe. This is plain unjustified nonsense.
> What we get with empirical laws is a model/abstraction that the universe
> _appears_ to obey. The models are very predictive and useful. But they are
> devoid of causal necessity and say nothing about the underlying
> composition of the universe. Natural laws say WHAT but are mute as to WHY.
> Take any laws of the natural world X. The physics of it is called Xics.
> (eg quantum mechanics). The natural world is _not_ constructed of Xics.
> The natural world merely behaves Xically in the specified context.
> That we happen to have a universe that is describable in models .ie. that
> happens to implement the necessary calculi in the context of our
> observations... this is a simply a property of the universe not yet
> explored. The so-called 'unreasonable effectiveness' of mathematics has us
> duped into a mass delusion that somehow the natural world is literally
> constructed of our abstractions.
> Furthermore it also seems to have us duped that further considerations of
> mathematical idealisations and abstractions in general likewise tells us
> something about the composition of the actual underlying natural world....
> for example that it is the result of a computer running one of our
> abstractions.
> As a result, instead of exploring the native structure of the universe as
> a natural mathematics in its own right with all its axioms established in
> a 'big-bang', we are diverted into mental machinations of entities whose
> relationship with the actual universe is merely an assumption.
> I'm hoping this also addresses some of David Nyman's queries.
> Colin Hales

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Received on Wed Aug 09 2006 - 12:51:39 PDT

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