RE: Dual-Aspect Science

From: Colin Hales <>
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2006 16:20:50 +1000

David Nyman:
> Colin Geoffrey Hales wrote:
> > ASIDE, for the record, dual aspect science (from the previous post). I)
> > APPEARANCE ASPECT. Depictions (statistics) of regularity (correlations
> of
> > agreed 'objects' within) in appearances
> > II) STRUCTURE ASPECT. Depictions (Statistics) of structure of an
> > underlying natural world based on organisations of one or more posited
> > structural primitives.
> >
> > Both have equal access to qualia as evidence. Qualia are evidence for
> > both. Whatever the structure is, scientists are made of it and it must
> > simultaneously a) deliver qualia and all the rest of the structure in
> the
> > universe(II) and b) deliver the contents of qualia (appearances) that
> > result in our correlations of appearances that we think of as empirical
> > laws(I). This is a complete consistent set of natural laws, none of
> which
> > literally 'are' the universe but are merely 'about' it.
> For the record, how (if at all) does this differ from Chalmers'
> property dualism and his programme for 'psycho-physical laws'? And is
> his 'conceivability' of structure (ll) without appearance (l) relevant
> in your approach? This is where I part company from him. My
> conceivability apparatus just can't come up with this. For me a
> situation that doesn't know itself needs a mediator (little observer)
> to do the knowing, and we know where that leads...

No homunculus. I'm not sure of chalmers' 'conceivability'. It's a while
since I read him. But I think it might be relevant. The key to it is when
you realise that the structure (II) actually delivers the appearance (I) of
the rest of the structure. That is actually a defining criteria limiting
possibilities for the possible structures and any structural primitive used
in same.

There is no dualism here. The simplest solution is a monism of a posited
structural primitive, say, S(.). The universe is a structure of organised
S(.). One type and one type only. The structure itself is simply and
necessarily a hierarchically organised massive collection of S(.). In this
hierarchy the behaviour that generates appearances and that which does not
are indistinguishable. The whole question changes to one of visibility.

As to physho-physical laws.... in consideration of hierarchical
organisations of a structural primitive one or more fundamental principles
are (will be) proven to be true _because_ qualia exist. Only when we let
ourselves look at such monisms will we be able to see what the parameters of
such fundamental laws might be. Then we may be able to devise tests that
take the structure to novel behavioural places...and the usual experimental
regime ... and science marches on....the sorts of experimental regimes I am
thinking of are the AI and 'asking it' (in a hardware sense) "what it is
like"....unlike with biology we can merge their brains and get them to see
what each other sees. The whole evidence problem goes away.

> > Qualia(appearances) are only intractible because we keep insisting on &
> > trying to use qualia (appearances, our scientific evidence) to explain
> > them! Is it only me that sees that when the scientific evidence system
> > (qualia) is applied to collect evidence in favour of a "science of
> > qualia", a science of _our evidence system_!!, that the evidence system
> > breaks down?
> Can you say more about how a structure (ll) science approaches this?

A structure that, from any point of view can, in principle supply a
perspective view of any other part of the structure is such a thing.
Cellular automata are one such structure (not a computer program, but
reality as a massively parallel cellular automata of S(.) )

> > FYI
> > ['unsituated' means that the scientist is, despite the observer
> dependence
> > characterised by quantum mechanics, surgically excised from the universe
> > by the demand for an objective view that does not exist. 'Situated'
> > science puts the scientist back inside the universe with the studied
> > items. Note that science only needs OBJECTIVITY (a behaviour) not a real
> > 'objective view' to construct correlations of type I (above). Dual
> aspect
> > science disposes of the cultish need for a delusion of a 3rd person view
> ]
> Yes, this is broadly what I was aiming at with '1st-person primacy',
> using words like 'embedded', 'present', etc. - but 'situated' is good,
> I'll adopt it.

'SITUATEDNESS' is a very good standard term to use. There are mountains of
books on SITUATED AGENCY. It's quite well traveled, especially in computer
science, but also in biology (try and understand an elephant outside its

What has not been done is to treat that biology called "the scientist" as a
situated agent inside its own habitat: the universe.

"Mysterious observer dependence" in QM is not so mysterious when you
actually put the scientist inside the picture. Why not put the scientist
back inside the universe instead of objectively declaring something
'mysterious'! If situatedness is an intrinsic part of the mechanism behind
qualia generation...qualia would look really mysterious, wouldn't it?

Think about it...When you put the scientist back inside the picture, the
measurement process (qualia) that literally are qualia is directly causally
linked to the appearance you get! The underlying structure unifies the whole
system. Of course you'll get some impact via the causality of the
structure....via the deep structure right down into the very fabric of

In a very real way the existence of 'mysterious observer dependence' is
actually proof that the hierarchically organised S(.) structure idea must be
somewhere near the answer.

Note that we don't actually have to know what S(.) is to make a whole pile
of observations of properties of organisations of it that apply regardless
of the particular S(.). It may be we never actually get to sort out the
specifics of S(.)! (I have an idea, but it doesn't matter from the point of
view of understanding qualia as another property of the structure like

In Bruno's terms the structure of S(.) is what he calls 'objective reality'.
I would say that in science the first person view has primacy. I'd say that
we formulate abstractions that correlate with agreed appearances within the
first person view. However, the correspo0ndence between the underlying
structure and the formulate abstractions is only that - a correlation. Our
models are not the structure. The 'objective view' is virtual (like russel
said). I don't think we need any more jargon than that.

> There is another aspect, which I've been musing about again since my
> most recent exchanges with Peter. This is that if one is to take
> seriously (and I do) 'structural' or 'block' views such as MWI, it
> seems to me that whatever is behaving 'perceivingly', '1st-personally',
> or 'subjectly' (gawd!) is the gestalt, not any particular abstraction

> therefrom. It seems to me that this is necessary to yield:
> 1) The unnameability of the 1st-person (i.e. 'this observer situation')
> 2) The consequential validity (?) of any probability calculus of
> observer situations
> 3) The dynamic quality of time as experienced (i.e. contrast between
> 'figure' and 'ground')
> 4) Meta-experiential layering - e.g. 'coherent histories' of observer
> situations
> Any views on this?
> David

Yes....all these things rely on perceptual mechanisms which will found in quantum mechanics....nor any other
depiction of appearances.

I recommend to stop trying to make/understand a universe by fiddling with
the appearance of quantum mechanics! inventing multiple universes and
all those other complexities...we simply do not need them...The universe is
NOT made of quantum mechanics! Nor is it made of any mathematical concoction
of circumstances designed to find a domain from which QM could be said to
'be' the universe. Deal with a reality that appears _to us_ like QM!

The universe is made of a structure that behaves quantum-mechanical-ly when
our appearance generation system (the scientist) literally physically and
causally invades the universe at ultra-scale dimensions for the purposes of
perceiving it (no matter how tortuously long that causality trail might seem
to us).

This is a completely different approach.

The assumption that (QM = the structure) is the big problem here. QM is a
mathematical model of what our appearances see, not what the universe
actually is. Models of appearances (like QM) and models of structure (does
not exist yet) are two equally valid representations of the same thing and
they come about because we are literally part of the structure. Neither
model _are_ the 'structure' they are merely _about_ the structure. Qualia
are scientific evidence for both.

I'd recommend spending time working on structures that 'look like' QM when
you are part of the structure.

Make sense? I'll keep saying this until it sinks in. Somebody other than me
has to see this!

Colin Hales

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Received on Tue Aug 15 2006 - 03:21:43 PDT

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