Barbour's mistake: An alternative to a timless Platonia

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Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2006 06:28:40 -0000

Those who have read my past threads and seen the summary of my
metaphysics analysis (Mathematico-Cognition Reality Theory-MCRT) know
that I think that time is an irreducible property of reality and my
analysis suggests that even Barbour's configuration space (Platonia,
the Multiverse whatever you want to call it) isn't truly timeless.

The trouble with a timeless multiverse lies in the notion of 'the space
of all mathematical possibilities'. Unfortunately the notion of 'all
mathematical possibilities co-existing' is highly suspect, precisely
because it's so ill-defined. There are some things in math for which
the quantifier 'existence' is suspect.... infinite sets in
particular. If 'the space of all possibilities' is itself still
evolving as I suggested, then Platonia would not be timeless as Barbour
(and many here on this list) thinks.

Another reason for suspecting that Platonia isn't truly timeless lies
in the fact that Barbour's Platonia is an attempt to totally remove
'boundary conditions' from science.
Note that no attempts to remove boundary conditions from science have
ever succeeded. Why should Barbour's theory suddenly be the exception?
 There's a very good reason for defining boundary conditions... because
without an 'inside and 'outside' to an entity, one simply cannot
analyze it as a dynamical system. That's why no attempt to remove
boundary conditions from science has ever succeeded.

Now when the 'system' under disussion is 'all of reality' it may seem
tautological that 'there exists nothing outside reality because reality
is everything that exists'.... but... well... this so called tautology
is not neccesserily true! The trouble lies in the definition of a
'thing'. If there are incomprehensible things, then it may actually
make sense to talk about them existing 'outside reality'. Standard
philosophy only recognizes one quantifier for 'existence' but perhaps
thre are several different notions. Again, Barbour's attempt to
'remove an outside to reality' also prevents us from analyzing reality
as a dynamical system, because any system analysis requires us to
define system boundaries and external actors. Again, no attempts to
remove boundary conditions from science have ever succeeded.

Why? Because Barbour's entire notion of a timeless Platonia is
misguided. It's an attempt to 'objectify everything, to imagine that
'all of reality' can somehow be comprehensible to a rational mind. But
why should this be true? Why shouldn't there exist incomprehensible
things? Again, we have examples from mathematics...such as
uncomputable numbers...which appear to suggest that there do exist
incomphensible things. And I propose that the existence of
incomphrensible things enables us to establish boundary conditions for
all of reality and refutes Barbour's notion of timlessness.

So here's my alternative to a timeless Platonia:

What I suggest is that we should take the
comprehensible/incomprehensible division as the boundary condition for
'reality'. We then define TWO different 'existence' quantifiers.


'eXistenZ' = everything which exists which is in principle

and let

'existence' = everything which exists, including INCOMPREHENSIBLE

Then: 'eXistenZ' is a sub-set of 'existence', but all minds can take
'eXistenZ' to be reality, because only this part of existence is
actually comprehensible to them.

The advantage of this is that it enables us to apply ordinary system
analysis to eXistenZ. eXistenZ does have a boundary and therefore 'an
inside and outside'. And unlike Barbour's scheme, eXistenZ is not

Now one might try to argue that it's pointless to imagine
'incomprehensible things' because they can have no comprehsible effect
on reality. But the argument isn't true. Reason could still tell us
which things were incomprensible (for an analogy to this, note that we
DO have comptable proofs that there exist incomputable numbers) and
further more, incomprehensible things could still have *comprehensible*
effects on eXistenZ and therefore they could be referenced indirectly,
through these comprehensible effects.

Now to summarize my analysis again:

Start by defining the boundary between incomprehensible and
comprehensible things as the boundary condition for 'reality'.
Comprehensible (in principle) things are inside reality... call this
eXistenZ. And the incomprehensible things are outside reality.
Existence in it's totality.

Next I pointed out that we *could* actually reference the
incomprehensibles indirectly - because incomprehensible things *can*
have comprehensible effects on eXistenZ.

Then we have the basis for a new reality theory!

*Identify the incomprehensibles
*Reference them indirectly through their comprehensible effects on
*Apply standard system analysis:


The effects of the incomprehensibles on eXistenZ be the 'inputs'
The 'system' which is reality is of course eXistenZ
And the system 'outputs' are how the incomprehensibles are changed by
their interaction with eXistenZ


Incomprehensibles >>(input) eXistenZ (ouput)>>Incomprehensibles

In my MCRT analysis I listed 27 fundamental metaphysical actors. I
believe that the 'incomprehensible things' are what I defined as the
intrinsic 'Matrix' properties. There were 3 of these, which I defined
as follows:

*Energy* - Capacity to do work
*Volition* - Capacity to make choices
*Information* - A variance, or 'difference'.

Now, how, you may ask, can these three things actually be
'incomprehensible' when I've just defined them? ;) I point out again
that incomprehensible things could be referenced indirectly by their
comprehensible effects. And I maintain that's all of any definitions
of these three things actually do. After all: have you ever *seen*
Energy, Volition and Information directly? Never! All definitions of
these three things have only ever referenced them indirectly.... by
their comprehensible effects! So these three things *could* logically
be incomprehensible things.

If they are, we can consider them as the inputs and outputs of the
eXistenZ system. Here's my reality theory at this point:

Energy, Volition, Information
>>>(Inputs) eXistenZ (Outputs) >>>
Energy, Volition, Information

This system analysis has the advantage that we still have boundary
conditions as science requires, and we have a possible means to define
the purpose of eXistenZ! Or to be more precise, we could, if you like,
define a utility function for reality.

The utility function (or 'purpose') of reality, would consist of taking
in Energy, Volition and Information , transforming them in some way
(inside the 'eXistenZ' system) then outputting the transformed Energy,
Volition and Information to the external environment (the wider

eXistenZ itself could still be some sort of Platonia or multiverse,
however it wouldn't be timeless. The advantages of this scheme over

*The scheme does not try to eliminate boundary conditions

*The scheme allows for incomprehensible things and does not try to
objectify all of reality inside a comprehensible theory

*The scheme allows us to apply standard system analysis to 'reality'

*The scheme provides a way to define a purpose or utility function for

I'd say the scheme suggested here has the advantage over Barbour's
timeless Platonia on all counts!

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Received on Wed Sep 27 2006 - 02:29:37 PDT

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