Re: To observe is to......

From: David Nyman <>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 14:44:53 -0000

Colin Geoffrey Hales wrote:

> a) assume that there is an 'objective reality in the Bruno sense: a
> reality exists. _any_ sort of reality will do.
> b) draw a purely notional boundary around any portion of it at any
> spatiotemporal scale.

Do you think it's possible *not* to start with this assumption? The
problem with natural language is that it implicitly assumes the AIV is
'out there' as the primary reality, and it can be tough to work
back from this point of departure. I was trying to develop a language
that started from the APV and worked outwards, as it were, so that it
was easier to see how emergent information boundaries were shaping and
structuring the APV and the AIV while at the same time contingently
creating the 'not-X', without fundamentally creating novel ontic
(as opposed to epistemic) categories. Unfortunately, the terminology
tended to become impenetrable and in the end a barrier to
communication. I don't have a solution to this.

Somehow it's like:

a) we mentally step outside of the APV to see what it's like in the
'external world'
b) we make models of what we see out there (the AIV), including our
c) then we forget about step a), get stranded outside, and take the AIV
for 'reality'
d) leaving us in a panic about how to get back inside our 'brains'

Somebody once asked "what is the external world 'external' to?"
Do you know?

> some people here think the APV is '3-person'
> some people here think the AIV is '3-person'

My view is that the *fact of * the APV is 1-person, and everything else
is 3-person. That is, the 1-person is the unmediated intuitive grasp of
3-person information by the 'underlying reality'. What lies within
the APV, the AIV, or the 'external world' to which they refer, then
depends solely on contingent boundaries emerging from 3-person
information gradients and horizons. Essentially this is categorising
the ontology as 1-person, and the epistemology as 3-person. However, I
realise that this is a minority approach, and has caused much
confusion, so I've more or less given up trying to promote it.

I think the general view is that the APV is 1-person, and the AIV is
3-person. But then, the AIV *model* of the APV is 3-person, and the
distinction between this and the 1-person APV is confusing (the 'hard

> The easiest way to think of it is to regard X as a finger puppet. The
> 'fingers' are behaving atomly in that the fingers are painted (appear -
> APV) to deliver the appearance of 'atom-ly (AIV) behaviour'. The AIV says
> nothing about FINGERS. Then note that whatever the fingers are - you, the
> observer - are made of the SAME FINGERS and those fingers are painting the
> APV in your head. The reason no-one ever gets a physics of qualia is that
> nobody EVER gets scientific about _fingers_ - the underling physics -
> Everyone thinks the AIV generalisations ARE the fingers.

Conventional physics, I think, denies that the fingers exist - all
that can be said is what QM / string theory / model of the month
describes, and this is equivalent to saying that that's all there is
folks. Comp, however, would say that the fingers are something like
mathematical ontic / epistemic categories (see some of Marc Geddes'
posts), and that these support the emergence of 3-person relata. Sets
of these 1-person / 3-person relationships can be nested recursively,
the whole resting on the 'turtle' of a tightly constrained
'number reality' (e.g. AR+CT+UDA). The 'modest' assumption here
is that not to force 'faith' in comp, but rather study and test it
for its interesting and surprising results and generative power. The
most powerful result would be to pin down the 'emergence direction'
of 1-person <--> 3-person once and for all.


> <snip>
> Indeed I would hold that our subjective experience (subjectivity)is our
> one and only intimate and complete connection to the underlying reality
> and it is the existence of it (subjectivity) 'at all' which is most
> telling/instructive of the true nature/structure of the underlying
> reality, not the appearances thus delivered by subjectivity.
> > Yes, and as I've said, I was trying to convey the essence of this
> thought with what became (unfortunately) confused with 1-person primacy on
> this list. I'd be grateful for help on reformulating this more
> coherently if possible. The heart of it is the primary intension of
> 'exists', whose fons et origo I take to be: 'exists in the sense that I
> exist subjectively'.
> Yes. The subtlety is extreme. My way of unpacking it is to think of the
> concept of 'perspective view':
> a) assume that there is an 'objective reality in the Bruno sense: a
> reality exists. _any_ sort of reality will do.
> b) draw a purely notional boundary around any portion of it at any
> spatiotemporal scale.
> Now realise that innate to the situation is that 'being' the notionally
> segregated portion of the reality innately, automatically
> prescribes/defines a perspective view of the rest of the universe.
> This is not automatically anything that has 'visibility'!
> All it means is that if the reality expresses X (ontological identity of
> some sort) then the rest of the universe must be an absolutely perfect
> un-X.
> No matter how weird the reality is, in the un-X is a form of latent
> perspective 'view' from the position of being X. For example , an atom
> exists, ergo the 'un-atom' exists (everything in the universe that isn't
> the atom). There is no reality that doesn't do this. It can't be helped -
> it's intrinsic to the act of any existence at all.
> _This does not mean it is actually 'like anything' to 'be' the notionally
> segregated portion_.
> Back to the example of an X. To 'be' X is to inherit a latent un-X
> perspective. Nothing has to do anything. This idea applies to all
> spatiotemporal scales. From quark/un-quark to planet/un-planet. Also note
> that the word 'spatiotemporal' is a loaded word. Any level of
> multi-dimensional weirdness can still be part of the reality. The same
> concept applies no matter how fleeting an X may be.
> This is the idea of 'existence' or 'being' which I think has to be adopted
> to make sense of perception. Once you realise it the whole job of
> perception changes to one merely of 'visibility' that makes use of this
> latent potential. To see this:
> Consider your own left kneecap. From the perspective of being your left
> kneecap the rest of the universe is expressing a perfect un-kneecap. This
> is what the universe's innate perspective looks like. Yet we do not see
> the universe from that perspective. Or from the perspective of any cell in
> the kneecap. Or any molecule or any atom and so on. Also, from the
> perspective of being the 'space' inhabited by the atoms in your kneecap
> (call it knee_gap) the rest of the universe is expressing a perfect
> un-knee_gap. Space is just as ontologically real in this. It's all the
> same. Whatever space is, it only has to be something we can pass through
> and it'll look like space. It's just as much 'stuff' as anything in the
> periodic table - just that the atoms/particles in it (expressed by it) can
> move around easily when in it.
> All the visibility we humans have is centred on our brain material.
> Something about brain material actually makes use of the intrinsic latent
> potential perspective view to implement an actual view from that location.
> That view is called phenomenal consciousness (discussed in all manner of
> ways previously). Notions of 'self' and indexicality flow but are merely
> secondary to the actual 1-person view and the innate circumstance that
> delivers the view.
> The whole problem changes to one of visibility.
> I think this concept covers what you call 1-person.
> When 'YOU' (your brain material) makes use of the latent perspective view
> to implement an ACTUAL perspective view of everything call this the APV.
> The appearance of reality thus acquired can be used to make
> generalisations (the holy grain of the empirical scientist is the
> exceptionless generalisation). The depiction of the universe in the form
> of these generalisations is NOT the APV. This is an 'as-if' view. That is
> - the universe is behaving 'as-if' the ontology in the generalisations
> actually existed. That universe does not exist. It is methodologically
> 'deemed' for the purposes of predicting how the universe will appear
> _within_ the APV. Call this 'as-if' view AIV.
> Here is where I get confused:
> some people here think the APV is '3-person'
> some people here think the AIV is '3-person'
> I'm pretty sure each of us has their own label for the concepts. What I am
> sure of is that we confuse each other a lot by not fully
> realising/describing the distinction in a discussion context.
> The final note:
> in terms of the definition of 'being' explained above I must point out
> that the same underlying reality that 'is you' is generating the
> perspective view (making use of the innate latent potential for it). To
> illustrate - Imagine you are looking at (have an APV of) thing X where X =
> an atom. In our APV something is behaving atom-ly. We can formulate a
> generalisation that defines how an atom behaves within our APV. That
> generalisation is an AIV. That AIV does NOT define what it is that is
> behaving atom-ly. It merely describes expected appearances to be found if
> you happen to get an atom presented to you in an APV.
> The easiest way to think of it is to regard X as a finger puppet. The
> 'fingers' are behaving atomly in that the fingers are painted (appear -
> APV) to deliver the appearance of 'atom-ly (AIV) behaviour'. The AIV says
> nothing about FINGERS. Then note that whatever the fingers are - you, the
> observer - are made of the SAME FINGERS and those fingers are painting the
> APV in your head. The reason no-one ever gets a physics of qualia is that
> nobody EVER gets scientific about _fingers_ - the underling physics -
> Everyone thinks the AIV generalisations ARE the fingers. Totally wrong.
> There are 2 set of equally valid scientific descriptions - descriptions:
> (a) The underlying reality that generates the APV
> (b) the generalisations acquired using the APV (= the AIV)
> In the reality of provision of the APV 'observation' of BOTH descriptions
> happens. One is explicit (b) = "that which is seen" and one is implicit =
> "seeing" (at all). That is the distinction I wanted to make in the
> previous post. I think somewhere in the above you may find an answer to
> your questions. Or maybe just ideas that lead to one. I'd be interested in
> seeing how your ideas relate to it. Note that all underlying realities of
> any type can have the same logic applied - not just the one that is ours.
> This does not mean that sorting out our underlying reality is impossible!
> > The problem is that as soon as one formulates it
> > in this way, all sorts of unlooked for windmills spring up for the Don
> Quixotes of the logical mind to struggle with. Somehow one must avoid
> being distracted into grappling with pseudo-problems of pansychism,
> idealism, solipsism etc. - in their timeworn academic clothing - and focus
> on the embeddedness, or 'here-ness' that is central to this
> primary sense of 'exists', and see that everything else is somehow
> derivative of, or emergent from, this primary intension. And, as you say,
> by this token we are of course ourselves directly rooted in this reality,
> whatever it is.
> Yep. The demands of our language as assumed generator of truth rather then
> depictor of it... I can see the words as having something to say about the
> reality, but not the other way
> PANPSYCHISM. I can sort of (if I squint) equate a form of panpsychism
> within the innate_but_unrealised_latent_potential perspective view idea at
> all scales. I think Alfred North Whitehead might like it. But this is NOT
> some sort of magical universal consciousness! EEEK! to that.
> IDEALISM. I can see the APV using the properties of ideal objects. I
> cannot see that the production of the APV 'creates' the underling reality.
> That's just silly. Magical intervention again. Much more parsimony in
> accepting a reality as existent (as a hypothesis currently scientifically
> unrefuted).
> SOLIPSISM. I can see that the APV, being private, could be used to justify
> the entire reality as being only yours... "there can be only one" :-) But
> to me the existence of an APV is literal proof there is an underlying
> reality - if there wasn;t one then there couldn't be any APV. It all boils
> down to a chicken/egg argument. I vote we delete the word to eliminate the
> problem.
> You can go through a whole library of terms and do the same thing. The
> words paint a picture an aspect of the actuality. None of the actuality
> directly corresponds with (in the sense of is demanded by) the words. The
> delusion that just because the terminology arguments are possible that
> reality shall therefore play along - NUTS to that!
> [COLIN]>
> >> The belief that the
> >> 'underlying reality is actually made of quantum mechanics (as opposed
> to
> >> being merely described by it) to me looks like a mass delusion of the
> most
> >> bizarre kind.
> > One implication of this (which I think is also implied by comp) is that
> 1-person experience derives from a more complex instantiation than the
> 3-person narrative that emerges from it. That is, there is a global
> instantiation level of sufficient complexity to express 1-person
> existence 'qualitatively'. At this level, qualitative modalities -
> 'qualia' - also function as stripped-down 'relata', encoding '3-person
> worlds' of structure, relation, transaction, and locality. We may
> speculate, for example, that our experientially dynamic discrimination
> (A-series) of relation and structure (B-series) emerges from the
> 'unmediated intuitive grasp' of such relational locality within
> > qualitative globality. All this strongly entails that we will never find
> the 1-person within the 3-person. The evidence of course is perhaps
> already staring us in the face, were we to accept it as such. There is
> nothing at all in the 3-person that looks like, or that we have any notion
> could possibly look like, the 1-person. Maybe this is why.
> >
> > David
> >
> Yes. Yes. Yes. This is all the Humean view of causality. "correlation is
> not causation". Hume was dead right in being an absolute sceptic. As are
> POPPER and his student MILLER (recent book 'out of error' is a MUST read).
> The Popper/Miller pragmatics on science map the reality of perception and
> cognition into the act of scientific behaviour perfectly. We get perfectly
> good 'as-if' causality from within 1-person appearances. But none of is is
> actually driving the universe. Associative memory is literally an 'as-if'
> 'apparent causality' generation machine. Traditional empirical scientific
> laws are just metaphors.
> What is actually driving the universe is the 'underlying reality' - and it
> is that underlying reality which is generating the 1-person appearances.
> It's just that the clinching evidence which gives us permission to play
> with possible underlying realities is not within 1-person appearances, but
> the very existence of any 1-person view at all. The sort of underlying
> reality that makes what we see as brain material deliver a 1-person view
> is the sort of universe we inhabit. No 3-person AIV/generalisation
> delivered by the 1-person will ever do that! Which is where my comment
> about (QM DOES NOT EQUAL underlying reality) came from.
> Yet another metaphor:
> If an alien studied city traffic from orbit (using some sort of wiz_bang
> long distance speed-radar) you'd pretty quickly come up with a rule about
> the probablity distribution T(V) of finding 'traffic', T running at a
> certain speed V (enforced by signs on the side of the road). Call this
> Saying that QM literally IS the underlying reality is like saying
> TRAFFIC is made of P(V)! Meaningless drivel. To talk about the underlying
> reality is to talk about CARS that behave TRAFFIC_MECHANICALLY.
> Physics seems to be completely mesmerised by the 'unreasonable
> effectiveness' of mathematics to the point of thinking that the
> mathematics somehow 'is' the underlying reality - instead of more
> reasonably concluding that the underlying reality is merely behaving
> 'as-if' it were being driven mathematically. The latter proposition would
> win any critical argument in a model of reality simply through empirical
> parsimony. The mathematics-bliss state of cosmologists is a kind of
> religion - a belief in the magical intervention of a mathematics god -
> that can only be maintained if you structurally/culturally eschew 1-person
> as evidence of anything whilst at the same time demanding it deliver all
> the 3-person evidence you use to maintain your belief in the mathematics
> god!
> E) The descriptive mathematics of appearance is NOT the underlying reality.
> F) The descriptive mathematics of an underlying reality is NOT the
> underlying reality.
> E & F are merely ABOUT the underlying reality and joined at the hip
> by(mutually constrained to be compatible with) demands of provision
> phenomenal consciousness to humans.
> Which leads me to another implication: E & F are not even unique!
> Zork the alph-centaurian smake-trouf scientist who looks like a hologram
> of orange smoke-rings has a completely different set of phenomenal fields
> (say perceiving gravitons and neutrinos directly) and would have a
> completely different E' and F' say, respectively. But both E, E', F and F'
> would be equally predictive of the natural world (and produce identical
> technology). When mapped through the respective physics of phenomenality
> the practical effect is identical prediction and identical
> understanding/knowledge. Uniqueness in laws of nature is gone.
> We humans seriously need to 'get over ourselves' as scientists.
> Do you see how screwed up the system is?
> Cheers
> Colin Hales

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Received on Mon Oct 16 2006 - 10:45:11 PDT

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