Re: Emulation and Stuff

From: David Nyman <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2009 11:23:41 +0100

2009/8/17 1Z <>:

> Look, I have already said that I am not going to get into an argument
> about which pixies exist.

Forgive me for butting in, but I wonder whether there is a level at
which your metaphysical disagreement is perhaps somewhat more
resolvable? It might be supposed that materialism begins and ends
with predicting and manipulating the observable and 'real', and
consequently can dismiss further metaphysical speculation with Dr
Johnson's robust kick. But we know this does not prevent physicists -
even when not explicitly seeking a 'platonic' mathematical basis for
physics - from speculating about theoretical entities - superstrings,
loops, etc - far beyond the observable; IOW seeking to situate the
observable within a more comprehensive interpretative background so
that appearance can be explicated more coherently and with less

If this is true, it seems to me that the essential focus of comp is no
different - to explain the appearance of the observable - though it
places the observer (correctly IMO) in a more central role than
current physical theory. Like physical theory, comp predictions are
in principle falsifiable in terms of the observable. Like physical
theory, comp privileges certain entities and relations as
'fundamental' with respect to others that supervene on, or are
derivable from them. In fact, the most fundamental theoretical
divergence would seem precisely to lie in the direction each
postulates for the inference: mathematics <=> matter <=> mind; and how
this plays out must, as you both have said, be central to our
understanding of the scope and limits of the mathematical, the
physical, and the mental.

I think the core of the problem is a tendency to mentally conjure
platonia as a pure figment; this will not do; nor is it presumably
what Plato had in mind. Rather, platonia might be reconceived in
terms of the preconditions of the observable and real; its theoretical
entities must - ultimately - be cashable for what is RITSIAR, both
'materially' and 'mentally'. On this basis, some such intuition of an
'immaterial' (pre-material?) - but inescapably real - precursory
state could be seen as theoretically inevitable, whether one
subsequently adopts a materialist or a comp interpretative stance.


>> Some are both absolutely real, and physically real, they live in
>> "platonia", and then can come back on earth: they have a relatively
>> concrete existence. For example, the games of chess, the computers,
>> the animals, and the persons. But the concreteness is relative, the
>> 'I' coupled with the chessboard is an abstract couple following
>> normality conditions (that QM provides, but comp not yet).
>> Some could have an even more trivial sense of absolute existence, and
>> a case could be made they don't exist, even in Platonia, like the
>> unicorns, perhaps, and the squared circles (hopefully).
>> Each branch of math has its own notion of existence, and with comp, we
>> have a lot  choice, for the ontic part, but usually I take
>> arithmetical existence, if only because this is taught in school, and
>> its enough to justified the existence of the universal numbers, and
>> either they dreams (if "yes doctor") or at least their discourse on
>> their dreams (if you say no the doctor and decide to qualify those
>> machines are "inexistent zombies").
>> There is a sense to say those universal machines do not exist, but it
>> happens that they don't have the cognitive abilities to know that, and
>> for them, in-existence does not make sense.
> If they don't exist, they don't exist. You don't have the
> rigourous mathematical argument you think
> you have, you have some baroque Chuang-Tzu metaphysics.
> >

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Received on Mon Aug 17 2009 - 11:23:41 PDT

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