RE: Emulation and Stuff

From: Jesse Mazer <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2009 20:53:04 -0400

Peter Jones wrote:
> On 17 Aug, 14:46, Jesse Mazer <> wrote:
> > 1Z wrote:
> > > > But those space-time configuration are themselves described by
> > > > mathematical functions far more complex that the numbers described or
> > > > explain.
> > But what is this "primary matter"? If it is entirely divorced from all the evidence from physics that various abstract mathematical models of particles and fields can be used to make accurate predictions about observed experimental results, then it becomes something utterly mysterious and divorced from any of our empirical experiences whatsoever (since all of our intuitions regarding 'matter' are based solely on our empirical experiences with how it *behaves* in the sensory realm, and the abstract mathematical models give perfectly accurate predictions about this behavior).
> Primary matter is very much related to the fact that some theories of
> physics work and other do not. It won't tell you which ones work, but
> it will tell you why there is a difference. It solves the white rabbit
> problem. We don't see logically consistent but otherwise bizarre
> universes because they are immaterial and non-existent--not matter
> instantiates
> that particualar amtehamtical structure.

But then it seems like you're really just talking about consciousness and qualia--of all the mathematically possible universes containing possible self-aware observers, only in some (or one) are these possible observers actually real in the sense of having qualia (and there qualia being influenced by other, possibly nonconsious elements of the mathematical universe they are a part of). There's no need to have a middleman called "primary matter", such that only some (or one) mathematical possible universes are actually instantianted in primary matter, and only those instantiated in primary matter give rise to qualia. If you *are* going to add unobservable middlemen like this, there's no real logical justification for having only one--you could say "only some mathematically possible universes are instantiated in primary asfgh, and only some of those give rise to qwertyuiop, and only the ones with quertyuiop can give rise to zxcvbn, and only ones with zxcvbn can give rise to qualia and consciousness".

> > In that case you might as well call it "primary ectoplasm" or "primary asdfgh".
> You might as well call "2" the successor of "0". All symbols are
> arbitrary.
My point was just that I think it's *misleading* to use the word "matter" which already has all sorts of intuitive associations for us, when really you're talking about something utterly mysterious whose properties are completely divorced from our experiences, more like Kant's "noumena" which were supposed to be things-in-themselves separate from all phenomenal properties (including quantitative ones).
> > And are you making any explicit assumption about the relation between this "primary matter" and qualia/first-person experience? If not, then I don't see why it wouldn't be logically possible to have a universe with primary matter but no qualia (all living beings would be zombies), or qualia but no primary matter (and if you admit this possibility, then why shouldn't we believe this is exactly the type of universe we live in?)
> The second possibility is ruled out because it predicts White Rabbits.
I don't agree, there's no reason you couldn't postulate a measure on the set of mathematical possibilities which determined the likelihood they would actually be experienced by conscious observers--this measure might be such that white-rabbit worlds would be very improbable, it might even pick out a unique mathematically possible universe where the possible observers are actually conscious, while assigning zero measure to all other possibilities.
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Received on Mon Aug 17 2009 - 20:53:04 PDT

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