Re: Constraints on "everything existing"

From: Eric Hawthorne <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 08:51:18 -0800

My comment at the bottom of the message.

Jean-Michel Veuillen wrote:

>> Eric Hawthorne wrote:
>> Unless a world (i.e. a sequence of information state changes)
>> has produced intelligent observers though, there will be
>> no one around in it to argue whether it exists or not.
> Then our universe did not exist before there were intelligent
> observers in it,
> which is not true.
> I think that is better to say that all self-consistent mathematical
> structures exist.
> To restrict existence to universes containing SASs (self-aware
> structures)
> is not only is very cumbersome but leads to contradictions.

Perhaps we're just quibbling about terminology.

My argument for a narrower definition of "exists" would be that
if everything (or even just "everything self consistent") exists, then
perhaps existence in that sense is not that interesting a concept.

So I posit that a better definition of "exists" or "classically exists"
is: "self-consistent, and metric and organized to the degree to be

Notice that this does not require "is observed". It requires "would
be observable if observers happened to be around." So our Earth 3 billion
years ago was still "observable" in this sense, even though we weren't
there yet.

So, in otherwords, I define "exists" as
"that which is an aspect of a structure which is of the form/behaviour
as to
be, in principle, observable".

I think we will be able to define a set of properties (stronger than just
self-consitency) that will define "in principle, observable". <--
difficult exercise.

All other "self-consistent mathematical structures" are, to me, just
"potentially or
partially existent", because there is something wrong with their properties
that would make them, in principle, unobservable.

Vague statement building up this intuition:
The operative question is whether a mathematical structure can only be
"abstract" (without observable instantiation) or whether it can also be

I would argue that these other less-than-existent
"self-consistent mathematical structures" may be part of "quantum
but can never be part of an existent world that exhibits classical physical
Received on Wed Jan 22 2003 - 11:52:12 PST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:08 PST