Re: Is the universe computable?

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2004 12:50:01 +0100

Hi John,

At 10:39 12/01/04 -0500, John M wrote:
>in the line you touched with 'numbers:
>I was arguing on another list 'pro' D.Bohm's "there are no numbers in
>position ...

But what is "nature" ? I have never said that numbers exist in nature.
The word "nature" or the word "universe" are sort of deities for atheist or
naturalist (as I said in the FOR list recently). Such concept, it seems to me,
explain nothing, and I have not yet see definitive evidence for those things
to exist. Now, when I say that number property exist independently of me,
just mean that 2+2 = 4 wil remain true even if Eugen kill me. The concept
of life-insurance would not have meaning without such an act of faith.
To believe that "2+2=4" would be meaningless aafter a meteor strikes earth
seems to me a very large anthropomorphism.

> ... when a listmember asked: "aren't you part of nature? then why are
>you saying that numbers - existing in your mind - are not 'part of nature'?"
>Since then I formulate it something like: numbers came into existence
>as products of 'our' thinking. (Maybe better worded).

OK John, you are not the only one, but you know I try to explain thinking
in term of turing programs which relies on number properties. Also I believe
that 317 is a prime number, even when no one thinks about it. That the
AR (Arithmetical Realism) part of comp, which I *postulate*.

>You wrote:
> > What I mean is that their arithmetical property are independent of us. ..<
>That may branch into the question how much of 'societal' knowledge is part
>of an individual belief - rejectable or intrinsically adherent? (Some may
>this a fundamental domain of memes). With the 'invention' of numbers
>(arithmetical, that is) human mentality turned into a computing animal
>- as a species-characteristic. I separate this from the assignment of
>to well chosen units in numbers. Quantities may have their natural role in
>natural processes - unconted in our units, just mass-wise, and we, later
>on - in physical laws - applied the arithmetical ordering to the
>in the quantized natural events.

But I do not the nature postulate at all. I follow Plato, not Aristotle.

>Such quantizing (restricted to models of
>already discovered elements) renders some processes 'chaotic' or even
>paradoxical, while nature processes them without any problem in her
>unrestricted (total) interconnectedness (not included - even known ALL
>in our quantized working models).
>Sorry for the "physicistically" unorthodox idea.

It seems to me physicalism is quite orthodox these days, honestly.

Best Regards,

Received on Tue Jan 13 2004 - 06:49:37 PST

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