Re: Determinism

From: Benjamin Udell <>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 12:14:16 -0500

I agree with Norman too, particularly about boundaries & the "snapshot style." I would add that, the physical states & events that can be detected should implicitly contain the things that we fear may be "reduced away." Just because they would not be obvious when represented in physical mathematical terms does not mean that they are not there. Here is an example. When we discover a truth, we may well allow our behavior to depend on it. We look in order to see, & we somehow arrange it so that we **heed** the signs. We allow logic, for instance, to be a distinct & salient factor in our behavior -- **in our cogitative behavior at least, but usually & almost inevitably much more.** And not only logic. Our behavior may arrange to become specially dependent on the properties of the number pi, or on statistical likelihoods apparent in information about the star Vega. We allow & support for our behavior to depend on continually renovated & occasionally redesigned structures of signs
 evidences conjectured, expected, grasped, remembered etc. These sort of dependencies, then, characterize very particular sets of physical states & events -- those of intelligent beings. Physical states & events are already models for certain mathematical structures which we apply to understand those physical states & events. Somehow, some physical states & events are capable of representing others, sometimes many at a time with generality, & so on. Capable of representing &/or interpreting &/or proving or confirming or corroborating or whatever. If mathematics itself is fecund with implicit structures, there is no reason to think that the physical mathematical data on physical states & events are not likewise fecund with structures that emerge, as we say, & come to light at higher levels. (Or maybe I'm wrong, I'm no physicist.)

- Ben Udell

From: "John M" <> on 15/01/2004 20:17:49
To: "Norman Samish" <>, "Doug Porpora"
cc: <>

Subject: Re: Determinism

Hi all,

I'm trying to catch up the issues discussed, but it is becoming almost impossible. That's why I'm commenting this mail almost 6 days late.

About what you wrote Norman, I don't disagree. Physical Man is a sum of physical states and events that can be detected and measured. If applied to all Man will find out that the results will be the same. The difference between each individual is meaningless at the atom level, quantum-state level, etc. But when you start to logically "group" all of those "physical definitions", you'll start to get different results. For example, in a so low level state you can't see the difference bewteen "Thought" and "body". They are all electrical manifestations. When gathering all the small "pieces", you start to have a more high level view of the individual. The "Thought" and "body" become distinct from each other. If we try only to explain each piece of the puzzle individually, we will have interesting mathematical formulations and theorys, but unusefull to identify the "individual" completely. When we start to "build" the puzzle bit by bit, we'll find out that the relations between eac
 piece have something more to add to the mathematical formula of "life". Maybe in a higher level, different "blocks" of the puzzle have a common meaning for all individuals and can be used as "base units" to continue building the puzzle, diminishing the level of complexity.

In one thing I agree: the start must be on the atom level, quantum-state, etc. What do you all think of this approach?

>Also, I'm unable to find a meaningful (to me) argument against reductionism. Why is it in trouble? It seems to me that even a complex human being can be defined in concept by discrete quantum states and particles, atoms and electrical charges. "Thoughts" are therefore NOT infinite because they can be conceptually defined in terms of particles and quantum states, and there are not an infinite number of these permutations.<

>My take on reductionism is the "snapshot style" (in maybe wider sense than just visual) - considering boundaries for our observation (thinking) and establishing a model of the 'observed' target WITHIN them. In the sense of unlimited interconnection (and a/effecting), such view cuts off connotations beyond said boundaries (be it Q-state, particles, cinsidered permutations, atoms, electrical charges or whatever is one's beef). It is a limited view (model) perfectly applicable for computations. Yet: limited.

>My trend in thoinking (in the newly (just emerging) 'wholistic' complexity) is the unlimited connectivity - not that I claim to successfully apply it. We all DO think in reductionistic ways - the only way our mind works without implying (mystical?) infinity - so I cannot belittle your opinion.

>I wonder if Doug thinks in the same lines as I do.
Received on Wed Jan 21 2004 - 12:19:52 PST

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