Re: First Person Frame of Reference

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2004 12:46:12 +0200

At 17:50 05/06/04 -0700, George Levy wrote:

>I have read your post maybe five or six times, my hair getting grayer and
>grayer everytime. This subject is undoubtedly your profession and you are
>an expert at it but I have a lot of trouble following you. Nevertehless, I
>have a good feeling to my stomach that you appear to be on the right track.
>You seem to say that you begin with an absolute formulation but end up
>with a relative one, maybe the ultimate relative one. Not only that , you
>appear to have solved the paradox of the apparent objective reality in the
>context of the ultimate relative formulation. This is good. This is what I
>was hoping for. I think that philosophically, the ultimate relative
>formulation is the most satisfying one. But this is only my opinion.
>I cannot lead the way but I can be a critic or a friend like Salieri to
>Mozart :-).

This is a very kind proposition I appreciate, but I hope you will find a
way not letting your
hair getting grayer and grayer by reading me. Probably the effort should
come from my part.

>Let's me see if I can convince you to bridge the gap and maybe take the
>relative formulation as a starting point. Like Socrates, let me start with
>one question. How can you possibly know to begin with this particular
> >> I take as objective truth arithmetical truth, and as third person
> objective communicable truth
> >> the provable arithmetical propositions like "1+1=2", "Prime(17)", or
> "the machine number i
> >> (in some enumeration) does not stop on input number j", this + Church
> Thesis + the "yes doctor"
> >> act of faith is what I mean by comp.

Perhaps we have a problem of vocabulary. I generally put objectivity and
on the same par. The third person view. And I consider subjectivity and
on the same par: the first person view.
So, as a scientist (by which I mean "someone willing to be understand as
although I know my initial data are all subjective and
incorrigible---absolute, I can only
propose "theories" to my fellows on this planet.
Now all theories come from and are ultimately addressed to first person.
So, when I propose an axiom, like "x + 0 = x", I can only hope it makes
(absolute) sense. But I can only
communicate such relative objective statements. This is the price of
science imo.
Now, could you reassure me: do you agree with proposition like "x + 0 = 0",
or prime(17)?
I guess and hope so. Obviously the "yes doctor" proposition is more
demanding, and that is
why ultimately I eliminate it methodologically by interviewing a
sound universal Turing
machine instead of "grandmother", but such an elimination is only
"strategical". One of my
goal is to illustrate that although the first person discourse is
unscientific, by its very nature,
we still can, by giving genuine definitions and hypotheses build a pure
third person discourse,
which can be scientific (that is: modest relative and uncertain) *on* first
person discourses and views.

Does that make sense?

Ah! About the gray hair problem, I think it is always the same problem,
some lack
of knowledge in the field of logic. You are not the only one (in the list
and elsewhere),
let us think what to do about that.

Received on Wed Jun 09 2004 - 07:25:41 PDT

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