From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 12:10:23 +0200

Gentlemachines ;)

Le 19-mai-05, à 22:15, Norman Samish a écrit :

> Gentlemen,
> Thank you for many illuminating replies to the "Why does anything
> exist?"
> question. Three are shown below. It's clear that some hold that
> there is
> an identity between physical and mathematical existence (although
> Patrick
> Leahy may disagree). If so, we can phrase the big WHY as "Why do
> numbers
> exist?" (Answer: Because such existence is a logical necessity.)

No. failure of Russell's program. No logics can justify the (natural)
numbers. All attempts failed until mathematicians proved that such a
justification just cannot be done. (you can understand intutively by
trying to explain numbers to someone who does not understand them, and
this without using them). Hofstadter is close to it in his parody of
Lewis Carroll dialog between Achille and the Tortoise in
Godel-Escher-Bach, or in Mind'I (if I remember well).

> The question (at least as I mean it) can also be phrased as "Why is
> there
> something instead of nothing?" Or perhaps I am really asking "What is
> the
> First Cause?"
> I think the big WHY must be an unanswerable question from a scientific
> standpoint, and that Leahy must be correct when he says ". . . there
> is
> just no answer to the big WHY."

Yes, if the big why is "why numbers?". Once you accept numbers, it can
looks crazy but there is a complete explanation why "numbers" can have
1-person views and beliefs in material (apparently) realities. And the
explanation is testable because it makes precise (and thus technical
and rather long to describe) prediction on the appearances.

> Stephen Paul King says it, maybe more
> rigorously, when he says, "Existence, itself, can not be said to
> require an
> explanation for such would be a requirement that there is a necessitate
> prior to which Existence is dependent upon."
> Norman Samish
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Stephen Paul King writes:
> Existence, itself, can not be said to require an explanation for such
> would
> be a requirement that there is a necessitate prior to which Existence
> is
> dependent upon. Pearce's idea is not new and we have it from many
> thinkers
> that the totality of the multiverse must sum to zero, that is the
> essence of
> symmetry. It is the actuality of the content of our individual
> experiences
> (including all of the asymmetries) that we have to justify.
> Patrick Leahy writes:
> I find this a very odd question to be asked on this list. To me, one
> of the
> main attractions of the "everything" thesis is that it provides the
> only
> possible answer to this question. Viz: as Jonathan pointed out,
> mathematical
> objects are logical necessities, and the thesis (at least in Tegmark's
> formulation) is that physical existence is identical to mathematical
> existence. Despite this attractive feature, I'm fairly sure the
> thesis is
> wrong (so that there is just no answer to the big WHY?), but that's
> another
> story.
> Bruno Marchal writes:
> You can look at my URL for argument that physical existence emerges
> from
> mathematical existence. I have no clues that physical existence could
> just
> be equated to mathematical existence unless you attach consciousness to
> individuated bodies, but how? I can argue that without accepting
> natural
> numbers you cannot justify them. So any theory which does not assumes
> the
> natural numbers cannot be a theory of everything. Once you accept the
> existence of natural numbers it is possible to explain how the belief
> in
> both math and physics arises. And with the explicit assumption of
> Descartes
> Mechanism, in a digital form (the computationalist hypothesis), I
> think such
> explanation is unique. Also, it is possible to explain why we cannot
> explain
> where our belief in natural numbers come from.
Received on Fri May 20 2005 - 06:21:05 PDT

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