From: Samantha Atkins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Dec 12 2002 - 03:26:41 MST
Lee Corbin wrote:
> Michael LaTorra writes
>>I think many people, especially intellectuals, can be seduced by the meme of
>>idealism. The idealist (or Platonic) concept that information (or Forms)
>>precede material manifestation is very attractive to people whose lives
>>revolve around theorizing, computation, and programming. Many philosophers,
>>mathematicians and logicians succumb to this point of view (Raymond Smullyan
>>and Saul Kripke, for instance). Some physicists do, too (e.g., Frank
Not so fast. If we happen to be in a sim, then it is quite
proper to speak of information preceding what *we currently
consider to be* "the material manifestation". If we are not in
a sim, it is likely that we will someday choose to be in a
computationally mediated reality in whole or part where the
"matter" is not really primary to the inhabitants of the VR
unless they choose to forget the nature of their "reality".
> If that isn't shocking, then I don't know what is. I don't
> quite understand how extensive is your idea of information
> or forms *preceding* material manifestation. To be sure,
> however, I fall into the class of people possibly seduced.
> Do you not admit that the constraints that appear to restrict
> matter to certain patterns, forms, is universal? For example,
> mathematical constraints limit the possibilities, or properties,
> that many physical systems can evolve to. (A concrete example
> is a TM that searches for 4 integers satisfying Fermat's Last
Those constraints are described by mathematics to some degree.
This doesn't mean the material system was given by the
>>Life, the universe and everything may be implementable on a variety of
>>different material platforms under a range of different physical parameters.
>>But they cannot be implemented without SOME material platform.
> Yes, so it seems, and I'd be willing to wager on it
> continuing to be found to be true for any finite
> period of time in the future.
Sure. But is the bedrock material platform something you are
actually aware of necessarily?
> Mitchell Porter had written
>>>I think our contemporary attempts to make a fundamental
>>>information ontology are going to require a  compromise
>>>with materialism before they get off the ground.
> We can search for some explanatory links between physics
> on the one hand, and mathematics and its constraints (that
> I spoke of above) on the other. Somehow it does seem that
> one depends on the other, or they depend on each other.
> People will IMO long search for an understanding of how
> physical reality gives rise to mathematical reality, or
> vice-versa (as one of those seduced physicists---Tegmark
> ---likes to postulate).
Patterns exist in our observed reality. Mathematics formalizes
the recognition of and provides additional tools for the capture
and manipulation of patterns. Why does it need to be any more
complex than that? Why leap to the mathematics determining the
reality (or whatever facsimile thereof we happen to inhabit)?
> But just as Mike LaTorra stated in another post in this
> thread, there is no guarantee that results will ever be
> forthcoming---we should reject the idea that there *must*
> be discoverable causal relations between them. Perhaps
> some things do need to be accepted empirically.
At the quantum level, for some fudamental events, it certainly
does seem to be the case that there are not necessarily any
Causality is really not bound up in strict materialism or
non-Idealism. I'm not sure why it came up as I am missing that
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