From: Simon Gordon (email@example.com)
Date: Sat Apr 26 2003 - 15:57:14 MDT
--- Ben Goertzel <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: >
> There seems to be a disconnect amongst various
> conversants here, regarding
> the notion of "existence"
> As a Peircean pragmatist, my question is: What
> measurement could I make,
> whose result would come out differently if these
> other universe existed,
> versus if they did not exist?
This is what i mean about keeping a distinction
between the terms 'Reality' and 'Existance'. Reality
is the stuff which can affect you like stones which
you can kick or hypothetical universes which can
interfere and affect the results of your photonic
experiment for example.
But there are other universes, many others which can
be regarded as isolated from our own because they have
no way of affecting us physically, perhaps the best we
can do is to try to compute them or visualise them. At
some point one tends to accept the existance of
universes totally beyond our comprehensibility : both
uncomputable and unvisualisable. We cannot deny the
existance of them just because we cannot measure them
directly any more than we can deny the existance of
the number '3'.
Incidently the number 3 is an absolute form in the
same way that a computer program can be regarded as an
absolute form. Plato regonised the existance of the
numbers many thousands of years ago, he allowed them a
seperate independent existance of their own. We dont
need to actually measure the number 3 itself, it is
just an abstraction as a thing-in-itself, but
nevertheless no-one can deny the existance of the
number 3 because we use it all of the time. In the
same way: what about cantors transfinite numbers? do
they exist? we dont use them very often, except in
abstract mathematical proofs. The fact that they can
be used/thought of and that they are known to make
logical sense convinces me that they exist.
So in my terminology (and because it is so
self-consistent i expect others to follow me) anything
which makes logical sense does exist. That then
includes the set of all imaginable universes since
imagination is based on algorithmic processes
manufactured in the brain.
Can a world which you have just imagined, like an
abstract fantasy world be measured? No. So by
following Ben's pragmatic philosophy it isnt real -
and i am quite happy with that -- so long as you dont
mention the word existance, because im quite convinced
that each imaginable unreal world does in fact have
its own seperate existance, its existance is just as
objective and absolute as a pure mathematical
structure like our universe or the number 3.
keep it real.
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