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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:As promised in the 'Superultimate Question' thread: -



http://www.homeofpoi.com/ubbthreads/show...ll/fpart/1/vc/1
br>


I've put together my proposed answer to the question- 'why is there something rather than nothing?'.



It's here: -



http://www.geocities.com/combatunicycle/utor/utor.html
br>


Please note before adding to this thread that quantum physics, cosmology, Hawking, the 'Big-Bang', Einstein and Schrodingers cat are almost certainly off-topic due to the fact that the 'nothing' refered to in the question is philosophical nothingness (absolute emptiness) rather than the physical 'empty space' nothingness covered by physics.



(For more on this check out the first link above where this point was extensively discussed)


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But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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i8beefy2
GOLD Member since Mar 2003

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Posted:Dave:

1. Math is purly relational. Numbers do not really exist except as perfect concepts (like forms, which are not a valid inferrence for various reasons that apply here too). All of the mathematical operations that are math are then just relations between these pure concepts. Thus mathematical operation is purly relational. So are numbers in general. Numbers are relational to each other as well, being equal interval relations.

2. It follows that Pi is not from this. Just because it is odd to the system of Math does not make it different from any other number. I can easily define any number like that (take the golden number or whatever involved in fractals), but you can't say that just because it never repeats it is somehow different. FURTHER if Pi does stretch out into infinity, then we have a seeming contradiction of terms. As I was pointing out with the whole "on a long enough timescale all probabilities converge on true", a TRUE INFINITE necessarily means that every probability occurs... including the number repeating. This is also part of the biggest strength of Aquinas' second(?) way about infinites.

Im sure youd say that it comes close to a constant. It is not special because of this, it is just a constant that corrects the system. Because pf the definition of a circle, the relation between a curves distance from the center of the circle being equaldistant from said point means that there is a direct relation between that distance and the circumfrence. Pi is just a weird anomely to the system which, if it is truly infinite, makes math INCOMPLETE because it involves a true infinite.

Ben: I still disagree. Computers are bound by the rules of logic and math. Those systems can never do the same thing as we can because, being bound by a system it is limited to the axioms of that system. Humans are limited in a similar way by biology and the way we perceive, but THINKING is different. Abstract thought is COMPLETELY different from LOGICAL thought. Logical thought is what computers are limited to. Human beings are not so limited.


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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

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Posted:so at what point does bob go from being able to think abstract thoughts to only logical thought?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Dave good job, I think the theory holds up pretty well on the road. The hardest thing to accept is that it actually does give the gods a run for their money.



You even had me thinking of an endless stream of numbers for a while, but that took the pressure of living, so back to reality wink The theory rests pretty heavily on some major assumptions. One in particular being that its logically impossible for us not to be. Think the world/universe would be better off with out us somehow.



Consciousness: Yep, its difficult to accept that the mind is fundamentally a computer program and consciousness is independent of the brain.



This assumption relies heavily on artificial intelligence approaching human intelligence. I come from an empirical biological background and have a healthy respect for nature and the curve balls that come when anyone tries to mess with her.



For a start, I dont think the example of dropping 'x' marbles, then 'y' marbles, and the result 'z' would work with the human mind. You could never predict what answer you would get from a human population, with any accuracy.



I think the genetic algorithm that artificial intelligence is based on is flawed because its not biologically intelligent enough to replicate anything but dead-alive cats. It amazes me that mathematicians find it acceptable to ignore things that wont follow their rules. Im not knocking Mendel, he was a genius, but its difficult to ignore the fact that when those pesky garden peas wouldnt follow his ratios, he fudged the results. And you guys are in danger of doing the same thing with the silver bullet approach of a genetic algorithm.



So, I would suggest that consciousness does not exist as a mathematical entity because there is no program. As a processor the human mind is much more than the sum of its parts of learned behaviour and beliefs. There is race memory for a start, a subconscious that we cannot fathom, and a spirituality (soul) that crosses all races and culture.



Where is this Mathematical Realm ? Full of mathematical entities; independent of the physical world, and the world of human thought? ubbidea If it exists then there should be corresponding good theory in the realm of magic and spirituality.



Though, I dont think you can have your Pi and eat it too (sorry;)) I mean if you exclude Pi from the physical world because you cannot measure it, and it becomes meaningless. Then like, why wouldnt Pi become meaningless at the other end of the scale; you can try and calculate Pi to the millionth digit, but its not calculable, therefore meaningless.



Perhaps it is the human imagination after all that is suggesting a never-ending string of digits. And I agree that each of those digits is real, but only in our thought experiments.



There are no genuine mathematically perfect circles in the world, because the world is not perfect. Thats the limitation of maths.



Wheres bob?

bounce bounce2 bounce


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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TheWibbler
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

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Posted:yes yes it's all illusionary ~ but beyond that..... pi can be felt just like my mug of tea, i see no difference.

Spherculism ~:~ The Act of becoming Spherculish.

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:Written by: i8beefy2

Dave:

1. Math is purly relational. Numbers do not really exist except as perfect concepts.....................Numbers are relational to each other as well, being equal interval relations.

2. It follows that Pi is not from this





So do you agree that pi-

1. is not relational
2. does exist in the mathematical realm

?


"You can't outrun Death forever.
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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:Written by: Stone




Where is this Mathematical Realm ? Full of mathematical entities; independent of the physical world, and the world of human thought? ubbidea If it exists then there should be corresponding good theory in the realm of magic and spirituality.





The mathematical Realm has no location as such. As I understand it, our concept of 'location' refers to an objects position in the physical world; if so then it simply does not apply to the mathematical realm.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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"Last of The Lancers"
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tenticle


tenticle

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Posted:Mathematical objects can not be. They require a conciousness or a computer or some kind of information processing device for them to make sense. pi is usless and means nothing without the equasion c=d(pi), it's just another irrational number. Numbers don't exist outside of something that can use them, they are tools for describing things rather than things. The mathematical realm is conceptual and dosn't actually exist. But if there were nothing, there can be no pi, as there is no 1, and no way to conceptualise 1.
Concepts exist, but not without something to conceptualise them, is what i'm aiming at.

Also, sufficiently large simple systems (such as those with only one rule) exhibit behaviours that can't be predicted from the initial conditions and the rule, without going through every irreration, particularly if you use more than one dimension. See conway's life game for an example. The rules of protein folding are known, but even a computer that used every atom in the universe as a bit couldn't predict the shape of a protien made from about 100 amino acids, and organic life uses tons of the things of about that length...
A neural net computer with 1000 neurons with 100 conections each will behave in a mathematicly unpredictable way even with 2 basic rules, fire if threshold reached, and adjust threshold on error. a brain has 6 billion neurons with 100,000 conections each, organized in ways people are only just coming to understand, we can't predict what behaviours will come from that, let alone what would happen if you built an artificial one, and even if you did get an AI you still wouldn't know what was going on in it's head.

And finaly, the ultimate theory of reality isn't really a theory, as it dosn't provide anything testable without being outside something. Any ultimate theory of reality is going to have this problem though. You can come up with any number of elegant ways to describe the effects of reality in a concensual way, but without being outside it you can't tell which one is right. Even if you're an AI.

--ben


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i8beefy2
GOLD Member since Mar 2003

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Posted:No I do not agree. Pi IS relational as ALL math is as I said. It is the RELATION of a PERFECT CIRCLE'S radius (or diameter) to its circumfrence. Pi does not exist except as a relation, as any number does.

And no, a mathematical realm is not going to be a valid theory for the same reason that that a realm of the forms will not be. Numbers are relational. However, they are not existing as themselves in the same way a perfect circle does not exist. Math is abstracted.

This is a language problem, not a metaphysic problem. If we define something somehow (as in saying a horse is this, or a number is this) then we are abstracting from particulars a universal. It is not a valid inferrence to say that the universal has self existence, as it is simply our deconstruction of the composite perception into properties that give the universals real meaning (though not real existence). We created math as a system by abstracting number from particulars (like 2 apples, 2 things). From that distinction, we give "numbers" definition which necessarily requires an infinite string as the definition merely means there are equal intervals between them carrying into both positive and negetive infinity. If you want to treat anything abstracted from particulars as self existent, then we get the realm of the forms, as number is just one abstraction. We're also have a realm of color, a realm of taste, a realm or every conceivable property. Your theory is esentially neo-platonist in nature, you've just named your realm of the forms something else.

Look into Berkeley and Kant's rejections of abstract ideas. By definition of the mathematical system, certain relations between the numbers exist. Mathematical operations, such as that used to computer Pi and the Fibonacci sequence as well as any operation whatsoever, are just different relations found from the simple axioms used by the system, whcih arrise from its definition and prior axioms. Pi is still not special, it is just a natural anomally to the system that arrises from its definition and prior axioms.

And the Fibonnaci number is more interesting than Pi for this. At least you can see its relation to nature more readily than having to worry about perfect circles. Many algorythms are based on that sequence. Id say it would be easier to argue for too.

And AI still seems problematic to me. I don't think the mind is reducable to material cause / systems as a computer would be limited to. Thus our thinking is of a different order than a designed computer.

Don't get me wrong, its an interesting theory, and Im playing devils advocate on a lot of this. I just see some easy objections that seem they would bring down the whole idea... plus its much easier to be critical than constructive. smile


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i8beefy2
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Posted:Tenticle largely has it right me thinks. His last statement is something I have not included until now, but he is correct in his assessment. Your theory explains everything and thus explains nothing. It explains everything: it is untestable because everything can be interpreted from that point of view. Because it can not be tested it is unprovable: it explains nothing except within its own system.

Furthermore I feel I must reveal that I am partial toward Taoist philosophy (which is why I am so familiar with Godel). I believe ultimate reality is completely beyond our grasp because we exist within the system. Knowing that I cant know is kind of soothing to me.


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:Ok Beefy, I now understand what you mean by relational, and I know that you consider pi to be relational.

For future reference, it's best for me if you keep things simple and try to avoid citing established chunks of academic western philosophy; just as I've tried to do in presenting UToR.

This is because I have experience of western academic philosophy and consider it to tend towards undesirable qualities like exclusivity and overly complicated technical language.

My view is that if a certain traditional philosophers view is relevant to UToR, then it should be capeable of being consisely and simply explained, rather than simply cited.

(it's up to you of course, it's just that I'm more likely to understand your point if you do it that way).

--------

I see what you're saying about the 'theory', in that UToR can't be tested empirically.

Nevertheless, my dictionary's definition of 'theory' is of a 'statement intended to explain a fact or event'; and UToR is an attempt to do that.

UToR isn't empirically provable (ie can't be tested using physical scientific experiments).

In that respect it's like Pi- to find the millionth digit of Pi you wouldn't get a physical circle and measure it's circumference and diameter- you'd do a calculation using pure reason.

-------------------

Concerning artificial intelligence, it would be very useful for me if those denying its possibility could say which of the following camps they are in-

1. Those who believe that our consciousness' are entirely a product of our physical brain/nervous system

and

2. Those who believe that our consciousness also depends on something outside of the physical mind/body

For those in camp 2, there's not really anything I can say, it's outside the scope of what I can meaningfully talk about where UToR is concerned.

For those in camp 1, I'd say, as Ben already has; don't make assumptions about AI such as-

1. the program will be written as a whole, complete entity, by human programmers.

Instead it's likely to be a basic os designed to enable the unit to interface with it's sensors, enable memory storage of it's 'experiences', and the ability to evolve subject to its experiences and feedback loops of its internal states

2. that for an AI program to exist, that it's necessary for humans to understand, even in principle, how it works

At the end of the day, if you're in camp one, then you believe that consciousness can be enacted on purely physical systems. If it's determined that, for some reason, consciousness can only be embodied on systems based on organic matter, then surely, AI scientists will simply start to produce organic computers.

--------------

Then there's the sense in which AI is not even relavant to UToR- like I said in the origianl article, the AI thought is merely a stepping stone to understanding, which I thought was particularly relevant to this board as so many here are into IT.

But, for those in camp 1, isn't it fair to say that, if consciousness is enacted purely with a physical system (the brain), and the brain is fundamentally a device that processes data; that there is a consciousness program (albeit one that is a product of evolution rather than human design).

Because that's the part that UToR uses.

-------------


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But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Dave its difficult to make something, like a theory, out of nothing. I think your approach is fairly bullet proof, well done. Though now I think Im at the point where I start to repeat myself. So perhaps you might be amused to learn that for me, your theory could actually prove the existence of God.

Perfect circles exist. As there are no perfect circles in the world. The world is not perfect. Humans are not perfect. Only God is perfect. Only God can create perfect circles. Perfect circles exist because God made them. There must be a God. Needs a little work ubblol

Comments on UToR:

Dave this is a minor detail and I doubt it will concern you. I understand your point on complicated technical language, and simplicity works for me. But you are open for criticism if you blow-off western academic philosophy, because people might suggest that UToR wont hold up under scrutiny.

Ive read as much SF as anyone, so Im not denying the possibility of AI. Sure it will come, though after reading the UToR thread Im already starting to have nightmares about all these self-replicating monsters wink

Dave I think its a bit one-sided for you to keep saying - dont make assumptions about AI. Because you make heaps, and none have been address by anything more than by saying something like the concept of AI is appears feasible, therefore it is.

I think proving AI is the key to showing that human consciousness is just a mathematical program. It certainly makes UToR accessible. However, the theories on AI presented so far have not convince me that AI will ever be anything more that monkey see monkey do. If anything, this proves that human consciousness is far more sophisticated than initially believed.

I keep hearing about this magic genetic algorithm (based on human DNA) that will allow AI to self-replicate and produce another life form, but all I get for confirmation of this wonderful process are mind experiments.

tenticle explains the complexity of the human replication better than I do, but you guys seem oblivious to this complexity. Have you seen a monkey play Beethoven on a piano? What a sterile world it would be if the mind was only a data processor you would not have art, mathematics, music etcetc. Pi being nothing without the equation c=d(pi) is also a good point.

It is immaterial who writes the AI programs, but humans are already involved. To be honest, I think the organic computer approach is the most feasible. But hey, its a big assumption to say then surely, AI scientists will simply start to produce organic computers. Scientists are very difficult to predict, and this is speculation.

And what about Pi to the 10millionth decimal point being meaningless? You cannot calculate Pi, it is out of reach, therefore it does not exist, except in our imagination. This is relevant because Pi is excluded from the physical world because you cannot measure it.

cheers


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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i8beefy2
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Posted:If your going to discount all of philosophical thought because you find it too inaccessable then I can say nothing more. Your theory will not hold up under the scrutiny of peers in the field for the reasons I have cited and demonstrated without some kind of change that addresses the issues Ive mentioned.

A theory that explains everything is not true. It is impossible for plenty of reasons. Its like psychology and freud, or skinner, or Marxism for that matter. Anything can be explained by it, thus it is more like a method of looking at the world than a theory. Theories are testable. Yours is not, which is WHY it is METAphysical.

Also, you are using logic to do this. Logic is a system which can not explain everything, necessary to the Godel theorems. It can not fully explain or account for metaphysical claims.


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:I'm not discounting all of philosophical thought- UToR itself is philosophical thought.



I've got a degree in philosophy and I believe that most philosophical confusion arises because of the (IMO) unnecessary complexity that western philosophers indulge in.



I wrote UToR with accessibility in mind; I'm sure that, for some, parts of it will be beyond them, and, to that extent, it's my failure.



But at least I tried- acedemic western philosophy, in contrast, has no real interest in making its doctrines accesible to those outside its peer group.



I've got no illusions about UToR being taken seriously by academic philosophy smile



The main thing I learnt from tackling complex and torturously mind-bending philosophical issues, was the value of simplifying, trimming away the irrelevancies, then simplifying again.



What prompted my earlier request was a previous post which, after making some interesting points, descended into the usual technical 'buzzwords', and consequently would have made no sense to those who aren't philosophers.



-----------



I appreciate what you're saying about theories that explain 'everything' being weak; in science the strength of a theory is that there are possible experiments that, when performed, can disprove it.



In science, a theory that is so adaptable that no possible observation can shatter it, is very weak.



But UToR isn't a scientific theory- it's an explanation based on logic.



To that extent, it's more like the Godel theorems than scientific theory- no observations can prove or disprove Godels theorems.



Also, UToR doesn't explain everything- it claims to explain only why there is something rather than nothing- why we are and our experience.



Given that- could you explain why, in your view, Godels theorem is damaging to UToR, yet not damaging to Godels theorem itself, which similarly is a proof based on logic?


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But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:No I think Dave has a point, which I would understand go something like - Philosophy is based on logic and mathematics and as such is not empirical and not a science. Later.

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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i8beefy2
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Posted:Godel's theorem demonstrates logic and mathematical displays that show that the systems are inconsistent because of the natural tendancy of a system. Math can not be false because of the definition of the system. Same with logic. But there are points where the system fails, anomelies. Logic and math function in a similar manner, as any system does: axioms that are used to simplify, just what you say you enjoyed most about philosophizing D. However there is no perfect system, or else the perfect simplificatory system would be so complex that it would be AS complex as what it is trying to describe. And even THEN it could not explain ITSELF so it would still not be complete. It would be a self-referencing answer and would fall prey to a loop as we already went over.

And yes stone, this theory also points to the conclusion that philosophy will never get at truth, and we will never have the explanation for why something exists instead of nothing. Although you might have issue with the empiricist school of philosophy in saying it is not empirical... smile

-------------------

I too have a degree in philosophy. Yay for us, high five man. smile But I disagree with you in saying that the terms we are using are completely unnecessary. As YOU have a degree in it and its your theory I was addressing a few works to you I thought you might be familiar with. For the most part I have elaborated on each work as we've gone through and explained what they say in my somewhat limited fashion... The terms I am using are ones which I am defining as I go along to short cut having to talk about the same thing over and over.

On the contrary about Godel's theorem though... Godels theorem is meant to BE the evidence disproving the THEORY of logic and math. There are several books out about the logic of Math, which I have a friend reading right now, so I am pulling several things from that. In fact I think its CALLED "Logic of Mathematics" or something like that... Good book, and especially relevant to this theory. IE it is the case of the anomely that shows that given the systems own axioms, it fails at some point. If it did NOT fail at some point, and it WAS complete, it would be unprovable.

-----------------

I guess the biggest thing we might be disagreeing about is if Math is a system of relations or necessary, which will go back to if you think "forms" are a decent explanation for abstract concepts. I don't, and I feel that a "realm of the forms" follows from your "realm of math" for the same reasons you are claiming it must exist. I reject both as having any real existence outside of particulars (that is, abstracted from particular objects existing that we experience).

Anyway, I like the theory. I played around with a lot of quantum mechanics and math stuff for a while thinking it would be a great basic system to apply to things. In fact I have always considered myself married to the idea of a purely subjective world, rejecting objective truth (My God, I might be becoming post-modernist... scary) completey, but numbers always stumped me until I found Godel. I like him much, I do.


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tenticle


tenticle

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Posted:"UToR isn't empirically provable (ie can't be tested using physical scientific experiments)."

You can't prove it either way at all with any type of experiment, because you can't prove a system from within it. You can't use a system to prove itself, only show that it is internally consistent, or consistent with observed effects.
Using reason alone you could show that pi is consistent with other numbers and it's relationship to circles is common to all circles (euclidean ones anyway), or calculate it's millionth digit, but you can't prove it exists as anything other than a concept.

Take the part in utor about the simple program that adds numbers. All the devices mentioned are physical representations of the concept A+B=C, and the concept would exist without the device, but not without the observer. The fact we have 1 moon and 24 hours and hundreds and thousands is only of interest to an observer. Programs only exist if there is something capable of running (or translating) the program, otherwise it's just a set of symbols. If there was a consciousness program, without something to run it in, it wouldn't be conscious, it wouldn't have any input.

If "mathematical entities" are the creation of observers, and the observers are themselves "mathematical entities", then you can either show that there is a god, or we are all god, or god is everything, but not that there is no god.

--ben

(should have pressed post last night.)


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:The reason I'm not using terms like 'forms' especially platonist stuff, is that I'm no expert on them, and they are open to various interpretations.

I do know that, traditionaly, the platonic world of forms would have included circles etc, but as far as I'm aware, was not considered to be the home of minds/consciousness beings?

So I'm sticking to the terms I use in the article, hoping that I've defined them accuractly and meaningfully, so them everyone (not just philosophers) can understand what I'm talking about.

But I appreciate what you're saying about philosophical terms being convenient condensations of established ideas- it's just that they're not accessible to non-philosophers (who make up much of HOP) and, perhaps more serious- many are not consistently agreed upon even by the philosophers who do use them, and this leads to confusion.

It's often pointed out that virtually none of the major problems of western philosophy have been solved in the several thousand years its been going.

Generally that's explained by them being 'insolvable' problems, or that, ultimately, they come down to opinion etc.

I take the view that most of them are solvable, most of them aren't real problems to start with (just misunderstandings) and that the fact that no 'answers' have been forthcoming is due to the approach of philosophers, rather than any intrinsic difficulties with the questions.

I've digressed smile back to the theory-

------------------------------

I'm no expert on Godel, but was under the impression that he showed that no logical system above a certain level of complexity, could be both consistent and complete.

I was under the impression that it actually applied to most of higher mathematics and any logical system that was versatile enough to be useful.

Is that correct?

------------

Now I can accept that the problem Godel showed does apply to UToR.

But what I want to know is- does it apply any more to UToR than it does to any system of thought of similar complexity?

For example, surely it would apply to 99% of cosmological physics, quantum theory etc, on the grounds that they have a basis in very complex mathematics.

If Godels problem affects virtually every theory in existence, then I don't see it as being a problem for UToR in particular.

If, however, it does apply soley to UToR, then obviously that's a big problem for the theory.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:And I'd like to say thanks to everyone who's contributed to this thread smile



It's been pretty much all on-topic as I requested, so I appreciate that.



Also I'm glad that, while many dispute its truth, there's been plenty of appreciation about its 'elegance' and scope etc.



In fact, IMO, the biggest flaw with UToR is that it's too pretty for it's own good smile



The fact that it is based on pure reason, that it's an attempt to explain all of reality, that it has such profound consequences if it's true; does tend to perhaps pull the eye (my eye anyway) away from possible serious flaws at its heart.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Incnus
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

Incnus

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Posted:Hi everyone, i'm new and this is my first post yay!!

Dave, i disagree with you on this "Mathematical Realm". if it were true then all maths would hold true on all levels of reality and even in dreams.
In dreams nothing holds and anything is possible 2+2 can equal 5.

The main reason i am replying to this thread is to post a link to a very important paper on AI by Alan Turing and believe it covers some of the problems people are having here with the possibility of a machine being able to think.

http://www.loebner.net/Prizef/TuringArticle.html
br>
even though i agree with most of what he says in this paper i do however disagree with "The Argument from Extrasensory Perception" as i see nothing to support the belief of ESP ect..

May i also recommend you all a book that anyone with any interest in cognitive science will find fascinating. it also goes shows that Gdel doesnt destroy the possibility of AI but gives us a better understanding of the mind.

The Book in question is "Gdel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid" by Douglas R. Hofstadter


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:I disagree- in a dream what is basically 4 objects could turn into five, but that's not an instance of 2+2 equalling five.

Even in reality (non-dream) I can take a knife and a sponge and make one become two; that doesn't mean 1=2.

Concerning the book you recommend, as far as AI and mind stuff goes I can heartily recommend 'The Mind's Eye' also by Hofstadter (in conjunction with Daniel c. Dennett)- a true gem that uses short sci-fi stories to illustrate it's points. It also covers the Chinese Room argument mentioned above.

-------------

Turings test for intelligence basically came down to-

If a AI system can hold an intelligent discussion with a range of humans, on a range of subjects, and they can't distinguish it as artificial; then, to all intents and purposes,it is intelligent.

I usually put it like this: -

imagine a new member of your course is introduced in a lecture; it's a experimental AI equiped with fully mobile body and sensory units, and it's joining the course.

6 months later you've been hanging out with it on a regualr basis, had hours of fascinating disussions, had some laughs, and, if you're being honest, it's been a better friend than most of the people on the course. (Maybe it's even shared some of its fears about what will happen when the experiments over, maybe it's asked you what death is like etc).

At that point are you going to take as seriously the point of view that it's merely a clever mimic of intelligence- that its merely simulating feelings and consciousness.


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Incnus
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

Incnus

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Posted:Dave,

I'm reading The Minds Eye at the moment. it is a great book.

however i dont agree with you that two plus two cannot equal five in a dream, in a dream anything is possible and there are no rules. this is where Descartes failed as well


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:Logically and mathematically 2+2 simply cannot equal five. Any group of five objects can be split into the following- 1&4, 2&3; it cannot be split into 2&2.

Dreams are notorious for involving confusion, so I'll put this question to you: -

If, in a dream, you see an instance of 2+2 equaling five, it would seem there are two explanations-

1. 2+2 is actually equaling 5

2. the dreamer is confused

Why would you, in the case of an apparent instance of 2+2=5 occuring in a dream; on waking maintain that 1 was the case rather than 2?

And, what evidence/reasoning could be used to establish that 1 is the case rather than 2?


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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"Last of The Lancers"
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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Dave, Pi has probably always existed, but Im a firm believer in the human mind being more then the sum of its parts; a synergy that I think will be impossible for machines to create.



Thanks for putting Turner into a paragraph. I was thinking Turner probably wrote a great paper, but give me a one-paragraph summary any day smile I think Turners argument against Consciousness (ability to compose a concerto etc.) is pretty weak if all it comes down to is accept, or be labelled a solipsist.



Perhaps I need to think more about this quote, but at the moment I dont get it. "At that point are you going to take as seriously the point of view that it's merely a clever mimic of intelligence- that its merely simulating feelings and consciousness."



I think Ill check out 'The Mind's Eye' as my vision of AI is not flattering at the moment. So hopefully, my view might change with more input. And perhaps I am really just a luddite with his head in the sand, but has someone actually bothered to address the question of whether it is actually desirable for machines to think like humans?





i8beefy2, I know what you mean about variability, outliers and anomalies, and I have a healthy respect for them in the natural/organic system. But logic appears to be a closed system.



wink In logic, everything is logical, so if something is not logical like an outlier or anomaly, then the only logical thing to do is ignore them, because logically speaking outliers or anomalies are not logical, and shouldnt exist, so its logically to ignore them, because thats the logical thing to do. wink



Im not sure if two plus two can equal five. But 1 billion multiplied by zero will always equal zero.



Cheers guys, its been an education smile



beerchug


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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i8beefy2
GOLD Member since Mar 2003

i8beefy2

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Posted:But you can't ignore them because they do exist. Godel's theorems apply to all systems in general, and thus as you said Dave, is not necessarily a problem just for the UToR. However, it does show that any system of explanation will ultimatly fail and why the entire idea of an ultimate theory ever being created that can not be logically defended against is impossible. It is beyond our reach.

That being said, that isn't to say that you can't come up with a USEFUL system of interpreting the world. A system by nature is limiting: it seeks to explain something with the fewest amount of axioms possible. A complete system would be as complex as the thing is is trying to explain and ultimately pointless and for the most part still beyond our limited faculties.

And yes, Godels theorem applies to all of science as well.

As for the AI stuff... well I must admit I am not qualified to speak meaningfully on the subject, and I am just applying theory that is vague and not necessarily related to reject the (apparent) majority view of it being possible. I am just playing critic here. I have no idea if AI is possible. I'd like to think it isnt, but hey I might be wrong.

-------

Seriously though... this theory is rationalist Neoplatonism. It's a fine theoy. However your using only analytical logic and then jumping to conclusions. The nice thing about logic is that you can really make it say whatever you want when you get to something as complex as this, because we can dispute terms and ideas all day. I hope some of my banter has been helpful. I think your theory is very interesting, and could have application as a new paradigm view from which to conduct other activities, but as far as being True (with a capital T) I have my doubts.

Math being purly relational and all and not having existence outside of reality...

I mean what about cognitive evolution? Some of them lean toward the idea that the way we think, order the world (cause-effect, time, etc.) is a direct result of how we've evolved to think. Not in a material sense as the brain necessarily, though it may be a PHYSICAL construction BECAUSE of the cognitive evolutionary niche we humans are in... It implies that OUR REALITY is the way it is because we construct it that way because of the things we are. Whether you take the objective world for fact or not is the difference between a materialist and an idealist, but this kinda defeats any REALIST point of view... I got an article around here somewhere about it. Not really sure I believe it all but its interesting. Look up "cognition and biological evolution" if interested.

I love being the Devils Advocate smile


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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Thanks Dave smile

Im enjoying thinking about these programs. They explain much.

No, it wouldnt really matter if the person was AI or not.

Now about re-programming wink

cheers


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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quiet


quiet

analytic
Location: bristol

Total posts: 503
Posted:problems:

1. 'logically, there shouldn't be anything because, as 'nothingness' is entirely devoid of all characteristics, it would seem to be impossible that it could develop into 'something'.'

I don't understand why this should be true.

2.'UToR does not comment upon the actual physical existence of the world or matter- it doesn't need to do so because it does explain all our experience of reality (without reference to physical matter).'

So it it a theory of reality or a theory of our experience of reality? I don't think you can have the second without the first. Here's the transcendental argument from B274 of the Critique of Pure Reason [analytic of principles], [Kant, of course]:

'Thesis: The mere but empirically determined consciousness of my own existence proves the existence of external objects in space. Proof: I am conscious of my own existence as determined in time. All determination in regard to time presupposes the existence of something permanent in perception. But this permanent something cannot be something in me, for the very reason that my existence in time can itself only be determined by this permanent something. It follows that the perception of this permanent existence is possible only through a thing outside me, and not through the mere representation of a thing outside me. Consequently, the determination of my existence in time is possible only through the existence of real things that I perceive outside me. Now, consciousness in time is necessarily connected with the consciousness of the possibility of this determination in time. Hence it follows, that consciousness in time is necessarily connected also with the existence of things outside me, inasmuch as the existence of these things is the condition of determination in time. That is to say, the consciousness of my own existence is at the same time an immediate consciousness of the existence of other things outside me.'

So that's my second worry. My third worry is, I think, fatal to your theory.

3. Let me check that I've got the outline of your argument right before I start to criticise it. You're arguing that the mind is a program; that programs are mathematical entities; and that mathematical entities are necessary beings.

Now here's the problem: your claim that 'the mind is a program' - *even if* I buy the rest of the argument - is incomplete. The mind isn't just a program, it's an *instantiated* program. That is, it's a program running on something. Granted, it doesn't matter what it's running on: it could be a bit of squishy grey matter, a complex computer, or a bit of swiss cheese if you could set the swiss cheese up appropriately. As you put it:

'A functionalist view is that our 'mind' is basically 'software' being run on 'hardware' (the brain).'

Right: it's software _being run on_ hardware. So the reason we're so concerned about being killed, or vaporised, etc, is that even though the software might 'exist' in some 'timeless mathematical realm', it needs to be instantiated on something in order for us to be conscious.

All that your argument shows is that there's a sense in which the software exists in your 'timeless mathematical realm'. I'm not sure that I agree with that claim, but I don't need to dispute it. What your argument fails to show is that the *mind*, as opposed to merely the software, exists in this way.


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:Written by: quiet


So it it a theory of reality or a theory of our experience of reality? I don't think you can have the second without the first. Here's the transcendental argument from B274 of the Critique of Pure Reason [analytic of principles], [Kant, of course]:
.............
Kant quote..........

So that's my second worry. My third worry is, I think, fatal to your theory.




It's a theory of our experience of reality, since that is what is real to us. As you know there are issues around the question of whether the reality 'underlying' the experience is accessible or provably real.

That issue has been fought over in philosophy for centuries and is not something I'm especially inspired to get into smile

As far as I'm concerned, if UTOR explains our experience of reality, then that is sufficient.

Concerning the Kant quote- it makes no sense to me, I'm not sure how it relates to UTOR; if you can put it in your own words and make it concise and clear, I'll have a bash at answering it.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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"Last of The Lancers"
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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:Written by: quiet


3. Let me check that I've got the outline of your argument right before I start to criticise it. You're arguing that the mind is a program; that programs are mathematical entities; and that mathematical entities are necessary beings.



Now here's the problem: your claim that 'the mind is a program' - *even if* I buy the rest of the argument - is incomplete. The mind isn't just a program, it's an *instantiated* program. That is, it's a program running on something. Granted, it doesn't matter what it's running on: it could be a bit of squishy grey matter, a complex computer, or a bit of swiss cheese if you could set the swiss cheese up appropriately. As you put it:



'A functionalist view is that our 'mind' is basically 'software' being run on 'hardware' (the brain).'



Right: it's software _being run on_ hardware. So the reason we're so concerned about being killed, or vaporised, etc, is that even though the software might 'exist' in some 'timeless mathematical realm', it needs to be instantiated on something in order for us to be conscious.









The functionalist view is just a stepping stone to my conclusion- I bring it in because many people do not even accept that mind is a program on hardware, and I don't have the time to try to convince them overwise before getting on the the main points of UTOR.



For example, your quote here-



Written by: quiet


Granted, it doesn't matter what it's running on: it could be a bit of squishy grey matter, a complex computer, or a bit of swiss cheese if you could set the swiss cheese up appropriately.







is exactly the starting point I need; many people do not have the understanding that you do- my use of functionalism is simply to establish what UTOR assumes as a starting point.



So functionalists do have the advantage when it comes to grasping UTOR; but UTOR is not a functionalist theory; unless you can accept that the 'hardware' underlying the mind can be non-physical mathematical objects.



Quite rightly you point out that underlying hardware (eg a brain) is generally considered necessary to run a mind on; UTOR says that is not the case. Do you have any evidence or reason that shows that mathematical objects cannot be sufficient to run a mind/program on?



Written by: quiet


All that your argument shows is that there's a sense in which the software exists in your 'timeless mathematical realm'. I'm not sure that I agree with that claim, but I don't need to dispute it. What your argument fails to show is that the *mind*, as opposed to merely the software, exists in this way.





According to UTOR, the 'software' is the program; in this case, the software is the mind.



As long as the software exists, so does the mind- the two are equivalent.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
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quiet


quiet

analytic
Location: bristol

Total posts: 503
Posted:'Do you have any evidence or reason that shows that mathematical objects cannot be sufficient to run a mind/program on? '

Yep: programs have to be instantiated. Specifically, to run a program, you have to engage in a process. Processes involve causal operations: a crude case is electrical charges on a circuit board causing changes in states of, for instance, the electrons in a memory chip. Mathematical objects aren't causal entities. QED.

Alternatively: running a program involves a process. A process is a matter of changing states; turning a 1 into a 0, for instance [I'm talking about the values stored on a computer here, not 'mathematical objects']. But, by your own theory, the mathematical realm is timeless and unchanging: therefore, ex hypothesi, no processes can occur within it.


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:But what are the grounds for saying that programs require causal processes and temporality to be?

A obvious answer may be to point out that every program we encounter happens to be enacted on a physical process taking place in time.

However, I consider that to be weak because: -

1. it presupposes the falsity of UTOR. ie If UTOR is true, then in fact we have never witnessed a program taking place on a physiacl causal temporal system.

If UTOR is true, then every mind you have met has in fact been a function of non-temporal mathematical objects. All computer programs you have encountered, similarly are a function of that process.

If UTOR is true, then you can forget every presupposition you have ever had concerning programs and what they run on, because UTOR redefines what reality actually is.

I'm open to any proofs or reasons that show that all programs must take place on physical, causal, temporal systems, but I'm sure you can see that, unless I've missed something, your points above do not constitute prrofs or reasons to think that.

I'll also say here that I'm open to UTOR being disproved.

Initially I was very enthusiastic about it, as it was a fairly original theory, that had some very positive implications and into which I put a fair bit of effort into making solid and rational.

Currently I'm in the position of seeing that UTOR could be true, equally, it could be false.

I'd like to see it settled, and would prefer to have it shown to be false than the current situation of it being open to both possibilities.

Obviously, if your intuition that programs require causal systems and change to function, then UTOR is finished; I acknowledge that fully, however, IMO, that intuition requires substantially more support than you have brought forward.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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