From: Lee Corbin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Dec 08 2002 - 01:54:34 MST
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
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
> 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.
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).
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.
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