Re: All is number

From: Simon Gordon (
Date: Thu Aug 12 2004 - 19:40:26 MDT

 --- Eliezer Yudkowsky <> wrote:
> Right; if the Universe were not, at its core, math,
> it would be incoherent
> chaos, or rather would not be anything at all.

This is interesting. Have you considered the
"universe" of a fairytale? Fairytale universes are
built from words not math; although the words may
describe certain topological relationships between
characters, objects etc the descriptions are notably
fuzzy and non-mathematical. The fact that we can
imagine a fairytale universe doesnt help because the
description is never good enough for our minds to
build perfect 3D models of what is going on, and
certainly not ones that we can all agree are accurate;
whatever models we build in our own minds while
reading the story are generally too fuzzy to be
measured consistently anyway.

Fairytale universes satisfy the property of
conceivability and so they exist within my "domain of
all abstract entities" but i wouldnt assume that they
have any connection with pure math. Their various
interpretations may be mathematical in nature, but as
things-in-themselves they somehow steer clear of the

You might want to argue that words and descriptions
can in principle be reduced to math, with sufficient
understanding of the complexity of natural language.
Eg by the analysis of the neural patterns generated by
some generic artificial future mind when presented
with different textual stimuli. I have reason to be
sceptical that a direct translation from words to pure
numerical information will ever be possible. My
argument is that while the particular instantiations
of each word may be analysed in great depth, the words
themselves are abstractions until read or said etc and
their meaning and the qualia they produce is variable
in different instances and observer relative. Since
there are an infinite number of minds in the
metaverse, there are a infinite number of possible
qualia associated with any given
word/phrase/description. Im not saying it definitely
isnt possible; just that i am dubious that even our
post-Singularity minds will ever be able to accurately
convert a fairytale universe described in natural
language into pure numbers.

Simon Gordon.

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