Re: Shock Level 5 (SL5) - 'The Theory Of Everything'

From: Mitchell Porter (
Date: Tue Aug 16 2005 - 08:22:15 MDT

If we can put philosophical questions aside for a moment - Marc's theory
actually involves a specific metamathematical structure, which constitutes
the 'formalism' of his philosophy. If this thread is to be more than a
rehash of debates (about materialism vs idealism, about 'is' vs 'ought')
which have already been conducted elsewhere, we should take a moment to
understand the formal side of his theory. His 'periodic table of cognition'
may just look like an array of magic words, but in fact it's logical enough.
Put crudely, his idea is that everything in reality has 7 aspects, that
there are 4 basic mental operations, and so a universal intellect must be
capable of applying each operation to each aspect of reality.

Now at the Wiki, he's actually told us which mathematical formalism is
relevant to each of the 7 'aspects', and he also posits that the aspects
form a hierarchy, in which a higher-level aspect is represented by a mapping
between representations of two lower-level aspects. There are four
bottom-level aspects, two middle-level aspects, and one top-level aspect.
The relevant mathematics is quite familiar: probability theory, game theory,
calculus, propositional logic. Similarly, he proposes familiar formalisms
(e.g. fuzzy logic) for the implementation of the basic mental operations.
So, regardless of how you feel about his metaphysics, regardless of whether
you even understand it (I think I'm only getting it in fragments), there is
actually an AI specification hidden in there (or at least, a specification
of a class library), and I would like to see it teased out and restated in
philosophically neutral terms that would be comprehensible to any computer
scientist. This is not to say that the metaphysics is unimportant, but the
philosophical conversation will move to a higher octave if we can get the
formalism in view.

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