• vanzhandz
    7
    I have been thinking on this for quite a while now and thought I might put these thoughts up some where they can be criticized.

    It is apparent to me that there are four things that an individual can unequivocally prove.

    -The first: You exist. This I believe to be the simplest proof, considering that if you did not exist on some level than you would not be able to ponder your own existence in the first place.

    -The second: Time exists. If time did not exist then one would not have the ability to discern past from present.

    -The third: Reality can not make mistakes. The concept of a mistake does not exist within reality, it only exists within human perspective. In order for a mistake to be made there must first be an agreed upon correct outcome to an event, and considering that reality (Meaning the world in which we exist) exists outside of human consciousness and it's ability to assign correct and incorrect, this would mean that any event that happens within reality is not a mistake.

    -The fourth: Reality has a blue print. "Blue print" refers to a set of universal laws that bind reality together in someway which set the stage for all events occurring in reality. You can call this blue print what you will, mathematics, god, or what have you, but there must be laws binding reality together. If there was no blue print for realities existence than we, humans who exist within reality, would not exist either. I now refer to the first proof.


    If these four proofs are true then humanities existence is not a mistake and humanities ability to create meaning from seemingly nothing is also not a mistake. If we exist within reality then we are one part of the blue print of reality and if no event which occurs within reality can be classified as a mistake than our ability to create meaning for our own is existence is not a mistake.

    To me this is just a complicated way of saying that by creating meaning for the decisions you make in life you are doing exactly what a human meant to do.
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    If these four proofs are true then humanities existence is not a mistake and humanities ability to create meaning from seemingly nothing is also not a mistake. If we exist within reality then we are one part of the blue print of reality and if no event which occurs within reality can be classified as a mistake than our ability to create meaning for our own is existence is not a mistake.

    To me this is just a complicated way of saying that by creating meaning for the decisions you make in life you are doing exactly what a human meant to do.
    vanzhandz

    A mistake is the difference between prediction/knowledge and observation/experience, as attributed to either the prediction or to the observation. Mistakes, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder. A mistake exists only when either prediction or observation is considered ‘true’.

    Humanity’s ability to create meaning from seemingly nothing is a perception of humanity. What we do when we ‘create meaning’ is describe reality as an ongoing potential relationship between knowledge and experience. It’s only ‘nothing’ when either knowledge or experience is considered ‘true’. It’s just ‘mistakes’ viewed at a different level.

    What a human is ‘meant to do’, then, is open-ended. How long is a piece of string? Was Hitler doing what a human was meant to do? I don’t think meaning is quite that simple.
  • T Clark
    10.2k
    Welcome to the forum.

    It is apparent to me that there are four things that an individual can unequivocally prove.vanzhandz

    If these four proofs are true then humanities existence is not a mistake and humanities ability to create meaning from seemingly nothing is also not a mistake.vanzhandz

    I don't think you have proven any of your four propositions. Let's take a look:

    The first: You exist. This I believe to be the simplest proof, considering that if you did not exist on some level than you would not be able to ponder your own existence in the first place.vanzhandz

    This isn't a proof. You've accepted it as a self-evident truth. That's ok with me.

    The second: Time exists. If time did not exist then one would not have the ability to discern past from present.vanzhandz

    The fact that we can tell past from present is not a proof that time exists, it's a definition of what time is.

    The third: Reality can not make mistakes.vanzhandz

    Since reality is the standard by which whether something is a mistake is determined, saying that reality can not make mistakes is a tautology.

    The fourth: Reality has a blue print. "Blue print" refers to a set of universal laws that bind reality together in someway which set the stage for all events occurring in reality.vanzhandz

    When you say "universal laws" I assume you are talking about what are called "laws of nature," e.g. special and general relativity, the law of conservation of matter and energy, and the second law of thermodynamics. I don't think these are laws or blueprints in the sense you mean. They don't determine or regulate or how the universe works, they only describe it. They are generalizations from experience.

    To me this is just a complicated way of saying that by creating meaning for the decisions you make in life you are doing exactly what a human meant to do.vanzhandz

    I agree with this. Creating meaning seems to be something we do just because we are humans. It's part of human nature. On the other hand, I don't think it follows from your four postulates.
  • 180 Proof
    10.2k
    Welcome to the sandbox. :up:

    Suppose Human nature's personal need for 'meaning and purpose' only proves writ small Blind nature's impersonal lack of 'meaning and purpose' writ large?

    Suppose, therefore, that individuaally and collectively fulfilling this personal need is merely an illusion we employ to get ourselves out of bed every morning and/or with which to variously sedate our despair (and that works only as long as we remain in denial that our 'meanings and purposes' are just (mostly adaptive) illusions)?

    :death: :flower:
    '
  • Harry Hindu
    4.9k
    The third: Reality can not make mistakes. The concept of a mistake does not exist within reality, it only exists within human perspective. In order for a mistake to be made there must first be an agreed upon correct outcome to an event, and considering that reality (Meaning the world in which we exist) exists outside of human consciousness and it's ability to assign correct and incorrect, this would mean that any event that happens within reality is not a mistake.vanzhandz
    This is pretty much what I've thought and proposed on this forum too. When people claim that life or humans are an "accident", they are asserting that the universe has goals and the existence of life or humans weren't part of its goals.

    To me this is just a complicated way of saying that by creating meaning for the decisions you make in life you are doing exactly what a human meant to do.vanzhandz
    But what do you mean by "meaning"? How can meaning be created as an illusion or as something real and does the distinction make sense? Humans create all sorts of things and even meaning as an illusion has causal power. It makes humans do things and create things in reality which means that meaning is just as real as everything else. If humans and there minds are part of reality, then meaning is part of reality.

    Personally, I think meaning, as a relationship between cause and effect, is something apprehended, and not created, by minds.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.4k

    Re: "Reality does not make mistakes"
    What "reality"? Whose reality?
  • Gnomon
    2.6k
    Reality can not make mistakes.vanzhandz
    I agree with your general implication, that whatever will be is what will become real. Hence, each individual's destiny was "meant to be" in some general sense. Others though, will pick apart your wording. For example, what do you mean by "reality"?

    I'll leave the buzzards to scavenge over your terminology. So, I'll just note that "reality" is not absolutely Deterministic. Instead, Evolution is heuristic*, which means "trial & error". Therefore, the future state of the world is never absolutely certain, but always open to serendipity (chance). Which allows sentient beings some maneuvering room on the road to destiny. :smile:

    * This notion of "heuristic evolution" is being discussed on the Free Will vs Determinism thread : https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/653374

    Que sera, sera
    Whatever will be, will be
    The future's not ours to see

    ___Doris Day, Frank De Vol
  • vanzhandz
    7
    Thank you for your response.

    What a human is ‘meant to do’, then, is open-ended. How long is a piece of string? Was Hitler doing what a human was meant to do? I don’t think meaning is quite that simple.Possibility


    I appreciate your well rationalized definition of what a mistake is and I agree said definition. I think however that you have taken my words as some form determinism. Although they could be used in that way, it was not my intention. My idea is; that when you separate human perspective from reality (the world in which we exist) this leaves no room for human concepts such as mistakes, good or bad, correct or incorrect. Reality exists outside of human perception, all we can do is observe it, but these observations have no affect on the laws of nature which govern reality. Meaning, if an event occurs within reality, because all things within reality are subject to these laws of nature, it can not be classified as a mistake. One planet crashing into another planet is not a mistake, it is the result of reality and the laws which govern it taking its course. Thus, if human consciousness exists within reality, it is subject to these same laws of nature, meaning the advent of humanities ability to create meaning is not a mistake. It is the result of events within reality taking their course, devoid of an intention to do so.
  • vanzhandz
    7


    Thank you very much for pushing me to expand upon my points. I agree that I did a poor job explaining them and that I really ought not call them "proofs."

    The fact that we can tell past from present is not a proof that time exists, it's a definition of what time is.T Clark

    Yes, my proposition on time is based on humanities ability to perceive it. I would like to separate human observation from human perception. Human observation relies upon the senses, where as human perception relies upon the consciousness itself interpreting information. We could say that we can observe change within the world around us, but then that leaves the door open for the doubt of human observation. The question of whether or not we can unequivocally prove that our observations are correct? I am of the mind that there is now way to prove this, so then I fall back upon human perception, which does not require outside information in order to prove the existence of time. As a human you can perceive a time which has already passed without needing to reference this with any outside influence. You can understand that at one point your consciousness did not exists and then at another moment it came into existence and persisted ever since. This is my justification for the existence of time.

    Since reality is the standard by which whether something is a mistake is determined, saying that reality can not make mistakes is a tautology.T Clark

    I would agree that my wording of this does not do my point any justice. I wish I could find a better word then "mistake." What I am saying is; the events that happen within reality can not be classified as mistakes because in order to do so we would have to apply our human perception of a mistake to said event. Human perception, although it exists within reality, does not however have any affect on the rules which govern reality. And because all events that happen within reality are subject to the rules of reality, including the advent of human consciousness, then you can not classify any event within reality as mistake. It is the result of the rules which govern reality taking their course.


    When you say "universal laws" I assume you are talking about what are called "laws of nature," e.g. special and general relativity, the law of conservation of matter and energy, and the second law of thermodynamics. I don't think these are laws or blueprints in the sense you mean. They don't determine or regulate or how the universe works, they only describe it. They are generalizations from experience.T Clark

    The universal laws I was referring to were not eluding to the "laws of nature" as you describe them, all though that terminology is much better than my own. I am not referring to any specific set of rules that we as humans have already come up with to explain how the universe operates. I am proposing that there must be laws which can explain why reality is capable of having things exist within it in the first place. We as humans would be subject to these laws, considering we exist within reality, meaning that within these laws of existence there is the capacity for beings such as ourselves to exists. And for beings such as ourselves to create meaning in the way that we do.


    This is the perspective I hold. Again, I thank you for you comments.
  • vanzhandz
    7


    I understand the concept you're getting at. I am not however trying to prove whether "Meaning" is an illusion or not. My idea is based upon humanities ability to create meaning and how we can rationalize the existence of this human ability.
  • vanzhandz
    7


    Well it's a good question, but I'm not sure if it's required to understand my argument.
    I am not saying that one can prove whether the reality they witness is the true reality or not, but that there must be a base reality outside of human observation. Without a base reality to exist within than where would our consciousness reside? And within this base reality there must be a reason why a being that is conscious can create meaning.
  • vanzhandz
    7


    Thank you for your question.

    But what do you mean by "meaning"? How can meaning be created as an illusion or as something real and does the distinction make sense? Humans create all sorts of things and even meaning as an illusion has causal power. It makes humans do things and create things in reality which means that meaning is just as real as everything else. If humans and there minds are part of reality, then meaning is part of reality.Harry Hindu

    I agree with you that "meaning" must exist within reality alongside the humans that create it. My definition of however is based on human interpretation of reality. Meaning is the reasoning a consciousness gives itself for the actions it takes, in such a way that it assigns worth to these actions. In my mind meaning is meant to give a consciousness enough feeling of worth in order for that consciousness to desire the prospect of going on living. Ultimately the meaning we give ourselves is up to us, it is not based on what we have observed but it is based upon our interpretations of what we have observed. Just as our concept of self is based upon how we have interpreted the life experience that we have had.
  • vanzhandz
    7


    I appreciate your response. You are correct in saying that my terminology is most likely flawed, I need to do better.

    My point wasn't exactly meant to be deterministic, as much as it was to just simply point out that you can't say whether an event is a mistake or not because you would have to apply your own human definition of what a mistake is to the event. I don't think we should do this because human perception has no affect on the rules which govern reality, thus it does not matter what happens within reality it will always just be the result of the rules of reality taking their course.

    I do agree that reality is simply deterministic. One could say that the events of the present moment create the future, but I do not believe that they determine it.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.4k
    there must be a base reality outside of human observation.vanzhandz
    I was afraid that you would say that! :smile:
    The vast majority of people (including "thinkers") believe there is and talk about an "objective" reality. Isn't this the "base" reality and the reality "outside of human observation", that you are talking about?

    n such cases I use to ask, "If there is an objective a reality, who is out there to tell?" And I continue to explain that we can only talk about subjective reality: a person's reality: yours, mine and other persons' reality. Realities differ among people rearding everything. The closest one cout get to an "objective" reality is "common" reality. This is an agreed upon reality. It you and I agree on something, we can talk about a common reality. Even if, hypothetically, all the people on Earth agree on something --completely impossible--, this is still a common reallity.

    What people usually mean by "objective reality" is the physical universe! Which, of course exists "outside human observation", as you describe it. They use these terms interchangeably, and almost as synonyms.

    Therefore, specifying "What reality" and/or "Whose reality?" is required to understand your argument! :smile

    Without a base reality to exist within than where would our consciousness reside?vanzhandz
    In our own reality. We build our reality mainly by perception, reasoning and knowledge. Reasoning includes understanding and knowledge includes facts to which you have agreed on or the existence of which you have accepted. Faith can be also part of one's reality, regarding things the existence of which one cannot prove or explain.

    And within this base reality there must be a reason why a being that is conscious can create meaning.vanzhandz
    You create meaning based on your perception, reasoning, understanding and knowledge. In short, your reality.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    664


    If we exist within reality then we are one part of the blue print of reality and if no event which occurs within reality can be classified as a mistake than our ability to create meaning for our own is existence is not a mistake.

    Good points, but I think the definitions might need some work to describe what you are getting at.

    If we rephrase the above, could it mean, "no event occurs within reality, for which, if we knew all the conditions for it (the blue print), we should be surprised?" That is, if we know how the "right" answers come to be, we should never be surprised by them.

    This has two likely unintended consequences.

    1. This would mean the information content of the universe, measured in physics/information science as the amount of surprise we have about what happens in a system, is zero using an absolute frame of measurement. That is, nothing is mistaken so nothing should surprise us, and the actual entropy of the universe from an absolute viewpoint is zero, meaning there is nothing to know. This also implies hard determinism from the bottom up.

    This is counter intuitive; it tells us that only by having incomplete information can we have any information, total information = 0 surprise = no information. Maybe there is something here, this is indeed what Hegel gets at with his oppositions of X and Y, where pure Y turns out to be X because it has nothing by which to define itself aside from abstraction, but many people don't like the dialectical. (He does this with nothing and being in PhS and pure freedom in the Philosophy of Right.)

    It could also just be telling us that our methods for measuring entropy are missing something. That they only work if you accept that you are a system made up of parts of the universe measuring other parts, arbitrarily defined as systems.

    Thus, speaking of measuring the universe as a whole is a meaningless concept, and we cannot logically apply our rules to everything. This is somewhat suggested by the fact that the information exchange formula for the universe as whole would be zero following the holographic principal, since the surface of the universe contacts nothing. Also by the fact that thought experiments positing magical observers without physical parts that hang out in vacuum allow you to violate the laws of thermodynamics.

    2. At the lowest level we can probe, the universe seems stochastic, modality is exhibited in wave functions. We can only know of probabilities of X (e.g., types of spin) and measuring what X is causes changes in the system (collapse). But our zero information system should have no surprises, so this probabilistic nature of QM can't be there, else mistakes can always arise.

    Perhaps the universe isn't probabilistic at small scales, perhaps there are hidden variables that hold the spin of particles in wave form. However, against this point is the fact that experiments on Bell inequalities consistently tell us that this is not the case, so far. So surprise appears to be an essential part of reality, which means that "mistake" must become a more amorphous definition. It means not one outcome versus another, but rather a huge spectrum of outcomes that you can be surprised about no matter how much you know.

    Another problem might be time. Time now generally needs to be understood as space-time. Experiments in quantum tunneling seen to suggest the possibility of effects in time breaking the laws we thought we had found for it, waves crossing barriers before they have left, although this needs more experimentation.

    However, if time is relevant to an observer, but at the fundemental level, particles do not have their own identities, what do we make of that?



    I think there is something here to this perspective in that a system can only have information about other systems based on which systems it has been able to exchange information with.

    "Objective" reality appears to require an infinite, absolute viewpoint to at least be posited as possible. It does not currently seem possible, and were it to exist, we run into the problems above vis-á-vis our current conceptions of information.

    This doesn't imply meaning in the sense of sentience however. The light sensor in your camera is a system and can act as an observer in QM, but I think this fact still has implications for how we think of meaning.



    This is one way to take it. The conclusion that the total information content of the universe from an absolute perspective is zero would jive with this depending on how you want to interpret it.

    However, I think it does run into ontological difficulties. How does a system with no surprise, no information, produce information for systems within itself and why does it seem to necissarily do so?

    You can posit the findings of scientific inquiry as a series of unanalyzable facts, but you're still left with the issue of how such facts can come to be known, seemingly due to logical necessity.

    And while human logic is fallible, and our logical intuition can be seen as a by product of evolution, it certainly does seem to be saying things about the way things actually are. It's how we can determine said brute facts, and the ground for understanding them. If you feed contradictions into quite different computational devices from the mind, modern computers or mechanical ones, you end up with infinite loops, halting problems. Incomputability shows up as a physical property.
  • 180 Proof
    10.2k
    My idea is based upon humanities ability to create meaning and how we can rationalize the existence of this human ability.vanzhandz
    Okay. Thought I alternatively "rationalized" "this human ability" without any essentialism (as per Zapffe, Camus, Cioran, et al) ... A speculation on "meaning" as a self-serving illusion, not "proof".
  • 180 Proof
    10.2k
    The conclusion that the total information content of the universe from an absolute perspective is zero would jive with this depending on how you want to interpret it.Count Timothy von Icarus
    I don't see the relevance to my post.
  • T Clark
    10.2k
    This is my justification for the existence of time.vanzhandz

    To start, it is not my intention to claim that time doesn't exist. It's a concept I use all the time (oops). Still, here are some thoughts:

    • Scientists have a hard time defining time. It's a hard concept to grasp and study.
    • I think it's fair to say that special relativity calls the existence of time, at least as we know it, into question. Our awareness of time requires us to determine the simultaneity of events. That's how we normally determine our place in time - we compare one event, the position of the hands of a clock, with another event that interests us. Einstein showed us that events that appear simultaneous in one frame of reference may not be so in another.
    • In physics, you will find discussions of the asymmetry of time. At a subatomic level, time is seen as able to move in both forward and reverse directions. At a macroscopic level, time has a definite direction. See the discussion of the arrow of time in Wikipedia. Interesting.

    None of this means you are wrong. It just means things are more complicated than they seem.

    I would agree that my wording of this does not do my point any justice. I wish I could find a better word then "mistake." What I am saying is; the events that happen within reality can not be classified as mistakes because in order to do so we would have to apply our human perception of a mistake to said event. Human perception, although it exists within reality, does not however have any affect on the rules which govern reality. And because all events that happen within reality are subject to the rules of reality, including the advent of human consciousness, then you can not classify any event within reality as mistake. It is the result of the rules which govern reality taking their course.vanzhandz

    I'm a bit confused by this, but I'll take a swing at a response. Which you probably won't like. Which we don't need to follow up on. Your contention depends on the existence of an objective reality. There are those, including me, who do not think that the existence of objective reality is self-evident or necessary. This is not a fringe idea. You will find discussions of it here on the forum. I won't go into it further here. I think it will disrupt your discussion.

    I am proposing that there must be laws which can explain why reality is capable of having things exist within it in the first place. We as humans would be subject to these laws, considering we exist within reality, meaning that within these laws of existence there is the capacity for beings such as ourselves to exists...vanzhandz

    For there to be laws or rules, there would have to be someone who wrote them. There are two possibilities I can see. 1) God or 2) Us. As I said before, the laws of nature humans come up with are descriptions of how the world works, not requirements that the world must follow. The laws of nature are human constructs that we superimpose on the world as we perceive it.

    ...beings such as ourselves to create meaning in the way that we do.vanzhandz

    As I said previously, I agree that we humans are built, evolved to create meaning.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.4k
    only by having incomplete information can we have any information, total information = 0 surprise = no information.Count Timothy von Icarus
    Interesting point. It makes me think of "omniscience" or "absolute knowledge" and similar metaphysical concepts, which are utopias and which are nice to dream about. But unfortunately we have to wake up at some point! Indeed, if one knew everything one wouldn't need information! And, by consequence one would never be surprised about anything. What a boring state of existence! :grin:

    Now, something that just came up to me --as it often happens with these discussions ... I have not worked this well, but I think that both of the above terms ("omniscience" or "absolute knowledge") are actually counter-intuitive or self-contradicting ... (I can't think of the term for something that contains an impossibility.) If I'm telling that "I know everything", that "I have an absolute knowledge", etc., then, at the same time, knowledge would have no meaning as far as I am concerned, since that would mean that and could only happen if I myself am knowledge and/or I am knowledge itself! It could maybe also mean that and happen only if I am everything!

    Now, it's time time for me to wake up! :grin:
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    664


    I was saying that could be taken as evidence of "blind nature's lack of meaning." I think the more supported conclusion is that speaking of "blind nature" or nature qua nature, is the thing that isn't actually meaningful.

    There are, of course, plenty of similar armchair psychologist reasons that people have for asserting the meaninglessness of nature, so IDK if there is much to say about the other part of the post.
  • Yvonne
    6
    How come you propose time's existence as one of four provable truths, but not space's existence? Surely space is less contentious than time? I posted here somewhere the other day that I am not convinced that linear time exists. I am more convinced (although not unequivocally) that I am standing on a planet in a solar system in a universe.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    664


    Right, that's another interesting point. To have an absolute standpoint would require you to have a memory essentially equivalent to the energy of the universe as a whole... maybe.

    You can compress information in ways that are fully reversible. The simplest example I know of is simple image compression block coding. If an image is almost all black pixels, with a white square in the middle, instead of coding each black pixel, you can instead code them as a block of consecutive black pixels (i.e., "0 x 10", versus "0000000000"). Interestingly, trying to compute the absolute minimal way in which a piece of information can be stored, the maximum compression that allows for irreversibility (Yao entropy or Kolmogorov complexity), results in logical contradictions that throw computation into endless loops.

    Interesting to consider when people make analogies to reality as being like a "simulation" or "computer program," anyhow. I think those comparisons tend to mislead more then they elucidate though.
  • Tom Storm
    5.3k
    Not that this is particularly relevant, I find I agree with you on all counts - re time, reality, imposed structures/'laws'.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    664


    I suppose I wasn't being very specific. I meant, speaking of nature either having or lacking meaning in the context of a naturalism informed by modern physics is potentially using the concept of meaning where it isn't applicable.

    Something's meaning, its bearing, information, value, significance, [insert synonym here], etc., for something else obtains as as an interaction between two physical systems, or a system and its environment (another system). Information transfer and erasure are physical interactions (e.g., Landauer's principle). As a relationship between two systems, it isn't something you can say nature has or doesn't have. That'd be akin to saying that "the universe has gravity." The universe contains meaning, it does not have meaning of itself; it's the difference between being able to ask yes/no questions about something and saying it posseses answers, and saying something possess questions.

    This statement relies on information/entropy being the same thing as, or closely related to, "meaning." If propositions can be about physical objects, and if sensory inputs are reducing our uncertainty about physical objects, this relationship must be the case. Information cannot be created or destroyed. If we have information about a system, it is coming from somewhere outside ourselves, since we are a separate, finite system.

    To be sure, the information is coded quite differently within an animal. The channels are imperfect, so there is a massive amount of compression. There is added complexity in the system, so in people you have abstraction, analysis, the same information going through feedback loops. But at the end of the day, a thing's meaning, the sense of what it is, our reduction in uncertainty, is information. This concept doesn't apply when considering what a system is of itself.

    Second, the universe necissarily contains meaning. Nature could not exist if a single coherent yes/no question could not be asked of it.

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding what people mean when they say nature does or doesn't have meaning. If the question is more "does it have a goal?" I think that is a question that is at least conceptually sound.
  • 180 Proof
    10.2k
    I wish you'd address my post which is only speculative and does not make any references to the sciences.
  • Ryustel
    1
    I feel like most of your points are sugary, I mean, that you could have phrased it more simply.

    I - I do exist. => means that you are aware of the fact that you can think. (the notion of existence is ambiguous)

    II - Time exists => Things I see/think vary overtime. (You know that time exists because you see variation)

    III - Reality can not make mistakes => Things that happen happen. (If I understood your concept of mistake properly (= an error from our thought system regarding our representation of the reality))

    IV - There is a blueprint for reality => There is a set of universal rules. (I do not agree with that one, since it's affirmative.
    However, I would agree with "There could be a set of universal rules".
    I will agree to your own statement if you prove me that a set of universal rules is needed to keep a reality up.

    Since we can only experience the world,
    Rules are usually the name we give to "patterns we discovered in the reality", which means it's a way for us to state that something in the world seems (to our eyes) to be constant, happening repetitively.)
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.4k
    Right, that's another interesting point.Count Timothy von Icarus
    What exactly? The self-contradiction ... ?
    It's better if you use TPF's "Quote" feature (as I do).

    To have an absolute standpoint would require you to have a memory essentially equivalent to the energy of the universe as a whole... maybe.Count Timothy von Icarus
    I don't know if and what kind of energy a memory consists of ... But if it is, then it should be really huge, esp. considering the images stored in a computer, even in compressed form! This shows clearly that memory cannot be located/stored in the brain, as scientists try in vain to establish since a long time ago!

    Interesting to consider when people make analogies to reality as being like a "simulation" or "computer program," anyhow. I think those comparisons tend to mislead more then they elucidate though.Count Timothy von Icarus
    I agree.
  • god must be atheist
    4.8k
    The conclusion that the total information content of the universe from an absolute perspective is zero would jive with this depending on how you want to interpret it.Count Timothy von Icarus

    "...how to interpret it."

    Interpret it. It what?
    - the conclusion
    - information content
    - universe
    - perspective
    - zero
    - this (what ever "this" is)

    I don't want to join this thread because two of the worst writers of the forum (the other is @180 Proof) who are otherwise very intelligent, are incomprehensibly debating here. Let them misunderstand each other and frictionalize the debate on the grounds of completely missing each others' points, due to unclear writing.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    664


    I give up after this. It was a tangential thought anyhow, and I don't even necissarily disagree with the general gist of the post, in the sense that people may ascribe anthropomorphic purpose to nature for psychological reasons (although the converse is true too).

    It's wrong because nature contains meaning; this is a basic physical fact, empirically verifiable and logically necissary. If it was meant as, "does nature as a whole have meaning, from a universal perspective," it's wrong because it misunderstands the nature of information.


    Suppose Human nature's personal need for 'meaning and purpose' only proves writ small Blind nature's impersonal lack of 'meaning and purpose' writ large?

    Meaning = definition = reduction in uncertainty about a system = information = entropy. This is not really controversial. Information being physical has held up to experimentation and been a boon to physics as a concept.

    Talking about "blind nature" having meaning doesn't fit the concept of meaning because information, if it exists, obtains between two or more systems. Nature as nature can't be said to have meaning (in the context of naturalism). That would be saying it somehow has or lacks a reduction in uncertainty (information) about nothing.

    Suppose, therefore, that individuaally and collectively fulfilling this personal need is merely an illusion we employ to get ourselves out of bed every morning and/or with which to variously sedate our despair (and that works only as long as we remain in denial that our 'meanings and purposes' are just (mostly adaptive) illusions)?

    The meaning, reduction in uncertainty, about nature for people (physical systems interacting with other systems) can't be fully illusory. That would be saying minds somehow create information that doesn't exist. This would be woo, indicative of some sort of supernatural type of information or access to information, solpsism, or idealism. I've gathered that you are not a fan of woo, so this seems like an issue.

    Information channels can have errors. When you get to complex systems that have computational abilities and subsystems that attempt to generate inference from information, you can get strange, incoherent, and false representations, but the meaning has to be in nature.

    This could be applied to the concept of purpose, such that systems can have purpose (e.g., life - self replication), but I think that is going way out on a limb. Purpose seems more like an abstraction, and doesn't exist in the essential way meaning/information does.




    "...how to interpret it."

    Interpret it. It what?
    - the conclusion
    - information content
    - universe
    - perspective
    - zero
    - this (what ever "this" is)

    I was thinking in terms of a thought experiment where you somehow magically step outside nature and observe it through supernatural means, which is the only way to get information from nature writ large.

    You can conclude:

    1. That entire experiment is in error and misunderstands how the concept of information works, my view.

    2. That information about nature qua nature, essential non-perspective information, is impossible without magic, relegating it to woo.

    3. Is a coherent use of the concept of information, but shows that such information is impossible to obtain, and necissarily indeterminate.

    Maybe this helps:

    The proposed existence of this information imposes some fundamental questions about it: “Why is there information stored in the universe and where is it?” and “How much information is stored in the universe?” Let us deal with these questions in detail.


    To answer the first question, let us imagine an observer tracking and analyzing a random elementary particle. Let us assume that this particle is a free electron moving in the vacuum of space, but the observer has no prior knowledge of the particle and its properties.

    Upon tracking the particle and commencing the studies, the observer will determine, via meticulous measurements, that the particle has a mass of 9.109 × 10–31 kg, charge of −1.602 × 10–19 C, and a spin of 1/2. If the examined particle was already known or theoretically predicted, then the observer would be able to match its properties to an electron, in this case, and to confirm that what was observed/detected was indeed an electron.

    The key aspect here is the fact that by undertaking the observations and performing the measurements, the observer did not create any information. The three degrees of freedom that describe the electron, any electron anywhere in the universe, or any elementary particle, were already embedded somewhere, most likely in the particle itself.

    This is equivalent to saying that particles and elementary particles store information about themselves, or by extrapolation, there is an information content stored in the matter of the universe. Due to the mass-energy-information equivalence principle,22 we postulate that information can only be stored in particles that are stable and have a non-zero rest mass, while interaction/force carrier bosons can only transfer information via waveform.
  • Ansiktsburk
    170
    To me this is just a complicated way of saying that by creating meaning for the decisions you make in life you are doing exactly what a human meant to do.vanzhandz

    Time, existing and reality…

    Remembering Neil on the moon I have taken my fair share of decisions, like, together with my then girlfriend now wife, deciding to skip the pill and the rubber and see what happens.

    Now, I know that you’re taking this up as a philosophical problem, but do your musings on time and reality have ANY bearing on decicisons you have or will take IRL?
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.