Reality is Reduced to Axioms

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Spellbound, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Yet you walk around barefoot. You have no shoes. You do not seem to understand any of it yourself, but merely post quotes from other people as if that shows you understand.
    You seem to suffer from a specific appeal to authority where Langan is concerned such that you don't question anything he says but accept it as true, seemingly on the basis of his apparently high IQ.

    What you have posted, irrespective of the veracity of Langan's work (yes, he may be correct, but unless he can explain himself of what use it is!), is nothing short of unsubstantiated claim upon unsubstantiated claim, mixed with non sequiturs and a healthy dose of sidestepping (or blatant ignoring) of criticisms/questions raised of your posts.

    Either start responding to criticisms raised against what you post (e.g. Show that Langan's work is not merely question-begging) or go preach from your -5 Portable Pulpit of Prattle elsewhere.
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  3. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Not true. I have made leaps and bounds in my understanding of Langan's work within this very thread by discussing it. In this quote I have extracted the key words and rewrote it at the bottom that would allow most people who are honest to understand it.

    Again, Langan's wording cannot be made any simpler because the nouns and adjectives he uses are already as simplified and accurate, descriptively so, as possible. For example, "generalized self-utility", "quantifiable self-selection parameter", "retroactive self-configuration", etc.

    One cannot simply substitute these words without detracting from the original meaning of the text.
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  5. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Unsupported claim.

    Are you saying that YOU are Richard Norman? If you're not then YOU didn't "extract the quote".
    And the "rewrite" consists of "Retroactively self-configures" - which is, yet again, nothing more than an unsupported claim, with zero explanatory power of the entire quote.

    Also not shown to be the case.

    Having a little trouble finding evidence of that "quantifiability" are you?

    In other words you haven't got a f*cking clue...
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    How is this little wonder:

    consistent with this one:

    How do you imagine that you are "making it comprehensible" when you are unwilling to explain what you think it means?

    Follow your path?

    You don't seem to have a path, apart from your seemingly blind faith in Christopher Langan. Whatever you have, it certainly doesn't look like philosophy. It's something else.

    With you, I sense a strange underlying mysticism about all this.

    Perhaps that helps illuminate this cryptic little exchange earlier in the thread:

    Were you trying to suggest that you have personally had what you believe are 'spiritual experiences' that convinced you of the (non-conceptual) meaning and truth of Langan's otherwise incomprehensible claims?

    This seems to be less about philosophy than revelation.
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    How very wonderful for you.

    Unfortunately, every teacher soon learns that they don't really understand something until they can explain it to somebody else.

    People aren't asking you to make his claims even shorter. We are asking you to make them longer, to expand his weirdly pseudo-technical sentences into explanatory paragraphs that restate his ideas in words and concepts that Sciforums readers already understand.

    Before we can begin to make any sense of whatever Langan may or may not be saying, we need to have a much better idea what his strange and idiosyncratic vocabulary means.
  9. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    In the last quote on Langan I gave here, he is saying that the system known as "reality" atemporally communicates its present, past and future in order to maximize the quantifiable self-selection parameter known as generalized utility so that laws (syntaxes) and states (informational contents) of the universe undergo mutual refinement. In other words, reality retroactively self-configures in order to bring itself into existence whereby law and state refine each other across time so as to maximize total systemic self-utility. Reality is a system.
  10. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    He says that.
    But he can't produce any evidence that it is the actual case.
    Except by circular arguments that aren't shown to be valid.

    And still no "quantities"...
  11. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Reality is self-distributed.
  12. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Flabbles are congruously wibbled.
  13. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

  14. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    This paper at least seems fit for concluding that Langan has concocted a formal system or plan of some kind. Rather than just arbitrarily stringing technical-sounding sentences together. It may even elude being a treatise of obscurantist ilk since he does express details of what he means. Whether or not it is internally consistent with its own basic assumptions is another matter; and obviously some of those, or the choice of terms / concepts used for representing them, don't jibe well with the views of mainstream institutions.

    He's certainly overstepping the bounds of what would normally be attributed to the definition of language. At times it almost sounds like an ontological version of linguistic idealism is being dabbled in here, but apparently any such "axioms" of this thread's title play a regulative role on matter, instead of the latter substantively reducing to language in a literal way. The epistemological, Wittgenstein-ian derived version of linguisitic idealism, OTOH, would be skeptical or pessimistic about any theory of / conclusions about objective existence in an immutable-fact sense: "...all statements we make about the world are statements within the customs of language which results in a criticism of the validity of those statements with respect to correspondence to an external reality. The criticism of statements' validity stems from the fact that they rely on language, a somewhat arbitrary set of customs and rules which we follow when we communicate. Philosophers such as Sellars have gone as far as to say that all awareness is linguistically mediated. If we step back, can we say anything at all about perception?" (Tomasz Malisiewicz)

    Langan: Bucking the traditional physical reductionism of the hard sciences, complexity theory has given rise to a new trend, informational reductionism, which holds that the basis of reality is not matter and energy, but information. Unfortunately, this new form of reductionism is as problematic as the old one. As mathematician David Berlinski writes regarding the material and informational aspects of DNA: “We quite know what DNA is: it is a macromolecule and so a material object. We quite know what it achieves: apparently everything. Are the two sides of this equation in balance?” More generally, Berlinski observes that since the information embodied in a string of DNA or protein cannot affect the material dynamic of reality without being read by a material transducer, information is meaningless without matter.

    The relationship between physical and informational reductionism is a telling one, for it directly mirrors Cartesian mind-matter dualism, the source of several centuries of philosophical and scientific controversy regarding the nature of deep reality. As long as matter and information remain separate, with specialists treating one as primary while tacitly relegating the other to secondary status, dualism remains in effect. To this extent, history is merely repeating itself; where mind and matter once vied with each other for primary status, concrete matter now vies with abstract information abstractly representing matter and its extended relationships. But while the formal abstractness and concrete descriptiveness of information seem to make it a worthy compromise between mind and matter, Berlinski’s comment demonstrates its inadequacy as a conceptual substitute. What is now required is thus what has been required all along: a conceptual framework in which the relationship between mind and matter, cognition and information, is made explicit. This framework must not only permit the completion of the gradual ongoing dissolution of the Cartesian mind-matter divider, but the construction of a footworthy logical bridge across the resulting explanatory gap.

    [...] it must be rationally derivable from a priori principles and essentially tautological [logic meaning] in nature, it must on some level identify matter and information, and it must eliminate the explanatory gap between the mental and physical aspects of reality. Furthermore, in keeping with the name of that to be modeled, it must meaningfully incorporate the intelligence and design concepts, describing the universe as an intelligently self-designed, self-organizing system.

    How is this to be done? In a word, with language. This does not mean merely that language should be used as a tool to analyze reality, for this has already been done countless times with varying degrees of success. Nor does it mean that reality should be regarded as a machine language running in some kind of vast computer. It means using language as a mathematical paradigm unto itself. Of all mathematical structures, language is the most general, powerful and necessary. Not only is every formal or working theory of science and mathematics by definition a language, but science and mathematics in whole and in sum are languages. Everything that can be described or conceived, including every structure or process or law, is isomorphic to a description or definition and therefore qualifies as a language, and every sentient creature constantly affirms the linguistic structure of nature by exploiting syntactic isomorphism to perceive, conceptualize and refer to it. Even cognition and perception are languages based on what Kant might have called “phenomenal syntax”. With logic and mathematics counted among its most fundamental syntactic ingredients, language defines the very structure of information. This is more than an empirical truth; it is a rational and scientific necessity.

    Of particular interest to natural scientists is the fact that the laws of nature are a language. To some extent, nature is regular; the basic patterns or general aspects of structure in terms of which it is apprehended, whether or not they have been categorically identified, are its “laws”. The existence of these laws is given by the stability of perception. Because these repetitive patterns or universal laws simultaneously describe multiple instances or states of nature, they can be regarded as distributed “instructions” from which self-instantiations of nature cannot deviate; thus, they form a “control language” through which nature regulates its self-instantiations. This control language is not of the usual kind, for it is somehow built into the very fabric of reality and seems to override the known limitations of formal systems. Moreover, it is profoundly reflexive and self-contained with respect to configuration, execution and read-write operations. Only the few and the daring have been willing to consider how this might work…to ask where in reality the laws might reside, how they might be expressed and implemented, why and how they came to be, and how their consistency and universality are maintained. Although these questions are clearly of great scientific interest, science alone is logically inadequate to answer them; a new explanatory framework is required. This paper describes what the author considers to be the most promising framework in the simplest and most direct terms possible.
  15. Dylan Catlow Registered Member

    The point is that Langan's definition of reality cannot be relativized, since you cannot point to anything real which wouldn't fall under its definition.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014
  16. Dylan Catlow Registered Member

    Tautologies are logical axioms.
  17. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Not quite.
    Logical axioms may be tautological but that doesn't mean that all tautologies are (meaningfully) axiomatic... or (usefully) logical.
    This particular one doesn't do a damned thing to advance knowledge or argument in favour of Langan's claims.
  18. Dylan Catlow Registered Member

    You're right. I honestly don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that

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  19. Dylan Catlow Registered Member

    Pretty sure I was thinking of "logical tautologies", which are indeed axioms.
  20. river

    But can the axioms change ?

    Can axioms evolve ?

    I would say yes
  21. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

    Yes, axioms must change with new empirical data.

    For example, we now know that Euclidean geometry doesn't correctly describe reality. While it is true, that within it's own axiomatic system, it's been considered logical. We now know that all supposed valid conclusions that were deduced were in reality unsound (in terms of the real world) because the 'real' world was shown to be built from curved space which does not contain straight lines.
  22. wellwisher Banned Banned

    One consideration, with respect to reality being connected to axioms, is connected to what I call foundation theories and houses of knowledge. Foundation theories impact how all the extrapolating axioms are built and placed into a system of knowledge.

    Building knowledge is like building a house, where first cornerstones and footings theories are laid. Then the foundation is placed around this. Then the framing is done and the house is buttoned up with roof, siding, windows and doors. Finally all the finish work is done and then fixtures and appliances are added. When a home owner (student or layman) finally appears to buy the house, they see a nice finished house, and use the facade as their choice for axioms for reality. They don't question too deep in construction.

    Because of the way human houses and houses of knowledge are constructed, a conceptual problem closer to the beginning of construction, can have an impact later in the finished product. If the framing is not done right, cracks may appear in the plaster walls near the doors. One can fix these cracks, with plaster, but this does not fix the framing, which is the real source of the problem. Or, one can add a third floor playroom and exercise room, thinking the foundation is strong enough, based on the sales pitch, but the stresses can be too much, requiring other fixes that may be implemented where it is cheaper.

    The closer you get to the foundation and cornerstone theories, fixes can cause a ripple effect, all the way to the facade. These types of changes are usually avoided with a fix closer to the top. You really can't change foundation theories very easily, even if the data warrants its, because of this ripple effect. But the fixes to the facade don't address the reality of the problem, but only buy time.

    When the earth was proven to be round and not flat, one may ask why was the status quo so paranoid and repressive to solid observation and the logic of the basic axiomatic change? It was a foundation theory needing replacement. That is not easy to do without causing wide scale damage to an entire house of knowledge. There are often no knowledge carpenters, with such demanding skills, who can jack up the side of the house and replace the foundation without mass house damage. During that drastic remodeling time, you can't live in the house, since it is not stable, and there is no hotel of knowledge for temporary quarters. The lack temporary housing led revolution, with the baby thrown out with the bathwater.

    Sometimes you need to anticipate, stresses and strains in the foundation and framing theories and build another foundation ahead, to meet the future before catastrophic fixes are needed. You don't want the homeowners of knowledge to be placed in a bind looking for any shelter against reality.
  23. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member


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