AI and cognitive psychology rant (getting more and more OT - tell me if I should shut up)
John J. Lee
jjl at pobox.com
Sun Oct 26 16:37:09 CET 2003
Robin Becker <robin at jessikat.fsnet.co.uk> writes:
> In article <3f8lpvsddmeltg69vkl2uu8u8cei7bb2cg at 4ax.com>, Stephen Horne
> <steve at ninereeds.fsnet.co.uk> writes
> >As I already mentioned, if a primitive person observes a car and
> >theorises that there is a demon under the hood, that does not become
> >true. Reality does not care about anyones perceptions as it is not
> >dependent on them in any way - perceptions are functionally dependent
> >on reality, and our perceptions are designed to form a useful model of
> We observe electrons and make up mathematical theories etc etc, but in
> reality little demons are driving them around. :)
That's basically my model, too :-)
> Your assertion that there is an objective reality requires proof as
It does not.
> Probably it cannot be proved, but must be made an axiom. The
> scientific method requires falsifiability.
It's the whole project of science to understand reality, so the
concept is outside of science. I guess the phrase 'existence of
reality' means pretty much the same as 'the degree of success of
> The fact is we cannot perceive well enough to determine reality. The
> physicists say that observation alters the result so if Heisenberg is
Those physicists are wrong, and Stephen is right. It's a bit of an
embarrassment to Physics that some physicists apparently still believe
in the Copenhagen interpretation.
> right there is no absolute reality. Perhaps by wishing hard I can get my
> batteries to last longer 1 time in 10^67.
No, but you can get them to last arbitrarily long by being *extremely*
> Awareness certainly mucks things up in socio-economic systems which are
> also real in some sense.
But there's no mystery or deep philosophical problem there.
> I hear people putting forward the view that
> time is a construct of our minds; does time flow?
No, 'the flow of time' doesn't really mean anything.
Any more deep mysteries you want me to clear up for you while I'm
about this? ;-)
> This is a bit too meta-physical, but then much of modern physics is like
> that. Since much of physics is done by counting events we are in the
> position of the man who having jumped out of the top floor observes that
> all's well after falling past the third floor as falling past floors
> 10,9,... etc didn't hurt. We cannot exclude exceptional events.
There's rather a big difference between the probabilities involved
there, Robin. We *could* be in a "Harry Potter Universe" of the sort
you hint at, but the word 'unlikely' hardly begins to describe the
magnitude of it!
I highly recommend David Deutsch's book "The Fabric of Reality", which
covers most of the stuff discussed in this thread.
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