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Here Is A Reply To The Public Note #2

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Posted by Harvey on April 2, 2002 20:40:09 UTC

Hi Dick,

***Now, can anyone out there explain to me why I should bother keeping this idea of "information" separate from the idea of the numbers attached to it?***

In my view in order for something to qualify as information it must be able to be conceptualized. I can't agree that everything that is conceptualized can be represented by numbers, but I'll agree that anything that is communicable must be represented by numbers.

***"Reality is a Set of Numbers!" I asked for criticism and received nothing to speak of!***

Earlier in another post I mentioned that this definition might be a false definition. That is, reality would be a subset of itself in such a scenario.

***What is very important is that, what ever I do, if I am going to cover all possibilities, I must make sure that I have not constrained that information in any way. This includes the procedure of assigning those numbers (as an abstract idea, not the actual event as I am not proposing any such event as I do not have the information we are discussing available to me). We are not discussing "what is" but rather what is possible!***

I think modal (i.e., what is logically possible) approaches have value, but in terms of how you are using it I have problems with it. By conceptualizing using a formal approach I think you limit reality. Reality does not have to conform to our concepts, or our models, or even our laws, mathematics, logic, and conceived possibilities. Reality is what is it is. How can we discern possibility since we should find constraints that reality is under in order to determine those issues. However, what if reality doesn't care about what we think is possible or not? It simply goes on its merry way doing what it does best - being itself (and whatever that entails).

***In particular, Harv uses the phrase "sense impression" which, in his opinion is a better term for what I have called information. I don't think his judgement is good as the idea "sense impression" seems to have the idea of a source embedded in it. Nevertheless, this idea (or concept) of sensing things seems to me to be significant.***

A sense impression is what is being impressed upon us (i.e., our senses). There doesn't have to be a source of our sense impressions.

***Yes, it is true that we presently conceive of obtaining information through our senses and it does seem that the concept may be universal. But, if I am going to include all possibilities, I must include the possibility that what we think of as our senses might change. If I presume to use the meaning currently attached to that concept, how can I be sure that I have not constrained the possibilities in some way? When I understand the universe, I may very well have some other concept totally inconceivable to me now.***

If you consider all possibilities, then one of your possibilities should include the possibility that you cannot include all possibilities.

***Can I retain this idea (or concept) of "senses" in any way without constraining the possibilities? I think I can. The fundamental characteristic of the concept "senses" is that they bring us information. Now, I have already "assumed" (yes Yanniru, I am going to admit that I have assumed something) that it is possible to obtain additional information (know more than we know at this time). The idea of "obtaining information" seems to me to include the idea of a "source". So it seems that two issues have arisen here.***

See, your conceptualization is leading to assumptions as well as more constraints (e.g., it is possible to obtain additional information and know more than we know at this time). Other possibilities (as extreme as they are) are that your assumption is wrong and that our senses do not bring information (maybe that is already encoded in our minds which only give us the illusion of having senses). Perhaps the constraint that it is possible to obtain additional information and know more than we know at this time is all wrong. Maybe we don't have real knowledge of the world and that 'knowledge' is only a belief? If you include all possibilities, then you must consider the real possibilities along with the most crazy ideas we can entertain.

***First, what is the source of this additional information? Well, I have already defined "reality" to be a set of numbers (originally, it was to represent be the information I will have to work with), why should I not simply conceive of the source as the set of numbers from which "reality" is "sensed???"***

Another possibility is that this kind of reasoning is not valid and the Universe gives no indication that this is so. How can you eliminate that possibility?

***Secondly, how does this occur? Any proposition I could put forward contains the possibility of constraining the possibilities so I am left but one rational choice: I simply define the word "sense" to refer to how this happens and allow it to be absolutely anything.***

But, maybe by not constraining the possibilities you are actually constraining the possibilities (I'm having fun with this objection). That is, I can imagine a possible world that simply contradicts the way Dick thinks. How do you know you don't live in that particular Dick-contradicting universe?

***Reality consists of "something A" which comes from "something B" by "some unknown means"! And, that if I do ever come to understand it, "something A", "something B", and that "unknown means" will be understood via a set of concepts. Furthermore, when I am ready to put forward a possible solution to that unknown problem that started this whole discussion, the concepts required to define (give meaning to) "something A" (as I understand it when I answer the question) will be numerable.***

Dick, you are making deductions that make sense, but they are not proofs of anything. They are simply assumptions. Maybe we are just butterflys dreaming that we are men. You are assuming logic and math, but all of these are just human games that come from abstracting our observations of the world. You cannot say that reality is how you observe it. You can only say it is pragmatically useful to say reality is how you observe it. Any other statement is not based on fact, but is based on assumptions, human constraints, etc.

***Thus it is that, when viewed from this perspective, it becomes clear that "All" explanations become figments of one's imagination including the explanation of how you come to get the information itself (our senses). Certainly there is nothing one can do to prove any explanation is valid! As Harv has pointed out many times, the explanations can only be reached through inductive means and there exists no proof of the validity of induction itself. Recognition of this "truth" is fundamental to any rational view of reality. Can anyone here give me a good reason for not removing these "explanations" from the concept of "reality"?***

Pragmatism. You cannot remove explanations because they are the only useful tools by which to interact with our world. Conceptual tools, such as your model, are justified only if they are useful. Explanation tools are the most useful since we survived millions of years of evolution with those tools. Figments or not, what matters is the predictive and explanatory sense that explanations provide. We cannot know reality, but we can at least think and feel we do. That's all that matters.

***Certainly, if one does not regard the explanations as "real", then problems with things such as phlogiston (that is, solutions later found to be in error) no longer become a problem in the definition of "reality". Reality becomes nothing more than "what is". And Reality is just a fact; the most fundamental fact of all.***

Right, but it is not fully representable - just conceptualizable for particular human uses.

Warm regards, Harv

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