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I Think We Agree.

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Posted by Paul R. Martin on April 15, 2001 20:59:27 UTC

Dick,

It's probably a good thing that you do keep harping on that point. Even though I am sure I don't understand everything you have done, I don't think this is where I fail to understand it.

The problem is that I had settled on the terms 'trivial' and 'profound' to distinguish between the two types of absolute truth before I ever met you. Now that you have shown how profound truth by definition can be, it is time for me to stop using those terms.

Except for my ill-advised use of the terms 'trivial' and 'profound', I think we have no disagreement at all. I will make an effort to stop using them.

To check out our agreement, let me sum up what I think of absolute truth: I think there are two types: one is a statement in a human language which clearly and unambiguously says something about reality. Of this type, the only such truth I have come across is "Thought happens". As a result, this type of truth is almost useless.

The second type is truth by definition. This type seems trivial (sorry, that is the last time I will characterize it that way) because the truth is simply a result of agreement among minds to give things certain names. The amazing, astonishing, and unexpected result which you have discovered, is that not only can you construct the entire edifice of mathematics on such definitions, but you can derive all the known laws of physics from them as well.

This is a truly non-trivial result. I think that once the idea is understood and accepted, it will rank as one of the most important discoveries of the last century, or even the entire millinnium, and I expect it will be the most useful idea of this century. I just hope both of us live long enough to see that happen.

Warm regards,

Paul

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