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What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation
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Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
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Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
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How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
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It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
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Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American
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Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
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What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
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The Nature of Time
August - December 2008
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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Alexey/Lev Burov: on 4/7/17 at 1:56am UTC, wrote Hi Gary, Thank you so much for your generous compliments and associated...

Gary Simpson: on 4/6/17 at 23:02pm UTC, wrote Alexey and Lev, Well Done! Your essay is thoughtful, elegant, and subtle....

Alexey/Lev Burov: on 4/5/17 at 22:02pm UTC, wrote Dear Peter, With your criticism, your compliments are especially...

Alexey/Lev Burov: on 4/5/17 at 18:51pm UTC, wrote Dear Vladimir, I have to admit that mostly I am puzzled by your...

Peter Jackson: on 4/5/17 at 18:31pm UTC, wrote Dear Alexey & Lev, I've just returned to your essay. Very well written but...

Alexey/Lev Burov: on 4/5/17 at 6:59am UTC, wrote Dear, George, I agree. Here seems little more than a good place to outline...

Alexey/Lev Burov: on 4/4/17 at 23:33pm UTC, wrote Dear Vladimir, Many thanks for your encouraging voice. Apparently, your...

Alexey/Lev Burov: on 4/4/17 at 19:07pm UTC, wrote Dear Patrick, Your compliments have a special weight for us. Thanks! ...


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FQXi FORUM
November 20, 2017

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: Moira and Eileithyia for Genesis by Alexey and Lev Burov [refresh]
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Author Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Feb. 27, 2017 @ 17:36 GMT
Essay Abstract

Modern science began through a categorical separation of mental and material. Following the colossal success of physics, it is natural to expect a similar success of theory in the study of mentality. Still, mind remains a mystery to theoretical cognition, as does the link between the three worlds: that of mathematics, matter and thought. Elaborating on the Discoverability Principle, the Epimenides paradox and the every-worldness of mathematics, the authors present beauty to be this link.

Author Bio

Alexey Burov is a scientist of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; he is an organizer and chairman of Fermi Society of Philosophy, where he gave many talks, mostly on history and philosophy of science. He authors a popular philosophical blog at the Russian blog/news space snob.ru and has publications in a major Russian literature journal. Lev Burov is an amateur philosopher of religion and science. Alexey and Lev received a prize at the previous FQXi contest for their essay Genesis of a Pythagorean Universe.

Download Essay PDF File




Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 04:54 GMT
Hi Alexey Burov,

Thanks for your very gracious comment and questions on my essay.

The problem with Cartesian dualism, as you note, is the lack of interaction between material and mental. For a number of reasons I concluded that consciousness is best represented as a field, but it was only when I asked myself how the field interacts with my material body that I could start...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 05:11 GMT
Hi Edwin,

Reading your comment, I felt a special intellectual pleasure of thinking together with a rare agreement. Your CS Lewis citation is definitely 'from the Book' :) I hope you will not forget to score our essay.

Yours, AB.



Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 06:48 GMT
I scored your essay, and also answered your other question on my page.

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 20:37 GMT
Many thanks, Edwin!

AB.




Anonymous wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 20:00 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

I read with great interest yours profound philosophical essay. I think this is the most important conclusion:

«Roger Penrose created a brilliant graphic of paradoxically connected Three Worlds, Three Mysteries, which shows Being as consisting of the Platonic world of forms, as well as the physical and the mental worlds . Karl Popper authored his own triad, the material, individual and the cultural worlds. Consolidating the worlds of Penrose with the worlds of Popper, it seems reasonable to understand the mental world of Penrose as a unity of individual and collective, generating the new and cultivating the established.»…. «Finally, the discoverable mathematical forms enter into the physical world as its fundamental laws, enabling the cosmic cognition with dramatic flair and tension. In this way, mathematics connects the three worlds and mysteries into one, becoming their universal link, a thread that runs through them all, whose significance is inseparable and unthinkable outside of its beauty.»

It says one thing: the main task of basic science and philosophy - the problem of the ontological basification ( justification / obosnovanie ) of mathematics. This problem is more than a century. But the "triangles" Penrose and Popper will not help to do it. All of the "three worlds" is necessary to combine in one world. The world picture of physicists, mathematicians, poets and composers should be united and filled with the senses of the "LifeWorld" (E.Husserl).

Yours faithfully,

Vladimir

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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 20:03 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

I read with great interest yours profound philosophical essay. I think this is the most important conclusion:

«Roger Penrose created a brilliant graphic of paradoxically connected Three Worlds, Three Mysteries, which shows Being as consisting of the Platonic world of forms, as well as the physical and the mental worlds . Karl Popper authored his own triad, the material, individual and the cultural worlds. Consolidating the worlds of Penrose with the worlds of Popper, it seems reasonable to understand the mental world of Penrose as a unity of individual and collective, generating the new and cultivating the established.»…. «Finally, the discoverable mathematical forms enter into the physical world as its fundamental laws, enabling the cosmic cognition with dramatic flair and tension. In this way, mathematics connects the three worlds and mysteries into one, becoming their universal link, a thread that runs through them all, whose significance is inseparable and unthinkable outside of its beauty.»

It says one thing: the main task of basic science and philosophy - the problem of the ontological basification ( justification / obosnovanie ) of mathematics. This problem is more than a century. But the "triangles" Penrose and Popper will not help to do it. All of the "three worlds" is necessary to combine in one world. The world picture of physicists, mathematicians, poets and composers should be united and filled with the senses of the "LifeWorld" (E.Husserl).

Yours faithfully,

Vladimir

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 21:18 GMT
Vladimir, you wrote: "It says one thing: the main task of basic science and philosophy - the problem of the ontological basification ( justification / obosnovanie ) of mathematics. "

I both agree and disagree with that. I agree in the importance of understanding that neither mathematics nor physics per se cannot constitute the terminus of understanding. At the same time I do not think that any formalizable ontology could be this terminus. As we conclude, "It is with the power of beauty that the existing

is connected with that which is only being summoned into existence: Being with intention and goal. The world was created for its beauty, and man—as one who may hear that and respond. Necessity can be stated in clear and distinctive laws, but beauty breathes freedom and so slips the nets of reason."




Mark Pharoah wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 22:22 GMT
Some great questions throughout. Sometimes I feel certain assumptions are allowed to pass by uncritically, due to your beguiling prose, and this leaves me with questions regarding their purpose in the context of the essay. By asking the questions, I would want clarity on your conclusions to posing them. If this entails saying they are unanswerable, so be it.

You ask, "In what way do the...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 23:34 GMT
Dear Mark,

Thank you for your interest in our essay. I'll try to respond to your critical remarks.

1. You write: "I don't get how the remainder of the text tackles your question." [about values].

I think, the last paragraph of our essay gives an answer to that very question. In a sense, there is no evolution of value: beauty is the eternal one. From another perspective, however, our conclusion assumes this evolution resulting from permanent efforts to respond: "Eternal beauty calls to new manifestations; by evincing the contemplation of itself, it beckons birth, never promising but sometimes giving hope, always deciding the fate."

2. You write: "The profound beauty in a theorem may be in the conceptual freedoms it allows". In our text, we did not dare to suggest our own formulation of mathematical beauty; we grounded our consideration on the hints given by great mathematicians, trying to understand them. I do not know any great mathematician who would agree with your formulation of the mathematical beauty, and do not think it is possible.

Best regards,

Alexey Burov.




Georgina Woodward wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 23:18 GMT
Alexey and Lev Burov,

I liked reading your essay but think you rely on asking questions as a form of argument far too much.

You are, in my pinion, too dismissive of the connection of mind to matter as you only consider the movement of atoms ( did you mean ions?). You completely miss out on arguments about emergence of characteristics at higher levels of organisation.

Though i don't agree with all of your arguments, you present your points of view in an enjoyable essay. Thanks, Georgina

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 1, 2017 @ 00:00 GMT
Dear Georgina,

I am glad you enjoyed reading our essay.

We did not use the word "emergence" in our text because we did not think it would be reasonable to sacrifice other ideas for that. As to the "atoms of a brain", this image of Haldane certainly includes ions as well.

Thank you and all the best,

Alexey Burov.



Joe Fisher replied on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 17:08 GMT
Dear Professors Alexey and Lev Burov

Please excuse me for I have no intention of disparaging in any way any part of your essay.

I merely wish to point out that “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate.

Only nature could produce a reality so simple, a single cell amoeba could deal with it.

The real Universe must consist only of one unified visible infinite physical surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

A more detailed explanation of natural reality can be found in my essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY. I do hope that you will read my essay and perhaps comment on its merit.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Joseph Bisognano wrote on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 00:45 GMT
Seeing beauty in mathematics is so often lost on folks who don't do mathematics. It's seen simply as very complicated arithmetic. Your equating the excitement, creativity, joy, and spirtuality of "serious" mathematics with sculpture and poetry rings so true to me. I have a hard time explaining it to others, and you have been very successful--of course to another mathematical physicist!

I think the idea of "seriousness" is most true--it provides linkage of ideas to some sense of the whole, the one. Maybe it's this sense of unity that drives us to seek a deeper explanation of what we experience and provides the purpose that this "contest" wants us to address.

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 01:10 GMT
Dear Joe,

I am happy to see that one of my senior colleagues shares with me these noble ideas about mathematics, which I found in books of great mathematicians and tried to understand. Many thanks for your compliments!




Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 01:35 GMT
Dear Burov,

Zdrassti

Thank you for the nice essay on “ Development of science vs Cognition "

I congratulate on Good flow of English you wrote; instead of usual translations from Russian….

Your observations are excellent like,

1. Rene Descartes came to a necessity to separate all knowable into two parts, one of which encompasses all material and the other all...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 16:30 GMT
Dear Mr. Gupta,

Thank you so much for your good words in the address of our text.

I already looked through your essay, and I do not see how its cosmological content relates to problems of mentality. Maybe, it does on a deeper level which I do not see yet.

Best regards and good luck!

Alexey Burov.




Steve Dufourny wrote on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 14:56 GMT
Hello Alexey and Lev Burov,

I loved your general philosophical analyse.It was relevant to read.

good luck in this contest

Regards from Belgium

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 16:35 GMT
Dear Steve,

Thanks a lot for your compliments and good wishes!

All the best,

Alexey Burov.



Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 13:31 GMT
You are welcome Mr Burov,

sincerely

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Laurence Hitterdale wrote on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 01:01 GMT
Hello Alexey and Lev,

There is much in your essay with which I agree, and even where I think I might disagree I find your ideas challenging and original. One important point with which I agree is your belief that “ethics, which answers the question about that which should be, is inseparable from metaphysics, which answers the question about that which is.” However, when you discuss values, you bring in primarily aesthetic values, such as elegance, seriousness, and of course beauty generally. What metaphysical role do you see for ethical values, good and evil, right and wrong, as more particularly understood? In any case, I agree that we shall not attain the truth about reality unless we include an understanding of value, including the value of reality and the value of truth itself.

Thank you.

Laurence Hitterdale

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 05:24 GMT
Dear Laurence,

Your response is more than encouraging; it is inspiring. Thank you so much! We are glad to know that you share our belief in the deep entanglement between ethics and metaphysics, which is a cornerstone for us. Your question about relation of ethics and aesthetics requires at least a special essay (maybe for the next contest :^)). However, I would not like to weasel out of your question like that. The most important thing which I can briefly note is that at its depth morality takes power from the beauty of the soul and its profound feeling of beautiful, which is tragic at the same time. Without this feed from the beautiful, the good would be much weaker than it is. Thus, in the depth, beauty is more fundamental than morality. Somebody might object to that, recollecting the legend about Nero enjoying the view of the burning Rome. Well, even if the burning Rome contained some harrowing beauty, Nero was not beautiful in that act; he was abominable. One more support to primacy of the beautiful is suggested by the Book of Job: it was the beauty of the world that atoned for its tragedy in his eyes.

One day we should talk more on many issues.

Yours, Alexey.



Laurence Hitterdale replied on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 19:39 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

Perhaps you will excuse me for being tardy in replying to your comment here. It is not easy to read several different essays and then engage in multiple discussions, in the midst of other projects and tasks as well. However, your remarks about metaphysics and ethics are very important. I have thought about what you say, and I would like to respond.

Let me...

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Victor Usack wrote on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 21:24 GMT
Two Burov(s)

Excellent essay. Sufficiently excellent to inspire the following ramble:

I had a different interpretation of “cogito ergo sum” as no mention of any physical (external) reality. Thinking and being resolved into separate entities. But this just goes to show how many ways the investigation can unfold. The “blind spot” metaphor is an insightful one. Some of us are...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 23:37 GMT
Vik,

Thank you for such generous compliments.

One can imagine a philosophical axis, with utter logicists at its one extreme and ultimate irrationalists at the other. I imagine you in the company of the mystical latter, while most of the contest's participants are concentrated at the opposite end. This makes your acquaintance particularly pleasant. We are somewhere in between, I think, with our high appreciation of both reason and its mother, mystery. The title of our essay refers to Diotima's vision on who helped that birth and who decided the fate of the wonderful baby.

All the best,

Alexey.




Anonymous wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 05:34 GMT
Hi Alexey and Lev,

Wonderful essay. I particularly liked "Only those moved mathematics ahead who loved it not for some other aim, however good and important, but for its own sake, for its eternal, super-human beauty."

For my own pleasure I would change it just a bit: "Only those moved humanity ahead who loved it not for some other aim, however good and important, but for its own sake, for its eternal, super-human radiant beauty."

Esthetics and a bit of emotion go a long way toward a goal. Appreciate your work.

Don Limuti

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 07:23 GMT
Hi Don,

It's a pleasure to see our statement played with in a new way. I will read your essay and leave my comments on your page tomorrow.

Thank you!

Alexey.




Andrew Ivanchenko wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 07:22 GMT
Hi, Alexey and Lev.

Congratulations on wonderful work! The beauty of mathematics and the unity of deep emotional reactions of multiple mathematicians in all the times and countries reveal the objective connection between the impersonal mathematical ideas and "mathematical needs" of personal human intelligence.

Like knows like. Like loves and enjoys like. Like consumes like. Thus, mathematics is the "food" for the mathematical, logical, rational nature of the humans. Human nature is not just biological and material, it is logical and mathematical. Mathematics show us the immaterial intentions of this immaterial part of the human being, of the human mind.

The beauty of mathematics attracts human consciousness like voice of Moira and pulls it out of animal existence like Eileithyia to the birth of pure human mindfulness and happiness. Your essay shows this with indisputable clarity!

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 07:32 GMT
Hello Andrew,

We enjoyed reading your poetic response; many thanks!

We fully agree: mathematics is indeed a wonderful, delightful food cooked by and prepared for human rationality.

Yours, Alexey and Lev.




Wilhelmus de Wilde wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 18:41 GMT
Dear Alexey

First of all thank you for a very insightfull essay. It was great reading, so I rated you an 8.

I fully agree with you that "Thought from matter" is an error, it is like searching for the announcer in the radio, or like the wolf I have at home who is looking at the flatscreen TV, sees a duck and directly goes to look behind the TV. (she is very intelligent).

The second part of your essay about the beauty of mathematics I can fully underwrite, but you know it is like listening to music, you hear the beauty but in my case I cannot play the instruments.

You are (like me) one of the researchers for truth who is not afraid to use metaphysics bravo.

So I invite you to read/comment and certainly rate my contribution: The Purpose of Life" that gives another perception of the THOUGHT that is often translated with the word God and is called Total Simultaneity.

best regards

Wilhelmus de Wilde

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 20:01 GMT
Dear Wilhelmus,

I am glad you like our text. I imagine you sitting together with your charming she-wolf, sharing philosophical opinions with each other, and I hope she agrees with your high rating of our essay :) Somehow I missed your essay so far, but you convinced me to read, comment and score it ASAP.

Thank you so much!

Alexey Burov.



Wilhelmus de Wilde replied on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 09:47 GMT
Dear Alexey;

Thank you for reacting on my thread, I post my reaction also on your thread so that you get a message when received.

Sorry that you did not quite understand my perception of the emergent phenomenon that is called reality. So I hope that I can explain it more clearly and answer your questions.

Indeed I accept that TC is the "source" of everything, everywhere from...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 17:39 GMT
Dear Wilhelmus,

Thank you for your attention to my questions; your answers are really helpful. However I need to ask you a bit more to understand you better. Your essay is very different from others, and I highly appreciate this difference. Soon you will find my response with a couple of new questions on your page.

Best,

Alexey.




James Arnold wrote on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 04:24 GMT
A beautiful essay, extolling the beauty of mathematics. And yet, as I’m sure you know, Gödel has pointed out that mathematics is inherently incomplete. We humans, in recognizing that fact, are thereby able to actually transcend mathematics.

In our appreciation of mathematics, which being ultimately imperfect in its self-enclosure, and being abstract and lifeless, is unable to reciprocate and appreciate us -- are we not the more beautiful? Alive, transcendent, and more beautiful?

I would appreciate your review of my essay, particularly for your appraisal of whatever beauty there is in its comprehension.

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 04:55 GMT
Hi James,

I do not agree that incompleteness of mathematics makes it imperfect; on the contrary, its completeness would make it claustrophobically terrible. Godel's theorem saves mathematics for eternal mystery.

To answer your question, I would not contrapose human's beauty to mathematical one; instead, I would say that the former is stressed by the latter, discovered by the best of us.

I'll try to read and comment your essay soon.

Cheers,

Alexey.




Wilhelmus de Wilde wrote on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 10:20 GMT
Dear Alexey,

I will try to explain what I meant with ALL and the completeness of the Total YOU. (and put this post also on your thread)

I introduced the TOTAL Consciousness, including the Total Consciousness of ALL agents.

An emergent agent in an emergent reality is just ONE life-line of that specific agent. The agent there is an individual because he is not the complete Unity. The emergent agent is furthermore restricted through time an space while the Totality is time and spaceless.

The Total YOU could be described (in our restricted way) as the totality of ALL possible (and the impossible : the ones you did not yet think about) and available time/life-lines.

So YES, all the bad ones are available too. But also the "best of all worlds" is an availability.

During the FLOW of a specific time/life-line each NOW moment decisions are made and your specific time/life-line switches, the time/life-line you left still is available in TS.

This process of continually switching and the coexistance of availabilities of the time/life-lines that are not chosen, I described as the origin of FREE WILL.

In this specific emergent reality the time/life-line you are experiencing as a FLOW may exist as a singularity in TS, this doesn't mean that also your future would be concrete for this specific FLOW. Each Eternal Now Moment represents its own time/life-line. The emergent FLOW that we seem to live in can be compared to a time and spaceless singularity in TS.

The complete YOU could be described as a complete set of singularities in TS.

best regards and I like the exchange of thoughts with you.

Wilhelmus

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 16:00 GMT
Dear Wilhelmus,

I just answered you on your page.

Thanks!

Alexey.




Peter Martin Punin wrote on Mar. 10, 2017 @ 14:37 GMT
Dear Alexey, dear Lev,

I read your very impressive article several times, there are so many things to say.

First, it is highly pertinent to recall Descartes' dualism while showing that the “refutation” of the latter would need a lot of farfetched, hypercomplex and self-refuting presuppositions. The established mainstream thinking says that dualism is “scientifically...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 05:10 GMT
Cher Peter,

While Lev was sleeping and I was not yet, I slowly read your response on our essay, having a rare pleasure of a profound consonance with somebody who independently and differently expressed the ideas so valuable to me. Truly, I have nothing but agreement with all your statements above. Apart from this general feelings, I'd like to share with you something else.

You ask:...

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Lev Burov replied on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 23:29 GMT
Dear Peter,

Thanks for your compliments and the detailed comment, and thank you for your explanation of entrevoir. Untranslatable words are such curious creatures!

You bring up an interesting observation that Epimenidic analysis can be applied to cumulative selection. I look forward to reading your elaboration on it. Epimenides seems to me the most common error in self-referential...

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Stefan Keppeler wrote on Mar. 10, 2017 @ 15:51 GMT
Dear Alexey, dear Lev,

let me see if I got this straight. You write:

If we are, then, told that the adequacy of one’s view is guaranteed by agreement of theory and experiment, the problem is still the same: how do we know what lies behind this agreement? Is it not a dream, Matrix, computer simulation, Boltzmann brain or the demon of Descartes? (...) God is not a deceiver, is the credo of Descartes.

Do you thus say, that we have to posit a non-malicious god, in order to be sure that we can gain knowledge about the world by observation and thought?

If yes, then let me raise two questions:

(1) Instead of positing (G) a non-malicious god, who makes sure that we can gain knowledge about the world by observation and thought, couldn't we directly posit that (R) we can gain knowledge about the world by observation and thought?

(2) If we posit neither (G) nor (R), would you say that we can't be sure that the knowledge we gain is about the world, but that it could instead be about a dream, Matrix, computer simulation, Boltzmann brain or the demon of Descartes?

Cheers, Stefan

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 03:13 GMT
Dear Stefan,

We do not say “that we have to posit a non-malicious god, in order to be sure that we can gain knowledge about the world by observation and thought”. Following Descartes, we say something different, that without God there is no reason to value knowledge about the world gained by observation and thought. For instance, if all the world with all our knowledge about it were only a dream or a computer simulation of a joker from the upper level, this “knowledge” would not value much, would it? The value of knowledge depends on the worldview, it cannot be just posited independently of the latter.

Thanks,

Alexey Burov



Stefan Keppeler replied on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 15:45 GMT
Dear Alexey,

I see, thanks. You say: For instance, if all the world with all our knowledge about it were only a dream or a computer simulation of a joker from the upper level, this “knowledge” would not value much, would it?

Let me call this position (V). I'd actually challenge (V). If all the knowledge obtained by observation and thought were not knowledge about the world but about a dream or a computer simulation, I see two possibilities:

(1) If it were in principle possible to find out, by means of observation and thought, that our knowledge is not about the actual world but just about a dream or a computer simulation, then we could eventually reach this point and start to peer behind the curtain ('escape from the matrix').

(2) If it were not possible at all to find out, by means of observation and thought, that our knowledge is not about the actual world but about a dream or a computer simulation, then so what. We would simply continue to increase our knowledge about this dream or computer simulation. Actually in this case, we might as well call that dream or computer simulation "world" instead, because that would just be a matter of nomenclature.

You employ an argument similar to (V) in the next step, when you conclude that thought (and also goals?) can't emerge from some lower level, mechanical or aleatory, don't you? I'm asking, since in my essay I do actually explain how goals might emerge at macroscopic scales.

Cheers, Stefan

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 17:39 GMT
Dear Stefan,

The problem of (V) is that there is no reason to consider our observations and thoughts as knowledge about anything, since they would be parts of the dream/trickery. There would be no reason to trust or value them. Perhaps you may want to search the article for the word “pumpkin.” If that situation sounds appealing to you, then we’d find it hard to argue. Any reliance on the thoughts and observations would require belief that they are more powerful than the dream or the trickster, and this belief would require a corresponding ontology, as you may find in Descartes’ Meditations. We are showing that the naturalistic “atoms of brain” are similar to the trickster in this respect; both lead to the Epimenides paradox.

Cheers,

Alexey.




Ted Christopher wrote on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 16:07 GMT
Hi Alexey and Lev Burov,

I appreciate your efforts to delve deeply into the question at hand. I have a few minor quibbles with your conclusions but I will not quibble here.

I have an essay which takes a look at some under-appreciated behavioral phenomena and the challenges they pose for the scientific vision that is the foundation for that same question. That material might be of interest to you.

//fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2783

I hope things are going well for you.

Ted Christopher

Rochester, NY

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 01:03 GMT
Hi Ted,

Thanks for the encouraging words. We appreciate all sorts of responses, quibbles are our favorite :)

Cheers,

Alexey.



Ted Christopher replied on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 22:26 GMT
Hi again Alexey,

I am back here on your comment over at my page. I might be a bit more clumsy than usual as I am stuck in a noisy house amidst a snow storm (I exit occasionally to some quiet shoveling for acoustic relief).

I thank you for your consideration. Your essay is very thorough and was quite helpful for me. Other than computer programming my intellectual background is...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 17:47 GMT
Hi Ted,

I think all your 'quibbles' are important, giving me a chance to focus on some of our key issues.

1.

"One quibble with your essay was with regards to the claim about the mystical nature of many great mathematicians and physicists. My sense of being a mystic is that it mostly entails a sustained inward commitment or awareness, and that tends to place the intellect in...

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Gavin William Rowland wrote on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 12:16 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev

I loved your essay, and rated it highly. Your prose is elegant, and I will re-read your words again after this contest is over in the hope that I will find more interesting avenues for exploration.

I had to laugh to myself several times, such would seem to be the similarities in our philosophical positions. Too many to discuss here, but I noted in particular that both our essays went to Value as a core feature of reality. I do hope you get a chance to read my "From Nothingness to Value Ethics", if you haven't already.

Best regards

Gavin

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 05:18 GMT
Dear Gavin,

Thank you so much for your compliments and support. I just finished reading your essay; it is one of the best at this contest, I think. Perhaps, you have already read my comments on your page.

All the best,

Alexey.




Simon DeDeo wrote on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 14:39 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

I was really pleased to see this angle in the batch. With some collaborators, I've been doing work on mathematics as a cultural process, driven by taste and aesthetics and group norms as much (or even more than) by utility. Michael Harris has written a lovely book on the question, an autobiography as well as a response to Hardy, called "Mathematics without apologies", and it was intriguing to see such a high-level mathematician talk so frankly about the aesthetic (and social) prejudices that drive him.

It's a value-laiden process, in other words, and it is just really weird that it ends up producing the raw material for physics. The "Unreasonable Effectiveness" that Eugene Wigner wrote about seems even more mysterious. And I think it provides either a challenge, or a bizarre next step, for someone who signs on to the standard Platonism that most physicists walk around with (or the hypertrophic version in Max Tegmark!) You're forced either to say that it's doubly weird that mathematics works so well despite the "contamination" by values, or, conversely, that of course value-laiden mathematicians do so well: the universe is values through and through.

Yours,

Simon

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 02:18 GMT
Dear Simon,

Thank you for the good words in our address. We are glad to see a rare person who shares with us understanding of a necessity for ontological conclusions from the 'unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics', and the problem of values in that respect. Many thanks also for the info about Harris' book; I already ordered it. The ending of your post "You're forced either to say that it's doubly weird that mathematics works so well despite the "contamination" by values, or, conversely, that of course value-laiden mathematicians do so well: the universe is values through and through" looks as a possible epigraph to our previous fqxi paper :) I am going to respond to your captivating essay on your page.

Good luck at the contest,

Alexey.




James Lee Hoover wrote on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 21:27 GMT
Alexey and Lev,

A nice purposeful combination of prose and poetry, uniting the material and the mental with the bridge of mathematical beauty, which almost poetically describes the natural world.

I try to display the birth of hypothesis with a speculation regarding dark matter in my essay, bringing together thoughts of others, mathematical laws, and an intensely perturbed material world. I hope you have time to read it and provide your thoughts.

Jim Hoover

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 21:51 GMT
Jim,

We are specially flattered by your truthful compliments to our blend of the romantic prose and rational poetry (now imagine my artistic bow and :)). Thank you! Your essay is in my short list; you will see me soon on your page.

Best,

Alexey.




Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Mar. 21, 2017 @ 13:42 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev

I read with great interest your beautiful essay. It was a real pleasure, there is a kind of luminosity that emerges from it - I think you understand what I mean.

The res cogitans of Descartes corresponds to mind but now we know that most of mind functions depend on matter – for instance, memory: a damage in the brain can cause a lost of memory. If we compare...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 21, 2017 @ 21:01 GMT
Dear Alfredo,

Thank you for your kind words in our address. Beauty is in the focus of our essay, and this obliges. We are glad to know that some of our readers appreciate aesthetic side of our text.

Certainly, it is true that mathematics is a language. However, it would not be correct to attribute it solely to humanity, as we tried to show. Galileo stressed that it is the language of the "book of nature" itself, and the same idea was expressed by Wigner: mathematics is "the correct language", that is why it is "unreasonably effective" in physics. The discoverability of the laws of nature (in the meaning of our essay) can not be attributed solely to the inventiveness of the human mind; it also has its objective counter-part, related to the nature itself.

Your post above sounds both intelligent and friendly, convincing me to read your essay attentively. I will do this soon, leaving my comments on your page.

All the best,

Alexey Burov.




Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Mar. 23, 2017 @ 01:58 GMT
Dear Alexei

I thank your very kind words! I can see that "beauty" is something in which you live in... and it emerges in anything you do or think.. I will try to follow your example!

You know, mathematics is a logic language, strictly logic; however, to where it leads depends on the hypothesis and assumptions on which it is applied. Because it is logical, it leads to "understandable"...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 23, 2017 @ 02:38 GMT
Dear Alfredo,

You caught me in pondering over your essay. Before commenting it on your page, I'll try to answer briefly here. You are right, that mathematics allows to describe any process. However, if your formulas has nothing to do with reality, like in the Ptolemy model, the number of fitting constants increases with required accuracy and the span of parameters. The effectiveness of mathematics in physics is "unreasonable", because very simple formulas, with clear reasonable principles behind them, with very small number of fitting constants describe physical reality at huge range of parameters and with extreme accuracy. I cannot go into details here, you may read about that in the classical Wigner's essay "Unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics", or in the reference to R. Penrose in our essay. This was also one of the main points of Einstein's cosmic religion, which is brilliantly described in Max Jammer's "Einstein and Religion".

Thank you,

Alexey Burov.



Lev Burov replied on Mar. 23, 2017 @ 21:05 GMT
Dear Alfredo,

I wanted to add to Alexey's reply by noticing a very powerful assumption you make. "If we accept that the universe is as simple as it can be..." While working out scientific ideas, assumptions are one of the primary methods. There is no need to question them if they turn out to be supported by the results. Once the science is done though, and we step back to reflect on what it is that we've learned, assumptions themselves become the focus of explanation. This reflective thinking is the domain of philosophy.

I know of no philosophical position that would allow for the extreme assumption that you make. Even the luminous theologies of the fathers of physics don't venture so far. Even Einstein used it only a sort of working philosophical hypothesis. Physics does make the assumption that the laws are simple (not simplest), and this assumption is justified with its success, but looking back, this is an incredible miracle that is not at all necessitated by any purely logical conclusion -- that's Wigner's point. It is, perhaps, the greatest contribution of physics to humanity's vision of the world, its greatest discovery. Don't you think that glossing it over as a mere assumption is the least appropriate way to treat it? Or did I misunderstand you?

Our essay Genesis of a Pythagorean Universe is devoted to the philosophical consequences of this particular discovery.

Thank you very much for your plentiful compliments and appreciation. Alexey and I will discuss your ponderous essay.

Lev

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Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira replied on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 00:38 GMT
Dear Lev

I understand your reasoning but let me explain mine in more detail because there are more things to consider. Possibly I will be somewhat boring in this attempt to clarify the subject as much as possible.

First, let me clarify that I did not say that physical laws are as simple as possible; the assumption that I considered is that the Universe is as simple as possible. This...

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Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira wrote on Mar. 23, 2017 @ 12:11 GMT
Dear Alexei

Thank you very much for your comments and your vote. Your doubts are certainly the ones of others and your comments give me the possibility of clarifying important aspects. A Portuguese writer said “Do not affirm the error of a truth before changing its context. Unless it gives you joy to be stoned.” Unhappily, the short size of this essay has limited my capacity of changing...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Mar. 23, 2017 @ 20:53 GMT
Dear Alfredo,

1.

Database is not intelligence, of course, but, as I said, it implies intelligence. That is why it seems circular to define intelligence through databases. The same is true for "problems", "solutions", etc.

3,4.

I would not consider a Hydrogen atom as something new compared to proton and electron, since at certain condition there must be a lot of these atoms as soon as you have enough electrons and positrons. This is not true for life: apparently probability for life origin, with all the required atoms provided, is so low, that it cannot be explained by the physical laws. Life can be considered as really new, and it is a big question if nature could produce it itself.

Cheers,

Alexey.



Alfredo Gouveia Oliveira replied on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 13:32 GMT
Dear Alexey

Once again, I repeat that I never said that I was even trying to explain how life began; what I am explaining is how molecules of the kind of DNA were produced. Between this and life is an enormous distance and I am surprised that you made such confusion.

Differently of your argumentation, the production of molecules of the kind of DNA has, at least, a reasonable property...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 15:05 GMT
Dear Alfredo,

Thanks for the clarifications. I agree with you in many aspects, while the details can be discussed and specified. In particular, I would stress that the spheres of knowledge and beliefs cannot be fully separated; in some sense they need, support and critically help each other. To start a complicated experiment, one has to believe in its significance, in his own ability to do the hard and challenging job, in the abilities of his colleagues. Gaining knowledge requires a belief in the corresponding values. In our essay we quoted Descartes and Einstein beliefs in God who does not deceive and is not malicious; this belief is a key one for the fundamental science, notwithstanding that many scientists have no idea about that. From another side, knowledge can either support or shake beliefs. For instance, Galileo just believed that "the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics", while Wigner wrote about that as a fact of "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics". This fact supported the old Pythagorean-Galilean belief, but did not prove, of course, that humanity will succeed to describe the new levels of physical reality by means of elegant mathematical theories.

Thanks again,

Alexey.




Robert Groess wrote on Mar. 25, 2017 @ 09:47 GMT
Dear Alexey & Lev Burov,

Thank you very much for your enjoyable essay. Your perspective of beauty in what we perceive around us, including "mathematical beauty" is key consideration that many people ignore or choose to ignore when building abstractions to formulate problems to solve analytically. In many cases in the past, it seems they may not have been all that successful in this separation, being silently seduced by the beauty of mathematics in the first place. (For example the Copernican system insisting planets orbit in perfect circles.) I also love how you so eloquently put it in your conclusion that, “To see in mathematics nothing but a collection of all possible, value-neutral, formal systems is no better than to view the art of sculpture as a collection of all possible articles made of stone”. Wonderful!

Thank you again and I have in the meantime rated your essay too.

Regards,

Robert

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 26, 2017 @ 05:05 GMT
Dear Robert,

Your compliments to our essay are especially pleasant, since you see the core of our text on the background of that strange blindness of the spirit of time. Thank you!

I've learned something new from your composition and left my comments and a couple of questions on your page.

All the best,

Alexey.




Member Marc Séguin wrote on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 00:38 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

Congratulations for another strong essay! The subject of this year’s contest truly called for an examination of the connection between thought and matter. In your view, thought is “cosmic, even super-cosmic”, and you defend the need for a non-deceiving (Descartes), non-malicious (Einstein) God to make sense of our Universe and of the truthfulness of our thought processes. I too struggle with the search for a first principle that would ensure, among other things, the “lawfulness” of the Universe. I am willing to accept that, in the space of all possibilities, there are local domains that are shaped by god-like super-intelligences, but I cannot see how this explanation can be scaled to encompass all of reality. So I am still searching for a way to have All-that-Exists be a self-existing ensemble that is overall devoid of characteristics and information, and to have local minds and ordered worlds “co-emerge” within it. We do not share the same hypotheses about fundamental metaphysical axioms, but we do share the same yearning that made Schrodinger say that knowledge truly has value when it contributes to the synthesis toward answering the demand, “Who are we?”.

By the way, in my current essay, I refer to your “Pythagorean Universe” essay from the last contest, specifically about the difficulty in accounting for the stability of the universal constants of physics by simply invoking the Anthropic Principle. It’s always a pleasure to read your essays, and I am already looking forward to the next contest. In the meantime, I wish you good luck in this one!

Marc

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 22:31 GMT
Dear Marc,

Many thanks for your encouraging words and very clear reference to one of the most important ideas of our Pythagorean Universe. I just left my comments on your current essay at your page, with a hope that our compliments, supported by the score, will not be overshadowed by some criticism there.

We wish you good luck too!

Alexey Burov.




Author Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 23:42 GMT
Strangely for us, recent posts of Edwin Eugene Klingman disappeared from this place. Dear Edwin, if you did not intend this and wish to see there the same or updated version of your post, you are more than welcome to do that.

Alexey.



Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 00:33 GMT
Dear Alexey,

I managed to remove the post in which I misquoted you. As we seem to disagree on the Wigner issue, there is no need to revise and repost. However I've noted that there are some other issues which we do agree on that I may post later.

Thanks for your gracious understanding, and your many meaningful posts, here and on other's threads.

My very best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 01:16 GMT
Dear Edwin,

Thanks for the clarification. We are looking forward to see your new posts in our space. Please do not worry about possible disagreement with us expressed in your comments here; actually, we appreciate clear and distinctive criticism in our address, considering that as a help.

Cheers,

Alexey.




Yehuda Atai wrote on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 09:40 GMT
Hi Alexey,

It was refreshing and interesting to read your essay.

I hold the view that thought and cognition are ontological and we are continuously ratifying our reality. (see my essay:"we are together, therefore I am")

It is all embedded in the qualities of the Movements attributes, which make us unique and singular.

Thanks again

Yehuda Atai

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 12:43 GMT
Hi Yehuda,

Thanks for reading our essay and pointing my attention to yours; it sounds interesting, I will read it soon. Meanwhile, it would be a pleasure to see your specific comments, either critical or complimentary, and questions.

Regards,

Alexey.




Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 20:12 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev Burov,

On another thread [Robert Groess'] you made notice of a quote from P. Anderson:

"In fact, the more the elementary particle physicists tell us about the nature of the fundamental laws, the less relevance they seem to have to the very real problems of the rest of science, much less society."

The statement is not unlike Steven Weinberg's remark,...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 29, 2017 @ 00:42 GMT
Hi Edwin,

Many thanks for a lot of interesting things in your post.

Now Berlinski is in my Kindle collection, promising delicious reading tonight; thank you!

Sorry that I have to disagree that "no other particles are predicted [only resonances]" (if I understood you correctly). Certainly many elementary particles were predicted in various years and on various grounds: positron (and thus entire anti-matter), neutrino, all quarks, weak bosons, and Higgs boson, of course. All these predictions were based on belief in mathematical elegance of the laws of nature, shared by great physicists.

Asking the question about the value of the Particle Physics, I do not mean to diminish it; my goal is just to study opinions, circulating in the scientific community. Strangely enough, I hear only about byproducts and curiosity, as if there is no direct value and as if human curiosity does not have millions of other targets. My own vision on that is indirectly expressed in our "Moira and Eileithyia" and "Pythagorean Universe", and it seems that the value I see in the fundamental science is a top secret for the colleagues.

I am intrigued about your planned experiment intended to clarify QM. Do you have something published on that? I wish you success, of course!

Our best wishes,

Alexey.




James Lee Hoover wrote on Mar. 29, 2017 @ 22:19 GMT
Alexey,

In reviewing the essays I have read, I noticed you are a scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. I have been following the LHC news and noticed among other things they are looking for evidence of dark matter. I had mentioned in my comments on your essay the speculation I provided in my essay about dark matter, feeling it is a byproduct of the interactions of normal matter, its forces, and the SMBH in the center of galaxies. It is probably my amateur speculation that dark matter will only be found in the field. With your background, I would be interested in your thoughts.

Jim Hoover

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 02:08 GMT
Hi Jim,

In that matter, I am an amateur as well; my field of expertise is different. The only thing I could confirm for sure is that physics of dark matter, for today, continues to be entirely dark.

Soon you will see my comments on your page.

Cheers,

Alexey.




James Lee Hoover wrote on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 04:29 GMT
Alexey,

Your essay effectively describes the ideal beauty that should be and can be the unifying source of discovery that brings stellar order of knowledge and survival that celebrates rather than shrinks humanity. Those who puff up their importance and act to shrink humanity are liars. I think we are among many experiments in humanity in the universe. Two weeks ago, I gave you high marks for how effective your words of inspiration are.

Thanks for checking out my essay:

I appreciate you mentioned "life's higher meaning". Don't you think that the biggest discoveries and inventions of humanity happened in following this meaning, not the goals of survival and comfort? If so, would it be correct to try to explain the core of human beings by means of entropy and survival? In our essay we are trying to show that this approach leads to the Epimenides paradox. One more question relates to the "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics": how it can be accounted in the framework of your paper?

Life has a higher meaning but there are those who would destroy all life around them for their own glory. Perhaps you have more faith in this higher ideal being the imperative.

Jim

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 11:41 GMT
Jim,

Thanks again for the compliments in our address. Of course you are right pointing to some of dangers for humanity; I would just add, that within materialistic worldview individual life cannot value much. No surprise, that the two monstrous regimes of the last century were based on materialistic teachings, and Darwinism was an important part of the ruling ideology for each of them.

I just rated your essay, good luck!

Alexey.




Michael Alexeevich Popov wrote on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 16:21 GMT
Уважаемые Alexei and Lev,

Taking Ancient Platonism seriously is usually considered as some sort of pre - pre - Kantian simplification in today's philosophy. Both Poincare and Einstein Relativity theories are based on Kant's heuristics, but not on Platonism. Mathematical intuitionists, Schrodinger and Dirac expressed similar attitude on Kant transcendental aesthetics as well. Club of Alternative Natural Philosophy Association ( neo - Kantian researchers ( Eddington, Dirac, Bondi,Bronstein )of fundamental constants as Kant's synthetic a priori judgments ) also attempted to find suitable aesthetic generalizations in the terms of neo - Kantianism but not Platonism. Weyl's " Pythagoreanism" was not also "pure Platonism " because Weyl was well- known neo Kantian.etc. In other words, philosophically, in order to use simplified ancient method of philosophizing in our 21st century is needed to prove that your method is suitable indeed.

In modern metaphysics "Unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" is connected with fundamental question of Kant- how are synthetic a priori judgments possible ?

Dmitry Gawronsky brilliant Russian neo - Kantian mathematician and philosopher(1883-1949) Marburg school of neo - Kantian philosophy suggested that the philosopher must not rely on idle metaphysical speculations but has to know how synthetic a priori is actually applied in scientific practice (1912).

Some details of such sort of academic thinking could be found in my essay entitled " Kantian answers ".

С самыми наилучшими пожеланиями в не слишком постоватом мире философии

Michael

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 18:34 GMT
Dear Michael,

Thanks for reading and commenting our essay. If you have any question, you are very welcome to ask.

Cheers,

Alexey Burov.




Rajiv K Singh wrote on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 16:48 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev Burov,

Ah! You make such valiant and passionate appeal to our senses of beauty that it becomes hard for us to even think of constructing any arguments that defies the centrality of beauty. Having apologized for this violation of beauty in the hands of rationality, let me commit that anyway.

Beauty has many forms, as you too captured in your essay, but you remained...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 23:16 GMT
Dear Rajiv,

Thank you for the exquisite praise in our address and for your pithy questions which by the necessity can only be briefly addressed here.

1. “mathematics alone does not appeal to me as the sole source of the genesis”

We agree; you may find some arguments in support of that in our composition.



2. “Of course, none other is eternal as...

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Rajiv K Singh replied on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 02:57 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

Thank you for taking the discussion forward. This response is to express reasons of my ignorance as I had also said that even though I liked the persuasive arguments favoring the 'power of beauty', which I can feel within, but the essay was too abstract to make me feel the ground under my feet.

>> 1."mathematics alone does not appeal to me as the sole...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 04:34 GMT
Dear Rajiv,

We are touched by your response, with your ambition to disentangle some of our hidden meanings. Yes, we left some puzzles for our readers, and let us keep them not quite unveiled :) Now it's our turn to read your essay and try to pay you back.

Thanks again and see you on your page,

Alexey.




Neil Bates wrote on Apr. 1, 2017 @ 01:53 GMT
Alexey and Lev,

Congratulations for this beautiful philosophical overview and your literate delving into the fundamentals. That is how a scientist and humanist should collaborate. It is true that the confrontation of the subjective sense of self, against the mechanical world supposedly revealed by physics, is the primary dilemma of thought as well as a source of discomfort to reflective persons. It is the intuitive absurdity of Leibniz's Mill, the idea that any machinery can give rise to our thoughts and feelings. I addressed that very dilemma in a past essay of mine:

Flashlights, Mirrors, Real Brains and Willpower: Steering Ourselves to Steer Our Future
. I will have more to say later about the specifics of the issue and your answers to it, right now I wanted to make sure I gave proper credit to the arc of your effort.

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 1, 2017 @ 02:29 GMT
Dear Neil,

Thanks for your kind words. We envision certain ideals as to what the language should be when it comes close to what great thinkers called Good and Beauty, and your compliments assure us that we have not gone too far past our mark. We'll read your old essay while waiting for the further comments you intend.

Alexey and Lev




Yehuda Atai wrote on Apr. 1, 2017 @ 07:58 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev

Thanks for commenting on my essay and the interest in it.

As to your question: Mathematics define the relations that exists in the physical system, and the effectiveness of mathematics "is probable that there is some secret here which remains to be discovered" as you well quoted Wigner work. In my view the subjectivity is embedded in the uniqueness and singularity of every movement-phenomenon. This uniqueness is embedded in the qualities of its attributes. In every movement there are attributes like behavior, character, matter, form, communication-language, memory, aims (purposes) etc. As such the physical occurrence of the phenomena is not based on causality principle but rather on the process of selecting the subjective action that exits to the phenomenon in its relation to others.Causality is special case in the occurrence of a phenomenon. A mathematical model can and should be developed for such activity.

Ethics are not a higher level, or "above" ontological occurrence of the phenomenon, and it is embedded in the perception of reality by the subject.

Love is a degree of quality in the attribute of "character" of each movement or the assembly of movements.

It is all ontological and the beauty in reality stem from the eminent subjectivity and uniqueness of each movement which gives us the transcendental glory effect within reality. In the essay, I explained that reality is being continuously ratified itself as being a unique self organization though we continuously changing. "alexey" is ratifying "lev" and so on. There wasn't like you in the past nor in the future, you are unique and singular.

With great ratification and appreciation

Have a great weekend

yehuda atai

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 1, 2017 @ 13:57 GMT
Dear Yehuda,

Your essay shows the value of individual things, while most of others concentrate on the universal aspects of reality. Mathematics tells about latter, arts focus on the former, and each is ratified through its special beauty.

Thank you,

Alexey.




Lorraine Ford wrote on Apr. 2, 2017 @ 05:00 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

I was inspired and impressed by your beautiful argument in the first part of your essay. It is very important to repeat this argument often e.g. “the hypothesis of aleatory or mechanical emergence of thought from matter should be rejected, and not even due to the significant hurdles of its scientific weakness and unfalsifiability but because of its Epimenidic...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 2, 2017 @ 22:51 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

We are pleased to see you in our space; many thanks for coming and speaking!

Both your compliments and criticism are very valuable for us, because of the independence, courage and will to the deepest truth we see in your thinking. Our responses to your objections follow.

1.

“From my point of view, the main issue is: do the things of the universe have...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 3, 2017 @ 02:29 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

After Alexey and I have discussed his answer to you, we realized that you do, in fact, provide a reason against the Platonic world, whose consideration is missing in his post. In bringing that up, I also wanted to ask for a clarification on your essay and your other posts as regards a certain difficulty I'm having with them. I cannot seem to get away from a confusion between...

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Lorraine Ford replied on Apr. 3, 2017 @ 15:39 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

To clarify, I contend that there is only one universe. It is self-sufficient and “all there is”.

I don’t like C. S. Lewis’s attitude towards “Nature”. He doesn’t believe that he is a part of Nature. He doesn’t actually love Nature: it is merely an interesting object to him, he believes he is above it. He doesn’t see that he himself is what...

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George Gantz wrote on Apr. 2, 2017 @ 13:37 GMT
Alexey and Lev -

You have given us a lovely essay, one which draws together physics, philosophy, literature and aesthetics. I like the point you make that trying to explain thought from the material is self-contradictory. Of course, I happen to agree.

The interposition of the three spheres of physical, mental and mathematical (a la Penrose) also makes sense, although this model...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 3, 2017 @ 16:32 GMT
Dear George,

Thanks for your compliments and careful reading. Contemplating Being as a tri-ality of spheres, as thinks Penrose, or a tree-ality of systems, as you express in your essay, there hides a unifying mystery. Shall we argue whether the mystery is at the center or at the top? Love or Beauty, which unifies reality? Perhaps they are aspects of the same. But then again, how could the...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 3, 2017 @ 19:54 GMT
Dear George,

Apparently Lev has left for me the easiest of your questions,

"I'll be most interested in seeing how you can sail the empirical arguments through the treacherous shoals between the rocks of Godel and QP."

Well, I do not think that our arguments are empirical; rather they take into account the achievements of physics, reflecting on them to get something new for philosophy. Godel's theorems and QP are not rocks for us; I would call them good news. The former rids mathematics from a nightmare to be exhausted, suggesting infinity of different interesting problems; the latter opens the door for free will, saving the physical law at the same time. Ontologically, the freedom of will is above reason, so its paradoxes can be accepted as soon as its primacy is realized.

Many thanks for your generous compliments and deep questions!

Alexey.



George Gantz replied on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 03:16 GMT
Alexey –

Yes, I had made that remark before reading your essay. My apologies. Your arguments extend well into the philosophical. I agree that Godel and QP are ultimately good news for physics – they confront the serous thinker with paradoxes that force new thinking, to those who are willing to grasp the challenge.

Lev –

I quite agree that there is no meaning without relata. Indeed, as discussed in The Hole at the Center of Creation, there is nothing before the beginning. (Ah - it is so hard to talk about nothing!) Creation starts with a distinction – something from nothing – one separated from the void – the infinite partitioning into the finite. The act of distinction (in my metaphysic) creates the form/math in which substance/energy flows. This is an intentional act of love – manifest in the relationship of creator with creation. We can speak of this love abstractly, but it is not an abstraction – it is an actual flowing intention.

Beauty in my view is a response, a perception, a reaction by sentient beings to that which is created. Beauty is thus contingent on sentient intention and a consequence of love.

As to what is reasonable, I quite agree that it is a paradox to attempt a justification of love with reason. But my reasoning is also supplemented with experience – the sense of beauty in the flight of birds – the exquisite joy of a child at play.

It would be a delight to discuss our two essays in a coffee shop somewhere. The FQXi comment process is a poor substitute for conversation!

Deep regards – George

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Patrick Tonin wrote on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 07:07 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

Your essay is very nicely written, I like your prose and poetry. If I had one criticism to make, it would be that you ask to many questions and some of them seem to be left unanswered, but maybe I should read your essay again.

All the best,

Patrick

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 19:07 GMT
Dear Patrick,

Your compliments have a special weight for us. Thanks!

Could it really happen that some of our questions are left unanswered? :^)

Cheers,

Alexey.




Vladimir Rodin wrote on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 18:32 GMT
Dear Alexey and Lev,

To the dithyrambs which have sounded into your address, I need to add my voice only. Your work is really good, clever and poetical. But however, I will afford some speculations concerning the topic.

I suppose that the Mathematics is a contour map of that beautiful landscape which is named as the Laws of Nature which Beauty is a image (reflection) of Harmony. Harmony is the ideal of mind motivating it (mind) to evolution, i.e. to perpetually tendency to Harmony.

My very best regards,

Vladimir A. Rodin

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2752

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 23:33 GMT
Dear Vladimir,

Many thanks for your encouraging voice. Apparently, your speculations above are in full harmony with ours, aren't they?

I just started reading your essay, so you may expect some comments on your page.

Cheers,

Alexey.



Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 5, 2017 @ 18:51 GMT
Dear Vladimir,

I have to admit that mostly I am puzzled by your composition, so that I do not even see how it does relate to the topic of this contest. One thing though attracted my attention in a special way:

"Eternity in our Universe is just a moment for the next level Universe, which our one is nested in, as a spatial pixel."

This image reminded me the butterfly parable of Chuang Chou (Zhuangzi), leading to his famous question, repeated much later by Descartes: what if all wanderings toward goals are totally misleading and futile, as dreams? Apparently, the Chinese sage left this problem unresolved, while the French father of science gave his circular solution. I guess this problem belongs to the core of the contest's topic.

Cheers,

Alexey Burov.




Peter Jackson wrote on Apr. 5, 2017 @ 18:31 GMT
Dear Alexey & Lev,

I've just returned to your essay. Very well written but I struggled with it the first time so didn't comment or score it. ..But as you don't mine quibbles!: You seemed to dismiss any possibility of a 'thought & matter' relationship before moving away to eulogize mathematics. I'd hoped you may see the architecture described in mine and other similar and excellent...

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 5, 2017 @ 22:02 GMT
Dear Peter,

With your criticism, your compliments are especially valuable. Thank you.

We tried to show that the naturalistic approach to the mind-body problem leads to the Epimenides paradox; for this approach, there is no reason to trust and value any knowledge, except maybe one directed to more comfort. The problem of trust and value is at the corner of any serious cognition. You may find it in the Greek skepticism, in the Vedic Maya, in the butterfly parable of Chuang Chou, in the evil demon problem of Descartes, in Einstein’s act of faith to the non-malicious God, in the Haldane’s refutation of the dictatorship of the ‘atoms of brain’. Theoretical Physics may be meaningful only if the fundamental trust to and value of knowledge are established, provided that reason can accept that ground. It is not the case for the naturalistic approach, as we briefly outlined. By itself, science cannot establish its own ground of trust and meaning. In more details, you may read about that, for example, in a recent book of Thomas Nagel “Mind & Cosmos”.

Since I am keeping as a rule to read essays of those who spent their time on mine, I will try to succeed with yours before April 7th.

Thanks again and all the best,

Alexey.




Gary D. Simpson wrote on Apr. 6, 2017 @ 23:02 GMT
Alexey and Lev,

Well Done! Your essay is thoughtful, elegant, and subtle. It is a logical extension of the previous essay topic.

If I understand what you have presented, you argue that sentience must be a property of matter and its structure. The essence of your argument is that any other hypothesis will lead to a self-contradiction.

In addition, you present evidence to support this belief as follows: Many mathematicians have a shared belief in the beauty and elegance of Mathematics. Since they independently arrive at this viewpoint, their minds must all share a similar structure that aligns their minds and hence their thinking with something more fundamental. Perhaps this is similar to a group of people all looking at the same light off in the distance.

Furthermore, some people have the ability to apply intuition to produce new hypotheses that are elegant and fit within several parts of mathematics. This is viewed as additional supporting evidence.

If I describe your ideas with just a single word, that word must be "elegant".

Best Regards and Good Luck,

Gary Simpson

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Author Alexey/Lev Burov replied on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 01:56 GMT
Hi Gary,

Thank you so much for your generous compliments and associated images.

In the first part of our essay we tried to show that

the hypothesis of aleatory or mechanical emergence of thought from matter should be rejected, and not even due to the significant hurdles of its scientific weakness and unfalsifiability but because of its Epimenidic character, its entailment of cognitive suicide.

Some people appreciate that, others disregard, while a small portion of our readers understand this in the exactly opposite way. Clearly, this issue is not easy at all.

Your meditation, finished with

some people have the ability to apply intuition to produce new hypotheses that are elegant and fit within several parts of mathematics

is ours as well. We see here the same light, Gary!

Special thanks for rating our essay and all the best,

Yours, Alexey.




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