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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Johnny Cash: on 10/5/17 at 8:58am UTC, wrote My first question is as written. There is a process, call it thinking,...

Charles Card: on 8/6/13 at 3:52am UTC, wrote Late-in-the-Day Thoughts about the Essays I’ve Read I am sending to you...

Than Tin: on 7/26/13 at 4:54am UTC, wrote Dear Dr. Arvan Richard Feynman in his Nobel Acceptance Speech ...

George Kirakosyan: on 7/15/13 at 6:36am UTC, wrote Dear Marcus, I have read your essay and honestly must to recognise that I...

Hugh Matlock: on 7/13/13 at 18:54pm UTC, wrote Hi Marcus, You wrote: "Somehow, if we are living in an otherwise...

Antony Ryan: on 7/9/13 at 7:12am UTC, wrote Dear Marcus, P2P seems a very original approach and topical in this...

James Hoover: on 7/3/13 at 18:57pm UTC, wrote Marcus, If given the time and the wits to evaluate over 120 more entries,...

Hoang Hai: on 6/27/13 at 4:15am UTC, wrote Send to all of you THE ADDITIONAL ARTICLES AND A SMALL TEST FOR MUTUAL...


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FQXi FORUM
March 23, 2019

CATEGORY: It From Bit or Bit From It? Essay Contest (2013) [back]
TOPIC: How the Peer-to-Peer Simulation Hypothesis Explains Just About Everything, Including the Very Existence of Quantum Mechanics by Marcus Arvan [refresh]
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Author Marcus Arvan wrote on May. 22, 2013 @ 17:05 GMT
Essay Abstract

In my recently published article, “A New Theory of Free Will” , I argued that several serious philosophical and empirical hypotheses – hypotheses which have all received and continue to receive serious discussion by philosophers and physicists, and which may all turn out to be true – jointly entail that we are living in the functional equivalent of a peer-to-peer (P2P) networked computer simulation. Not only that, I argued that this P2P Hypothesis explains the very existence of almost all of the most puzzling features of our world: 1. Quantum indeterminacy and measurement problems. 2. Quantum entanglement. 3. The apparent irreducibility of conscious experience to physical objects, properties or functions. 4. The intuition that our personal identity, as conscious subjects of experience, is irreducible to any form of physical or psychological continuity. 5. The apparent “unreality of time” in the objective physical world, along with our subjective experience of the passage of time. 6. Our experience of ourselves as having free will despite our experiencing the physical world as causally closed under the laws of physics. §1 of this essay briefly summarizes (a) the philosophical and empirical hypotheses that jointly entail the P2P Hypothesis, (b) how the P2P Hypothesis explains all six features of our mentioned above, and (c) the P2P Hypothesis’s four distinct empirical predictions. §2 then shows something new: that even if the P2P Hypothesis is true, our world differs from the kind of P2P simulations we have constructed in one profound, fundamental way: a way that implies that reality cannot be reduced to mere quantitative information of the sort dealt with in the hard-sciences. Reality has fundamentally qualitative elements that cannot be understood as “information” in any traditional sense.

Author Bio

The author is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tampa. He received his PhD from the University of Arizona in 2008. His doctoral dissertation, "A Nonideal Theory of Justice", developed a comprehensive theory of how to respond to injustices. He is currently writing a book entitled, "Re-laying Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals: A Simple, Intuitive Case for the Categorical Imperative, the Unity of its Formulas, and Beyond." In addition to social-political philosophy and ethics, the author also does work in metaphysics and the philosophy of science, including work on free will.

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Philip Gibbs wrote on May. 23, 2013 @ 09:21 GMT
Marcus, thank you an illuminating essay. The idea that our worlds acts like a P2P simulation is very thought provoking. Of course there are error correcting codes connected to symmetry groups, especially in string theory, but it is not yet clear whether they play any kind of error correcting role. I am one of a few who have speculated that it might be the case but more work is required.

It is not clear to me how the holographic principle comes into your argument. Why is the holographic principle necessary for a P2P simulation to work?

Phil

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Marcus wrote on May. 23, 2013 @ 12:58 GMT
Hi Phil: thanks for your comment. I'm a long-time follower of your blog, and really appreciate the work you've done wit vixra.

Anyway, here's how the holographic principle is relevant. Consider an online simulation such as the popular video game "Halo." What generates the 3-dimensional environment one experiences on one's television when one plays halo? Answer: a disc of 2-dimensional information that is read by an outside apparatus (the laser-mechanism and processor in the game console). The three dimensional interactive environment, then, just *is* a hologram of sorts generated from a disc of 2-dimensional information. But this is what the holographic principle states is true of *our* world. Our reality can be thought of as a hologram generated by a vast body of information located on the cosmological horizon.

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Philip Gibbs replied on May. 23, 2013 @ 16:48 GMT
OK I get it. I think it is very useful to think in terms of computer analogies in this way. You may also have been playing Halo too much :-)

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Marcus Arvan replied on May. 23, 2013 @ 17:03 GMT
Thanks! Yes, little did I know that all the time I thought I was wasting playing Halo instead of finishing my doctoral dissertation was actually time spent doing philosophical research... :)

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Paul Reed wrote on May. 23, 2013 @ 16:49 GMT
Marcus

Just a couple of questions for now:

1 How does the mind/consciousness/whatever have any affect on the physical circumstance when in order to know of it, sentient organisms receive a physical input, ie it has already occurred. And, just for good measure, what is received is not what occurred, but a physically existent representation of it (in the case of sight this is light).

2 The reception of physical input, and therefore its subsequent processing, is at the individual level. So how does everybody agree that they are aware of the same entity.

Paul

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Marcus Arvan replied on May. 23, 2013 @ 17:18 GMT
Paul: I'm not exactly sure what your questions are.

Your first question seems to be: how can a non-physical mind affect physical conditions when *before* the physical conditions occur? Is that what you meant to say? If so, are you referring to experiments which suggest that people's bodies execute actions *before* the person reports having made the conscious choice? (I'm assuming these...

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Paul Reed replied on May. 24, 2013 @ 04:23 GMT
Marcus

My first question is as written. There is a process, call it thinking, whatever, which converts a physical input received, eg light, noise, into a perception of what was received. Since this has already occurred, and has done so independently of this subsequent processing, which is not a physical process, how then do we affect the physical circumstance in any way whatsoever.

“For my part, I also believe it is part of the conceit of modern science to suppose that all questions *can* be given an operationalized, measurable answer”. And further down “But then again, *nothing* (besides theorems of logic and mathematics) can be proven: not even the existence of the external world.

Physical existence is all we can potentially know. And knowing is the function of a physical process. Whether there is a alternative is irrelevant, because we cannot know it. Science is, or should be, concerned with what we can know, and not belief about other possibilities.

“We can of course never know for *certain* whether solipsism…”

We cannot know, the ‘for certain’ is superfluous. This is an example of a possible alternative, ie that physical existence is some sort of collective illusion amongst sentient organisms. However, in accord with the last paragraph, and seemingly contrary to something you wrote in your essay, which is why I asked the question, you then answer it in terms of the above paragraph. That is, dealing only with the knowable, the evidence is….Incidentally, my know includes hypothesis, which is effectively virtual sensing, ie it is what could have been seen/heard/etc, had the circumstances allowed. In effect this question was another form of the first question, and pointing out that reality is independent of the mechanisms whereby sentient organisms are enabled to be aware of it. So their awareness has no affect on it.

Paul

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Author Marcus Arvan replied on May. 24, 2013 @ 19:01 GMT
Paul: you are making philosophical claims here about knowledge that, with all due respect, most philosophers today reject. You say that when I say we "cannot know for certain", the "for certain" part is superfluous. No, it's not. It all depends on what knowledge is. *Descartes* argued several hundred years ago that we have true knowledge only when we believe things that we cannot possibly doubt. This is known as Infallibilism. Now, of course, in one sense infallibilism seems true. We cannot TRULY know something (for certain!) if it's possible that we could be wrong.

But here's the problem with infallibilism. It is such a high standard that it implies that we can't know *anything* (except for maybe truths about mathematics and geometry). In real life and in science, we do equate knowledge with infallibility. We equate it with inductive support giving our observations of the world. This is known as Fallibilism. When I am speaking about knowledge, I mean it in this sense, because it is the only sense that scientists are interested in. No one -- not even the strongest physicalist -- would say we can know FOR SURE that we are not living in a Cartersian dream. But they're also not interested in infallible knowledge. What we're interested in is what we can know *fallibly* given our admittedly fallible(!) observation of the world. That's all science does, and saying that it shouldn't be doing that is just dogmatic.

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Joe Fisher wrote on May. 23, 2013 @ 16:58 GMT
Professor Marcus,

Respectfully sir, reality is not difficult. Believe me, if I can master reality, anybody can. “The (abstract) physical world might indeed be an eternally existing (abstract) array of (abstract) 2-dimensional [(abstract) (physical)] information comprising a vast (abstract) array of possible (abstract) pasts, presents, and futures.” However, as I have pointed out in my sensible essay BITTERS, the real Universe is occurring somewhat differently than that particular piece of misinformed abstraction might indicate.

One real Universe can only do one real thing once. Each real particle is unique. Each real person is unique. Generalized abstract wispy conjecture about free-will is not unique.

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Marcus Arvan replied on May. 23, 2013 @ 17:29 GMT
Joe: respectfully, the question of whether a theory is correct is not to be answered by asserting that one has "mastered reality" or written a "sensible" essay. It is to be answered by evidence and argument. My paper provides evidence and argument. Your comment does not. Moreover, the assertions you do make in your comment are false.

First, there is in fact some real evidence that -- contrary to your unsupported assertion that there is one real universe -- there may be more than one universe. Second, there is also real evidence, from quantum mechanics, that individual particles are *not* unique. Every electron, for instance, is intrinsically the same. Third, my paper is not "wispy conjecture": it argues that several respectable hypotheses from philosophy and quantum physics jointly entail the theory I defend. That is not conjecture; it is a genuine philosophical/scientific argument.

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Anonymous replied on May. 24, 2013 @ 04:40 GMT
Marcus

If there is, within the existence knowable to us, more than one universe, then all that means is that our physical existence comprises more than one of what we label universes. However, the word universe is usually mean to mean 'all there is'. The point being that there is, for us, only one 'is'.

On the subject of uniqueness. We know there is existence and difference. Which means our physical existence is sequence. That is, a discrete definitive physically existent state of whatever comprises it, at a time. Aka a reality, as Joe says. Existence necessitates definitiveness, etc. QM, as with relativity, is incorrect, because it presumes physical existence involves some form of lack of definitiveness. What has happened here is that what is now derided as the 'classical' was never properly understood. The logic of what we know was not taken to its conclusion. We know there is alteration, therefore...But we missed the point by thinking in terms of 'it changes'. Whereas, in reality there is difference.

To make any proper scientific argument, the start point is a generic understanding as to how we are aware of existence and how that must occur. This then provides science with a set of rules which must be adhered to. If one wants to attend woodworking classes, then it is best to know the nature of wood, because going with a toothpick and a lawnmower, on the basis that these are tools, will not result in progress.

Paul

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Author Marcus Arvan replied on May. 24, 2013 @ 18:55 GMT
Paul: you're playing semantics. There are two uses of the word "Universe." One use -- the use typically used in physics -- is the *observable* universe. We call this "the Universe" because it is all we can *see*. On this disambiguation of the term, there may of course be other universes: ones we cannot observe. On the other hand, there is also the use that you describe: using "Universe" to...

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Anonymous wrote on May. 24, 2013 @ 15:08 GMT
Professor Marcus,

Reality is not my theory. There is nothing intrinsic about reality. My reality does not need any “real evidence” to support it. Could you please define scientifically what would constitute “real evidence?” of there being more than one real Universe? How can this “real evidence” be distinguished from scientifically assessed unreal evidence? Does any “real evidence” exist of free-will? Who has free will and how does one acquire it? How scientifically intrinsic is free will?

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basudeba mishra wrote on May. 26, 2013 @ 16:36 GMT
Dear Sir,

Your highly interesting and thought provoking essay leaves many questions unanswered possibly due to space constraint. “Eternalism: the hypothesis that past, present, and future objects and properties all exist timelessly” is one such example.

Both space and time arise out of the concept “sequence”, which implies intervals. When such intervals are ordered; then the...

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Jun. 3, 2013 @ 03:16 GMT
Your mention of error correction codes is interesting. I read an article by Gates a few months ago on the role of error correction codes with adinkras. I think that error correction coes, say with the Mathieu group, apply for quantum systtem in spacetimes with event horizons. The interesting system is the M_{24} contained in the J3(O) O = octonions.

I am not committed to any particular idea about consciousness, or the mind-body problem. There could in juxaosition to quantum mechanics be the existence of a consciousness domain, which certain physical systems with enough complexity can "chart" their way across. In that sense we might have consciousness as something not entirely based on physical processes, but which is in a sense activated through physical systems that are highly complex or evolved.

LC

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Peter Jackson wrote on Jun. 6, 2013 @ 16:16 GMT
Marcus,

Fascinating idea and well argued. A refreshing change from the main themes, how nice to have counterpoise.

The real question I have is, if the error correction codes are worth their salt, why do they not correct the obvious errors in our hopeless (lack of) understanding of the universe?

I think I take an almost diametrically opposite case, where not even maths really applies to reality, and the life is some amorphous 'real' evolving thing. Just as radical! but it does seem to address the EPR paradox! I'll be interested in your views.

I think yours is very worthwhile addition to the contest. It was about time we had the computer gaming generation putting in a showing! (me I stuck to computer golf!).

Best of luck

Peter

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 20:30 GMT
Dear Marcus

Glad to know you also to like the philosophy.

'll Be happier if you said : how P2P explains to " it and bit"?

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1802

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Jun. 27, 2013 @ 04:15 GMT
Send to all of you

THE ADDITIONAL ARTICLES AND A SMALL TEST FOR MUTUAL BENEFIT

To change the atmosphere "abstract" of the competition and to demonstrate for the real preeminent possibility of the Absolute theory as well as to clarify the issues I mentioned in the essay and to avoid duplicate questions after receiving the opinion of you , I will add a reply to you :

1 . THE...

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Jul. 3, 2013 @ 18:57 GMT
Marcus,

If given the time and the wits to evaluate over 120 more entries, I have a month to try. My seemingly whimsical title, “It’s good to be the king,” is serious about our subject.

Jim

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Antony Ryan wrote on Jul. 9, 2013 @ 07:12 GMT
Dear Marcus,

P2P seems a very original approach and topical in this environment. It is thought provoking that this idea, once taken on and thought about thoroughly, actually can be applied to nature's reality. I like that you conclude "reality has fundamentally qualitative elements that cannot be understood as “information” in any traditional sense". This is a refreshing line of thinking, which is what the contest needs and wants.

Well done,

Antony

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Hugh Matlock wrote on Jul. 13, 2013 @ 18:54 GMT
Hi Marcus,

You wrote:

"Somehow, if we are living in an otherwise functional analogue to a P2P simulation, the qualitative features of human consciousness play a fundamental role in a way that has no obvious analogue in the simulations we have created."

My Software Cosmos essay argues for essentially the same picture of a simulated reality based on the online gaming analogy. There are some differences in that I propose a client-server rather than P2P architecture, and suggest (and report the results of) a test for whether we are now in a simulation.

With only nine pages, I ran out of space to discuss one of the most important issues: the role of consciousness in a simulation. I think there is an analogue to it in the simulation paradigm though: if reality is a virtual game world, then consciousness corresponds to the game player. The players, collectively, have an important role, as information in the game world ultimately comes from the players. Thus my conclusion was "It from Bit and Bit from Us."

Hugh

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George Kirakosyan wrote on Jul. 15, 2013 @ 06:36 GMT
Dear Marcus,

I have read your essay and honestly must to recognise that I do not fully understand your target and methodology. I see however your's serious efforts to suggest more effectively research approachment to basic problems. I am not excluded that you can be right. However, the problem for today are hidden in other place in my view. Particularly, modern physicists and philosophers have fully loosen the mutual comprehension and become unable to listen each to other.

This is the trouble for both and for the natural science at all! I will rate your work as a good (8) only, because some questions remains unanswered for my.

Try read my work please ESSAY text I hope you can find some interesting points for you, then you can see as you see it deserved! Hope you will visit my forum.

Good wishes,

George

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Than Tin wrote on Jul. 26, 2013 @ 04:54 GMT
Dear Dr. Arvan

Richard Feynman in his Nobel Acceptance Speech

(http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/19
65/feynman-lecture.html)

said: “It always seems odd to me that the fundamental laws of physics, when discovered, can appear in so many different forms that are not apparently identical at first, but with a little mathematical fiddling you can show...

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Charles Raldo Card wrote on Aug. 6, 2013 @ 03:52 GMT
Late-in-the-Day Thoughts about the Essays I’ve Read

I am sending to you the following thoughts because I found your essay particularly well stated, insightful, and helpful, even though in certain respects we may significantly diverge in our viewpoints. Thank you! Lumping and sorting is a dangerous adventure; let me apologize in advance if I have significantly misread or misrepresented...

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Johnny Cash wrote on Oct. 5, 2017 @ 08:58 GMT
My first question is as written. There is a process, call it thinking, whatever, which converts a physical input received, eg light, noise, into a perception of what was received. Since this has already occurred, and has done so independently of this subsequent processing, which is not a physical process, how then do we affect the physical circumstance in any way whatsoever. play run 3 cool math games online now.

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