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Current Essay Contest


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Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest
December 24, 2019 - April 24, 2020
Contest Partners: Fetzer Franklin Fund, and The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation
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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
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.
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Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American

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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
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
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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
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American
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What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams
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The Nature of Time
August - December 2008
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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Sylvain Poirier: on 5/28/15 at 12:09pm UTC, wrote I agree that the distinction between something being real and having the...

Paolo Bellan: on 4/26/15 at 11:12am UTC, wrote Dear Sylvain, thanks for your interest and your rewarding opinion; it is...

Paolo Bellan: on 4/26/15 at 10:28am UTC, wrote Hi Janko, thanks for your words and interest; sure I'm gonna have a look...

Janko Kokosar: on 4/19/15 at 15:10pm UTC, wrote Dear Paolo Poirier sorted essays and gives he, you and me in the same box,...

Vladimir Rogozhin: on 4/10/15 at 12:00pm UTC, wrote Thank you, Paolo. for your kind words. I once gave you a happy nine (№9),...

Paolo Bellan: on 4/10/15 at 10:47am UTC, wrote Dear Vladi, many thank for your interest and your nice words! Surely I'm...

Sylvain Poirier: on 4/10/15 at 10:24am UTC, wrote Dear Paolo, I see some similarities of your ideas with mine (see my essay...

Joe Fisher: on 4/8/15 at 15:43pm UTC, wrote Dear Paolo, I think Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein was...


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FQXi FORUM
May 28, 2020

CATEGORY: Trick or Truth Essay Contest (2015) [back]
TOPIC: CHASING THE MATHEMATICAL EXISTENCE by Paolo Bellan [refresh]
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Author Paolo Bellan wrote on Mar. 7, 2015 @ 21:51 GMT
Essay Abstract

Some hints concerning the Mathematics effectiveness from the evolutionary biology are proposed, and the unexpected fecundity of ideal concepts is handled with qualitative clues form Category theory. Then, the question of the ontological status of Mathematical entities is investigated, comparing the main philosophical approaches about it, with emphasis on their epistemological aspects. Plus, one tries to show that the concept of intrinsic qualities is misleading, and that for both physical fundamental quantities and methodological assessments, a relational view is inescapable. This leads to a radical position according to which stating the existence of physical and mathematical entities is ultimately the same process. Eventually, some very interesting consequences about information, complexity and mathematical descriptions are illustrated.

Author Bio

Former researcher active in the field of particle physics, now physics and math teacher and independent scholar with interests in applied mathematics, fundamental questions and philosophical issues.

Download Essay PDF File

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adel sadeq wrote on Mar. 12, 2015 @ 13:42 GMT
Hi Paolo

Our systems show some similarity at fundamental level but not in detail. Please see if my statement is correct.

Essay

Thanks and good luck.

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Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 14, 2015 @ 20:46 GMT
Dear Mr. Bellan,

You wrote: “If the Universe is a purely mathematical structures, the incompleteness theorems ensure that there will be undecidable statements

around; so we may wonder what they would represent in physical terms; perhaps, aspects of reality not addressable in mathematical terms.”

This is my single unified theorem of how the real Universe is occurring:...

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Author Paolo Bellan replied on Mar. 15, 2015 @ 12:46 GMT
Dear Joe,

I'm afraid I don't get your point, neither what should be the link with the quotation; if it's supposed to be funny, I'm sure you can do better than that.

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Joe Fisher replied on Mar. 15, 2015 @ 14:49 GMT
Dear Mr. Bellan,

Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein was wrong about abstract space/time, and Hawking was wrong about the explosive capability of abstract NOTHING. My comment proved it. If you did not understand it that is too bad. If you thought that I was joking I pity you.

Joe Fisher

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Mar. 23, 2015 @ 21:42 GMT
Dear James,

A wonderful essay like a chessboard with all the players and ideas.

But, one must admit that a universe that "existed" or "lasted"13+ billion years has 'substance / process' to support this existence, long before we ever started playing SA.

The main problem is that we keep the SA point of view when we know exactly the point of view of the universe. For example, for the universe to effect a contact between any two points on the Moon, even at the speed of light, it requires time. Then, from the point of view of the universe those two points are not at the same time. The "Moon" is in fact just an aggregate of matter across time. We make it "Moon" when we perceive or conceive it as being all at the same moment; a moment of perception, a snapshot! We make the Moon as an object when it is not.

Philosophers using scientists tools was no more fruitful than scientists trying to use philosopher's tools.

It is all very "Wheeler" simple. The mathematically friendly universe means that it simply follows rules of logic, and the requirements for a logically operational universe are extremely simple...

Please see my essay http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2488 , with details in previous essays.

Good luck,

Marcel,

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Anonymous replied on Mar. 24, 2015 @ 03:28 GMT
Paolo,

Of course, in my post above I meant Paolo..... Where did I get this James name from anyway ????

Marcel,

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Author Paolo Bellan replied on Mar. 24, 2015 @ 11:06 GMT
Dear Marcel

thank you for having read and commented my essay!

Don't worry for having called me James.. it sounds good actually! :)

I'm absolutely not committed to deny physical existence, rather I'm arguing about the meaning of assessing existence of something without any sentient agent that ever had relation or access at it at all. That statement is a plausible extrapolation only about something that's already been assessed, as the Universe indeed. Hard to conceive a sound meaning for something to exist if not any relation or access to it has ever occurred; in short, the existence is a relational feature, as Physics is showing for all basic qualities as well.

The point you mention about the human process of building 'object' out of out perception is very interesting, even though a slightly different one IMO: the question of the relational nature of qualities holds up even for features not related to a structure or an object; and indeed, we can make sense and set the boundaries of structures and 'aggregates' in physical term, somehow independently from SA, through the persistence of their patterns, basically.

Cheers

P

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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Apr. 4, 2015 @ 13:42 GMT
Dear Paolo,

Your research, concepts, ideas and the direction of search is extremely important. I particularly liked the concept of "ontological par":

"Ontological par", on the other hand is a bit harder to swallow".

Today, mathematicians and physicists continue to fear the ontology, and especially dialectic, at least in the spirit of Cusa - "coincidence of opposites."...

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Author Paolo Bellan replied on Apr. 10, 2015 @ 10:47 GMT
Dear Vladi,

many thank for your interest and your nice words! Surely I'm gonna have a look to your work.

I've tried to refrain myself from going too deep into the cracks of philosophical foundation of the today's physics in my essay, focussing rather onto the true essence that 'things', either physical or mathematical, share... as to say, speaking of ontology but without saying it too loud; but this didn't prevent you from getting the point I see :)

Best wishes,

Paolo

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Vladimir Rogozhin replied on Apr. 10, 2015 @ 12:00 GMT
Thank you, Paolo. for your kind words. I once gave you a happy nine (№9), but some "sniper" then lowered rating. Waiting for you on my forum. Today it is important for the understanding of the deepest meanings of being.

Sincerely, Vladimir

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 8, 2015 @ 15:43 GMT
Dear Paolo,

I think Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein was wrong about abstract space/time, and Hawking was wrong about the explosive capability of NOTHING.

All I ask is that you give my essay WHY THE REAL UNIVERSE IS NOT MATHEMATICAL a fair reading and that you allow me to answer any objections you may leave in my comment box about it.

Joe Fisher

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Sylvain Poirier wrote on Apr. 10, 2015 @ 10:24 GMT
Dear Paolo,

I see some similarities of your ideas with mine (see my essay A Mind/Mathematics Dualistic Foundation of Physical Reality): you wrote "The obvious answer is that existence is a quality relationally attributed to entities by Sentient Agents", and it pertains only to their current status or informational content. We are forced to say that something exists if an only if a SA is...

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Author Paolo Bellan replied on Apr. 26, 2015 @ 11:12 GMT
Dear Sylvain,

thanks for your interest and your rewarding opinion; it is a relief indeed: I'm a bit afraid that my sake of conciseness ended up to deliver a messy tangle :)

Let me also acknowledging your work in reviewing the essays... really wonderful !

Your ideas about the two kinds of existence are keen, and I'm eager to read your paper; at first glance I would only say...

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Sylvain Poirier replied on May. 28, 2015 @ 12:09 GMT
I agree that the distinction between something being real and having the quality of being real, is paradoxical, and even absurd at a fundamental level, since, to consider the attribution of a quality of reality to an object as something different from the object itself, the object would have to somehow exist independently of that reality that may be optionally attributed to it. But my point is that there are different possible degrees of reality for the same mathematical objects: all mathematical objects have the quality of mathematical existence (to be mathematical objects at all) but not the quality of physical reality (which depends on conscious perception).

"being mathematical implies being conceived" : I disagree.

Let's take a concrete example: consider the set of all numbers between 0 and 10101000. They all mathematically exist. They are all mathematical objects. Still they cannot all be conceived, at least by human beings, since most of them (the "random" ones) are too complex to be pointed out : each of the random ones would require about 101000 digits of information to be specified. The same goes for the physical universe: it is a choice of a mathematical object in a landscape of mathematical objects that all mathematically exist but are not all consciously pointed out.

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Janko Kokosar wrote on Apr. 19, 2015 @ 15:10 GMT
Dear Paolo

Poirier sorted essays and gives he, you and me in the same box, named ''Spiritualism: Consciousness is fundamental''. I need to read you more precisely, but it is already seen that we agree a lot.

I do not understand your opinion about MUH, but in my opinion it is not necessay some anthropic principle, but only very simple axioms for all physics, or even without axioms. What is your opinion?

My essay

Best regards

Janko Kokosar

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Author Paolo Bellan replied on Apr. 26, 2015 @ 10:28 GMT
Hi Janko,

thanks for your words and interest; sure I'm gonna have a look to your work asap.

Concerning what you ask me about MUH, well.... there is a lot to say; honestly, I had to cut out quite some stuff related to it I put in my essay in the draft versions.

I found that the core idea of MUH is a very interesting one, as I've written in my essay: equating the necessity of mathematical structures to the one of physical reality actually solves a number of philosophical issues, and sheds light to the nature of the possible ultimate fabric of the universe (in a sense). Also, MUH main idea is deeply rooted in something that I found myself a key point in physics, namely the relational nature of all quantities and entities... imo, a well proved fact.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that MUH is definitely an unverifiable statement (and hence, a kind of metaphysical statement), as all the empirical tests purported by the Author are preposterous; also, it is prone to a number of heavy objections, raised from different Authors and still pending, and it lets unanswered many questions. Overall, I deem no more than a thoughtful exercise, with a number of innovating hints for further speculations.

All my best,

P

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