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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Neil Bates: on 4/23/15 at 2:45am UTC, wrote Lorriane - without going into detail yet: your essay is a nice...

Lorraine Ford: on 4/22/15 at 5:45am UTC, wrote Hi Peter, thanks for taking the time to read my essay, and for your very...

Peter Jackson: on 4/21/15 at 10:21am UTC, wrote Lorraine, I was uplifted by your essay from the rather depressed state...

Joe Fisher: on 4/20/15 at 16:53pm UTC, wrote Dear Lorraine, Thank you for leaving an agreeable comment about my essay. ...

Janko Kokosar: on 4/18/15 at 12:33pm UTC, wrote Dear Lorraine About ''simulated in binary computer'' it is more stressed...

Lorraine Ford: on 4/16/15 at 0:49am UTC, wrote Dear Janko, I remember you from the last essay contest. We agree that...

Lorraine Ford: on 4/15/15 at 14:19pm UTC, wrote Dear Joe, Hope to read your essay ASAP (I am snowed under at present!). ...

Lorraine Ford: on 4/15/15 at 14:10pm UTC, wrote Hi Neil, thanks for reviewing my essay, and your kind comments. Yes, "we...


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FQXi FORUM
October 15, 2019

CATEGORY: Trick or Truth Essay Contest (2015) [back]
TOPIC: Reality is MORE than what Maths can Represent by Lorraine Ford [refresh]
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Author Lorraine Ford wrote on Mar. 11, 2015 @ 20:55 GMT
Essay Abstract

In this essay I describe the difference and the connection between physics and mathematics. But I mainly discuss the differences between physical reality and its mathematical representation. I argue that equations can’t represent the experiential aspect of information; that physics equations require behind-the-scenes work, but reality doesn’t; that physics equations require behind-the-scenes calculations, but reality doesn’t; that numbers represent fundamental physical structures, but sets don’t; and that equations can’t represent the creative aspect of reality.

Author Bio

Lorraine is a former computer analyst and programmer. She lives with her husband, a cat, some ducks, and a wild flowering garden beloved by birds, bees and other insects. Lorraine is interested in animals, flowers, plants, insects and other living things.

Download Essay PDF File

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Jeffrey Michael Schmitz wrote on Mar. 13, 2015 @ 20:01 GMT
Lorraine,

Thank you for this essay. It is clear that you put in a lot of time into this topic and that you know the literature. You have a unique "voice" in your writing style and even your layout. Why does mathematics change? Life evolves to survive; mathematics is not a living thing, so it would seem to have no need to evolve in the same way as a living thing. If you feel there is an overall direction math or physics should go, that would be an important thing to state at the beginning of the essay.

Jeff

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Author Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 13, 2015 @ 23:04 GMT
Jeff,

Thanks for taking the time to read, and for your positive comments on my essay.

Re "is there an overall direction math or physics should go?": I wouldn't presume to point to a definite path that maths or physics should take. However, I hope I have demonstrated via my essay that any sort of mathematical representation can not actually represent (the most) important aspects of reality. As you have perceived, this amounts to my asserting that a change in outlook about the nature of reality is required, something that perhaps should be stated at the beginning of the essay. But, in a way, I don't like to overtly claim this, because almost every second essay in these competitions claims that a radical change of outlook is required!!

Cheers,

Lorraine

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Georgina Woodward replied on Mar. 14, 2015 @ 04:44 GMT
Hi Lorraine,

I have enjoyed reading your essay.There are lots of passages I could talk about. here's one. You wrote. "It is necessary that “the universe” apprehends itself from within i.e. from a subjective viewpoint from within. So there exists no external-to-the-universe objective-viewpoint information; and there is also no internal-to-the-universe objective-viewpoint information...

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Author Lorraine Ford wrote on Mar. 14, 2015 @ 16:37 GMT
Hi Georgina,

Thanks for reading my essay, and for your kind comments.

I see fundamental-level information as categories (like momentum or charge) and relationships (representable by law-of-nature equations) and quantities (representable by numbers). I would contend that it is necessary for this type of fundamental information to be apprehended by particles and molecules because there is no such thing as objectively-existing information. If information is claimed to be "objective", then you have to ask: "where and how does it physically exist?" In fact, so-called "objective" information only exists as written or spoken representations and as human subjective experience of these representations.

Re truth, and independence from subjective interpretation:

The way I see it, each particle's subjective experience is "truth", and each living thing's executive-level subjective experience is "truth". However, we can't BE a particle: it requires physics and mathematics (and a lot of hard work and advanced technology) for us to attempt to symbolically represent the content of a fundamental particle’s experience. Physics equations in effect REPRESENT a "truth" about information relationships in fundamental reality. If scientists hadn’t looked, we would have never known. This "truth" about the overall nature of reality exists in the form of our symbolic (written and spoken) representations of it.

Re "the perfectly valid, scientifically confirmable, mathematical representation of aspects of reality":

What I meant was law-of-nature equations. Law-of-nature equations are perfectly valid, scientifically confirmable, mathematical representations of information - but they can’t represent the experiential aspect of information, or the creative aspect of reality etc.

I hope to get round to reading your essay soon. There seems to be more essays than ever this time!

Cheers,

Lorraine

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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Mar. 18, 2015 @ 19:44 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

I read your essay with great interest. I totally agree with you: "Reality can not be understood as a mathematical entity: reality is more than what the maths can represent." Equation - are intellectual "clippings" from being whole. My high score. Mathematics and physics require the ontological justification (basification). Now it is necessary to look at the world as a whole, as one looks poets and philosophers:

It is by a mathematical point only that we are wise,

as the sailor or the fugitive slave keeps the polestar in his eye;

but that is sufficient guidance for all our life.

We may not arrive at our port within a calculable period,

but we would preserve the true course.
(Henry David Thoreau, 1854)

I invite you to see and appreciate my analysis of the philosophical foundations of mathematics and physics, the method of ontological constructing a new basis of knowledge and new unifying paradigm - the maternal generating structure, "La Structure mère" as the ontological framework, carcass and foundation of knowledge, the core of which - the ontological (structural, cosmic) memory.

Kind regards,

Vladimir

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Author Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 20, 2015 @ 13:12 GMT
Dear Vladimir,

Thanks for reading my essay and for your comments, and for your high score!

As you seem to imply, we need the poets and philosophers to represent for us the important parts of reality that science and maths leave out.

I will read your essay as soon as I am able to.

Cheers,

Lorraine

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Nick Mann wrote on Mar. 20, 2015 @ 04:57 GMT
Origami folding is NP-hard. (The P?=NP question is one of the six remaining Clay Mathematics Institute millennium challenges the overcoming of which earns you a million bucks US, so solve it now while the dollar's strong and inflation's essentially nonexistent.) Anyway the art or craft of origami is practiced all the time and often with breathtaking brilliance. The problem is that it appears not to be theoretically possible (i.e., not mathematically describable or algorithmically compressible), even though there's plenty of cogent text telling you in detailed empirical how to do it. Interesting.

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Mar. 22, 2015 @ 22:59 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

As always, I find myself in full agreement with your perspective despite differences in the way we define "information". We essentially agree on the experiential nature of reality, which is not present in symbols or equations, but only in conscious perception.

I especially liked your reminder that "Whether we use our brains, or use a computer to do the work for us, we...

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Author Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 23, 2015 @ 22:39 GMT
Dear Edwin,

I like the quote from the David Berlinski book – I think I WOULD enjoy reading it.

What I said about the number pi representing "subjectively apprehended hierarchically-weighted levels of interconnecting relationship that extend throughout physical reality, a type of information that somehow spatially interconnects a fundamental subject with all other subjects in the rest of the universe" almost seems ridiculous but, as I said, it is a "difficult and awkward" issue. Do you have any opinions about what type of physical reality might underlie pi?

I hope to read your essay soon.

Cheers,

Lorraine

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Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Mar. 24, 2015 @ 21:23 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

I do think you would enjoy Berlinski's book.

You ask the tough questions – the physical basis of pi. If I had to guess, I would not assign it to the existence of the static circle (Platonic form) but to the fact that moving mass and charge induce a surrounding circulation (gravitomagnetic or electromagnetic) which entails and implies (?) pi. This is only a wild guess but I find a dynamic solution preferable to a static solution, and I find these physical behaviors some of the most relevant from the moment of the Big Bang until this present moment. But we'll probably never know the genesis of pi.

If my hypothesis of the genesis of pi were correct, it would also tie it to Planck's constant, which is a truly physical constant. And possibly to 'c' as well. This makes it more attractive to me, and I had not previously thought of this aspect of the problem, so thank you for asking that question.

My very best,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 25, 2015 @ 10:38 GMT
Thanks, Edwin

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Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 24, 2015 @ 15:25 GMT
Dear Ms. Ford,

I have no wish to be disrespectful to you or to your essay, but I think abstract mathematics and abstract physics have nothing to do with how the real Universe is occurring for the following real reason:

Do let me know what you think about this: This is my single unified theorem of how the real Universe is occurring: Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein...

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Author Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 25, 2015 @ 11:03 GMT
Hi Joe,

Thanks for reading my essay.

I don't think there is anything abstract about physical reality. It's just that people try to represent what's going on with symbols - just like you represent your thoughts with symbols i.e. letters of the alphabet and words. E.g. if you saw a horse, you might represent the horse with the written word "horse" or the spoken word "horse". Some people take it further and think that certain symbolic representations exist in an abstract realm - but I don't.

Cheers,

Lorraine

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Joe Fisher replied on Mar. 25, 2015 @ 15:03 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

Thank you for not reporting my comment to FQXi.org as being inappropriate and have the Moderator classify it as Obnoxious Spam.

You know there is nothing abstract about physical reality. Unfortunately, all of the philosophers and physicists who have ever lived have only believed in abstraction.

Gratefully,

Joe Fisher

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Sujatha Jagannathan wrote on Apr. 5, 2015 @ 18:41 GMT
Your connection of things looks tedious in different areas, but you relate and vary at the same time.

- With regards,

Miss. Sujatha Jagannathan

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Author Lorraine Ford replied on Apr. 15, 2015 @ 13:58 GMT
Re "tedious in different areas": Could you be more precise??? What do you mean???

Lorraine

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Neil Bates wrote on Apr. 9, 2015 @ 01:16 GMT
Lorraine, your essay made me think about foundational framing issues from a bird's-eye perspective, and to realize we have to think about the minds doing the wondering about the world. We can't just take our math and run with it. Your essay is underrated! I hope you'll take a look at mine, I start with a rather technical physics argument but end by addressing the same sort of foundational questions. Cheers.

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Author Lorraine Ford replied on Apr. 15, 2015 @ 14:10 GMT
Hi Neil,

thanks for reviewing my essay, and your kind comments.

Yes, "we have to think about the minds doing the wondering about the world" - particularly so because we/our minds are not actually separate from "the world".

Will take a look at your essay soon,

Lorraine

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 9, 2015 @ 16:09 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

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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Author Lorraine Ford replied on Apr. 15, 2015 @ 14:19 GMT
Dear Joe,

Hope to read your essay ASAP (I am snowed under at present!).

Cheers,

Lorraine

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Janko Kokosar wrote on Apr. 11, 2015 @ 13:13 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

In principle, we agree math is not everything in physics. Especially in your section 2.5. You wrote: ''nothing truly new is happening because ''anything that ever comes out was already contained in your starting point ''[19] initial conditions and law-of-nature rules.'' This is very similarly as I wrote in my prolonged version of FQXi essay. I claim, that Tononi's model of consciousness does not give anything new, because everything it is determined with initial conditions. But free will changes, what is determined with initial conditions. Thus free will is my correction to Tononi's model. And, free will is consequence of quantum randomness, by me.

According to your behind-the-scene calculations I disagree, although you gave deep arguments. One argument is that quantum computers calculates faster quantum calculations.The another is that analoguous (nondigital) computers also exist. The third my reason is that I think our universe is like virtual reality. I cannot yet give perfect anti-argument against you, but I will think about this. However, your section 2.5 is more important about our agreement:disagreement.

As I wrote in my essay, I guessed that logic is more important than math, because all physics can be simulated in binary computer. I think that space time and matter have finite information. But, linear structures (also ratios) are primary in physics. What do you think about this, esspecially in connection with your section 2.4? What do you think about essay of Kevin Knuth? What about Russell, who proved that 1+1=2?

However we agree, that pure consciousness cannot be describe with math.

my essay

Best regards

Janko Kokosar

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Author Lorraine Ford replied on Apr. 16, 2015 @ 00:49 GMT
Dear Janko,

I remember you from the last essay contest.

We agree that free will must have something to do with what is called "quantum randomness". This is my way of looking at it: In a (theoretical) fully deterministic universe, all the parameter values that we use to represent a physical outcome can potentially be predicted by us (if the situation is not too complex). But (in the real universe) when representing the physical outcome of free will, at least one of the parameter values cannot be predicted, even in simple situations.

So in order to fully specify the physical outcome of free will, in addition to law-of-nature equations, a new, additional equation is required to represent this unpredictable parameter value. Something new has been created, because a new equation is required to fully specify the actual physical outcome. To my way of thinking, the slippery and difficult-to-define concept of "free will" is more correctly and cleanly envisaged as the creation of something new.

I agree that Tononi's model of consciousness needs correction, but what his model DOES give is the idea of integrated information – which is a valuable idea.

Yes, I am contending that there is no processing going on behind-the-scenes in physical reality. All the processing that WE HUMANS must do (either manually or by computer) in order to represent and predict physical outcomes in reality, is a consequence of the fact that we can only REPRESENT nature with our equations. Doing calculations is a necessary consequence of using symbols to represent reality. I'm saying that reality isn't symbolising itself: reality is directly apprehending/experiencing itself, so reality is not doing calculations.

You say that "ALL physics can be simulated in binary computer" - but doesn’t this contradict your idea of free will?

Re Kevin Knuth, "1+1=2", and my essay section 2.4:

Both counting, and the Union and Intersection of set theory, require advanced and sophisticated discrimination and comparison abilities that just CANNOT be present at the level of particles and atoms. I'm disappointed that Kevin Knuth seems to believe in magic. I contend that at the level of fundamental reality, a simpler and more basic regime exists. I.e. the subjective experience of information categories (like mass and charge) and information relationships (which we represent with symbols like + - ÷ x and =). The fundamental reality that we humans represent with numbers is just a special sort of the aforementioned information category relationship, one where the category "cancels out".

I will be interested to read your essay as soon as I can.

Cheers,

Lorraine

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Janko Kokosar wrote on Apr. 18, 2015 @ 12:33 GMT
Dear Lorraine

About ''simulated in binary computer'' it is more stressed on binary versus continuum. Of course, it can be included randomness or free will, like in a quantum computer.

Of course Tononi make a good work. I was surprised that he and Koch defend panpsichism. (But, I think that they do not like quantum consciousness.) But, last year Bolognesi asked me where I think that I have correction to Tononi's model, that he will try with a different simulation. Snd this year I got an Idea, that quantum free will is this, what make distincition with his model.

I will also think about your ''behind-the-scene calculations'' that I will find answer in it, maybe in a year; it is a deep idea.

Sylvain Poirier sorted me and some others in box of idealism of this FQXi contest. http://www.settheory.net/fqxi I will read also other such essays.

I suppose that your ideas are also close to idealism and still of some persons in this fqxi contest.

My essay

Best regards

Janko Kokosar

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 20, 2015 @ 16:53 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

Thank you for leaving an agreeable comment about my essay.

My essay proves that Newton was wrong about abstract gravity, Einstein was wrong about abstract space/time and Hawking was wrong about the explosive capability of NOTHING. All of the philosophers were wrong about their abstract musings. Pathetically, none of the folk who have read my essay seems to understand its real importance. Dr. Brendan Foster, the FQXi.org monitor of the contest labeled part of a comment I posted on some of my fellow essayists sites: “OBNOXIOUS SPAM.”

Joe Fisher

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Peter Jackson wrote on Apr. 21, 2015 @ 10:21 GMT
Lorraine,

I was uplifted by your essay from the rather depressed state from finding how much of physics has slipped into the 'maths is reality' mentality. But quite apart from passionately agreeing your argument I found your essay well enough conceived, presented, written, organized and argued to earn the top score even uninfluenced by any element of agreement.

As also an Architect I well understood and agreed your points on creativity. Indeed you may recall my previous support for that and your main thesis. This year I drove straight at proving the important failings of deluded blind trust in mathematics, saying OK, maybe it 'can' well approximate at the level we use it, but also entirely fool and confound us as tools can be dangerous if misused. But when the essay neared the top and differing views it got attacked by 1's without comment! Clearly some think only numbers are necessary!

I hope you have time to read it, and perhaps afterwards to watch this new short (but dense!) video on the implications.

9 min Video; Physical model giving cosmic redshift, CP violations etc etc.


Very well done with yours again this year. I consider it far too lowly and it seems may be out of the finalists, though my score may help. Best of luck in the final run in.

Peter

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Author Lorraine Ford replied on Apr. 22, 2015 @ 05:45 GMT
Hi Peter,

thanks for taking the time to read my essay, and for your very positive comments (and rating)! I am in the process of reading your essay.

Cheers,

Lorraine

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Neil Bates wrote on Apr. 23, 2015 @ 02:45 GMT
Lorriane - without going into detail yet: your essay is a nice interdisciplinary piece and deserves more credit. It's a shame it's stuck in the fours. Reminder to readers: today is the last day to submit community ratings.

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