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Peter Jackson: on 4/6/17 at 19:19pm UTC, wrote Vik, (& thanks Vlad) I hope you'll get round to reading and commenting my...

Vladimir Rodin: on 4/1/17 at 12:39pm UTC, wrote I completely agree with Peter. Victor, in a unison with you Socrates spoke...

Vladimir Rogozhin: on 3/29/17 at 12:50pm UTC, wrote Dear Victor, I read with great interest your deep essay with ideas and the...

Dizhechko Semyonovich: on 3/19/17 at 7:18am UTC, wrote Victor We found something in common in our thoughts. I appreciated your...

Victor Usack: on 3/18/17 at 18:03pm UTC, wrote Ben Guilty as charged. Trying to blow smoke up Tegmark’s ass. I wonder...

Victor Usack: on 3/17/17 at 20:04pm UTC, wrote Pete I’m very grateful for constructive criticism. Deity is a...

Ben Tolkin: on 3/17/17 at 0:03am UTC, wrote I suppose it's a smart plan to cite Tegmark's interpretation of the...

peter cameron: on 3/16/17 at 12:31pm UTC, wrote Vik, Great essay, unique in its approach to the difficult theme given us...


Steve Dufourny: "Hi Georgina and Mr Sturm, Mr Sturm , sad that you have a problem with..." in The Present State of...

Deserdi Chapas: "Hi FQXI Members: We found the courage to asymptotically take one step..." in Alternative Models of...

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The Entropic Price of Building the Perfect Clock: Q&A with Natalia Ares
Experiments investigating the thermodynamics of clocks can teach us about the origin of time's arrow.

Schrödinger’s A.I. Could Test the Foundations of Reality
Physicists lay out blueprints for running a 'Wigner's Friend' experiment using an artificial intelligence, built on a quantum computer, as an 'observer.'

Expanding the Mind (Literally): Q&A with Karim Jerbi and Jordan O'Byrne
Using a brain-computer interface to create a consciousness 'add-on' to help test Integrated Information Theory.

Quanthoven's Fifth
A quantum computer composes chart-topping music, programmed by physicists striving to understand consciousness.

The Math of Consciousness: Q&A with Kobi Kremnitzer
A meditating mathematician is developing a theory of conscious experience to help understand the boundary between the quantum and classical world.

January 29, 2023

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: On the philosophical implications of the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis, or, Watch me tread water in the swamp of relativism. by Victor Usack [refresh]
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Author Victor Usack wrote on Feb. 17, 2017 @ 20:54 GMT
Essay Abstract

The author labors under the illusion of a coherent argument towards the reconciliation of science and philosophy. In particular, mathematics and teleology. To effect this program we consider first an epistemological investigation of mathematical understanding. We choose the Münchhausen Trilemma (MT) as an epistemological benchmark and then, apply it to physics and arrive at the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH).

Author Bio

Vik Usak is a retired technical specialist from Brookhaven National Laboratory. He participated in the construction, maintenance, and operations of the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, NASA Space Radiation Laboratory, G-2 measurement, Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, and the National Synchrotron Light Source 2. He retired in 2015 to pursue private studies and pray.

Download Essay PDF File

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Feb. 18, 2017 @ 04:57 GMT
Victor Usack,

Thanks for a truly excellent essay. I think you support my own essay, but you'll have to read it to decide. In my essay I quote Stefan Weckbach's analysis of Godel:

Weckbach points out that from Godel we conclude that “relatively simple mathematical systems, although they are consistent, must remain incomplete” but the mathematical system cannot itself formalize this conclusion! This is a powerful argument against “the complete formalizability of all that exists.” He concludes that math speaks to us; the message is: “there is more to existence than mathematical structures ever can deliver.”

I think your essay is conceptual, hence subject to the axioms, regression, and circularity that you note to begin with. You value the MUH highly, but, after introducing it, you sum up: "suppose that reality is mathematics." [Emphasis on suppose] I of course don't suppose that, but that's what makes horse races. Each gets to pick a horse to bet on.

You fairly conclusively "prove" that the reality won't be proved! This probably neatly fits one of your end examples.

Your four cornerstones of cognition: mass density (rho) and velocity (v), and the foundational equation E=mc**2 are encompassed in (Del) x (C) = (rho)(v) which is the key Maxwell-Einstein equation that I believe is the basis of The Nature of Quantum Gravity and arguably the basis of the self-aware consciousness field that can be pushed exceedingly far.

But you certainly caught the relevant truth for this essay contest (and more):

"The event that any number of systems are possible guarantees the eternal occupation of my fellow thinkers."

You end with the question we started with:

"How is this mathematical reality related to consciousness and self?"

Excellent essay.

Best regards

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Branko L Zivlak wrote on Feb. 18, 2017 @ 19:54 GMT
Dear Mr. Usak

“Our external physical reality is a mathematical structure“. Why, you can see in formula (17) of my essay.

“Shut up and calculate!”



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John-Erik Persson wrote on Feb. 18, 2017 @ 20:11 GMT

I have read your essay. It was a great and enjoyable experience. I thank you for this contribution.

Best regards __________________ John-Erik

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Joe Fisher wrote on Feb. 20, 2017 @ 16:35 GMT
Dear Victor Usack,

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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Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 24, 2017 @ 10:38 GMT

Excellent. As Russel showed; "All logical systems end in paradox". But I propose the 'interleaved' structure and implications of Propositional Dynamic Logic (PDL) can allow us to drain most of the swamp (this years AND last years top community scored essays). I'd greatly value your views.

I also propose that the universe as "mathematical in a well defined sense" is delusional. Well defined a mermaid may be but does that prove she exists!

Can you refute my fundamental proposition identifying the problem; that in no way should we assume 1 = 1. That is the problem. NO ONE THING IN THE UNIVERSE IS ENTIRELY IDENTICAL TO ANY OTHER. So no two planets, molecules and at some scale even no two fermions are quite identical.

I found once we accept that Gaussian/Bayesian 'Law of the reducing middle' we can start to make 'logical' sense of nature (with recursively reducing uncertainty remaining).

My essay also then agrees with you, Popper and Davies, and derives 'intent' etc by 'PDL layered' physical interactions. I'd value your thoughts.

Best of luck, (you score is way to low but will shortly be less so).


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Author Victor Usack wrote on Feb. 25, 2017 @ 17:17 GMT

It is far beyond me to untangle the mysteries of the universe with Propositional Dynamic Logic. It looks like another epistemologically tangled swamp. My suspicion is that the recursive feature of our inherited mindset leads us in circles when we address ultimate questions such as free will, realism – idealism, the direction of natural selection, information, consciousness, random...

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Vladimir Rodin replied on Apr. 1, 2017 @ 12:39 GMT
I completely agree with Peter. Victor, in a unison with you Socrates spoke once too; "I know that I know nothing", but this great thinker was not scholastic. Truly, "in many wisdom it's a lot of sadness... (Methuselah)". The sense of these wise expressions is banal and consists that the way of reaching of the true is perpetual, we need only to select the most direct footpath, nevertheless bypassing the swamps.


Vladimir A. Rodin

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Peter Jackson replied on Apr. 6, 2017 @ 19:19 GMT
Vik, (& thanks Vlad)

I hope you'll get round to reading and commenting my own essay (before scoring ends or you may kick yourself!) It doesn't take a genuis, honestly (you'll see 4 out of 5 barmaids understood it - I could introduce you) and it may be seminal. (PDL works just like leaves of a book. Layered).



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Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 05:44 GMT
Dear Victor,

In your essay I hear a strong feeling of inexpressible mystery and I fully share that. When you are talking about "the hopeless despair of science", I am sure you are not despondent at all :) . The very end of your witty essay, with a funny set of liar paradoxes, gives me that hint. Maybe, you will find it interesting to see the significant role of one such paradox in our essay. Appreciating your artistic mysticism, I give you a high score.


Alexey Burov, your colleague in the field of accelerators :)

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 22:27 GMT

The best essays cannot be fully appreciated in one reading. In response to your enthusiastic appreciation of my essay, I have reread your own, and realized again that yours is a masterpiece. Thank you for reading my essay, but thanks most for writing your own. I felt that our essays support each other on my first reading (see my above comment). I'm glad you feel the same. You have picked worthwhile goals for your retirement.

My best wishes for you,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Don Limuti wrote on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 21:18 GMT
Hi Victor,

I could not stop laughing at your analysis of the human spectacle. This is very high praise.

I tried in my own way to do something similar. Check out my essay. I promise it will be a very quick read, that is not quite as analytical as yours.

Appreciate your essay.

Don Limuti

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Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Mar. 10, 2017 @ 13:16 GMT
Dear Victor , you wrote a good instructive philosophical essay. I wish to see your criticism on the New Cartesian Physic, the founder of which I call myself.

The concept of moving space-matter helped me:

- To transform the uncertainty principle Heisenberg in the principle of definiteness of points of space-matter;

- Open the law of the constancy of the flow of forces through a closed surface is the sphere of space-matter;

- To formulate the law of gravitation Lorentz;

- Give the formula for the pressure of the Universe;

- To reveal the essence of gravitational mass as the flow vector of the centrifugal acceleration across the surface of the corpuscles, etc.

From New Cartesian Physic great potential in understanding the world. To show this potential in his essay I gave the "materialistic explanation of the paranormal and supernatural" is the title of my essay. I made a mistake that has bound New Cartesian physiсs with the paranormal and supernatural, because it does not attract the attention of others. Visit my essay and you will find something in it about New Cartesian Physic. Note the drawing of geometric relationships in the atom.

Sincerely, Boris Dizhechko.

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Author Victor Usack wrote on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 03:48 GMT

You are the first to grasp my enigmatic essay.

I am glad you enjoyed reading my philosophical tailspin. We may like to think there is a simple basis to this experience and there probably is, but it eludes us.


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Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich replied on Mar. 19, 2017 @ 07:18 GMT

We found something in common in our thoughts. I appreciated your essay. Thank you very much for the words of support of New Cartesian Physic, the basis of which the identity of space and matter that move. Physical space exists in the usual Euclidean sense, only in an infinitely small size.

The place where we are infinitely small compared to the whole Universe and so it is Euclidean. If you take the whole picture of the Universe that we see, it is curved in the past. Need minutes to get the signal from the moon reached the Earth, from the Sun days, from stars years. The universe has no end or edge, as the movement makes it closed.

I hope that the principle of identity of space and matter of Descartes ever become the criterion for checking the knowledge of scientists.

All the best to you!


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peter cameron wrote on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 12:31 GMT

Great essay, unique in its approach to the difficult theme given us by the organizers. Toungue-in-cheek funny, a few good serious pokes at the orthodoxy, and your own view of deity dancing around in the background.

To build your approach around the Munchausen Trilemma is brilliant. Would like to see MT used in an attempt to undermine MUH as well as support it.


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Ben Tolkin wrote on Mar. 17, 2017 @ 00:03 GMT
I suppose it's a smart plan to cite Tegmark's interpretation of the universe in an FQXi contest, but I do wish you'd said more to support it than "the universe *is* mathematics, full stop!" That said, a good essay for acknowledging the inherent self-recursion in this very essay contest; any argument about intentions needs to explain why you intended to make this argument!

I actually wish you'd spent more time on that. The image of the essay as a futile message in a bottle doesn't seem like a mere poetic device to me; if you wrote this essay only to find that it had sunk you further into a confusing morass, why bother to upload it? Did you think that it would still help clarify the universe for others? Or that by adding to their confusion, you were at least putting their thinking on better ground? Or just had a faint hope for an unreasonable amount of prize money? These aren't just idle questions! It is the actual actions taken by the author that take this from a totally detached epistemology floating in space to a piece of the universe.

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Author Victor Usack wrote on Mar. 17, 2017 @ 20:04 GMT

I’m very grateful for constructive criticism.

Deity is a transcendent model. We can imagine information as being something separate from the matter, but I suspect you know this leads to philosophical debate. I equally accept immanent models.

I erred in the introduction of the “Rudimentary equality” before defining it. It amounts to nothing more than the Law of...

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Author Victor Usack wrote on Mar. 18, 2017 @ 18:03 GMT

Guilty as charged. Trying to blow smoke up Tegmark’s ass. I wonder if he read it. Maybe get an irate message from him for massacring his nice theory. He begins with the external reality Hypothesis and with the implicit assumption that math is objective reality. A statement of abject realism that is (only) one expression of my broader application of what I mean by “baggage”. Guilty...

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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Mar. 29, 2017 @ 12:50 GMT
Dear Victor,

I read with great interest your deep essay with ideas and the extremely critical Cartesian spirit that will help us overcome the crisis of understanding in fundamental science through the creation of a new comprehensive picture of the world, uniform for physicists, mathematicians lyricists, poets and musicians filled with meanings of the "LifeWorld" (E.Husserl).

Hence, the problem of the ontological basification (foundation / justification ) of mathematics (knowledge) today is the problem №1 for fundamental knowledge and philosophy, taking into account all the "troubles with physics"(Lee Smolin," The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next") and "loss of certainty" (Morris Kline in "Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty"). . I give my highest rating.

I believe, that only the constructive "modified ontology" and deepest dialectic of "coincidence of opposites", "coincidence of maximum and minimum" taking into account the accumulated knowledge will help us to overcome the crisis of understanding, crisis of interpretation and representation.

A good idea of Alexander Zenkin for choosing a way to overcome the crisis of knowledge: «the truth should be drawn…»

I invite you to read my ontological -dialectical ideas .

Best regards,


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