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Current Essay Contest

Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fnd.

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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 Fnd.

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


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

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

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

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American

What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008

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January 23, 2018

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: From non-sentient stardust to home sapiens sapiens by Aron Barco and Yafet Sanchez Sanchez [refresh]
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Author Aron Barco wrote on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 17:29 GMT
Essay Abstract

In this article we explore the relationship between intentionality, mathematics, and natural laws. We argue that natural laws expressed in a mathematical language can not be the cause of our intentionality. Moreover, we propose two problems that must be solved by any theory that explains human intention.

Author Bio

Aron Barco is a postgraduate researcher in Philosophy at the University of Southampton. His thesis studies and expands some insights from Wittgenstein's remarks on the foundations of mathematics to resolve Benacerraf's Dilemma. Yafet Sanchez Sanchez obtained his Phd in Mathematics from the University of Southampton in January, 2017. The subject of his thesis is a characterisation of singularities in general relativity.

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Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 17:37 GMT
Dear Drs. Aron Barco and Yafet Sanchez Sanchez [,

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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Author Aron Barco replied on Apr. 5, 2017 @ 22:53 GMT
Dear Joe,

Thank you for your comment. We will try to read your essay and comment.

Kind Regards,


Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 06:34 GMT
Nice essay Barco,

Your ideas and thinking are excellent on Cognitive sciences and AI. Some of the good words I am quoting below…

1. Perhaps if we program a weak AI with enough conditionals (if A then B), it could learn how to respond to all inferential connections that govern our use of language.

2. The first may be called doxastic intentionality, as it is related to what...

view entire post

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Author Aron Barco replied on Apr. 5, 2017 @ 22:56 GMT
Dear Satyavarapu,

Thank you for your kind comments. I will comment in your essay thread about your essay.

Kind Regards,


Willy K wrote on Mar. 22, 2017 @ 08:45 GMT
Hi Barco/Sanchez

I think you are correct in identifying the two questions that are necessary for solving the issue of human intentionality. The two questions suggested by you parallels the latter two of the three phase transitions suggested in the essay of Mohapatra.

Although the domain of extrinsic intelligence (Constitutional nation state) may be far removed from that of intrinsic intelligence (brains), there may be some minor commonalities between the two that allows my essay to also suggest a possible solution.

In order to do this, Sentience is being understood as Constitutional Democracy and Normativity is being understood as the technological prowess of the nation state. If that is assumed to be true, then the nine stage model in my essaycould offer a way to solve the sentience and normativity problems in two stages. First, there is a seven stage model within the nine stages (fourth and seventh levels are dropped) that creates Constitutional Democracy (parallels sentience) and then the two dropped levels are added back to the model to create the technological prowess of the nation state (parallels normativity).

I really liked your essay. I am rating it highly. Perhaps, I should also clarify that I expect the brain to be completely different from the Constitutional nation state in almost all respects other than what is discussed above.

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Author Aron Barco replied on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 21:05 GMT
Dear Willy,

Thank you for your comments. The Mohapatra essay as you point out, seems to coincide with us that there is a qualitative difference between linguistic abilities and consciousness. Moreover, their suggestion that information maybe underlines both is very appealing.

Also, I read your essay and love your starting point by considering the biomass. Regarding "higher" structures such as nation states and society. Aron and me definitely agree that there is a possibility to extend our ideas further and we will be interested in discussing them with you when they are more solid.

At the moment, I have a bit of problem understanding how "Sentience is being understood as Constitutional Democracy and Normativity is being understood as the technological prowess of the nation state." If it is possible would you mind expanding a little bit about that.

I will comment in a more detailed manner in your essay.

Kind Regards,


Willy K replied on Apr. 10, 2017 @ 05:19 GMT
Hi Yafet

Thanks for reviewing my essay. Appreciate your effort. I have responded to your queries on my page. The four steps mentioned there can also be understood as : 1 Personal space 2. Social space 3. Political space 4. Economic space.

Basically, the third step (political space) parallels sentience in intrinsic intelligence and fourth step (economic space) parallels linguistic capability of intrinsic intelligence. Of course, it goes without saying that the nation state does not become 'sentient' in any sense of that word. I am speaking merely of a structural parallel with the earlier intelligence level. The two intelligence levels are probably different in every other way.

I expect the brain to be modeled differently from the nation state because of its bio-chemical underpinnings, which are completely absent at the social/political/economic level. We will definitely need a new model for explaining the functioning of the brain. Hope I am making sense!

Cheers, Willy

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Don Limuti wrote on Mar. 27, 2017 @ 05:38 GMT
Hi Aron,

I finally got to your sane essay. Sorry it took me so long.

"Our conclusion is not that mathematical laws give rise to our intentions, but actually the other way around" Yes, Yes, Yes!

One of the questions that needs to be answered is: "How can non-linguistic abilities constitute linguistic ones?" My essay goes into the linguistic aspects of Choice vs. Determinist..... Linguistic quicksand.

Take a look at my essay....I think you will like it.

Your essay is terribly underrated by this community...I will do my best to rectify it.


Don Limuti

PS: If you have any interest in gravity check out:

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Author Aron Barco replied on Apr. 5, 2017 @ 22:58 GMT
Hi Don,

I have read your essay and I like the linguistic form your essay has ;)

I will comment there in more detail.

Kind Regards,


Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 08:43 GMT
Dear Sirs!

Physics of Descartes, which existed prior to the physics of Newton returned as the New Cartesian Physic and promises to be a theory of everything. To tell you this good news I use «spam».

New Cartesian Physic based on the identity of space and matter. It showed that the formula of mass-energy equivalence comes from the pressure of the Universe, the flow of force which on the corpuscle is equal to the product of Planck's constant to the speed of light.

New Cartesian Physic has great potential for understanding the world. To show it, I ventured to give "materialistic explanations of the paranormal and supernatural" is the title of my essay.

Visit my essay, you will find there the New Cartesian Physic and make a short entry: "I believe that space is a matter" I will answer you in return. Can put me 1.


Dizhechko Boris

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 23:03 GMT
Dear Yafet,

I'm glad you liked my essay; thanks for responding.

Quoting Weckbach, Godel's conclusion is not mathematically formalizable, serving as an argument against "the complete formalizability of all that exists."

You read Godel's theorem as saying that mathematics is more than formalization… I confess to not knowing how to interpret that. I could make a guess, but as I am sure you prefer an informed answer, I would suggest that you ask Stefan Weckbach this question, as he is more capable than I on this subject.

Having just read your essay (which is excellent) it is Gadamer's split between subjective and objective that I attempt to solve with the physical field of consciousness. The split has occasionally been healed through religious and/or psychedelic experiences, but never treated physically to my knowledge. The nature of self-awareness will always be a mystery, but I propose that the field possessing self-awareness couples to the real world and thus becomes part of the real physical world.

I like that you say "expressions of laws do not directly cause anything, mathematical or otherwise. What causes the sun to rise every morning are natural mechanisms, not our laws; these are just human heuristic artifacts…", and (later on) "are not created in a historical vacuum."

I generally agree with your conclusion, and offer the consciousness field as a solution to your problem #1, and, interacting with a sufficient neural net plus history, to problem #2.

I realize that more details of the physical field are required to be taken seriously and plan to provide those details in future.

Thank you for reading and commenting and participating in this contest.

My best wishes,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

PS. As I have been working with a friend who has now spent several years working on singularities in general relativity, I would be interested in your recent thesis. If it is not on arXiv, could you point me to it. Thanks.

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Author Aron Barco replied on Apr. 14, 2017 @ 23:17 GMT
Dear Edwin,

Thank you for your comment and congratulations on finishing 1st.

I have not uploaded my thesis to Arxiv, but some of the following links are results that appear on my thesis.

Kind Regards,

Yafet Sanchez Sanchez

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