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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Don Limuti: on 2/27/18 at 3:08am UTC, wrote Hi Xavier, "It helps not to confuse the map (what we think we are) with...

Luca Valeri: on 2/26/18 at 14:25pm UTC, wrote Hi Xavier, You wrote a very nice essay. I would like to add a few comments...

Peter Jackson: on 2/24/18 at 13:49pm UTC, wrote Xavier, Interesting. Thanks. Glad you enjoyed mine. I've now scored yours....

Xavier Derkx: on 2/23/18 at 16:20pm UTC, wrote Dear Vladimir, Thank you for your interest in my contribution and your...

Xavier Derkx: on 2/23/18 at 16:17pm UTC, wrote Dear Peter, Thank you for your interest in my contribution and your...

Steven Andresen: on 2/22/18 at 7:45am UTC, wrote Dear Xavier If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the...

Vladimir Fedorov: on 2/22/18 at 7:00am UTC, wrote Dear Xavier, I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to...

Peter Jackson: on 2/20/18 at 17:15pm UTC, wrote Xavier, Top job. I think your 'bias/limits' section is excellent and may...


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FQXi FORUM
May 26, 2019

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: Fundamentally limited by Xavier Derkx [refresh]
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Author Xavier Derkx wrote on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 16:21 GMT
Essay Abstract

In this brief essay, we argue that asking “what does 'fundamental' mean?” and “what is fundamental?” are two aspects of the same problem. Links between Reality and modelling (i.e. representations of Reality) are then discussed. It leads us to question the conditions and limitations establishing a scientific model. We reach the conclusion that the hiatus between Reality and its representations are a consequence of biasses from the very nature of human beings. In our opinion, the limits induced by our human nature are therefore the most fundamental things.

Author Bio

Physicist, scientific software developer, former researcher.

Download Essay PDF File

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 00:09 GMT
Xavier,

That is a clear cut exposition of the human condition. We do make progress though, through feedback between those models and their context.

I think one of the current stumbling blocks is that our thought process is a sequence of perceptions and so we naturally think of this process called time as the point of the present "moving" past to future, but it is actually change turning future to past, as in tomorrow becomes yesterday because the earth turns.

This makes time an effect, similar to temperature, rather than space.

Obviously physics has spent a great deal of effort trying to explain it in terms of that narrative effect, reducing it measures of duration, between events and correlating this to measures of distance. Likely it will take a generation or two to get beyond this.

The reason time is asymmetric is because action is inertial. The earth turns one direction, not both.

Duration is the state of the present, as events coalesce and dissolve.

Different clocks can run at different rates because they are separate actions. A faster clock uses energy quicker, like an animal with higher metabolism ages faster than one with a slower rate. Yet remain in the same present.

Just a thought to consider.

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Author Xavier Derkx replied on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 20:24 GMT
Dear John,

Thank you for your interest in my contribution and your comment.

I think one of the issues with time is that it's an ambiguous concept. It contains two different notions: duration and chronology. According to Einstein's relativity, duration is relative to a given observer and chronology is constructed on causality (light cones). The fact that we can think of "going backward in time" and that we don't observe such a possibility may be just due to our representation of time. Actually, some theories even states that time does not exist. As I said in my essay, it's not because something feel natural or logical to us that it guarantees its existence. You will probably find some interesting thoughts of the concept of time by reading many the contributions of this previous FQXI essay contest: https://fqxi.org/community/forum/category/10

I will read your contribution.

Best regards,

Xavier

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 04:23 GMT
Xavier,

You got the right idea. This is only the first step. Beyond showing our limitations, showing/suggesting a way around them is next. In my essay, I suggest asking WHY (logically) things happen instead HOW they happen.

Best of luck,

Marcel,

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Author Xavier Derkx replied on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 20:25 GMT
Dear Marcel,

Thank you for your interest in my contribution and your comment.

I think the question "why" is a very human one: we are trying to give sense to things. I think it's an evolutionary advantage. But as stated in my essay, the question itself could be completely meaningless. And we could even enter a recursive loop: why things need to make sense? I will read your essay, I am curious to see how you tackle this question.

Best of luck to you too,

Xavier

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Member Noson S. Yanofsky wrote on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 18:54 GMT
Dear Xavier,

Thank you for an interesting essay.

I like your heirarchy of different realitieis. It is an interesting way of thinking about things.

You might like my book "The Outer Limits of Reason: What Science, Mathematics, and Logic Cannot Tell Us" (MIT Press 2013). There are common themes with what you are saying.

Please take a look at my essay.

All the best,

Noson Yanofsky

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Author Xavier Derkx replied on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 20:28 GMT
Dear Noson,

Thank you for your interest in my contribution and your comment.

I think my hierarchy of the different realities is actually quite naive.

I checked the table of contents of your book, and it sounds very interesting to me. I added it on my book waiting list.

I will read your essay, its abstract makes it sound very appealing.

All the best to you too,

Xavier

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Flavio Del Santo wrote on Feb. 14, 2018 @ 00:07 GMT
Dear Xavier,

thank you for this engaging essay. The idea that it is eventually a human nature, and its limitation to be fundametal is interesting indeed.

All the best,

Flavio

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Author Xavier Derkx replied on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 20:29 GMT
Dear Flavio,

Thank you for your interest in my contribution and your comment.

I will read your contribution.

All the best to you too,

Xavier

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Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 17:15 GMT
Xavier,

Top job. I think your 'bias/limits' section is excellent and may if anything be to limited or understated. The seven steps nicely rationalise the mess and confusion surrounding reality, observation and measurement. (I addressed this from a process analysis view in my 2012 essay - top 10 but no chocs!).

It reminds me of the 'messy' galaxy type classifications. Some years ago I found & published a cyclic evolutionary sequence that fits beautifully. Yet as you identified, the limits of our, as I term it 'intellectual evolution' prevent most such advancement in understanding nature. But do you really think we'll "never" be able to understand much more than now?

I also ask what you think of the idea of turning your steps into a cycle by feeding back the models into the beginning as hypothese. You did touch on such 'testing'. Is that not the whole business of scientific discovery?

That brings in your; "Several sets of theories are currently co-existing without being reducible to an encompassing theory." So true, but I've employed that model feedback to useful and even shocking effect, one model (this yrs essay) seeming to reproduce QM predictions with classical mechanisms! (See Declan Traill's short essay with check code and Cos^2 plot) Do read & test it if you can. Yet of course even if correct the chances of it replacing embedded beliefs however spooky seem rather low!

So yes, I agree about all you write, it was interesting, fundamental and nicely constructed. I much enjoyed and applaud it and will score it accordingly.

Best of luck.

Peter

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Author Xavier Derkx replied on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 16:17 GMT
Dear Peter,

Thank you for your interest in my contribution and your comment.

> But do you really think we'll "never" be able to understand much more than now?

Humans have a quite specific ability: we have "replace" natural selection by adapting the structure of our societies. E.g. we have sophisticated health and education systems, so most of us can reach the opportunity to procreate and transmit one's genetic specificity. So I don't think we have much left in front of us in term of biological evolution (and we may not have even the time scale required, considering how we are treating the planet). However, AI could overcome some of our cognitive abilities. Nevertheless, AI may have our very own limitations -- somehow deeply rooted -- as we design them. It is not guaranteed that an emergence will occur with them and lead us in the "right" direction to understand better the Nature.

> I also ask what you think of the idea of turning your steps into a cycle by feeding back the models into the beginning as hypothese. You did touch on such 'testing'. Is that not the whole business of scientific discovery?

Of course it is. And there is a loop between hypothesis and feedback from Nature. But this loop is biased: our thought process and our interaction with the world are non independent. That is what I highlighted in the last part of my essay under the form of two biasses. This iterative loop may converge toward a deeper understanding of Nature but we will never be able to tell how close (or far) we are from reaching this objective.

I read and enjoyed your essay.

Best of luck to you too.

Xavier

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Peter Jackson replied on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 13:49 GMT
Xavier,

Interesting. Thanks. Glad you enjoyed mine. I've now scored yours.

Best of luck

Peter

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 07:00 GMT
Dear Xavier,

I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to understand. «We reach the conclusion that the hiatus between Reality and its representations are a consequence of biasses from the very nature of human beings».

It is so close to me. «Physics aims to study natural phenomena (i.e. not made by any will or conscience), with a particular focus on their structures and causes. Somehow, physics could be seen as the fulfilment of the ambitions of metaphysicians. Both fields of study can be bridged by a common quest: the research of the most fundamental constituents, which could be, but not limited to, elements, processes and hypothesis».

I hope that my modest achievements can be information for reflection for you.

Vladimir Fedorov

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3080

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Author Xavier Derkx replied on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 16:20 GMT
Dear Vladimir,

Thank you for your interest in my contribution and your comment.

I will read your contribution.

All the best,

Xavier

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Luca Valeri wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 14:25 GMT
Hi Xavier,

You wrote a very nice essay. I would like to add a few comments from the perspective I take in my essay, which also ask the question of what we can know.

The uniqueness classification might also depend on a cognitive bias: we might project the perception of our self as unique to the exterior world. This perception certainly is evolutionary useful, but might just be an...

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Don Limuti wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 03:08 GMT
Hi Xavier,

"It helps not to confuse the map (what we think we are) with the territory (what we are). Our limits are what defines us as individuals and as human beings. These limits, by defining what we are and what we think we are, are the most fundamental things."

I believe you need to add master of high philosophy to your bio.

Thanks for the excellent essay,

Don Limuti

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