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Free Will...


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#61 Lazarus Long

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 09:03 PM

The brain does not totally control thought, a thought is composed of mind, matter, education, and constant randomized sensory input. It is the interaction of perception with the processing ability of the brain yes but the brain is not a sole determiner, nor arbiter and even with regard to perception there exists the problem of how the organization of personally defined information is both a filter and a form; yet even so there enters a quality of invention that the perceiver possesses as to placing a descriptor and definition upon the event/circumstance/idea/quality/quantity/object/person/place/thing...

WE have all been infants at least once and in that experience it was necessary to define our world a first time for everything. Yes, there exists a program but also the experience and in each of us a little bit of the creator/discoverer.

I was also playing a double entendre with the word "scratch" which is slang for creating something from elemental components (not from nothing) and for a form of sensory stimulation, which I think contributes to the real time composition of such creative thought.

#62 cameronreilly

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 10:53 AM

These things you mention... "mind, matter, education, constant randomized sensory input, experience"... are you suggesting that they are captured and processed somewhere OTHER than the brain?

#63 cameronreilly

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 10:55 AM

I agree. I am determinist. But I am looking for those of a libertarian perspective to explain to me the process by which they believe they control the creation of a thought.

but it's not from 'scratch' as the state of your brain before that entirely controls what thought you had.



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#64 Lazarus Long

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 01:58 PM

I am not a strict determinist and I do think that there exists a relational quality to some of the objects involved in creative thought, particularly the less concrete ones. You ask how to basically create in a determinist universe and I am saying that invention is a product of the brain, the 'circumstance,' and the object, as well as since in our case we're a social creature an aspect of experience that is more complex than mere subjective personal memory (which is an element too) but also leaning that implies how we filter the flow of experience through the quality of how we are programed to perceive it.

The point about some of these deterministic qualities is that they can also mitigate one another and I was referring to the primal act of a first experience, the perception of the unknown as in discovery, and then the subsequent act of definition as is necessary FOR the brain to process and assimilate data.

This is not as mystical as the larger issue raised in the topic of natural Spirituality about the Universe being a possibly immense computer on to itself, or the idea that our individual brains may also coexist in a sort of super-being status as a giant semi-organized complex web mind that thinks onto itself independent of individual awareness. Neither of these issues whether true or false, particularly address the paradox of determinism.

I do not want to be a determinist; I will it to be false and work to create freedom. This does not mean that I am correct in my perceptions and desires that determinism is false but it means that if the rules of such order can be overcome then "where there exists a 'will' there exists a way".

If I 'believed' that hard determinism were true then life would cease to be meaningful, so I am a soft determinist at best and see determinism as a condition that can possibly be overcome and doing so a purpose granted to life; hence choice, and the chaotic introduction of disorganized free will.

You can see the issue as control of thought and I see it as liberation of thought. I understand the inherent causal aspects of what composes a 'thought' and I am challenging that this is neither a closed process, nor one that is solely the interactive product of the individual DNA computer known as the brain.

It has transcendent, though extremely subtle qualities that are both existential, and emotional as well. I am using emotion to describe not only a sensory (physical) awareness and response but the expression of desire and will in a manner that goes beyond physical extinct to the psychology of motivation.

The brain also shapes thought based upon the body, now you could argue that the body is an extension of the brain, and this would be somewhat true, but then it leaps to the more complex, because as social creatures dependent on language for an epistemological ordering of our Universe, the individual also depends on the words they use to organize their thoughts and perceptions. These "thoughts' are also a product of education and peer interaction, so now we are developing thought that includes aspects transcendent of the individual's brain alone.

I will add as a we enter a realm that is yet unproven and maybe doesn't help my case at all that we may also be functioning as a super-being and collectively demonstrating hive-mind like behavior as a species through the large scale activities of our social groups and this 'schooling' is what enters into social behaviors that control much of politics, economics, and define culture.

The individual exists in a constant dynamic struggle between factors that limit and control thought with those that provide opportunity to make decisions that go beyond these limits and demonstrate the desire and ability to create. We may have been given this paradoxical desire to create as a consequence of having integrated the evolutionary psychology of reproduction into our personal and collective memetics for the psychology of freedom, and free will.

I am not disagreeing however that determinism is present as causality or that the brain is where we do most of our thinking, I am saying that there also exists a kind of relativism in this respect that introduces an element of chance and free will.

The appeal of chance is something that we are almost instinctively attracted to and this is why gambling has quasi-religious proportion historically for many cultures and may also stimulate a neurological response that is 'addictive'. Chance reflects randomness and preordaining depending on your mindset. It is both an element of chaos and order, yet if not truly random then "God throws loaded dice" to misquote Einstein.

So in order to overcome these restrictions upon action and thought I think we try to add knowledge and in particular new linguistic definition to increase the number of variables that we are working with in response and also reorganize our 'self' as a continuous process of 'redefinition' in response to the ongoing experience of learning. If the Universe were in fact truly locked into a deterministic reality then I suspect we are like Prometheus bound to the rebel cause of freeing it, and this is determined in order to invent purpose and meaning for life itself.

#65 tbeal

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 06:30 PM

the point that I was trying to make was that all thoughts are the result of the brain and the brain alone- yes the state of the brain is dependant on the senses, memory, environment and genetics but that state is the sole thing that creates the thought. Think about you are not thinking about something you are seeing but are instead thinking about something you have just seen or have seen a while ago - the brain uses short or long term memeory not direct sensory input to create thought. oh and in reply to cameronreilly you cannot justify libratarianism because then you would be using causes ( determinism) unless you claim that there is a random element to thoughts and that fails because people are logical beings and there thoughts are clearly related to the world.

#66 imminstmorals

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Posted 24 October 2003 - 12:14 AM

Everyone has free will, all humans have same quality!

However, each of us is different in genetics which causes us believe in different ways to carry out lives and under environmental influences!!

Bases on the trends of human behaviours:
Scientists are disbelievers and determinist, who don't like the ideas of marriage and don't like to take in without valid proof

Religion and life philosophy is used to help to explain notion and meaning of life, birth and death, in this way everyone believes they all equal and carries out their life and have children, so this gives a stable society. Thus everyone religious accepts philosophy of life.

Most Economists don't believe religion, but they want a happy and successful life in another words they work for money and sex


Why people don't accept ideas of immortalism and isn't free all:
When people grow old they don't accept new things, because they believe they will die and isn't gonna make anydifferences, and some just pessimistic coz of the way their lifes are!! Some people don't try coz they noe they won't get hand of this technology!!!!!!!!!!

No one needs to explain the definition of any philosophy procedures or psychologic matters, most of us all the same, it is the influences we receieve and how we apply them to explain why and how we should live and accept death!!


Guess what, this will ends and everyone will be free will!!

Relate philosophy to behaviour of human beings and influences we receive
Relate science to development of human society

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#67 bacopa

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Posted 28 November 2003 - 05:19 PM

I think we have free will if we so choose to use it. However I think there exists in us natural urges to make our opinions known so even if we tried to be passive I think we would want to exihibit more than just this. So I think there exists in all of us an inclanation for free will therefore we have it to some degree

#68 Omnido

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 01:27 AM

Objective "Free Will" is the Ability to DO or REFRAIN from doing anything.

One has Free Will if they are able to excercise the aforementioned.
If one cannot do the aforementioned with any degree of absolute freedom, then one does not possess Objective free will. Instead, the possession of such said will is an illusion which is therefore created between those with power, and those without.

If Objective Free Will does not exist, then determinism becomes the other side of the coin.
There are however 3 options for a deterministic universe, and they tend to follow Einstein's theory of relativity with respect to their fundaments.

1) Absolute Determinism; in which all of reality can be deciphered, controlled, and otherwise manipulated through inference or observation.

2) Finite Determinism; in which a finite amount of the universal reality can be deciphered, controlled, or otherwise manipulated through inference or observation, but for which ever reducing fundaments reach an infinite gradient similar to Einstein's reference to travel faster than light, which ultimately places an absolute limit upon absolute determination, but for which the degree of such said gradient(s) could be inconsequential.

3) Subjective Determinism; in which a limited degree of comprehension regarding universal reality can be deciphered, controlled, predicted, or otherwise manipulated through inference or observation, but for which some alternate non-determinable element interferes with the fundamental said absolute rules behind reality, which introduces a degree of true chaos that allows (or perhaps causes) true Free will to occur soley upon the premis of the existence of the aforementioned element.

The existence of true chaos as the aforementioned "element" would be the only type of occurance, possibly produced within the universe for just that reason, or as a deliberate consequence thereof, which renders absolute determinism highly improbable, if not impossible.

As far as I am aware, those are the only 3 solutions to "Free Will" insofar as we define clearly the absolute intended meaning behind the definitions thereof.

Edited by Omnido, 13 June 2004 - 02:43 PM.


#69 intrigued

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 05:03 AM

A suggested readin would be Daniel Denett's book freedom evolves. Might have the name slightly misspelled though. But he talks of a determanistic universe with free will. Personally I'd like to believe in free will but logically, if einstein and the second law of thermodynamics is right i don't see how it could be. But luckely I do not truely believe in the second law of thermodynamics, which is the one where energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it only changes states. But I do not believe in this because energy, which is mass, must have been created at some point in time, unless it has simply been around for eternity. but I don't know these things. It's one of the things I'd like to have the time to find out for sure.

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#70 intrigued

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 08:49 PM

I forgot to say why the creation of matter is relevent to free will. In a determanistic universe there can be no effect without a cause. so if we were to follow cauation back to the beginning, back to the first cause, we have to wonder what caused it. If the creation of the universe wasn't caused by anything then determanism is flawed. For if it happened once that there was an effect without a cause then it should logically be able to happen again.

#71 David

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 01:19 AM

Free will doesn't exist. We are organic programmable machines. This is a fact. I know it's a fact 'cos my lecturers tell me so! [lol]

However, if you believe you have free will, the boundaries placed on your behaviour are wider than those of people who don't believe in free will. Savvy?

That's my scientific opinion. However, the fact that we are capable of suicide suggests to me that we do have free will. The ultimate act of free will. An action of the mind over the organic machine.

Oh, the conflict between the scientist and the humanist in me rages on!

David

#72 intrigued

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 06:10 PM

The fact that someone can commit suicide doesn't prove that there is free will. Suicide could be a product of the enviroment, wheather by a chemical imbalance due to thier genes or by the stresses placed upon them by people they have had interactions with.

As for the boundries placed upon us by or belief/disbelief in free will, they don't change just because we either do or don't believe in it. Our beliefs do not dictate the truths of our reality. Otherwise I would choose to believe that I could fly and that I lived in a utopian society.

#73 David

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 01:27 AM

Insightful, intrigued. Your ideas on suicide are well thought out. However, who of the following is more likely to give up smoking?

The believer in free will who is told they are physically addicted to nicotine.

The non believer in free will who is told they are physically addicted to nicotine.

I would argue that it would be the former. Believing you have free will amounts to added choices. It means you have less of a belief that you are a leaf in a storm and more of a belief that you are the storm.

Reality is most probably somewhere in the middle. But that then raises the old issue of "what is reality, really?"

We do have people in our society that believe they can fly, and that we live in a utopia. We often lock them away. But who is to say they arn't right? Your reality is your reality alone. Same with mine.

I can fly, by the way. Just not without mechanical assistance. ;)

Dave

#74 intrigued

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 09:14 PM

I think that it would be the same for both the individuals with their difficulties over kicking the habit of smoking. The leaf in the storm does not see the waters that bombard it, a non believer in free will can not know all the effects that cause him/her to act in the ways that they do. They do not know if they are "destined" to quit smoking of not, only Laplace's demon with omniscience could see that.

As for the believer in free will being the storm; I believe that the storm itself could have been caused by the effects of a butterfly flapping it's wings, through chaos theory and it's role in determanism. The flapping of the wings would set off a chain reaction that caused the storm. In a determanistic universe it's completely possible, not creating the energy of the storm but being a catalyst of the storm's creation. I would ask you to introspect and see if there were any of those catalysts in your past that caused you to believe in free will.

As for flying, I have it figured out as well, it's very simple. All a person has to do is to throw themselves at the ground, and miss.

#75 David

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 04:45 AM

"I would ask you to introspect and see if there were any of those catalysts in your past that caused you to believe in free will." intrigued. Actually mate, I'm open to either possibility!

I've tried the throwing of the self at the ground thing fairly often in my misspent youth. Hockey, rugby, bycycling, you name it, it presented opportunities. My favorite was having a stepbrother who used to loosen the bolts holding my front wheel on to my bycycle, and then erect jumps for us to go over. The wheel flies off, the front forks dig into the ground, you go over the handlebars and land on your face in the dirt and the bike flips over to strike you in the small of the back with the seat! The best part was that he generally laughed so hard he couldn't get away before I pounded him to dust! I did fly for those brief seconds though........

I try to aviod it these days, I don't seem to heal as quickly!

Dave

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Posted 16 May 2004 - 05:50 PM

What about this, invention is not a product of the brain .It is the product of the human mind.Which has an imaginary sensory connected to the brain and assist the brain to function at different capacity by reason of the force or assumed electricity [energy] that the mind sends to the brain.

This energy which is dynamics in human enable or stimulate the brain to function at different frequency.

Brain[knowledge]----Mind[thought]------Brain[process]-------Mind[confirm].They work and in hand as you can see.

This theory explain different students tutor by thesame lecturer in a class having different scores.

#77 mercurialgirl

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 02:33 PM

I believe that we have free will. I don't think any deity could force us to commit an act by willing us to do it, because of the nature of the self. I believe the self, your essence, who you are, etc. is a nothing, a void. It is only a person's actions that makes them who they are. Human beings are driven to have children(well not all of them obviously) to 'keep a part of themselves live' -useless. That's just my belief, I'm not trying to force it on anyone else.

Now if someone stuck a gun in your face and said 'Commit this act' I think that would be different because you would be feeling fear, and feeling would be an action.

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#78 arc3025

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 03:12 PM

Human beings are not "free" in the sense that any part of themselves is independent of the universe and unaffected by it. We cannot know ourselves perfectly, we cannot anticipate reality fast enough in real time. So we live as though we are making choices from some mysterious "free" center of ourselves, but actually we are a piece of the world. What we are arises from determined forces, but also from random/stochastic processes (which is why there can be no Laplace demon), etc. As Nietzsche said, we are a "piece of destiny". But that piece we are, is as much a force in the world as any other. Our active consciousnesses uniquely affect other things and people around us. We certainly cannot shrug off our responsibility to think and act wisely by blaming the forces that are giving rise to us.

#79 Clifford Greenblatt

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 03:07 AM

What we are arises from determined forces, but also from random/stochastic processes

Are random/stochastic processes necessarily not determined? There are many simple determined processes that conform to the statistical laws of random/stochastic processes. We often call a process random because the factors that determine its outcome are far too numerous or complex for us to take all of them into account.

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 03:55 AM

We often call a process random because the factors that determine its outcome are far too numerous or complex for us to take all of them into account.


I find this to be the case quite often. I'm also guilty as charged when it comes to this sort of sloppiness.

#81 ocsrazor

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 03:07 PM

What we are arises from determined forces, but also from random/stochastic processes

Are random/stochastic processes necessarily not determined? There are many simple determined processes that conform to the statistical laws of random/stochastic processes. We often call a process random because the factors that determine its outcome are far too numerous or complex for us to take all of them into account.


A better question is "are they determinable?" It all depends on what perspective you are taking. For many such systems they are determinable only with a high enough resolution perspective of the system in question, which may be impossible to achieve

The short answer to the question of the thread is that we have freedom to act, but only within a range that is set by our initial conditions, i.e. we are limited by being human and through accidents of birth such as parentage and geography

#82 arc3025

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 03:35 PM

Clifford,
Some determined processes can be predicted only by probabilities, which is what I think you are referring to. There are chaotic/complex determinations. But as I understand from physics, there are also probabilistic phenomena which are in no way determined (at least, as far as anyone can discover). So there are many types of causative forces in the universe.

gej
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#83 Clifford Greenblatt

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 10:39 AM

Clifford,
Some determined processes can be predicted only by probabilities, which is what I think you are referring to. There are chaotic/complex determinations. But as I understand from physics, there are also probabilistic phenomena which are in no way determined (at least, as far as anyone can discover). So there are many types of causative forces in the universe.


I can understand that there are processes for which we may never be able to determine the outcome with any reasonable degree of confidence. Our inability to determine the outcome of a process does not mean that the process is not determined. As oscrazor said, "a better question is 'are they determinable'." Can you think of any process for which the majority of leading scientists would say with a high degree of confidence that its outcome is truly not determined?

#84 Lazarus Long

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 12:25 PM

Social processes Clifford

#85 Clifford Greenblatt

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 11:10 PM

Social processes Clifford

Which way do you view a social process?

1. As a complex network of physical processes- period.

OR

2. As a complex network of physical processes which is somewhat influenced by something that transcends anything that is physical.

#86 Lazarus Long

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 12:47 AM

Is intelligence by definition physical?

Or a form beyond the classic definition of energy and matter?

I propose that intelligence doesn't exist along the EM spectrum but as code and code is immaterial. Yes it is superimposed on a biological physical matrix but is the matrix the operational (code) intelligence or how the intelligence organizes matter/energy?

Yes DNA is code but unless you buy into the idea that the DNA is programed for *what* to think not just *how* to think, you have a duality.

Or perhaps you can resolve the duality by resorting to a Platonic form argument that says that ideas are constructs of a perfect (universal) physical language (understood as DNA) and all ideas are nothing more than organizations of material substance manifested by how DNA is assembled.

How I see a *power* and/or the *organization* of ideas represents a quality and quantity beyond physical properties but not beyond *reason.* Language, math, the very organizational concept of structural intelligence I am proposing represent just a few examples of *ideas* beyond how we define physical structure, beyond the classical definition of force or matter but do represent a *force of will* that manipulates physical reality.

The basic debate here in this entire thread is whether or not that will contains an element (degree) of freedom?

Of course you could redefine intelligence as just another *force* like inertia/momentum/gravity/EM/weak molecular etc. but isn't that just moving the goal post?

Or do you really prefer Chomsky's innate grammars? ;))

#87 Clifford Greenblatt

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 02:02 AM

I wonder what a materialist really believes about reality. How does one who believes that everything is physical regard the laws of numerical relationships? Statistical processes conform to numerical laws of statistics. I do not think that any materialist believes that every physical particle contains within it a tiny book crammed with an infinite code of numerical laws that it reads and obeys in its interactions with other physical particles.

Concerning determinism vs free will, numerical laws seem to be infinite in scope but deterministic. Some equations have multiple solutions but the number and value of those solutions never change. Stochastic processes are guided by statistical laws but that does not mean that they are not also deterministic. For example, the decimal digits of the square root of two form a stochastic process but are most definitely deterministic.

#88 arc3025

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 07:51 PM

Clifford,
I was thinking of certain properties of particles which physicists describe with probabilities. I don't know that there is any theory of determination behind them (although MWT/Anthropic might remove the need for them). I think physicists also assume the Multiverse is undetermined, although this is nearly a metaphysical leap.

Re: your other question, number is a human abstraction from the physical world. The physical world has such properties that humans, as they make sense of it, use numbers.

gej

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#89 Clifford Greenblatt

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 03:04 PM

Clifford,
I was thinking of certain properties of particles which physicists describe with probabilities. I don't know that there is any theory of determination behind them (although MWT/Anthropic might remove the need for them). I think physicists also assume the Multiverse is undetermined, although this is nearly a metaphysical leap.

Re: your other question, number is a human abstraction from the physical world. The physical world has such properties that humans, as they make sense of it, use numbers.

gej

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle applies to limitations on our ability to measure physical phenomenon because the means of measurement disturb the system being measured. It also applies to quantum-mechanical fluctuations in the laws of conservation of energy and momentum.

Fluctuations, our inability to determine outcomes, and assignment of probabilities applies to sequences that are known to be perfectly deterministic. Good luck trying to compute the decimal digits of the square root of two to 10^10(^10^(10)) decimal places. The entire know universe has no where near sufficient material to make a calculator capable of making the computation. Although the statistical properties of the digits has not yet been proven, I think that most mathematicians are confident about them. The mean value of the digits is 4.50. The probability of getting a 100 digit string of identical digits at a random starting point is one part in 10^99.

The language of numbers is an abstraction, but the abstraction is a direct consequence of natural laws. Mathematicians and physicists do not create principles, they discover them. The only abstraction is in the language used to describe the principles. Even the development of the languages themselves is a consequence of fundamental principles.

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#90 arc3025

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 06:21 PM

Clifford, I was thinking more of the Schroedinger equations. What solves them for a particular value for a particular historical event? As I understand it, that is not determined by any known thing.

The language of numbers may be a consequence of some natural laws, but the language has been changing and evolving throughout human history, with human mathematicians inventing various styles for treating the seemingly endless deductions from the methods of counting and abstract logic.

The embracing nature of the disciplines of mathematics and logic obscure the fact that they contain a wide variety of potentially exclusive, or parallel, ways of understanding the world. For example, it is possible to imagine an advanced alien civilization that does not use number (counting).

gej




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