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Richard_Kulisz comments on Semantic Stopsigns - Less Wrong

54 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 24 August 2007 07:29PM

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Comment author: Richard_Kulisz 22 November 2007 12:48:50AM 2 points [-]

Before the Big Bang is beyond the universe. Beyond the universe are other laws of physics. Which laws? All self-consistent laws. What are sets of laws of physics? They're mathematics. What is mathematics? Arbitrary symbol manipulation. And there you've reached a final stopping point. Because it isn't even intelligible to ask why there are symbols or why there is mathematical existence. They are meta-axiomatic, and there is nothing beyond or beneath them. More importantly, there is no meta-level above them because they are their own meta-level.

Comment author: Mass_Driver 28 August 2010 11:18:55PM 17 points [-]

This is merely a semantic stop-sign; it appears wise because it uses modern vocabulary. The structure of the argument is identical to the structure of a neo-Platonist argument that most LW readers would instantly reject:

Before God's Creation is beyond the universe. Beyond the universe are other Creations. Which Creations? All Creations that God created. What are God's Creations? They are instantiations of God's will. What is God's will? Arbitrary manipulation of Form. And there you've reached a final stopping point. Because it isn't even intelligible to ask why there is Form or why God wills one thing and not another. Form and Will are eternal, and there is nothing beyond or beneath them. More importantly, there is no form from which they derive their pattern because they are their own perfect Form.

Comment author: Brilliand 01 September 2015 05:56:50PM 0 points [-]

This looks like equivocation between the math-like structure of the universe and mathematics itself - mathematics proper is something invented by humans, which happens to resemble the structure of the universe. Whatever is outside the universe is unknown, but probably can be discovered with considerable difficulty (and will probably be describable by mathematics, but will not be mathematics itself).