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byrnema comments on Reductionism - Less Wrong

40 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 16 March 2008 06:26AM

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Comment author: byrnema 28 October 2009 04:02:38PM *  0 points [-]

As modelers of reality, we parse the world into fundamental particles and forces. You would claim that these distinctions are ultimately inherent features of the model and not necessarily defining reality.

I understand that a person might look at a car and see "mode of transportation" while another way of looking at the car is as a "particular configuration of quarks", in which case the distinction between a car and a tree does seem arbitrarily modeler-dependent.

But I would not go so far as to say that reality itself is featureless. Where would you begin to argue that there are no inherent dichotomies? Even if there is only one type of thing 'x', our reality (which is, above all, dynamic) seems to require a relationship and interaction between 'x' and ' ~x'. I'd say, logically, reality needs at least two kinds of things.

Comment author: xrchz 28 October 2009 09:26:52PM 0 points [-]

Even if there is only one type of thing 'x', our reality (which is, above all, dynamic) seems to require a relationship and interaction between 'x' and ' ~x'. I'd say, logically, reality needs at least two kinds of things.

Logic can only compel models.

You seem to be saying "Let x denote the universe. ~x is then a valid term. So ~x must denote something that isn't x, thus there are two things!" There are surface problems with this such as that x may not be of type boolean, and that you're just assuming every term denotes something. But the important problem is simpler: we can use logic to deduce things about our models, but logic doesn't touch reality itself (apart from the part of reality that is us).

What do you mean by "reality is dynamic"? Have you read Timeless Physics?

Comment author: byrnema 29 October 2009 12:33:30AM *  -2 points [-]

So I infer from the above that you have no logical arguments to support that reality is "one thing". I would think only an agnostic position on the nature of reality would be consistent with the nihilist stance you are representing.