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> Science only an interpretation, not an explanation, Chapter 14 of Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche
Lao_Tzu
post Apr 28, 2006, 03:42 AM
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Would any scientist like to argue with this passage, or perhaps comment on its implications for the scientific quest?

From Beyond Good and Evil, Chapter 14, by Friedrich Nietzsche:

It is perhaps just dawning on five or six minds that physics, too, is only an interpretation and exegesis of the world (to suit us, if I may say so!) and not a world-explanation; but insofar as it is based on belief in the senses, it is regarded as more, and for a long time to come must be regarded as more - namely, as an explanation. Eyes and fingers speak in its favor, visual evidence and palpableness do, too: this strikes an age with fundamentally plebian tastes as fascinating, persuasive, and convincing - after all, it follows instinctively the canon of truth of eternally popular sensualism. What is clear, what is "explained"? Only what can be seen and felt - every problem has to be pursued to that point. Conversely, the charm of the Platonic way of thinking, which was a noble way of thinking, consisted precisely in resistance to obvious sense-evidence - perhaps among men who enjoyed even stronger and more demanding senses than our contemporaries, but who knew how to find a higher triumph in remaining masters of their senses - and this by means of pale, cold, gray concept nets which they threw over the motley whirl of the senses - the mob of the senses, as Plato said. In this overcoming of the world and interpreting of the world in the manner of Plato, there was an enjoyment different from that which the physicists of today offer us - and also the Darwinists and anti-teleologists among the workers in physiology, with their principle of the "smallest possible force" and the greatest possible stupidity. "Where man cannot find anything to see or to grasp, he has no further business" - that is certainly an imperative different from the Platonic one, but it may be the right imperative for a tough, industrious race of machinists and bridge-builders of the future, who have nothing but rough work to do.
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Neural
post Apr 28, 2006, 06:37 AM
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Nietzsche makes the point elsewhere that there are no facts, only interpretations.
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Rick
post May 01, 2006, 01:41 PM
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One needs to remember that Nietzsche was speaking to and about the 19th century man.
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maximus242
post May 01, 2006, 02:17 PM
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And the diffrence major between the 19th century and the 20th century that negates his statement would be what?
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OnlyNow
post May 01, 2006, 04:05 PM
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"...based on belief in the senses"

Nietzsche's thoughts have crossed my mind, too . The objective universe is ours only via our five senses. These five filters may not be the best (or only) means of perception. It's possible that we're missing out on true enlightenment precisely because all we can do is sense what's out there. Maybe we'll never really "get it" if we count on the usual scientific methods as a means of ultimately attaining the true meaning of life. If indeed we are an "industrious race of machinists and bridge-builders," with "nothing but rough work to do," maybe we'll eventually get to that diamond (so to speak). But if you think about it, all we're really doing is measuring things and moving them around. We may be going nowhere.
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Trip like I do
post May 01, 2006, 04:06 PM
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QUOTE(maximus242 @ May 01, 05:17 PM) *

And the diffrence major between the 19th century and the 20th century that negates his statement would be what?



ummm...aren't we in the 21st century folks?
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Übermensch
post May 02, 2006, 12:29 AM
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While I have a great deal of respect for Nietzsche's thought, I think there are some areas where he misses the boat.

Rick is correct in that Nietzsche's conceptual framework was a product of a 19th century environment where the idea of *progress* was much more easily dismissed. Yes, he understood what it meant to be a man of science, but the heights to which the reductionist agenda soared in the next century were unfathomable in his time and place. And because of this he (understandably) missed a crucial insight; exponential technological development accompanied by the possibility of a recursive process with the Mind creating it.

Then again, the vast majority of people even now miss this crucial insight. Or perhaps I am a dreamer...

The real mistake may be in believing that there is such a thing as "true enlightenment" or "ultimate knowledge" -- as if this is a worthy goal to begin with! This is exactly what Nietzsche was railing against with his attacks on science and morality. The "Truth God" was just another, much more subtle, path to the subversion of values. What Nietzsche championed was Will to Power, Will to Being; truth was seen as ancillary to self actualization.

Pure and applied science, discovery and creation, yin and yang... I see humanity as a nascent intelligence, just beginning to build upon its crude tool set, just beginning to comprehend what it means to exist.

Hi everyone. smile.gif
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Lao_Tzu
post May 02, 2006, 12:53 AM
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QUOTE(Übermensch @ May 02, 10:29 AM) *

Hi everyone. smile.gif


Hello Übermensch! I like your writing style...

What do you mean, exactly, by: "exponential technological development accompanied by the possibility of a recursive process with the Mind creating it"? (This is a crucial insight you say Nietzsche missed because he wasn't privy to the radical reductionism of the periods that followed his death.) What I don't understand is the part about a recursive process involving the mind. Can you perhaps explain that?

Nietzsche did indeed rail against striving for the "thing-in-itself" (which is precisly what the pure truth, apart from any of its consequences, would be). He said that was basically useless and not in the least worth striving for.

But I'm not sure I agree with him on this point. My personal favourite philosophers are Nietzsche and Buddha, and unless I misunderstand them, they seem to conflict here. In these cases, I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to Buddha. wink.gif He was happier, after all.

Perhaps we could clarify what is meant by "true enlightenment" (can we perhaps jettison the "true" and leave "enlightenment" just as is?) and by "ultimate knowledge" and then proceed to discuss whether (1) these things are worth striving for at all, and (2) if so, whether science is useful in that quest?

In my understanding, the state of enlightenment is one of perfect sanity and awareness of the true nature of the universe. Why would this not be worth striving for? If the goal was considered impossible, then the quest could be considered not worth doing. The challenge for the detractor, however, would be to prove that the goal really is impossible - that might be tough.

In my undersanding, ultimate knowledge goes beyond mere intellectual understanding into a realm of understanding that is integrated with your most basic sense of self and the universe. Ultimate knowledge is felt knowledge. It is more the way that you are than a thought that you have, and it is expressed not in words (though it can be poorly described in words) but emerges in your every action. It is not a perspective for relating to the world (like, for example, an existential perspective, a religious perspective, a scientific perspective) that you can adopt for interest's sake - it is rather a perspective that is part of you.

So... if we can agree on the definitions of these ideas (can we?) then perhaps we can debate whether they're worth striving for and whether science is useful in that quest...
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post May 02, 2006, 04:55 AM
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QUOTE(Übermensch @ May 02, 12:29 AM) *

The real mistake may be in believing that there is such a thing as "true enlightenment" or "ultimate knowledge" -- as if this is a worthy goal to begin with!

Hi, Übermensch, and welcome. Interesting angle. Within the frame of the subject in your post, what do you consider a worthy goal, instead? or, are there any worthy goals, in your opinion?
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Rick
post May 02, 2006, 09:55 AM
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QUOTE(Trip like I do @ May 01, 05:06 PM) *

QUOTE(maximus242 @ May 01, 05:17 PM) *

And the diffrence major between the 19th century and the 20th century that negates his statement would be what?

ummm...aren't we in the 21st century folks?

Nietzsche's philosophy was (perhaps deliberately) misinterpreted in the 20th century to justify some of the more outrageous excesses of fascism. The 19th century saw the rise of science, particularly, Darwinsim. The social Darwinists saw the "natural order" justifying the success and excess of the elite class. It was theoretically tenable at that time to assert that there existed "inferior races" (and therefore superior ones). The poor deserved what they had due to their "inherent" inferiority. It was right for one race to enslave another, that was nature's law.

The 20th century saw much greater achievement in science, particularly in the fields of evolution, genetics, consciousness, and philosophy. Darwin was, of course, fundamentally correct, but DNA analysis shows that the concept of a superior race to be totally fallacious. The failed efforts of logical positivists have shown the need for consciousness studies, ongoing today, and spurred in part by the psychedlic revolution of Albert Hoffmann and Timothy Leary. Therefore, brilliant as he was, and despite some of his keen insights that still resonate today, Nietzsche remains a 19th century man speaking to the 19th century reader.
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Lao_Tzu
post May 02, 2006, 11:12 AM
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QUOTE(Rick @ May 02, 07:55 PM) *

Nietzsche remains a 19th century man speaking to the 19th century reader.

I think that is a breathtakingly dismissive and hasty conclusion. That social darwinism was advocated mistakenly in Nietzsche's name indicates the fallacious grounds on which his writing has erroneously been ignored by posterity. It is basically irrelevant, and in no way implies that his influence was confined to that era and not to this one, to cite the 19th-century mis-manifestations of Nietzsche's philosophy of master morality. The fact that slave morality remains so persistent in the world indicates that there is still much that the men who live in the 21st century have to learn from Nietzsche.

In my opinion, the vast majority of today's thinkers have not fully digested the radical implications of Nietzsche's thought. Who, for example, even among Nietzsche's fans, keeps with him the sentiment of Nietzsche's oft-repeated imperative, that "we really ought to free ourselves from the seduction of words"? The urgency of that statement, at least, still rings true today. It's one of my favourites. From Beyond Good and Evil, chapter 16 (bold and italic text my own, to highlight that the situation persists today):

~~~
There are still harmless self-observers who believe that there are "immediate certainties"; for example, "I think," or as the superstition of Schopenhauer put it, "I will"; as though knowledge here got hold of its object purely and nakedly as "the thing in it self" without any falsification on the part of either the subject or the object. But that "immediate certainty," as well as "absolute knowledge" and the "thing in itself," involve a contradictio adjecto. I shall repeat a hundred times; we really ought to free our selves from the seduction of words!

Let the people suppose that knowledge means knowing things entirely; the philosopher must say to himself: When I analyze the process that is expressed in the sentence, "I think," I find a whole series of daring assertions that would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to prove; for example, that it is I who think, that there must necessarily be something that thinks, that thinking is an activity and operation on the part of a being who is thought of as a cause, that there is an "ego," and, finally, that it is already determined what is to be designated by thinking - that I know what thinking is. For if I had not already decided within myself what it is, by what standard could I determine whether that which is just happening is not perhaps "willing" or "feeling"? In short, the assertion "I think" assumes that I compare my state at the present moment with other states of myself which I know, in order to determine what it is; on account of this retrospective connection with further "knowledge," it has, at any rate, no immediate certainty for me.

In place of the "immediate certainty" in which the people may believe in the case at hand, the philosopher thus finds a series of metaphysical questions presented to him, truly searching questions of the intellect; to wit: "From where do I get the concept of thing? Why do I believe in cause and effect? What gives me the right to speak of an ego, and even of an ego as cause, and finally ego as the cause of thought?" Whoever ventures to answer the metaphysical questions at once by an appeal to a sort of intuitive perception, like the person who says, "I think, and know that at least, is true, actual, and certain" - will encounter a smile and two question marks from a philosopher nowadays. "Sir," the philosopher will perhaps give him to understand, "it is improbable that you are not mistaken; but why insist on the truth?"
~~~

This is partly why scientific theory is no explanation, but an interpretation (whose proponents - and I wish to exclude you here, Rick - frequently overestimate its importance). Given the sheer depths of uncertainty in which the fantasy of knowledge consists, the acrobatics of imagination required to support its edifices, and the comfort it brings whoever voluntarily ceases questioning it, one might even call it a discursive fiction, the mental equivalent of half an aspirin to treat a chronic 'flu.

On another front: Whatever a theory posits, it must posit on grounds that are unproven and external to the scope of the theory. How does science deal with Gödel's incompleteness theorem?
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Rick
post May 02, 2006, 12:05 PM
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I did not say that we can't learn from Nietzsche, merely that we must consider him in his context. I have learned much from even older philosophers like Socrates, whose spirit of inquiry and refusal to admit knowledge reverberates through history.

QUOTE(Lao_Tzu @ May 02, 12:12 PM) *
On another front: Whatever a theory posits, it must posit on grounds that are unproven and external to the scope of the theory. How does science deal with Gödel's incompleteness theorem?

Science does not deal with incompleteness. It's a mathematical concept and may be more relevant to western philosophy.
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Hey Hey
post May 02, 2006, 12:43 PM
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After a working life (albeit cut short) in academia, I still wonder where we are going. There are a multitude of driving forces for all lines of science and none seem to be consistent and most are not scientific and/or logical. Lately it seems that technology (OK might not be quite the same as science) is driven by teenage whims. If science can be defined including "pure" then does it need a direction as such and simply meandering through discovery might be fine? If it needs to be defined including "applied" then we need to get a grip. But back to the pure, and the way we perceive the universe. We have limited abilities to "view" but these are enhanced regularly by new methodologies. And the "views" are then to be interpreted - uhm, problems. But soon we will have enhanced (expanded) consciousness to help with that. Well Shawn says so anyway. Or else why are we here (the forum, not the philosophy)? But then, I do write a lot of poetry.....
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Shawn
post May 02, 2006, 02:27 PM
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Hey Hey, you hit the nail on the head
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Lao_Tzu
post May 03, 2006, 04:21 AM
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QUOTE(Shawn @ May 03, 12:27 AM) *

Hey Hey, you hit the nail on the head

I didn't understand which nail Hey Hey was hitting, I'm afraid... what exactly do you think he said?
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Hey Hey
post May 03, 2006, 06:25 AM
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QUOTE(Lao_Tzu @ May 03, 01:21 PM) *

QUOTE(Shawn @ May 03, 12:27 AM) *

Hey Hey, you hit the nail on the head

I didn't understand which nail Hey Hey was hitting, I'm afraid... what exactly do you think he said?

Obviously you haven't had your consciousness expanded sufficiently enough yet (Hee, Hee).
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Plato
post May 03, 2006, 06:26 AM
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Nice picture.

A lot science of begins with Plato smile.gif The need for structure? Yet ,he might have said the "idea not unlikely" that it emerged from some place else......while the thinking mind gathered all these concepts together and having stood on the shoulder of giants..... the philosophy/logic progressive.....dealing with science and origns of math.....as a new way in which to look at science today.

A Cognitive realization about the measures, the theoretical defintions are in some way like that picture, resonating the whole being. Where did it issue from? You can't help but ask the question like I Did......as some pythagorean influence held my mind.....and good scientists spoke about those extra dimensions and the introdcuction of holographical notions.



Every picture in mind, reduced from so many other things, that it can lead from one thing or to another? smile.gif
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post May 03, 2006, 07:05 AM
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QUOTE(Hey Hey @ May 02, 03:43 PM) *

But soon we will have enhanced (expanded) consciousness to help with that. Well Shawn says so anyway. Or else why are we here (the forum, not the philosophy)?

I wish I know how soon. Is anything specific currently being done in terms of scientifically expanding consciousness...and then harnessing that expanded consciousness for useful purposes?

I do realize that consciousness theoretically "expands" when a person takes psychedelics, but is there any proof that this form of alteration of normal thought processes produces true insights--on an objective level?

Is it conceivable that a brilliant person on, say, LSD or some yet-to-be-engineered psychedelic drug could figure out amazing things to benefit mankind (ie, the unified theory)?
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Plato
post May 03, 2006, 07:44 AM
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QUOTE
I do realize that consciousness theoretically "expands" when a person takes psychedelics, but is there any proof that this form of alteration of normal thought processes produces true insights--on an objective level?



I am sorry I know you did not ask me for my opinion. I wouldn't trust it.

This was the basis of my brother's experiment. That he could gain deeper insight . His diary showed gibberish. Why I offer the advice I do.

You know those hippies and all.smile.gif Was never afraid to share contraband and lead a yougin by a couple of years, astray.
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Lao_Tzu
post May 03, 2006, 08:14 AM
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QUOTE(OnlyNow @ May 03, 05:05 PM) *

I do realize that consciousness theoretically "expands" when a person takes psychedelics, but is there any proof that this form of alteration of normal thought processes produces true insights--on an objective level?

There is no proof, but the mind-states reported by psychedelic explorers compare remarkably well (though not identically) with those reported by realised mystics.

There is no objective level. An insight must be had by someone, so any insight is, to that extent, subjective. If it works for you then it works for you, but it would be hard to find a case in which it is objectively true.

One possible exception is the case in which the extremes of subjectivity and objectivity are fully realised to be mere appearances, and are transcended. In such a case, the seer (he or she who has the insight) dwells not even in the middle ground between subjectivity and objectivity, and neither the seer nor the insight cannot be described in those terms. In such a case there is no duality whatsoever between subject and object; all such concepts fall away. The seer is the insight is the seer.

That makes no sense, of course, when it is described in words - but that is to be expected. These states, or at least what is important about them, defy conceptual explanation. They cannot be described in words because they are experiences of nonduality, and concepts are exclusionary and dualistic.

QUOTE

Is it conceivable that a brilliant person on, say, LSD or some yet-to-be-engineered psychedelic drug could figure out amazing things to benefit mankind (ie, the unified theory)?

It is surely conceivable. I seem to be conceiving of it right now. Is it possible? I suppose so. But I wouldn't rely overmuch on psychedelics for this. Psychedelics are amazing, but brilliant people have already figured out amazing things to benefit mankind without them. Spiritual paths that rely on drugs have serious shortcomings.

Does Gödel's incompleteness theorem dent the possibility of a complete unified field theory?
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Neural
post May 03, 2006, 10:00 AM
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Godel's theorems, like all theorems, are constrained by the assumptions they make
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Rick
post May 03, 2006, 10:11 AM
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Godel also proved a physical theorem that shows that time does not exist. See the recent book A World Without Time.

http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/godelk/yourgp.htm
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Plato
post May 03, 2006, 12:09 PM
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Time Varaible Measures.

Who would have ever thought that such a thinking of GR, could have amount to concepts, that to me, really do not seem dualistic, but are quite enlightening, once we have the news. See how such a progression from theory, could go to other processes in our lifetimes. Concepts that are different, as we form our philosophies?



Lao Tzu:
QUOTE
There is no objective level. An insight must be had by someone, so any insight is, to that extent, subjective. If it works for you then it works for you, but it would be hard to find a case in which it is objectively true.


I would counter this as well, given that scientists can come up with provactive insights that can be objectvely true.


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OnlyNow
post May 03, 2006, 01:30 PM
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QUOTE(Lao_Tzu @ May 03, 11:14 AM) *

Does Gödel's incompleteness theorem dent the possibility of a complete unified field theory?

Yes, if his theorem truly is applicable and, if the only way to get to it (the unified theory) is through science and/or math. Gödel's incompleteness theorem potentially puts a dent, if not a damper on just about everything, if our only methodology for advancement is the status quo. See link, below, and I picked out the stuff I liked the best, particularly Rucker's at the bottom.

I wouldn't discount the possibility of the controlled application of drugs to achieve a greater understanding of reality--perhaps, engineered drugs that haven't been invented yet. Or, there may be other ways. Maybe we'll engineer a better brain someday that will really think outside the box.

Admittedly, I had to do some quick research to find out about Gödel. This is good, I've much to learn.

http://www.miskatonic.org/godel.html

Boyer, History of Mathematics:
Gödel showed that within a rigidly logical system such as Russell and Whitehead had developed for arithmetic, propositions can be formulated that are undecidable or undemonstrable within the axioms of the system. That is, within the system, there exist certain clear-cut statements that can neither be proved or disproved. Hence one cannot, using the usual methods, be certain that the axioms of arithmetic will not lead to contradictions ... It appears to foredoom hope of mathematical certitude through use of the obvious methods. Perhaps doomed also, as a result, is the ideal of science - to devise a set of axioms from which all phenomena of the external world can be deduced.

Rucker, Infinity and the Mind:
The proof of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem is so simple, and so sneaky, that it is almost embarassing to relate. His basic procedure is as follows:

1. Someone introduces Gödel to a UTM, a machine that is supposed to be a Universal Truth Machine, capable of correctly answering any question at all.

2. Gödel asks for the program and the circuit design of the UTM. The program may be complicated, but it can only be finitely long. Call the program P(UTM) for Program of the Universal Truth Machine.

3. Smiling a little, Gödel writes out the following sentence: "The machine constructed on the basis of the program P(UTM) will never say that this sentence is true." Call this sentence G for Gödel. Note that G is equivalent to: "UTM will never say G is true."

4. Now Gödel laughs his high laugh and asks UTM whether G is true or not.

5. If UTM says G is true, then "UTM will never say G is true" is false. If "UTM will never say G is true" is false, then G is false (since G = "UTM will never say G is true"). So if UTM says G is true, then G is in fact false, and UTM has made a false statement. So UTM will never say that G is true, since UTM makes only true statements.

6. We have established that UTM will never say G is true. So "UTM will never say G is true" is in fact a true statement. So G is true (since G = "UTM will never say G is true").

7. "I know a truth that UTM can never utter," Gödel says. "I know that G is true. UTM is not truly universal."
Think about it - it grows on you ...

With his great mathematical and logical genius, Gödel was able to find a way (for any given P(UTM)) actually to write down a complicated polynomial equation that has a solution if and only if G is true. So G is not at all some vague or non-mathematical sentence. G is a specific mathematical problem that we know the answer to, even though UTM does not! So UTM does not, and cannot, embody a best and final theory of mathematics ...

Although this theorem can be stated and proved in a rigorously mathematical way, what it seems to say is that rational thought can never penetrate to the final ultimate truth ... But, paradoxically, to understand Gödel's proof is to find a sort of liberation. For many logic students, the final breakthrough to full understanding of the Incompleteness Theorem is practically a conversion experience. This is partly a by-product of the potent mystique Gödel's name carries. But, more profoundly, to understand the essentially labyrinthine nature of the castle is, somehow, to be free of it.


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Rick
post May 03, 2006, 02:31 PM
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Rucker is one of my favorite authors. I've read all of his novels and most of his nonfiction.
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Hey Hey
post May 03, 2006, 03:08 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ May 03, 07:11 PM) *

Godel also proved a physical theorem that shows that time does not exist. See the recent book A World Without Time.

http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/godelk/yourgp.htm


Thanks for that link Rick. It's a pity the review didn't say more about the actual book, but after searching more on it I found it really valuable. Will he buy it, won't he buy it? There's so much on the internet nowadays, and what with audiobooks, would I ever find the time to read the whole thing? Good for a birthday though. I'm still plowing through "The Story of God" and "Strange Matters".
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Hey Hey
post May 03, 2006, 03:12 PM
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QUOTE(Plato @ May 03, 09:09 PM) *

Time Varaible Measures.

Who would have ever thought that such a thinking of GR, could have amount to concepts, that to me, really do not seem dualistic, but are quite enlightening, once we have the news. See how such a progression from theory, could go to other processes in our lifetimes. Concepts that are different, as we form our philosophies?



Lao Tzu:
QUOTE
There is no objective level. An insight must be had by someone, so any insight is, to that extent, subjective. If it works for you then it works for you, but it would be hard to find a case in which it is objectively true.


I would counter this as well, given that scientists can come up with provactive insights that can be objectvely true.


Do you know, without micro-organisms there would be no cycles of the sort your picture shows. In fact they created much of our present geology, which then knocked on to provide the resources for all life, including us. (And our bodies contain more microbial cells than human cells). They'll eventually save us from the CO2 burden.
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Rick
post May 03, 2006, 03:28 PM
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QUOTE(Hey Hey @ May 03, 04:08 PM) *
Thanks for that link Rick. It's a pity the review didn't say more about the actual book, but after searching more on it I found it really valuable. Will he buy it, won't he buy it? There's so much on the internet nowadays, and what with audiobooks, would I ever find the time to read the whole thing? Good for a birthday though. I'm still plowing through "The Story of God" and "Strange Matters".

I have read the book (World Without Time) and highly recommend it.

Is the book on strange matters related to this:

http://chess.captain.at/strangelets-matter.html
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Hey Hey
post May 03, 2006, 04:07 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ May 04, 12:28 AM) *

QUOTE(Hey Hey @ May 03, 04:08 PM) *
Thanks for that link Rick. It's a pity the review didn't say more about the actual book, but after searching more on it I found it really valuable. Will he buy it, won't he buy it? There's so much on the internet nowadays, and what with audiobooks, would I ever find the time to read the whole thing? Good for a birthday though. I'm still plowing through "The Story of God" and "Strange Matters".

I have read the book (World Without Time) and highly recommend it.

Is the book on strange matters related to this:

http://chess.captain.at/strangelets-matter.html


It's by Tom Siegfried and is really a historical sojourn around modern physics mixed with a bit of recent frontier stuff. It's quite readable but also quite the usual tour of quite the usual ideas. But it was a well considered (*&?!) Christmas present and I couldn't think of any more excuses to avoid reading it - you know the sort of thing! Winston's "Story" is a different kettle of fish. It's written in an educational sort of way and as there's always something that one has missed in one's education, I'm finding it worth the read (although I have to admit to seeing the whole TV series). I don't usually like his work - you know, the expert on everything and anything approach, but on this occasion I thought it would be interesting to see how an very eminent politico-scientifico-medico Jew would tell the story. Not how I expected.

Incidentally, the article you referred to, I found hilarious. You have a gift for finding these beauties!
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Übermensch
post May 03, 2006, 11:50 PM
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QUOTE(Lao_Tzu @ May 02, 04:53 AM) *

Hello Übermensch! I like your writing style...


Thank you Lao_Tzu. happy.gif

(In response to your post)

QUOTE
What do you mean, exactly, by: "exponential technological development accompanied by the possibility of a recursive process with the Mind creating it"? (This is a crucial insight you say Nietzsche missed because he wasn't privy to the radical reductionism of the periods that followed his death.) What I don't understand is the part about a recursive process involving the mind. Can you perhaps explain that?


Part of what defines me as a philosopher is that I enjoy speculating about what is *possible*, and what effect this could have on what is *imaginable*. Just by reading the progession of this thread I can see that I am not alone in these sentiments.

Presently, the technological means at our disposal for augmenting what is imaginable are rather limited. Conventional (and not so conventional cool.gif ) pharmacology are all that we have. This is fine as a starting point, and I strongly support the principle of cognitive liberty (link). However I see no reason why one should settle on inexact approaches when there is the promise of much more precise techniques (engineered solutions) ranging anywhere from brain computer interfacing ("BCI") to the large scale alteration/replacement of substrate.

QUOTE
My personal favourite philosophers are Nietzsche and Buddha, and unless I misunderstand them, they seem to conflict here. In these cases, I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to Buddha. He was happier, after all.


Buddha and Nietzsche conflict on wide variety of issues, to the point where their metaphysics could be considered diametric opposites of one anoher. Yet Nietzsche still maintained a profound respect for the Buddha - why? Because he recognized Buddha as a fellow creator of values. This is in contrast to the empiricists, present in Nietzsche's time, but now so pervasive that they have come to define the spirit of an age; these trivial information gathering automatons with their talk of unified theories! The significance of normative valuations is completely lost on these exclusively scientific minds. But I digress.

The value of eudaimonism (the ethic of happiness) is certainly not the given that you make it out to be. Happiness is but one end of a spectrum where I believe careful balance is required. The emotive state of happiness coincides with making headway toward one's goal set (for Nietzsche, pleasure was the sensation of 'resistance overcome'). Conversely, sadness or suffering goes hand in hand with a failure to achieve objectives. I would argue that it is absolutely necessary for the correspondence between emotive states and circumstances to stay intact if one wishes to remain nondelusional and maximize hir probability of goal attainment.

The desire for bliss (comfort, sanctuary, safety, Utopia) is really nothing other than an aversion to life. It represents a fundamental weariness for the struggle that comes with life.

QUOTE
Perhaps we could clarify what is meant by "true enlightenment" (can we perhaps jettison the "true" and leave "enlightenment" just as is?) and by "ultimate knowledge" and then proceed to discuss whether (1) these things are worth striving for at all, and (2) if so, whether science is useful in that quest?


(1) For me, enlightenment is a contemplative process that results in an improved understanding of existence and, of primary importance, an *optimization* of Being. It is a means, not an end.

(2) See second paragraph on technology.

QUOTE
In my undersanding, ultimate knowledge goes beyond mere intellectual understanding into a realm of understanding that is integrated with your most basic sense of self and the universe. Ultimate knowledge is felt knowledge.


This strikes me as fluffy Buddistic jive, but maybe I'm being too quick to judge. tongue.gif I am not a phenomenologist, per se. There is little room to argue against the 20th century analytic tradition. It has proven invaluable in addressing multiple areas of philosophical inquiry. With that said, I do not see *intellect* as being a predominately linguistic affair. Language is an appendage of intelligence that arose for the purpose of communication. One could reasonably argue that language is responsible for human level intelligence, but claiming that language is intelligence just doesn't hold much sway with me. (I'm not sure if this is relevant to your position or not, but I figured I'd throw it out there...)
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