## Is time just an illusion?

 Quote by Doctordick You are very close but I think you are making a subtle error. We have a finite number of ontological elements, each associated with a specific t index. These references (which are going to be represented by numerical labels) are explicitly displayed as points on the x axis. The only purpose for which the tau axis was created was to allow us to display multiple occurrences of the same x label.
Multiple occurrences at different moments, right? Well, the same thing cannot be said to exist twice at the same moment so I'm guessing this is what you are saying... That this is a question of how we assume identity of things in specific solutions?

 You should understand that actual specific labels only occur with a specific epistemological solution to the problem of explaining those "valid ontological elements": i.e., an explanation of reality other than the what is, is what is explanation where every element is presumed to be unique.
Yeah so what I'm assuming you are saying in other words is:
The "what is, is what is" explanation defines what exists at each moment without assuming any identity to something in that it could be said to exist as the "same thing" from one moment to the next. Such an identity is to be defined by some specific solution, and you are marking this down with the tau-dimension?

Am I getting it wrong?

-Anssi

Ah, Anssi, you are very close to understanding what I am saying but are making a subtle error.
 Quote by AnssiH Multiple occurrences at different moments, right? Well, the same thing cannot be said to exist twice at the same moment so I'm guessing this is what you are saying... That this is a question of how we assume identity of things in specific solutions?
We are not talking about identity of things yet. That is a bit down the road. Remember, these labels are for "ontological elements". Certainly, in the "what is" is "what is" explanation no real ontological elements cannot occur twice at any moment unless they are truly the same ontological element. But we are ignorant and wouldn't "know" it if it happened. Thus it is that we require that additional axis in order to represent the fact that, what we think is new information is, in fact, mere repetition of some ontological element we were already aware of. A flaw free epistemological solution might certainly label two instances in our "what is" is "what is" explanation to be, in fact, the same ontological element.

As an example, the common current explanation of reality considers "electrons" to be fundamental ontological elements and it should be quite clear to you that any representation (under that epistemological construct) would require a great number of "electrons". Since our space is an ontological space, we need to provide a dimension to denote whatever differences that epistemological solution might bestow on those "electrons".

What I am getting at is the fact occurrences at different moments has already been handled by the introduction of the time index.
 Quote by AnssiH The "what is, is what is" explanation defines ....
I think what you have missed is that the "what is" is "what is" explanation defines absolutely nothing1 It openly regards every case as possibly totally different from any other case. It is the actual assignment of specific labels for those events which yields the patterns from which the epistemological solutions are built. In the common work of science, those assignments are made via what I call the "guess and by golly" approach. Over hundreds of millions of years we have managed to find some assignments (specific labels for those valid ontological elements which have become our past). The problem is that the assignment directly prevents us from seeing other possibilities. What I am presenting to you is a way of representing those ontological elements which creates no constraint upon our epistemological solutions.

I hope I have cleared this up a little. Actually, what I am presenting is a way of representing the situation which makes utterly no presumptions as to what that situation is. As I have said, the key issue here is that this representation can "represent any possible explanation of any possible 'past'" without making any assumptions about the nature of reality.

Looking to hear from you -- Dick

 Quote by Doctordick Ah, Anssi, you are very close to understanding what I am saying but are making a subtle error. We are not talking about identity of things yet. That is a bit down the road. Remember, these labels are for "ontological elements". Certainly, in the "what is" is "what is" explanation no real ontological elements cannot occur twice at any moment unless they are truly the same ontological element. But we are ignorant and wouldn't "know" it if it happened. Thus it is that we require that additional axis in order to represent the fact that, what we think is new information is, in fact, mere repetition of some ontological element we were already aware of. A flaw free epistemological solution might certainly label two instances in our "what is" is "what is" explanation to be, in fact, the same ontological element. As an example, the common current explanation of reality considers "electrons" to be fundamental ontological elements and it should be quite clear to you that any representation (under that epistemological construct) would require a great number of "electrons". Since our space is an ontological space, we need to provide a dimension to denote whatever differences that epistemological solution might bestow on those "electrons".
Ah! Practical examples are helpful even if they can sometimes be little bit misleading too for this subject :)

So this is simply about being able to represent a number of... um... "identical things" (differentiated perhaps only by their location in "space") exisiting at a given moment? If so the error wasn't very subtle at all :)

 The "what is, is what is" explanation defines ....
I think what you have missed is that the "what is" is "what is" explanation defines absolutely nothing1
I haven't missed that bit, I just should have phrased myself more clearly that's all. But it is irrelevant now, if the tau is just enabling us to say there exists a number of "electrons" or whatever we would end up defining as ontological elements?

-Ansi

 Quote by Doctordick ...We have a finite number of ontological elements...
This is false. There are an infinite number of ontological elements (the metaphysical given) when you take into account the sum total of "valid ontological elements" and "fabricated ontological elements" (your terms Dr.D. not mine). At best you can argue that we may have a finite number of "valid ontological elements"--yet evolutionary theory suggests this is false given that new valid ontological elements called species continue to be formed over time, and there is no finite limit to the information provided within the DNA molecule. Clearly the human mind can imagine an endless and infinite number of fabricated ontological elements as well as fabricated philosophies.

 Quote by AnssiH Ah! Practical examples are helpful even if they can sometimes be little bit misleading too for this subject :)
 Quote by AnssiH So this is simply about being able to represent a number of... um... "identical things" (differentiated perhaps only by their location in "space") existing at a given moment? If so the error wasn't very subtle at all :)
This is, very simply, about how to handle undefined information. What I am doing is setting up a way of representing the undefined valid information which underlies all of our epistemological solutions solutions. Paul has always held that what I have done is proved a theorem. I can see how that interpretation could be made of my work; but it isn't really how I see it. Would anyone ever suggest that the Dewy Decimal System is a theorem? It is no more than a way of indexing books which can be applied to any library collection.

Likewise, what I am doing at this point is setting up a system which will allow me to talk about any collection of information without putting any constraints on the interpretation of that information at all. I like to think of it as a way of indexing the fundamental elements expressing that information. That is why I often refer to to these "valid ontological elements" (which I have defined to be "reality") as "references".

My first problem was that the collection of knowledge changes: and that would be the valid ontological elements which actually form the basis of our epistemological constructs. Our knowledge changes "from time to time". That is why I call the index representing such a change "t" or time.
 Quote by Doctordick I define "the past" to be what we know, "the future" to be what we do not know, and "the present" to be a change in what we know.
Time (or "t") is no more or less than an index on that collection of fundamental elements which underlie our world view. And any past you can conceive of can be seen as a collection of such "presents". You can see your "past" as being coherent collection of "presents" identified by this thing called time can't you?

So the next step is to come up with a way of indexing the collection of valid elements underlying a specific "present". Again, I simply attach a label to each and every one of those elements. Since I don't know what those elements are (if I did know, I would be working with an epistemological solution and not with "undefined references") I will simply attach a number "i" to each reference. If I ever have to apply this indexing system to an actual epistemological solution, I will have to understand that solution and correlate each of those indexes to the proper reference. But, I am not concerned with the problem of understanding any epistemological solution (that would be theorizing and, for the moment, I want simply to make sure that I am not ignoring any information).

My next step was to define "position". All I did was decide to see that index "i" as a position on the x axis. There is nothing deep and profound about such a step; it is actually quite common in quite a lot of scientific representations. Take for example, the family tree of primates. You will see it laid out on a sheet of paper with forks leading to various different species. They are using the concept of position (different horizontal placement on a sheet of paper) to represent branching to these different species. Now they simply draw a line on the paper; one could just as well attach some index "i" to each branch. In fact, if one were to create a computer model of that picture of lines, one would attach some specific x displacement for the same phenomena.

The problem, since we are working with a finite number of "references" here, is that the picture loses information if two or more of those "fundamental elements" happen to be assigned the same label (by some specific epistemological solution). How does one manage to maintain that information in such a representation? Clearly one can not. That is exactly why I introduced the tau axis. One can then give any element both an x coordinate and a tau coordinate. Remember, they are actually mere indices and the actual values are of no concern. No more than the family tree of the primates would lose meaning if the branches were drawn farther apart or in a different horizontal order. If I ever have to apply this indexing system to an actual epistemological solution, I will have to understand that solution and correlate each of those indexes to the proper reference.

None of this is any more or less than an indexing procedure. What I have done is transformed the original problem into a collection of points in a three dimensional space. If those points are constrained to be "valid ontological elements" which are known by person generating the epistemological solution, then any flaw free epistemological solution must yield those points.
 Quote by Doctordick An explanation is a method of obtaining one's expectations from known information!
If your epistemological solution does not yield expectations consistent with your own past, then you should certainly regard it as flawed.
 Quote by Doctordick What is really important here is that your understanding of any given specific epistemological solution consists of a finite number of specific labels (symbols for supposed valid ontological elements of the past) together with underlying presumed ontological elements not actually contained in that specific finite set (these are the presumptions in your understanding itself). The basis of your understanding is in the correlations you see in some finite set of specific labels.
 Quote by Doctordick I began with the simplified case where all ontological elements in that past (what is known) were "valid ontological elements" and it is quite clear to anyone that, what we think we know, probably includes a great number of "invalid ontological elements". In the, "what is" is "what is" explanation of the past, this is actually a rather trivial issue as it really amounts to no more than a number of invalid entries in that collection of labels going to make of the past (what is known). That is to say, any acceptable explanation must still yield the correct expectation for those valid ontological elements. It just must also yield acceptable expectations for those invalid ontological elements the explanation presumed were valid. This fact does not allow any additional acceptable explanations, it instead only reduces the number of possibilities being considered in that "by guess and by golly" procedure used by everyone.
What we would like to do is to introduce the simplest set of "invalid ontological elements" which will constrain the "valid ontological" elements to what we know without eliminating any possibilities for the future (what we do not know).

The fundamental insight here is that the fabricated ontological elements are part and parcel of the epistemological construct and are free variables unconstrained by "reality". It follows that one must handle ontological elements as two different types of "unknowns"; one collection which is set and immutable and another which is free to anything at all: i.e., the rules are different for the two sets and that difference must be embedded in the logic of the representation.

Once again, I repeat, "it should be clear that such a representation can represent any possible explanation of any possible 'past'". This is the central key issue which must be comprehended before we can possibly go on.
 Quote by AnssiH But it is irrelevant now, if the tau is just enabling us to say there exists a number of "electrons" or whatever we would end up defining as ontological elements?
Irrelevant isn't a word I would use here. The tau axis is not just allowing us to say, "there exists a number of 'electrons' or whatever we would end up defining as ontological elements"; it is allowing us to specify exactly how many occurrences exist in that epistemological solution.

I should comment that, the ability to express such a thing is not a requirement that we do so. No more than the Dewy decimal system requires us to specify every possible book which could exist, the only requirement is that every book we have in our library can be given a specific label: i.e., a counter example can not be found.

Have fun -- Dick

PS I am sorry I write so much. I wish I could be clearer.

Quote by Doctordick
 Ah! Practical examples are helpful even if they can sometimes be little bit misleading too for this subject :)
Nothing! :)
I was just saying practical examples are helpful in general, and thought you usually try to avoid them (since you seldom use them) because they are cases of defining some ontological elements, and people can be misled to think you are suggesting such a defined ontology.

 This is, very simply, about how to handle undefined information. What I am doing is setting up a way of representing the undefined valid information which underlies all of our epistemological solutions solutions. Paul has always held that what I have done is proved a theorem. I can see how that interpretation could be made of my work; but it isn't really how I see it. Would anyone ever suggest that the Dewy Decimal System is a theorem? It is no more than a way of indexing books which can be applied to any library collection. Likewise, what I am doing at this point is setting up a system which will allow me to talk about any collection of information without putting any constraints on the interpretation of that information at all. I like to think of it as a way of indexing the fundamental elements expressing that information. That is why I often refer to to these "valid ontological elements" (which I have defined to be "reality") as "references". My first problem was that the collection of knowledge changes: and that would be the valid ontological elements which actually form the basis of our epistemological constructs. Our knowledge changes "from time to time". That is why I call the index representing such a change "t" or time.
Right, this seems pretty clear.

 Time (or "t") is no more or less than an index on that collection of fundamental elements which underlie our world view. And any past you can conceive of can be seen as a collection of such "presents". You can see your "past" as being coherent collection of "presents" identified by this thing called time can't you?
Sure.

 So the next step is to come up with a way of indexing the collection of valid elements underlying a specific "present". Again, I simply attach a label to each and every one of those elements. Since I don't know what those elements are (if I did know, I would be working with an epistemological solution and not with "undefined references") I will simply attach a number "i" to each reference. If I ever have to apply this indexing system to an actual epistemological solution, I will have to understand that solution and correlate each of those indexes to the proper reference. But, I am not concerned with the problem of understanding any epistemological solution (that would be theorizing and, for the moment, I want simply to make sure that I am not ignoring any information).
Yup.

 My next step was to define "position". All I did was decide to see that index "i" as a position on the x axis. There is nothing deep and profound about such a step; it is actually quite common in quite a lot of scientific representations. Take for example, the family tree of primates. You will see it laid out on a sheet of paper with forks leading to various different species. They are using the concept of position (different horizontal placement on a sheet of paper) to represent branching to these different species. Now they simply draw a line on the paper; one could just as well attach some index "i" to each branch. In fact, if one were to create a computer model of that picture of lines, one would attach some specific x displacement for the same phenomena.
Yeah, so this step of the indexing process doesn't imply any specific ontology either?

 The problem, since we are working with a finite number of "references" here, is that the picture loses information if two or more of those "fundamental elements" happen to be assigned the same label (by some specific epistemological solution). How does one manage to maintain that information in such a representation? Clearly one can not. That is exactly why I introduced the tau axis.
Yeah, and so one example of assigning the same label to a number of fundamental elements would be when one ends up defining that many electrons exist at a specific "present"?

Hmmm, I think at this point it would be helpful for me if you could explain how you end up manipulating this representation for some useful end. I think it might clear up some things that might be little bit blurry to me right now.

 None of this is any more or less than an indexing procedure. What I have done is transformed the original problem into a collection of points in a three dimensional space. If those points are constrained to be "valid ontological elements" which are known by person generating the epistemological solution, then any flaw free epistemological solution must yield those points. If your epistemological solution does not yield expectations consistent with your own past, then you should certainly regard it as flawed.
i.e. if it cannot explain your past?

 What we would like to do is to introduce the simplest set of "invalid ontological elements" which will constrain the "valid ontological" elements to what we know without eliminating any possibilities for the future (what we do not know). The fundamental insight here is that the fabricated ontological elements are part and parcel of the epistemological construct and are free variables unconstrained by "reality". It follows that one must handle ontological elements as two different types of "unknowns"; one collection which is set and immutable and another which is free to anything at all: i.e., the rules are different for the two sets and that difference must be embedded in the logic of the representation. Once again, I repeat, "it should be clear that such a representation can represent any possible explanation of any possible 'past'". This is the central key issue which must be comprehended before we can possibly go on.
Well at least I cannot think of how it could fail to represent some kind of past, so this seems quite valid.

 I just should have phrased myself more clearly that's all. But it is irrelevant now, if the tau is just enabling us to say there exists a number of "electrons" or whatever we would end up defining as ontological elements?
Irrelevant isn't a word I would use here.
Heh, you know how sometimes when you try to sort out a misunderstanding, it just turns into more misunderstandings like a snowball-effect? This is one of those moments :)
What "irrelevant" was referring to was "I should have phrased myself more clearly before" (which I included in my quote).
What that was referring to was when I said something in the effect of your solution being used to define things.... it was the "method of defining" things that were under discussion, not the actual definitions that one might end up to.... Anyway, this was irrelevant because I had understood the use of "tau-dimension" incorrectly.

 PS I am sorry I write so much. I wish I could be clearer.

-Anssi

Hi Anssi,

Your posts are delightful. You make it quite clear that you think deeply about what I say; something I wish some of the other people reading this forum would do. (Who knows, maybe there are others who have a grasp of what I am saying, If they are out there, I wish they would comment.)
 Quote by AnssiH Yeah, so this step of the indexing process doesn't imply any specific ontology either?
Of course not. You cannot have an epistemological solution to any problem without an ontology to build that solution on. And, you certainly cannot explain that solution to anyone without communicating the required ontology; so, if we can find a valid epistemological solution, we can certainly refer to the required ontological elements. That is what language is all about: mere symbolic representation of concepts we feel are important so we can communicate those thoughts with others.

An Aside: (you can skip this if you want!) There is a short column in the April 14, 2007 issue of "Science News" ("Rats take fast route to remembering") where the authors say,
 Prior studies, which have focused on task learning unrelated to preexisting knowledge, indicate that a brain region called the hippocampus incorporates new facts and events into memory. The hippocampus gradually yields to another structure, the neocortex, as new memories become stronger. [And correlated into preexisting knowledge.] This process typically takes at least 1 month in rodents and a few years in people.
The blue comment is mine. As I told my wife, that sort of means rats are pretty smart. I guess we should be thankful their life span is short and they haven't come up with language yet or they would take the world over!

But really, I think the difference might very well be that the rats are hard wired for specific types of memories and don't waste any time trying to think of alternate explanations whereas the essence of human success is that they spend a lot of time (as a species, not as individuals) considering alternate possibilities before new information is correlated into preexisting knowledge. Of course I could be wrong.

Just a comment on the importance of learning a language.
 Quote by AnssiH Yeah, and so one example of assigning the same label to a number of fundamental elements would be when one ends up defining that many electrons exist at a specific "present"?
Yes, exactly. Another good example would be that family tree of the primates I brought up. How would you show multiple entries for the same species? You already use horizontal displacement to indicate different species and vertical displacement to indicate time and you would have to include another axis if you wanted to show the time change in populations.
 Quote by AnssiH Hmmm, I think at this point it would be helpful for me if you could explain how you end up manipulating this representation for some useful end. I think it might clear up some things that might be little bit blurry to me right now.
The useful end is the organization of your thoughts and that organization yields results almost beyond belief. That is exactly where I want to lead you.
 Quote by AnssiH i.e. if it cannot explain your past?
If any explanation turns out to be counter to my past (i.e., inconsistent with what I know to have happened beyond doubt) I certainly wouldn't accept it as valid. Would you?

As far as "a useful end" is concerned, we need an exact definition of "an explanation" (otherwise, we don't know how to go about explaining things). That is why I defined an explanation to be a method of obtaining one's expectations from known information.

Under that definition, the structure of the "what is", is "what is" explanation is quite simple in that it is no more than a table of "undefined ontological elements" going to make up every discrete present going to make up that "past" which constitutes "what one thinks one knows". Since "what one thinks one knows" is undefined we can represent each element with a number. One's expectation are no more than a "true/false" decision on any given present. In the "what is", is "what is" explanation, the method is no more than "look in the table". If a particular list is in the table the answer to your expectations is, "true". If it is not there, the answer is false.

If we could really contain, in our minds, a complete collection of all "presents" going to make up our past, then that might be a useful view but that feat is somewhat beyond our mental capabilities. What we would really like is a procedure (think of it as a fundamental rule) which would accomplish that result for a any single ontological element. In such a case, we need comprehend only that element in our logic, taking the rest as "understood": i.e., as established by that rule. So I will show you a way of accomplishing such a result by including intentionally invalid ontological elements, an extremely powerful procedure. After all, if you can't prove that your explanations of reality include no "invalid ontological elements" how can you constrain me to a presentation which excludes such things? Particularly if I explicitly declare these additions to be "invalid".

The first "invalid ontological elements" I would like to add, is a very simple set. As defined, all real presents consist of specific changes in my knowledge of valid ontological elements. I have already eluded to the fact that I am using numerical labels because I can then talk about that "method of obtaining one's expectations" as a mathematical function. The "true/false" can be seen as a "one/zero" dichotomy and I am using numerical labels for that "known knowledge" (those specific "valid ontological elements" which constitute the "reality" of any given "present") so the method is a mathematical function: i.e., it transforms one set of numbers into a second set (you give me a set of numbers which could possibly be a real "present" and that "mathematical function" returns either a one or a zero (depending upon whether or not that collection of numbers is in that table of my "what is", is "what is" explanation.

But this is a very strange "mathematical function". The number of arguments for any particular "real" present is neither fixed or known.

In order to simplify the situation (given that I have a specific epistemological solution to represent), I will simply add a sufficient number of "invalid ontological elements" (additional numbers) to each "valid present" until all cases have exactly the same number of arguments. Now you have to understand that, after I add these "invalid ontological elements" there need be no method within my finished explanation (where I am going) to tell the difference between the valid and invalid elements; in fact there cannot be such a method for if there were, it would constitute a flaw in the epistemological solution (invalidating that ontological element). Notice that the numbers I have added to the collection are totally arbitrary; counter to the valid ontological elements which are immutable. (This fact will become extremely important down the line a ways.)

So, after that agumentation, it is not a very strange function at all, it has a clear set of arguments (that total number of ontological elements that flaw free epistemological solution presumes makes up all presents, some of which are valid and some invalid). My flaw free epistemological construct must yield a one or zero for each and every such possible collection.

At this point, I would like to add a second set of invalid ontological elements. Again, I add these elements for my own convenience as they will make that explanation I am looking for (that mathematical function which constitutes the "fundamental rule") simpler. As that mathematical function (which is a direct explicit expression of our explanation) now stands (per what I have laid out above) there could exist identical "presents". That issue is the source of some conceptual difficulties. All of my presents are supposed to have a unique index on them and that unique index can not be established by my proposed epistemological solution unless the value of that index is embedded in the collection of presents themselves. If two presents are identical, the index can not be embedded in the collection: i.e., no epistemological solution based on that collection of ontological elements can yield a different index for those two "presents".

The solution to this difficulty is very simple. All one need do is find all identical entries in that table of our "what is", is "what is" explanation (where we have already added the entries which made all presents have the same number of arguments). We can now add another entry (just another invalid ontological element) to every present, making sure that the entry is different in every case where the earlier table had identical entries. Now every "present" going to make up our "what is", is "what is" explanation is an identifiably different case. This provides us a direct procedure for obtaining that embedded index. You give me any hypothetical entry for that table and I can examine the table and tell you not only if it is a member (give you the true/false answer) but I can also give you the "t" index for every true case. By the way, I am not suggesting this as a reasonable way of explaining reality, I am simply saying that it must work as the collection of table entries is finite so the job can be completed.

So, let's extend this idea of adding invalid ontological elements to simplify the problem one more very subtle step. Let us make a new table consisting of a list of all entries in the table we now have but omitting one number (that's one of those reference labels) from each specific present. To make what I am proposing very clear: if every present in the current list (that is both the additions above have been done) consists of n numbers, this new table will have n entries for every specific "t" index: each one being the entry for the "t" present with a different specific numerical reference removed. We can call this subsidiary table, "table number two".

Again, after removing one number, we introduce the possibility that this second table will have some identical entries. We can once again get rid of identical entries by adding more "invalid ontological elements" (using the same method described above) until table number two consists of totally different entries (please note that, since nothing has been said about order in those arguments, the same set of numbers listed in a different order will be considered to be identical lists). This step may be quite extensive but it is nonetheless finite and can thus be accomplished.

Now this augmented table number two can also be seen as a tabular representation of a function (which I will call function number two). A function which yields a one/zero result for each of all possible collections of arguments (including that "t" index): one for "true" (that set of numbers is in the table or) zero for false (that set of numbers is not in the table). These two tables (the table yielding probabilities and table number two), taken together provide the definition of a new function with a very interesting property. Given that the original table upon which table number two is based (that primary table being augmented with those new "invalid ontological elements") has n entries; given any possible set of (n-1) arguments, one can find first if that set is an entry in table number two (in which case there is either one or zero entries). Since that entry includes the "t" index, the associated entry in the primary table can be examined. That entry will have exactly the same arguments as the set which was given plus one more additional argument: the entry which was removed to create table number two.

What I have just described is a method of finding the missing number given all the labels except the missing label. That means that, if I have a flaw free epistemological solution to this uniquely augmented "what is", is "what is" explanation, there must exist a mathematical function of all but one argument which will yield the missing argument (I have just explained how to construct such a table). Now, it may be true that I only have given the mechanism for constructing a table of the results which corresponds to my presumed past (what I think I know, including those invalid ontological element) but it should be clear to you that the procedure must also yield all of the known "valid ontological elements". What I have just proved is that, if I have a flaw free epistemological solution, I can use that solution to build a tabular function which will yield the missing argument for every valid set of arguments where one argument is missing. That function can be written as

$$x_n(t) = f(x_1, x_2, x_3, \cdots, x_{n-1}, t)$$

or,

$$F(x_1, x_2, x_3, \cdots, x_n, t) = x_n(t) - f(x_1, x_2, x_3, \cdots, x_{n-1}, t) = 0.$$

Note that, since order of arguments is of no significance, x sub n can be any element in the set. To clarify what I have just proved: Given a flaw free epistemological construct based on the collection of valid ontological elements plus a designed set of invalid ontological elements, there always exists a function (which I will refer to as the function F( B(t) ) of those numerical labels which will yield exactly that "what is", is "what is" table under the very simple rule, F=0. Likewise, given that table, there exists a function (which I will call P( B, t) ) which yields the probability the collection of arguments B exist in the particular present indexed by t: i.e., that function will yield either one or zero to indicate that B(t) is or is not an entry on the table.

Now, not only must such a functions exist, but anyone with a little mathematics training must realize that an infinite set of functions satisfying that constraint exists for every possible set of valid ontological elements. These numbers constitute a finite set of points in that (x, tau, t) space and there are an infinite number of functions which will fit that set of points exactly so no constraint whatsoever has actually been placed on the future (which is, by definition, what I do not know). In other words, there exists no epistemological solution based upon any set of valid ontological elements which can not be expressed by a specific P( [b]B[/b), t) under the simple rule that the only constraint on the numerical references is that they satisfy a relationship which can be written: F( B(t) ) = zero.

The only difference between this mathematical representation and the specific explanation it represents is the fact that I have added one hell of a lot of "invalid ontological elements": i.e., an epistemological construct invented by a theorist could possibly contain fewer "invalid ontological elements" but it certainly could not depend on a simpler rule ( F=0 is a pretty simple rule).

I think I have given you enough to think about for the moment. Check out what I have said carefully and if you find any part of it confusing, I will do my best to clear things up. When this all makes sense to you, I will take you to the next step. Let's see if you can get your head around the above exposition.

Have fun -- Dick

 Quote by Doctordick You make it quite clear that you think deeply about what I say; something I wish some of the other people reading this forum would do. (Who knows, maybe there are others who have a grasp of what I am saying, If they are out there, I wish they would comment.)
Hello DD,
Actually, I have been following this thread since the beginning and have read most of your posts on this forum. I've hesitated to comment to this because, well, you were a little mean to people in the beginning (and used waaay too many emoticons ) Anyway, I'm here just trying to learn something, so please proceed.
Having fun
RV

 Quote by Doctordick ...If any explanation turns out to be counter to my past (i.e., inconsistent with what I know to have happened beyond doubt) I certainly wouldn't accept it as valid. Would you?
Well yes, because I realize that it is impossible for any human to "know" what happened in the past "beyond doubt". By definition, science (= search for knowledge) always provides uncertain (= with doubt) knowledge.

ps/ Sorry for the interruption--please continue.

edit example: Let A = the birth doctor explanation for an event [E] that occured to you when you were born (say 30 seconds after birth from womb). Let B = your explanation of "what you know to have happened" at that exact past time. Now, which explanation is "valid", A or B ? The criterion of being "counter to my past" is of no value in this example to understanding why any explanation of past events is valid for the simple reason that "your past" provides uncertain knowledge of the present.

 Quote by Doctordick ...Since "what one thinks one knows" is undefined we can represent each element with a number...
Well no, Dr.D. just defined it, that is, "what one thinks one knows" is defined by Dr.D. as being "undefined". Thus, it not possible for Dr.D. to represent each element with only a single number (1,2,3,...n), he must represent each element to show the dialectic union of the "undefined" ontological essence of the element (let me call it the set O1, O2, O3, ...On) with some token representation for epistemic uncertain knowledge of each element (let us use the 1,2,3...n of Dr.D.). Thus, each element must be represented by the dialectic set (O1-1, O2-2, O3-3...On-n)--and now Dr.D. can continue with his equation once so modified. If someone other than Dr.D. finds error in my argument, please explain.

 Quote by RVBuckeye Actually, I have been following this thread since the beginning and have read most of your posts on this forum.
I presume you mean the "Philosophy" forum and not the "Physics Forums" per say. I would be totally astonished if you had read a significant number of those 600 posts I have managed to stick out there.
 Quote by RVBuckeye I've hesitated to comment to this because, well, you were a little mean to people in the beginning (and used waaay too many emoticons )
I'm not a "mean" person; all I was doing is trying to get a rise out of the readers. And I only use a lot of "emoticons" when I feel I am getting no feedback. What I am trying to say is actually quite simple but I don't seem to be able to reach very many people. My real problem is that I have no idea as to what part of what I am saying is not being understood, but I am learning.
 Quote by RVBuckeye Anyway, I'm here just trying to learn something, so please proceed.
Now see, you haven't given me any indication of what you do or do not understand of my presentation. You could understand every point or you could be missing the whole issue, like Rade. Now you see I have nothing against Rade; it's just that he doesn't seem to comprehend any of what I am talking about. If you think his posts are relevant, I would say you are not following my thoughts. If you do have some understanding of what I have said, maybe you could explain it to Rade in a way he could understand. It would help me a lot to know where others are going astray of what I am saying. I am beginning to comprehend that they are missing the very essence of my thoughts.
 Quote by Doctordick Since "what one thinks one knows" is undefined we can represent each element with a number.
Only Anssi seems to understand that these numbers are no more than labels for those undefined ontological elements in exactly the same sense that words are nothing more than labels for whatever we think the words mean. When we understand (have decided we know what we are talking about), then and only then can we replace the numbers with defined words.

The interesting issue at that point is that, replacing those numbers with words is no more than relabeling; the only thing which is really important is the correlation evident in multiple appearances of the same collections of words (or letters or even hieroglyphics of any kind). Those various correlations are exactly what we mean by definition. A dictionary is no more than a supposedly complete collection of the most important such correlations in a given specific language. What collection of symbols is used for labels is of utterly no significance. In fact, it can be a hindrance as people tend to believe they understand the language they learned before they learned to think.

A long time ago, I asked the question, "How do you tell the difference between an electron and a Volkswagen?" Take a look at that and tell me what you think. You will find my answer a few posts down from there.
 Quote by Doctordick The example is clearly silly but what it points out is that the identification of an event is a constraint on acceptable surrounding events. When we define an event to be an electron (or a Volkswagen) we are actually using the tag to constrain surrounding events to a known collection of expectations of already defined events. In fact, it is usually a very vast collection and generally impossible to delineate by any mechanism other than by presuming the listener is familiar with the general nature of the associated events indicated by the very act of naming the event of interest.
i.e., if you don't know the difference between an electron and a Volkswagen, you just don't know what they are, the're different things!

Glad you are having fun -- Dick

 Quote by Doctordick I'm not a "mean" person; all I was doing is trying to get a rise out of the readers.
For someone making the arguments you are making, that sentence is very strange. "What you really are" is as unknowable as "what the universe really is", even to yourself. You cannot know what you really are, you can only have a model of yourself based on your self-perception. As to everyone else reading this forum, all they have are your words, and when you tell them "who you really are", all you are doing is give them more words.

I believe the hypothesis that you are mean is consistent with everything else you wrote so far, since calling people idiots is part of what defines a person as being mean.

But I'm probably just another idiot :)

Hey, sorry it has taken a while for me to reply. I've read this post a few times, trying to digest it, and I can kind of sort of get what you are getting at, but it's a bit tricky to grasp. But first the rats :)

 Quote by Doctordick The blue comment is mine. As I told my wife, that sort of means rats are pretty smart. I guess we should be thankful their life span is short and they haven't come up with language yet or they would take the world over! But really, I think the difference might very well be that the rats are hard wired for specific types of memories and don't waste any time trying to think of alternate explanations whereas the essence of human success is that they spend a lot of time (as a species, not as individuals) considering alternate possibilities before new information is correlated into preexisting knowledge. Of course I could be wrong.
Well, yeah, seems to me that the more sophisticated (large & complex) a worldview is, the more work it is to incorporate new information into it in a coherent manner. I.e. anything we see needs to make sense with everything we know, and when it doesn't, a small worldview is "refined" faster into a new coherent whole than a large one (since this refinement would require you to redefine many things in that worldview, until it is internally coherent again)

Also there is another factor that is probably contributing to this, which is that animals seem to have more hardwired functions in their brain whereas our brain seems to have more freedom in the ways to interpret information, and this freedom entails longer learning periods, especially right after birth. And that would explain why it takes so long for a human infant to start functioning in the world in any reasonable manner at all...

 The useful end is the organization of your thoughts and that organization yields results almost beyond belief. That is exactly where I want to lead you. If any explanation turns out to be counter to my past (i.e., inconsistent with what I know to have happened beyond doubt) I certainly wouldn't accept it as valid. Would you?
No I wouldn't, that's when we are forced to try and refine that worldview.

Okay, onto the topic;

 As far as "a useful end" is concerned, we need an exact definition of "an explanation" (otherwise, we don't know how to go about explaining things). That is why I defined an explanation to be a method of obtaining one's expectations from known information. Under that definition, the structure of the "what is", is "what is" explanation is quite simple in that it is no more than a table of "undefined ontological elements" going to make up every discrete present going to make up that "past" which constitutes "what one thinks one knows". Since "what one thinks one knows" is undefined we can represent each element with a number.
Here I need some clarification... When we lay down these numbers onto the "x, tau, t" -table, that is an attempt at a specific solution, right? I.e. we have made some definitions to be able to do that at all?

Whether this is correct or not, I think it would be helpful if we could actually try and describe some simple system in this manner?

 One's expectation are no more than a "true/false" decision on any given present. In the "what is", is "what is" explanation, the method is no more than "look in the table". If a particular list is in the table the answer to your expectations is, "true". If it is not there, the answer is false.
This I don't quite get either. I have some expectation (for the future?), and I make a list (of ontological elements?)... Is this like a description of a specific state (a specific present)? Probably not because then I don't know how I would find it from the table, or what it being "true" (being found) would entail...

 If we could really contain, in our minds, a complete collection of all "presents" going to make up our past, then that might be a useful view but that feat is somewhat beyond our mental capabilities. What we would really like is a procedure (think of it as a fundamental rule) which would accomplish that result for a any single ontological element.
I.e. which would tell us if some specific single ontological element is "valid"? Or if it exists in reality as has been defined? No?

I hope you can clarify these issues to me before I reply to the rest of the post. Of which I'm sure I'll have more questions :)

 What I am trying to say is actually quite simple but I don't seem to be able to reach very many people. My real problem is that I have no idea as to what part of what I am saying is not being understood, but I am learning.
This reminds me, one thing that I find particularly useful when I'm trying to grasp some new model or a concept, is that I look at the history of that model; how the idea was developed one step at a time. Usually when you find a new outlook at something that causes you to look at everything from a different angle than most others, in the end you are so deep in your own paradigm that it is going to be very hard to communicate even the simplest of things to anyone else (since they understand too many concepts differently).

But people get the new concepts (and new ways to understand old concepts) better if you can explain what lead you to that idea step by step, i.e. what is the problem you were trying to solve that lead you to the first tiny step, and how things followed from there.

-Anssi

 Quote by Rade Well yes, because I realize that it is impossible for any human to "know" what happened in the past "beyond doubt". By definition, science (= search for knowledge) always provides uncertain (= with doubt) knowledge.
But you would not consider a worldview (or a physical model) to be valid if it fails to explain your past, would you?

 edit example: Let A = the birth doctor explanation for an event [E] that occured to you when you were born (say 30 seconds after birth from womb). Let B = your explanation of "what you know to have happened" at that exact past time. Now, which explanation is "valid", A or B ? The criterion of being "counter to my past" is of no value in this example to understanding why any explanation of past events is valid for the simple reason that "your past" provides uncertain knowledge of the present.
Of course part of the explanation is your idea about how your memories exist etc, and likewise part of the explanation is about why your memories would be uncertain. Even then each aspect of your worldview is something that has been extracted from your experiences; that is all you have to work with.

Here we get to that unfortunate complication that is under discussion. Perhaps a good way to express it is that there is no way to "interpret our experiences" correctly* until we have built a worldview, and we have no way to build a worldview until we can interpret our experiences correctly.

(*That's a bit misleading because there is no such thing as an experience without interpretation; it turns out it is the result of interpretation that is the experience itself)

This is analogous to the problem of understanding language. You cannot explain what words mean to someone who doesn't know any words. Yet we all learn the language around us.

So that's the problem, and the solutions to the both problems are also similar; we make certain assumptions about meanings of things (~patterns), and we arrive at a coherent set of definitions. Be that defined words, or defined things. (We are not intelligent because we understand language. Instead, we understand language because we are intelligent)

After some learning (few years of "pasts") our worldview is an internally coherent association network (some things and properties and other such concepts defined by other things and vice versa) that can explain our past, at least in so far that we consider any parts of it to be valid.

Scientific models are likewise internally coherent explanations for the phenomena around us, and likewise they are a set of things defined by other things. For instance, to be able to define a "photon", i.e. to explain what a photon is, you need to refer to great many other things, that you must also defined properly. Imagine trying to explain what a photon is and how it behaves to someone who doesn't know what does matter and space mean, or what is energy, frequency, motion, time, or any other concept that we use to understand everyday situations.

So the only reason we can talk about photons with each others is that we can refer to such concepts as "space" and "motion" and "time", and be fairly certain that the other person understands them in a similar manner as we do.

You can see the "internal coherence" at work when you look at just about any case of us having made scientific advances, as we have defined something very differently from before, and that has affected many other things in our worldview, so to keep it internally coherent. For instance, after defining simultaneity as relative to so-called "inertial frame" (a very carefully defined concept in itself), we were led to quite a few additional changes in our models/worldviews.

And now, for instance, if you look at quantum behaviour, we have many ways to explain it, just by defining some things differently. Each different QM interpretation is a case of having chosen to define different "ontological elements" differently (and having transformed the rest of the worldview accordingly).

Wouldn't it be nice to have a method for structuring these sorts of attempts?

-Anssi

 Quote by AnssiH But you would not consider a worldview (or a physical model) to be valid if it fails to explain your past, would you?
Yes I would. Many physical models "fail" to "completely" explain past events. I assume you know about the various models on the structure of the atomic nucleus--thus you will know that the Schrödinger wave-equation is the essence of the independent-particle model--it provides the unique quanta state of each nucleon plus the spins of all known isotopes--very impressive indeed. However, this model is of no help to explain nuclear density, binding energies, radii--we need the liquid-drop model for this "explanation" of reality of atomic nucleus. So you see, yes, I do consider both wave-equation model and liquid-drop model to be "valid" (in a narrow sense) yet they do not "explain past events" completely.

Also, from reading your post to Dr.D. I see that you agree with him that it is possible to attain scientific knowledge without doubt--well, all I can say is I do not agree with either of you--convince me with logical argument how this is possible--to have scientific knowledge without doubt.

 Quote by Anssih Here we get to that unfortunate complication that is under discussion. Perhaps a good way to express it is that there is no way to "interpret our experiences" correctly* until we have built a worldview, and we have no way to build a worldview until we can interpret our experiences correctly. (*That's a bit misleading because there is no such thing as an experience without interpretation; it turns out it is the result of interpretation that is the experience itself)
Well, I do not agree here. Many people "build a worldview" without correct interpretation of experiences. Did not President Bush build in his mind a worldview on Irag without correct interpretation of his experiences ? Also, it is not true that "there is no such thing as experience without interpretation"--it is called "perception", yet even before "sensation"--both are types of "experience" that humans have without "interpretation".

 Quote by Anssih Wouldn't it be nice to have a method for structuring these sorts of attempts?-Anssih
Yes, but do we not already have a method for structuring the various interpretations of QM--is it not called the Scientific Method ? Are any interpretations of QM held to be valid that have been falsified by experimentation via the Scientific Method ?

Sorry for the interruption between you and Dr.D.--I am learning from the exchange--but be sure he answers all your questions about logical premises, for a deductive argument such as being presented based on false premise is no argument at all--on this I think we all agree.

 Quote by Rade Yes I would. Many physical models "fail" to "completely" explain past events. I assume you know about the various models on the structure of the atomic nucleus--thus you will know that the Schrödinger wave-equation is the essence of the independent-particle model--it provides the unique quanta state of each nucleon plus the spins of all known isotopes--very impressive indeed. However, this model is of no help to explain nuclear density, binding energies, radii--we need the liquid-drop model for this "explanation" of reality of atomic nucleus. So you see, yes, I do consider both wave-equation model and liquid-drop model to be "valid" (in a narrow sense) yet they do not "explain past events" completely.
Oh that is what you meant. I see what the misconception was. A model can certainly be (and usually is) considered "valid" prediction-wise even if it doesn't cover everything.

What Dr Dick was referring to as a "failure to explain your past" was if a model produces expectations that turn out to be false. That is not different from saying that if a physical model makes predictions that turn out to be false, it is not considered valid.

 Also, from reading your post to Dr.D. I see that you agree with him that it is possible to attain scientific knowledge without doubt--well, all I can say is I do not agree with either of you--convince me with logical argument how this is possible--to have scientific knowledge without doubt.
I don't think it is possible either, and I am not sure if Dr.D is saying that, and even if he is, I am certainly interested to figure out how he is manipulating ontological elements, because it seems to be something that should be useful for a number of things.

 there is no way to "interpret our experiences" correctly* until we have built a worldview, and we have no way to build a worldview until we can interpret our experiences correctly.
Well, I do not agree here. Many people "build a worldview" without correct interpretation of experiences.
I shouldn't use the word "correct" when I'm just trying to say, "until you can interpret your experiences at all". Interpretation of any sort entails you know the meaning of some pattern, and that entails you have built a worldview, and that entails you have information about reality, and that entails you have interpreted some patterns... That is probably better way to put the problem.

Anyway, important aspect of this problem is that...

 Also, it is not true that "there is no such thing as experience without interpretation"--it is called "perception", yet even before "sensation"--both are types of "experience" that humans have without "interpretation".
...the view you paint in the above quote about "pure perception" above seems to be false, unless we abide to naive realistic view (i.e. reality is as we perceive it).

Perhaps the misconception here is that I use the word "interpretation" which people usually take as something we'd do consciously. But what I am referring to is that the cortex takes in spatial/temporal patterns, and infers meaning from it (recognizes things), and what is being recognized is what the subjective experience is.

That is what I meant with "there is no such thing as an experience without interpretation; it turns out it is the result of interpretation that is the experience itself". So instead of saying "we interpret our experiences" a more proper way to put it would be brain interprets sensory data, and the result of that is what we call our "experience"

But of course, before the brain can recognize any single thing at all, it must have built a worldview where definitions for these "things" exist (so any sort of interpretation on the data can be performed at all). So you see how this is kind of an egg-chicken problem in a sense.

What I describe is a "specific epistemological solution" though (something that most materialists should agree on), and what is important from ontological perspective is simply that we cannot consider our conscious perception to be objective information, since the real nature of that perception is unkown (unless you assume a specific epistemological solution called idealism)

 Yes, but do we not already have a method for structuring the various interpretations of QM--is it not called the Scientific Method ? Are any interpretations of QM held to be valid that have been falsified by experimentation via the Scientific Method ?
Of course not. But then falsification is little bit tricky at this time since each interpretation is a model that has been built to explain the exactly same observations. As long as any given interpretation is "valid" (it can explain the said observation in a coherent manner), it cannot be falsified by anything we have observed so far. Yet we can be pretty sure not all of the can be ontologically valid (and almost as sure that none is completely true)

I see scientific method as an attempt to produce valid models in that they produce valid predictions, but not something that directly produces ontological answers. When it's used correctly, it produces important constraints that any valid "ontological explanation" must meet. The reason why I see them as pure models is exactly that they are a set of things we have defined, and nothing says nature is built the way we end up defining it.

-Anssi