You can make arguments like this about anything:Self reference is a phrase used in logic. If I write a statement like: "The Universe includes the Physical Laws" and then write another: "The Physical Laws control the Universe", The two statements together imply that the Physical Laws control the Physical Laws. Which is self referent.
If the Physical Laws are not part of the Universe, where are they? If science is concerned with understanding the Physical Laws; is it not inconsistent, to accept without understanding, Agencies causing the Physical Laws?The physical laws themselves are not included in that part.
Yes you can make arguments like this about many things. Your own statement about computers is a good example of self reference. Do you know of a computer/robot, that is genuinely turned off, with no power to it, that can switch itself on?The computer controls the computer.
I didn't say that. I said physical laws are not included in the part of the universe, which is described by physical laws.If the Physical Laws are not part of the Universe, ...
Physical laws are human made quantitative descriptions of the observed nature. As long as no "agencies causing them" are observed in a quantitative manner, these "agencies" are not part of physics.If science is concerned with understanding the Physical Laws; is it not inconsistent, to accept without understanding, Agencies causing the Physical Laws?
I think your 'logical trick' is called "naive set theory" and was shown self-contradictory long ago:Although the question I am asking seems like some clever logical trick, that does not mean it should be disregarded.
Russel's Paradox is not something to be brushed off lightly. It is related to The Liar Paradox: "This sentence is a lie." Kurt Gödel altered this slightly to "Is this sentence provable?" And from that question he proved his famous Incompleteness Theorems using self reference. Since that time Karl Svozil showed that physics is incomplete in this sense. [Svozil, K. (2005) undecidability everywhere? Institut fur Theoreische Physik, University of Technology, Vienna.]
I'm not brushing it off. It shows that playing logical games with self referencing sets leads to contradiction. So why bother with it?Russel's Paradox is not something to be brushed off lightly.
Fortunately physics can live quite well with incompleteness. It is a problem of math, logic and philosophy.Since that time Karl Svozil showed that physics is incomplete in this sense.
Ising models seem like a good example of bootstrapping logic. The dipoles line up to make the magnetic field and the magnetic field bears down to line up the dipoles.Is there self reference in Nature?
No. The answers in physics come from experiments. Physics uses some concepts of math and logic, but not everything. The obsession with completeness for example is useless to physics, and didn't even work out for math itself.On the grounds of scientific open-mindedness should we not look at logic for answers in physics?
We are witnessing this again with quantum gravity of course. This is exactly an issue of self-reference where we want to reduce the container to its contents, the continuous to the discrete. So knowing how to deal with completeness remains a live research question.The obsession with completeness for example is useless to physics, and didn't even work out for math itself.
How the Universe works does not involve experiments nor our understanding it. It proceeds without us according to whatever symmetry rules are in it, as well as whatever rules of logic govern cause and effect. If physics concerns only experiments and people, then I am not talking about physics; I am talking about Nature.No. The answers in physics come from experiments.
I'll try and make the distinction more clearly from now.Is there self reference in Nature?
Yes, I think that gravitational singularities could involve logical discontinuity.We are witnessing this again with quantum gravity
in our heads.If the Physical Laws are not part of the Universe, where are they?
I think I can agree to this; I think.the main inquiry of the OP- are there self-referential systems? well, if we rephrase that to "are there systems capable of self-referential processes?" then the answer is an obvious yes: human beings and any self-aware animal.
When I say Physical Laws, I am not talking about the things we write down on paper; I am talking about those things in Nature that govern the physical processes. They might be a system of symmetries.in our heads.
there are no physical laws "out there"... they're just descriptive models we devised so that we may easily understand the universe and the physical processes.
Hmm. I think the clue you are missing here is that undecideability is a result of symmetry. So paradoxes emerge in logical arguments, for example, when the force of the argument seems to go equally in both directions. We get this kind of self-referential circularity that we see in the liar's paradox because there is no scale that makes one part of the argument event, the other context.I guess you already saw this: