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The logic of things

  1. Apr 14, 2006 #1
    Inspired by DoctorDicks post.

    Maybe everything in the universe is logical in that it must all come to a conclusion that can be reversed, and that can be reproduced under the exact same cirumstances(if we know ALL empirical events leading up to that event.)
    For instance, you have 3 parties on saturday you are invited to, and the thought process used to find the solution, appears to not be "logical" per se.
    It appears to be ran by emotions, more than thought.

    But, the problem is that if the universe is indeed deterministic, then those emotions must be triggered by something else.
    Ironically, you should be able to reverse any event, abstract or not, back to its origin.
    That origin can very well be the big bang or some other fundamental universe creation event.
    Now on to the problem.

    Science is created to quantify, and then apply mathematics to the parts you quantify, to measure and calculate how those pieces work together, or where they end up.
    But as it stands now, there are some things in the universe math can never solve.
    For instance you can never describe how it feels to be happy with math, or describe really any kind of emotion or subjective experience.

    There was an experiment about this, where they tried to quantify and say "I'm "this" happy right now, but suddenly now I'm less happy than I was before."
    But this doesn't really solve the problem of how it feels to be happy, or the amount of happiness a person has.

    But isn't it odd then, that everything in the universe is logical?
    If there must be some underlying logic to everything, as there seems to be, then how/why do we seperate that logic from our subjective experience?
    The problem of the consciousness creations, and their place in the physical world is something that never ceases to astound me, but I begin to wonder sometimes if we are looking at it from completely the wrong perspective.

    Any insight would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2006 #2


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    I think the premise that the universe is deterministic doesn't by itself guarantee that events can be traced to their causes. Suppose you have a mess on your desk and suddenly papers, pencils and mugs fall to the floor. The event that initiated the process of throwing things to the ground may have followed a distinct deterministic path, but a number of objects may have been responsible for leading to this event. Tracing the event back through the path it took is not always possible. In fact it may be impossible if it reduces to an unsolvable problem.
    We might say "if we have enough information, then, in a deterministic universe, all events may be traced to their cause". However the pre-determined event might be that of something occuring without reporting enough information for it to be traced back, so the necessary information is not guaranteed, as it is part of the event, and we so can't assume that events are traceable simply by assuming a deterministic universe.

    Possibly, periods of "happiness" correspond to certain patterns of neuron activity. These patterns can be described by math. And the collection of patterns that correspond to "happy" states can be described by a math function. Of course i'm assuming emotions have at their source, neuron activity. I'm not 100% certain of this, but as long as it is possible, then human emotions might be describable with math.
    So the cause of happiness may be describable by math, not so sure about the "interpretation" of happiness, which would require knowledge of how consciousness works, but i wouldn't say it isn't describable by math. My first impulse is actually to say that it is.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2006
  4. Apr 17, 2006 #3
    Job you have a few good points, but consider this;

    If you were some sort of god, that could see everything and predict everything, then in a deterministic universe, nothing would be hidden.
    While you have a nice idea where after the event has happened, the trace informaton back to its origin may be lost, and that's a really good point, but the idea is that as it happens no information is lost.
    The deterministic events MUST happen in chronological order, one after another, like a game of domino.
    And while you are right, even if the universe worked like this, it doesn't mean that we could trace everything back to its origin, but it also means that there must be some kind of deterministic logic behind consciousness.

    Even if consciousness transcends time and space, it must still have some remnants of a deterministic logic, otherwise we wouldn't be able to control it mentally.

    And that's basically one of my points.

    Another point was that science works in a specific way; first you quantify something, then you apply math to that quantity, to predict a logical outcome of the numbers.
    However, some things in the universe can NEVER be solved with this method, simply because it is impossible to quantify.

    One example is emotion.
    Like I said earlier there was an experiment about it, and they tried to quantify and predict how much emotion a person had.
    It failed miserably because there are no ways to quantify something that has no physical origin.
    While it was possible to measure the brain activity, and thus get an estimate, it still didn't show exactly the emotions properties.

    Qualia (aka the subjective experience) exists sort of outside of time and space, take for instance color, you can't really quantify or predict how a color looks to a human being.
    You can measure the frequencies and find out the exact color, you can even recreate that color with programming on the computer, and make it look exactly the same, but without the conscious observer, there would literally be no color in the universe (until something that can perceive it comes along, like a living being.)

    It may also be argued that we can program a robot to recognize color, and do various actions depending on what color it detects, but the problem with that experiment is that the robot doesn't "see" the color, it only detects it with physical empirical events, as such, the qualia part of a colors existence, does not exist in that scenario.

    Well I've gone on long enough.

    Any input appreciated.
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