[FOM] The Strong Free Will Theorem

Bill Taylor W.Taylor at math.canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Jan 27 23:13:47 EST 2009

This thread seems to belong more to the Fabric of Reality (FoR) mailing list,
than to this one, (FoM).   No doubt there is a strong connection.

Vaughan Pratt asks:

-> This disclaimer begs the interesting question, what is physics 
-> ultimately for? 

This topic is a large part of the content of the last quarter of Deutsch's
"Fabric of Reality"; the epistemological philosophy of science, (physics).

Deutsch recognises the prime importance of this matter...

-> But if its task is to model identifiable facets of the physical universe 
-> in useful ways,

...which presumably means ways that physics can be applied, or more generally,
used in predictions. This is in tune with the whole philosophy of science,
which is most importantly and largely, prediction and verification,
(which when reliable enough is technology), or, to make progress,
prediction and falsification, a la Popper.

->Those who accept the latter view of physics (my hand shoots up here)

So I don't think you're going to buy a fight over this.

But Deutsch also recognises that "mere" prediction, by itself,
is perhaps somewhat of a hollow victory over nature.  What we would further
like, is an "explanation" of physics, which is in large part a visual,
imaginative, word-based rather than equation-based, description of reality,
(whatever reality is).

Vaughan suggests that dispensing with the former, is incomprehensible
as part of a view of science; and so it is.  But Deutsch's point is that
dispensing with the latter is also "a bad thing", and contrary to
our whole intellectual endeavour; with which I tend to agree.

Whether any such indispensable dichotomy also exists in the foundation
of math, is an interesting direction the thread might take.

-- Bill Taylor

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