Is our world a simulation?

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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#161  Postby Destroyer » Nov 07, 2018 11:44 pm

gobshite wrote:
Destroyer wrote:
gobshite wrote:
Destroyer wrote:
Whether or not it is claimed or merely proposed that the universe is a simulation is besides the point. The point is that no simulation can have an infinite regress, as you have been arguing. Because, an infinite regress of simulations takes no account of the original. There has to be an original that is distinct from the simulation, otherwise such a proposition or claim makes no sense.


To be fair to newolder, they are saying that an infinite regression makes no sense - hence the reductio ad absurdum.


You don't appear to have been following the argument. Who exactly has been arguing for an infinite regression, and who has been saying that it makes no sense?


newolder certainly hasn't been claiming that we exist in an infinite regression. Do you know what reductio ad absurdum means?


Read the thread. I don't have time waste.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#162  Postby gobshite » Nov 08, 2018 12:04 am

You said as a counter to newolder:
There has to be an original that is distinct from the simulation, otherwise such a proposition or claim makes no sense.


newolder is explicitly saying that it makes no sense for the same reason that you are. Hence the reductio ad absurdum.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#163  Postby Cito di Pense » Nov 08, 2018 4:58 am

gobshite wrote:What do you think "original" means? Of course it is the progenitor of the simulation process.


And it 'originated' by some means that wasn't a 'simulation'. This still tells me nothing about the difference between an original and a simulation, the 'original' being 'something that is not a simulation'. At least 'progenitor' is specified well, in terms of some recursion.

If we want to assess the quality of the simulation argument, let's begin with definitions of 'original' and 'simulation' that are not tautological (not original <=> simulation).

I'm fine with 'simulation' being 'a process originated by an intelligence', but then we have the problem of 'intelligence' to kick around, but that's not a bad thing, is it?

Much of this can be reduced to "there's more to it than meets the eye", and that's an old thread in filosofeezing, and is Destroryer's approach, I think. I always want to ask people who discourse in these terms why there has to be something more, and what I get back is that the imagining of 'something more' is intended as an illustration of how great somebody's imagination is.

scott1328 wrote:It is ill-posed because it is non-falsifiable. What possible observation could one make that would falsify the claim: Is the universe a simulation?

The proper question to ask is: Is there any evidence that our universe has features that are in common with what we might attribute to simulations. That is why I asked earlier, and I will ask here, could our universe be a cellular automaton?

Perhaps answering that question would go a long way for modelling our own universe in computer simulations.


Our universe could be a cellular automaton without being a simulation, could it not, giving us another kind of model for what we see. Stephen Wolfram revived this idea a few years ago somewhere in the pages of a very thick book.

scott1328 wrote:What I see is a startling lack of imagination in this thread. Why, if our universe is a simulation, should one suppose that the "substrate" universe to be anything remotely resembling our universe? Perhaps the inhabitants of the "real" universe are playing with toy three dimensional simulations, like we play with toy two-dimensional simulations. Perhaps the inhabitants of the "real" universe are experimenting with funky rules from which emerge what we call our fundamental constants and laws of physics. Perhaps they aren't simulating anything, "we" simply emerged from how their computers do calculations.


This is an exercise in imagining resources that need not follow any rules we have ever identified. "Hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings" as Douglas Adams put it.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#164  Postby gobshite » Nov 08, 2018 5:20 am

I hope we aren't in a simulation. I would feel kind of cheated in a way. Not a very rational feeling, but nonetheless..
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#165  Postby Cito di Pense » Nov 08, 2018 5:26 am

gobshite wrote:I hope we aren't in a simulation. I would feel kind of cheated in a way. Not a very rational feeling, but nonetheless..


Well, that's a rich subject for discussion, too, but it's a different topic entirely. What is reality, actually, really-o and truly-o? It refers to itself, of course, but what of it?

I mean, you put it very well: Reality is that quality for which, if I wasn't real, I would feel somewhat cheated. This works out great when you get a pepperoni pizza that doesn't have genuine Italian pepperoni on it, but soy pepperoni, instead. Then you feel cheated in some way, unless you're vegan. You can think about what's in the genuine pepperoni, but it's a sausage, and you don't want to know.

The downside of being real is that you immediately start asking, "Is this all there is?" See the question in the OP for more. If our world is a simulation, I hope nobody simulates an afterlife for me.

Clearly, simulation has some signified to it. How that leads to the question of whether our world is a simulation --- well, It's like a sausage. I don't want to know -- I already feel pretty cheated by this reality or simulation, whatever it is. Look at the questions I get asked.
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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#166  Postby GrahamH » Nov 08, 2018 8:15 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
gobshite wrote:What do you think "original" means? Of course it is the progenitor of the simulation process.


And it 'originated' by some means that wasn't a 'simulation'. This still tells me nothing about the difference between an original and a simulation, the 'original' being 'something that is not a simulation'. At least 'progenitor' is specified well, in terms of some recursion.

If we want to assess the quality of the simulation argument, let's begin with definitions of 'original' and 'simulation' that are not tautological (not original <=> simulation).

I'm fine with 'simulation' being 'a process originated by an intelligence', but then we have the problem of 'intelligence' to kick around, but that's not a bad thing, is it?


You are right, there are all sorts of complexities to original / simulation. Bostrom's original speculation assumes that some sort of computational theory of mind (CTM) is valid and that minds are multiply realisable, so a simulant could be conscious.

Essentially that minds are simulations of self run by brains, and that if some other structure can run a simulation of self that also deals with thoughts, feelings, sensations, intentions etc that might be as much a conscious entity as any biological human. So we could consider the first mechanical / electronic simulators to be products of simulations. Or rather, products of simulators running their simulations.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#167  Postby Cito di Pense » Nov 08, 2018 9:49 am

GrahamH wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
gobshite wrote:What do you think "original" means? Of course it is the progenitor of the simulation process.


And it 'originated' by some means that wasn't a 'simulation'. This still tells me nothing about the difference between an original and a simulation, the 'original' being 'something that is not a simulation'. At least 'progenitor' is specified well, in terms of some recursion.

If we want to assess the quality of the simulation argument, let's begin with definitions of 'original' and 'simulation' that are not tautological (not original <=> simulation).

I'm fine with 'simulation' being 'a process originated by an intelligence', but then we have the problem of 'intelligence' to kick around, but that's not a bad thing, is it?


You are right, there are all sorts of complexities to original / simulation. Bostrom's original speculation assumes that some sort of computational theory of mind (CTM) is valid and that minds are multiply realisable, so a simulant could be conscious.

Essentially that minds are simulations of self run by brains, and that if some other structure can run a simulation of self that also deals with thoughts, feelings, sensations, intentions etc that might be as much a conscious entity as any biological human. So we could consider the first mechanical / electronic simulators to be products of simulations. Or rather, products of simulators running their simulations.


Filosofeezers should be by now used to the idea that just naming something achieves very little except terminology. I'd allow that a name is a very crude simulation of something else, but we've been over "map not territory" enough times not to linger here. It's not guaranteed that 'self' or 'mind' have any referents, although hack is willing to call them the outcomes of processes. But we can skip the middleman, here, and just say that there are processes going on without giving them name for which we have then to invent referents. Answering the question about whether an artificial process is a mind is for those who miss the fact that they didn't really come up with a referent useful for identifying a difference if any. I understand trying to demystify old terminology like 'self' and 'mind' by concocting tropes that try to demystify them. Better just to quit the game and admit those terms have no referents. If you have to make up referents, why are you doing it?

Where simulations are not questing after simulating 'mind' or 'self', there is at least the possibility of bringing out a reference, and yes, the question of whether our world is a simulation implies simulating us, whatever we are, or at least our behaviors. Simulations should stick to the aim of reproducing or emulating the analogues of observables that are parameters of the simulation. That means simulating behavior instead of poking around in the same old cubbyholes after 'mind' or 'self', and that makes the job easier, because all you have to do is reproduce a believable behavior of talking about self, and behavior that the simulator will call 'mind'. How much of that is 'enough'? The latter is hard to enumerate, but that's filosofeezing, for ya.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#168  Postby Destroyer » Nov 08, 2018 11:18 am

gobshite wrote:You said as a counter to newolder:
There has to be an original that is distinct from the simulation, otherwise such a proposition or claim makes no sense.


newolder is explicitly saying that it makes no sense for the same reason that you are. Hence the reductio ad absurdum.


Clearly you have not understood the argument. newolder is not saying that it makes no sense for the same reasons that we were. He is saying that it makes no sense because it amounts to special pleading. We have been arguing that it makes no sense because an original is required. newolder is making the assumption that no such proposition could have merit, therefore special pleading for the original to be exempt from also being classified a simulation. But, until someone argues their proposition you cannot know it to be special pleading. It is incumbent upon the one making the proposition to justify their premises.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#169  Postby GrahamH » Nov 08, 2018 1:58 pm

Destroyer wrote:
gobshite wrote:You said as a counter to newolder:
There has to be an original that is distinct from the simulation, otherwise such a proposition or claim makes no sense.


newolder is explicitly saying that it makes no sense for the same reason that you are. Hence the reductio ad absurdum.


Clearly you have not understood the argument. newolder is not saying that it makes no sense for the same reasons that we were. He is saying that it makes no sense because it amounts to special pleading.


That is part of it, but also newolder seems to think the scenario logically entails regress, which I don't think anyone else here agrees with, do they?
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#170  Postby hackenslash » Nov 08, 2018 2:10 pm

ughaibu wrote:
scott1328 wrote:
ughaibu wrote:what the hell is this crap about the question being "ill-posed"?
It is ill-posed because it is non-falsifiable.
Falsifiability applies to theories, not to questions.


The question has a hypothesis underlying it, so it's perfectly germane to talk about falsifiability.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#171  Postby Destroyer » Nov 08, 2018 3:17 pm

GrahamH wrote:
Destroyer wrote:
gobshite wrote:You said as a counter to newolder:
There has to be an original that is distinct from the simulation, otherwise such a proposition or claim makes no sense.


newolder is explicitly saying that it makes no sense for the same reason that you are. Hence the reductio ad absurdum.


Clearly you have not understood the argument. newolder is not saying that it makes no sense for the same reasons that we were. He is saying that it makes no sense because it amounts to special pleading.


That is part of it, but also newolder seems to think the scenario logically entails regress, which I don't think anyone else here agrees with, do they?


It does have to entail regress if you assume, as newolder does, that the whole argument is nonsensical. He simply refuses to give any credence to any original that is distinct.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#172  Postby GrahamH » Nov 08, 2018 3:29 pm

Destroyer wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
Destroyer wrote:
gobshite wrote:You said as a counter to newolder:


newolder is explicitly saying that it makes no sense for the same reason that you are. Hence the reductio ad absurdum.


Clearly you have not understood the argument. newolder is not saying that it makes no sense for the same reasons that we were. He is saying that it makes no sense because it amounts to special pleading.


That is part of it, but also newolder seems to think the scenario logically entails regress, which I don't think anyone else here agrees with, do they?


It does have to entail regress if you assume, as newolder does, that the whole argument is nonsensical. He simply refuses to give any credence to any original that is distinct.


I think that was clarified to the fact that within any level of simulation there is no basis rule out the next level up (toward "original") as a simulation. That in no way entails that that next level is a simulation.

You are right that is one rejects any distinction between simulation and simulator worlds, and assume recursion on every level then you create an infinte regress, but the original argument doesn't get you to that, it's newolder's invention.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#173  Postby Destroyer » Nov 08, 2018 3:38 pm

GrahamH wrote:
Destroyer wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
Destroyer wrote:

Clearly you have not understood the argument. newolder is not saying that it makes no sense for the same reasons that we were. He is saying that it makes no sense because it amounts to special pleading.


That is part of it, but also newolder seems to think the scenario logically entails regress, which I don't think anyone else here agrees with, do they?


It does have to entail regress if you assume, as newolder does, that the whole argument is nonsensical. He simply refuses to give any credence to any original that is distinct.


I think that was clarified to the fact that within any level of simulation there is no basis rule out the next level up (toward "original") as a simulation. That in no way entails that that next level is a simulation.

You are right that is one rejects any distinction between simulation and simulator worlds, and assume recursion on every level then you create an infinte regress, but the original argument doesn't get you to that, it's newolder's invention.


Yes, but newolder rejects the hypothesis outright. He sees no reason why any original should be posited as having distinction from the world of observation.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#174  Postby scott1328 » Nov 08, 2018 6:55 pm

The whole point, I think, is that if simulating entire universes is possible, then there is no reason to think that our universe is not a simulation, at the same time there must be a non simulation universe to host the nested simulations.

But for any given universe to lay claim to be THE non-simulated universe requires special pleading. The question therefore is one of the universes is necessarily going to have to appeal to special pleading, so why not this one? Entia non sunt multiplicanda sine necesitate
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#175  Postby GrahamH » Nov 08, 2018 7:05 pm

scott1328 wrote:The whole point, I think, is that if simulating entire universes is possible, then there is no reason to think that our universe is not a simulation, at the same time there must be a non simulation universe to host the nested simulations.

But for any given universe to lay claim to be THE non-simulated universe requires special pleading. The question therefore is one of the universes is necessarily going to have to appeal to special pleading, so why not this one?


It would be special pleading to "lay claim to be THE universe", of course, but it's not special pleading to acknowledge that "there must be a non simulation universe to host the nested simulations.", which is to say it does not follow that there is any necessesary infinite regression of simulations.

:thumbup:
Why do you think that?
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#176  Postby ughaibu » Nov 08, 2018 7:42 pm

scott1328 wrote:The whole point, I think, is that if simulating entire universes is possible, then there is no reason to think that our universe is not a simulation. . . .
But there are reasons to think that our universe isn't a simulation, that's why very few philosophers think Bostrom's argument succeeds. Come to that, do you know of any philosopher who does think it succeeds? There are the likes of Schmidhuber who endorse Zuse's thesis, but that doesn't require any simulating external world.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#177  Postby scott1328 » Nov 08, 2018 8:15 pm

My position is that Occam's razor should be applied. There is no reason to come to any conclusion on the matter.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#178  Postby gobshite » Nov 08, 2018 10:46 pm

Destroyer wrote:
gobshite wrote:You said as a counter to newolder:
There has to be an original that is distinct from the simulation, otherwise such a proposition or claim makes no sense.


newolder is explicitly saying that it makes no sense for the same reason that you are. Hence the reductio ad absurdum.


Clearly you have not understood the argument. newolder is not saying that it makes no sense for the same reasons that we were. He is saying that it makes no sense because it amounts to special pleading.


No he's not. His reductio ad absurdum - that an infinite regression of simulations without an original that is distinct from the simulation - is exactly the same as yours I just quoted above. You are confusing his argument. His special pleading is not in reference to the reductio ad absurdum (i.e. an infinite regression). His special pleading is related to the contention that there must be a distinct original. You need to carefully reread what he has written. You are confused.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#179  Postby gobshite » Nov 08, 2018 10:55 pm

I'll try to make it clearer. He is making two distinct points, not the single point you think. First point: that it requires special pleading for us to hold that one of the collection of universes in the hierarchy is un-simulated (i.e. physically real). This is the point that all of us disagree with him on. Second point (that is a corollary of accepting the first point): an infinite regress of simulated universes makes no sense. We (including you) all agree with him on this second point. In the above quotes of yours, you are trying to use the second point to dismiss his argument. This makes no sense, as he agrees with you on the second point.
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Re: Is our world a simulation?

#180  Postby Destroyer » Nov 08, 2018 11:12 pm

gobshite wrote:
Destroyer wrote:
gobshite wrote:You said as a counter to newolder:
There has to be an original that is distinct from the simulation, otherwise such a proposition or claim makes no sense.


newolder is explicitly saying that it makes no sense for the same reason that you are. Hence the reductio ad absurdum.


Clearly you have not understood the argument. newolder is not saying that it makes no sense for the same reasons that we were. He is saying that it makes no sense because it amounts to special pleading.


No he's not. His reductio ad absurdum - that an infinite regression of simulations without an original that is distinct from the simulation - is exactly the same as yours I just quoted above. You are confusing his argument. His special pleading is not in reference to the reductio ad absurdum (i.e. an infinite regression). His special pleading is related to the contention that there must be a distinct original. You need to carefully reread what he has written. You are confused.


I have no more time to waste with you; you simply have no idea what you are talking about.
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