M. Y. Zuo


Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions


Variables Don't Represent The Physical World (And That's OK)

Ah, I understand what your getting at now dxu, thanks for taking the time clarify. Yes, there likely are not extra bits of information hiding away somewhere, unless there really are hidden parameters in space-time (as one of the possible resolutions to Bell’s theorem). 

When I said ‘there will always be’ I meant it as ‘any conceivable observer will always encounter an environment with extra bits of information outside of their observational capacity’, and thus beyond any  model or mapping. I can see how it could have been misinterpreted.


In regards to my comment on determinism, that was just some idle speculation which TAG helpfully clarified.


Perhaps it’s our difference in perspective but the very paragraph you quoted in your comment seems to indicate that our perceptive faculties will always contain uncertainties, resulting classification errors, and therefore correspondence mismatch. 

I’m then extrapolating to the consequence that we will then always be subject to ad-hoc adjustments to adapt, as the ambiguity, uncertainties, etc., will have to be translated into concrete actions which are needed in order for us to continue to exist. This then results in an erroneous mental model, or what I term as ‘partially illusory knowledge’. 

It’s a bit of an artistic flair but I make the further jump to consider that since all real objects are in fact constantly fluctuating at the Planck scales, in many different ways, every possible observation must lead to, at best, ’partially illusory knowledge’. Since even if there’s an infinitesimally small variance that still counts as a deviation from ‘completely true knowledge’. Maybe I’m just indulging in word games here.

Variables Don't Represent The Physical World (And That's OK)

Well, if we were to know that assertion is unprovable, or undecidable, then we can treat it as any other unprovable assertion. 

Announcing the Nuclear Risk Forecasting Tournament

Interesting idea, though the first round seems unverifiable. “How many nuclear weapons will states possess on December 31, 2022?” 


Referencing Leo Szilard is amusing for this topic as his moment of genius insight, that the atomic nucleus can be split to generate enormous explosions, is one of those few ideas so genuinely beyond the then current paradigm (1930’s) that it seems like real precognition.  

Allegedly he spent a significant fraction of every day sitting in a hotel bathtub in rumination, and he lived permanently in hotels for decades. I assume that is how he developed that depth of thinking. 

Variables Don't Represent The Physical World (And That's OK)

It seems that your comment got cut off at the end there.

How to make errands fun

“All Nature is but art, unknown to thee
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood; 
All partial evil, universal good.”

  • Alexander Pope
Variables Don't Represent The Physical World (And That's OK)

When you said ’not directly extensible’ I understood that as meaning ‘logistically impossible to perfectly map onto a model communicable to humans’. With the fishes fluctuating in weight, in reality, between and during every observation, and between every batch. So even if, perfect, weight information was obtained somehow, that would only be for that specific Planck second. And then averaging, etc., will always have some error inherently. So every step on the way there is a ’loose coupling’, so that the final product, a mental-model of what we just read, is partially illusory.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding?

Though to me it seems clear, there will always be extra bits of information, of specification, that cannot be captured in any model. Regardless of our further progression in modelling. Whether that’s from an abstract model to a finer-grained model, or from a finer-grained model to a whole universe atomic simulation, or from a whole universe atomic simulation to actual reality.

Variables Don't Represent The Physical World (And That's OK)

Right, for determinism to work in practice, some method of determining that ‘previous world state’ must be viable. But if there are no viable methods, and if somehow that can be proven, then we can be confident that determinism is impossible, or at the very least, that determinism is a faulty idea.


You‘ve really put some thought into this, thanks for sharing.

Though I don’t want to make a critique I would like to save you a bit of future trouble as a courtesy from someone who has trodden down the same path.

The issue with basing a philosophy on Mozi is that there are no ‘fixed standards’. All standards, like the rest of the universe, are forever in flux. Universal frameworks can not exist.

For the next stage I found reading Liezi was helpful.

Variables Don't Represent The Physical World (And That's OK)

Therefore, determinism is impossible? You’ve demonstrated quite a neat way of showing that reality is of unbounded complexity whereas the human nervous system is of course finite and as such everything we ‘know’, and everything that can be ‘known’, necessarily is, in some portion, illusory.

Load More