Re: WAS: Re: Economic (ignorance) Nativism and me

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Wed Mar 28 2001 - 07:14:23 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: Emlyn <>
> Isn't the TOE really the start of interesting physics, rather than the
> Once you've got the formulas, are they just for your T-Shirt, or do you
> need to find out what they imply?
Of course it is sometimes thought to be the other way around, viz., that all
the interesting stuff will be done and the rest will be merely filling in
the banal details--because parts explain wholes. This is sometimes backed-up
with the thought that the higher level phenomena of the special sciences
(biology, chemistry, etc.) will be reducible by bridge laws to laws of
physics. Obviously this raises (or begs) a number of questions about what it
is to "reduce" one phenomena to another, and issues about emergent
properties etc. (Perhaps the whole is greater than the sum of the parts--to
put it crudely). To my mind this debate is not particularly interesting
since the only way we could possibly know that we have discovered the final
TOE is if we have completed the sciences of the mind--because there is
always the possibility that we could create a better theoretician who
discovers a better or deeper TOE. (The rub, of course is that it is hard to
see how one could complete the sciences of the mind if one has not completed
physics, e.g., perhaps we need to advance physics to create quantum
computing or faster than light travel to turbo charge the Jupiter brains.
However, humans in all probability will be left in the cognitive dust by the
time the issue of which has methodological priority becomes pressing). As a
practical consequence of this one might argue that the millions invested in
say particle accelerators would be better invested in the sciences of the
mind. Since, in all probability, the biggest bottleneck in discovering a
final TOE has to do with the nature of the platform upon which theoretical
physics is now conducted, i.e., the human mind (pace, Hawking, Weinberg, et
al.). Wouldn't that be a boon for AI!

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