Mathematics Physical Awareness

The Apothecary highlights that April 2005 is Mathematics Awareness Month, reminds me that I’m well through reading David Deutsch’s “Fabric of Reality”.

I owe a fairly thorough review, because it has already made a big impression. The first time I’ve been convinced by the “multiverse” idea being more than an allegorical predictive metaphor, actually more an explanatory model of the “real” world. Several other key concepts too. I mentioned before about a non-reductive view of what makes something “fundamental”. Notwithstanding the fact that physics underlies chemistry, underlies, biology, etc, there is nothing more fundamental than life (replication) itself, for example.

The main mathematical point here is Deutsch’s contention that mathematics is constrained not by some pure logical, abstract concepts, but by physical reality, with the corollary that pure logic is itself an illusion – argumentation being the only test of truth. Some great extensions of Turing universal computer into the concept of a universal virtual-reality generator, being indistinguishable from reality, and (like maths and computation) obeying the laws of physics rather than logic – quantum physics of course.

is view of time and causality seems to support absence of free-will until he exposes that our common sense view of time is badly misled by experiencing only one the multiverses. Tough going, but fascinating. Good chapter summaries make re-capping easy, even if the quality of writing is not in Blackmore’s class.

I can’t recommend Deutsch too highly. Stuff I’ve not seen expressed elsewhere – which is increasingly uncommon.

[Some great stuff on Ray’s site again – check out the octopus walking on two legs !]

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