Max Tegmark's Philosophy Implies Idealism?
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7/17/2015 6:05:04 PM Posted: 1 year ago Max Tegmark is a physicist who believes that the universe is mathematical in nature; it is a mathematical structure [http://www.scientificamerican.com...]. However, as most logicians and mathematicians will tell you mathematics is in the mind and is in terms of concepts and abstraction (what we write down are just expressions of these concepts). Therefore, if math isn't just a description of the universe and the universe is actually mathematical in nature; then Idealism seems to be implied by this view.

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7/17/2015 8:01:32 PM Posted: 1 year ago Does he mean the universe is literally mathematical, or just that everything can be described mathematically?
404 coherent debate topic not found. Please restart the debate with clear resolution. Uphold MarxistLeninistMaoistSargonistn7ism. 
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7/17/2015 8:41:35 PM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/17/2015 8:01:32 PM, n7 wrote: Literally mathematical. "I argue that our physical world not only is described by mathematics, but that it is mathematics: a mathematical structure, to be precise."  Max Tegmark 
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7/17/2015 8:52:37 PM Posted: 1 year ago If this view is true, then we have a pretty good argument for Idealism:
P1: That which is mathematical is conceptual P2: The universe is mathematical C: Therefore, the universe is conceptual 
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7/17/2015 9:33:48 PM Posted: 1 year ago Here is an interesting video Johanan Raatz posted with clips of Max Tegmark and Brian Greene discussing the idea that the universe is actually mathematical (and not just described by math). Tegmark even talks about ideas and concepts existing preuniverse.

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7/18/2015 1:42:04 AM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/17/2015 6:05:04 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote: His philosophy implies radical Platonism. If this view is true, then we have a pretty good argument for Idealism: P1: That which is mathematical is conceptual This argument does not conclude that everything is mental, it concludes that everything is conceptual. Hence, Platonism. 
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7/18/2015 5:51:20 AM Posted: 1 year ago I agree with the above post. As I understand it, Tegmark suggests the universe isn't made of physical objects (ie matter and energy) but of mathematics.
Tegmark does not take the view that mathematics is the product of mind  the "academic study of mathematics" is, obviously, a human endeavour, but that is not the same as 'mathematics' in the sense he means For Tegmark, mathematicians are explorers, not inventors. The mathematical universe is as independent of us as a physical universe, and our minds 'discover' rather then 'produce' the mathematical universe. For Tegmark, mentality arises as a consequence of the relationships between the mathematical structures of a universe. That parallels closely the physicalist view that mentality arises from interaction of physical structures. It is only by confusing the term "mathematics" used 1) as a label for an abstact entity as and 2) "mathematics" for what we call our explotation of it that Tegmark's idea may seem to support idealism. To use isms (which I peferer not to do) I'd say Tegmark was a Platonic realist, not at all and idealist. 
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7/18/2015 12:12:58 PM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/18/2015 1:42:04 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/17/2015 6:05:04 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote: Concepts are mental by definition. So if everything is conceptual, then everything is mental. 
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7/18/2015 12:27:41 PM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/18/2015 5:51:20 AM, kp98 wrote: I never said Tegmark was an Idealist, I know he isn't. I am just saying that his view implies it. If something is "abstract" then it is conceptual by definition, and thus mental anyway. Tegmark does talk about concepts and ideas existing preuniverse. Also his argument for mentality being purely mathematical is much weaker than his arguments for matter being completely mathematical. Either way, Tegmark adheres to the Integrated Information Theory when it comes to consciousness. If this theory is true then Idealism is implied as consciousness would be identical to integrated information. If we the take the Holographic Principle, the WheelerDeWitt equation and combine them with Quantum Entanglement then we get the conclusion that the universe is informational and integrated (as everything in the universe is entangled, and entanglement entails integration). This means the universe is an integrated informational complex. According Max Tegmark's favourite Theory of consciousness; that's a conscious state. It's ironic because Integrated Information Theory is supposed to support physicalism, but it supports Idealism once take a closer look. 
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7/18/2015 2:11:14 PM Posted: 1 year ago It was perhaps unfortunate that I used the word 'abstract' because I certainly didn't mean it imply 'conceptual'.
I'd like to make a proper response but that will take a while to put together, by which the thread will have moved on! Some quick points in the meantime. As I understand Tegmark (which is not to say it is what Tegmark thinks) it is 'even more abstract than conceptual'. The fundamental building block of Tegmarks universe are selfconsistent mathematic entities that are not beholden to anyone or anything except the demands of mathematical truth. They do not need anyone or anything to 'conceptualise' or even conceive them. In Tegmark's universe mathematical objects do not take the place of quarks and physical forces, rather such grossly physical things are secondary manifetations of an even more fundamental, mathematical layer. IIT doesn't seem to address what Chambers calls the 'Hard problem' of consciousness. It seems more like a method to measure and rank levels of consciousness  higher phi, higher consciousnss. But it doesn't say much  if anything  about where subjective experience. On other stuff  holograghic universes etc  I'll get back to you! 
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7/18/2015 2:23:36 PM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/18/2015 2:11:14 PM, kp98 wrote: You can't have mathematics without concepts as math is a concept. Tegmark even says that the idea or concept that their could be a cube is more fundamental than the universe. But ideas and concepts are mental. 
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7/18/2015 2:26:38 PM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/18/2015 2:11:14 PM, kp98 wrote: Basically, math is abstract in nature (this is almost universally agreed upon). If something is abstract then it is conceptual by definition. The idea that math can just exist without a mind is nonsensical. "1+1=2" is a mental concept. Math without mind is like a square without shape. 
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7/18/2015 3:22:23 PM Posted: 1 year ago "1+1=2" is a mental concept
I'l think I need a box and 2 apples for this part  thank you! I put one apple in the box. I put another apple in the box. Now  How many apples are in the box? I used apples and a box, but of course it is far more general than that. The point is that is the result of putting apples in a box (or rather its generalisation) is defined by the mathematical operation of addition. And it would still be defined by the operation of addition if there were no people in the universe to have the concept of addition. Cavemen didn't have the concept of writing down or calculating 1+1=2, but 1+1=2 also applied to their stone spears or whatever because addition is built into the fabric of the universe. 
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7/18/2015 5:47:12 PM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/18/2015 3:22:23 PM, kp98 wrote: 2.
I hate to break it to you but definitions and operations are conceptual, thus they are mental. And even if it could exist without finite human/ animal minds that doesn't mean it could exist without any mind. This is where "God" comes into play (although not necessarily the God of any religion). Cavemen didn't have the concept of writing down or calculating 1+1=2, but 1+1=2 also applied to their stone spears or whatever because addition is built into the fabric of the universe. If addition is built into the fabric of the universe then you must concede Idealism. As Mathematician William S. Hatcher notes: "In any case, there are several fundamental points on which most mathematicians would agree regardless of their personal philosophic convictions concerning the nature of mathematics. The first is that mathematics is abstract, and that it consists primarily of reasoning with and contemplating abstractions."  William S. Hatcher If math is abstract, then math is conceptual as per the definition of abstract: "Existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence."[http://www.merriamwebster.com...]. I cannot make sense of the idea of mathematics holding without a mind, as mathematical relations are purely conceptual by their very nature. Basically, if math is just a description of nature then there are no Theistic or Idealistic implications with regards to this at all... I will gladly concede that. However, if the universe is fundamentally mathematical at its very core then I have some bad news for you... 
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7/19/2015 12:01:47 AM Posted: 1 year ago I cannot make sense of the idea of mathematics holding without a mind, as mathematical relations are purely conceptual by their very nature.
I think you will come around to it in time! Re abstract implying 'conceptual', if so I retract my use of the word 'abstract', but I don't know what other word there is for something as 'ethereal' as I (and I think Tegmark) mean. I abhor madeup words and pseudotechnical jargon (Langan and his disciples are so much better at that than I am), but I'll go for 'hyperabstract' ! 
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7/19/2015 2:12:36 AM Posted: 1 year ago Tegmark interprets the applicability of mathematics to the physical world as support for his belief that the universe is mathematical. However, asking why mathematics applies so well to the physical world is like asking why the first written languages were so good at describing land transactions. The answer is that this is what they were created for in the first place. In any case, mathematics doesn't always describe the physical world, although it's clear that it can in most cases. There are such things as extraneous solutions.

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7/19/2015 2:19:42 AM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/18/2015 12:12:58 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:At 7/18/2015 1:42:04 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/17/2015 6:05:04 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote: No they're not... Not to platonists at least. "Still rock my khakis with a cuff and a crease" ~ Dr. Dre "This site is trash as a debate site. It's club penguin for dysfunctional adults." ~ Skepsikyma <3 "Your idea of good writing is like Spinoza mixed with Heidegger." ~ Dylly Dylly Cat Cat "You seem to aspire to be a cross between a Jewish hipster, an old school WASP aristocrat, and a political iconoclast" ~ Thett the Mighty "I don't think you'll have children anyway, Shab" ~ SardonicPerson 
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7/19/2015 2:28:20 AM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/18/2015 12:12:58 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:Not really. That would not be Platonism.At 7/18/2015 1:42:04 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/17/2015 6:05:04 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote: 
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7/19/2015 9:41:47 AM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/19/2015 2:28:20 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/18/2015 12:12:58 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:Not really. That would not be Platonism.At 7/18/2015 1:42:04 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/17/2015 6:05:04 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote: A concept is an idea by definition, an idea exists in minds. Sorry, try again. 
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7/19/2015 9:44:11 AM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/19/2015 2:19:42 AM, ShabShoral wrote:At 7/18/2015 12:12:58 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:At 7/18/2015 1:42:04 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/17/2015 6:05:04 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote: Look up Platonic Idealism. look up the definition of concept, it is an idea. Ideas exist in the mind. 
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7/19/2015 10:40:25 AM Posted: 1 year ago I think its possible to get a big hung up on dictionary definitions. English was invented for a simpler age!
To quote my favourite language expert, 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean " neither more nor less.' I can't prove that tegmark means a nonmental, nonconceptual 'hyperabstract' mathematics. Perhaps the word 'transcendental' could suffice. I could be wrong and Tegmark does mean mathematics as mindproduct rather than as selfcontained independent entity, but I genuinely don't think so. He certainly does not stress any mental aspect of his fundamental mathematical structures. Unfortunately we can't ask him directly. But I'm not an idealist so I might be biased! 
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7/19/2015 11:23:04 AM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/19/2015 12:01:47 AM, kp98 wrote: I try not to come around to nonsensical ideas. Keeps my worldview more plausible ;)
Actually, in his exact words, mathematical objects are conceptual. "I think there is one kind of object out there that is not created ever, and they are mathematical objects like the cube. I'm not talking about a sugar cube or a particularly physical cube here, but just a mathematical object known to mathematicians as the cube.... These things, these concepts clearly exist outside of space of space and time.... It's not like we invented the cube, the whole idea that there could be a cube is not arbitrary at all."  Max Tegmark Also, as I stated before, most mathematicians view math as abstract: "In any case, there are several fundamental points on which most mathematicians would agree regardless of their personal philosophic convictions concerning the nature of mathematics. The first is that mathematics is abstract, and that it consists primarily of reasoning with and contemplating abstractions"  William S. Hatcher Math is cognitive and abstract, so if the universe literally is a mathematical object then it is clear that the most reasonable conclusion we can come to is that some form of Idealism has to be true. I abhor madeup words and pseudotechnical jargon (Langan and his disciples are so much better at that than I am), but I'll go for 'hyperabstract' ! The problem with this should be selfevident; it is nothing but an ad hoc posit from you designed to avoid any Idealistic implications at any cost. There is 0 evidence for anything 'hyperabstract' and no reason to believe in such a thing. We do have reason to believe in mental abstractions though. So if there is something not bound by the physical/ material realm (these mathematical objects) then mentality is going to be the most probable candidate. It would be an astronomical risk to place your money on some 'hypermental' thing there is 0 evidence for. My money would be on mathematical objects being conceptual and existing within a fundamental mind. After all, every piece of mathematics we know is inherently a mental abstraction. Also, agnostic cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin struggled with the implications of physical explanations for the universe as they would have to be mathematical and thus mental. His quantum tunneling model of universal creation suffers the same fate: "The picture of quantum tunneling from nothing raises another intriguing question. The tunneling process is governed by the same fundamental laws that describe the subsequent evolution of the universe. It follows that the laws should be 'there' even prior to the universe itself. Does this mean that the laws are not mere descriptions of reality and can have an independent existence of their own? In the absence of space, time, and matter, what tablets could they be written upon? The laws are expressed in the form of mathematical equations. If the medium of mathematics is the mind, does this mean that mind should predate the universe?"  Alexander Vilenkin Just something to think about. 
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7/19/2015 11:27:50 AM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/19/2015 10:40:25 AM, kp98 wrote: Well considering every word you use is based on a dictionary definition I think taking them seriously might help your case.
I am not saying Max Tegmark believes in Idealism, so it is no shocker he isn't going to mention any fundamental mind. I think it is an implication of view that he either doesn't acknowledge, chooses to ignore, or doesn't feel needs to be mentioned because he wants to stick on the subject of math. 
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7/19/2015 11:30:14 AM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/19/2015 2:12:36 AM, BlueDreams wrote: But the words we use to describe the world are arbitrary. His argument is that the mathematical relationships are not arbitrary so this analogy will not work. 
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7/19/2015 11:43:42 AM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/19/2015 9:41:47 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:At 7/19/2015 2:28:20 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/18/2015 12:12:58 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:Not really. That would not be Platonism.At 7/18/2015 1:42:04 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/17/2015 6:05:04 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote: http://en.lmgtfy.com... Check your ontology. His views are not even compatible with idealism. 
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7/19/2015 11:57:29 AM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/19/2015 11:43:42 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/19/2015 9:41:47 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:At 7/19/2015 2:28:20 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/18/2015 12:12:58 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:Not really. That would not be Platonism.At 7/18/2015 1:42:04 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/17/2015 6:05:04 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote: http://lmgtfy.com... Check your ontology. 
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7/19/2015 12:00:29 PM Posted: 1 year ago However, asking why mathematics applies so well to the physical world is like asking why the first written languages were so good at describing land transactions. The answer is that this is what they were created for in the first place.
I think the problem here is the word mathematics. Maths in tegmark's sense isn't what most us usually think of as maths. Allow me to quote Tegmark himself at length: ......................................................................This is in stark contrast to the way most of us first perceive math ematics " either as a sadistic form of punishment, or as a bag of tricks for manipulating numbers. Like physics, mathematics has evolved to ask broader questions. Modern mathematics is the formal study of structures that can be defined in a purely abstract way. Think of mathematical symbols as mere labels without intrinsic meaning. It doesn"t matter whether you write "two plus two equals four", "2 + 2 = 4" or "dos mas dos igual a cuatro". The notation used to denote the entities and the relations is irrelevant; the only properties of integers are those embodied by the relations between them. That is, we don"t invent mathematical structures " we discover them, and invent only the notation for describing them. So here is the crux of my argument. If you believe in an external reality independent of humans, then you must also believe in what I call the mathematical uni verse hypothesis: that our physical reality is a mathe matical structure. In other words, we all live in a gigantic mathematical object " one that is more elaborate than a dodecahedron, and probably also more complex than ob jects with intimidating names like CalabiYau manifolds, tensor bundles and Hilbert spaces, which appear in to day"s most advanced theories. Everything in our world is purely mathematical " including you. (My emphases.) URL: http://arxiv.org... 
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7/19/2015 12:06:29 PM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/19/2015 11:57:29 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:Platonic idealism refers to Plato's theory of the forms, which don't revolve around the mental at all.At 7/19/2015 11:43:42 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/19/2015 9:41:47 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:At 7/19/2015 2:28:20 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/18/2015 12:12:58 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:Not really. That would not be Platonism.At 7/18/2015 1:42:04 AM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/17/2015 6:05:04 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote: Idealism, in this context, is about "ideaL", not "idea". A Platonic idea is equivalent to a Platonic form, whioch is still nonmental. 
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7/19/2015 12:25:00 PM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/19/2015 11:57:29 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote: Even if you were right, even if Plato was some kind of idealist as you understand him to be, even then I have presented to you to contemporary understanding of Platonism, i.e., the first couple of lines from the SEP article. This is how philosophers understand Platonism and what is debated in context of, say, numbers (platonism vs. nominalism vs. formalism etc.). Not even for idealists are concepts fundamental. Tegmark is a radical Platonist. 
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7/19/2015 12:30:02 PM Posted: 1 year ago At 7/19/2015 12:25:00 PM, Fkkize wrote:At 7/19/2015 11:57:29 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote: There are different kinds of Platonism. Platonic Idealism is one of them, and is completely consistent with what Max Tegmark is saying. This is how philosophers understand Platonism and what is debated in context of, say, numbers (platonism vs. nominalism vs. formalism etc.). Numbers are concepts. Not even for idealists are concepts fundamental. Tegmark is a radical Platonist. A concept is an idea. So I have no clue what you are talking about. 