General Science and Philosophy


Wolpert, Chaitin and Wittgenstein on Impossibility, Incompleteness, the Limits of Computation, Theism and the Universe as Computer-the Ultimate Turing Theorem

Authors: Michael Starks

I have read many recent discussions of the limits of computation and the universe as computer, hoping to find some comments on the amazing work of polymath physicist and decision theorist David Wolpert but have not found a single citation and so I present this very brief summary. Wolpert proved some stunning impossibility or incompleteness theorems (1992 to 2008-see on the limits to inference (computation) that are so general they are independent of the device doing the computation, and even independent of the laws of physics, so they apply across computers, physics, and human behavior. They make use of Cantor's diagonalization, the liar paradox and worldlines to provide what may be the ultimate theorem in Turing Machine Theory, and seemingly provide insights into impossibility, incompleteness, the limits of computation,and the universe as computer, in all possible universes and all beings or mechanisms, generating, among other things,a non- quantum mechanical uncertainty principle and a proof of monotheism. There are obvious connections to the classic work of Chaitin, Solomonoff, Komolgarov and Wittgenstein and to the notion that no program (and thus no device) can generate a sequence (or device) with greater complexity than it possesses. One might say this body of work implies atheism since there cannot be any entity more complex than the physical universe and from the Wittgensteinian viewpoint, ‘more complex’ is meaningless (has no conditions of satisfaction, i.e., truth-maker or test). Even a ‘God’ (i.e., a ‘device’ with limitless time/space and energy) cannot determine whether a given ‘number’ is ‘random’ nor can find a certain way to show that a given ‘formula’, ‘theorem’ or ‘sentence’ or ‘device’ (all these being complex language games) is part of a particular ‘system’.

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[v1] 2016-10-14 18:36:54

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