[extropy-chat] Role of Observer is not Relevant

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Mar 28 08:42:52 UTC 2007

On Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 04:55:53PM +0930, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

>    A human shuffles beads on an abacus and thereby counts. The same

If anything external is not tracking what the abacus does, then
nobody counts nothing. 

>    sequence of bead movements is reproduced by the wind, with no-one
>    watching. Has "counting" still occurred?

No, of course. Until something or someone who can read the bead arrangment
comes along, and reads the number. The counting process is an abstract
measurement upon a particular physical system configuration. In order
to do that, you need a) an appropriate physical system b) appropriate
configuration c) an agent capable of that measurement. Of course, in
some cases you can have all three in the same entity.

>    A human presses buttons on a pocket calculator and thereby adds two
>    numbers together. The same sequence of button presses is reproduced by
>    a cat playing with the calculator. Has "addition" still occurred?

As I already said, some animals, humans and human-derived systems
can do numerics. The calculator keeps track of button presses, so it is tracking
events on own power. The cat couldn't care less, being reduced to the
role of an event generator. 

If you instantly rapture(TM) all counting animals, people, and human-derived
systems numbers instantly become meaningless arrangements. Until somebody
or something comes along, and reinvents the concept. Then numbers are here again.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820            http://www.ativel.com
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list