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08/08/2014

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Marcus,

I enjoyed reading about your P2P simulation hypothesis. A few thoughts came to mind.

It seems like your P2P simulation hypothesis illustrates a form of emergence – P2P helps us to understand how emergence works. With that being said, I’m unsure that we need to use the concept of “simulation” any further than that. I don’t believe humans exist inside some kind of simulation. If I believe that I exist, then by definition I believe that I’m real – I’m not simulated. So when someone suggests that we’re living in a simulation, perhaps all they’re really saying is that the interaction across different levels of reference frames is similar to a video game simulation – they aren’t actually proposing that our lives are simulated.

I like the idea of different “reference frames”. My interpretation is that a higher-level reference frame is one and the same as a higher-level emergent property/entity/force, and that’s the source of our “ultimate” free will.

I like how your P2P theory illustrates how emergent properties/entities/forces can come into existence while at the same time the physical location of those properties/entities/forces may be indeterminate in nature.

I agree with you that there’s some “magic” in reality. I equate that magic with life.

In summary, I’m thinking that your P2P simulation hypothesis helps to explain how emergence works. In other words, if *many* subsystems are interconnected in parallel with one another (by whatever means), and a higher-level property/entity/force emerges, that seems to match the general idea of emergence (at least to me).

Hi Marcus,

Great to see these ideas getting an airing here.

If I'm understanding your analogy, the external world consists in your software simulation, but consciousness consists at the hardware level where the simulation runs.

Can you say some more about what aspects of consciousness you're referring to? For example, is it only our phenomenal experience that is at that level, or also our awareness, self-awareness, or rationality? Are you willing to grant some aspects as emergent within the simulation? Or perhaps you're only referring to the the process enabling free will to reside in the hardware?

Also you suggest the hardware may be linked to the holographic principle where the simulation is a 3D projection of the 2D boundary information.

I'm struggling to see how this lower-dimensionality hardware could cater for the multiverse needed for agent's paths. Will you still be relying on something microphysical (non-spaciotemporal I'd suggest personally) to provide multiple versions of the boundary?

If I'm not misunderstanding and that's right, would it be better to characterize the hardware as being microphysical rather than cosmological?

Or perhaps they equate to the same thing?

Cheers - looking forward to more.

Matt

James and Matt: Thanks for your comments, and sorry for not replying to them more quickly (yours especially, James!).

As I'm on family vacation the next few days, I only have internet access (and time) sporadically. But I will try to hammer out detailed replies to your comments at the earliest opportunity.

Thanks again, and sorry for the delay!

Hi James: Thanks again for your comment. Here are some thoughts in reply.

You write: "It seems like your P2P simulation hypothesis illustrates a form of emergence – P2P helps us to understand how emergence works."

Could you say a bit more what you mean by emergence? I ask because, offhand, to say that something "emerges" is to say that it is not fundamental, but is rather the effect of something more fundamental. If this is what you mean by emergence, then the P2P simulation hypothesis does not illustrate emergence. For, on the P2P simulation hypothesis, the peer-to-peer structure of reality is fundamental to it.

You then write: "With that being said, I’m unsure that we need to use the concept of “simulation” any further than that. I don’t believe humans exist inside some kind of simulation. If I believe that I exist, then by definition I believe that I’m real – I’m not simulated. So when someone suggests that we’re living in a simulation, perhaps all they’re really saying is that the interaction across different levels of reference frames is similar to a video game simulation – they aren’t actually proposing that our lives are simulated."

I think you are making a good (and interesting) point here. A couple of thoughts. First, I'm merely saying that the functional structure of our reality is *identical* to that of a P2P simulation--so it doesn't really matter what we call it. The functional structure of our reality is the same as that of a P2P videogame. Second, and this brings me to a deeper point, I've been toying with the idea that any reality has to have some such structure (i.e. any reality has to be functionally identical to a "simulation")--which is just to say (as you suggest) that there is no difference between a "simulation" and "what is real." To be real just is to be a "simulation"! (At least, this is something I've been thinking about).

You later write: "I agree with you that there’s some “magic” in reality. I equate that magic with life."

Why stop at life? Einstein once said that the most extraordinary thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible at all. Think just about any physical law you like, say the law of gravity that holds this coffee cup to the table in front of me. There are an infinite number of laws nearly identical to this one, but in which the coffee cup flies off in some other direction at the next instant. What explains the fact that the universe arrived at this law rather than any of those? And what *makes* the cup obey this law rather than those? From our reference-frame, the answer is: it's "magic". We can't possibly explain it from here. All we can do is observe it. If there is anything that makes coffee cups *obey* these laws, it's (in my view) going to have to be some functional (i.e. computer) coding in a higher-reference frame that's inaccessible to us. So, in a manner of speaking, all of *physics* is magic (i.e. ultimately explained by phenomena in a reference-frame inaccessible to us). As such, if consciousness (and a P2P structure) is necessary to explain physical behavior, we should take those things to explain much of the "magic" that physics (tacitly) assumes.

Does this make sense? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Hi again, Matt, and thanks again for your comment. It's exciting to be here!

You write: "If I'm understanding your analogy, the external world consists in your software simulation, but consciousness consists at the hardware level where the simulation runs."

Yes, that's right.

You then write: "Can you say some more about what aspects of consciousness you're referring to? For example, is it only our phenomenal experience that is at that level, or also our awareness, self-awareness, or rationality? Are you willing to grant some aspects as emergent within the simulation? Or perhaps you're only referring to the the process enabling free will to reside in the hardware?"

These are difficult issues, and I'm not entirely sure on some of them. Phenomenal experience is definitely at that level, and so too, I think is rationality...at least partly. Let me explain.

If the P2P model and Libertarian Compatibilism are right, then we have the kind of freedom Kant thought we have--the capacity to *categorically* act on principle alone. Our freedom is in no way determined by any of our physical/animal wants, desires, or other inclinations. Rather, since our actions are ultimately determined by us (on the basis of some principle or maxim), then rationality is fundamentally "transcendental", or exists at the level of the higher reference-frame.

At the same time, however, our phenomenal consciousness interacts with/reads physical information, including the information that encodes our physical brains, bodies, etc. Since the physical information encodes certain informational relations (at a physical level), I think the P2P Model/Libertarian Compatibilism also produce the sensible inclinations that Kant thought define our animal/phenomenal selves, and which we must fight against to obey the moral law. Kant, of course, thought we experience our inclinations as "alien" to us. When I want something (food, sex, whatever), I feel myself pulled toward the thing I want as if from a force--a force that nevertheless I can resist through pure act of will.

Finally, however, since our physical interests (for food, sex, etc.) play into what Kant called "hypothetical imperatives" (viz. "If you want food, you ought to eat"), then there's an element of rationality on my model that is partially comprised by the lower reference frame. Here's a rough picture:

Categorical rationality-->Defined by higher-level libertarian reference-frame alone (acting on pure principle)

Hypothetical rationality-->Higher + lower-level reference frame (principles of action based on physical inclinations).

In terms of other aspects of consciousness (self-awareness), I'm inclined here too to think that some of them exist at the higher-level alone, but some are comprised by interaction between the two. For instance, consider self-awareness of my body. My body, on the P2P model, is comprised by my phenomenal consciousness reading physical information. If we think being conscious of my body is a form of self-awareness, then this form of self-awareness is constituted by interaction between phenomenal consciousness and the physical information. That being said, might there be some kind of self-awareness/reflexivity where phenomenal consciousness can be aware of itself independently of physical information? I'm not sure.

Later, you writs: "Also you suggest the hardware may be linked to the holographic principle where the simulation is a 3D projection of the 2D boundary information.

I'm struggling to see how this lower-dimensionality hardware could cater for the multiverse needed for agent's paths. Will you still be relying on something microphysical (non-spaciotemporal I'd suggest personally) to provide multiple versions of the boundary?"

It would be a holographic boundary with many possible "paths", just like a videogame DVD has many possible paths the game console's laser/processor can read, leading to one actually-experienced path. And processes of "quantum collapse" are modeled, again, by how videogames work. In a videogame simulation, my choice at time t attempts to move me into a space-time location in the game, your choice does the same for you, etc., at the next instant of the game (where we are all located in an intersubjectively experienced reality) is a "collapse" resulting from all of our choices. Make sense?

Finally, you write: "If I'm not misunderstanding and that's right, would it be better to characterize the hardware as being microphysical rather than cosmological? Or perhaps they equate to the same thing?"

Could you clarify this? I'm not quite sure what the concern is.

Anyway, thanks again for your comment. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts in reply!

Marcus--

This is a bold project--reminiscent of Lewis' modal realism in that both may produce incredulous stares, though both require serious consideration. Historically speaking, both Leibniz and Berkeley must be smiling somewhere (maybe literally, if allowed in the simulation!).

But more seriously--since coincidentally I just re-read The Monadology--how exactly would you distinguish your view from Leibniz's in that classic work?

Marcus,

Thanks for your reply – I hope you’re having a nice vacation with your family. (No problem with delayed responses!)

You asked if I could say a bit more about what I mean by “emergence”. I agree with you that that the peer-to-peer structure of reality is fundamental, and I think you’re onto something great with that concept! From that foundation, I’m thinking that it’s reasonable to say that when many computers are connected in a P2P network, a higher-level entity emerges at the network level. That’s essentially why I’m thinking your P2P simulation hypothesis illustrates emergence. Perhaps I’m missing something…

Hi Marcus,

First I want to say that as a speculative model of reality, there's large amount here for me to agree with here, especially in terms of its high level structure. But before I get into that I should warn you that I'm not trained in philosophy (or anything much really!). Like you perhaps, I'm a lifelong metaphysical ponderer, but unlike you it's only in recent years have been reading in and around the subject. With that in mind it's highly probable that we've arrived here via very different roads, and also that you'll likely have more philosophical justification for your ideas than I for mine. Not to mention that some of my attempts at introducing clarity via philosophical language may well be subject to naivety, confusions, or downright incoherence!

So with those usual warnings attached, rather than concentrate on the areas of agreement, I'll try to dig in to some of the details where I might disagree or have alternative suggestions, and also highlight areas where I want to agree but have concerns. Bear with me, as I'll need to compare your ideas to my own, though I won't expound on those more than is necessary and will try to translate my terms into your own. For clarification if you wish, see links to my blog at the end.

If I have you right, I take your higher frame to provide a home for certain aspects of consciousness as discussed, and additionally giving rise to the projection/simulation that we experience as the lower-frame external world, with the external world then in turn constraining the phenomenal aspects that obtain in relation to the senses of the higher-frame embodied consciousness. If that’s right we’re on the same page there.

You also suggest that the higher frame might operate according to one of more abstract principles, perhaps a moral principle. You reference Kant, but unfortunately my ignorance strikes immediately, as of the few non-contemporary philosophers I have read, he's not one, and I'm even lacking a proper overview of his work (being only up to late antiquity in the History of Philosophy podcasts!). However, I am distantly aware of his "categorical imperative" from some A-level ethics many years ago and take that as an attempt at an objective deontological framework.

This is an interesting idea, and – as I suspect is often the case – morality forms part of the pre-theoretic baggage I brought to the check-in desk when starting this journey. For that reason this is an idea that I’d like to agree with, but can’t at the moment. This is partly due to my being very sympathetic to mainstream explanations of morality, but mostly because if moral principles are to enter the story, I want that to happen as a consequence of the theory, not as a primitive notion. In other words I’m looking for a model that stands regardless of whether it implies moral principles or anything else beyond the phenomena investigated by science and consciousness. Having said all that, I do have some ideas in this area, but they are even sketchier than my other ideas, and full of holes and problems in regard to the mechanism.

My alternative suggestions on the nature of the higher frame rests on the assumption that what we’re looking for is:

1. Capable of providing some aspects of consciousness (and in agreement with you, at least phenomenal consciousness) so bearing properties that are at least proto-conscious.

2. Abstract in some sense, so non-spacial at least, and perhaps non-spaciotemporal.

3. Capable of housing a multiverse of counterfactual possibilities.

4. Capable of giving rise to the lower frame by weak or strong emergence at the Planck scale – perhaps holographically as you suggest – more later.

5. Causal, in that there is a mechanism that’s intrinsic to it by which different states can obtain, and thus give rise to the change we observe in the lower frame.

My project is to try to consider the fit of mainstream speculative physical theories that have the potential to bear the weight of these criteria (and others I’m probably neglecting to mention).

Areas I’m currently interested in are the spin networks of Loop Quantum Gravity, the Possibilist Transactional Interpretation of quantum mechanics, and from a more philosophical angle, the “liberal naturalism” of Gregg Rosenberg. Something I’d like to do in the future is to compare and contrast relevant aspects of these theories, but I need to learn a lot more to do that, especially about the former two. However, I’m also attracted to other ideas, including the possibility of information being fundamental (something like Tegmark’s ideas, but at the base rather than emergent), and the types of panpsychism explored by Chalmers. If I had to say what I’m hoping to find, it’s a dualism between the higher and lower frame (mirrored by a dualism of matter and parts of the mind) that nevertheless turns out to be monistic because the lower frame arises from the higher. If that makes sense!

Turning from the nature of the higher frame to interactions between it and the lower frame in regards to consciousness, again my ideas for a schema are very similar to yours I think. I’d put it that with the lower frame unfolds deterministically without self-conscious agents because non-conscious and non-self-conscious matter follows your “Hypothetical rationality”. But consciousness, embedded in the higher frame, follows something akin to “Categorical rationality” at least in the sense that a different set of rules apply, those rules being associated with the way that the frame operates even if consciousness wasn’t present – in the causal workings of LQG or PTI or whatever. I consider the best possibility for this principle to be something like a principle of least action.

Lastly, on the holographic principle, this isn’t an area I’m particularly familiar with, so it’s possible I’m being led astray by my own inappropriate visualizations here. When I imagine a holographic system I’m thinking of the 2D boundary of a black hole and a projection-like structure extending holographically “inside” the black hole in a conical shape, inwards towards a point. I not sure this makes sense physically, but you may see what I see if I say that not only are the spacial dimensions coded on the boundary, but also the temporal one, and it’s that temporal dimension that is the conical extension here, with near times being right up at the boundary, and far times out towards the point. (If this picture does make sense, I have a few ideas I’d like to explore in regards to your theory, but I’ll not go into that here – maybe for the blog later)

Similarly, I was also visualizing this conical structure when talking about scale, and I now think that’s a mistake. I was visualising the lower-limit point of the cone as the Planck scale, and at the upper-limit (the universe as a single object) as the holographic boundary. In other words I had the boundary as a kind of opposite-in-scale to the Planck length. This led me to worry about which end of the visualization is responsible for the interface between the higher and lower reference frame, with me positing the Planck scale and you the universe-sized holographic boundary. I’m no longer sure that makes sense at all, and your talk of “quantum collapse” at the boundary suggests we’re talking about the same thing after all.

I think I’ll leave it there for now – apologies for the length of the post. As I say, without the relevant training, I’m reliant on either finding philosophers who are thinking in the same area to help me decide where I’m going right or wrong, or those who are willing to pick apart what I suggest, so it’s exciting to find so much in common, at least structurally.

Thanks

Matt


https://informationvoyeur.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/metaphysical_foundations/

https://informationvoyeur.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/free_will_defense/

https://informationvoyeur.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/on-the-possibility-of-libertarian-free-will/

https://informationvoyeur.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/the-imaginary-number-at-the-heart-of-quantum-mechanics-3/

Marcus,

There’s something beautiful about your idea wherein you state “the peer-to-peer structure of reality is fundamental”. I’ve been thinking more about that, and I’d like to see what you (and others!) think.

Along with your idea that peer-to-peer structure is fundamental, there seems to be another fundamental truth about reality: New properties emerge at the “network level” (the next level above the peer-to-peer level). In other words, when we place many peers together (of whatever sort) and we connect them with one another (in whatever way), something new tends to emerge at the next higher level (i.e., the network level). Now here’s what I find interesting: If the forces exerted by the peers are consistent/predictable in nature, then the new emergent properties/forces at the network level are also consistent/predictable. For example, wetness consistently appears as an emergent property when a large number of water molecules are combined together, because the forces exerted by the water molecules are consistent in nature.

Okay, now let’s take a step away from consistent/predictable forces and look at what happens when peers (i.e., the subsystems) exert inconsistent/indeterminate forces. For example, let’s say the peers are living subsystems (e.g., billions of neurons inside your brain). Let’s also assume for purposes of this discussion that life is fundamentally indeterministic. (I know that’s a totally separate issue, and it’s debatable, but let’s assume that it’s true for now.) So what emerges at the “network level” in a human brain from the interconnected peer-to-peer neurons? Thoughts. And the forces exerted by our thoughts aren’t consistent in nature because the forces exerted by the neurons aren’t consistent in nature – they’re alive. I believe the forces exerted by our thoughts are *new* – they’re an emergent property at the network level (i.e., the next higher level), and those new forces don’t result solely from a direct sum of preexisting forces. (Forces exerted by our thoughts aren’t even in the same field as forces exerted by our neurons, so how could they result from a direct add, if forces in different fields don’t add directly with one another?) Okay, I’ll try and summarize this paragraph: If the forces exerted by multiple lower-level peers are inconsistent/indeterminate, the higher-level emergent properties that are caused by the lower-level peers are also inconsistent/indeterminate.

So here’s where I’m going with this… What if that principle applies across the whole spectrum of 3-D scale? In other words, what if life at lower levels causes new life to emerge at higher levels, and that principle applies across the spectrum? It sounds kind of exciting to me.

You mentioned in your video game example that control originates from a higher-level reference frame and effectively transcends *down* into the video game level. Well, in real life, perhaps that sort of transcendence goes both ways – not only down, but also up the structure of reference frames. For example, the forces exerted by individual people affect what happens at the government level (that’s the up direction), and the new forces that emerge at the government level transcend back down and affect the people level (that’s the down direction). Perhaps there’s a continuous sea of activity, both up and down the spectrum, wherein forces transcend different levels and the net sum during each moment of time is what actually controls (determines) the path forward. I’m thinking therein lies the essence of where our free will comes from – it’s from new life that emerges at our level, and it’s caused by lower-level life within our physical bodies. Based upon that, I’d say that the path forward isn’t predetermined, because the forces exerted by new life at each different reference frame aren’t predetermined. Life is fundamentally indeterministic, and that indeterminism is reflected across the whole spectrum.

Okay, that’s probably (more than) enough from me!

Hi Matt: Thanks for the follow-up! I think you have me right on the stuff you say you agree with.

On the morality issue (which you say you're not sure about), it is a consequence of the theory, not a primitive notion. For Kant, categorical imperatives are binding on us because, practically speaking, our actions are categorically up to *us*--that is, they are a consequence of our having free will (i.e. the capacity to act on principle alone). Since I take any libertarian theory of free will to have this consequence (viz. our choices are up to us, and us alone), I believe that any libertarian theory probably has the moral implications that Kant thought.

A few thoughts on other things you write...

(1) You write: "Areas I’m currently interested in are the spin networks of Loop Quantum Gravity, the Possibilist Transactional Interpretation of quantum mechanics, and from a more philosophical angle, the “liberal naturalism” of Gregg Rosenberg."

I know a bit about LQG but not a lot. In my understanding, it's doesn't seem to be one of the more promising approaches to quantizing gravity--but I probably shouldn't speculate too much here. On the Transactional Interpretation, I've been told that the P2P Hypothesis can perhaps be understood as a concrete model of it, as there's an obvious sense in which, on the P2P model, quantum mechanics simply emerges from transactions between information processors in a higher-reference frame. If this is right, I'm fine with it--but I think the P2P model gives greater depth to the interpretation (for, I think, obvious reasons--we want to know not simply the laws of information transaction, but also how they might emerge from something more fundamental, i.e. a P2P system-link).

Also, I'm sort of with you on Rosenberg. I'm a big fan of his work, and think he makes a compelling case for a dual-aspect theory of nature ("liberal naturalism"). I actually have an unpublished manuscript in which I argue that dual-aspect theory is true in every possible world, but I actually don't think it's the full story. On the P2P Model, it's not simply that physical information has "two sides" as it were (quantitative and qualitative sides); consciousness is actually a distinct entity that reads the qualitative and quantitative information in real time. So, I actually think dual-aspect theory *and* outright dualism might both be true...though I would take me a great deal of time to explain why (and I could be flat-out wrong! I suppose we'll find out in future years, if/when any of my stuff on it comes out:).

(2) You write: "However, I’m also attracted to other ideas, including the possibility of information being fundamental (something like Tegmark’s ideas, but at the base rather than emergent), and the types of panpsychism explored by Chalmers. If I had to say what I’m hoping to find, it’s a dualism between the higher and lower frame (mirrored by a dualism of matter and parts of the mind) that nevertheless turns out to be monistic because the lower frame arises from the higher. If that makes sense!"

A lot of this depends on how we're defining information. I do think that "physical"=quantitative information--that a "physical world" just is a structure of information, no more no less. But, for reasons I give in "A New Theory of Free Will", I don't think that's all our world is. Our world is also experienced by us qualitatively, in real time, in phenomenal consciousness. Of course, if you want to call that "qualitative information", then I'll be happy to grant that information is fundamental, and everything is just information. But then I think we are sort of just parsing words. We might as well say, "The world is made up of irreducible qualities bearing quantitative relationships to one another", and leave it at that.

A final thought on your point: I don't see how a higher-level dualism can be the result of a lower-level monism. Either qualities are quantities are the same kind of thing (monism is true), or they are fundamentally different kinds of things (in which case dualism is true). But maybe I'm missing something!

(3) You write: "Lastly, on the holographic principle, this isn’t an area I’m particularly familiar with, so it’s possible I’m being led astray by my own inappropriate visualizations here. When I imagine a holographic system I’m thinking of the 2D boundary of a black hole and a projection-like structure extending holographically “inside” the black hole in a conical shape, inwards towards a point. I not sure this makes sense physically, but you may see what I see if I say that not only are the spacial dimensions coded on the boundary, but also the temporal one, and it’s that temporal dimension that is the conical extension here, with near times being right up at the boundary, and far times out towards the point. (If this picture does make sense, I have a few ideas I’d like to explore in regards to your theory, but I’ll not go into that here – maybe for the blog later)."

I don't think your understanding of the holographic principle is quite right. As I understand it, the holographic information isn't carried into the interior of black hole/across the event horizon; rather, the holographic information is spread out across the horizon and is "played back" as the black hole evaporates. There are however, as I understand it, some other far-out possibilities, such as that our universe actually is the inside of a black hole (i.e. some have suggested that black holes are associated with "while holes"/Big Bangs on the other side). And so perhaps the holographic projection can be understood that way. But, I'm not sure, and really have to leave it to the physicists--though I will say a bit about holography in my next post!

Anyway, thanks again for your comment. It was fun to hear and think through your ideas!

Hi James: Thanks for your comments!

The story you are telling regarding emergence may well be right. However, my story (I think) is a little different.

You note that properties of water emerge from lower-level physical properties. This is right, of course. We can explain water molecules in terms of molecular bonds, which we in turn explain in terms of atomic interactions, etc. The higher-level properties (H2O) emerge from the lower level (particles).

On my model, however, there is something fundamental at the higher-level--libertarian free will--that cannot be explained in terms of *any* lower-level phenomena. The way you talk about higher-level indeterminacies emerging from lower-level ones, we would (presumably) be able to explain the higher ones in terms of the lower ones. But, on my model, this just isn't true. The indeterminacies that comprise my behavior emerge from nothing above and beyond *me*.

This is an important point because, on your view, the world--including life itself--still seems entirely mechanistic: deterministic or indeterministic "clockwork". My picture, in contrast, is not mechanistic. Free will and consciousness are both brute and completely unexplainable in terms of anything else. They do not emerge from anything, but rather exist at a metaphysical "ground floor".

This isn't to say that your view is incorrect. Again, it may be I who has the wrong picture! I think it's just important to be clear where our pictures converge, and where they diverge.

For instance, there's a sense in which I agree with you when you write: "You mentioned in your video game example that control originates from a higher-level reference frame and effectively transcends *down* into the video game level. Well, in real life, perhaps that sort of transcendence goes both ways – not only down, but also up the structure of reference frames."

Notice that this kind of back-and-forth actually occurs in the videogame case. Information from the videogame is transmitted up through the system to me (on the outside), I process it, and then makes choices up here that exert downward causal effects on what transpires in the game. Where I think you and I disagree is that you think that new, downward causal forces can "emerge" from lower level systems, whereas I don't think this is the case. For instance, I think that if everything "emerges" from particle-physics, it follows that everything--governments, masses of people, etc.--can be *explained* in terms of particles, in which case there isn't any really interesting kind of emergence (in the sense of generating new, downward forms of causation). I think that in order to get true downward causation, the upper-levels can't emerge from the lower levels. The upper levels have to be fundamental--as they are in the P2P model. On the P2P model, the world *doesn't* emerge upwards from physics. Rather, physics emerges from two fundamentally different things--(1) consciousness (higher-level) and (2) quantitative information (lower-level)--interacting, where again neither level emerges from the other.

Anyway, thanks again for your comment. It's nice to hear yor ideas, and to think through how our thoughts both converge and diverge!

V. Alan White: Thanks for your comment, and for the well-wishes. It has, indeed, been a nice (and much needed!) vacation.

I'm no Leibniz or Berkeley scholar, but I've thought something similar on at least a few occasions.

Leibniz, as I understand it, thought that the world is made of monads, that that each monad "mirrors" the entire universe.

Notice that this is sort of true, on the P2P model. Each person's consciousness is reading the same "game DVD" (i.e. physical information) in parallel, and the universe as we know it is simply each of our representations being tied together in a peer-to-peer processing model. In a manner of speaking, then, each measurement-device on the model is very much like Berkeley's monads. Each device has its own model of the universe, and the world we live in together is just the observation of those models linked together.

There's also an obvious sense in which, on the P2P model, observation devices (e.g. each person's consciousness) are "windowless" in one sense. The only consciousness any of us can ever experience is our own, etc.

Leibiz, however, didn't have peer-to-peer processing models in mind, and in that regard my model plainly differs from his (Leibniz's monads are supposed to be windowless, I understand it, in the further sense that they are entirely causally isolated from one another, each carrying out their "program" in isolation, whereas on my model the world is the result of informational interaction).

Beyond these very broad thoughts, however, I don't know Leibniz well-enough to speculate much.

I'm also pretty rough on my Berkeley, but as you note, the obvious parallels are there.

First, Berkeley thought that to exist is to be perceived--and this is about half-right on the P2P view. On the P2P model, physical information exists outside of us (as a holographic multiverse), but only exists as something besides static information--as real tables, chairs, people, etc.--insofar as our consciousnesses measure them (in much the same way that a song is encoded on a CD, but is only experienced *as* a song when played by a CD-player).

Second, Berkeley thought that the world continues to exist when we don't perceive it because God is perceiving it. On the P2P model, there's a sense (I guess) in which something like this is the case. There is a world, on the P2P Model, just insofar as there is a Network of conscious perceivers. Now, if you want to call the Network "God", then on the P2P Model, Berkeley's right. But, I don't know if it's right to call the Network "God." The Network is a grand mystery for sure--what brought about the Network? What maintains it?--but, for all that, at the end of the day, it is just a peer-to-peer network. And I don't know quite what to say about it beyond that. Every metaphysical system has its mysteries, after all. Naturalism posits its mystery (why is the Universe here?). The P2P Hypothesis entails its own mysteries--but again, I think we may have to posit it in order to understand some of the quantum mysteries that need explaining, and if its predictions are verified, we should probably believe it!

Anyway, thanks again for your comment, and for picking up on the Berkeley/Leibniz parallels. Those parallels have amused me too for some time now.

Marcus--

Thanks so much. I think you answered my questions well. So I'll just counter with this attempt at clarification.

Would you say that your view is a monadology where the Network (God) coordinates quantum-founded choices of individual monads with those of others? If that's so, does the reconciliation of potentially contradictory choices that influence the world rely on the Network to "choose" which of the contradictory choices shall prevail among those of the multiverse? (Otherwise, distinct choosers would not observe the same later unfolding universe.) If that's right, doesn't that vacate the efficacy of at least one chooser in such a scenario, thus reestablishing Leibnizian pre-established harmony on the part of the Network?

Thanks in advance for considering my very likely misinterpretation.

Marcus,

In a nutshell, it seems like the primary difference between our views is that you believe free will is fundamentally brute and doesn’t emerge from anything, whereas I believe life is fundamentally brute and it results in our FW.

Along with free will, you also believe that consciousness is brute in nature – it doesn’t emerge from anything. I’m wondering if that’s really the case, and here’s why I say that: I think you’ll agree that your physical body is required in order for your consciousness (and free will) to exist. If your consciousness doesn’t emerge *from* your body, are you thinking that it exists external to your body, and it effectively gets “assigned” to your body once a certain brain state is achieved? Isn’t it more reasonable to believe that once a certain brain state exists, consciousness emerges from your body (i.e., it’s caused by your body)? For example, if you’re in post-op coming out of anesthesia, it seems reasonable to believe that your consciousness emerges from your changing brain state, consciousness isn’t assigned to your body from an external source once the drug concentration is reduced below a certain threshold within your brain.

In my view, I’m not suggesting that it’s possible to "explain higher-level indeterminacies from lower-level ones". What I’m suggesting, is that there’s new emergent life involved, which makes it impossible to explain higher-level indeterminacies.

Thanks for the response Marcus.

On the morality question, are you saying that if libertarianism is true, that may actually necessitate a laws pertaining to agents' use of that freedom? Do you have anything in mind?

You write: "On the P2P Model, it's not simply that physical information has "two sides" as it were (quantitative and qualitative sides); consciousness is actually a distinct entity that reads the qualitative and quantitative information in real time. So, I actually think dual-aspect theory *and* outright dualism might both be true"

If I understand here, you're suggesting that in the higher frame, there is one type of simple that bears both physical and phenomenal properties by dual-aspect, but that additionally there's another type of simple (of different substance?) that is conscious (or proto-conscious?) Is that right? If so I take it that the lower frame is quite literally holographic: it bears no substance or properties of its own?

That's different view to my own. For me, the higher frame has only one simple which bears only phenomenal properties. Consciousness emerges embodies within the higher frame, from certain special configurations of those phenomenal properties.

Physical properties for me also emerge from configurations of the higher frame phenomenal properties, but the resultant physical properties are no longer embodied in the higher frame, but emerge *as* the lower frame.

This is because the physical properties that emerge include space and time, and spacetime just *is* the lower frame. That frame then has new simples (strings perhaps) that combine to produce the emergent properties we are familiar with in the macro world.

So two frames with emergence happening in each, and also an emergence from one (the higher) to the other (the lower).

You then write: "I don't see how a higher-level dualism can be the result of a lower-level monism. Either qualities are quantities are the same kind of thing (monism is true), or they are fundamentally different kinds of things (in which case dualism is true)"

From above, what I'm thinking is that the higher frame and lower frame themselves are a dualism: one houses phenomenal simples and the other physical simples. However, as the lower frame emerges directly from the higher frame, then the higher is prior or fundamental. All states of the lower frame supervene on states of the higher, and ultimately they are one and the same; not side-by-side or above and below, but superimposed.

That's my sense of monism here, but I may we way off the sense that anyone else has of it!

On the holographic principle I have some work to do in re-imaging certain aspects of it, and look forward to your post touching on it further.

I have more questions on your ideas, especially about the multiverse and free will aspects, but will wait for more posts before turning in that direction.

Cheers, Matt

Marcus,

There is a lot here, and I haven't digested it all, but I'd just like to ask a question about philosophical explanation number 1, the mind-body problem. As you point out, any physical explanation of conscious phenomenal qualities seems to leave something unexplained. On your P2P model, this is to be expected because consciousness is outside the physical plane. But it seems to me that whatever the objective metaphysical truth - Cartesian egos "reading" an information-storage unit in an extra-physical plane, say - the subjective phenomena are *still* unexplained. No objective model, it seems, whether physical or not, could possibly entail the subjective qualities. We simply have to add that subjective concept on top of whatever objective model we use. (This is an old point in phil mind, but I forgot whom to credit.) So how have we made any progress?

Hi Paul: Thanks for your reply!

You are right: on my model, the subjective phenomena are still unexplained. They are absolutely basic, brute, fundamental features of reality that must be "added on top" of whatever objective model we use.

You then ask: why think this is any progress?

The answer to this question, I think, is that we have made a lot of progress! Why? Well, because prior to the P2P Hypothesis/Libertarian Compatibilism, the only reasons anyone had for thinking consciousness must be a fundamental feature of reality are the usual "explanatory gap" arguments, modal arguments, etc.

If I am right (that is, if the P2P model as a whole is verified), we now have *new* -- and I think even more compelling -- reasons to think that consciousness/subjectivity is a fundamental part of reality. Which, I think, is progress indeed! (Note: I'll say what some of these additional reasons to believe in mind-body dualism are in my next post on holography).

Now, you're certainly right that this metaphysics invokes a grand mystery of sorts: the mystery of why these things (phenomenal consciousness, libertarian freedom) are fundamental features of reality.

But now, first, I think (as you'll see in future posts) that even if we cannot explain the phenomena themselves, my model puts us in a better position to understand *why* they are brute features of reality (very roughly: as I suggest in the post and "A New Theory of Free Will", I have some arguments in mind that a kind of hardware/software dualism is inherent in *any* reality at all).

Second, I want to emphasize that any and every metaphysical theory -- including extant forms of naturalism -- inevitably posit unexplainables. As Wittgenstein once said, "All explanations have to come to an end somewhere." Something must be fundamental/inexplicable. Either the unexplainable thing is God (traditional theism), or its the laws of physics and the existence of anything at all (the "mysteries" of naturalism), or its a P2P network, etc.

The aim of physics and metaphysics, I think, has to be to explain all that can be explained, and if the best explanatory picture -- the picture that explains more than any other picture does -- asserts certain fundamental/inexplicable/brute features of the world, then we should take the world to have those features, as brute/inexplicable they may be!

What do you think of this answer?

Hi Matt: Thanks for the great exchange!

You write: "On the morality question, are you saying that if libertarianism is true, that may actually necessitate a laws pertaining to agents' use of that freedom? Do you have anything in mind?"

The short answer is: I think Kant's idea here was basically right. If our actions are determined by laws of physics not of our choosing, then our actions are not *categorically* determined by us (they are determined by something outside of us). On the other hand, if our actions are libertarian-free, then they *are* categorically determined by us. We, and we alone, are categorically responsible for them. Which is just to say that "The categorical imperative" (Kant's fundamental moral principle) applies to us. That, I think, is the relation between libertarian freedom and morality. Does that make sense?

The next part of your comment is: "If I understand here, you're suggesting that in the higher frame, there is one type of simple that bears both physical and phenomenal properties by dual-aspect, but that additionally there's another type of simple (of different substance?) that is conscious (or proto-conscious?) Is that right? If so I take it that the lower frame is quite literally holographic: it bears no substance or properties of its own?"

Not exactly. On my current view, the holographic plate has two aspects--quantitative and qualitative aspects--and both aspects are only experienced when read by consciousness, which is a brute, libertarian free "window" onto both aspects (consciousness is, quite literally, a *light* that illuminates both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the holographic plate). Does that make sense?

The next part of your comment is: "That's different view to my own. For me, the higher frame has only one simple which bears only phenomenal properties. Consciousness emerges embodies within the higher frame, from certain special configurations of those phenomenal properties. Physical properties for me also emerge from configurations of the higher frame phenomenal properties, but the resultant physical properties are no longer embodied in the higher frame, but emerge *as* the lower frame."

Could you say a bit more about your model? It sounds like you want to say that consciousness is fundamental, and everything else (including the physical world) emerges from it. Is that right? If so, it sounds like the many-minds interpretation of quantum mechanics--an interpretation which I discuss in "A New Theory of Free Will", and which I argue that the P2P model is superior to. (Note: I hope to say more in my next post about why I think reality has to be dualistic, rather than monistic).

Anyway, do you think it is right to equate your view with the many-minds view? If so, what do you think the view has to recommend in its favor over my model?

You then write: "From above, what I'm thinking is that the higher frame and lower frame themselves are a dualism: one houses phenomenal simples and the other physical simples. However, as the lower frame emerges directly from the higher frame, then the higher is prior or fundamental."

I'm still not seeing why you think the higher frame is prior or more fundamental. As you'll see in my next post, I think we need to take both elements as fundamental to construct a reality at all--that you can't get a reality like ours from one thing; you need *two* things, neither of which can be reduced to the other.

Thanks again for your comment. I look forward to your reply!

Hi James: Thanks for your reply!

You write: "In a nutshell, it seems like the primary difference between our views is that you believe free will is fundamentally brute and doesn’t emerge from anything, whereas I believe life is fundamentally brute and it results in our FW."

That sounds about right--and so the question is which model our best evidence supports. I'm not saying our best evidence unabmiguously supports my model (not yet, anyway--though I do think there is a lot to be said in its favor). I do think, however, that our evidence is arguably at odds with your model. We can explain life in terms of more basic, non-living phenomena (atoms, molecules, etc.), can we not?

Next, you write: "Along with free will, you also believe that consciousness is brute in nature – it doesn’t emerge from anything. I’m wondering if that’s really the case, and here’s why I say that: I think you’ll agree that your physical body is required in order for your consciousness (and free will) to exist."

I have bad news for you...I don't agree with that! :) On my model, consciousness is utterly basic, and non-physical to boot. Our "physical lives" are the result of consciousnesses observing physical information, but we are not identical to or reducible to that information in any sense.

You then write: "If your consciousness doesn’t emerge *from* your body, are you thinking that it exists external to your body, and it effectively gets “assigned” to your body once a certain brain state is achieved? Isn’t it more reasonable to believe that once a certain brain state exists, consciousness emerges from your body (i.e., it’s caused by your body)? For example, if you’re in post-op coming out of anesthesia, it seems reasonable to believe that your consciousness emerges from your changing brain state, consciousness isn’t assigned to your body from an external source once the drug concentration is reduced below a certain threshold within your brain."

It may seem more reasonable of course, but absolute space and time seem far more intuitively reasonable than the theory of relativity--yet the theory of relativity is true. Similarly, quantum mechanics seems patently *unreasonable* (in many respects), yet it seems true, too! I prefer not to think in terms of what "seems reasonable" or not, but in terms of what our evidence shows, all-things-considered...and I think we have some tantalizing (though, again, not-yet-unambiguous!) that the P2P Model/Libertarian Compatibilism, for all their "unreasonableness", may well be true. Perhaps non-physical souls just *are* assigned particular bodies to read. Something similar happens in online videogames, does it not (viz. my console controls this player. Yours controls that. And that's all there is to say). If it's not absurd in the videogame case (and it's not), why think it's absurd in our case?

Marcus,

I'm definitely on board with Wittgenstein that some things must be left unexplained. But let me see if I understand your claim of mind/body progress. The P2P model provides progress *after* it is verified by certain of its predictions - say, specific patterns of violations of normal quantum rules in the brain - turning out correct. And the P2P model also gets support from other domains outside the "hard problem" of consciousness. *After* the P2P model is supported, it provides an explanation of the insufficiency of physical facts for mental explanations; and knowing this explanation constitutes progress. It is not that the mind/body implications themselves provide support for P2P.

Is that right?

Marcus,

Thanks for explaining how consciousness works according to your model.

I’m wondering if you believe that intelligence is similar to consciousness in nature, whereby intelligence isn’t an emergent property of a physical brain. If so, how does your model explain the difference in intelligence exhibited by an agent before and after drinking five beers on an empty stomach? (A little humor, since we're nearing happy hour here in Tucson...)

Marcus,

You write: “if our actions are libertarian-free, then they *are* categorically determined by us. We, and we alone, are categorically responsible for them.”

I agree with this. We follow lower-frame unconscious and subconscious motivations, but some brain process that has access to the higher frame gives us the ability to countermand those motivations.

“Which is just to say that "The categorical imperative" (Kant's fundamental moral principle) applies to us”

Here I’m still struggling to see the justification is choosing Kant’s moral principle over any other. This is what I meant by suggesting it ‘to be ‘primitive’. I guess just don’t think moral principles should be fundamental. Again I’ll say that for me this is an optional add-on to the theory, but I’d prefer to find that there’s a fundamental principle that belongs to the causative description of the higher frame, and then derive a moral principle on that.

For example, (and this is sketchy at best) it might be that since the higher frame ontologically consists of experiences (via proto-experiential simples) and agents (as complexes of experience), agents ignoring the principle are causally exposing themselves to inevitable negative consequence that affects their wellbeing. If we visualize the causal nexus of the higher frame as a shape, one might imagine a principle of least action where left to its own devices, the nexus always takes a spherical shape (as spherical shapes like planets form in the physics of the lower frame due to a similar principle). Having agents with free will on the scene means that they are able to countermand the principle of least action and pinch parts of the perfect sphere out of shape temporarily, but the principle of least action implies that nature will always strive to bring back the perfect sphere.

Not sure if that will make sense to you at all – lots more to say (I have an unusual take on morality I suspect) and lots of holes and problems with such a mechanism, but something like that is what I want if morality is involved.

“On my current view, the holographic plate has two aspects--quantitative and qualitative aspects--and both aspects are only experienced when read by consciousness, which is a brute, libertarian free "window" onto both aspects (consciousness is, quite literally, a *light* that illuminates both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the holographic plate). Does that make sense?”

So I’d be better to say that the higher frame still “bears both physical and phenomenal properties by dual-aspect” in my language, but that there is no second simple or emergent phenomenon in the higher frame that is a conscious agent (or even part of a conscious agent). Instead your conscious agents are outside the higher/lower frame system altogether, reading data those frames, and our experience consists in that data. Is that a better description? If so, the obvious question is “where?”…

“Could you say a bit more about your model? It sounds like you want to say that consciousness is fundamental, and everything else (including the physical world) emerges from it. Is that right? If so, it sounds like the many-minds interpretation of quantum mechanics”

That’s correct, except consciousness itself isn’t fundamental, but rather the causal structure of the sub- or pre- (words don’t suffice) Planckian domain which consists of ontological simples bearing proto-experiential properties. The relations between the simples provide the information by which the super-Planckian domain emerges, and describing that process is the project of LQG or something like it. But within the sub-Planckian domain, special causal configurations of proto-experiential properties result in the in-domain emergence of conscious agents.

One might imagine a closed loop of proto-experiential properties that combine to form a volume that is self-reflective. The conscious agents are sub-domains within the larger proto-conscious domain, but they draw on the proto-experiential properties of the rest of the domain to provide the imagery that represents the super-Planckian domain (in which the rest of the system of which they form a part resides – i.e. the brain). There’s more to say here of course, but that’s a sketch if you can make head or tail of it.

On Many Minds… certainly similar but will need to come back to you on the details. One important thing is that on my view, one could remove all the special configurations that lead to conscious agents, and the sub-Plankian domain would remain, as would the emergent super-Planckian one. I don’t want a true idealism – the external world is real in the sense of not depending on consciousness – though not real in another sense in that it derives from a non-spaciotemporal base. Not sure that Many Minds is the same there?

“I'm still not seeing why you think the higher frame is prior or more fundamental”

I guess solely because I’m a reductionist at heart! The lowest scale of matter/energy/spacetime (quarks, strings, whatever) emerges from the non-spaciotemporal proto-experiential base, so the latter is fundamental.

I look forward to your own take on this and comparison with the P2P model.

Matt

Hi Paul: Thanks for your reply. Yes, that's right! I'm a confirmation holist of sorts. In the first instance, mind-body dualism is one of the hypotheses that comprises the P2P Model/Libertarian Compatibilism. On my account, we have some initial evidence in favor of it (i.e. standard arguments for it/against physicalism). Then, if the predictions of the P2P Model turn out to be verified, we'll have *more* evidence for it--since it now plays a critical role in a broader theory, and (as a part of that broader theory) entails predictions that it didn't previously, on its own.

Does that make sense?

Hi James: Great question! I'd explain it by way of the videogame analogy (since the P2P Model is functionally equivalent to an online P2P videogame). Online videogames have analogues to inebriation. Sometimes, your character happens upon a "power-up" that enables you to move more quickly than before. Other times, you can be "poisoned", causing you to momentarily lose control of your actions. In both cases, the online program's code temporarily affects how your measurement device (console) can read lines of code, either extending (power-ups) or constraining (poision, etc.) your ability to control your character from your reference-frame outside of the game. On the P2P Model, something similar happens in the case of alcohol consumption, etc.

Hi Matt: Thanks again for your reply.

You write: "Here I’m still struggling to see the justification is choosing Kant’s moral principle over any other. This is what I meant by suggesting it ‘to be ‘primitive’. I guess just don’t think moral principles should be fundamental."

Since I give something like a full derivation in my unpublished book manuscript (and I don't want to give the game away before it comes out), I'll have to be brief. In brief, the justification is this. To say that we categorically control our own actions is to say that we act under the guise of "laws." We are, in a manner of speaking, committed to acting on categorical laws, whether we like it or not, in virtue of the structure of our freedom (our freedom just *is* our imposing categorical laws of action upon ourselves). In other words, libertarian freedom contains within itself the categorical imperative. But I hesitate to say more here. Hopefully the book comes out! :)

You write: So I’d be better to say that the higher frame still “bears both physical and phenomenal properties by dual-aspect” in my language, but that there is no second simple or emergent phenomenon in the higher frame that is a conscious agent (or even part of a conscious agent). Instead your conscious agents are outside the higher/lower frame system altogether, reading data those frames, and our experience consists in that data. Is that a better description? If so, the obvious question is “where?”

My reply: I don't think your monistic picture can accomplish the explanatory task my dualist/P2P Model does (explaining quantum phenomena). Like all monists, I think you have to take quantum phenomena as basic and unexplained, which I think is a problem. The attraction (I think) of the P2P model is that it promises to give a unified explanation of the many quantum phenomena monists have to take to be basic. Since a unified explanation is better (all things being equal) than no unified explanation, I think this speaks strongly in favor of the P2P Model--and it's a dualist model! (Though of course, again, the real proof is in the pudding, i.e. verification of the P2P Model's predictions)

In terms of "where" consciousness is located, the answer is simple: it's located outside of the physical information/holographic plate--and that, I think, may be all there is to be said (rather like, in the standard big bang cosmological model, it makes no sense to ask where the big bang happened aside from saying, "it happened everywhere"). Does this make sense? "Where" consciousness resides is a mystery of sorts on my model to be sure (how did it get to be there?, where did the Network come from?), but again, I say: all models have to posit mysteries (e.g. the Big Bang, multiverse, etc.). The best theory explains as many mysteries as possible, and more than other theories. I think the P2P Model promises to do this. It promises to explain mysteries (quantum phenomena) for which we currently have no good explanation. Make sense?

Next, here are my thoughts on your model. Your model goes as follows: "Rather the causal structure of the sub- or pre- (words don’t suffice) Planckian domain which consists of ontological simples bearing proto-experiential properties. The relations between the simples provide the information by which the super-Planckian domain emerges, and describing that process is the project of LQG or something like it. But within the sub-Planckian domain, special causal configurations of proto-experiential properties result in the in-domain emergence of conscious agents."

I think this is an interesting picture, but that the P2P Model accomplishes crucial things that it doesn't.

You have to take the Plank length as brute/fundamental--as resulting from phenomenological simples beneath it. The way I see it, there are two problems here.

First, your model doesn't explain why there's a Plank length to begin with. You just take it as a given, and posit phenomenological simples as a kind "God of the gaps." In contrast, the P2P model promises to provide a deep explanation of the Plank length. It shows how something like the Plank length emerges naturally within any P2P simulation (see my remarks in the original post).

Second, I don't see how it's possible to derive space-time from things (phenomenological simples) that exist below the level at which those very notions--space and time--fail to have any sense. This is, I think, a crucial point. Space and time literally make no sense below the Plank length. So, you have to say that your phenomenological simples exist at a level at which space and time make no sense. But then you want to somehow derive space and time from them. But how? How can you derive something that makes sense from something that makes no sense? But perhaps I'm missing something... (I suspect I may be!)

A further note: I've always balked at the notion of "proto-experiential" properties. First, I don't know what it is for something to be a "proto" experience. I want to say: either it's an experience, or it's not. If it's an experience, then you don't need to (and indeed, can't!) explain its emergence in terms of self-referentiality, since (as experience) it's already fundamental. On the other hand, if it's not an experience, I don't see how you can possibly get experience out of (self-referentiality is a functional notion, and the mind-body problem results from the very fact that qualitative properties are non-functionally-definable).

Your next point is: "On Many Minds… certainly similar but will need to come back to you on the details. One important thing is that on my view, one could remove all the special configurations that lead to conscious agents, and the sub-Plankian domain would remain, as would the emergent super-Planckian one."

This brings me back to the above worry, which is that the relation between the "sub-Planck" domain and the "super-Plank" domain looks to me utterly mysterious/ill-defined. You said, first, that space and time (super-Planck) emerge from the (sub-Planck) experiential simples. Now you want to say that the super-Planck level could persist even if self-reflective structures at the sub-Planck level were removed. I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around this. In contrast, the P2P Model's explanation of how space and time emerge (and again, how the Planck length emerges) is perfectly intuitive--and indeed, we've already successfully created concrete models of it in online videogames.

Your final thought (in response to my query, "I'm still not seeing why you think the higher frame is prior or more fundamental”) was: "I guess solely because I’m a reductionist at heart! The lowest scale of matter/energy/spacetime (quarks, strings, whatever) emerges from the non-spaciotemporal proto-experiential base, so the latter is fundamental."

Well, I'm a reductionist too! My point is that your reductionism leaves a lot stuff unexplained that my dualist reductionism doesn't. On the P2P Model, we can reduce all quantum phenomena to multiple observers of physical information linked together in a peer-to-peer simulation structure. This reduces a whole host of phenomena to single phenomenon (the P2P network) that we already understand, and which does have a dualist structure (i.e. game DVD and networked measuring devices). Any monist picture like yours has to leave matter/energy/spacetime unexplained basics. The question then is: "What is better? Explaining more (the P2P Model) or explaining less (monist models)?" I think the answer is clear. We should prefer the model that explains more...provided its predictions are verified (and, if they are, *especially* then!).

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