3

I'm asking for the name of a philosophy and any authors, books, or articles that explore a particular philosophy. The philosophy is motivated in part by a question of, "in what is our universe/multiverse hosted?". As best as I have collected it, the main idea is that every possible logically coherent mathematical system exists and is as real as our own existence - and further, that our own universe/existence is but one such mathematical system among all of the possibilities. According to this line of thinking, these systems do not require any intelligent conjurer/discover to exist nor an evaluation/render mechanism; these mathematical systems are static in all dimensions, with the specialization of dimensions such as time with its "arrow" being merely an illusion.

(The original illustration, intended as from the perspective one championing this philosophy, was somehow distracting and offensive to some. I have removed it. It should still be visible, for more detail, in the change log for this question.)

I find this idea to be appealing. It seems to me to include or accommodate Copernican Mediocrity, Determinism, Reductionism, and perhaps all of the (to-be-determined-) coherent Many Worlds proposals simultaneously. I'd like to read more thoughtful philosophical writings from this viewpoint. Is there a name for this line of thinking? Any recommended (non-physics) books on the subject?

I'm am not interested in discussing the merits of the concept or lack thereof. I merely wish to hear from you if you recognize this, in all sincerity and goodwill, to have commonalities with recognized philosophies and/or the writings of published authors.

  • 1
    Where have you come upon this philosophy? I don't know of any writers espousing anything similar, but I suspect that could be due to the range of my own reading. Can you point to one philosopher (or journal, etc.) where this notion is raised? That would make it much easier to find others. – Michael Dorfman Oct 22 '11 at 11:58
3

I've found what I was looking for. In response to one of the commentors, I reviewed Brian Green's The Hidden Reality which had prompted my thinking on this concept recently. I found right in the text the name I sought, complete with its own wikipedia entry: Max Tegmark's "Mathematical Universe Hypothesis". This is a great starting point for me, but I'd welcome any additions. Thanks to all for helping fine-tune my question.

  • 1
    What domain is this reference in? Is it philosophy of mathematics? Speculative physics? Or something else? – Mitch Oct 24 '11 at 1:24
  • I'm not attuned to the differences of those categories to give a confident answer, but I'd say that Brian Green and Max Tegmark (both esteemed physicists) present the concepts as respectable theoretical physics proposals. There is skepticism about the measurability of the "MUH" and therefore its science-ness, but Tegmark makes arguments for measurability. I'm finding a lot of relevant discussion summarized on his MIT homepage – Jason Kleban Oct 24 '11 at 2:55
  • 1
    I too am not sure I grasp your question, but in addition to Tegmark, you might look at Roger Penrose, who leans towards mathematical Platonism. Or perhaps The End of Time by Julian Barnes. – Nelson Alexander Jan 25 '16 at 19:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.