• Logic,  Mathematics,  Philosophy

    The Sāńkhya Theory of Five Elements

    This post elaborates on the Sāńkhya theory of the five “gross” elements. The theory is rather complicated, and not well-understood today. One primary source of confusions is a comparison between the Sāńkhya elements and the Greek elements going by the same name. This post will hopefully illustrate how the Sāńkhya elements are deeply enmeshed with a model of perception and a science involving the rule of demigods in the material world that has no precedent. The classic Vedic text Śrimad Bhāgavatam (SB) is used in this discussion rather than the later texts like Sāṁkhyakārikā.

  • Computing,  Logic,  Mathematics,  Philosophy,  Physics

    The Paradox of Natural Laws and Its Resolution

    In an earlier post, I described the problem of computing in nature, namely that scientific laws employ mathematical formulae, but it is not clear how these formulae are being calculated in nature. The reasons for this are historical and date back to Newton’s formulation of the three laws of motion. While Newton had produced a mechanics, he had not himself envisioned machines. He was only trying to describe celestial and terrestrial motion, and his laws were later used to create machines. As a result, the components of reality in Newton’s mechanics (particles and properties) are unrelated to the components of a Turing Machine that can calculate the formulae. This post…

  • Biology,  Computing,  Logic,  Mathematics

    Reasoning and Semantic Computation

    Since the advent of computers, it has been widely believed that the human mind is just like a computer. I have previously described why this is a false analogy due to two problems: (1) the problem of meaning, and (2) the problem of choice. I have also discussed the problem of meaning in computing theory in the book Gödel’s Mistake. However, all these critiques are inadequate without an understanding of how nature itself computes. For example, if nature is governed by some natural laws, then these laws have to be computed on some machine to obtain a prediction. How is nature computing these predictions? Even otherwise, living beings are constantly…

  • Biology,  Linguistics,  Psychology

    The Phonosemantics Thesis

    In earlier posts—such as here—I described the notion of space in which words are identical to their meanings, and connected it to a tree-like structure of space. In the last post I described how this tree like structure of space appears in all languages in trying to decode their meanings. In this post I will briefly discuss the empirical evidence that supports the notion that meanings are derived from the sounds of phonemes. In contrast to the conventional wisdom in linguistics which claims that the connection between sounds and meanings is arbitrary, this post describes how a closer analysis of linguistic roots suggests otherwise. This topic is broadly called Phonosemantics or “sound symbolism”.

  • Computing,  Linguistics

    The Problem of Meaning in Artificial Intelligence

    Since the 1960s, when computers first appeared,  a machine that can think just like humans was claimed to be just a few years away. This idea has been called Artificial Intelligence (AI) and it reappears every few years in a new form, the latest being the brouhaha around “Machine Learning”, “Deep Learning”, etc. The algorithms and techniques underlying these trends have existed for a few decades, and their limitations are also well-known. However, even with growing computational power we are only able to get closer to the boundaries of what is possible, rather than cross into what is impossible. This post discusses the problems which cannot be solved by AI in…

  • Biology,  Computing,  Research

    Evolution’s Halting Problem

    This post describes a problem in Evolutionary Theory that arises when we consider why all living beings eventually die. I will compare the death of a living being to a computer program that halts after completing execution. The issue of program halting is problematic in computing theory because current computing models do not incorporate meanings. A similar problem exists for living beings too. If living beings are evolving by random mutation and natural selection, then there is no physical process of selection that will produce finitely lived living beings. In fact, if the selection process is just as Evolutionary Theory describes it, then we must find living beings that live…