typodupeerror
\end{blah}

Go karma
• #### Philosophy 101? (Score:4, Insightful)

on Saturday April 10, 2004 @12:29AM (#8822896)

Did the Ruy Lopez exist before its 16th-century namesake started playing it? A Platonist might say it did, as part of an abstract set of all possible chess openings. But chess itself has a finite history. The game originated around the seventh century A.D., and its modern rules became standard in the 15th century, not long before Ruy Lopez de Segura was playing. Platonic ideals are normally defined as timeless, yet in this case they seem also to be historically grounded. The world of abstractions seems to depend on our world.

Does that mean that the number Pi didn't exist before it was discovered? It did, Platonism as he refers to in this article at least, is just stating that fact that that number although not defined (hence taken a particular meaning for us humans) has always existed.

Saying that Pi didn't exist before we noticed it is equivalent to saying that the outter most particles in the universe, the ones propelled by the big bang, don't exist since there's no way for us to reach them (they are moving at the speed of light outward).

Perhaps in some sense, all chess moves, positions and games are "out there," but they have a rather limited existence if nobody plays them. Interestingly, it appears physically impossible for any computer or other material entity ever to store complete information about the game. By some estimates, the number of possible chess games exceeds the number of particles in the universe.

Here's one, the number of different pathways a neural signal can take through the brain is WAY higher than the number of particles in the universe... does that mean we can't form some of these because nobody would be able to count them?

Both of these paragraphs don't add anything to the text, IMHO.

Anyone care to tell me otherwise in a logical manner?

• #### Re:Philosophy 101? (Score:3, Interesting)

Another poster noted that there are two different senses of the word "exist" floating around here.

Exist(1) would mean something like "to have material extent", assuming that those words could be sufficiently defined. In that sense, particles "exist".

Exist(2) would mean -- to a Platonist -- "to be a form", which might or might not involve material extent; Plato was fuzzy on that point.

The problem is now to define precisely what it means to be a form. We certainly use forms in our thoughts all the time
• #### Re:Philosophy 101? (Score:3, Informative)

would claim that Plato's forms are part of the underlying abstract structure of the universe.

I don't think Platonists claim that, I think the claim is that ideas exist before-hand, and are mapped into the universe. When you say 'underlying abstract structure', it somehow implies that there is only one 'set' of ideas which are all structurally linked which guide the universe... I disagree with that in that there could be an infinite number of ideas, which form an infinite number of disjoint sets of struct

• #### Re:Philosophy 101? (Score:2)

I think my one-line response is that "idea" != "form". It is hard for me to wrap my mind around Platonism in some ways, since I don't entirely buy into it. However, I believe that in the case of something like Justice, Plato would claim that the abstract ideal -- the form -- of Justice does indeed exist, and he would differentiate it from our ideas of justice, which are imperfect copies of that form.

So ... if I'm understanding you correctly, I would say that "idea" != "abstract ideal", and the fact tha
• #### Chess again.. (Score:2)

Its not right to say Chess is of no value to AI - the best programs combine brute-force extentions with a variety of auto-learning methods from the leading edge of AI. However a strong Chess program is not quite the big thing that some thought it would be, thats true..
• #### Maybe chess isn't important (Score:2)

Aristotle thought that what differentiated humans from the animals was that humans could do arithmetic. Now, we know that, fundamentally, arithmetic isn't hard. It doesn't take that many gates to make an ALU, and that's totally understood. Vision, on the other hand, is very tough.

Chess is beginning to look like that. It yields to brute force. And by modern computational standards, not very much brute force. "Deep Fritz" [chessbase.com] tied 2:2 with Kasparov running on a desktop 4-processor IA-32 machine. Kasparov sa

#### Related LinksTop of the: day, week, month.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle

Working...