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Semiformalishmaybe

Remembered Arguments

Idle chewing on a discussion about the theoretical best puzzle-solver in the world many years ago in another city:

(this may have grown out of a theologically-sided philosophical discussion)

Thought experiment:Person in a set of rooms where they have to figure out how to get to the next room solving physical puzzles. These puzzles are both arbitrary and fatal (meaning they have unrecoverable failure conditions). Imagine a set of puzzle solvers mprogressing between these rooms, and consider the traits of those puzzle solvers.

  • Would not an ideal puzzle solver progress through any and all sets of rooms perfectly?
  • No, because the puzzles are not all designed to be receptive to human consideration
  • Would not an ideal puzzle solver solve those puzzles anyway?
  • No - let's imagine a puzzle where the subject must guess a number which is the result of the constructor rolling a die, and if they get it wrong, they're out
  • Then an ideal puzzle solver must know enough about human psychology, statistics, and mechanics to know what side the die likely was on when picked up, how it likely moved in their hand before it was rolled, and what the end result of rolling/tossing it was. Difficult and beyond most humans' capacity? Yes. It is nontheless a trait that is theoretically posessable
  • Let us then imagine 2 rooms, indistinguishable except that in one, the user must progress through it with no delay lest the door close permanently, and another where one must wait to avoid being trapped in a false exit. No exterior information is available, the user simply must choose.
  • Knowledge of psychology...
  • And the person laying out such a room used some kind of deeply random source to choose which was present
  • Ideal puzzle solvingness, as a trait, is incredibly complicated, but maybe it could model that deep randomness.
  • I think that your willingness to complicate the trait so as to encompass so many other characterstics is beginning to look a bit sketchy. Would it be any different from instead saying that existence of this trait entails directly that all puzzles are solvable? That this trait directly prevents complicated puzzles from coming about by precluding randomness, intellectual capacity of others to lay out such puzzles?
  • That's not what puzzle-solving means - obviously we can concieve of such puzzles
  • We are talking about the trait in the abstract - a universe where the trait could be realised in your proposed hyperstrong form might preclude entities like us and the situations which we might create. It might deny the rest of the thought experiment.
  • Or just demand theoretical solvability. If we admit omniscience as a prerequisite to strongest forms of the trait..

It'd be kind of amusing to see a large collection of thought experiments with their application removed, and have people guess what field in which it was meant to apply. Taking these things too seriously leads to muddled perspectives, but they're not exactly worthless either.

Having a lot of trouble staying awake today...

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