Chapter 12: The Principle of Computational Equivalence

Section 5: Explaining the Phenomenon of Complexity

Relativism and equivalence

Although the notion has been discussed since antiquity, it has become particularly common in the academic humanities in the past few decades to believe that there can be no valid absolute conclusions about the world—only statements made relative to particular cultural contexts. My emphasis of the importance of perception and analysis might seem to support this view, and to some extent it does. But the Principle of Computational Equivalence implies that in the end essentially any method of perception and analysis that can actually be implemented in our universe must have a certain computational equivalence, and must therefore at least in some respects come to the same absolute conclusions.

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From Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science [citation]