Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Operationally, we can only know about the results of experiments and observations. From them, we can conclude our world is one which is complex enough to allow for computers. After all, we're using computers right now. Our universe has the property of Turing completeness, meaning we can embed any possible computer program on it subject to space, time and energy requirements. Unfortunately, any theory which is Turing complete can always be emulated on any other theory which is also Turing complete. What consequence does this have upon our ability to deduce the 'ultimate' theory of everything?

share|cite|improve this question

closed as off topic by dmckee Sep 27 '11 at 16:19

Questions on Physics Stack Exchange are expected to relate to physics within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I'm taking the position that this is better suited for Philosophy.SE of TheoreticalCompSci.SE as there seems to be no physics here at all. – dmckee Sep 27 '11 at 16:19

Three simple words, devoid of pretentious philosophical mumbo jumbo: no we can't.

share|cite|improve this answer

It is conceivable that a theory will eventually be developed that allows one to predict phenomena in our universe at all scales of matter, energy, and time. That said, in my opinion there's no reason to expect that this "theory of everything" will answer address the nature of the underlying machinery that carries out computations in the physical world. Just as one can build a (Turing Universal) computer out of ropes and pulleys, or a clock with water, a theory that addresses the behavior of a system can often and fruitfully be divorced from mechanism.

share|cite|improve this answer

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