Let’s start at the bottom. Axioms are assumptions that form the basis of a Theory. These axioms will not be defended here. The Theory simply takes the form “If these axioms are true, then here’s what follows.”
After much contemplation, my philosophy currently rests on 3 axioms:
A. Stuff exists
B. Patterns are real
C. Things change
A. When I say “stuff exists”, I mean that the term “existence” will be confined to physical stuff, like trees, atoms, photons, etc. I will have more to say on existence when I write about ontology. In contrast, abstractions like numbers do not “exist”, but then
B. Patterns are real. (This relies heavily on Daniel Dennett’s paper “Real Patterns”, which unfortunately I can no longer find free online.) Everything for which there is or could be a word, but is not a physical thing, is a real, abstract thing, which thing I will refer to as a pattern. Patterns are “mind independent”. The natural numbers are real whether or not anything exists to understand them. Now some patterns are discernible in physical things. For example, the number three is discernible in three apples sitting on a table. For everything that exists, there is a pattern which completely and uniquely describes that thing, but then
C. Things change. To be more specific, things change over time. As explained in the Framework section, David Deutsch’s Constructor Theory expressly addresses this axiom: Constructor Theory says that all physical theories can be expressed in terms of which physical transformations (changes) can be made to happen, which cannot, and why. Thus, all of physics is about how things change. In point of fact, everything is about how things change.
So what do these axioms do for us? Read on and stay tuned.