[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote: >"Jesse Mazer" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>: > > [re: rock is a good implementation of any computation] > > It depends what you mean by "good implementation." The context of my > > comment above was, *if* you believe there is a single true set of > > psychophysical laws, are the laws likely to be defined in terms of > > "computation" or not? If you don't believe in these sorts of laws, > > then the question of what's a "good" implementation is somewhat > > academic--it's really just a question of what's the neatest way to > > define our terms. > >Many of the people on this list (in common with a lot of western >philosophy at least since Descartes) are hoping to construct their >existence measures on the bedrock of the objectively decidable >self-awareness. They've built very interesting structures, but you >may notice there's been no progress at all on stabilizing the >foundation. Instead we have on this list the same debates that >endlessly, repetitively and inconclusively flood comp.ai.philosophy, >never mind philosophy journals and books.
But my position isn't just "consciousness is real, therefore there must be a mathematical theory to describe it so it'll have firm foundations." Rather, I was drawn to the idea of a "theory of consciousness" based on consideration of the anthropic principle, as well as "continuity of consciousness" thought-experiments like the one where I'll be replicated only if the coin falls heads. In both cases we're dealing with probabilistic questions that seem to call out for a well-defined mathematical theory...in the replicator experiment, do you think there's a single true answer to the question of whether I should expect a 1/2 or 2/3 (or something else) chance that I will see the coin fall heads? In any case, It might be useful to temporarily shift this debate away from the question of "consciousness"--what I want to know is, do you believe in a global "existence measure" at all? As I said, the main problem I have with the TOE you've been advocating is that it seems as though it would be impossible to have a single global measure of any kind. After all, you're not just saying that any physical system can be interpreted as implementing any computation--since you believe that the "physical" universe is itself just a sort of Platonic computation, you're essentially saying that any Platonic computation can be interpreted as any other Platonic computation, which would seem to make it impossible to put a global measure on this set. Without a global existence measure there's no way to talk about probability, and no reason at all to say I'm any more likely to find myself in a universe where the laws of physics will stay stable than one where they will suddenly go haywire. So do you admit the possibility of *some* kind of global existence measure on "everything?" If you do, then it's a separate argument as to whether or not the measure should be on all possible conscious observer-moments or on some other notion of "everything." Personally, I think the measure needs to be on observer-moments to avoid having a fundamentally dualistic theory in which the existence measure is completely separate from anthropic considerations...but there wouldn't be much point in discussing this if you didn't even believe in a global existence measure in the first place. >Gerard O'Neill, the late Princeton physicist best known for his space >colony studies, once said that if you met a race that insisted that >logical developments must be built step by step from a firm >foundation, you could be pretty sure they were planet dwellers. Races >that live in space realize that it's perfectly OK to build structures >that have no foundation at all. They can be circular and unsupported, >yet if you spin them they'll have gravity just like the ponderous >planetary piles! I don't think that's such a good analogy--space station builders have to take into account the same "foundations" that planet-bound builders do, namely the laws of physics. Anyway, anyone who believes in any kind of global existence measure is making just as much use of foundations as I am...it's just that I happen to think the measure should be on the set of all possible observer-moments, while others have some different notion of the appropriate set of "everything" to put a measure on. >I think your insistence on the absolute underpinning of an objective >consciousness is just planet-bound thinking. Bruno's, Juergen's, >Russell's or Max Tegmark's analyses can just as well be built on >arbitrary selections of what's conscious (Turing test passers? >biological brains? red-haired people? teddy bears?). The teddy bear >universes may have different probabilities than the biological brain >universes or the Turing test universes, but so what? Each is as >likely to be self-consistent as another. True, once you have an existence measure you can then choose an arbitrary definition of "observer" and do a weighted sum over all universes to see where "observers" are most likely to be. The problem is that you will get very different answers as to what's a "likely" universe depending on your original definition. But the fact that I find myself in *this* particular type of universe doesn't depend on my own "choice of reference class"--it's thrust upon me by reality. If you want to explain that, I think you need reality to have a single "true" definition of what it means to be an observer. With a weird definition of "observer" I could no doubt predict that I'm exceedingly likely to see the laws of physics break down within the next minute (perhaps by saying that those who don't observe such a thing don't count as 'observers' at all). Is this definition as good as any other? If so, why shouldn't I take this prediction as seriously as any other one? Again, the problem is that whatever we think about the matter, reality seems to have its own ideas, and a coherent TOE really should take this into account. >i.e. You don't have to give up the goals of this list just because you >don't believe there is an objective fact of the matter to >consciousness. > > > My question for you is, does your Platonic view of things rule out > > the idea of a single global theory of consciousness? > >Don't need it, don't want it. Is there any reason to predict that the laws-of-physics-going-crazy scenario is less likely than anything else in your theory? If not I think you *do* need to modify your theory in some way, whether or not that involves a "theory of consciousness." > > I believe that there is more to me than my outward actions. > >So does a lookup table. Just ask it, it will tell you all about >its complex motives and internal mental life. Well, I can build a program that just prints out "I have a lot of complex feelings and thoughts that I'm not gonna tell you anything about, so nyeah nyeah." And I suppose you'd say that under the right interpretation it does have such thoughts--but even so, the fact that it *says* it has these kinds of thoughts has zilch to do with anything, since according to you the same would be true of a clock or any other system. That's basically the situation we have with a lookup table as well...what the lookup table does or doesn't say isn't relevant to your case here. > > I'm making the assumption that there's *some* set of objective > > psychophysical laws, and that these laws would tell you a lookup > > table doesn't give rise to the same experiences as a detailed > > simulation. > >Groundhog! I make no such assumption. ...Space cadet! Seriously, I think good theories depend on a balance between "spacey" intuitive leaps and "grounded" critical standards...best not to pit one against the other in the first place. Jesse Mazer _________________________________________________________________ Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com