Le 10-août-05, à 21:27, [EMAIL PROTECTED] a écrit :
Though I am new to the list I have been reading your fascinating posts
on this troubling issue of "reality" and subjectivity
so please pardon if I skip the protocol and delve into the discussion
right away. I have a background in computer
and cognitive science if you want to know, but little chance to
engage in exchanges on philosophical matters
such as the ones in which you guys are involved in.
I don't think there is a clear-cut frontier between Science and
Philosophy, except those artificial frontiers introduced by academic
for "financial purposes" (to be short).
Actually I don't believe there are scientific field and non scientific
field. I believe in scientific attitudes, which is a mixture of modesty
and willingness to share questions with other.
Scientists who pretends not doing philosophy are just taking some
philosophy for granted, like the naturalist assumptions of Aristotle.
And in ALL fields, passion and emotion *can* mislead our scientific
attitude. This is human, and even *machine*.
Forgive me if I misunderstand some of the finer details (yes I know,
the devil is there...) Bruno says:
But I am not using the word "reality" to *describe* one's subjective
impression, it seems to me I am just acknowledging the existence of
those subjective impression in many persons.
To acknowledge something is to admit that something has some kind of
"reality", it seems to me.
And it seems you did acknowledge those experiences too). To describe
them, in the limit, I can only point you to great poets and artists,
and they will hardly mention the word "reality".
Well, astists will probably argue that they are quite concerned with
reality in their own way. You don't want to confuse your
subjective impressions (qualia) with the fact that you have them or
report them. The later are the subject of scientific inquiry while the
former may not qualify. Scientific Reality is definitely more specific
than reality in general.
But scientific "reality" is not bounded. The shape of earth was a
matter of philosophy and theology at some time. My personal qualia and
first person views cannot be used in a scientific paper, of course. But
qualia and first person view can be addressed in third person way. For
this we build theories, which are just hypothetical world view
There is also much that
one can aknowledge without admiting to its reality. I have heard of,
say, alien abductions but would not swear to their reality,
though others may differ.
This is just ignorance. Science is *the* most efficacious way to accept
that we are ignorant.
It is the motor of science. If you have a scientific interest in alien
abduction you can always search for a piece of unknown metal, or for
tackling the plausibility problem of the account. Etc. As I mentionned
before one of my favorite text to illustrate what is the scientific
attitude is given in a book of parapsychology (the "In search of the
light' by S. Blackmore). Of course the whishfull thinkers in
parapsychology doesn't like it because it is negative (She shows the
protocol errors in most parapsychologists experiments).
You just seems to want those experiences are just an unnecessary
epiphenomenon, and you would like that science never adresses what
they really are and where they came from.
For you it looks like "consciousness" is just a sort of subjective
mirror partially reflecting an objective third person describable
reality in which we are embedded. And science should never leave the
third person discourse. All right?
Now, please understand that I agree (100%) with the last sentences:
science should never leave the third person discourse.
But this does not prohibit science of looking to herself, and to try
theories (hypotheses) about third person discourses, and even to
*discover* sort of first person discourse canonically associated to
some mathematical object.
By taking the comp hyp enough seriously it just happens that
"consciousness", or just the "ability to guess the existence of one
(at least) world" is not a little detail. Or it is a little detail but
then remember that the devil is hidden in the little details. Why?
Because if I am correct in my derivation it makes the physical law
emerging from number theory.
I would argue that numbers are rather objective, perhaps even more
than physical laws and surely so if you are right, no?
Yes. I find personally that the fact that 17 is prime is less doubtful
than any third person materialist ontological commitment. But I am
perhaps wrong and I don't really care. As a logician I am mainly
interested in the consistency of sets of beliefs, and validity of
arguments. My point is that materialism and digital mechanism (comp)
are just incompatible.
If that derivation is just a piece of your subjectivity that may dash
your hopes to convey it to others...
By derivation I really mean "demonstration". It is valid for anyone
(accepting classical logic applies on the elementary arithmetical
truth). Sorry if this looks contemptuous.
There is also an "animal" called *self-delusion* that inhabits this
realm between the subjective and the objective and amounts
to taking for real what isn't quite so. But why bring it into this
already confusing and confused exchanged.
> So you say. And I confess I haven't the energy (and probably not
> the preparation) to study your thesis. So I'll wait for the experts
> to acclaim you. No one will cheer louder: "I knew him *before*
> the world saw the truth to COMP! He even knows who I am!".
My heart appreciates very much. My poor brain, or some reasoner who
appears to succeed to manifest himself through it, relatively to you,
is a little bit astonished: you are amazingly honest and confess you
could give a weight to authoritative argument. Ah la la.
I think it would be better to get the understanding by yourself, then
you could say " I thought it", but perhaps you do get some
understanding, I think :-)
Actually my work is "the work" which people should understand by
themselves, if only to understand the second part where they must
understand that machine can understand it by themselves, in some
You could also be disappointed. Although the conclusion is startling,
technically my contribution is modest and leads quickly to soluble but
A paper entitled "Theoretical Computer Science and the Natural
Sciences" should appear soon, though.
Oh, it seems you agree than! "The Work" goes well with your
theological inclinations, seems to me though I am as hopeless
about understandiing it as Lee is...
OK. This means you are serious like Lee. I certainly don't expect
people to understand it quickly! The people in this list does not know
(I think) that they are one century in advance!
(and then they doesn't know I'm two centuries in advance ;-)
(Don't infer I'm some sort of genius: it is just years and years and
years of work + open mindedness).
Anyway, the matter subject is not so easy. It crosses many hard fields,
and leads to many hard to swallow conclusions. Bohr said that if you
understand quantum mechanics, it means you are missing something. The
comp hyp is like that. The more you understand the more you realize
truth is beyond fiction. Now, feel free to read my argumentation and
ask question if you are interested.
My point (and I want to be short but some people in the list get
similar points, even if when we discuss it between us we insist on the
differences of course), so my point is just that if we make the comp
hypothesis in the cognitive science (including some amount of
mathematical platonism, and Church thesis), then, literally, physics
*is* a branch of computer science. And so the comp hyp is testable:
derive physics from computer science and compare it to empirical
physics. I have done a piece of that, and currently comp passed already
non trivial tests.
> My friends and I (and probably Daniel Dennett and so on) believe
> that people who demand a 1st person "account of the world" (e.g.
> Chalmers) will never get anywhere.
Actually, this is one of the main point where I differ from George
Levy (OK George?), although I could make sense of it. The point is,
and Dennett agrees on this, that, in cognitive *science*, we need to
develop some third person discourse on the first person discourses.
OK, strictly speaking the quantum and physical discourses appears at
some first person (plural) level.
Chalmers is not getting anywhere(*), ok. Perhaps we agree on this.
Dennett might have evolved in his position but the whole effort behind
cognitive science has long been that of "unpacking"
the notion of "qualia" out of the philosophical discourse. But that is
hardly the same as explaining the 1st person discourse in
3rd person language.
Explaining what elation or sadness correspond to in terms of neural
processes does not help me find
out why I am elated today and sad tomorrow. Usually those experience
are much easier to explain and in objective terms.
I'm not sure I understand. I think no "experiences" can be easily
explained in 3-person terms.
remember that if comp and my derivation is correct, eventually the very
brain itself emerges from first person experiences (and here I agree
with George Levy).
Now, (and here George Levy disagrees), first person experiences emerges
from third person sharable relation between numbers. Please, take this
with some grain of salt until you have your personal evidence for a
plausible explanation of what I am saying here.
(*) Using Everett to defend dualism! See the quite good explanation
how Everett is deeply monist in the book:
PRIMAS H., 1981, Chemistry, Quantum Mechanics and Reductionism,
Springer-Verlag, Berlin (second, corrected edition : 1983)
> That the "hard problem" or
> whatever is just a horrible consequence of the way sense impressions
> traveling on neurons give rise to people thinking that their
> own perceptions are a sort of reality independent of the physical
> reality. We think that this is a sort of delusion, although the
> very #?!&[EMAIL PROTECTED] structure of our language hideously leads from that
> to "who or what is being deluded?".
> This might be a good time to ask what is meant by that word you
> just used. Hal explained "computationalist hypothesis" as used
> by philosophers, e.g., that a robot (that was just CPU driven)
> could be conscious.
Actually this is the strong AI thesis. Logically comp is stronger,
because comp is the thesis that "I" am a machine (I, You, ...). Comp
is stronger because the fact that machine could think does not entails
that only machine could think! (despite Occam!).
Now comp is weaker than most functionalism in the philosophy of mind,
because comp asserts only the existence of a level of substitution at
which we are Turing-emulable. Functionalist reason like if the level
was known, but that's impossible.
> have believed that since 1966 when I used
> to argue about it with people in high school. *Lots* of people
> believe that. I have taken "COMP" to be Bruno's Thesis, in which
> practically everything can be derived fundamentally from the
> integers alone, using Gödel's results, and other rather recently
> discovered truths.
No no. That's the theorem. Comp is precisely the conjonction of
Church Thesis, of some amount of belief in arithmetic, + the act of
faith saying "yes" to *some* digitalist surgeon.
All what I say, I derive it (hopefully correctly) from comp.
It is also different from Schmidhuber (and many others) who makes the
thesis that there is a "physical universe" and that it is computable
(programmable). I think that comp is quasi-incompatible with this.
Quasi-incompatible, indeed! Thanks for clearing this out. It is
understandable why you need a 1st person belief statement
if your hypothesis is that You (Bruno) are a machine. I will grant you
that straight away, as it occurred to me already while
noticing that most of your interventions "loop" around that COMP
thing. You, Bruno Machinal are a machine!
Pun or lapsus? I could have define comp by saying that human are
machine. I prefer say "I", because comp can justified why, if true, it
is not provable (like the consistency statement in Godel's second
incompleteness theorem). Need some act of faith.
I will even grant
you that I am a machine and will say "yes" to your digitalist, if he
hasn't replaced all my parts yet. But let me ask you: doesn't
everybody have to believe you for your hypothesis to be true? And if
everyone does so, doesn't it automatically cease to
be an hypothesis and become the universal religion of happy machines?
All what I say is that if me, you or X says "yes" to the mechanist
doctor, then "the universal religion of machine" are given by a
mathematical theory which is testable because, as a religious theology,
it provided a 100% precise cosmogony. If from comp you deduce that
electron have no weight, then comp is refuted. That could be
problematical in case you have already say "yes" to the doctor!
> So I dismiss the 1st person, remarking that it's "existence" is
> but only to be expected. If an ape or a parrot could talk, it
> could yak on about it's impressions. And they'd be of little
> but therapeutic value.
Thanks for acknowledging the therapy! With comp, this would mean the
appearance of the physical world originates in some intrinsic
universal machine self-therapy. It makes sense...
I must go now. Apology for not having respected the order of your
paragraphs, but my computer take some initiative apparently!
Funny, mine just did the same!!! It erased something about Bip Bip or
some such thing. Oh well... It may just need some
good self-therapy. God knows what will come out of that...
Best wishes with ... "the Work",
Many thanks. "the works", as you say, is divided into two parts. An
informal, but (hopefully) rigorous and complete, argument showing that
physics is derivable from comp. That argument is not constructive. Its
easyness comes from the fact that it does not really explained how to
make the derivation. The second part is a translation of that argument
in the language of the "universal machine itself". This, by the
constraints of theoretical ccomputer science, makes the proof
constructive, so that it gives the complete derivation of physics from
computer science. Of course God is a little malicious, apparently, and
we are led to hard intractable purely mathematical questions.
You are welcome,