Hi Bruno

Thanks for your detailed answer. I will wipe some of the previous exchanges below to unclutter the post:

-----Original Message-----
From: Bruno Marchal <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

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*.

Could not agree with you more...

> [GK]
> 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 constructions.

Again I fully agree, though I am sure you are aware that "mentality" and "identity" are among the most difficult problems that science has tried to tackle and that what we think we know about such matters pales in comparison with what we are sure we don't know! Even just building theories may be more forthcoming in some domains than others, irrespective of testing them.

> There is also much that
> one can acknowledge without admitting 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 mentioned 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).

That is a wonderful point you make above! But my own was that acknowledging something may not exactly be the same as admiting its reality; it can in fact be just the oposite when what is acknowledge is someone else's belief for instance. How (consensual) reality is acquired is a pretty complicated and still mysterious process. I would venture that a lot of what we
would count as "subjective reality" is just that! (more below)

> [GK]
> 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.

In this we agree.

> 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.

It may very well be contemptuous but I cannot fault your "demonstration" since I see no reason why materialism would be compatible with your hypothesis! If I understand it correctly this is that one materially supported conscious entity could be entirely (and analytically) replaced by a digitally constructed one without it even being conscious of it. Am I right? Is this what you COMP ? If so you are right in one thing: it is one hell of a stronger contention than the strongest AI hyp
(and that much more unlikely).

> [GK]
> Oh, it seems you agree than! "The Work" goes well with your > theological inclinations, seems to me though I am as hopeless
> about understanding 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).

Oh don't worry about that! There is genius in knowing that your are not! And since you are a machine your years and years and years may surely add to two centuries! No wonder you outrun your modesty...

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.

Oh but you make it sound so easy! See: its is the "derive physics from computer science" that I have my first problem with! Easier said than done, I'm afraid. Stephen Wolfram sent me his huge book but I remain as unconvinced by it as everyone else who has read it about his "tinker bell" version of Quantum Mechanics. I heard Ed Fredkin a number of times and, though he is quite charming, I don't think he has any better answer to that question...

More specifically: I believe QM puts a big kabosh into any non-quantum mechanistic view of the physical world. If you don't get that, than maybe you don't get a lot of other things, Bruno. Sorry if this sounds contemptuous. It is meant
to be.

Incidentally, the reverse reduction of computer science to physics seems to be a lot more hopeful specially since most computations seem to run a lot faster in physical computers than on... (what are the alternatives again?). OK, no one has built a truly quantum computer just yet but a lot of people think they are about to do it!

> 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.

Sure will (take it with and entire salt mine)! My point is that we already have ways of explaining other people's experiences on the basis of empathy or antipathy and in terms of direct causation. Bill Clinton was found of saying "I feel your pain" and no one called him on that obvious lie! I can think of some numbers that would tell me about the pain others are feeling
(checked the price of gas today? $2.59 a gallon!!! That hurts!!!)


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!

Ooops! Sure would be problematic, wouldn't it? I better think a bit about that "yes" again.

Seriously, I see nothing wrong with what you saying as long as you couch it in that "faith-based" argumentation. Your argument is cute and may very well be defensible that way. This day and and age it may actually be better supported
that way than as hard clad science, who knows?

> [GK]
> 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.

Oh, what a pity! I was kind of bracing to see that derivation! I am sure it would drive your point across a lot quicker. Oh well, I could probably give you a couple of other outrageous hypothesis from which you could derive the whole of physics, not constructively of course! You are the logician but isn't it the case that from an assuredly false premise
you can derive anything?

The second part is a translation of that argument in the language of the "universal machine itself". This, by the constraints of theoretical computer 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,



Oh gosh! Another let down! Well maybe those pesky Quantum Computer builders can rescue you after all one day. As I heard that you plan to become immortal (after a little digital plastic surgery) you will have the time to wait for it!

Bruno: you seem to hold quite estimable principles about the fundamentals of scientific practice and you seem much less threatening than your digitalist surgeon. When I have a chance I'll check your papers out and see what I can make out
of them. Thanks for the summary, though.

Don't work too hard,

Godfrey  Kurtz

Check Out the new free AIM(R) Mail -- 2 GB of storage and industry-leading spam and email virus protection.

Reply via email to