Thanks for your answers. I follow you in passing on our points of
agreement (and erasing them).
(New Brunswick, NJ)
From: Bruno Marchal <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
I see we agree on many things. I comment only where we take distance.
Le 12-août-05, à 19:33, [EMAIL PROTECTED] a écrit :
> That is a wonderful point you make above! But my own was that >
acknowledging something may not exactly be the same as admitting its >
reality; it can in fact be just the opposite 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)
I am not sure I understand you, and pêrhaps it is just a question of
vocabulary. If I acknowledge a belief of someone, it seems to me that I
take as real (or very plausible) that that someone has a belief, not
that the belief is true.
Altough the subjective reality is just that, I guess, subjective. I
take as objective the existence of "subjective reality", or at least I
take as objective the existence of the discourse and silence on
subjective reality, and what I am searching an explanation on is
exactly that, how to explain in objective term the subjective
discourse, including the fact that we know we cannot make objective
that subjectivity. This is part of the so-called mind-body problem.
Saying, like Lee, that my subjective view is neurons firing is just
false. To say that it is the sult of neurons firing is much more
interesting but actually makes the problem worse (as serious
philosopher of mind know very well). The reason is that if neurons
firing explains all my behavior, it is just more enigmatic that
something like consciousness has ever evolved.
The explanation is more subtle and demanding and eventually forces us
to revised our oldest prejudices about the nature of reality.
The point I am trying to make is that a lot of your back and forth
discourse on the 1st versus the 3rd person misses the
2nd person in between them! More specifically: I am quite convinced
that one good part of what we call "the Mind" or
"the Self" and perhaps even "Consciousness" is generated by social
interaction rather than by any "inner realm of subjectivity".
I suspect this is true about all of what we call "symbolic" or
"meaningful" including a lot of the support for mathematical
understanding though I guess I am a platonist to the extent that I
think of mathematical objects as existing independently
of any of our semantics in a realm of their own.
As for consciousness I do agree with you that whatever explains it may
seriously require a revision of our oldest and,
very possibly, some of our newest prejudices about reality but
certainly most of outr old prejudices about... consciousness-
yours (and mine) included! ;-)
> 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).
OK. But please note that 99,9% of the scientists take it for granted.
Actually I know only Penrose postulating explicitly the negation of
comp. This forces him to speculate about the falsity of both quantum
mechanics and general relativity.
I would rather not bring Penrose to this discussion though he is
someone I much appreciate and will not easily dismiss. Unfortunately I
can't claim I understand his Byzantine time-asymmetric proposals as
alternatives for QM and GR enough
to criticize them, and I am not alone in this.
But I thought about your COMP and such over the weekend and I realized
I have to take back what I said above! I can
perfectly well imagine a world in which no one has yet built a
conscious machine from scratch but someone has found a
procedure for replacing one's consciousness by a digital one in the
way you describe. Why should one imply the other?
I didn't say that either. I don't know if I am a genious, but I don't
know if I am not a genious either ;-)
Oh, Bruno, don't be so bashful ...
> And since you are a machine your years and years
> and years may surely add to two centuries! No wonder you outrun your
I have never said that I am a machine. I have not the slightest idea
if comp is true. But I am sure that if comp is true then physics
emerges from the arithmetical relations, well, as sure as I am sure of
the irrationality of the square root of 2. I give a proof.
Oh, I am sorry, than! As you speak so much of acts-of-faith I
concluded, too soon I gather, that you took all those years of toil
as a consequence of your beliefs. Silly me!
> Oh but you make it sound so easy! See: its is the "derive physics >
from computer science" that I have my first problem with!
That is the object of the proof I gave. The proof is 100% third person
accessible, like any proof. What is hard, perhaps, is that the proof is
done in a field which is in the intersection of theoretical physics,
theoretical computer science and theoretical cognitive science.
And just how sure are you that there is such an intersection? Or is
that also an article of faith?
> Easier said than done, I'm afraid. Stephen Wolfram sent me his huge
> 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
book but I remain as unconvinced by it as everyone
to that question...
Wolfram, like Schmidhuber, entirely dismiss the 1/3 distinction. The
proof I gave shows that Wolfram is just wrong on those matter. I am
nearer Svozil and Chaitin (but well beyond, probably).
If I thought Svozil and Chaitin were near at all I might understand
you better. At least we agree that Wolfram is wrong!
> 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.
It does not seem contemptuous, it seems just circular. If you have the
two following axioms:
1) There is a physical world
2) The physical world is described by QM
Then it seems obvious to me that "QM puts a big kabosh into any
non-quantum mechanistic view of the physical world".
Now don't worry, I believe more in the quantum than in comp! I
thought, in the past, that I would quickly refute comp with quantum
mechanics. But the fact are there, comp, as far as it has been tested
implies everything we can deduce from the quantum. Comp is not yet
refuted, and evidences add up that the quantum is derivable from comp
(or from numbers through comp).
Of course, I believe in the quantum, but if comp is correct, I can no
more believe in "1)", i.e. I must abandon the existence of a physical
world, and the quantum describes only the way machine dreams
interference generate the stable illusion of solidity and time from
arithmetical truth (under the form of confirmable bets, the Lobian Bp &
Lots of "ifs" in there! Since you found me circular let me just ask
If the physical world does not exist (you say that COMP implies this)
why even bother deriving physics? Can't machines
dream just like we do, about lovely, terrifying and yet unphysical
Also, I suspect that I can with just a bit of work, show you that QM
invalidates your COMP hyp if I actually understand it.
Would you be so kind as to state it out for me in one full sentence so
I have a clear" line-of-sight"?
> 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?).
If you study the Universal Dovetailer Argument, you will see that any
machine betting correctly and consistently on any piece of "observable"
reality, will bet that to simulate that piece of reality exactly, there
is a need of simulating an infinity of computations. Remember we don't
know in which computations "we are", and the "physical" appearances
emerge from some probabilistic interference among all the possible
computations. Without QM, for example, with just a Newtonian World I
would directly interpret my proof as a refutation of comp.
Maybe there is a typo in what you say above because if that argument
actually says that "any machine betting correctly and consistently on
any piece of "observable" reality, will bet that to simulate that piece
of reality exactly, there is a need of simulating an infinity of
computations" than I would not take it to Vegas (;-) ! This is because
we can in fact, not just bet but,
predict, with certainty, and simulate with arbitrary precision, the
behavior of a good number "pieces of observed reality" by
themselves and even verify the certainty of those predictions with a
finite collection of finite algorithms which is what we
do call physics (classical or quantum, theoretical or empirical) ).
What we cannot do is to reproduce by any finite set of algorithms worth
betting on the type of persistent built-in correlations that pairs (and
trios, etc..) of these pieces of
observable reality manifestly carry between them once they have been,
once, part of the same piece! Even coins
don't toss that way! That is where the "kabosh" is! There is no
dovetailing out of it...
Also if Newtonian physics is enough to shoot down your hypothesis than
it must be dead already since Newtonian physics
is the correspondence limit of QM and QM is right!!! I really don't
follow you here...
> OK, no one
> has built a truly quantum computer just yet but a lot of people
think > they are about to do it!
I'm quasi sure they will!
And I'm quasi sure me or someone else will extract the existence of a
quantum computer in the neighborhood of any "conscious" lobian machine,
or refute comp. comp will provide really solid foundations for the
quantum, if it is correct. In particular physical *laws* will be real
general laws pertaining on all possible observers.
Well, again, I would much like to know what these "solid foundations
for the quantum" are but am happy in my believe
that particular(?) physical laws are *already* real general laws and
indeed apply to all possible observers even without
your help or George Levy's opposition!!! If I stop believing in
gravity can I fly? (:-)
> 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? Sorry but I consider such a notion as very vague (and very
There are ten thousands notion of causality, and a lot of them can be
studied as necessary implication: B(p->q) in some modal logic. So I
consider they are at least as many notion of "causation" than there are
modal logics. And there is an infinity of modal logics ...
My fault I am sorry, I should have written "interaction" instead of
causation. I fully agree with you about the latter.
> 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!!!)
Quite cheap from here!
Sorry again! I feel your *bigger* pain (even if I don't own a car!)
> Seriously, I see nothing wrong with what you saying as long as you >
couch it in that "faith-based" argumentation.
I think all theories are faith-based. But, yes, comp, is not only
faith based, but it justifies why some part of it are necessarily
faith-based, if true.
Some more than others, I would add. I catch your point but again I
think this is a bit of a cop out.
> 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?
It is hard clad science. I know of course that it could look
"philosophical" because I indeed tackle a "philosophical problem". But
I did actually chose purposefully special hypotheses for making the
conclusion 100% testable, as it makes testable many variant of comp
(like some weakening or strengthening).
Many people, including Bohr, qualified the Einstein Podolski Rosen
paper as "philosophical". But then (30 years later) Bell shows it to be
testable (and Deutch: exploitable). My work is like EPR+BELL, although
it bears on the mind body problem. The UDA part corresponds to EPR and
the translation of the UDA in the language of a sufficiently rich
machine theorem prover is the BELL part: I arrive to propositions as
vulnerable as it is possible to be.
Again your modesty precedes you. The Bell argument, thanks largely to
Clauser, Horn, Shimony and Holt, Aspect et all
became an item of "experimental metaphysics" and is soon to become a
major industry! And this without anyone having to sell their soul or
body to a digitalist surgeon. May you be so blessed...
> Oh, what a pity! I was kind of bracing to see that derivation! I am
> 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
sure it would drive your point across a lot quicker.
> you can derive anything?
Oh please! If you don't know the premise is false, then by deriving
anything from the premise gives in any circumstances interesting
information. Take the case where I would derive the false from comp,
then I would have derive a refutation of comp. (p -> f is the same as
~p). That would be something!
So non constructive proof can be interesting and informative!
Anyway, my proof *is* constructive.
I thing you got my point. The false tends to be more interesting than
the true... and more heartbreaking too.
> 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.
Here you are right. This is actually predictable from comp. One of the
quantum logics should be quantum tractable, and not classically
Also, I said to much when I say the questions are intractable. I
should insist on the fact that I did solve one of the main decisive
question (and comp succeed the test), and that, concerning many others,
I have not yet really try to solve them, but professional logician does
not find them easy, so I doubt I will get them. Now, I could prove that
all of them are tractable in the sense that less than a CETI project
could solve them (like you can simulate a <few-bits>-quantum computer
with enough classical bits.
You lost me here. Are they tractable or not? I wasn't aware that the
CETI project can solve intractable problems !!!
> I heard that you plan to become immortal (after a little digital >
plastic surgery) you will have the time to wait for it!
It is the contrary. I plan to be mortal, but with comp this seems
extremely hard if not impossible. This is the feature I dislike the
most in comp. It is not clear there could be any hope of finding a way
to get out. There could be a whole arithmetical Bardo Thodol.
(This is already true with Everett QM). That's another reason to think
about using the word "theology", perhaps.
Poor Bruno, imortel malgre soi!! And presumably "imortel qui mal y
pense, aussi !" , no? Gosh, I wasn't counting on that
in my retirement plans... (;-)
Seriously for a second: I doubt that I know enough to understand all
your demonstrations and arguments or judge their
correctness in detail, and I am no Dr. Phil, but I have the distinct
impression that you are too enamoured with your COMP
hyp to let it go. Is this possible?
Take it easy,
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