Bruno Marchal wrote:

Le 26-déc.-05, à 04:14, Russell Standish a écrit :

On Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 04:07:28PM +0100, Bruno Marchal wrote:

(*) Well, I'm certainly interested in that naming issue, and perhaps I
could ask you right now what expression do you find the less shocking:
"Physics is derivable from machine psychology", or
"Physics is derivable from machine theology"  ?
'course, you can put "computer science" or "number theory" instead of
machine psycho or theology, but then the reference to a soul or a
person is eliminated, and giving the current tendency of many scientist
to just eliminate the person from the possible object of rational
inquiry, I prefer to avoid it. Note that in "conscience and mechanism"
I have used the expression "theology", and in "computability, physics
and cognition", I have been asked to use "psychology" instead. I find
"theology" much more correct and honest, but then I realise
(empirically) that it it could seem too much shocking for some people
(especially the atheist). What do you think?
I have already avoid "metaphysics" because it is confusing in the
metamathematical (Godelian) context, and also I'm in a country where
the word "metaphysics" already means "crackpot". Does the word
"theology" means "crackpot" in some country ? I don't think so, but
please tell me if you know about such practice.


My preference is for machine psychology. This is shocking enough, but
amerliorated by the prefix "machine". Theology, on the other hand does
not seem justified. In my mind, and I suspect for most people,
theology means the study of God. A study of atheism would probably be
included in this also,

Thanks for giving me your feeling. I obviously agree with you that atheism is a religion. Actually I see this as a reason to keep the word "theology" , although I remain open to the possibility of changing my mind on this issue. I have (G*) reason to consider that just the belief in one Observer-Moment, or World, State, Situation, etc. is already theological, like the hope in our own sanity or consistency. Physics is already theological too; in particular most physicists endow implicitly Aristotle "solution" of the mind-body problem, which is in part a sort of bullet making impossible to really progress there.

 however, I fail to see what the study of the
limits to machine intelligence has to do with something as nebulous as God.

It is, I think, as nebulous as any "everything" concept, except that it makes clearer the necessity of distinguishing a sort of pure science, captured by G and the "whole truth" about that captured by G*. I can come back on this but I think I should attempt to say more in some non technical way about the G G* gap. Also, I think "God" is just a chapter in theology, and I don't even address that chapter neither in "Conscience et Mecanisme", where I do introduce the term theology, nor in "Calculabilité Physique et Cognition", where I have been asked to use "machine psychology" instead of "theology", and then I am beginning to think it is a sort of "logical" error. Like I said to George, either I try to be as clear as possible, but then it looks provocative; or I try to manage the ten thousands human susceptibilities, but then the message will take more that one millenium to be conveyed :(
Ah la la..
One of my current motivation for using the label "theology" is the fact that my work can be framed into the Pythagorean, Platonist and NeoPlatonist tradition. People interested could read the very gentle introduction to "Plotinus" by Dominic O'Meara:

Plotinus. An Introduction to the Enneads. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1992.

Note that "The Enneads" have been themselves published by Penguin, with a readable translation. The fact is that the arithmetical interpretation of Plato's Theaetetus leads to a rather natural arithmetical interpretation of many questions and answers by Plotinus around the mind-body problem, and apparently this bounces back toward an arithmetical interpretation of the whole Plato's Parmenides. But here I am not yet convinced and I am perhaps just overoptimistic, for sure. Late James Higgo would have perhaps added that many trends in the Buddhist traditions have much in common with Platonism and Plotinism.


Theism is the belief that the world was created by a single omnipotent, superhuman agent who cares about human behavoir and intervenes in worldly events.

Is that your theory??

Brent Meeker
Atheism is not a religion, just as a vacant lot is not a type of
building, and health is not a form of sickness.  Atheism is not a
        --- Jim Heldberg, San Francisco Atheist Coordinator

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