Well, on the basis of that which you say below (much of which I unfortunately
only vaguely understand), where you don't focus it all decidedly on the
particular issues of faith and belief, it actually does now sound more like
some sort of theology. It has various elements of theology in the broader or
more comprehensive sense. The thing that it seems to be missing is gods or God.
Considered as theology, it seems like a wheel sorely missing its hub. At this
point, in terms of descriptive accuracy, this hublessness seems the hub of the
matter. So it sounds like a kind of psycho-cosmology, or -- well, not a
psychophysics, but, in order to suggest your computationalist primacy of the
soul -- a physiopsychics (in English, if the adjective is "physicopsychical,"
it's a little less suggestive of paranormalism, which is strongly associated
nowadays with the adjective "psychic.")
(C.S. Peirce held that matter is "congealed mind." Though he thought that space
would turn out to be curved, he was pre-Einstein and saw matter as a kind of
spentness and barrenness rather than as a tight lockup of energy.)
Your theory may be empirically refutable but, if it survives such tests, what
is there to support its affirmation? Is derivability of physical laws from
"laws of mind" really enough? An information theorist, John Collier, said at
the peirce email forum "peirce-l" that he had managed to derive each two among
logic, information theory, and probability theory, from the third remaining,
though I don't know whether he ever published these derivations. Have you shown
that your "laws of mind" cannot be derived from physics in a way that shows
that the nonderivability is not merely a result of our insufficent knowledge of
physical law? You may also encounter some flak on your conception of mind.
For what it's worth, for my part, I would hold that a key factor in
intelligence, at least, which learns and grows, is an evolvability factor, a
kind of sufficient un-boundness to its "codes" and its methods and systems of
interpretation, in order to be able to test those codes, methods, systems and
to do so not only by trial and error but more sophisticated kinds of learning
and testing, such that memory and active recollection take on particular
importance. Do your laws of mind take evolvability into account? Maybe they
don't need to, though, depending on what you mean by "mind." I tend to think
that the mind must involve the retention and evolvability factor in some
radical way, but it's quite vague to me how that would work. Maybe there are
things which could fairly be called "mind" though I would never have thought of
them that way.
If I understood your theory I might also try to challenge the idea that the
soul is both ontologically AND epistemologically primary. Actually I wouldn't
use, for my views, the term "primary" in a strong foundationalist sense, I just
mean that, for various reasons, I regard the (sequential) order of knowledge to
be the opposite of the (sequential) order of being. Of course, in logic, some
oppositions seems to reverse themselves across changes of level, so who knows,
I'm not totally convinced about my own views either.
Best, Ben Udell
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruno Marchal" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Benjamin Udell" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 10:38 AM
Subject: Re: Paper+Exercises+Naming Issue
Hi Benjamin, List,
I will comment your long post, taking into account some posts from its
sequel (to avoid repetition).
But I will try to make a sort of synthesis so that people will be able
to recast the present thread, concerned with the "theology"-naming
issue, and the more general goal of the list which consists globally in
the search of a TOE (Theory of Everything) and more particularly
consists (at our present stage) to find a measure on the computational
For this I need to summarise my own contribution in the list, which
consists mainly in explaining results I got in the seventies, published
in the eighties (in obscure journals or proceedings though) and
eventually defended as a PhD thesis in France in 1998.
This includes many things from the necessity of distinguishing first
and third person notions, the first person comp indeterminacy, the comp
immortality and its "theoretical confirmation" through the quantum
suicide and quantum immortality, but mainly all this can be sum up into
the "reversal result". This is the result that IF we assume the
computationalist hypothesis in the cognitive science then the physical
science cannot be fundamental and are derivable from the "laws of
mind". With the comp hyp. the laws of mind can be taken as the laws of
computation and computability, although a precise formulation would
lead, well, to our current naming issue. The reduction of physics
appears to be both epistemological and ontological. That means that not
only physics will appear to be a sub-branch of computer science, but
that "Matter" is secondary to "Mind". All this in a very precise sense.
So precise that the proof I gave is really constructive: it shows how
to derive physics from computer science, and the whole technical parts
of my thesis (the one which rely on the G-G* logics) consists in the
beginning of such a derivation.
And then this entails that the comp hyp. (actually even a much weaker
hyp.) is empirically testable: just compare the physics extracted from
comp and the physics extracted from the usual observation/theory back
and forth. And until now I got only confirmation (and not refutation)
of comp because I can already shows that comp entails that the logic of
the observable is quite a quantum logic.
The proof of the reversal is mainly given by the Universal Dovetailer
Argument together with either some Occam Razor (the easiest way) or the
Movie-Graph Argument (or the latter Maudlin's Olympia).
Of course you are not asked to take for granted any of those results.
You can either study the UDA (which you have perhaps already done on
the list), or you can, just for the sake of the present discussion,
keep the result in mind. I would withdraw anything I say in case
someone would found an error in the argument.
Now why "theology"?
My answer in a nutshell: because that is the most correct wording, and
then I tend to assume, perhaps with a big amount of naïveté, that it is
always best to use the (most) correct wording. But I know you and
others tend to disagree with this. So before I comment your post, let
me explain why I do think "theology" is the correct wording. Note that
I have use it in my preliminary long version of my PhD thesis
"Conscience & Mécanisme" where I motivate directly the field of modal
logic through "theology", seen as a theory of all possible accessible
state of mind/consciousness. Those who knows the French or who want to
see the drawings can download that pdf-chapter from my web page:
I have been asked by the French not to use that word, and to use the
word "psychology" instead. There are many reasons I would like to use
again the theological vocabulary for the writing of an English "long
version" of the thesis, if only because the psychological wording seems
to me less correct (or more faulty).
Let me enumerate and briefly describe the reason why "theology" seems
1) The main one is just to recall the admittedly subtle nature of the
comp hyp. It is scientific in the sense of being falsifiable (cf result
descibed above), and religious (because there is a sort of promise of
"hell" in case you decide to take it for granted).
2) Then there is the one mentioned by George Levy: since the beginning
we are talking about the soul, and comp can be sum up into the slogan:
I can put my soul on a disc.
3) The notion of first person has as many thing in common with the
notion of soul than the notion of soul is different from one theologian
to another (so to distinguish "soul" from first-person *is* falling
into the 1004-fallacy.
4) Comp-immortality and quantum-immortality. The "immortality" notion
is traditionally put in the theological discourses. We talk about this
since the beginning.
5) I have already criticise Tegmark for his naïve notion of *all math*.
The first mathematician who has try to get a mathematical view of all
math, not only did not succeed, but realises that the matter was so
theological that he did engage a long correspondance with the
theologian of his time. I am talking about Cantor.
6) The main opponent to Cantor is the great topologist Brouwer.
Brouwer's critics is also theological, and this is reflected in his
youth writing on life consciousness, and mysticism. Brouwer will found
the intuitionistic logic (and later we will see that the lobian
machine's theory of the soul is quite close to Brouwer's original
consciousness theory, with a non nameable self living in a temporal
7) Comp is typically the favourite theory of the strong materialist
(that is those who does not take seriously notion like mind,
consciousness, soul etc.). Machine theology is a way to keep the
attention of both the materialist computationalist and the people open
to both religion and rationality.
8) The machine theology (described at the propositional level by G*)
has many things in common with both the pre-christian theology and some
Chinese and Indian Metaphysics. I can develop this in due time.
9) Theology is not only the "science of God(s)"; it is the science of
the soul, matter, hell, paradise, etc. Theologies were conceived as ...
theories of everything, including the mind-body problem which is so
often put under the rug by materialist or by people who makes
caricature of Aristotle treatment of the question. It is nice that the
comp hyp at least forces us to reconsider the question and to accept it
is not yet solved.
10) If you let me address development I made since I have defended my
thesis, then I have this quite amazing thing. In my thesis both the
soul-theory and the matter-theory are obtained from variant of an
arithmetical interpretation of the Theaetetical definition of the
knower. Soul and matter are really just two different modal variant of
arithmetical truth. The soul theory leads to an intuitionistic logic
and the matter theory leads to a quantum logic. The recent event is
that I have discovered that this arithmetical interpretation extends
naturally to the quasi-whole work of Plotinus, including most of the
corrections made by his followers (like Proclus for example). This is
extraordinary because I have always taken those corrections as attempts
to save the naturalist aspect of Aristotle philosophy, and now it looks
like the lobian machine is much more Aristotelian than I was expecting.
Please take this with some grain of salt, I intend to read more
translations of Proclus ... Damascius, before I dare to repeat this
publicly, but the fact is that the lobian machine forces me to (re)read
Proclus' treatise is named "theology". Plotinus did influence the Arab,
Perse, and Latin worlds notably through an Arab translation of Plotinus
(who did wrote his text in Greek) entitled (wrongly) "Theology of
Plotinus extracts his theology from (mystical) self-observation
translated and largely inspired by Plato's Parmenides. I got that
"Arithmetical Plotinus" from the Plato'sTheaetetus. So, it looks like
comp and the lobian machine provides a bridge from the Theaetetus to
the Parmenides, which is amazing because the Theaetetus is essentially
epistemological, and the Parmenides essentially ... theological (if not
just pure abstract non sense actually).
Well, I will comment your post tomorrow because duty calls ....
This week and next week I am teaching again so I ask indulgence to the
list if I am slow in my comments and if I write too quickly (in between
courses) and depart too much from English, if not from sense (!).
Le 06-janv.-06, à 22:15, Benjamin Udell a écrit :
> Bruno, list,
> The most that I can say about responding so lengthily to Bruno's
> lengthy response to my lengthy comment, is that I've kept it in one
> [Ben]>> Bruno, list,
>>> I've looked over Bruno's recent replies and, though I don't
>>> understand much about Bruno's work or modal logic, etc., I wish to
>>> attempt a few general remarks.
>>> If Bruno is, as he puts it, "[searching for] a general name for a
>>> field which studies fundamental type of faith, hope, fear, bets,
>>> etc.," then there are set of Ancient Greek