Le 14-févr.-06, à 05:19, danny mayes wrote (to Ben):
I doubt Marchal's ideas will be made widely known or popularized in
the foreseeable future.
This looks like an encouraging statement :-)
The problem isn't with the name of his theory, or with any problem
with Bruno per se beyond
this: There doesn't seem to be an easily reducible way to summarize
the theory in a
manner that is digestible to anyone beyond the highly specialized in
I doubt this. I would even say that highly specialized people have more
difficulties due to the lack of a panoramic view of the subject, and
the lack of knowledge in the adjacent fields. Logicians doesn't really
know the conceptual problem of QM. And Physicist rarely know what a
formal system is all about. Both are unaware of the mind-body problem,
Probably popularization is technically more easy (but professionally
"My theory", in a first approximation, is just "Mechanism", the
doctrine that we are machine, in the sense that we cannot see any
difference once we are substituted at some level of description of
ourselves. That "theory" already appears in some ancient Indian and
chinese texts, and is often attributed to Descartes.
Somehow "my theory" is already popularized in many science-fiction
books and essays. Dennet and Hofstadter are quite close in the book
"Mind's I", which I recommend. They didn't see the first person comp
indeterminacy though. And, given that Hofstadter wrote an impressive
book on Godel's theorem, where he criticizes correctly the use of
Godel's incompleteness against mechanism, I thought awhile that it was
not even necessary I wrote my work. Almost like Judson Web, Hofstadter
sees that Godel's theorem could be a good news for Mechanism/Comp. My
work preceded those books for ten years, but has been trapped in a sort
of typically european bureaucratic nightmare which will make me
abandoning research for a while.
Have you read the "Mind's I" book? I think you could follow the UDA
argument easily if you have done that. The argument requires only some
passive understanding of what a digital universal machine (computer)
I keep saying I have no theory. I have just a theorem or an argument
(informal and (hopefully) rigorous) according to which, if we take the
comp hyp. seriously enough then eventually physics should be
retrievable from [computer science + the amount of "theological faith"
needed for saying "yes" purposefully to the doctor].
I certainly understand the basics of some of his ideas,
If you understand the UDA, you get the point .... If not, you can
always ask questions or make critics.
but when it gets into all
his logical analysis I just have never found myself willing to devote
myself to the
time required to really get into the detail of where he is coming
... because the logical analysis does not add anything. The UDA shows
that comp entails that necessarily physics is a branch of computer
science (in a large sense).
The "logical analysis" is the beginning of an *actual* derivation of
physics from computer science. This *illustrates* how such a
derivation, which is made necessary by UDA, can *actually* be
undertaken. The logical analysis also shows the relative consistency of
the enterprise. Would Godel's theorem be false, i.e. would truth be
equal to provability, all "hypostases" would collapse into classical
logic. Thanks to Godel's theorem, they are all different.
would consider myself highly interested in these topics and at least
Do you have the little book by Smullyan "Forever Undecided"? It is a
very cute introduction to the logic G. Once you understand what is G,
you can understand all the other arithmetical hypostases (effective and
non effective person points of view, Theaetetical variants, see below).
Even something as mundane as the MWI (to this group at least) runs
brickwall when presented to the layperson. You should see the
I have with my wife. Tell people everything is made of strings. Or
time can be warped and curved. They may not understand the science and
math behind it at all, but at least you are speaking their language.
I think you have too much imagination which make you think my work is
technically difficult. It isn't. In Brussels my work has been
criticized has being too much easy. Argument of the type: "my two years
old niece can do that!" (*).
The world is not ready for his ideas.
From -500 to +500, the world has been ready for quite similar Platonist
Questioning, I tend to think now. And actually Plotinus seem to have
got the main points with almost all details (without comp!). After:
just 1000 years of a sort of obscurity with respect to the fundamental
questioning, and so much religious or ideological brainwashing that in
some countries we can even no more suggest any idea capable of
questioning materialism. At least it *looks* like that.
Even for the most part the world of scientists in my opinion.
Perhaps. You should wait I submit a publication, though. All the papers
I have published so far has been ordered, and I try to get some more
technical confirmation, or infirmation perhaps, to submit a completed
version of my thesis. It could still take times(**), especially now
that I realize that it could be difficult just to find the accurate
journal ... I will send papers to the ArX.org soon or later. I am not
entirely satisfied by my presentations.
(*) To be fair, those critics were coming from people defending some
political version of materialism which I have never find very
convincing. Those people are very powerful in France and Belgium, which
explains a bit of my academical isolation. Let me give you pieces of
evidences once and for all so that I will not need to bother the list
with that "little history". For example, in 1998, I got a price in
France celebrating annually the five best PhD theses in the french
speaking world. See
The price consisted in part in the publication of the thesis, and
indeed in 2000, the publishing of the book has been publicly announced:
see the picture:
Now all the books on that document have been published, but not mine,
and without any explanations. Worse, they will eventually suppress me
from the list of the winner... See:
We are still living in an Orwelian sort of world. In west europa,
apparently, we don't have a solid Berlin Wall to make it fall ...
Now, in France, an ex-minister of education has written a book entitled
"The defeat of Plato", and I guess I have also underestimated the
ambient AntiPlatonism. But I don't care. If needed I will come back
next Millenium ;-)
(**). Let me confide a more happy and recent event, to finish on a more
optimistic mode. And let me take this as an opportunity to make a sort
of Plotinian summary of "my thesis".
As you know the UDA (Universal Dovetailer Argument) is a sequence of
thought experiments showing, from the comp assumption, that physics
should be ultimately derivable by some sort of measure on all
computational histories which exists beyond time and space in
(arithmetical) Platonia. Then, I interview a sufficiently rich (with
respect to provability) introspective universal machine about that
"measure". This consists in presenting the UDA to the machine. The main
difficulties consists in defining what is an "history". It cannot be a
mere computation: it must be a computation as seen from some first
person, or first person plural, perspective, like in the UD Argument.
Now, it is natural to modelize the first person by the "knower". It is
the one who feels incorrigibly the sensations she is living. The
simplest way to transform a mere opinion into knowledge has already
been proposed by Plato in his Theaetetus: it consist in defining it by
True Opinion, where the opinion is presented in company of a
justification or proof. Such an opinion can be modelized by the
provability predicate of Godel, hereby written B. So Bp is an
abbreviation of "p is provable by a (fixed) machine". We suppose the
machine is sound, so Bp -> p, by definition. But (and this is the
solution of the problem I gave to Tom) although it is true that Bp
implies p, it is just an easy consequence of Godel's theorem that the
sound machine is not able to prove that truth. So although the
Theaetetical trick of defining the knowledge of the proposition p by Bp
& p, looks irrelevant (because Bp is really equivalent to Bp & p), it
is not because that truth is not provable by the machine, and so, it
will define indeed a natural candidate for a, possibly rough, notion of
knowledge. And the same applies for the notion of
provability-and-consistency: Bp & Dp, and even for the notion of
true-provability-and-consistency: Bp & Dp & p.
Now provability-and-consistency is needed to define a notion of
"probability one" on the possible extensions of the machine, as the UDA
suggests, and should indeed give the logic of probability one on the
computational histories, at least in the comp situation where "p" will
corresponds to states accessible by the Universal Dovetailer.
So we get 8 hypostases (viewed as generalization of the notion of
person point of view, so as to include the truth represented by p). The
p (truth, the one)
Bp (intellect, third person)
Bp & p (soul, first person)
and the secondary one:
Bp & Dp (intelligible matter, observation, first person plural)
Bp & Dp & p (sensible matter, where "objective reality not only kicks
back but can even hurt).
Why 8 ? It looks like 5, isn't it? No. Because the machine which
introspect herself will soon discover its own Godel's theorem: "if I
cannot prove the falsity then I cannot prove that fact, that I cannot
prove a falsity", i.e. ~Bf -> ~B(~Bf). Or Dt -> ~BDt. So the machine is
able to discover the gigantic gap between the divine (Unameable) Truth,
and its terrestrial effective provability ability. So the second
hypostase divides itself in a terrestrial part: the terrestrial
intellect, and a divine part, the divine intellect.
Solovay's theorem states that the terrestrial intellect is described by
the logic G, and that the divine intellect is described by the logic
G*. By a kind of miracle, the soul does not divide. It is the only
hypostase which is both terrestrial and divine, in some sense. The
price is high: she cannot indentify herself to any machine or even
angels, or anything third person describable.The two secondary
hypostases does divide themselves in terrestrial and divine part. This
will help to modelize the difference between Qualia and Quanta.
To test that theory, we need to compare the logic of Matter with the
empirical logic of Matter (quantum logic).
Well, for this we need to find axiomatizations of the secondary
hypostases (terrestrial and divine).
... and I have been stuck somehow on that problem since my PhD thesis.
Still, in it, I have been able to already got "quantum" theorems
(called LASE in the list) and even theorem prover for those logics (but
they are intractable).
The happy event is that I got last week the visit of a little genius in
logic who *did* solve the axiomatization problem for the the two logics
of sensible matter (terrestrial and divine). Actually, in my term, he
found a cute sort of "modal Fourier transform" between the intellect
(described by G) and the intelligible matter (described by Z in the
Lille Thesis). Actually I strike my head on the wall, 'cause
technically this "fourier transform" was right in front of my eyes, but
I did not seen it until he shows it to me in a two pages mathematical
poem, which I intend to put on my web pages). So G thinks "particles"
and Z thinks already "waves", if we granted that LASE is indeed a
symptom of the presence of a purely arithmetical quantum logic (which
can be defended formally, accepting some modal interpretation of
(quantum) probabilities in the literature (Barnaba, Goldblatt, Dalla
Chiaria). From that Fourier transform he succeds to define easily G in
Z, from which axiomatizations follow). He did not find a comparable
inversible transformation for the "sensible matter", though ...
I am still a long way to complete the derivation of the comp-(or
weaker) physics, so as to test it from empiry, but a genuine step has
been done last week, thanks to him.
(I will answer Ben tomorrow).