Hi David,

Le 16-août-06, à 02:51, David Nyman a écrit :

> Good to see this. First off some grandmotherly-ish questions:
>> 1) The computationalist hypothesis (comp),
>> This is the hypothesis that "I am a digital machine" in the
>> quasi-operational sense that I can survive through an artificial
>> digital body/brain. I make it precise by adding Church thesis and some
>> amount of Arithmetical Realism (without which those terms are
>> ambiguous).
>> To be sure this is what Peter D. Jones called "standard
>> computationallism".
> I need to ask you to make this more precise for me. When I say I *am* a
> digital machine, what is my instantiation? IOW, am 'I' just the *idea*
> of a dmc for the purposes of a gedanken experiment, or am I to conceive
> of myself as equivalent to a collection of bits under certain
> operations, instantiated - well, how?

Well, for a "comp practitioners", saying "yes to the doctor" is not a 
thought experiment.
I will try to explain at some point why we cannot really know what is 
our instantiation, and that is why the "yes doctor" needs some act of 
faith, and also why comp guaranties the right to say NO to the doctor 
(either because you feel he is proposing a substitution level which is 
too high, or because you just doubt comp, etc.). Eventually you will 
see we have always 2^aleph_zero "instantiations".

> You may be going to tell me that
> this is irrelevant, or as you say a little further on:
>>  From a strictly logical point of view this is not a proof that 
>> "matter"
>> does not exist. Only that "primitive matter" is devoid of any
>> explanatory purposes, both for the physical (quanta) and psychological
>> (qualia) appearances (once comp is assumed of course).
> Ignoring for the moment the risk of circularity in the foregoing logic,

The self-reference logics are born from the goal of escaping circular 

> I'm not insisting on 'matter' here. Rather, in the same spirit as my
> 'pressing' you on the number realm, if I claim 'I am indexical
> dmc-David', I thereby assert my *necessary* indexical existence.

OK. This will be true (G*) but non communicable (G). Strictly speaking 
you are saying something true, but if you present it as a "scientific" 
fact or just a third person describable fact then you are in danger (of 

> If my
> instantiation is a collection of bits, then equivalently I am asserting
> the necessary indexical existence of this collection of bits. Is this
> supposed to reside in the 'directly revealed' Pythagorean realm with
> number etc and consequently is it a matter of faith?


> I just want to
> know if it is a case of 'yes monseigneur' before we get to 'yes
> doctor'.

That's the point, and that is why, to remain scientist at this point, 
we must accept we are doing "theology".  It is just modesty! With comp, 
doctors are sort of "modern monseigneur". By "modern" here I mean no 
consistent comp doctor will pretend to *know* the truth in these 

>> B does capture a notion of self-reference, but it is really a third
>> person form of self-reference. It is the same as the one given by your
>> contemplation of your own body or any correct third person description
>> of yourself, like the encoding proposed by the doctor, in case he is
>> lucky.
> Now we come to the 'encoding proposed by the doctor'. I hope he's
> lucky, BTW, it's a good characteristic in a doctor (this is grandma
> remember).

Indeed. Medicine is already quasi computationalist without saying.

> Do we have a theory of the correct encoding of a third
> person description, or is this an idealisation? Penrose would claim, of
> course, that it is impossible for any such decription to be
> instantiated in a digital computer, and his argument derives largely
> from the putative direct contact of the brain with the Platonic/
> Pythagorean realm of number, which instantiates his 'non-computable'
> procedures.  But is your claim that a correct digital 3rd-person
> description can indeed be achieved if the level of digital
> 'substitution' instantiates non-computability, as Penrose claims for
> the brain/ Pythagorean dyad? And if so what is that substitution level,
> and what is that instantiation (in the sense previously requested)?

Comp makes it impossible to know the level for sure. We can bet on it, 
and be lucky.
If Penrose is right, then comp is just false. Note that Hammerof  (who 
has worked together with Penrose at some time) eventually accept the 
idea that the brain is mechanical, albeit quantum mechanical (this 
makes him remaining under the comp hyp because quantum computer are 

> What a curious and ignorant grandmother!
>> Basically a theology for a machine M is just the whole truth about
>> machine M. This is not normative, nobody pretend knowing such truth.
>> Plotinus' ONE, or "GOD", or "GOOD" or its "big unnameable" ... is
>> (arithmetical, analytical)  truth. A theorem by Tarski can justified
>> what this notion is already not nameable by any correct (arithmetical
>> or analytical) machine. Now such truth does not depend on the machine,
>> still less from machine representation, and thus is a zero-person
>> notion. From this I will qualify as "divine" anything related to 
>> truth,
>> and as terrestrial, anything related to "provable by the machine".
> So here we arrive at the theology, and I think I finally see what you
> intend by a zero-person notion - i.e. one that does not depend on
> instantiation in persons,


> but I'm not yet convinced of the 'reality' of
> this. I hope to be able to stop pressing you on this 'indexical
> instantiation' mystery, so if the above are simply the articles of
> faith for this 'as if' belief system, then I'll stop questioning them
> for the duration of the experiment.
>> Meanwhile you could try to guess where qualia and quanta appear.
>> (I will see too if this table survives the electronic voyage ...)
> Hmm... Well, I guess I would expect qualia to be 'sensible', and quanta
> to be 'intelligible', but then I wouldn't know that quanta were
> intelligible until they were sensible as qualia.

Good guess.  For purely mathematical reasons, eventually the quanta are 
qualia (I did not expect this at all, but it fits nicely your view if I 
understand it correctly).

> So if you mean
> 'appear' as in 'appears from the pov of indexical dmc-David', I guess
> it would have to be 'sensible matter' for both. But grandma grows
> weary......

You are correct (even if weary :)



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