Le 18-déc.-06, à 20:10, Brent Meeker a écrit :

>> It seems to me that consciousness can exist without narrative, and
>> without long term memory.
>> The question if the amoeba forms memories could depends on the time
>> scale. After all amoebas are pluri-molecular mechanism exchanging
>> information (through viruses?) in some way. I would not bet on the
>> unconsciousness of amoebas on large time scale.
> Then you have adopted some new meaning of "consciousness".  If you  
> stretch "consciousness" to fit every exchange or storage of  
> information then everything in the universe is conscious and we will  
> need to invent a new word to distinguish conscious people from  
> unconscious ones.

I was using the word consciousness in the usual informal sense. I was  
not saying that any information exchange/storage is conscious. I was  
saying that I would not bet that some highly complex exchange/storage  
of information, in some context where self-referential correctness is  
at play (like evolution and self-adaptation) is not conscious. I was  
saying I am open to the idea that some process around us could have a  
consciousness about whioch we have no idea because it operates on a  
different scale than our own. I was not saying that amoebas are  
conscious, but that it would be quick to say for sure that many  
communicating amoebas during millenia are not. I was just doubting  

More formally, I think that consciousness is just the interrogative  
belief in a reality. But it is an *instinctive* belief. The  
interrogative aspect, the interrogation mark has a tendency to be  
burried. We are blasé, especially after childhood.

Much more formally. By Godel COMPLeteness theorem, a (first order)  
theory is consistent iff the theory has a model, that is iff there is a  
mathematical structure capable of satisfying the theorems of the  
theory. Like (N, +, *, 0; succ) satisfies Peano Axioms and theorems.
So, extensionally, to say "I am consistent" is equivalent (from  
outside) with "there is a reality (respecting my beliefs/theorems). By  
Godel INCOMPLeteness, if such a reality exists (for me) then I cannot  
prove it exists (that would be a proof of my consistency), so I can  
only hope in such a reality. But that hope is so important for life (by  
accelerating relatively my decisions making ability) that "nature" has  
buried the interrogation mark of that hope, so that old animal like us  
take reality for granted until Plato recall us it cannot be (and create  
science by the same token). So consciousness is "Dt?". In arithmetic it  
is the interrogative *inference* of "Consistent(godel-number of "0 =  
Once the machine infer Dt, she can either keep it as an inference about  
itself, or she can take it as a new belief, but then it is a new (and  
provably more efficient machine(*) for which a new "B" and "D", still  
obeying G and G*, can be (re)applied.


(*) See Godel's paper on "the length of proofs" in Martin Davis "The  
Undecidable", or Yuri Manin's  book on Mathematical Logic which gives a  
clear proof of Godel's result on the length of proofs (shortened when  
adding undecidable sentences). See the book by Torkel Franzen, which is  
quite a good introduction to Godel incompleteness theorem (perhaps more  
readable than many other book at that level).

Inexhaustibility: A Non-Exhaustive Treatment, Lecture Notes in Logic 16  
(Lecture Notes in Logic, 16) (Paperback)


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