Le 03-janv.-07, à 03:46, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :
Bruno Marchal writes:
> It gets cumbersome to qualify everything with "given the appearance
of > a physical world". As I have said before, I am not entirely
convinced > that comp is true,
Nor am I. (Remind that no machine can, from its first person point of
view, be "entirely convinced" that comp is true. Comp is an axiom for
a theory, and the beauty of it is that comp can explain why it has to
be a guess. The "yes doctor" has to be an act of faith. It is
> precisely because because such ideas as a conscious computation >
supervening on any physical process
This does not follow at all. We have already have some discussion
about this and since then I have a more clear-cut argument.
Unfortunately the argument is based on some result in mathematical
logic concerning the distinction between real numbers and integers.
We can come back on this in another thread. For a logician there is a
case that "real number" are a simplification of the notion of
natural number. An identical polynomial equation can be turing
universal when the variables are conceived to belong to the integers,
but is never turing universal when the variables belong to the reals.
Well, a case can be made that the vacuum
> or on no physical process may be considered absurd.
This would be fair enough in case the idea that consciousness
supervenes on physical processes was not absurd in the first place.
In all your post you do assume comp. For comp to be false you have to
assume actual physical infinities and give a reason why consciousness
supervenes on that. But in some reasoning it seems clear to me you
talk life if comp is true, when referring to the functional role of
neurotransmitters, the fact that slight change in the brain are
Standard computationalism says that mental processes supervene on
physical processes, and moreover that these physical processes with
their attendant mental processes may be emulated by a digital
Hmmm.... .... OK (say).
The problems with this theory are:
1. The implementation problem: everything can implement a computation
if you look at it the right way.
Normally this is of no consequence - mapping the vibration of atoms in
a rock to a word processing program would be at least as difficult as
building a conventional computer and writing the software for it - but
if computations can be conscious, then the conscious computations are
hiding all around us.
Here I disagree. This has never been proved, except that in quantum
field theory a case can be developed for justifying that the quantum
vacuum quantum-simulates the whole quantum multiverse. But this has
nothing to do with comp. It is true with any realistic non collapse
interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Actually it less a problem for a
computationalist because this is equivalent to some homogeneous
addition of universal dovetailer "everywhere" (if that exists, which is
not even the case). There is no reason this would change any relative
and internal measure. But with my argument, anything physical,
including the vacuum, is emergent from the dreams, so there is no
Putnam-Chalmers-Mallah problem for comp. I explained this to Jacques
Mallah some years ago.
2. The Maudlin/Marchal argument showing that even if you specify that
a computer must handle counterfactuals in order to avoid the "trivial"
conclusion (1), you end up concluding that physical processes are
irrelevant to consciousness.
You (BM) think that (1) is absurd but (2) is OK; Maudlin thinks that
(1) and (2) are both absurd, and that therefore computationalism is a
flawed theory. You would like to keep computationalism but drop the
computers, i.e. the supervenience thesis. I am not certain which I
would rather drop: computationalism or the idea of disembodied
I am quite willing to drop comp, once I get a real flaw. Now I have
almost never take seriously the supervenience thesis, if only because
it leads to an insoluble problem (more or less the one called
"mind-body" problem in the literature). Also, one of my motivation
since the beginning is to get an explanation for the appearance of
matter. Physicists have developed, through Aristotelian philosophy, a
methodology for progressing without addressing that question. It has
been a powerful methodological idea, but it is flawful for those who
ask themselves what is the nature of matter. I am worried how much it
has been easy for physicist to accept pure non sense like wave collapse
or Bohr unrealistic attitude. It works for building ships and bombs,
not for getting a better understanding of what happen.
> It is quite possible, for example, that there is something special
> about the structure of the brain which leads to consciousness, and
a > digital computer will not be able to copy this, even if it copies
3rd > person observable behaviour. Against that idea is the question
of why > we didn't evolve to be zombies, but maybe we would have if
nature had > electronic circuits to play with.
You are saying that zombie are possible if comp is false. I can
agree. Actually I believe that comp entails the existence of a notion
of local zombie (which can make you believe that they are conscious
during a time).
> If I had to guess between comp and not-comp I don't think I could
do > better than flipping a coin.
Comp is my working hypothesis, and I tend to consider that arguing
for or against comp is a bit of a waste of time (especially given
that comp is undecidable for machines).
Still I am astonished that you would flip a coin on that matter. Comp
is just the statement that "I" am turing emulable at some level. Even
if we have to emulate the quantum state of the entire galaxy (some
"generalized brain") comp remain true unless we have both:
- my brain = the "complete physical" description of the galaxy
- the "object" galaxy is not turing emulable.
It is possible to drop computationalism and keep a form of
functionalism, without introducing magical effects or even any new
physics. For example, it is possible that consciousness is a property
of actual neuronal activity, and although you might be able to emulate
this activity using a digital computer, even to the point where you
can build a substitute brain that behaves just like the biological
equivalent, it won't be conscious.
In order to build a proper replacement brain you would have to copy
the actual physical structure of the neurons, not just emulate them. I
am not sure that I believe this theory but it is theoretically
Yes of course. But there is nothing new here. Even comp itself forces
us (the machine) to find non-comp plausible. I mean comp can be false.
My main technical point is that comp is even falsifiable, given that it
gives the laws of physics. The UDA does not only show that physics
emerges from numbers, it show exactly how physics emerges from numbers.
The comp-physics is entirely determined by the relations between
numbers. I thought in my youth that comp would be refuted. Now that I
have make progress (in my thesis) on the comp-physics, I am less sure.
Indeed, where the logic of physics should occur through the relation
between numbers, I get non trivial arithmetical quantum logics.
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