Le 03-janv.-07, à 04:00, Mark Peaty a écrit :
SP: 'using the term "comp" as short for "computationalism" as
something picked up from Bruno. On the face of it, computationalism
seems quite sensible: the best theory of consciousness and the most
promising candidate for producing artificial
That is what I thought 'comp' meant. My approach to this is to
adhere, as much as possible, to plain and simple English. Not being a
'mathematician' I stick with my type of sceptical method. To me this
does not seem deeply problematic although is does of course limit the
scope of conversations I can participate in. As far as I can see,
Bruno's grand scheme depends on 'assume', like the economists do.
Unfortunately that which is assumed remains, I believe, unprovable.
Like any theory. By definition we cannot prove axioms in the theory,
except trivially by one line argument: a proof that the number zero has
no predecessor will look like "see the first axiom". The axiom are just
the minimal assumption we need to get the "interesting propositions".
If I could prove the "axioms" from something simpler, I would take
those simpler things as axioms.
Now, many people does take as axiom the unprovable assertion that there
is a physical universe. I don't. I am not "atheist" about the universe,
but I am agnostic. I believe less in a primitive physical universe
(especially as an explanation of physics) than in more general
"god-like" or "mathematical-like" reality.
Furthermore there are deep, common sense, problems which undermine all
these theories of universal emulation possibilities, never mind those
potentially lethal :-) teleporting/fax holidays and cryogenic time
Life is risky. Planes are also potentially lethal. Going out of the
mother's womb is actually 100% lethal. People who cryogenizes, does it
in general at the end of their life. For a computationalist
practioners, refusing an artificial brain when your biological ,one is
ill, will be considered as lethal! Like today some say that refusing,
for religious reason, a tranfer of blood, is lethal.
The biggest hurdle is the requirement for infinite computing ability.
Only if you presuppose the need of a physical universe for the
computations. But my point is that once you assume "standard comp" you
have to drop out the idea of the *need* of a physical universe. No
need for high math to understand this. The UDA is enough. The
arithmetical UDA is needed just to derive the physics from the numbers,
not to understand we have to derive physics from the numbers.
This is simply the recognition that all measurements are
approximations so the teleporter/fax machine could only ever send an
approximate copy of me to whatever destination duty or holiday
dreamings might lead me. Still, it is probable that I, as subjective
experiencer, would not notice most anomalies, particularly if trying
to fill in the temporal gaps caused by Bruno's gratuitous delays in
reading me back out of his archive :-)
This limitation hits all the 'Matrix' type scenarios as well: the
emulation system would require essentially infinite computing capacity
to reproduce any useful world that a real person inhabits. If on the
other hand the Matrix is only concerned to make A world, its virtual
reality inhabitants might be sustained [I am admitting this as a
possibility] until they started engaging in real science. As I
understand things the denizens of a Matrix type world would start to
find real anomalies in their 'reality' unless the matrix machine could
operate at a fineness of resolution unattainable by any experimental
method the matrixians could devise.
Actually you are completely right here, and in total accordance with
comp. This is a subtle point which I have explain to Brett Hall (on
this list and on the for list). With comp we can measure somehow our
degree of "dreaming". See the following argument in ten steps from the
There would be much less, or even no problem at all if they were all
believers in 'Intelligent Design' of course. [I can put that very
rudely as: the problem is not 'If our mind were simple enough to
understand then we would be too dumb to understand it' but rather 'If
Intelligent Design were really true then we have been designed to be
so dumb that it really doesn't matter!']
Re "Platonic objects" - I think this is illusory. The numbers that
people write down and think about are words in the language/s of
But here I do disagree. Most mathematical truth, and the whole of
arithmetical truth has nothing to do with language, nor anything to do
with logic. You are confusing theories (of number, say) and what the
subject-matter of those theories. Theories are related to language and
logic, but the object of the theories is a priori independent. This is
clearer through some works in logic which can be use to make explicit
some of the differences. You are implicitly defending here a
"conventionalist" view of math, like many physicists (like Einstein,
but unlike Penrose for example). I completely separate mathematical
truth/realities and theories. A theory is like a lantern: it puts some
light in the dark, no more.
They do what they do because they are defined as such but they do not
exist apart from the systems which generate and record them - by which
I mean brains, blackboards and computers, etc...
It seems you believe brains, blackbooard, computers exist per se. I
guess in a physical universe, which you assume it exists. I respect all
assumptions as far as people are willing to make an effort to
understand those are assumptions. Then I give an argument showing that,
although logically possible, a physical universe can not even been used
to explain the (psychological) appearance of a physical universe, once
we take comp as seriously as we can. I find even Tom Caylor "good god"
less absurd than "primary matter" once comp is assumed, except that Tom
sometimes take "materiality" for Jesus granted, when I don't take my
own materiality for granted.
The regularities, and exciting facts people discover about them are
just that, regularities and exciting facts about languages.
Again, this is a confusion between means and objects. Language are
useful to learn, explore, communicate about, appreciate, mathematical
facts, but they are truly different from languages. Number Theory is
quite different from Language Theory for example.
I don't mean that in any derogatory sense. We live largely BY MEANS OF
our languages and certainly our cultural lives as human beings would
be impossible without language in the general and inclusive senses.
But the universe is not made out of languages, it just exists - for
the moment at least.
Arithmetical truth is not made out of languages, even in a clearer way
that the physical universe, which could be more near languages through
the comp hypothesis.
[NB: it just occurs to me that certain G/goddists will say that the
universe is made out of the mind of G/god/s which could perhaps be
included as a or THE language of existence.
In that sense I already believe that the whole of biology belongs to a
generalized language, with animals and vegetals being divine
To be 'perfect' however, this would need to be allowed to have
infinite recursion, i.e. ''made out of(made out of(made out of(made
out of ... -> inf ... ))). As far as I can see however this would
amount to an assertion of many layered uncertainty and/or a Heraclitan
in-falling in the direction of smallwards due to the necessity of each
layer of divinity maintaining omniscience, omnipotence, and so for,
over and under its 'turf'. As this has the minimalist effect of
underpinning either standard model QM, etc. or something like the
Process Physics advocated by Colin Hales and friends [which I find
attractive], all is well with the world. :-]
But, seriously, all this stuff about 'supervening' and so forth is
all based on the Cartesian assumption that mind-stuff has no physical
Does it? How long is my qualia of "understanding that joke?".
And again, you rely on the assumption that matter-stuff has a physical
extension, which can only get a status of relative truth in the
Well the Inquisition is no longer the authority or power base that it
was and empirical science has moved on. I think the onus is falling
ever more heavily on those who deny the identity of mind and brain to
explain WHY they still do so.
Because to get reasonable identity between say this precise pain and
this precise brain you have to presuppose infinite matter and infinite
mind, and the relation remains mysterious. But once you accept that
mind supervenes on a finitely part of a brain, then "the material part"
of the brain become "metaphysically" useless. I am not saying this is
obvious, see the UDA reasoning.
The 'distinction' between 1st and 3rd person view points is simply raw
fact. Both view points have limits which can be seen to derive from
the view of reality they embody. 1st person viewpoint conflates the
experience of being the embodiment of a view point with an experience
of all that is viewable,
the 3rd person viewpoint conflates objective models of things with the
Very often (like you for arithmetical reality, if I may say), but not
There is a sense in which these are simply manifestations of the same
raw fact of life: the model of something is not the thing, it is only
ABOUT the thing. Amen! :-)
... and languages and theories can be used to talk about numbers and
functions, but are not the same things, Amen ;-)
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