On 3/25/07, Mark Peaty <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> I hope you guys will forgive my irreverence, but in the last
> couple of hours for the first time I have managed to read this
> thread to here. Having done so, and in the spirit of this
> everything-list wherein it is assumed everything is not only
> possible but _will_ happen and indeed may already have happened
> in a universe near you [and of course is that possibility
> exists, then it definitely already always has happened], I get
> the feeling that comp could lead to madness. But then, of
> course, it already has hasn't it ... in another universe
> somewhere/when else ... of course ... :-)
> The thing is Brent and Stathis have been going around and around
> this critical point of duration and continuity for some time
> now, without wanting to admit that *our experience of being
> aware of being here and now [respectively] is intrinsically
> paradoxical*. Well I have felt compelled to that viewpoint for
> more than a decade or so now, and I find from reading this
> discussion that comp does not solve this. OK, it may well be
> that Loebian machines, whether modest or not in other universes,
> or just modest but smarter than me - the latter not hard :-) can
> get on with the computation of their ontology and somehow
> transcend the apparent paradox. The paradox I have thus far
> asserted to be primary is the comparatively simple thought that
> we are constantly mistaken in taking our experience to be more
> or less _all of what is happening_ when it is really only our
> brain's construction of its model of self in the world, which is
> nothing to sniff at of course but then the processes for doing
> this have been scores of millions of years in the making.
> Comp makes the whole thing much more Comp-licated! AFAICS under
> Comp, we are each and every one of us confined to an anthropic
> view which does not even have a consolation that we are
> participating in a genuine continuity. Pre-comp, one could
> assume that, no matter how deluded one might be, as long as 'I'
> am able to be coherent long enough to recognise that it doesn't
> make sense to say 'I don't exist' then the chances were very
> good that the world is going on independently of me and I have
> the chance of really contributing. In a pre-comp universe a wise
> person will recognise that, well, things are always what we
> believe them to be until we discover otherwise so we have no
> guarantee that our attempts to do the right thing are
> necessarily the best. However we have a right to believe that so
> long as we have tried to sort out the facts of our situation and
> purposed not to cause avoidable harm to others then we are being
> as ethical as we know how to be and this counts for something
> and at least we tried. But with comp, assuming there are no
> intrinsic barriers to the formation of worlds and experience
> wherein we can come to truly believe we and our world have a
> coherent history, we have no reason to assume that this current
> experience _and the whole noumenal world we believe to exist_
> cannot just wink out of existence. By definition it seems, it
> must always be possible that everything we take to be an
> indication of duration 'out there' is a transient artefact of
> this slice of multiverse.
> That is a pretty rugged conception to present to people as
> _necessarily_ possible. I therefore take comfort in the
> difficulties that people have in integrating Comp into a
> coherent explanation of the universe we perceive. I realise that
> much can be done with higher mathematics but just because people
> can create a formal language system in which algorithmic
> processes can be referred to with simple symbols, and sets of
> such symbols can be syntaxed together with indicators that mean,
> effectively, 'and so on so forth for ever and ever', this does
> not mean that the universe outside of peoples' heads can ever
> reflect this. I think it behoves contributors here to consider
> whether the universal dovetailer can ever be more real than Jack
> and his Beanstalk. Jack and his magic vegetable have been around
> for a couple of centuries now. The universal dovetailer may do
> likewise. We just need to keep in touch with the idea though
> that 'It Ain't Necessarily So!'.

Standard computationalism is just the theory that your brain could be
replaced with an appropriately configured digital computer and you would not
only act the same, you would also feel the same. Bruno goes on to show that
this entails there is no separate physical reality by means of the UDA, but
we can still talk about computationalism - the predominant theory in
cognitive science - without discussing the UDA. And in any case, the ideas
Brent and I have been discussing are still relevant if computationalism is
wrong and (again a separate matter) there is only one universe.

Stathis Papaioannou

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