On Nov 16, 2008, at 6:34 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Some believe that for having a real conscious person, you have to

> implement it in a real primary material universe. It is clearly what
> Peter Jones thinks. I am saying that a person can be fully conscious
> like you or me, even when implemented either directly in arithmetic,
> or in a mathematical physical universe itself implemented in
> arithmetic (or fortran, whatever). I think your point is just the same
> than mine: we don't need a material bottom.

Yes. We may end up disagreeing about certain details (as any two  
philosophers will), but we seem to both hold the same basic position.

> The question for the existence of mathematical physical universe
> (your mathematical physicalism) is an open one.

I'm a little bit confused by this, coming on the heels of your  
previous paragraph. Do you believe it's an open question whether or  
not "a person can be fully conscious like you or me, even when  
directly implemented in arithmetic", or do you mean something  
different when you say "the existence of mathematical physical  
universe"? In any case, I take a strong stance on the former statement  
- I think we have enough reason right now to conclude that it's correct.

> If it exists, we have
> to explain how it wins the "measure of uncertainty" battle on all
> other programs which reach also your mind computational state in the
> universal deplyment. All right? (this follows from step seven).

Do you mean that if "mathematical physicalism" is true, we need to  
offer a mathematical-physicalist solution to the "white rabbit  
problem"? I agree with that. And in fact, I don't claim to have a full  
solution to the white rabbit problem. However, I think the logical /  
philosophical arguments against the materialist's conception of  
"matter" are so strong, and the replacement of that conception with  
the concept of "mathematical facts-of-the-matter" is so fruitful, that  
the acceptance of mathematical physicalism is justified, even without  
a full solution to the white rabbit problem.

>> "Mathematical facts play the role that physical existence is supposed
>> to play for materialists."
> I would say "some mathematical facts".

I see your point, although someday later I might want to defend the  
position that I don't really need the word "some".

> For that reason I am
> not sure you will appreciate the MGA, because you clearly seem to be
> aware we don't need material stuff.

I'm interested to learn how similar the MGA is to my own reasons for  
accepting what I'm calling "mathematical physicalism". It may turn out  
to be functionally identical to one of the arguments I've been using  
(in my head). Or it may be a complementary argument that I've never  
thought of. Or it may turn out that I don't find the argument  
persuasive, which may in turn indicate that what I'm calling  
mathematical physicalism isn't actually identical to your position. Or  
I might just think there's an easier or better way to get the same  
conclusion. In any case, I think it would be fruitful.

-- Kory

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