Hi Kim,

On 10 Dec 2008, at 06:29, Kim Jones wrote:

>
> Ok - Bruno, I will take this very slowly.


It is the idea. I will be very slow myself.



> You have a habit of saying
> 10,000 fascinating things in one post and staggering me, so one at a
> time:


I did it on purpose, so as to give you different angle of "attack".



>
>
> On 10/12/2008, at 4:45 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>
>>
>> Here, below, is the plan of my heroic attempt (indeed) to explain why
>> I think that: IF we assume that we are machine,
>
>
> Never understood what people meant by "a machine".

Actually I was thinking "digital machine" or digitalizable machine.  
Like "Mechanism" will always mean digital mechanism.
I will explain this later.
To define the notion of machine in general is not easy. With the usual  
physical theories most things are machine and are even digital or  
analog but still digitalizable machine.
I prefer not working with precise definitions, and instead illustrate  
the concept through the reasoning.

The main idea is that a machine or a mechanism is something which is a  
finite combination of a finite number of elementary parts (or locally  
finite, it could grow) and which behavior in all circumstances can be  
explained or reduced to the predictible local behavior of the  
elementary parts). When the occurence of the elementary parts are  
many, this leads to differential equation, when not so many, it gives  
rise to difference equation or recursive processes.

The very idea of "explanation" is often implicitly or explicitly rely  
on mechanism, or on "a" mechanism.


> I've always thought
> I was a machine.

This is not obvious. Is the system Earth-Moon really a machine?  
Already with the rough definition given above, we could doubt it, if  
only because the Moon-Earth system is usually described by"infinite"  
real variable functions. The real functions operate on the real  
numbers, the "points" of the line, which are infinite "objects". With  
quantum mechanics the apparent real things get digital, but if you  
keep the collapse of the wave, it is hard to even describe you as  
either a physical thing still less a machine. With the many world, the  
"usual" mechanist explanation of the observer is preserved, except for  
the classical mechanics behind. (Albeit only logicians, to be sure,  
have provided, computable or mechanist function on the reals with non  
computable derivatives).

And what about the "believers"? Jacques Arsac, a french computer  
scientist wrote a book beginning by "I am a Catholic so I cannot  
believe in Artificial Intelligence, and its point is that we are not  
machine. Renault, the car firm, made an advertising based on the idea  
that "you are not a machine".
But the real trouble with the "mechanist idea" is its apparent  
elimination of the subject, it explains consciousness "away". Not only  
mechanism does not solve the mind body problem, but when mechanism and  
materialism are combined, as it is usually still done, you get  
nihilism. This is really my point. I was just anticipating.

No need to ask question here. You will soon understand this by  
yourself with the point "1)" and "2)". Well, we will see.






> C'est evident. Consequently it surprises me when
> people question it.


It would already be a success for me if you begin to doubt mechanism.  
Eventually you will perhaps (if you are patient enough) understand why  
no machine can really believe in Mechanism. The logic of mechanism  
will take us "near inconsistency". It is impossible to take it for  
granted.
And things are worst than that: if we are machines, we cannot  know  
which machine we are, but we can bet (and argue that "nature" has  
already bet on mechanism, etc.).



> I'm surprised even that it took until Descartes to
> achieve this enlightenment although you will probably say that
> Plotinus was already onto it.


  Plotinus and Descartes are aware that, by deciding to preserve the  
soul, or the person, or consciousness (etc.), matter become doubtful.  
"malin génies"  appears (Descartes), indeterminateness appears (Plato,  
Aristotle, Plotinus). Descartes has understood that it has to  
introduce a God, to preserve the consistency of mechanism. It is a  
sort of superconsistency axiom, which could easily lead to  
inconsistency. Descartes gived rise to the "modern mind body problem".  
Descartes used "soul" instead of "mind".






> Presumably anything that isn't some
> phantasm that defies the laws of physics - and therefore probably
> cannot exist - is going to be a machine of some sort.
>
> Have I got anywhere near it or am I not even wrong on that?


You are wrong, but don't worry, almost everybody is wrong on this, and  
this by assuming comp, and assuming, for now, that my own reasoning is  
correct, which I hope you will understand by yourself if patient enough.
I am probably also, wrong, at some level. All machine could be wrong  
on that, but we can be less and less wrong.

The problem with mechanism is that it predicts that the laws of  
physics defy mechanism. White rabbits, white noise, and many unwelcome  
infinities crop everywhere and then. It is an unsolved problem in the  
precise (digital) version of mechanism I am pointing too.


>
>
> Why should it be news to anyone that we are machines - I've been
> assuming it all along. Now you will tell me how I should be - what??
> Experiencing reality? Interpreting reality? Both?
>
> Everything (appears to my conscious mind to be) an ensemble of
> something else(s) including moi et toi, and it all works somehow in  
> co-
> operation and the universe exists - ergo we are machines - we can
> extrapolate from this that the universe is a gigantic Machine since we
> appear to be a part of an ensemble as a machine element. Ergo the
> Multiverse exists because it's all a fractal
>
>
> What's the other option - that never made it into my brain?


It depends what you mean by "universe", but I could interpret your  
talk favorably --- by cheating a bit on the sense of each word.
Let us say you are correct, just that if we assume the digital  
mechanist hypothesis, then such a picture will have to arise from a  
"natural matrix", given by the natural numbers + addition and  
multiplication. This already constitute the "gigantic machine". Have  
you see Matrix?  You should read "SIMULACRON III".
The fractalness is everywhere, which makes hard to say "we belong here  
or there", we ourselves are everywhere, including in dreams included  
in dreams included in dreams etc. The big whole could be a gigantic  
Machine, indeed a universal dovetailer, but then a notion of first  
person or subjective Big Whole will appear, and that big whole will  
not be capable to be seen as a machine, from inside.
Other funny things like that will appear too. Some capable of making  
the mechanist hypothesis testable (by white rabbits counting).


>
>
>
> Genial!! - allons-y

Slowly but surely. "1)" asap. "1)" is the point that if you are a  
machine *you* are already immaterial. (The immateriality will then be  
somehow contagious on ... everything).


Bruno



http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/




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