On 11/12/2008, at 4:00 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

>> 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.

Yes, entendu - with the condition, perhaps, that wherever possible, we  
reify somehow

I want to bring this whole thing down to 'street level' a bit more
I can quickly grasp something if it is presented to me as an  
experience; qualia play a role early on - I have to be able to 'sense'  

On the other hand:

I understand intellectually many things that I have never experienced  
- these things leave me cold. Your reasoning does not - so it already  
seems less than abstract to me which is good.


I am usually happiest if the output of the reasoning is an experience  
or its description - not an abstraction
Mechanism is already a good reification - not just an object but a  

> The main idea is that a machine or a mechanism is something that is a
> finite combination of a finite number of elementary parts (or locally
> finite, since it could grow). In all circumstances, it's behaviour  
> can be
> explained or reduced to the predictible local behavior of the
> elementary parts. When the elementary parts are many, this leads to  
> differential equations.
> When not so many, it gives rise to difference equations or recursive  
> processes.

= fractalism (point of view)? This may mean the simplest machines that  
exist are probably fractal in nature, already self-referential. That  
already evokes consciousness, doesn't it? Fractals are extremely self- 
referential highly arresting patterns. Consciousness may only require  
recursion to emerge (assuming MAT)

It seems to me that 'consciousness' is deeply embedded in the very  
idea of what a machine is - not Descartian dualism for me - just the  
result of recursive patterning reaching a critical simplicity

> The very idea of "explanation" often implicitly or explicitly relies
> on mechanism, or on "a" mechanism.

An explanation is then, something with logical connections that is  
itself in some ways machine?

Does not an explanation usually also *specify* a description of the  
thing explained? A description is always the result of a certain  
perspective. Is the perspective of the description able to be  

>> I've always thought
>> I was a machine.
> This is not obvious.

Except to he who believes it or feels it to be right

> 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.

Well, yes. This is what is usually referred to as "splitting" (wave  
collapse) which always sounded to me like magic
Decoherence kind of explains it

> 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).

Mr Spock pointy ears are growing on you right now - wear them with pride

> 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.

Is this a case where the Catholics are maybe right on something?
I'm also happy to 'not be a machine' if Professor Father Arsac has  
God's authority over it

> Renault, the car firm, made an advertising based on the idea
> that "you are not a machine

Did they sell more or less cars as a result of this?

> But the real trouble with the "mechanist idea" is its apparent
> elimination of the subject, it explains consciousness "away".

So I'm happy with that too already. We aren't here. The universe is a  

> Not only does
> mechanism not solve the mind body problem, but when mechanism and
> materialism are combined, as is usually still done, you get
> nihilism. This is really my point. I was just anticipating.

You mean that there is no future in nihilism? Can't we find a role for  
meaninglessness in all of this?

Would we be be able to recognise meaninglessness somehow? I felt  
pretty meaningless after I received a redundancy from my last employer,
but it was only a feeling

Sorry for the (perhaps pointless for some) digressions but reality  
truly is fractal - I have to keep zooming in. Will return soon to the  



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