Since you told me that you accept comp, after all, and do no more
oppose it to your view, I think we agree, at least on many things.
Indeed you agree with the hypothesis, and your philosophy appears to
be a consequence of the hypothesis. That is all my work is about.
Indeed I show you are right in a constructive way, which leads to the
testability of the computationalist hypothesis.
It remains possible that we have a disagreement concerning the
probability, and this has some importance, because it is the use of
probability (or credibility) which makes the consequences of comp
testable. More in the comment below.
Also, I will from now on, abandon the term machine for the term
number. Relatively to a fixed chosen universal "machine", like
Robinson arithmetic, such an identification can be done precisely. I
will come back on this to my explanation to Kim, if he is still
interested, and patient enough ...
On 27 May 2009, at 09:05, Kelly Harmon wrote:
> On Mon, May 25, 2009 at 11:21 AM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be>
>> Actually I still have no clue of what you mean by "information".
> Well, I don't think I can say it much better than I did before:
> In my view, there are ungrounded abstract symbols that acquire
> meaning via constraints placed on them by their relationships to other
Exactly. And those constraints makes sense once we make explicit the
many universal numbers involved. I will have opportunities to say more
on this later.
> The only "grounding" comes from the conscious experience
> that is intrinsic to a particular set of relationships.
I agree, but only because I have succeeded to make such a statement
utterly precise, and even testable.
> To repeat my
> earlier Chalmers quote, "Experience is information from the inside;
> physics is information from the outside."
Again this is fuzzy, and I think Chalmers is just quoting me with
different terms (btw). I prefer to avoid the word information because
it has different meaning in science and in everyday talk. Either you
use it in the sense of Shannon, or Kolmogorov, or Solomonov, or
Solovay or even Landauer (which one precisely?), in which case
"information = consciousness" is as much non sensical than saying
"consciousness is neuron's firing", or you use it, as I think you do,
in the everyday sense of information like when we ask "do you know the
last information on TV?". In that case information corresponds to what
I am used to call "first person view", and your identity
"consciousness = information" is correct, and even a theorem with
reasonnably fine grained definitions. So we are OK here.
> It is this subjective
> experience of information that provides meaning to the otherwise
> completely abstract "platonic" symbols.
As I said.
> Going a little further: I would say that the relationships between
> the symbols that make up a particular mental state have some sort of
> consistency, some regularity, some syntax - so that when these
> syntactical relationships are combined with the symbols it does make
> up some sort of descriptive language. A language that is used to
> describe a state of mind. Here we're well into the realm of semiotics
> I think.
Here you are even closer to what I say in both UDA and AUDA. No
problem. It takes me 30 years of work to explain this succesfully to a
part of the experts in those fields, so as to make a PhD thesis from
that. Sorry to let you know that this has been already developed in
details. My originality is to take computer science seriously when
> To come back to our disagreement, what is it that a Turing machine
> does that results in consciousness?
From the third point of view, one universal number relates the 3-
From the first person point of view, all universal and particular
numbers at once imposes a probability measure on the histories going
through the corresponding 1-information.
> It would seem to me that
> ultimately what a Turing machine does is manipulate symbols according
> to specific rules.
In the platonic sense, yes. And it concerns 3-information or relative
> But is it the process of manipulating the symbols
> that produces consciousness?
No. Nothing, strictly speaking, ever produce consciousness. It will
appear to be the unavoidable inside view aspect of numbers in
arithmetical platonia. AUDA explains this thanks to the fact that self-
consistency belongs to the G* minus G theory. It is the kind of things
which a number (machine) can "produce as true" without being able to
communicate it scientifically (prove) to another machine, including
> OR is it the state of the symbols and
> their relationships with each other AFTER the manipulation which
> really accounts for consciousness?
Preferably indeed. The "manipulations" are all existing in the static
> I say the latter. You seem to be saying the former...or maybe you're
> saying it's both?
No, I say the later. We agree on this, I think.
> As I've mentioned, I think that the symbols which combine to create a
> mental state can be manipulated in MANY ways.
Exactly. This is the key point which, when made precise, will show
that we can deduce the laws of the observables (physics) from computer
science/number theory, making comp a scientific theory, that is an
empirically refutable theory in the sense of Popper.
> And algorithms just
> serve as descriptions of these ways. But subjective consciousness is
> in the states, not in how the states are manipulated.
You can say that, although I could explain that you could run into
some subtle but unimportant language difficulties related to the MGA,
but it is OK. The key point if that the stability of the "subjective
consciousness" "or first person views" is determined by some relative
measure on the relatively consistent histories, which are related to
the universal (or particular) numbers generating those histories in
the universal deployment. This makes sense mathematically thanks to
Church thesis and its incompleteness consequences. CF UDA-7 and AUDA.
>> With different probabilities. That is why we are partially
>> of our future. This motivates education and learning, and commenting
>> posts ...
> In my view, life is just something that we experience. That's it.
> There's nothing more to life than subjective experience. The feeling
> of being an active participant, of making decisions, of planning, of
> choosing, is only that: a feeling. A type of qualia.
Here we differ. Frankly, you say above that "I would say that the
relationships between the symbols that make up a particular mental
state have some sort of consistency, some regularity, some syntax - so
that when these syntactical relationships are combined. It does make
up some sort of descriptive language. A language that is used to
describe a state of mind. Here we're well into the realm of semiotics
I think". Why not taking yourself seriously on this point. Life is not
"just" something we experience. Consciousness is "just" something we
experience, but life and histories related those experience in such a
way that our planning makes sense relatively to realities and reality.
Now, if you take computer science seriously enough, then you can
replace the fuzzy semiotics by the mathematical theory of meaning
(model theory) and work on the conclusion of your assumption. It is as
fun as a (first person) salvia experience, and 100% third person
sharable (unlike salvia!). It is much more informative and leads to
precise way to test comp, and up to no, crazily enough, the quantum
theory (without collapse) confirms comp, even its most startling
aspect (like the fact that we are multiplied into continuum of version
"all the time").
You also mention the role of the relationship between the states
above. Again: why not taking them into account to explain why I see
red things in front of stable subjective and relative object supported
by computational histories?
> Okay, it's past my bedtime, I'll do probability tomorrow!
Don't tell me you have a problem with the first person indeterminacy,
because we would be back to the beginning of the talk on this list,
and usually, people who refuses the 1-indeterminacy are those
materialist who understand very well all the UDA steps, but are
allergic to idealism, so they try to stop the reasoning at its root.
It would be a pity that you just disagree with the point which make
your own philosophy a scientific theory.
But of course if you have a *real* trouble with the notion of first
person indeterminacy, it is a pleasure for me to explain, give more
examples, or discuss it in details. First person indeterminacy is my
oldest "discovery", and I am used to people taking some time to
swallow it, but after it is like they found it by themselves ... It is
the Columbus Egg of indeterminism. It is simple, and with the abandon
of the physical supervenience thesis, it is what can transform your
comp-correct intuition into a real workable and refutable theory. Of
course, you can also just enjoy your cute philosophy and take pleasure
in just knowing it has already been working out. But comp makes the
use of computer science, including mathematical logic, unavoidable,
when we look at the details. Is that not obvious?
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