Thank you for this detailed reply. May I pose one follow-up
question? Is the universal dovetailer some sort of God/Machine that is
mathematical like the rest of creation but separate from it and of a higher
order of purpose? If so, is there an explanation for its existence that doesn't
exclude a deity?
----- Original Message -----
From: Bruno Marchal
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 4:33 PM
Subject: Re: Consciousness is information?
On 28 May 2009, at 15:41, m.a. wrote:
If there was never a physical world to which living creatures
adapted after millions of years and which after further eons prompted the
evolution of consciousness, do we conclude that comp and numbers alone created
such a universe and then created people to experience it...all through the
chance combinations of numbers? Are we saying that monkeys on typewriters
authored everything we see about us? If so, how did such purposefulness and
intentionality get into pure comp?
No, it is not the combination by chance, it is, on the contrary, due to the
extreme richness and complexity of the relation between numbers. It makes it
possible to take the numbers, when structured by addition and multiplication,
as the source of the emerging very long and deep computational histories,
themselves filtered, and non trivially restructured, by they possible
self-aware universal numbers. No chance is at play there. That is even why you
can extract the physical laws and justify why they are laws.
Probabilities appears as internal first person modalities because no machine,
and thus not us (assuming comp) can ever know in which histories they are. They
can know this (betting on comp), and they can infer that they are supported by
many histories, leading to a many-world interpretation of arithmetic.
Monkeys on typewriter authored all the books, like a counting algorithm. You
can say it generates all programs, but it execute none of those programs. The
monkeys will generate books describing computation, but never any non trivial
The universal dovetailer, and the arithmetical truth (actually a tiny part of
it) not only generate all programs, but execute them, in the platonic static
sense, but still, the arithmetical true relations defines computations, not
just description of computation.
Look at the Mandelbrot set link I give to Kelly. There is nothing really
random in that structure, yet the more you zoom in, the more intricate the
structure appears. You can perhaps intuit that something is evolving there.
After Gödel the mathematicians have to abandonthe idea to ever find an
unifying complete theory of the numbers with their additive and multiplicative
structure. The monkey's type writing is trivial.
You cannot faithfully embed computer science in the numbers or in the
monkey's typewitting, but you can fully embed computer science in the additive
and multiplicative structure of the numbers. It is lawful and unpredictable by
complexity and deepness, not by chance and randomness.
Monkeys = numbers = not very rich.
Universe emerge not from numbers, but from the logical relations among the
numbers. That is so rich that there is no TOE for that!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kelly Harmon" <harmon...@gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 3:02 AM
Subject: Re: Consciousness is information?
> On Wed, May 27, 2009 at 10:21 AM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
>> 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.
>> 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.
> So my only problem with the usual view of probability is that it
> doesn't seem to me to emerge naturally from a platonic theory of
> conscious. Is your proposal something that would conceivably be
> arrived at by a rational observer in one of the (supposedly) rare
> worlds where white rabbits are common? Does it have features that
> would lead one to predict the absence of white rabbits, or does it
> just offer a way to explain their absence after the fact?
> As I mentioned before, assuming computationalism it seems to me that
> it is theoretically possible to create a computer simulation that
> would manifest any imaginable conscious entity observing any
> imaginable "world", including schizophrenic beings observing
> psychedelic realities. So, then further assuming Platonism, all of
> these strange experiences should exist in Platonia. Along with all
> possible normal experiences.
> I don't see any obvious, non-"ad hoc" mechanism to eliminate or
> minimize strange experiences relative to normal experiences, and I
> don't think adding one is justified just for that purpose, or even
> necessary since an unconstrained platonic theory does have the obvious
> virtue of saying that there will always be Kellys like myself who have
> never seen white rabbits.
> As for your earlier questions about how you should bet, I have two
> First that there exists a Bruno who will make every possible bet.
> One particular Bruno will make his bet on a whim, while another Bruno
> will do so only after long consideration, and yet another will make a
> wild bet in a fit of madness. Each Bruno will "feel" like he made a
> choice, but actually all possible Brunos exist, so all possible bets
> are made, for all possible subjectively "felt" reasons.
> Second, and probably more helpfully, I'll quote this paper
> (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/content/1/c6/04/17/78/manymindsandprobs.doc) by
> David Papineau, which sounds reasonable to me:
> "But many minds theorists can respond that the logic of statistical
> inference is just the same on their view as on the conventional view.
> True, on their view in any repeated trial all the different possible
> sequences of results can be observed, and so some attempts to infer
> the probability from the observed frequency will get it wrong. Still,
> any particular mind observing any one of these sequences will reason
> just as the conventional view would recommend: note the frequency,
> infer that the probability is close to the frequency, and hope that
> you are not the unlucky victim of an improbable sample. Of course the
> logic of this kind of statistical inference is itself a matter of
> active philosophical controversy. But it will be just the same
> inference on both the many minds and the conventional view.
> It is worth observing that, on the conventional view, what agents want
> from their choices are the desired results, rather than that these
> results be objectively probable (a choice that makes the results
> objectively probable, but unluckily doesn't produce them, doesn't give
> you what you want). Given this, there is room to raise the question:
> why are rational agents well-advised to choose actions that make their
> desired results objectively probable? Rather surprisingly, is no good
> answer to this question. (After all, you can't assume you will get
> what you want if you so choose.) From Pierce on, philosophers have
> been forced to conclude that it is simply a primitive fact about
> rational choice that you ought to weight future possibilities
> according to known objective probabilities in making decisions.
> The many minds view simply says the same thing. Rational agents ought
> to choose those actions which will maximize the known objective
> probability of desired results. As to why they ought to do this,
> there is no further explanation. This is simply a basic truth about
> rational choice.
> I supect that this basic truth actually makes more sense on the many
> minds view than on the conventional view. For on the conventional
> view there is a puzzle about the relation between this truth and the
> further thought that ultimate success in action depends on desired
> results actually occurring. On the many minds view, by contrast,
> there is no such further thought, since all possible results occur,
> desired and undesired, and so no puzzle: in effect there is only one
> criterion of success in action, namely, maximizing the known objective
> probability of desired results. However, this is really the subject
> for another paper, not least because the idea that agents ought to
> maximize the known objective probability of desired results itself
> hides a number of complexities which I have been skating over here."
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at