On Sat, Jul 18, 2009 at 11:55 AM, Bruno Marchal<marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> I am OK with all this. It has to be like this if we take the comp hyp

So what are your thoughts on my question as to whether abstract
concepts other than numbers also exist in a platonic sense?  For
example, the idea of "red"?

So obviously we can cast everything as numbers and say, "In this
program, 0xff000000 represents red".  But RED is what we're really
talking about here, and 0xff000000 is just a place holder...a symbol
for what actually exists.

In your view, Bruno (or David, or anyone else who has an opinion),
what kinds of things actually "exist"?  What does it mean to say that
something "exists"?

It seems to me that maybe consciousness is actually very simple.  It
is just a group of platonic ideals, like red, that are related to each
other by a point of view:  "I like red", or "I see a red sphere."

Maybe what is complicated is constructing or identifying a causal
structure (e.g., a machine, a brain, a program, etc) whose evolving
state can be interpreted as representing a series of "connected" or
"related" instances of consciousness.  But the machine (physical or
otherwise) is NOT that consciousness, the machine just represents that

In this view, consciousness itself consists directly of the abstract
platonic ideals that form the contents of a given moment of

> It remains to explain the relative stability of that illusion. How and
> why some dreams glue, in a way sufficiently precise for making
> predictions about them.

Maybe unstable illusions exist, but, being unstable, don't ponder such

Obviously we have such conscious beings here in this world, with
schizophrenics and the like.

So your questions about "why are my perceptions so orderly", would NOT
be universally valid questions, because there are conscious entities
whose perceptions are NOT orderly.

And I would say that even my perceptions are not consistently orderly,
as when I dream I often experience strange scenarios.

To say that dreaming and hallucinating are special cases I think is to
make an unfounded assumption.  It would seem to me that orderly
perceptions are the special case, and dream-logic realities would be
the norm.

If consciousness is in some way a result of computation, then a
program that generates all possible mind-simulations will surely
result in the vast majority of resulting minds experiencing
dream-logic realities, not "law-and-order" realities like ours.

I think Sean Carroll (who I'm reasonably sure would disagree with
everything I've proposed above, but still) had a pretty good point on
such "counter-intuitive" predictions:

"The same logic applies, for example, to the highly contentious case
of the multiverse. The multiverse isn’t, by itself, a theory; it’s a
prediction of a certain class of theories. If the idea were simply
“Hey, we don’t know what happens outside our observable universe, so
maybe all sorts of crazy things happen,” it would be laughably
uninteresting. By scientific standards, it would fall woefully short.
But the point is that various theoretical attempts to explain
phenomena that we directly observe right in front of us — like
gravity, and quantum field theory — lead us to predict that our
universe should be one of many, and subsequently suggest that we take
that situation seriously when we talk about the “naturalness” of
various features of our local environment. The point, at the moment,
is not whether there really is or is not a multiverse; it’s that the
way we think about it and reach conclusions about its plausibility is
through exactly the same kind of scientific reasoning we’ve been using
for a long time now. Science doesn’t pass judgment on phenomena; it
passes judgment on theories."

So, I could continue further and go into a lengthy defense of why I
think this supports what I'm saying, BUT maybe you'll come to the same
conclusion I have and I can save myself a lot of typing!  So, I'll
just try that approach first.

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