2009/7/31 Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be>:

> Hmm... It is a bit like David, you put to much emphasis, to say the
> least, on the first person, which is the subject of consciousness.

I'm not sure you fully grasp my position on this yet - we're still
struggling to an extent with semantics.  And of course, your
perspective is informed always by COMP - quite rightly, it's your
metier - but my position, though sympathetic to yours, isn't
necessarily identical.  Further clarification will probably have to be
postponed till my return from Bonny Scotland.

> The ONE is "just" arithmetical truth. But I am not sanguine about
> this, analytical truth works the same.
> The INTELLECT is "arithmetical provability"
> The KNOWER (alias the first person, alias the universal soul) is
> provability in case of truth.
> INTELLIGIBLE MATTER is "arithmetical provability in case of
> arithmetical consistency".
> SENSIBLE MATTER is "arithmetical provability in case of arithmetical
> consistency and truth".

Very interesting.  More on all this at some point, please.

>> Well, of course it's solipsistic, but that's its strength.
>
> ?

The 'solipsism of the One', which we've discussed before.  You can
only 'know' in the context of the system in which you participate.

>> You can
>> only know yourself: but that 'self', properly understood, extends
>> beyond merely perspectival horizons, to everything that is.
>
> You are a billion times too much quick here.

This is an example of the semantic problem to which I refer.  But I've
never really understood whether 0-personal in your sense means
not-personal or personal-to-the-minimum-but-not-vanishing-degree.

>> This is what my mother used to call 'having the courage of your lack
>> of convictions'.  I like it.
>
> I am not sure I understand that remark.

Alas, we can no longer ask her what she meant.

David

>
> I comment on Rex's post, as quoted by David, and then I comment
> David's post.
> On 30 Jul 2009, at 22:34, David Nyman wrote:
>
>>
>> 2009/7/30 Rex Allen <rexallen...@gmail.com>:
>>
>>> It seems to me that the primary meaning of "to exist" is "to be
>>> conscious".
>
>
> Hmm.. I do not completely disagree, because I can prove (with the AUDA
> definition of belief and knowledge, that what Rex says is indeed true,
> from the first person point of view. But taking this 100% seriously
> leads to solipism. If only to pursue this discussion I bet on the
> existence of some others, which consciousness I am currently
> disconnected from (thankfully, the net provides a way to share third
> person little pieces of things between us to supply that non first
> person apparent sharing).
>>>
>>>
>>> But what causes conscious experience? Well, I'm beginning to think
>>> that nothing causes it.
>
> OK. I rather clearly disagree. Arithmetical relations "cause" it. They
> are clearly responsible for numbers introspection and numbers
> chatting, and their discovery of the gap between.
>
>
>
>>> Our conscious experience is fundamental,
>>> uncaused, and irreducible.
>
>
> Uncaused, OK, like any property of number can be said to be uncaused.
>
>
>>>
>>>
>>> Why do we think that our conscious experience must be caused? Maybe
>>> this isn't a valid assumption. Maybe we are being led astray by the
>>> apparent nature of the macroscopic material world that we perceive?
>
>
> Well, we search not necessarily a cause, but still an explanation. And
> that explanation has to fit with what we can prove, can know, can
> feel, can observe, and can infer.
>
> To say consciousness is fundamental does not explain many thing. It is
> a bit like saying matter is fundamental, except that in this case it
> is helped in some methodological way for some time.
>
>
>>>
>>>
>>> So on the surface this view of consciousness as fundamental may sound
>>> a bit off-putting,
>
> And as, you seem to be aware, it leads to solipsism.
>
>
>>> but I think it's not so radical compared to
>>> competing theories.
>
> Hmm... It is a bit like David, you put to much emphasis, to say the
> least, on the first person, which is the subject of consciousness.
> Comp saves the first person from its materialistic elimination, but
> comp does not eliminate mathematics, nor physics. It provides a very
> precise theory which supplies the absence of matter and explain its
> appearance, and which I like to call "machine or number theology", if
> only because it provides a clean purely arithmetical interpretation
> (AUDA) of Plotinus neoplatonist theory.
>
> The ONE is "just" arithmetical truth. But I am not sanguine about
> this, analytical truth works the same.
> The INTELLECT is "arithmetical provability"
> The KNOWER (alias the first person, alias the universal soul) is
> provability in case of truth.
> INTELLIGIBLE MATTER is "arithmetical provability in case of
> arithmetical consistency".
> SENSIBLE MATTER is "arithmetical provability in case of arithmetical
> consistency and truth".
>
> This makes 8 (meta)theories, which capture the same part of
> arithmetic, but have quite different modal logics, which correspond to
> different types of point of view. 8 because three of them are split
> into provable and unprovable parts by the incompleteness phenomena.
>
> To put it roughly: consciousness is a Goddess, sure, but it has seven
> Sisters.
> If we follow Plotinus, those correspond to the degree of "falling" of
> the soul.
>
>
>>> David answered:
>>
>> Of course I'm in sympathy with what you say here.
>
> I am not astonished :)
>
>
>
>
>>  I've recently been
>> picking the bones out of 'Panpsychism in the West' by David Skrbina
>> which is a pretty comprehensive review of the surprisingly large
>> number of thinkers who've actually held - or hold - some version of
>> this view; and that's just in the West.
>>
>> However, I actually think we can do better than this.  The extraneous
>> baggage attaching to 'mental' vocabulary really gets in the way of
>> clarity if we attempt to phrase it as you have.  It's open to anyone
>> reading what you say above to accept or reject based on the contents
>> of *their* 'consciousness portmanteau'.  But perhaps we don't have to
>> go this far: maybe we can say something more restricted which
>> surprisingly turns out to be more radical.  Without repeating the
>> whole analysis here, my view is that the heart of the matter lies in a
>> rigorous redefinition of the semantics of 'exist' and its cognates.
>>
>> These different senses get chucked about in such a variety of
>> ontological and epistemological guises that one is often at a loss to
>> know what any particular use is attempting to pick out in the world.
>> So my point is simply: let's start from the understanding that to
>> exist is just and only what it is to exist-for-oneself: the defining
>> characteristic of existence is 'taking everything personally'.  The
>> standard put-down at this point is something like 'well how personally
>> do you suppose an electron takes itself?' to which the riposte is
>> simply 'precisely as personally as it needs to exist'.
>>
>> Of course one might also ask 'how materially do you suppose an
>> electron take itself?' and answer 'precisely as materially as it needs
>> to exist'.  But in granting a 'material' ontology to ourselves and the
>> electron, we are immediately at a loss for somewhere to locate the
>> personal unless we add a second ontological category for it to
>> inhabit: and then any hope we might have a workable notion of
>> interaction is irretrievably dashed.
>>
>> So now you may legitimately enquire: fair enough, but how do we get
>> consciousness out of 'taking everything personally?'  Well, it depends
>> what you mean by.....  But no, it does - really.  This is already the
>> 'easy problem' (tee hee) in that once you see that you're at large in
>> a context that takes everything personally - but no more than it takes
>> to exist-for-itself - you can work on your theories of 'consciousness'
>> with some expectation that somebody will be there to take it
>> personally when those great thoughts and feelings emerge.  It's a bit
>> like (in fact exactly like) the way we construct 'material' models in
>> the confident expectation that NOBODY will be there to take it
>> personally when all those great 'processes' and 'structures' emerge.
>> But now we can see - as you point out below - that these 'material'
>> entities can really only be elements of our personal
>> existence-for-ourselves.  Sure, we believe they refer to something
>> beyond their representational role, but that something else is taking
>> things personally in another part of the forest.  And if they do not
>> thus refer?  Well, then they're just zombies.
>
> OK. With some reserves.
>
>
>> Rex:
>>
>>> Take the brain. I haven't verified it myself, but I'm willing to
>>> believe that the structure and function of the brain is closely
>>> correlated with the mind. My brain represents the contents of my
>>> conscious experience. The activity of the brain over time maps to the
>>> the contents of my conscious experience over time. Fine.
>
> OK.
>
>
>>> But the brain
>>> is not the cause of my conscious experience.
>
> OK. But is an evidence of having a deep and long computational
> history. And in a sense, the brain is the "cause" of my consciousness
> "filtration" in a vast subset of future computational histories.
>
>
>>> A brain is something that
>>> one is conscious OF, and thus has a secondary, derivative type of
>>> existence.
>
> OK.
>
>
>>> David:
>>
>> Very well put.  I've mentioned David Bohm's model of a video game,
>> which actually got him thinking about the relationships inherent in
>> the above scenario, thus: there's a game taking place on a screen
>> (explicate order) being acted on by (but not itself acting on) a
>> program (implicate order), which in turn is being acted on by (but not
>> acting on) the feedback from a player (super-implicate order).  In
>> this analogy, the brain-body-world is akin to the on-screen
>> representation, which in fact emerges from, and is under the control
>> of, an underlying set of orderings that seamlessly incorporate both
>> player and game.  Subject and object then emerge as a heuristic
>> distinction in the guise of complementary poles abstracted from
>> feedback relationships.
>
> I will have to reread that.
>
>
>> Rex:
>>
>>> I can think about my brain, so it is something that I am conscious
>>> of,
>>> and so it exists in that sense. To the extent that I can examine and
>>> experiment on someone else's brain, that is also a perceived
>>> experience. But again, all of these things could happen in a dream,
>>> or
>>> hallucination, or to a brain-in-a-vat, or to someone in a computer
>>> simulation.
>>
>> Yes, it could, but this may not be the version most conducive to
>> sanity!
>>
>>> But the brain
>>> is not the cause of my conscious experience. A brain is something
>>> that
>>> one is conscious OF, and thus has a secondary, derivative type of
>>> existence.
>>
>> Yes, and this 'secondary' existence is just a category of
>> existence-for-oneself.
>
> Here you talk about the 'brain' which is in your 'brain'. the physical
> brain is most plausibility a completely definable "object". Its
> physics, as we can observe it, relies eventually on infinite histories.
>
>
>
>>  The contents of consciousness are precisely
>> what we are taking personally, else they couldn't exist for us.  We
>> co-habit with them.  But they don't just sit there: they connect
>> seamlessly beyond our personal horizons, which is how we get to
>> justify the belief that they refer to something - as we tend to say -
>> outside our selves.  But that 'outside' of course isn't outside at
>> all; it's just as 'inside' as we are, taking things just as personally
>> as it needs to exist, just like us.  The external world we see so
>> clearly is a reflection of the inside-out surfaces of our mindworlds.
>
> OUR,  the Löbian machines. OK.
> OUR,  the Humans. Not OK.
>
>
>>
>>
>>> Similarly, science. I'm willing to believe that quantum mechanics and
>>> relativity both describe my observations very well. But this is just
>>> the fitting of various mathematical formulas and narratives to what
>>> we
>>> are conscious of. There's no deeper meaning to science than that. It
>>> doesn't tell us about what fundamentally exists.
>
> I recall that theology has been keep out of science and academies
> since 1500 years, and has still not really come back.
> Due to this unfortunate situation, "science" is confused as being a
> sort of theology by itself, which it cannot be.
> The least I have try to do is to illustrate that we can reason and
> proceed "scientifically" (= proposing modest refutable theories on
> consciousness, souls, person, identity and various "god-
> like"mathematical and non mathematical entities).
> Science is half-blind since a long time, but it is not the fault of
> the science spirit, it is the fault of the human spirit which abuse of
> the ten thousand authority arguments around those fundamental
> questions, and, as consequence, that the spirit of science is
> forbidden there.
>
>
>>> It provides us with
>>> stories that fit what our experiences: "IF you were made from
>>> subatomic particles in a physical universe, THIS system of particles
>>> and forces is consistent with your current observations."
>
> Science will never provide more than IF this then THAT. Even theology.
> To defend theology as a science consists in admitting to propose
> theory (IF this), and then derive consequences in that theory (then
> THAT). And test it, directly, indirectly up to the refutation, and
> amelioration, correction, publication, etc.
>
>
>>>
>>
>> Yes, and of course WERE you thus made you wouldn't find anybody there
>> to take things personally.  The great value of COMP, I think, is that
>> it pumps the intuition that we can't take persons for granted: they
>> don't just map directly onto our representations, which I guess we
>> should have expected, because god knows they don't look like anything
>> that could be us.  Of course a computational narrative may turn out
>> not to be the way to go, but I strongly suspect that we still await a
>> revolution in - well not physics, but..what? being-science? (gawd) -
>> that will be in a primary sense generative of persons prior to the
>> generation of appearances.
>
> The theology of numbers. What they can feel and dream, about
> themselves and each others, relatively to each one.
>
>
>
>>  IOW, there probably has to be some sort of
>> fundamentally implicate-explicate-superexplicate thingamijig going on
>> out there - er, I mean in here.
>
> Sure.
>
>
>>
>>
>>> Science is basically us trying to make sense of a dream.
>>>
>>> So in this view, consciousness is very simple. What's complicated is
>>> fitting "explanatory" scientific theories to what is observed, and
>>> identifying and understanding causal structures (e.g., a brain, a
>>> machine, whatever) whose evolving state can be interpreted as
>>> representing a series of "connected" or "related" instances of
>>> consciousness.
>
> Numbers do that.
>
>
>
>>> But the observed physical system is NOT conscious, it
>>> just represents the contents of someone's conscious experience.
>>
>> Very well put.
>>
>>> So initially this view seems somewhat...solipsistic (?),
>
>
> Not necessarily, yet. You could have talk about  "universal
> consciousness", which does make sense with comp, although I am not
> entirely sure. Universal consciousness is the consciousness of the
> virgin universal machine, which is rare to find those days (when you
> buy a computer it is already full of non universal programs). A
> particular consciousness is when the universal consciousness forget
> its origin. But this, to be sure, has not yet been asked to the
> universal machine (it is beyond AUDA, I mean).
>
>
>
>>> but
>>> ultimately I think it really isn't much more radical than any other
>>> theory on the table. For instance, any deterministic scientific
>>> theory
>>> entails that we have the experience of making choices without making
>>> actual choices (in the free will sense). And so does any
>>> indeterminstic theory that is based on bottom-up causation.
>>
>> Well, of course it's solipsistic, but that's its strength.
>
> ?
>
>
>
>> You can
>> only know yourself: but that 'self', properly understood, extends
>> beyond merely perspectival horizons, to everything that is.
>
> You are a billion times too much quick here.
>
>
>
>
>> This is
>> the perennial philosophy, and in this case, perennial because
>> unavoidable.
>
> OK.
>
>
>
>> And as for 'deterministic', if we want to deploy
>> causation in our narratives - and I don't see why we shouldn't - then
>> existence-for-self gives you a conveniently monistically-collapsed
>> version of the causal nexus that indivisibly unites perception,
>> intention  and action.  Since they're indivisible, they only work in
>> concert, and hence you can't get causal closure until the sense
>> necessary in context gains expression.  As to 'first' causes, I think
>> we've reached the end of the semantic road.
>
> I disagree. For any rational people betting their brain is a machine,
> addition and multiplication are very good first cause. Equivalent one
> are abstraction and application. There are many other equivalent one,
> for the theology. They are not equivalent with respect to engineering,
> though.
>
>
>
>> If you want, you can can
>> elect to be a mathematical Prospero and conjure us from the deep by
>> tautological force majeure, or you can accept the mystery of our
>> contingent 'necessity'.  Take your pick.
>>
>>> Beyond that, all theories eventually boil down to having to having to
>>> take some set of fundamental entities and laws as unexplained,
>>> unsupported brute facts. So whether it's one level down or twelve
>>> levels down, at some point they end up saying "and these things just
>>> exist, created from nothing, supported by nothing".
>
> Yes, that's right. But some theories are elegant, does not eliminate
> person, are more fun, than others.
>
>
>>>
>>>
>>> So, no matter which way we go, reality doesn't match our common-sense
>>> expectations.
>
>
> Right, but common-sense change all the time. Somehow, it is a provable
> promise that it never really stabilize, unless it remember its origin.
> In that case it can perhaps contemplate the big thing, but can no more
> play in it. (Again I am beyond AUDA).
>
>
>
>>> I think this view makes the fewest assumptions, and
>>> ultimately seems no more fantastical than any other theory on offer
>>
>> This is what my mother used to call 'having the courage of your lack
>> of convictions'.  I like it.
>
> I am not sure I understand that remark. To sum up you have the
>
> current paradigm:
>
> MATTER => CONSCIOUSNESS => NUMBER
>
> comp forces the reversal:
>
> NUMBER => CONSCIOUSNESS => MATTER    (followed by => HUMAN
> CONSCIOUSNESS => HUMAN NUMBER)
>
> Rex proposes something like:
>
> CONSCIOUSNESS  => ?
>
> It is radical, and it is difficult to say if it explains anything. I
> suspect the goal could be personal enlightnment instead of a search in
> a communicable theory which should or could explain the observable and
> non observable (but "feelable", like pain) phenomena.
>
> Bruno
>
>
> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
>
>
>
>
> >
>

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