On Sat, Aug 8, 2009 at 6:12 PM, Bruno Marchal<marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> On 08 Aug 2009, at 22:44, rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
>> So physicalism in fact offers no advantage over just asserting that
>> our conscious experience just exists.  Why are my perceptions orderly
>> and why are my predictions about what will happen next usually
>> correct?  Because that's just the way it is...and this is true whether
>> you posit an external universe or just conclude that conscious
>> experience exists uncaused.
> This is not against physicalism, it is again rationalism.

Ha!  Well, maybe.  What is the flaw that you see in my reasoning?

I think that both the argument and conclusion are rational, just not intuitive.

So earlier you asked this:

> By the way, what is the status of your theory with respect to comp?

Which in part prompted this new thread.

So I think that one of the things that we can be conscious of is a
descriptive theory referred to as "comp" that attempts to map the
contents of our "conscious experience over time" to
mathematically/logically defined "machines".

And, I will not be surprised if you or someone else is ultimately
successful in doing so.  But while this would be interesting, I don't
think that it means anything deeper.  All that it will mean is "look,
here's an interesting way of representing the contents of your
conscious experience over time".

It would just be a way of representing what "is".  By which I mean:
It would just be a way of representing conscious experience.

> I would say that consciousness has a reason, a purpose, and a power.
> A reason: the many universal numbers and the way they reflect each
> other.

This doesn't sound like a "reason" to me.  It sounds like an
observation, along the lines of "adjacent gray and white veins exist
within this block of granite" (from my original post).

> A purpose: truth quest, satisfaction quest.

This purpose would only exist as part of someone's conscious
experience.  The desire for truth and/or satisfaction are things that
only exist in the context of conscious experience.

> A  power: relative self-acceleration (can lead to catastrophes, (like
> all power)).

I'm not sure what you mean by this.

> Physicists explain by finding elegant laws relating the quanta we can
> measure, but fail indeed linking those quanta to the qualia we live,
> and fail saying where those quanta comes from. But computer science
> suggest a solution, we are universal machine mirroring doing science
> "automatically" betting on "big picture" all the time, relatively to
> other possible universal machines.

So our machineness precedes our conscious experience?  Machines are
more fundamental than consciousness?  Or machines are just a way of
representing conscious experience?

> Then theoretical computer science
> can explain why we feel consciousness unexplainable and explain its
> reason, purpose and power.

I don't see that it explains anything.  Though it may be a
useful/enjoyable way of thinking about the contents of our conscious

> This explains the mind, but we get the
> problem of justifying the computability and the existence of the
> physical laws from a vast set of computations. The white rabbits and
> white noises.

So it seems to me that you aren't explaining the fact that we have
experiences.  It seems to me that you are focused entirely on finding
a way of generating mathematical/logical representations of what you
and I experience that doesn't also generate representations of strange
white-rabbit experiences.

> Those universal machine are self-multiplying and self-
> differencing infinitely often in arithmetic. This is a big price: if
> we are machine (a theory which explains consciousness as an
> unconscious bet on a reality), we have to explain the physical laws
> from computer science and logic alone.

The physical laws can't be explained except in terms of other
unexplained laws, as mentioned in my previous post.

Though, I'd say that physical laws can't be explained because they
only exist in our perceptions, which are themselves uncaused and
therefore unexplainable.

> But now that explanation can be
> tested in nature, making that theory refutable. And this illustrates
> we don't have to abandon rationalism.

I think the rational conclusion from what we perceive is that
conscious experience is fundamental and uncaused.

You are saying that consciousness is NOT fundamental, and thus it IS
caused.  By...numbers?

I think that you are mistaking representation for causation.  Even if
numbers exist in some platonic sense, and can be related in a way that
can be seen as mirroring, representing, or even predicting my
conscious experience...I think that all this shows is that math/logic
is a really flexible tool for representing processes, relationships,
patterns, etc.

As far as the significance of accurate predictions, I refer you back
to the last paragraph of my original post.  You read the part about
the granite block, right?  Though, I do need to find some more
succinct way of stating that point that doesn't require the setup of
all the preceding paragraphs.


ALSO, this discussion between Sean Carroll and Mark Trodden was great,
and I think goes with my original post pretty well, especially the
last third of their discussion.


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