On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:50 PM, Bruno Marchal<marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> I don't see the theory. What do you ask us to agree on, if only for
> the sake of the argument.
So, while the contents of my experience...the things that I'm
conscious OF are complex and structured, my conscious experience of
these things is singular and indivisible.
As such, I feel that it is reasonable to say that conscious experience
itself is uncaused and fundamental.
Given that conscious experience is uncaused, it can't be explained in
terms of other things, like quarks and electromagnetism or numbers and
Uncaused things can't be explained. They just are.
So what causes the complexity and structure of the things that I am
conscious of? Nothing. That's just the way my experience is.
No explanation can be given for uncaused fundamental events or
entities. And further, no meaningful explanation can be given for
events or entities that are themselves *wholly* caused by uncaused
events. These things just are.
So let's say a closed system of entities comes into being uncaused.
Any properties that the individual components of this system have are
also uncaused, and the ways that the components interact are uncaused
as well. This system is a universe unto itself.
So I am saying that no matter how this system evolves, no aspect of
the system can ever be given a meaningful explanation. The
meaningless of it's initial state means that all subsequent states are
equally meaningless in an absolute sense. All that we can do is
describe what the system does. But description is not explanation.
Further, even if the system seems predictable, there is no reason to
think that it will continue in it's predicitablity. And neither is
there any reason to think that it won't continue it's predictable
pattern. The system follows it's own "uncaused" rules, which we may
be able to guess at, but which we cannot know, due to the system's
fundamentally uncaused nature.
I think this is more obvious if you look at the system as a "block
universe", where time is treated as a sort of spatial dimension, and
so all states of the system exist simultaneously, like my previous
example of the block of granite. Why does state B follow state A?
Why is slice B adjacent to slice A? Because that's just the way this
uncaused system is.
Looking for meaning in the system is like looking for hidden messages
in randomly generated character strings. You may find them, but the
messages can not have any real meaning, no matter how meaningful they
> In the conclusion I don't understand the last sentence, which seems to
> me a proposition for abandoning theorizing in that field.
Well, the search for a theoretical model that is fully consistent what
what we consciously observed is still a reasonable goal in terms of
challenging intellectual endeavor. And if that's what your future
conscious experiences hold for you, then that's what you will do (no
free will here).
>> Machines are
>> more fundamental than consciousness? Or machines are just a way of
>> representing conscious experience?
> Machines/numbers cannot represent conscious experiences.
You are correct, I misspoke. I should have said "machines are just a
way of representing the CONTENTS of conscious experience."
> Comp can make the conscious experience much more fundamental than the
> Aristotelian materialist usually think, yet consciousness is
> arithmetically "caused". It is an attribute of universal machine (in
> an even weaker sense than usual) related to their ideal self-
> consistency. It generates the belief in a reality, and the infinities
> of corrections which ensue.
To me this has as much of an "explanatory gap" as materialism.
Consciousness is caused by arithmetical relationships? Why would this
be? Why would arithmetical relationships result in conscious
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to email@example.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at