On 11 Aug 2009, at 01:47, David Nyman wrote:

> 2009/8/10 Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be>:
>> But strictly speaking (I am also a stickler), the first person can
>> never identify herself to *any* representation, she share this with
>> the 0-person ONE, or the non differentiate (arithmetical) truth. The
>> knower does not know who he is. Relatively to probable histories, he
>> makes bets "all the time".
> Yes, I agree with this.  This is why I've always said that the One is
> 'personal' to some minimum but not-eliminable degree (0-personal in
> your terminology).  The first person inherits the "I" from the One:
> this is essential to make sense of duplicability and teleportation.

You know, in the "machine theology", that is, in the interview of the  
Löbian machine (AUDA), the role of the ONE is aptly done by the notion  
of truth, as conceived in mathematical logic, and which is rather  
clear about arithmetical sentences. It is important to mention Tarski  
theorem, and to remember that no correct machine can ever even name  
its own truth predicate, so that such a ONE satisfy already a first  
"axiom" of Plotinus, which is that the ONE has no name.
You may be right attributing a personhood to "truth", like Plotinus  
could be right in attributing a will. I don't know. What is clearer is  
that any singular first person (which is never really singular  
actually) inherited its soul from "the universal soul" which is the  
knower, and the one defined by Bp & p. But the "p" of "Bp & p" is  
inherit from the ONE (truth), like Bp is inherit
is inherit from Intellect. This makes consistent many assertion by  
Plotinus, and is basically what the machine can say and/or infer from  
its "self-searching".
But we are really in AUDA here, and I feel like using authoritative  
argument, at this stage.

>>> Beyond this, that the unique qualitative nature of the OFP *is* as  
>>> it
>>> appears, is in principle outside the scope of explanation itself.
>> No! This is the "miracle" of comp. Machine cannot not discover the
>> incommunicable part of their experience, but they can, assume of bet
>> on comp, and justify that why it has to be so. That is AUDA. The gap
>> is justified from inside. It is a consequence from the fact that
>> machine can prove their own incompleteness theorems, and even study
>> the geometry of their ignorance.
> Apparently we don't agree :-(
>> The ultimate gap remains unavoidable,
>> so you are right saying that the unique qualitative nature of the OFP
>> is outside the scope of the explanation, but that fact, is an "easy"
>> theorem on and by  the machine which introspect herself.
>> To sum up:
>> The unique qualitative nature of the OFP *is* beyond the scope of the
>> explanation-comp theory. But that very fact *is* in the scope of the
>> theory.
> Apparently we DO agree :-)


>>>>>  IOW - as Bruno says above - they are
>>>>> theoretical constructions.
>>>> Yes, but this does not mean those construction does not refer to
>>>> something real independently of us, and this is what I assume for
>>>> comp
>>> I agree, as above that it is the whole point of our endeavours to  
>>> say
>>> that the construction *refers* to something real.  But I think  
>>> perhaps
>>> that the something thus referenced is not best characterised as  
>>> being
>>> real *independently* of us, but rather *constitutive* of us and our
>>> (most general) environment.
>> I agree with you, but this can be said among enlightened people who
>> understand the whole stuff.
>> Before the reasoning, you could be suspected to put the horse behind
>> the car.
> Or "put the horse before the cart", in our delightfully archaic
> phrase.  I am doing this, would you say?
>> With comp, numbers, or finite things like combinators etc. have
>> clearly a relation with us, but a priori it is simpler to state their
>> laws without referring to us.
> I agree that simpler is better as long as we are clear on what is  
> being assumed.

The difficulty of the UDA could come from that at step 0, we somehow  
ask a question, independently of the ontology.
You can say "yes" to the doctor without having any definite opinion  
about the existence of primitive matter or not. You have to believe in  
some amount of consensual reality (which people do when sending a mail  
to a mailing list, usually).
The reasoning leads then to an extraction of a "theory of everything".  
That theory does not postulate matter, but explain, actually by  
postulating number + addition and multiplication, why universal  
machine exists and observe eventually matter, and why primitive matter  
cannot interfere with it (so that by Occam, it is as useless as ether  
and phlogiston).

>> A number is even if and only its square is even. This is a law about
>> numbers. Those are the type of truth which we have to state as not
>> depending on us <here and now>, even if it depends on us, or are us,
>> "there".
> OK
>>>> Even if the whole existence get annihilated, 17 would still be
>>>> prime.
>>> I understand that it is justifiable to take this as your point of
>>> departure and don't really wish to make an argumentative point out  
>>> of
>>> it.  Nonetheless, in passing, perhaps I have a more radical  
>>> intuition
>>> of annihilation than you.  One can waste a lot of breath speculating
>>> on 'nothing' because, strictly I guess, there can be nothing at  
>>> all it
>>> can refer to.
>> This I do not understand. There are many nothing everywhere, and  
>> other
>> absence, and I am open that absolute nothingness could be  
>> conceivable,
>> a bit like theories having no models. It seems you just point here on
>> a difficult open question.
> Yes
>>>  I could demonstrate this, given infinite time, simply
>>> by flatly rejecting *any* survivor of such annihilation that you or
>>> anyone cared to propose, to the crack of doom.  On this basis, even
>>> '17 is prime' is a goner.
>> I still don't see why or how you could do that, except by convincing
>> me that Peano Arithmetic is inconsistent.
> I think we're at cross-purposes, but it really doesn't count much for
> our discussion here.
>>> Ah, but my argument attempts to distinguish a computation  
>>> (immaterial
>>> dynamic object) and an implementation of a computation (material
>>> dynamic process) - again, per standard physical theory - as a
>>> refutation of standard comp *in these strictly physical terms*.  My
>>> point is, that per physicalism, a computation must be implemented in
>>> some physical mechanism in order to have any real - i.e. physical -
>>> effects (at least this was true the last time I did any  
>>> programming).
>>> Hence the existence of 'immaterial objects' in this case is simply
>>> irrelevant to any effects that would be strictly justifiable as
>>> ontologically real, per physicalism.
>> Actually I do disagree with this, and Peter Jones made good point
>> here. If you were true, UDA could be simplified a lot. Physicalism
>> does not prevent dualism form/matter at all, like immaterial software
>> and physical hardware. Physicalism can still explained the existence
>> of the many immaterial being like nations, countries, persons (being
>> fuzzy on the 1-3 distinction), games, music, etc.
> OK, I hadn't realised that this point was quite so elusive, so now I
> will have to insist a little more. There are two absolutely crucial
> differences IMO between the examples you cite above (which Peter also
> appeals to) and computation - per strict physicalism - conceived as
> *constitutive* of the OFP (as contrasted with 3-description):
> 1) All of your examples are in principle hierarchically reducible (per
> physicalism) to *specific* nameable physical entities and relations,
> and any change in these specifications produces an identifiable change
> in the collective entity (e.g. different notes = different music).
> One can't simply say e.g. that 'nation' is invariant in the face of
> different collections of persons, since any such change is
> unquestionably material to the persons actually constitutive of the
> nation - and this is the point (i.e. it's still different notes =
> different music).
> 2) None of your examples (and indeed NO immaterial entity other than
> computation) is postulated to evoke a novel ontological category such
> as the OFP i.e. a 'nation' isn't something with an ontology distinct -
> and in a different category - from that of the persons who constitute
> it.
> Computationalism (i.e. when assumed to supervene on the activity of an
> ontologically privileged physical substrate) violates both of the
> above criteria: it is *invariant* (i.e. different notes = same music)

Well this concern many more things than just computationalism, like  
(different restaurant, same price). here are many immaterial pattern  
in invariant in nature, even waves in general can be see in this way  
when you add a dynamic. Quantum field makes particles already   
immaterial in that sense I would say.  The only newness in  
computationalism is the presume digitalness. But OK.

> under inumerable different physical reductions (i.e. it is defined
> functionally); and yet any such state of affairs (again excluding mere
> 3-descriptions) is asserted somehow to evoke an *identical* - and
> moreover completely *novel* - ontological category.

I am not sure I follow this. Once you say yes to the doctor, you  
"know" that you are a number which moves itself, of you course you  
know just that you are a person who bet on its survival for digital  
annihilation-reconstitution. But this is already true for books and  
electronic mailings. I am not sure what is new. WE just get numerical,  
like say a symphony by Sibelius available from a numerical CD.

> Consequently IMO the foregoing criteria make the computational theory
> of mind a mere dogma under the criterion of strict physicalism,
> although the restrictiveness of this criterion usually passes
> unrecognised precisely in consequence of this dogmatic blindness.


> Indeed it is precisely the contradiction implicit in the conjunction
> of strict physicalism with the computational theory of mind that step
> 8 seeks to expose and correct.

Yes. The epistemological contradiction.

> The reversal of number and physics, by
> contrast, privileges as efficacious the precise number relations upon
> which computational invariance depends.  In so doing it justifies comp
> as an ontological category, and thereby eludes this criticism.

It justifies there is no sense to add any form of existence beyond  
arithmetical existence. It makes arithmetic the theory of everything,  
and it explains what is matter from the point of view of the universal  
Comp does not introduce any new ontology. It uses the fact that  
computer science is embedded in "truth". It exploits the necessary gap  
between computer science and computer's computer science. The gap  
contains what universal machine can hope and fear.

> BTW, when you refer to "dualism form/matter" I assume you aren't
> appealling to mind-matter dualism in any literal sense,

I was, locally, in defense of physicalism against your argument. Once  
the implication of comp is understood, this takes another sense, of  

> although this
> is IMO actually implied by any (non-3-description) computational
> theory of mind that uniquely privileges physical entities and
> relations as ontologically efficacious.

Yes. It is even the reason why materialist does not succeed to solve  
the mind-body problem. They introduce a notion of matter which  
eventually can be shown to be nonsensical. With comp, matter can still  
explains the mind (which explains why comp is the favorite theory of  
the atheist and the materialist), the problem is that, with comp,  
matter can no more explain matter, or more precisely: the postulation  
of matter acn no more justifies the appearance of matter in the mind  
of any universal machine. Physics become ultimately the study of the  
border of the ignorance of the universal person. This can be studied  
with math, and up to now, it seems to work.

> I'd like to dispose of this issue definitively, if possible.  Either
> I'm wrong in some point of the analysis (which I would be happy to
> concede if clearly demonstrated), or something is being missed here.
>> But comp, pushed on its logical conclusion prevent physicalism to
>> explain the 1-person stable observations. We have to explain the
>> appearances of all observables protagonists from the relation between
>> numbers. There is a problem of vocabulary deciding if matter  
>> disappear
>> or not. It is easier to say that physicalism is shown inconsistent or
>> epistemologically empty. But this is not an entirely trivial
>> proposition to demonstrate; it is full of traps, and without QM, nor
>> Post or Turing, I would never have believed this, nor find the
>> argument. UDA needs the universal machine concept.
>> UDA1-7 can be based on the physical implementation of
>> the devices presented in the protocol of the thought experiment.  
>> UDA-8
>> eliminates that assumption.
> When you say "physical implementation" here, do you mean in terms of
> ontologically-primary physicalism?

As you want. The seven first step work with comp, or with comp +  
physicalism. It is really like you prefer.
The assumption of physicalism is almost never use in the practice of  
science. It is just in the background.
The idea that physicalism is part of the science of today is an  
oversimplification. It belongs to the religious background more or  
less inherit from years of oversimplification of Aristotle Platonism.
A real scientist does just not commit itself ontologically at all,  
except for the local referents of the terms appearing in its theory.

> Does this assume in this case that
> UDA1-7 could still be coherent per *some* theory of mind, but *not*
> under the assumption that "I am a machine", as step 8 seeks to
> demonstrate?

You may clarify. UDA1-7 needs "I am a machine", so I have no idea of  
what could be UDA1-7 without "I am a machine".
UDA1-7 is UDA0-7 with UDA-0 = "I am a machine" (material or not, it  
does change anything).

UDA-8, which is really independent, just shows that once we attach the  
mind to a computation, we cannot attach the mind to the physical  
activity incarnating that computation. UDA1-7 do a sort of contrary:  
if we attach a physical activity to a mind, then the mind itself can  
attach itself only to an infinity of (primarily physical) computation.  
With both, you can, well, you must (to remain epistemologically  
coherent) drop "primarily physical".

>>> When you say that "activity is just a function from N to set of
>>> states", you again seem to refer to 'immaterial activity'.  It seems
>>> to me that what you are saying amounts to this:
>>> If it is the case that, per comp, it is the 'immaterial' activity of
>>> the running program, regardless of specific implementation,
>> Careful: the mind needs specific implementations, but below its
>> substitution level, all implementations acts simultaneously, from its
>> perspective (in case it decides to take a look below its level, he
>> should see this).
>> Once the reversal is done the word "physical" is reduced to something
>> very specific, which includes a (perhaps to high) first person
>> indeterminacy.
> Yes, I know, but at this point (i.e. before the reversal) I was
> referring to the fact that because a computation is deemed invariant
> in the face of different valid implementations its implicit 'ontology'
> is immaterial as contrasted with an assumption of a basically material
> ontology.


>>> that
>>> implements the function and hence the mind, then this is
>>> indistinguishable by the machine from it simply *being* the function
>>> and hence the mind.
>> The mind (the 1-mind, not the numbers) is distributed in the set of
>> all computations, you cannot really attach it in any single
>> computation, unless you have reasons to think it is correlated to  
>> your
>> own histories. Remember that at UDA-8 we abandon the physical
>> supervenience for a comp supervenience, which is hard to describe
>> without the minimum amount of math I was talking about.
>> I may insist that the 1-person, nor its consciousness, is never
>> attached to any thing which can be represented. Only its third person
>> vehicles are, and the person can make relative and local bets on  
>> those
>> vehices and their relative stabilities.
>> This is recover and made consistent by the nuance between the prover
>> Bp and the knower Bp & p (and the feeler, Bp & p & Dt); which by
>> construction are the same, yet they cannot know that.
> Yes, forget 'mind', it's inessential to the argument here. How about:
> If it is the case that, per comp, it is the 'immaterial' activity of
> the running program, invariantly under different implementations,

This is ambiguous. But frankly, I think I will be able to say much  
more when the seventh step will be completed.
The notion of implementation, like computation are typical  
mathematical notion, completely neutral about the existence of a  
physical world, or what what would be the ultimate implementation.  
Comp does not prevent relative implementations to play some key role,  
like when we share computational histories.

> that
> implements the function,

"we" are more program or number than function, and our implementations  
count. Indeed, from the first person point of view, physical  
appearance is really a sum on all implementations.

> then this is indistinguishable by the machine
> from it simply *being* the (equally immaterial) function.

I can agree.

> Standard
> comp is then seen to refute - or at least make irrelevant - its own
> basis in materiality.
> Is this acceptable?

I would say it is much more than making the material basis irrelevant,  
it makes it deductible. It explains exactly how the physical laws  
emerge, and unlike physics, it explains exactly why it can hurt.
Matter remains relevant, but it is no more a primitive thing.
Comp gives a new physics. And this makes comp empirically testable.  
Just extract physics from comp, and compare to what we can observe. At  
first sight the comp physics seems to be completely exuberant, but  
computer science shows that its exuberance is already very quantum  
like. So it is too early to say if comp is refuted or not.
I provide a practical tool to measure our degree of non  
computationalism (but this statement is very weak, because, as I said,  
super-machines and other "gods" have the same physics. Only *very*  
near the ONE, physics begin to change, apparently.



You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to