On 11 Aug 2009, at 07:13, Rex Allen wrote:

> 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.

I can be OK with this.

> As such, I feel that it is reasonable to say that conscious experience
> itself is uncaused and fundamental.

This has no meaning for me. It is like saying "don't ask".
Also, what do your theory say about accepting or not an artificial  

More generally, how do you see the relation between brain and  

> Given that conscious experience is uncaused, it can't be explained in
> terms of other things, like quarks and electromagnetism or numbers and
> arithmetic.

But quarck and electromanetism have been unified, and can be explain  
from more primitive things (group theory, invariance, etc.).

Natural numbers are the rare object which we cannot derive from  
anything simpler. And natural numbers + addition and multiplication  
can explain why it has to be like that. This is indeed an argument for  
accepting numbers, or theories as rich as numbers,  as giving the  
simplest primitive elements.

And since Skolem, Gödel, etc. we know that arithmetical truth is  
*big*. Bigger that what any machine can really explore, but machine  
can dream about it, and get genuine big picture of it.

> 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.

? I can't accept this, because I am interested in the how and why of  
complexity of things and happenings.

> No explanation can be given for uncaused fundamental events or
> entities.

But what are your assumptions about those entities? You theory does  
look like what the guardian G* tells to the "enlightened machine" G:  
you will not prove your consistency. But the machine can prove that IF  
she is consistent, then G* is right about that. So, on one level, I  
understand why you say so, and at another level I explain why you say  

"understanding" is a complex notion. Theories are not build to  
understand, but to get a coherent (hopefully correct) picture.

> 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.

You put something which cannot be explained in the hat.
You get something which cannot be explained in the hat.

> 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.

It is big amorphous blob. Weird theory. I don't see the relation with  
the universe, nor even with consciousness.

> 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
> look.
>> 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).

Free will is an oxymoron. "Free" will makes sense for numbers.

>>> 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."

OK. relatively to other universal numbers.

>> 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.

Except that comp explains where the gap originates from. Better, it  
gives it a geometry and its relation with the appearances, making the  
theory testable.

> Consciousness is caused by arithmetical relationships?  Why would this
> be?

Any rational agent (be it a god or a machine) can understand that once  
we accept a material physical artificial digital brain, then it has to  
be like that. This is in part due to the fact that if the brain act  
digitally, its functioning is entirely equivalent with relation  
between numbers. It is part of computer science. (This is eaxctly what  
I explain now in the seventh thread).

> Why would arithmetical relationships result in conscious
> experience?

Because arithmetical relationship described the theology and the  
science of self-observing machine. No machine can know as such its own  
theology, but machine can get the theological science about simpler  
machine, and then lift its logic on themselves (so they can remain  
consistent in the process), and escape locally the incompleteness.

I am not saying that truth is like that, but that if you say yes to a  
doctor and survive the graft, then it has to be like that.



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