I guess I am pretty much over the need for any 'ism whatever. I can
re-classify my ideas in terms of an 'ism, but that process tells me
nothing extra and offers no extra empirical clue. I think I can classify
fairly succinctly the difference between approaches:
(a) There is a natural world.
(b) We can describe how it appears to us using the P-consciousness of
(c) We can describe how a natural world might be constructed which has
an observer in it like (a)
Descriptions (b) are not the natural world (a) but 'about it' (its
Descriptions (C) are not the natural world (a) but 'about it' (its
(b) and (c) need only ever be 'doxastic' (beliefs).
I hold that these two sets of descriptions (b) and (c) need /not/ be
complete or even perfect/accurate.
Turing-computing (b) or (c) is not an instance of (a)/will not ever make (a)
Turing-computing (b) or (c) can tell you something about the operation
If (b) is a description of the rules of chess (no causality whatever,
good prediction of future board appearances), (c) is a description of
the behaviour of chess players (chess causality). There's a rough
metaphor for you.
*(B) not-Colin (as seems to be what I see here...)*
There are descriptions of type (b), one of which is quantum mechanics QM.
The math of QM suggests a multiple-histories TOE concept.
If I then project a spurious attribution of idealism into this ....
then ....if I squint at the math I can see what might operate as a
'first person perspective'
and .... I realise/believe that if I Turing-compute the math, it *is* a
universe. I can make it be reality.
Causality is a mystery solved by prayer to the faith of idealism and
belief in 'comp', driven by the hidden mechanism of the Turing 'tape
What's happening here AFAICT, is that players in (B) have been so far
'down the rabbit hole' for so long they've lost sight of reality and
think 'isms explain things!
In (A) you get to actually explain things (appearances and causal
necessity). /The price is that you can never truly know reality/. You
get 'asymptotically close to knowing it', though. (A) involves no
delusion about Turing-computation implementing reality. The amount of
'idealism', 'physicalism', 'materialism' and any other 'ism you need to
operate in the (A) framework is Nil. In (A) the COMP (as I defined it)
is obviously and simply false and there is no sense in which
Turing-style-computation need be attributed to be involved in natural
processes. It's falsehood is expected and natural and consistent with
all empirical knowledge.
The spurious attributions in (B) are replaced in (A) by the descriptions
(c), all of which must correlate perfectly (empirically) with (b)
through the provision of an observer and a mechanism for observation
which is evidenced in brain material. The concept of a Turing machine is
not needed at all. There may be a sense in which a Turing (C-T)
equivalent of (c) might be constructed. That equivalent is adds zero to
knowledge systems (b) and (c). Under (A) the C-T thesis is perfectly
right but simply irrelevant.
My motivation to kill COMP is purely aimed at bring a halt to the
delusion of the AGI community that Turing-computing will ever create a
mind. They are throwing away $millions based on a false belief. Their
expectations need to be scientifically defined for a change. I have no
particular interest in disturbing any belief systems here except insofar
as they contribute to the delusion that COMP is true.
'nuff said. This is another minor battle in an ongoing campaign. :-)
Stephen Paul King wrote:
> Hi Colin,
> It seems that to me that until one understands the nature of the
> extreme Idealism that COMP entails, no arguement based on the physical
> will do...
> "I refute it thus!"
> -Dr. Johnson http://www.samueljohnson.com/refutati.html
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Colin Hales <mailto:c.ha...@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au>
> *To:* email@example.com
> *Sent:* Tuesday, August 11, 2009 9:51 PM
> *Subject:* Re: Can mind be a computation if physics is fundamental?
> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> On 10 Aug 2009, at 09:08, Colin Hales wrote:
>>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>>> On 06 Aug 2009, at 04:37, Colin Hales wrote:
>>>>> Man this is a tin of worms! I have just done a 30 page
>>>>> detailed refutation of computationalism.
>>>>> It's going through peer review at the moment.
>>>>> The basic problem that most people fall foul of is the
>>>>> conflation of 'physics-as-computation' with the type of
>>>>> computation that is being carried out in a Turing machine (a
>>>>> standard computer). In the paper I drew an artificial
>>>>> distinction between them. I called the former NATURAL
>>>>> COMPUTATION (NC) and the latter ARTIFICIAL COMPUTATION (AC).
>>>>> The idea is that if COMP is true then there is no distinction
>>>>> between AC and NC. The distinction should fail.
>>>> Why? COMP entails that physics cannot be described by a
>>>> computation, but by an infinite sum of infinite histories. If
>>>> you were correct, there would be no possible white rabbit. You
>>>> are confusing comp (I am a machine) and constructive physics
>>>> (the universe is a machine).
>>> This is the COMP I have a problem with. It's the one in the
>>> literature. It relates directly to the behaviour (descriptive
>>> options of) of scientists:
>>> This is the shorthand for computationalism as distilled from the
>>> various sources cited above. The working definition here:
>>> “/The operational/functional equivalence (identity,
>>> indistinguishability at the level of the model) of (a) a
>>> sufficiently embodied, computationally processed, sufficiently
>>> detailed symbolic/formal description/model of a natural thing X
>>> and (b) the described natural thing X/”/./
>>> If this is not the COMP you speak of, then this could be the
>>> origins of disparity in view. Also, the term "I am machine" says
>>> nothing scientifically meaningful to me.
>> This is not comp. Actually the definition above is ambiguous, and
>> seems to presuppose natural things.
> I did not make this up. I read it in the literature in various
> forms and summarised. 'Mind as computation' is a specific case of
> it. If I have a broken definition according to you then I am in
> the company of a lot of people. It's also the major delusion in
> many computer 'scientists' in the field of AI, who's options would
> be very different if COMP is false. So I'll use COMP as defined
> above, for now. It is what I refute.
> 'presupposing natural things..." ?? hmmmmmm....
> Natural things........You know... the thing we sometimes call the
> 'real world'? Whatever it is that we are in/made of, that appears
> to behave rather regularly and that we are intrinsically ignorant
> of and 'do empirical science on'. The 'thing' that our
> consciousness portrays to us? The place with real live behaving
> humans with major brain and other nervous system problems who
> could really use some help? That natural world that actually
> defined COMP as per above. That 'thing'.Whatever 'it' is... that
> will do for a collection of 'natural things'.
> The idea that the "presupposition of natural things" is
> problematic is rather unhelpful to those (above, real, natural)
> suffering people. Sounds a bit emotive, but .. there you go ..
> call me "practically motivated". I intend to remain in this
> condition. :-)
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at