Thanks for this deeply profound reply.
marty a.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Bruno Marchal" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 6:08 AM
Subject: Re: On the computability of consciousness

Hi Marty,

On 25 Feb 2010, at 15:03, m.a. wrote:

         Does the following relate at all to your theory of Comp?

I am not so sure, or I don't see how. I don't address the question of
individual life. What I show is true for all machines (enough rich
(Löbian) and ideally correct, and with an unlimited amount of space
and time).

All I say is that if we are machine then matter is a secondary notion
appearing from a first person plural point of view. This makes the
computationalist hypothesis a testable hypothesis, and I show that
currently it explains most (but not yet all) weird aspects of physics
(many interfering histories).

I show that all universal machine can discover that by introspection.
For contingent reasons, actual machines can take more time than
others. They will discover more than that. Matter is just one
hypostases among eight: the primary one: "God", "the intelligible" and
the "universal soul", and the secondary one (intelligible matter, and
sensible matter).

To explain all this without math gives something in between Plato and
Plotinus. I would suggest you to read the introductory book to
Plotinus by Brian Hines: "Return to the One---Plotinus' guide to God-
Realization",  Bloomington, Indiana, 2004.

In you term, comp is more the discovery that the solutions of the
equation are written on the other side of life.

Many other things can be said, but it may be a bit "dangerous",
because most of them are sort of secret (belongs to G* minus G). We
cannot even take them as axiom in a theory without becoming
inconsistent. We can only discover them by personal work and self-
reflexion, like

- intelligence is a question of an instant, when peace is made between
your heart and your mind.

- competence and talent has a negative feedback on intelligence.

- happiness is the strangest of all virtue. It is not related to life
circumstances, but to the way your self react to the circumstances.
Eventually happiness is a moral duty of those who survive with respect
to the memory who those who don't. It does not mean you have to be
happy, but it means you have to do what you can do to be more happy,
unless it destroy the possibility for others to be happy, ...

-  in our incarnate state, we are never fulfilled. We are forever
unsatisfied, and if we search fulfillment "here", we may have to live
and live again up to understanding that the solution is ... not here.

- persons are masks, or window behind which or through which some
unnameable thing observe itself.

- etc.

Each life is an equation. Each person is given parts of the equation with many variables on both sides of the equals sign.

Most equations have only one solution which, however, can be solved in different ways: simple or complex. The solutions might allow for many variations: e.g. algebra, geometry, logic, psychology, language etc. The number of possible methods and steps might represent degrees of freedom. But freedom doesn't necessarily bring happiness. Any method can result in emotional experiences placed along a continuum between bliss and misery.

Some lives (like some equations) have two or more solutions. A person may devote his life to solving one or he may attempt to solve several or all. In any case the degrees of freedom are increased accordingly, but the chances of experiencing happiness or misery in the solving are the same as for the previous group.

A few lives (like some equations) have an infinite number of solutions. Infinite degrees of freedom offer vast creativity, but equal chances of pain or pleasure.

Some people never arrive at even one solution and their lives, even if pleasant, seem to them pointless and unfulfilled.

Some do find solutions but such as indicate that those lives had been trivial or meaningless. No sense of fulfillment here.

The luckiest both enjoy the quest and also arrive at solutions that prove their lives to have been meaningful and important. These people feel fulfilled no matter which group they come from.

marty a.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Bruno Marchal" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1:59 PM
Subject: Re: On the computability of consciousness

On 24 Feb 2010, at 08:22, Rex Allen wrote:

On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 8:02 AM, Bruno Marchal <> wrote:

On 23 Feb 2010, at 06:45, Rex Allen wrote:

It seems to me that there are two easy ways to get rid of the hard

1)  Get rid of 1-p.  (A la Dennettian eliminative materialism)


2)  Get rid of 3-p.  (subjective idealism)

For the reasons I've touched on above I don't see that introducing the
idea of a material world explains anything at all.  Therefore, I   vote
for getting rid of 3-p, except as a calculational device.

The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than the
idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused  and
gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
accepts happens in dreams).

What is the problem with this solution?

You forget "3)

3) get rid of physical-3-p, but keep mathematical (arithmetical) 3- p. That
is "objective idealism".

And this you need in any account ... if only as 'calculational device'. Then computer science solves the hard part of the mind problem, with the price of having to derive the physical laws from the belief that the numbers
develop naturally from self-introspection. And it is not so  amazing  we
(re)find the type of theory developed by the greeks among those who were both mystic and rationalist. They did introspect themselves very deeply,

Wait my next post to David for how comp does solve the hard  problem  of

Bruno Marchal

Hmmmm.  Well, I think that your proposal suffers from the same
explanatory gap as physicalism.

No. Physicist have not yet addressed really the problem of
With computationalism we can formulate the question.
And yes, there is also a gap.
But the gap is made precise, justified, and has a mathematical  geometry.

So numbers and their relations and machines and whatnot exist
platonically.  Okay.  So far so good.

BUT I don't see why these things in any combination or standing in  any
relation to each other should give rise to conscious experience - any
more than quarks and electrons stacked in certain arrangements should
do so.

You can do it with quark and electron, but if it works because those
quark and electron compute the releant digital number relation, then,
if you say yes to the doctor, I have to derive the observability of
quark and electrons from the number relations, of the combinator
relations (uda).

I believe you that there is some mathematical description or
representation of my experiences...

But I have never said that, although I am aware it may look
superficially like that. I will say "belief" for your representation
(and indeed beliefs are represented, it is roughly speaking the 'body'
of the person).


experiments appear when beliefs cross consistency,
and experience appears when beliefs cross truth.

And I have no proof of consistency to offer, nor real name or
definition of truth. Except for more simpler (than us) Löbian  machines.

but I don't see why the existence
of such a representation, platonic OR physically embodied, would
result in conscious experience...?

Conscious experience is an oxymoron. I think.

No representation is conscious. Nor any body (which are relative
Consciousness or knowledge, like truth, but unlike consistency, has no
finite representation whatsoever.
It is more the platonic and non representable person who is conscious.
Representations are only maps to prevent being completely lost when
entangled with other universal entities and histories. They guide the
soul, or channel the consciousness, in the normal coherent histories.
The soul intersects truth and representation, and may intersect
consistency too (and other variants). (and many other concept of
computer science can help to elaborate this approach).

When be bet on a substitution level, we bet on a coding, not on a
representation, and hopefully the coding level is at a lower level
than the level needed for the possible local representations in play,
relatively to our most probable histories.

The 3-self has a (local) name: it is your body, or a digital copy
(with comp), a relative "Gödel number".
The 1-self has no name. It inherits this feature from truth (which has
no name too, for the machine).

But comp and mathematical logic makes it possible to prove theorems
*about* those non nameable entities (associated to ideally correct

Comp prevents the possibility to give you publicly a name, or to solve
publicly the koan "Who am I?". It allows you to refute any normative
theory about you. As I said often, it is a vaccine against person
representation, categorization, etc.


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