On 14 Jun 2010, at 09:09, Colin Hales wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:


I think we have always agreed on this conclusion. We may differ on the premises.

It just happen that I am using a special hypothesis, which is very common, but not so well understood, and which is the digital mechanist hypothesis.
I think things are more subtle than this...... I assume nothing, especially 'digital anything'. In reality there's no such thing as 'digital' (do not conflate this with 'quantisation'!). There's brains that make statements or kind (A) and (B). That's all.

If I am digital, then quantization is given by the logic of BDp in Z1*. I make the realtion between digital and quantization quite explicit. When you say "there are brains", what do you mean?. Do you mean that there are primitively material or physical brain? Actually I have no idea by what you mean by "I assume nothing". We always assume a theory, implicetly or explicitly.

Unfortunately, because of our conceptual divide

Which conceptual divide? We may have a different theory. I study just the hypothesis that the brain is Turing emulable.

I cannot give meaningful answers to any of the subsequent questions you ask - because to answer them at all means I have to agree with the starting point.

I don't see why. My point is a point of logic. Unless you make explicit that we are not machine, in which case we have different theory.

Your questions are of the same kind as "when did you first start beating your dog?" - the presupposition is that I beat my dog and the only undecided issue is 'when?'.

Where do I presuppose that "you beat your dog"?

The issues you discuss presuppose something that fundamentally violates science approaches in the same way that 'strings', 'loops', 'branes', 'froth' etc etc violate it and get sidelined.

On the contrary. In theoretical science we make explicit the theory we are using. Unlike "string theory", the hypothesis I am using is the most common one among scientists.

You have added the UTM and its variants to the pile. Any of these could be just as right as you think COMP is.

I have no idea about the truth status of Digital Mechanism, except nothing in nature suggest it to be false. On the contrary, the main startling consequence of digital mechanism (non locality, first person indeterminacy, symmetry at the bottom, etc.) are confirmed by the empirical study of nature. But I am open to the idea that comp may be false. That is why I study it: to show it falsifiable and thus scientific in Popper sense.

The (A)/(B) framework is parsimonious/empirically tractable (requires nothing extra in the Occam's razor sense) and COMP isn't because it requires invocation of a form of unseen abstract computer running rules-of-Bruno,

Don't attribute to me what is just elementary theoretical computer science. You are the one postulating something concrete and material apparently (but this is too vague in your paper).

none of which lead to predictions that implement/explain the observer. You seem to think that my (A)/(B) framework must address issues in Bruno/COMP terms. I need none of it. Your framework is a preemptive generalisation of (A)/(B).

In the end, once (A)/(B) candidates have been found and explored, Bruno/COMP may be able to be used as an abstract generalisation of the Hales/(A)/(B) framework. When that realisation happens, we can all go down to the pub and declare "Bruno was right" and drink to your insights....However, this will not happen until (A)/(B) is adopted in a self-consistent manner and followed to its logical endpoint....

I was just mentioning that this is provided by the comp theory.
How will you develop your self-consistent frame without postulating assumption?

literal, verifiable neuroscience predictions of an observer (not by pointing to "what is believed corresponds to observation" within in an abstract hypostase framework on a presupposed computer)........Then and only then will we understand the relationship between the natural world and formal/artificial computation of the COMP kind.....so we can then make informed decisions.

Yes. Why not?

IMO this is the way that you can ultimately be right, Bruno. Your work is an uber-framework within which sits mine as a special case.

Your assumptions are unclear. You seem just to accept that qualia and consciousness exist, I too. Then I work in the mechanist theory. You can see that as a special case. I said exactly that.

It's not either/or.


Between you and proof of COMP is type (B) science of claims and testing.

I don't prove comp, I start from comp. I prove only that comp forces physics to be retrieved from number theory. It makes precise an intuition running through all the post in this list: the relative measure problem. I tackle the measure one. It is not a lot, yet it explains the existence of both qualia and quanta.

The instant that a (B) makes a verified prediction of brain material, you can then provide an abstract 'generalised theoretical neuroscience' that can, under suitable constraints, become the specific (B) that is us. At that time (A)/(B) will be able to be calibrated in terms of 'digital doctors', 'white rabibits', hypostases etc etc. In this way, Bruno/COMP can be quite right but devoid of practical utility, at least at this stage. (Right now...if I believe in COMP or I don't believe...changes nothing ....

Well, up to the quantity of work, the reasoning I propose works with quite strong weakening of comp. The argument is valid for almost all generalization of comp. The argument is invalid only if "I" am a very special sort of infinite analog non Turing emulable machine (in which case a theory of mind can be almost anything).

I still do (A)/(B), making predictive claims) Note that at the same time, the equally sidelined. 'strings', 'loops', 'branes', 'froth' etc etc will also get their validity sorted ... because all of them will be required to predict/explain the observer or go away.

I can see how it must be very frustrating for you to see the overall generalisation

? (i don't see what makes you think I am frustated. On the contrary I told you I do agree with your conclusion. I just show that we can make them utterly precise once we work in the computationalist theory).

but not how we are actually implemented as a particular version of it. At least my assessment of your position looks like that. This is how I think the COMP proposition could be viewed in the future....we'll see, I suppose.

:-) Meanwhile I have a broken, neurotic, deluded (A) science to fix. That's enough work!

That is a consequence of comp too. It forces us to come back to Plato kind of theology. With comp, alias mechanism, and modern computer science, we know that we are more ignorant on those question than materialist or naturalist theories seems to realize. This shows the implicit Aristotelian presupposition existing in today's science, and so it makes sense to insist that they are incompatible with another widespread hypothesis (that the brain functions like a (digital) machine).

The main interest of comp is that it explains where the laws of physics come from, and this by explaining both the qualia and quanta. What may be a bit frustrating perhaps is that you seem unaware of the explanation I gave on this in this list. The A/B difference seems to me entirely justified in the "B"-way. Indeed, we eventually find six other variants, and some gives the logic of the observable-assertions (quantum logic). If you are not interested in the comp hypothesis, it is your choice, of course. The main advantage of comp is that it makes possible to translate question in philosophy-of-mind/theology in mathematics. It shows that all universal machine have a very rich theologies (truth-sets).

May be you could elaborate about our conceptual divide? I do agree with your (A)/(B). Where is the problem? If I remember well, we did agree on this in older conversation.

Bruno Marchal


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