On 29 Nov 2010, at 05:15, Rex Allen wrote:

On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 4:06 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 12:49 PM, Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com> wrote:
"Information" is just a catch-all term for "what is being
represented".  But, as you say, the same information can be
represented in *many* different ways, and by many different
bit-patterns.

And, of course, any set of bits can be interpreted as representing any
information.  You just need the right "one-time pad" to XOR with the
bits, and viola! The magic is all in the interpretation. None of it
is in the bits.  And interpretation requires an interpreter.

I agree with this completely. Information alone, such as bits on a hard disk are meaningless without a corresponding program that reads them. Would you admit then, that a computer which interprets bits the same way as a brain could be conscious? Isn't this mechanism? Or is your view more like
the Buddhist idea that there is no thinker, only thought?

Right, my view is that there is no thinker, only thought.

Ah! The key point where we differ the most. Person is the key concept for those who grasp mechanism and its consequences. At least you don't eliminate consciousness, but you do eliminate persons. Brr...




Once you accept that the conscious experience of a rock exists, what
purpose does the actual rock serve? It's superfluous. If the rock can
"just exist", then the experience of the rock can "just exist" too -
entirely independent of the rock.

Once you accept the existence of conscious experiences, what purpose
does the brain serve?

If you accept the idea of taxes, you have to accept some people send you paper recalling you to pay taxes. The purpose of the brain is to augment the probability that your consciousness can manifest itself relatively to mine and others.




It's superfluous. If the brain can "just exist",
then the experiences supposedly caused by the brain can "just exist"
also.

If not, why not?

But why? Note I disagree that a brain can just exist. I like to say the brain exists only in the head :) Like any material structure it is a construct of the "dreaming numbers" (etc. I can explain again if you don't remember the explanation, or reread sane04).





SO...given that the bits are merely representations, it seems silly to
me to say that just because you have the bits, you *also* have the
thing they represent.

Just because you have the bits that represent my conscious experience, doesn't mean that you have my conscious experience. Just because you
manipulate the bits in a way as to represent "me seeing a pink
elephant" doesn't mean that you've actually caused me, or any version
of me, to experience seeing a pink elephant.

All you've really done is had the experience of tweaking some bits and then had the experience of thinking to yourself: "hee hee hee, I just
caused Rex to see a pink elephant..."

Even if you have used some physical system (like a computer) that can
be interpreted as executing an algorithm that manipulates bits that
can be interpreted as representing me reacting to seeing a pink
elephant ("Boy does he look surprised!"), this interpretation all
happens within your conscious experience and has nothing to do with my
conscious experience.

Isn't this just idealism? To me, the main problem with idealism is it doesn't explain why the thoughts we are about to experience are predictable
under a framework of physical laws.

But then you have to explain the existence, consistency, and
predictability of this framework of physical laws.

You still have the exact same questions, but now your asking them of
this framework instead of about your conscious experiences.  You just
pushed the questions back a level by introducing a layer of
unexplained entities.  Your explanation needs an explanation.

Also, you’ve introduced a  new question:  How does unconscious matter
governed by unconscious physical laws give rise to conscious
experience?

Some theory in physics explains a lot. QM explains the nature and behavior of water, photosynthesis, solid matter, black holes, star, etc. It does not explain consciousness, and unfortunately it explains it away if we take QM as primitive. But DM explains both QM-quanta (up to open problems in math, making DM testable) and consciousness-qualia (up to the belief in numbers, but at least with an explanation why the belief in number is necessarily mysterious from our machine perspectives).






If you see a ball go up, you can be
rather confident in your future experience of seeing it come back down. It seems there is an underlying system, more fundamental than consciousness, which drives where it can go. In one of your earlier e-mails you explained your belief as "accidental idealism", can you elaborate on this accidental
part?

Basically I’m just combining accidentalism and idealism.

<snip>

Meillassoux’s solution uses Cantorian detotalization to counter
proposed resolutions to Hume’s “problem of induction” that involve
probabilistic logic depending upon a totality of cases.

Meillassoux's main point with this digression into Cantorian set
theory is that just as there can be no end to the process of set
formation and thus no such thing as the totality of all sets, there is
also no absolute totality of all possible cases.

Down the rabbit hole of infinite regress.  Doesn’t seem promising, and
doesn’t seem necessary.

Meissaloux seems to ignore that the set of partial computable is closed for the Cantorian diagonalization. That is the key technical point which makes Church thesis possible and *digital* mechanism so powerful (and computer science a science).



Why not just accept accidental idealism?

Because if it were true, I would have to accept it accidentally, and that accident seems not to happen, apparently.


Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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