On 02 Dec 2010, at 19:29, Rex Allen wrote:

On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 5:02 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
On 11/27/2010 1:06 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 12:49 PM, Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com> wrote:

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?

If it were consistent it would be solipism.

By inconsistency I assume that you are referring to my use of "you"
and "your" while claiming that, ultimately, Jason's conscious
experience has nothing to do with my conscious experience?

If there are no causal connections between our experiences then...why
am I addressing him in my emails as though there were?

There are three answers to this question:

1)  To be consistent, I have to conclude that ultimately there is no
reason for this.  It's just the way things are.  That I do this is
just a fact, and not causally connected to any other facts.

2)  The related fact that, lacking free will, I have no real choice
but to do this.

1) and 2) are contradictory.

3)  My "experienced" justification is that these emails are mostly an
opportunity to articulate, clarify, and develop my own thoughts on
these topics.  I take an instrumentalist view of the process...it
doesn't matter what Jason's metaphysical status is.

As to solipsism, meh.  In what sense do you mean?

Methodological solipsism, yes.  Metaphysical solipsism, no.

1.  My mental states are the only things I have access to.  Yes.

This depends what you mean by access. I am accessing and modifying your thought processes right now.

2.  From my mental states I cannot conclude the existence of anything
outside of my mental states.  Yes.

No. You cannot prove the existence of anything outside. But you cannot prove the inexistence of anything outside too. You are confusing ~Bp with B~p. From your inability to prove p, you conclude that you have proved ~p.

3.  Therefore I conclude that only my mental states exist.  No.

All right then. But this contradicts other posts you send.

So, I only score two out three on the metaphysical solipsism checklist.

Why do I reject #3?  This comes back to taking a deflationary view of
"personage".  It isn't "mental states belonging to Rex" so much as
"mental states whose contents include a Rex-like-point-of-view".

I have recollections of mental states which did not include a Rex-like
point of view (Salvia!).  Based on those recollections I find it
entirely plausible (though not certain) that non-Rex-flavored mental
states exist.

But beyond that I can't say anything further about what kinds of
mental states do or don't exist.  Maybe Jason's mental states exist,
maybe they don't.  It's not really important.

You really look like a solipsist now. From 'cosmic consciousness' *you* can doubt about Rex's bodies, not about Jason or anyone consciousness. You mix categories. You are preventing all possibilities of theorizing at the start.

It's when your conscious
experience infers that you are communicating with another conscious
experience that the need for an explanation of the similarity of the
experiences is needed.  Objective = intersubjective agreement.

And I would say that trying to explain intersubjective experience is
getting a little ahead of things until one has a plausible explanation
of subjective experience.

That is non sense. It is like saying, before trying to build a pendulum we need a plausible explanation of gravity. 1Z was right: you ask for an absolute explanation. Just that makes you a solipsist, given that only personal consciousness can be considered as absolute.

What can you reliably infer from your conscious experience without
knowing what conscious experience "is"?  It's building a foundation on
top of something which has no foundation.

This moves will kill all theories. That is not necessary.

From conscious experience, I'd think that you can only reliably infer
things about conscious experience, not about what exists outside of or
behind conscious experience.

Well, that is a theory depending statement. You want theories to be certain. That does not exist at all. (Well many argue that elementary arithmetic is certain. I am not sure, but I do take it as more sure than many other theories).

Do you agree that 5 is a prime number?

As Hans Moravec says:

"A simulated world hosting a simulated person can be a closed
self-contained entity. It might exist as a program on a computer
processing data quietly in some dark corner, giving no external hint
of the joys and pains, successes and frustrations of the person
inside. Inside the simulation events unfold according to the strict
logic of the program, which defines the 'laws of physics' of the
simulation. The inhabitant might, by patient experimentation and
inference, deduce some representation of the simulation laws, but not
the nature or even existence of the simulating computer. The
simulation's internal relationships would be the same if the program
were running correctly on any of an endless variety of possible
computers, slowly, quickly, intermittently, or even backwards and
forwards in time, with the data stored as charges on chips, marks on a
tape, or pulses in a delay line, with the simulation's numbers
represented in binary, decimal, or Roman numerals, compactly or spread
widely across the machine. There is no limit, in principle, on how
indirect the relationship between simulation and simulated can be."

Without a limit on how indirect the relationship can be, then there's
no conclusions that can be drawn.

But then how could *you* infer anything from this, given that you don't have an account of consciousness when your own "theory" asks for it.

And, as always, if the simulation of conscious experience can "just
exist", then why can't conscious experience itself just exist?

I'm afraid you are both solipsist and inconsistent. You evacuate all beliefs/ideas/theories in favor of one certainty: consciousness. That is throwing the reality-baby with the bath water in the extreme.

All theories are based on assumptions and things we accept without understanding. We can never be sure of the truth of those assumptions. We can only hope that we can share them with others, and that they can explain what we are interested in. This is always relative to what we accept as starting *assumptions*. Always.

The study of consciousness, when done honestly can lead us very close to inconsistency. You seem to bridge a gap which is not bridgeable (on earth). You talk like a Löbian machine (like G) which repeats what G* says, but doing this you are losing Löbianity and this makes G* wrong about you. You might have a good insight on something deep, but you make it false by presenting it as a "theory".

Mystical and personal insight can help to find a theory, but they cannot and should not replace any theory. That is why the buddhists insist that enlightenment is a private matter, and can be judged only by what you can offer to the others when you come back in the village. You can also just enjoy the bliss, but you can't, I insist, communicate it as a theory without making yourself inconsistent. That's why the mystical truth is a 'secret'. That's probably why Lao Tseu said that those who does not know will talk, and those who does know will keep silent. For machines and numbers, that is akin to why G and G* are different, and why 'terrestrial or effective machines' have to remain (publicly) modest.



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