On Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 12:09 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> 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:
>>> 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
>>> 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.
Once one has abandoned libertarian free will, I don’t see that the
concept of “persons” matters much anyway.
>> 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).
If one doesn’t accept that conscious experience is the result of
computable functions, then I don’t see that this is relevant.
So the Church-Turing thesis is basically that "everything computable
is computable by a Turing machine."
Further, since an algorithm is a finite string of characters from a
finite alphabet, the number of computable functions is countable.
You can’t use Cantorian diagonalization in this case because doing so
would require you to write a computable function that could generate a
list of the other computable functions, and then create it’s own
output for input “n” by sampling the nth output of the nth computable
function and adding 1 - with the problem being that because of the
halting problem you can never generate a list of *only* the computable
Which means that Meillassoux’s idea won’t work *if* one assumes that
conscious experience is computable...since in that case there is, in
some sense, a set of possible conscious experiences.
But if one doesn’t start from the assumption that conscious experience
is computable, then your point has no bearing on Meillassoux’s
And, as an accidentalist, I don’t assume that conscious experience is
While some sequences of experience may have aspects that lend
themselves to being accurately described via computable functions, I
see no reason to accept that *all* aspects of *all* experiences are
So...an interesting argument, but I think not applicable.
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