David seems to understand we are closer than you might think. Here I answer again to an interesting old post. I am not sure you commented my answer.

On 23 Oct 2010, at 23:37, Colin Hales wrote:

I am pretty sure that there is a profound misinterpretation and/or unrecognized presupposition deeply embedded in the kinds of discussion of which Van F and your reply and Bruno's fits. It's so embedded that there appears to be no way that respondents can type words from a perspective in which the offered view may be wrong or a sidebar in a bigger but unrecognised picture. It's very hard to write anything to combat view X when the only words which ever get written are those presuming X, and X is assuming a position of explaining everything, yet doesn't.

In the long run I predict that:

1) The 'many worlds' do not exist and are a product of presuppositions about scientific description not yet understood by the proponents of MWI.

In a sense this is an open problem. The expression 'Many dreams' is less false. Then there are dreams shared by a continuum of running machines, and they can define (non constructively) notion of worlds, and proximity of worlds.

2) QM will be recognized as merely an appearance of the world, not the world as it is.

Not sure about that. OK for the hamiltonians, but not for the quantum principle (linearity and symmetry in all directions).

3) The universe that exists now is.the only universe that exists at the moment.

For the first person pov, yes. But it is a conscious state. I guess you are not solipsist. The term 'universe' is vague here. Taken as a third person facts, it is a form of cosmo-solipsism. We don't know that, and have evidences on the contrary: the quantum facts, and digital mechanism once you get the first person indeterminacy.
The numbers describe everything, but that counts for nothing.
The numbers relations defined from + and *, emulates everything, and that counts for all possible internal views of arithmetic.

Despite this, the "many worlds" are explorable, physically by 'virtual matter' behaving as if they existed (by an appropriate entity made of the stuff of our single universe)

That is unclear.

4) The MWI has arisen as a result of a human need to make certain mathematics right, not the need to explain the natural world. This, in the longer term will be recognised as a form of religiosity which will be seen to imbue the physicists of this era, who are preselected by the education system for prowess in manupulating symbols. The difference between this behaviour and explaining the natural world is not understood by the physicists/mathematicians of this era.

It is a theory (QM without collapse). But the many dreams is a consequence of digital mechanism too, in a testable way---by testing the physics. You can always propose another theory. All theories have their own religiosity. I made the comp one explicit most of the time. It is a theory akin to a neoplatonist or perhaps neoneoplatonist (neoplatonism + Church thesis) theology. In a rather transparent sense, it is the theology of the universal numbers. The proper theological part is axiomatized by G* minus G, at the propositional level.

(In contrast, I regard myself as a scientist .... an explainer of things-natural ...which I claim as different to being a physicists/ mathematician in this strange era we inhabit) 5) COMP is false.... a computer instantiation of rules of how a world appears to be, and a world are not the same thing.

But that is a consequence of comp. A computer instantiation of rules of how a world appears to be IS NOT a world, indeed. Worlds are what is emerging from a continuum of computations if a first person plural way.

Here you confuse digital physics, with the physics which has to be derived from computer science when assuming comp (without eliminating consciousness).

6) COMP is false.... a computer instantiation of rules of how a brain appears to be is not a brain.

OK. But I work in the theory comp, which means that by assumption "I", whatever am I "really", am or is Turing emulable at some level of description. Careful, in a sense the first person "I" (the one which enjoys and suffers for example) is not really Turing emulable from its point of view. That explains why comp is truly 'unbelievable' by Löbian machine, although trivially true for the löbian machine!

7) Corollary: scientific description of how the world appears and what the world is made of are not the same description _,

Again that is a consequence of comp.

and_ computer instantiations of either set is not a world.


8) The issue that causes scientific descriptions (like QM) to be confused with actual reality is a cultural problem in science, not a technical problem with what science has/has not discovered.

I am partially OK. But the problem can become technical in such or such theory or theories of mind.

9) That most of the readers of this list will stare at this list of statements and be as mystified about how I can possibly think they are right as I am about those readers' view that they can't be right.

No, we agree on the important point 5 and 7. And if you really don't buy comp, even if it makes the worlds, and the sensations undescribable, then I have no problem with your attempt to introduce substance and physical unicity.

BTW I have a paper coming out in Jan 2011 in 'Journal of Machine Consciousness' in which I think I may have proved COMP false as a 'law of nature' ... here in this universe, (or any _actual_ universe, really). At the least I think the argument is very close....and I have provided the toolkit for its final demise, which someone else might use to clinch the deal.

This leads to my final observation:

10) I think the realization of the difference between 'wild-type' computation (actual natural entities interacting) and 'artificial computation' (a computer made of the actual entities interacting, waving its components around in accordance with rules /symbols defined by a third party) will become mainstream in the long run.

The difference between natural and artificial is artificial. And thus natural too, among machine developing big egos. Löbian machine have already a problem with that. Their 8 'natural' different view on arithmetical reality seems, for them, to contradict. There is a tension between Bp and Bp & p. A bit like the right and left hemisphere, or the heart and reason, may be.

It's quite possible that the COMP of the Bruno kind is actually right , but presented into the wrong epistemic domain and not understood as such.

Well. I have hide for long that it is machine's theology. It has not helped. Now I don't hide it, especially that it makes clear that science has not decide between Plato's and Aristotle "theologies".

Time will tell. The way the Bruno-style' COMP can be right is for it to make testable predictions of the outward appearance of the mechanism for delivery of phenomenal consciousness in brain material

It is testable by its physical parts. For consciousness, each one has to judged by itself, and understand that it is a strong hypothesis, and that it might be false. If comp is true, it is unbelievable (which explains the need of an act of faith in front of the doctor). It makes the comp people obliged to be NON proselyte.

NC (natural computation) and AC (artificial computation) is the crucial distinction.

That distinction is relative to the selves or the egos. It is an indexical.

I don't think the QM/MWI proponent can conceive of that distinction.

In public science we must abstract from that distinction, and explain its appearance by a logic of self-reference. In arithmetic it is basically the distinction between Bp and Bp & p. G* knows they are the same, but the machine don't know, and cannot know. Universal machine looking inward cannot NOT conceive that distinction, and it will be hard for them to abstract it away. But there is no need to eliminate that crucial distinction, given that with comp,, the physical laws arise from that distinction. With comp, those eliminating all indexicals have to eliminate the physical worlds, which are first person plural (Bp & Dp & p).

Perhaps it might be helpful if those readers try and conceive of such a situation, just as an exercise..

We do it all the time, but public science (Bp) abstracts itself from it, even the science which tackle the distinction, by using some hypothesis. With mechanism, this abstraction does NOT lead to the disappearance of the person. On the contrary the abstract person and its role can be recognized as preponderant, even in the making of the physical worlds. That is an admittedly counter-aristotelians news.



Bruno Marchal wrote:

HI Stephen,

Just a short reply to your post to Colin, and indirectly to your last posts.

On 22 Oct 2010, at 10:53, Stephen Paul King wrote:

Dear Colin,

Let me put you are ease, van Fraassen has sympathies with the frustrations that you have mentioned here and I share them as well, but let's look closely at the point that you make here as I think that it does to the heart of several problems related to the notion of an observer. OTOH, it seems to me that you are suggesting that the objective view is just a form of consensus between all of those subjective view, no? Also, the notion of a measurement is discussed in detail in the paper. I wonder if you read far enough to see it...If we buy the computationalist interpretation of the mind then there is nothing necessarily special about a human brain; the discussions about computational universality give us a good argument for that.

OK. So we agree on the basic. But if you take the comp hypothesis seriously enough, then you might understand that assuming set theory or quantum mechanics is either contradictory (worst case) or redundant.

Thanks for the van Fraassen paper. I have already argue that the "modal interpretation" of QM is a form of MWI, and that paper confirms my feeling. Not sure it is really new if you read with some attention the entire thesis by Everett.

First of all we need to admit that if we are to be consistent with the mathematical prescriptions of quantum mechanics, each and every one of those scientists and table lamps, as physical objects, have a wave function of sorts associated with them and, assuming that they could interact, are entangled with each other. “Being in the universe” implies to me that that there is a sharing of context and maybe even a common basis of sorts. But is that all there is to it? Hardly! being a table lamp, when considered from the quantum perspective is not so simple. We cannot assume that there is any definiteness of properties in a sharp sense. When we consider a Table Lamp or any other physical object in isolation at best we have a superposition of possible properties, and what is the outcome of measurement is given in terms of restrictions upon those possibilities by the possible properties and modes of possible interaction of all of the tables, chairs, beds, etc. that are in the room with that table lamp and beyond. We cannot assume that what something ‘is’ is somehow invariant with respect to changes in the interactions that it has with all of the other objects. This is a very subtle point that need to be carefully considered. The notion of a Table lamp in isolation literally dissolves into nothing when we remove all those other objects upon which its definiteness of state persists. The conflation that has persistent for more than 2000 years is the idea that object in themselves are what they are. I am reminded of Einstein’s quit to Bohr that the moon would still exists if he was not looking at it. My response to Einstein is that he is not the only one interacting with the moon. We need to take the whole web of interactions into account when we consider the definiteness of properties otherwise we are only considering bare existence and that tell us nothing at all about properties.

It should be obvious, if you get the UDA, that physical reality does not have a "view of nowhere" or an ultimate third person describable reality. Mechanism makes the physical reality a first person plural reality, with the person played by the Löbian machine or Löbian number. There is still a boolean ultimate third person view available: arithmetic (or combinators, lamda calculus, etc.).

And this contradicts nothing written by Pratt, who is indeed a little less naïve than those defending the identity thesis. But Pratt scratches only the surface of the mind-body problem: he identifies the physical with the set-theoretical (which is not so much senseless actually, but far from leading to extracting QM from numbers), nor does he tackle any problem in the cognitive science (qualia, undefinability, rôle of consciousness, etc.). But his SET/ SET^op duality is rather natural for a category theory minded attempt to go toward a formulation of the mind-body problem. His duality is also 100% mathematical a priori, which makes him mathematicalist like Tegmark, and like comp (with some nuances).

In november I will have a bit more time, and I could add something on both van Fraassen-Rovelli and Pratt.



From: Colin Hales
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2010 10:35 PM
Subject: Re: A paper by Bas C. van Fraassen
Looks like and interesting read.... but the initial gloss-over I had revealed all the usual things that continue to frustrate and exasperate me....

Why won't people that attend to these issues do some neuroscience...where the only example of a real "observer" exists.? Why does characterising the actual reality get continually conflated with characterisation of the reality as it appears to the observer (with a brain/scientist observer I mean)? Why does scientific measurement continue to get conflated with scientific observation which continues to get conflated with scientific evidence which then gets confusedly applied to systems of description which are conflated with actual reality?

There _is_ a view  from nowhere!
It is acquired with objectivity, which originates in a totally subjective capacity delivered by the observer's brain material. In a room of 100 scientists in an auditorium there are 100 subjective views and ZERO objective views. There is ONE 'as-if' '/ virtual objective view which is defined by agreement between multiple observers. But no "measurement" is going on. There's 100 entities 'BEING' in the universe.

The Van Frassen discussion seems to conflate 'being' somewhere and 'observing'. A table lamp gets to BE. It is intimately part of its surrounds and has a unique perspective on everything that is 'not table lamp', but the lamp NOT observing in the sense scientists observe (with a brain). A brain is in the universe in the same way a table lamp is in the universe - yet the organisation of the brain (same kind of atoms/molecules) results in a capacity to scientifically observe. This 'observe' and the 'observe' that is literally BEING a table lamp, are not the same thing! Grrrrrrrrrrrr!

This conflation has been going on for 100 years.

I vote we make neuroscience mandatory for all physicists. Then maybe one day they'll really understand what 'OBSERVATION' is and the difference between it and 'BEING', 'MEASUREMENT and 'EVIDENCE' and _then_ what you can do with evidence.

There. Vent is complete. That's better. Phew!


Colin Hales.

Stephen Paul King wrote:

Hi Friends,

Please check out the following paper by Bas C. van Fraassen for many ideas that have gone into my posts so far, in particular the argument against the idea of a “view from nowhere”.


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