I am a little tired and testy so please forgive me if I am curt and rushed
in my response. I have time now to write so I will, but be warned...
From: Bruno Marchal
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 11:03 AM
Subject: Re: A comment on Maudlin's paper “Computation and Consciousness”
On 28 Jan 2011, at 01:13, Stephen Paul King wrote:
From: Bruno Marchal
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2011 1:23 PM
Subject: Re: A comment on Mauldin's paper “Computation and Consciousness”
On 25 Jan 2011, at 15:47, Stephen Paul King wrote:
SPK: The supervenience thesis is separate from the Turing thesis and
Mauldin does a good job in distinguishing them.
Just to be clear, what Maudlin call "supervenience thesis" is what I called
"physical supervenience thesis", to distinguish it from the computationalist
The computationalist supervenience thesis is basically what remains when we
keep comp, and understand that the Phys. Sup. thesis has to go away in the comp
My claim is that we can push physical supervenience far into the
background but in the cases where interaction between entities occurs it cannot
be eliminated entirely. My proposal is that for interactions we must have both
MEC and MAT, as MEC or MAT taken alone provide insufficient support for
supervenience. This is what I see Maudlin’s argument proving.
SPK: The problem that I see is in the properties of physicality that are
assumed in Mauldin’s argument. It is one thing to not be dependent on what
particular physical structure a computation can be run on (assuming a realistic
supervenience), it is another thing entirely to say that a Turing machine can
be “run” without the existence of any physical hardware at all.
Well, in the branch ~MEC v ~MAT, Maudlin seems to prefer MAT, so he seems
with you on this, I think.
No, I am claiming that for interactions between entities (and the models
thereof) we must have MEC and MAT. In situations, like in most of your theory,
interactions are not a factor thus your thesis follows smoothly in that frame.
This is why I constantly ding you for being solipsistic. I would hope that you
would do the same for me if I where equivalently in error. One must be able to
defend one’s beliefs. Judge and prepare to be judged.
The work has been done. It is up to you to tell me where is the error, which
has to exist if you want have, like many, both MEC and MAT.
I insist that I have no theory. I just show that MEC implies a reduction of the
mind body problem to a body problem. You cannot use the fact that the body
problem is not yet solved as a critic of the argument.
And then the arithmetization of the argument provides enough evidence that a
good arithmetical tensor product can exist, so solipsism is also not proved
from MEC. But ~MAT is proved from MEC. I cannot sum up a long argument in each
paragraph, so I refer you to the explanation that I have already given.
Either you take the argument into account, or you refute it or at least explain
why you are not convinced, in the course of the argument. Each time someone
explain me why h/she is not convinced, if patient enough, come to understand
he/she can no more say yes to a doctor without adding some magic in either
consciousness or matter.
This is only an avoidance of the problem by the claim that it does not
exist, begging the question. I am asking questions about interactions, if you
want to insist that only bodies (as immaterial numbers!) exist so be it. I will
keep asking how it is that their static relations generate the appearance of
multiple mutually irreducible 1-p. We each share a common universe of
experience and we, not being solipsist, believe that that universe that we can
agree and bet on seems to involve interactions between what seems to be
necessarily independent entities. I want to understand how you think that your
argument can explain this appearance?
I accept your premise for the sake of the discussion and to try to
understand your argument that proposes the reduction of the mind-body problem
to a body problem, but this tells me nothing about how the resulting bodies
(plural!) interact with each other. Maybe I need to go through my argument that
the mere existence of a set of all possible representations of interactions
between bodies is insufficient to derive the appearance that I have as 1-p. I
will be doing this in the course to the conversation with Travis, if he is
willing. It has to do with the Concurrence problem and the NP-Complete problems
that are involved in any model of interactions between separable entities that
are not synchronous.
[BM]OK. And the problem with the word physical is that it means different
things in different settings. The main confusion is between fundamentally
physical, or material, with a conception of primary matter, or it means
"related to this or that physical theory" based on abstract mathematical
OK, let us focus carefully on this problem! We have no evidence for and
plenty of sound arguments against the idea that existence at its primitive
level (assuming a well founded ontology) is material, pace Garrett, but that
does not equal a proof of any sort that MAT does not exist.
Sure. That is why I provide a proof, or an argument.
OK, did you notice that I am arguing for then below here about existence?
Do you understand the ideas that I am trying to express?
Please recall that existence, per say, is not a “property” that an entity
can *have*. Existence is only supervening upon its possible forms of expression
not on the chance that such are observed as there will always exist entities
that are not yet within the class of entities that the UD has already
dovetailed upon. This follows from the fact that the UD must run eternally (per
UDA) and all of the proofs of Gödel's incompleteness.)
What I am arguing for is that we need a finite form of MAT for our models
to be sound. We can show that this finite form of MAT is degenerate and can
even vanish in some limit (such as in a Russellian neutral monism where the
differences between mind and body vanish because the ability to distinguish
between them vanishes), but necessary at our level of expressiveness it is
SPK: We also had a recent paper that discusses how “information is
converted into free energy” by a Maxwell Demon-type feedback system. It seems
to me that there is a lot of confusion about what relationship there is between
information and matter, so my inquisitiveness could be seen as an attempt to
make sense of this mess.
And the word "matter" is similarly ambiguous, and never defined, except by
Aristotle which provides the "& Dp" idea, implicitly used by the Platonist
Plotinus to define matter in the way used by the self-observing machine.
Matter is what is indeterminate, and oppose to intelligibility (Bp). It is of
the type ~Bp, that is D#. This is coherent with the idea that a physics is,
before all thing, a probability or plausibility calculus. Cf also Timaeus
(Plato) bastard calculus, and the Kripke semantics of "Dp" in modal logics: Dp
= it exists a world satisfying p.
A very good point, Bruno. But I think that you would agree that Dp is
trivial if by itself given, as I explained above, that existence is necessary
possibility. We need more than Dp in our semantics! We need a local1-p
necessary definiteness of properties even if that definiteness vanishes in 3-p.
I take quantum mechanics as screaming this message over and over but like the
cries of Cassandra it falls upon dead ears.
Most people, including most philosophers, do not explicitly talk about
questions of the the reality or non-reality of the immediate content of “being
in the world”. Descartes did in his Meditations and came to the conclusion that
a dualism was needed. Regretfully his proposal had a fatal flaw because (for
one thing) he used the Humean notion of causality (including the principle of
locality – as did Maudlin!), but this failure by Descartes does not necessitate
the unsoundness of all forms of dualism. Pratt has sketched out a form of
dualism that works! I am just trying to expand on his idea. But my hardest
challenge is getting my fellow philosophers to stop being crypto-solipsists!
Our modelizations must include some form of interactions between many minds.
Interactions between minds and bodies is easy, interactions between minds is
People interact when they are multiplied collectively. There are plenty such
interactive computations in arithmetic. The problem which remains consist to
show that such collective computations win the "measure battle".
To postulate physics or quantum computation at the start is a conceptual
treachery once we assume comp, and it prevents the simultaneous derivation of
quanta and qualia. The 8 hypostases gives a phenomenology of many forms of
[SPK] (Screaming and ranting is heard in the background.)
Have you noticed that I am proposing a way to model a competition between
computations as a way to solve the measure problem?
SPK: One idea that could be proposed is that information is a
relationship in a triple such that a difference exists between two that makes a
difference for the third. I am sure that this can be put into more formal
terms. Turing Machines aside, we are not really getting to the problem until we
have a good set of tools with which to examine the question of how to determine
the substitution level of a given system and even if substitution is possible.
Here I disagree 100%.
It is proved that if we are machine, then we cannot define and prove what is
our substitution level. No machine can ever know which machine she is. This is
what I have called the Benacerraf principle in older post (and my theses).
For any machine defined as such in a 3-way, the substitution level is built
in the plan of the machine, by definition.
Your disagreement is with a straw man, Bruno, not with my argument here,
although I did use poor wording there. I was considering the physical aspect of
substitution, as in the for example case of replacing biological neurons with
silicon chips. Please remember that you are a monist and I am not, so our
definitions differ in subtle ways. Your idea of Machine is purely ideal. For me
machine has dual aspects, physical and informational. In my thoughts, a machine
can have physical substitutability with another machine under bisimilarity,
where the substitution maintains the invariance of the informational structure
(a Complete Atomic Boolean Algebra for the classical case of Chu2). We can copy
physical states up to the quantum limit, but we cannot copy the information
that is relevant to determining the quantum states of those machines because of
the non-commutativity of canonical conjugates.
There is a difference between information and knowledge, between what is
computable by UTM and what is not. I do not see how my claim is not
inconsistent with the Benacerraf principle:
I am a machine I will never KNOWN which one.”; by my reasoning this follows
from the “no outside observers” idea of van Fraassen. If there does not exist a
third such that the state of that third is capable of being altered by a
difference between a pair of states of knowledge, then there is no information
difference in content (this is, by the way, the definition of bisimilarity!).
Knowledge is like second order information.This is exactly the situation where
my proposed duality vanishes! In the zero information state, there is no
differences that could make a difference (per definition!).
I assume that I am a machine that requires some form of physical
instantiation to preserve my sense of identity, my awareness of being in the
world, but I cannot know or gain information of which ideal machine I am.
Questions like “which physical implementation is “me”?” is similarly unknowable
from 3-p because there does not exist a non-trivial 3-p that is a unique
bijection of some 1-p. There are *many* possible 3-p that can be extended from
a single 1-p. Your teleportation argument in UDA show this very well. This
claim seems to imply that we cannot gain knowledge of “what it is like be be a
bat” without actually being some kind of bat and is falsifiable in that sense.
My wording may be ill-formed here, but I am betting that I am correct.
So where is our disagreement?
That you seem not to see that MEC => ~MAT without singling out what is wrong in
Of course you can add a notion of primitive matter as epiphenomenon, but that
contradicts the weakest form of OCCAM, if only because we have no means at all
to *interact* with such matter. So why to reintroduce it.
MERDE! Bruno! Can you read what I wrote previously? OK, let me calm
down.... Is your argument completely independent of Maudlin’s? If so, then I
need to re-read your papers and posts again. So far you are only adding lots of
sophisticated detail to the Movie graph argument, which I pointed out has a
problem. It assumes the classical principle of locality and ignores the reality
of the relativity of simultaneity.
We have an overabundance of evidence contradicting the idea that our common
world and the objects within it obey the principle of locality when it comes to
their properties and evolutions and the experimental evidence for General
Relativity is accurate to many many orders of magnitude, thus if we are going
to make claims that the physical world does not exist based on arguments that
are straw men because they are based on assumption in contradiction to
experimentally established facts, we are arguing in bad faith. On the other
hand, it is not necessarily a violation of OCCAM to introduce entities that can
be shown to be logically necessary. I am just proposing that a weak form of MAT
is OK, and that your (and Maudlin’s) argument that MEC => ~MAT is unrealistic
in that it is based on constraints that are too strong.
Adding a notion of primitive matter as an epiphenomenon is the last thing
that I would propose because it only adds to the problem we are trying to
solve. An epiphenomena is by definition not causally effective, and so is
irrelevant to issues of computational supervenience. It does not help us at all
to find a solution to the interaction problem (whether it is between bodies or
minds). As Pratt wrote in http://chu.stanford.edu/guide.html#ratmech:
“We apply Cartesian logic to reject not only divine intervention,
preordained synchronization, and the eventual mass retreat to monism, but also
an assumption Descartes himself somehow neglected to reject, that causal
interaction within these planes is an easier problem than between.”
I am having a very hard time not seeing your proposal as a secular form of
Divine intervention! I would be a lot more sanguine to your argument if you
could show how the divine existence of AR supervenes sufficiently to explain
the interactions between concurrent objects. How does the mere existence of
relationships between numbers provide sufficient structure to supervene all of
the additional structures that we need to define the 1-p of many minds? While
we can point to Goedelian diagonalizations as ansatz arguments, we forget that
we can only do this because we have matter to write down our symbolic
representations of the strings of numbers. Without the support of matter, there
is no transitionally invariant structure to act as “tape” for our proposed
Universal Dovetailing machine because there is no transition to be invariant
to! If there is no time or matter, then there is no memory for our processors
to read and write from and to. Therefore, we must have at some level a physical
material world. That does not mean that this physical material would is not
degenerate and that it vanishes in some limit, it just means that for the sake
of the case of interactions of individual minds, however it is that one wants
to define their supervenience, we need something that it is like to be a
physical material world. .
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