On 02 Feb 2011, at 01:46, David Nyman wrote:

On 1 February 2011 22:53, Colin Hales <c.ha...@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au> wrote:


Do forgive me for butting in on an exchange I sometimes only dimly
follow, but I think I may possibly see a misunderstanding on your part
about what Bruno actually claims about "comp" (forgive me, both of
you, if I'm wrong).  As I've understood Bruno over the years, he has
never asserted that comp(utational science) necessarily is the
fundamental science of body and mind.  Rather, he is saying that IF
computational science is assumed (e.g. by proponents of CTM) to be the
correct mind-body theory, THEN the appearance of the body (and
consequently the rest of matter/energy) must emerge as part of the
same theory.  In other words, EITHER the correctness of comp as a
mind-body theory directly implies the "emptiness" of any fundamental
theory of matter; OR alternatively (i.e. accepting a "fundamental"
theory of matter) comp can't be the correct mind-body theory.

That's the point.

The establishment of this disjunction depends on a number of logical
steps, culminating in a class of "reductio" thought experiments
including Maudlin's Olympia/Klara and Bruno's MGA, the burden of which
is to reveal contradictions inherent in any such conjunction of
computationalism and materialism.  As it happens, Maudlin uses this
result to reject CTM, and Bruno follows the opposite tack of rejecting

Yes. The basic reason is as I said that it is more easy to explain the illusion of matter to a mind than the reality of mind to an assumed primary matter.
Comp is delivered with a user guide: computer science.

There is some controversy over these results from
supporters of CTM who continue to find ways to dispute them with
auxiliary assumptions.  Personally, these auxiliaries strike me as
being rather in the nature of epicycles, but then I'm hardly an

Anyway, forgive me if this was already obvious, but I suppose the
conclusion might be that, if you reject fundamental computational
science as your basic theory of "matter", Bruno would expect you to
take the same tack with respect to mind.  I'm sure both he and you
will put me right on this.

To protect a natural world primary ontology, I think Colin has to provide a naturalization of consciousness escaping digitalization at all nature levels, and this without redefining the first person by its comp domain of indeterminacy. Well he has to justify (or not) why he would say no to all doctors. But he can develop a theory of mind along this line. Colin has to find a difference between the physical world and the physical world extracted from comp. I provide a tool for doing that (but it is mathematically involved (the main weakness of comp: it demands the study of computer science)).


Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 01 Feb 2011, at 07:51, Colin Hales wrote:

Hi Bruno,

I have been pondering this issue a bit and I am intrigued about how you
regard the problem space we inhabit. When you say things like ...

"Are you aware that If comp is true, that is if I am a machine ..."

I cannot fathom how you ever get to this point.

By looking at amoeabs, then reading book on molecular genetics, smelling Turing universality, then by reading Gödel's proof and the discovery of how to handle self-duplication and self-reference in representational machine,

I did not take this too much seriously until my understanding of Church thesis deepens. The closure of computerland for diagonalization makes
universal machine extremely universal, if I can say.

This is a presupposition that arises somehow in the lexicon you have
established within your overall framework of thinking.

It has lead me to some interest with that hypothesis.

Let me have a stab at how my view and yours correlate.

In my view
A) There is a natural world.
We, Turing machines dogs, computers are all being 'computed' by it.
 This is a set of unknown naturally occurring symbols
 The natural 'symbols' interact naturally.
 This is 'natural computation'. NOT like desktop computing.
 Universe U ensues.
 Scientist S is being computed within U
 Scientist S can observe U from within.
 U makes use of fundamental properties of the symbols to enable
   .... observation, from within. Call this principle P-O

If by natural world you mean the world of the natural numbers with
addition and multiplication, I am OK. I can picture your "A)".

No. Here's where we part company. This presupposition about the relation between the abstractions for quantity we call numbers, and the natural world is one I do not make. All you can logically claim is that it is made of a large set of 'something', these 'somethings' interact simultaneously, on mass. The 'numbers' do not relate to each other like natural numbers, but
they do relate in a way that can be MODELLED using natural numbers.

If by natural world you mean the physical worlds as seen by 'numbers',
what you say might be locally correct, but that remains to be proved
(assuming comp).

No. You have it all backwards. You can assume _nothing_ about the natural
world and abstract number systems.

B) This is a symbolic description of U created by S from within U
 S can concoct a description of the natural symbols in (A)
 It need not be unique, many (B) correspond to one (A)
 S can never know if it's completely done.
 S can never know the real nature of the sybols in (A)
Descriptions (B), with P-O, explains observation and the observer S

C) There is a _second_ description
 It is also concocted by S
 These are the normal empirical laws we all know so well


 It describes how the U appears to S from inside
 It need not be unique, many (C) correspond to one (A)
 No (C) ever explains observation.

In this framework
(i) a computer running description/rules (B) is not the natural world.

OK. With the two sense of natural world I accept above.

(ii) a computer running description/rules (C) is not the natural world.


(iii) a computer running descriptions (B) or (C) is 'artificially

Yes. it is an isolated malin génie.

(iv)  (C) is physics that present day scientists construct

I don't get "C".

So you don't understand what basic empirical scientists do. Boy have I
failed to connect or what!

(v)   (B) is physics of a natural world prior to an observer.

This exist for Löbian machine (although they can find it "looking

Who's 'they'?

(vi) (A) is 'NATURALLY computing' in the sense that it is literally
    'computing' scientist S.
These options are the logically justifiable position we can take when we
are, as we are, inside U trying to work U out from within, using an
observation faculty provided by U as part of (A). Empirical evidence justifying (C) is normal overvation (contents of one or more observer-agreed conscious experisnces). Empirical evidence justifying (B) is implicit in the existence of an observer concocting a set (C). You can't be confused about
an bservation unless there is an observer to be confused.
All that said.....now ....

You mention "digital physics". You say "Are you aware that If COMP is
true, that is if I am a machine ..."

In terms of my framework....you are speaking of ...what?

I postulate, eventually, only natural numbers and addition and
multiplication. Then from this (it is not obvious but standard in good logic textbook) you can show that the arithmetical relation (defined with "+" and "*", and classical logic) emulate all computations. Physics or the natural world is never emulated (but often simulated by malin génie program). Physics is what appear from inside taking the first person indeterminacy inyto account. A priori the natural world is not a computational object.

"Physics is what appear from inside taking the first person indeterminacy
inyto account. "

This is (C). Standard empirical physics.

"A priori the natural world is not a computational object"

This is (A). the universe U is not a computational object. Not computed.

OK. Clarity of a sort. Where does (B) fit in? I think you assume it as a com,puter program on a magical non-existent computer running something. I
hold that descriptions (B) are accessible. I also hold that these
descriptions are not the same as the (C) descriptions. Both constructed by
the same observer/scientist.

No I think maybe you merge (A) and (B) and then replace them both with your
lower-case comp machine. OK.

(1) A 'Turing machine (digital computer)' inside U running (B)
(2) The natural computation itself, of kind (A)?

I suspect

(3) Some kind of magical 'computer' in idea-space computing us as (A)? i.e. A 'virtual machine' that 'acts as if' it generates an arbitrary
 number of different U?

The COMP I talk about having refuted is in (i) or (ii) above.
I suspect this is not the COMP you are speaking of...

The comp I talk about is the assumption that my (generailzed) brain can be
emulated by a digital computer. The rest should follow.

The 'comp' you talk about is actually an abstract machine in a non- existent abstract space that manipulates abstractions. It's got nothing to do with the COMP I talk about, which is a computer, made of the real world (not integers), in the real natural world, running a description (made by humans) of the natural world. This applies to 'quasi-digital' (desktop style),
analogue and quantum computers.

You have a deep seated conviction that this abstract computer that 'is' a
reality and a real computer that runs descriptions of a reality are
indistinguishable. This is unjustifiable. The simpler, parsimonious solution is to assume that is not the case, and work out what options exist for a describer and the possible relations between a describer and the described.

The reason your propositions have trouble getting accepted is because they make this step into a faith-based presupposition that is indistinguishable from a statement like "the natural world is erected in real time by the little purple regularity fairies". It has exactly the same level of faith and assumption. So the comp you speak of, I conclude, at last, is not the COMP I refute, nor is it the one of the many other refutations. Which is kind of good from your perspective. From my perspective it means I have to
battle no more with your comp.

In relation to Stathis' request:

If you model a natural environment presenting some problem to a human
within that environment, the simulated human will arrive at the same
solution as the real human would have. If intelligence is
problem-solving behaviour, there is therefore no difference between
the natural world and the model provided that the model is in fact a
good one. Your claim that computers cannot replicate human
intelligence is thus equivalent to a claim that there is some process
in the human brain which is not Turing emulable. What process do you

No. This is just plain wrong. You cannot model an observation of something that you have no idea of the evidence of .i.e. You cannot model the unknown. If you could then you'd already know it (the observer and the relationship of the observer to everything else. If you want to get at unknowns, then you
have to model a modeller of the unknown ... and then _assume_ that
everything in a model captures the reality you are modelling, during the

The non-Turing emulable part of the natural world is the relationship
between every little bit X and every other bit of it that is NOT directly
related to X. A product of massive parallelism created by a massive
collection of the entities of which we are actually made, which is best assumed not to be abstract numbers if you want to understand it. This is something we inherit by 'being' in the world. Something that cannot be simulated. Something that a Turing Machine (computer), totally different to
us physically, does not get in its program.
By way of example, I have attached a video of a simulated neuron firing. It's from a paper I have in review at the moment. The video depicts the currents originating the biologically realistic EM fields around a neuron due to the ion channels involed in an action potential. It was produce by
the package NEURON. In it you will see a pair of red/blue interfaces
travelling away from the soma. These interfaces are virtual evanescent current-dipoles. They are mathematically describable, but form no part of the mathematical description that generated them. THAT is what is missing. These are the virtual relationships not accessed by the mathematics of a Turing machine. No matter what is going on in a Turing machine, NONE of this
kind of phenomenon are accessed by it.

The question is 'what is it like to BE those fields'. It cannot be claimed to be like the mathematical description that represents them, nor can it be
claimed to be 'like' being the computer running the simulation.

A final demo that tells you what can't be emulated...using, yes, actual
natural numbers.
Here's a 1.
Here another 1.
If I 'be' the first 1, you 'be' the second 1. what 'law' captures the
relationship between the two instances of 1? That 'law' is not any law that you and I concoct sitting up here, staring down at them like a god. No
amount of abstraction of 'one-ness' capture that relationship.

I am glad I don't have to battle lower case comp any more. So I guess I'll
leave it there for now. Progress has been made.

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