From: Bruno Marchal 
Sent: Friday, April 29, 2011 11:45 AM
Subject: Re: Reading The Theory of Nothing

On 29 Apr 2011, at 02:42, Stephen Paul King wrote:

    Please allow me to ask another question. Is the notion of an “observer 
moment” corresponding to “the smallest possible conscious experience” related 
to Bruno’s concept of substitution level? ISTM that both act like the idea of a 
coarse graining on an ensemble that is used to define the entropy of a system 
in that all of the members of the ensemble that are indistinguishable from a 
macroscopic point of view.

You can easily relate them.

Let us distinguish the 1-OMs from the 3-OMs. The 1-OM are experiences of an 
individual when his brain is in some computational state S. We assume comp, of 
course,  so we can attribute a 1-OM to some such state. The 3-OMs are given by 
all the equivalent computational states S, S', S'', ... obtained in the 
universal dovetailing. For example the state of your brain emulated by a 
program computing the Heisenberg evolution of the Milky Way at the level of 
strings, or the state of your brain obtained by another program simulating the 
quantum fluctuation of the void, or the state of your brain obtained by a 
fortran program emulating a lisp program emulating a prolog program emulating 
... emulating the search of the solution of some universal diophantine 
polynomial, etc. All those programs are emulated by the universal dovetailer, 
and all the finite pieces of computations obtained by such emulation can be 
proved to exist in a tiny part of arithmetic. There are aleph_0 such finite 
piece of computations, and they are all "run" by the UD. The first person glue 
them into a priori 2^aleph_0 infinite computations. 
For each of them, you can always find in arithmetic a computation which is more 
fine grained. But you, by the first person indeterminacy, cannot know in which 
computation you are. Actually you can be said belonging to all of them, and 
your physical laws are determined by the measure on your continuations of such 
computations. From this you can see that the highest level of substitution 
defines the measure on the possible lowest one, which you cannot distinguish, 
by definition. That is why, if we look at ourselves below that level, we have 
to be confronted with a strong form of indeterminacy. Boltzman's idea cannot be 
used at this stage, though, without having a measure on the relative 
computations, and this prevents a direct use of the notion of entropy. We need 
more physics for that, but, as I have already explained we have to derive that 
physics from the numbers and self-reference if we don't want to miss the 
relationship between the quanta and the qualia offered by the splitting between 
provable self-reference and true self-reference (G and G* and their intensional 


    Thank you very much for this comment. I have two comments in response: 

    1) Does not this relation, between substitution level and 
distinguishability level, hinge on the ability of a generic observer to make 
the distinction between what it is experiencing as opposed to and contrasted 
from what it is not (which is then defined as an 1-OM)? Is not the act of 
making a distinction a dynamic action that cannot be reduced to a static 
relation? I strongly believe that we do not have a solution of the hard problem 
of consciousness because we refuse to see the obvious fact that consciousness 
is not a static condition. Simply embedding a self-map within a static 
bit-string (via abstract Gödelization) is insufficient for reasons that Russell 
discusses in Theory of Nothing (the TIME postulate). Consciousness requires a 
flow to allow for a continuous updating of the self-mapping (modelizing) that 
is irreducible to a unique monotonic function for similar reasons that a 
machine can never know exactly what process it is supervening upon! What I am 
saying is that you are repeatedly stated this fact but it seems that you do not 
see the meaning of the words!  
    At some point in these discussion we will have to come to grips with this 
property of observers: the ability to distinguish dynamically. I think that the 
results of the act of making distinctions (X) are the logical structures (G and 
G*) that you have explored in depth, but implies a X causes (G, G*)  relation 
that is asymmetric for it tells us that G, G* supervene on X. How please note 
that X is, in my thinking, a process, not a static structure. My belief is that 
even with an ensemble of static structures does not equal a dynamic process. 
There must exist something that “breaths fire” into the ensemble.

   2) You have discussed how the UD runs on something, but I have never been 
able to put my mental finger on what it is. Even after reading SANE04 several 
times and asking many questions on this List... Every time that I see a 
discussion that makes sense of the UD as a process that can be associated with 
something that is a process, like a concrete or physical universe, that 
connects to observable phenomena like thermodynamics, you make this claim (or 
equivalent)  that “comp forbids to associate inner  experiences  with  the  
physical processing related to the computations corresponding  (with comp)  to  
those experiences.” You seem to demand that since there does not exist a 
bijective (one to one and onto) map between a particular inner experience 
(1-OM) and some (particular thermodynamic law compliant) process X that can act 
as a concrete instantiation of some computation S, that X does not exist. 
    Is this correct? It is an oxymoron to say that the UD “runs on the walls of 
Platonia” when we have explicitly forbidden Platonia from having anything like 
walls! Ideas require concrete implementations to be “real”.

    The idea (the philosophic aspect at least) that I am exploring is exactly 
related to the “physics” that we need to recover something consistent with 
Boltzman’s idea but so far it requires that the measure is emergent from 
interactions between 1-OMs in a way that is not static and timeless. To do this 
we need a notion of concurrency and some notion of time (not the sequence of 
events notion of time, but the flow of one event into another). Now, I agree 
with you that there can be no ontologically primitive time because as  there 
cannot be a single monotonic universal ordering of events when those events 
include even just those for all possible OM. OTOH, there can exist a 
fundamental notion of change that can have aspects (projections?) in finite 
1-OMs that when counted with some form of local measure will generate a local 
clock aspect of time. See:

    My only difficulty with your ideas is that you use the semantics of 
Becoming to argue for its antithesis. Why do you do this? What is your 
motivation? Is it your goal to prove the existence of a universal measure for 
all OMs? Why is not a local relative (not global or universal) measure not 
sufficient? Pratt’s residuation can be used to define the logical abstract 
aspect of such a local measure but his idea has not been fleshed out 
sufficiently to derive the particular form of this local measure, but other 
people are working on equivalent ideas that may overcome this shortcoming.



PS, to Russell: I think that you are conflating consciousness with 
self-awareness in section 9.5 of your book.  The two are not the same thing. 
Consciousness is purely passive. Self-awareness is active in that is involves 
the continuous modeling (passive consciousness) with the continuous act of 
choosing between alternatives (free will).

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