On 5/9/2011 1:34 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 07 May 2011, at 19:36, meekerdb wrote:

On 5/7/2011 8:19 AM, John Mikes wrote:
Thanks, Russell,
I am gladly standing corrected about our fellow smart animals.
We speak about a "self-awareness" as we, humans identify it in our human terms and views. Maybe other animals have different mental capabilities we cannot pursue or understand, as adjusted to their level of complexity usable in their 'menatality'. It may - or may not - be only according to their number of neurons as our conventional sciences teach. Or some may use senses we are deficient in, maybe totally ignorant about. (We have a deficient smelling sense as compared to a dog and missing orientation's senses of some birds, fish, turtle) In our anthropocentric boasting we believe that only our human observations are 'real'.
Thanks for setting me straight

Not only do other species have different perceptual modalities; even within the "self-awareness" there are different kinds. Referring to my favorite example of the AI Mars rover, such a rover has awareness of it's position on the planet. It has awareness of it's battery charge and the functionality of various subsystems. It has awareness of its immediate goal (climb over that hill) and of some longer mission (proceed to the gully and take a soil sample). It's not aware of where these goals arise (as humans are not aware of why they fall in love). It's not aware of it's origins or construction. It's not a social creature, so it's not aware of it's position in a society or of what others may think of it.

I expect that when we have understood consciousness we will see that it is a complex of many things, just as when we came to understand life we found that it is a complex of many different processes.

Life and consciousness are different notion with respect to the notion of explanation we can find from them. In case of life, we can reduce a third person describable phenomenon to another one (for example we can argue that biology is in principle reduced to chemistry, which is reduced to physics). For consciousness there is an hard problem, which is the mind-body problem, and most people working on the subject agree that it needs another sort of explanation. Then comp shows that indeed, part of that problem, is that if we use the "traditional" mechanistic rationale, we inherit the need of reducing physics to number theory and intensional number theory, with a need to explicitly distinguish first person and third person distinction. In a sense, the "hard problem" of consciousness leads to an "hard problem of matter" (the first person measure problem). Of course, I do think that mathematical logic put much light on all of this, especially the self-reference logics. Indeed, it makes the problem a purely mathematical problem, and it shows quanta to be a particular case of qualia. So we can say that comp has already solved the conceptual problem of the origin of the coupling consciousness/matter, unless someone can shows that too much white rabbits remains predictible and that normalization of them is impossible, in which case comp is refuted.


I don't see that reducing consciousness to mathematics is any different than reducing it to physics. Aren't you are still left with "the hard problem" which now becomes "Why do these number relations produce consciousness?". I don't think this "hard problem" is soluble. Rather what can be solved is how to make devices, like intelligent Mars Rovers and parts of brains the doctor can insert, which act conscious. And further to understand which computations correspond to different kinds of thoughts, such as "awareness of self as a part of society" or "feeling of guilt" or "I'm in Moscow". When we have that kind of engineering mastery of AI, the "hard problem" will be seen as a simplistic, archaic wrong question.


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