A stimulating discussion, indeed. I side with Brent in most of his remarks
and question SOME of Bruno's in my 'unfounded' agnostic worldview of 'some'
complexity of unrestricted everything - beyond our capabilities to grasp.
Which IMO does not agree with Bruno's
   *" I don't think this "hard problem" is soluble." *
Looking at the inductive 'evolution' in our epistemology my agnosticism
seems more optimistic than this. Within our present capabilities is missing
from the statement, but our capabilities increased constantly - not only by
the introduction of 'zero' in math or the Solar system (1st grade cosmology)
of Copernicus. I do not restrict the grand kids of the grand kids of our
grand kids. I lived through an epoch from right after candlelight with
horses into MIR, the e-mail and DNA.
I would not guess 'what's next'.

To retort  Brent's AI-robot I mention a trivial example: I have a
light-switch on my wall that is *conscious* about lighting up the bulbs
whenever it gets flipped its button to 'up'. It does not know that 'I am'
doing that, but does what it 'knows'. The rest is similar, at different
levels of complexity - the Mars robot still not coming close to 'my'
idea-churning or Bruno's math.

And IMO biology is not 'reduced to chemistry (which is reduced to physics)'
- only the *PART we consider* has a (partial?) explanation in those reduced
sciences, with neglected other phenomena outside such explanatory
restrictions. Just as 'life' is not *within* biology, which may be closer to
it than chemistry. or physics, but genetics is further on and still not
Yes, consciousness - the historic word applied by many who did not know what
they are talking about and applied it in the sense needed to 'apply' to *THEIR
OWN* theoretical needs - is an artifact not identifiable, unless we reach an
agreement *"WHAT IT IS"*  (if it IS indeed).
In my wording the complexity that defines many of the applicable
tenets form some PROCESS(es), not a mathematically identifiable expression -
nor 'awareness' as in another domain. The 'hard problem' is still open. We
need a new insight.
We are hindered by too much mental blockage due to accepted (believed?
calculated?) hearsay assumptions and their consequences. We 'guess' what we
do not know.

You see, I should keep my mouse shut...


On Mon, May 9, 2011 at 2:30 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>  On 5/9/2011 11:00 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> On 09 May 2011, at 18:57, meekerdb wrote:
>> 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.
>>>>>> HOWEVER:
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> John.
>>>>> 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.
>>>> Bruno
>>> I don't see that reducing consciousness to mathematics is any different
>>> than reducing it to physics.
>> It is more easy to explain the illusion of matter to an immaterial
>> consciousness, than to explain the non-illusion of consciousness to
>> something material.
>> Consciousness can be explained by fixed point property of number
>> transformation, in relation to truth, and this explains 99% of consciousness
>> (belief in a reality) and 100% of the illusion of matter, which is really
>> the illusion that some particular universal number plays a particular role.
>> Each time I demand a physicist to explain what is matter, he can only give
>> to me an equation relating numbers. With math, it is different, we have all
>> relation between numbers, and we can understand, by listening to them, why
>> some relation will take the form of particular universal number, having very
>> long and deep computations, and why they will be taken statistically as
>> describing a universe or a multiverses.
>> Aren't you are still left with "the hard problem" which now becomes "Why
>>> do these number relations produce consciousness?".
>> Not true. The math explains why some number relatively to other numbers
>> develop a belief in a reality, and it explains why such a belief separates
>> into a communicable part and a non communicable part. This is entirely
>> explained by the G/G* splitting and their modal variant (based on the
>> classical theory of knowledge).
>>  I don't think this "hard problem" is soluble.
>> An explanation gap remains, but then those number can understand why an
>> explanation gap has to remain,
> What does it mean for numbers to understand?  I take it you mean for
> something like a Godel numbering, the numbers represent a theorem about what
> can be expressed and what can be proven.  But this is a model of thought and
> understanding.  There may be a gap between it and reality just as there may
> be a gap between the models of physics and reality.  One cannot be sure a
> hitherto successful model is not reality itself - but such a belief must be
> provisional at best.
> for purely logical reason. This explain why we do feel that there is
>> something non explainable. But it is 99% explainable, and this includes a
>> complete explanation why there is, necessarily, a remaining 1% which cannot
>> be explained, but which can be reduced to our belief in the natural numbers.
>> In any case, comp forces us to reduce physics to number "psychology", and
>> this explain conceptually the existence of the physical realm. And we get a
>> simple and elegant theory of everything: addition and multiplication.
>> 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.
>> Not at all. If your device is conscious by virtue of doing some right
>> computation, from the point of view of the device itself, his reality must
>> be described by a sum on all computations going through its states, implying
>> that physics must be non local, indeterminist, etc.
> But what is a "sum of computations"; and it is an assumption that
> computation instantiates consciousness (your theology) which seems parallel
> to the physicists assumption that the 3p world can be modelled by physical
> things.  I see your theory as a model too.  It may make some confirmable
> predictions (not just retrodictions) in which case it will be a great
> theory.  But I don't think it will do very much for achieving the kind of
> engineering mastery I mentioned.
> This *explains* the quantum without postulating it. And the logic of such
>> self-referential programs explains also the qualia, and the gap of
>> explanation for the qualia/consciousness. In fact physics explains nothing,
>> it just take for granted some special universal number (the physical law),
>> and reduce everything to it. The math, even just arithmetic, explains where
>> universal numbers comes from, and how and why they dream, and why some
>> dreams become sharable and define physical realities, with their sharable
>> and non sharable parts.
>> The hard problem is the real fundamental issue. Its comp solution really
>> explains why they are quanta and qualia, and the laws such things obey.
>> Physicalism/materialism eventually neglect the person and its consciousness,
>> or build an unintelligible dualism. Physics does not even try to understand
>> its own origin, or the origin of the object it talk about. Physics only
>> build descriptions and scenarios, by taking a theology for granted (the
>> Aristotelian one).
> Physics aims for an invariant, i.e. 3p, model of the world.  I don't know
> any philosophical minded physicists who think otherwise.  That there is some
> reality the models refer to - that's metaphysics, not physics.
> Brent
>> Bruno
>> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
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