> Information is a difference that makes a difference.  But it has to
> make a difference *to* someone.

It would be meaningful to rewrite it by putting emphasis on *someone*
instead of *to*.


2011/6/5 Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com>

> On Sat, Jun 4, 2011 at 4:14 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Jun 4, 2011, at 1:03 PM, Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> On Sat, Jun 4, 2011 at 1:51 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Godel showed no single axiomatic system captures all mathematical
> truth,
> >>> any
> >>> fixed set of axioms can at best approximate mathematical truth.  If
> >>> mathematical truth cannot be fully captured by a set of axioms, it must
> >>> exist outside sets of axioms altogether.
> >>
> >> Then perhaps the correct conclusion to draw is that there is no such
> >> thing as "mathematical truth"?
> >>
> >> Perhaps there is just human belief.
> >>
> >
> > Perhaps so, perhaps there is only Rex's beliefs.  Perhaps only rex's
> beliefs
> > at this exact moment.
>
> Not obviously impossible.  Thought not obviously necessitated either.
>
> Does the possibility that there are only Jason’s beliefs at this exact
> moment scare you?
>
> Would you prefer it to be otherwise?
>
>
> > What model for decision making can there be with such a
> > world view?
>
> But we don’t need metaphysics for decision making.
>
> We must act.  And there’s nothing guide those actions except that
> which can be “distilled” from past experience.
>
> But what to make of the distillate?  Is it just a compact description
> of past observations?  Or is it a “true” description of reality?
>
> Classical mechanics turned out to be a compact description of past
> observations.  No one looks to Newton’s equations for metaphysical
> guidance, do they?
>
> But computationalism is, you think, a true description of reality?
>
>
> > But what explanatory power does that offer?
>
> It seems plausible to me that physics (or computationalists) may be
> able to generate a complete, compact framework that describes the
> world that I observe.
>
> And since I observe behavior of the people around me, and the
> framework is a compact description of my observations, then I should
> be able to “explain” people’s behavior in terms of the framework.
>
> And if I can explain my neighbor’s behavior in terms of the framework,
> maybe I can explain my own behavior in those terms as well.
>
> However...
>
> Explanation is something that occurs *within* a descriptive framework.
>  Those explanations don’t reach beyond the framework.
>
> Going “metaphysical” (instead of instrumental) with an explanatory
> framework could only be justified if we had some reason to believe
> that our observations plus our reason gave us reliable access to what
> is real.
>
> But notice that “reason” shows up twice in that sentence...which is a
> problem.
>
>
> >>> The fractal is just an example of a simple formula leading to very
> >>> complex
> >>> output.  The same is true for the UDA:
> >>> for i = 0 to inf:
> >>>  for each j in set of programs:
> >>>    execute single instruction of program j
> >>>  add i to set of programs
> >>> That simple formula executes all programs.
> >>
> >> Following those instructions will let someone "execute" all "programs".
> >
> > What is the engine providing the computations which drive the universe?
>
> That assumes that computations do drive the universe.
>
> Which is the assumption that I’m questioning.
>
>
> >> Or, alternatively, configuring a physical system in a way that
> >> represents those instructions will allow someone to interpret the
> >> system's subsequent states as being analogous to the "execution" of
> >> all "programs".
> >>
> >
> > Do you think pi has an objective (not human invented or approximated)
> value,
> > whether or not any person computed it?
>
> I think that everyone who starts from the same assumptions and makes
> the same inferences will always reach the same conclusions regarding
> the value of pi.
>
>
> > Is there an answer to the question what is the googleplexth decimal digit
> of
> > pi given no one in this universe could ever computed it?
>
> Is there an answer to the question of whether this penny would have
> melted had I taken an oxyacetylene torch to it yesterday - given that
> this didn’t actually happen?
>
> If there is an answer to the inner question, and that answer is “yes”
> (or “no” for that matter), what makes it “yes” (or “no”)?
>
> So I can answer the question today relative to some explanatory
> framework.  But given that the framework is just the distillation of
> past experience, and is only intended as a guide to action...the
> answer I give today about what would have happened yesterday isn’t
> meaningful except in relation to the framework.  It’s “for
> entertainment purposes only”.
>
> In the “real world” (whatever that is), I’d guess that there is no
> fact of the matter about what would have happened yesterday with the
> penny and the torch.
>
> SO...applying the same reasoning to your question:
>
> I’ll say that relative to some framework that includes my experience
> with the assumptions and inferences and rules needed to calculate pi -
> the answer is yes.  Because in that framework, given enough time and
> enough “universe”, it seems likely that someone *could* calculate the
> googleplexth digit of pi.
>
> But that answer is for entertainment purposes only...since it is an
> answer based on a framework distilled from past experience for the
> purposes of guiding action which is instead being applied to a purely
> hypothetical situation that has no chance of being enacted.
>
> The answer is only relevant relative to the framework that generated
> it and there’s no grounds for ascribing metaphysical significance to
> the framework, and so there’s no grounds for ascribing metaphysical
> significance to the answer.
>
> There is no fact of the matter except relative to the framework.
>
> It’s like asking “who would win an arm wrestling match between the
> Incredible Hulk and Spiderman”.  I can confidently say the Incredible
> Hulk.  But that answer doesn’t really mean anything outside of the
> “Marvel Universe”.  The Marvel Universe has no metaphysical
> significance, and so my answer to this hypothetical question involving
> it has no metaphysical significance either.
>
> See?
>
>
> > If there is, then there are also objective values to the omega constant,
> or
> > the state of the uda after X steps.  These values exist without the need
> for
> > someone to execute them, anymore than we need to compute the billionth
> digit
> > of pi for it to  have it's value.
>
> Relative to some detailed fictional framework, sure.  Such an
> imagination you have!
>
>
> >>>> Is extraordinary complexity required for the manifestation of "mind"?
> >>>> If so, why?
> >>>
> >>> I don't know what lower bound of information or complexity is required
> >>> for minds.
> >>
> >> Then why do you believe that information of complexity is required for
> >> minds?
> >>
> >
> > I think information is a critical component of consciousness.  The very
> > definition of consciousness: "having awareness of ones own thoughts and
> > sensations.".  Awareness is defined as having knowledge or information.
> >  Therefore consciousness is the possession of information (about ones
> > thoughts ir sensations).
>
> We can say that we have information about what we are aware of...but
> that is not the same as saying that awareness *is* information.
>
> Information is a difference that makes a difference.  But it has to
> make a difference *to* someone.
>
> A randomly generated string of bits can be identical to a string of
> bits representing an image...but the randomly generated string of bits
> contain no real information whereas the image file does.
>
> The difference being that I know how to correctly interpret an image
> file, but there is no “correct” interpretation of a random string of
> bits.
>
> But with the right “interpretation” any information can be found
> anywhere.  The magic is all in the interpreter, not in what’s being
> interpreted.
>
> Information is observer-relative.  Observers aren’t information-relative.
>
>
> > There are also reasons to believe in the informational basis if
> > consciousness due to multiple realizeability.  Minds can take different
> > physical forms because information cab take many physical forms.
>
> I can take anything to represent anything else.  So “representation”
> is multiply realizable.
>
> But again, that has to do with me, not with information.  If I
> remember what my encoding scheme was, I can “re-present” things to
> myself.  If I forget what my encoding scheme was, or that I even
> encoded anything - then all I have are a bunch of bits...which for all
> I know might be random.
>
> If they really were random bits, but for some reason I was convinced
> they weren’t - I might find all sorts of “meaningful” interpretations
> of them using all sorts of decoding schemes - but none of these would
> be correct.
>
> In this case, I’m doing all of the work...the bits aren’t doing
> anything.  Which, as it turns out, is also true of non-random bit
> strings.  I do all of the work.  The bits are just reminders...hints.
>
> I think you’re getting it all backwards.  Representation depends on
> me.  I don’t depend on representation.
>
> You’re saying:  “Hey, look at all the great things I can do with
> representation!  What if I represented myself in some way???  Would
> that be me?”
>
> Well...no.  That would be a representation of you.  Representation is
> something you do, not something that you are.
>
>
> > Lastly there is an argument realted to zombies.  A zombie cannot feel any
> > different or be less conscious than a conscious person who is physically
> > identical.  This is because the informational content of both the person
> and
> > the zombie is necessarily the same (given the identical physical states).
> >  Therefore the conscious person does not and cannot know anything more
> about
> > what they are feeling or experiencing than the zombie does.  Both must be
> > equally conscious.
>
> That’s one way of looking at it.  That might be true relative to some
> explanatory framework.  But it’s true for entertainment purposes only.
>  Like the Hulk-Spiderman matchup above.
>
>
>
> >>>> Is it that these recursive relations cause our experience, or are just
> >>>> a way of thinking about our experience?
> >>>>
> >>>> Is it:
> >>>>
> >>>> Recursive relations cause thought.
> >>>>
> >>>> OR:
> >>>>
> >>>> Recursion is just a label that we apply to some of our implicational
> >>>> beliefs.
> >>>>
> >>>> The latter seems more plausible to me.
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>> Through recursion one can implement any form of computation.
> >>
> >> But, ultimately, what is computation?
> >>
> >
> > A process.  More specifically one that connects a succession of states
> via
> > some well-defined relation(s).
>
> So why would a process that connects a succession of states via
> well-defined relations - in addition to being that - *also* be my
> conscious experience of sitting in this chair drinking coffee, writing
> this email?
>
> Why would that be?  Why would this process be *two* things instead of
> just one?  Not interpretable as two things (by me) - but really,
> intrinsically two entirely different things?
>
> Rex
>
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