On 07 Jun 2011, at 04:00, Jason Resch wrote:
On Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 3:42 PM, Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com>
On Sun, Jun 5, 2011 at 8:34 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com>
> On Sun, Jun 5, 2011 at 11:58 AM, Rex Allen
>> On Sat, Jun 4, 2011 at 4:14 PM, Jason Resch
>>> Perhaps so, perhaps there is only Rex's beliefs. Perhaps only
>>> beliefs at this exact moment.
>> Not obviously impossible. Thought not obviously necessitated
>> Does the possibility that there are only Jason’s beliefs at this
>> moment scare you?
>> Would you prefer it to be otherwise?
> It makes the universe much smaller, less varied, less fascinating,
> believe my current thought is all there is. It also makes
> questions futile (why does this thought exist?, can I change it?
Am I a
> static thought or an evolving thought? What determines or
> content of this thought?) How can any of those questions be
> only thought exists?
How can any of those questions be approached by conscious entities in
a deterministic computational framework?
Everything you’ll ever learn, every mistake you’ll ever make, every
belief you’ll ever have is already locked in.
This is fatalism. By AR+Comp you will experience all possible
experiences, perhaps an infinite number of times (recurring
endlessly?). But this does not mean we are powerless to affect the
measure of those experiences. A simple example: Some think that QM
implies that in half the universes they put on the seatbelt and in
half the others they don't. This is not true, if the person is
conscientious enough they probably put on the seat belt in >99% of
the universes. That depends entirely on them. A less safety-
concerned individual may have the opposite probabilities.
Your life is “on rails”. Maybe your final destination is good, maybe
it’s bad - but both the destination and the path to it are static and
fixed in Platonia.
Further, nothing about computationalism promises truth or anything
else desirable...or even makes them likely.
In fact, surely lies are far more common than truths in Platonia.
There are few ways to be right, but an infinite number of ways to be
wrong. If you think you exist in Platonia, then surely you also have
to conclude that nearly everything else you believe is a lie.
What is true in this universe may be false or meaningless in most of
the universes, but there might be some things which are true in
every universe (such as 2+2 = 4). If it is true in every universe,
even in those having fewer than 4 things to count then by extension
they are true even in universes with nothing to count, and
correspondingly, would be true even if there was nothing anywhere.
Math is self-existent (I can easily prove to you at least one thing
must be self-existent for there to be anything at all) and it is
much easier to see how math can be self-existent compared to
observable physical universe.
Computationalism’s answers to the questions you pose are:
Why does this thought exist? There is no reason except that
computation exists. Big whoop.
Computationalism (mechanism, functionalism) is a theory of mind,
which I believe is superior to its contenders (immaterialism,
interactionalist dualism, epiphenominalism, biological naturalism,
mind-brain identity theory, etc.) which all have big flaws. While
immaterialism cannot be disproved, it explains nothing and therefore
fails as an explanatory or scientific theory. It
I guess you mean some sort of "spiritualism" for immaterialism, which
is a consequence of comp (+ some Occam). Especially that you already
defend the idea that the computations are in (arithmetical) platonia.
Note that AR is part of comp. And the UD is the Universal dovetailer.
(UDA is the argument that comp makes elementary arithmetic, or any
sigma_1 complete theory, the theory of everything. Quanta and qualia
are justified from inside, including their incommunicability.
Can I change it? No.
Then why bother to get food when you are hungry?
Am I a static or evolving thought? Neither. Your are computation.
What determines or controls the content of this thought? The brute
fact of computational structure.
Why did your momma love you? It was computationally entailed.
Why did Jeffry Dahlmer kill those people? It was computationally
Why 9/11, Auschwitz, AIDS, famine, bigotry, hate, suffering? They are
This is just reductionism taken beyond the level where it should be
taken. You might as well answer: It is physically entailed,
chemically entailed, biologically entailed, etc. I don't see the
point of the argument.
Neither do I. Nor do I see what Rex is proposing, except perhaps
abandoning research, meditating or what?
Platonia actually sounds like more hell than heaven.
You base that on the small part of Platonia you have seen in your
decades as a human on this remote planet floating through an
infinitesimal part of the universe. Perhaps life in other alien
civilizations is comparatively a heaven.
SO...what is it that computationalism gives you over solipsism,
exactly? What makes this picture more varied, more fascinating, less
It answers questions which cannot be answered correctly with other
theories of mind. Given what I know, it is the theory of mind I
would wager on as correct above the others I know about.
OK. To my knowledge it is the only one which explains today where
quanta and qualia comes from, and why they seem so different. It is
also a theory which cure psychology (and science) from reductionism.
It makes us modest.
I’m not saying you’re position is worse than mine, but surely it’s
>>> What is the engine providing the computations which drive the
>> That assumes that computations do drive the universe.
>> Which is the assumption that I’m questioning.
> The physical universe may be computational or it may be a
> structure, but what enforces its consistency and constancy of its
> it were a mathematical structure, or a computation then the
> comes for free.
But doesn’t computationalism predict that their should be conscious
entities whose experience is of inconsistent, contradictory, shifting
We went over this a few months ago without ever reaching an
agreement. Surely there are some, but I think such universes occur
less frequently and/or preclude conscious life forms from evolving.
You said they would occur more frequently because there are more
unique descriptions (given the fact that they are longer and there
are more possibilities the longer a string is).
It is the same argument than Peter (1Z). They are too much white
rabbits. That is a good argument, if only they could prove it. But in
their short presentation of the argument, they clearly don't take into
account computer science and the self-reference logic of the machines,
and so confuse first and third person points of view. They also seems
to put a measure on strings instead of computations and (maximally)
In fact, this sounds like the experiences described by schizophrenics,
or people on drugs.
And people have those experiences.
In fact, I would think that Platonia should contain far more chaotic
experiences than not.
If consciousness = awareness of random bit strings chosen from
Platonia I would agree, but if consciousness involves computation,
it seems chaotic programs harder to come by.
Indeed. They become plausibly relatively rare.
You would need a stable platform for the program to run long enough
to compute a thought, but somehow the input to that program would
have to be noise. A chaotic experience requires a not-fully chaotic
mind to have the experience. Otherwise you might say the air
molecules bouncing around your room constitute a chaotic experience.
So this virtue that you highlight isn’t a virtue at all.
The idea that “oh, those all cancel out when we average across all
computations” or something is pretty ad hoc sounding.
You’ve lost whatever intuitive appeal that computationalism had in
fell swoop. We’re back to, “why would that result in conscious
experience if non-averaged computation didn’t???”
It just does? Pah.
I don't think I ever made an argument about cancelling out or
>>> Do you think pi has an objective (not human invented or
>>> whether or not any person computed it?
>> I think that everyone who starts from the same assumptions and
>> the same inferences will always reach the same conclusions
>> the value of pi.
> So that would make pi an objectively studiable object, would it not?
Everyone who starts with the same assumptions about the Incredible
Hulk and Spiderman, and makes the same inferences from those
assumptions, will reach the same conclusions regarding the outcome of
an arm-wrestling match between them.
Does that make Spiderman objectively studiable?
>What makes the study of such objects less valid than the study of
> other objects in science, for example in biology?
I’m not saying it’s less valid. It’s equally valid. But that’s
saying less than you think.
Okay, this makes sense given your solipism/immaterialism.
I would like to insist that comp leads to immaterialism, but that this
is very different from solipsism. Both are idealism, but solipsism is
"I am dreaming", where comp immaterialism is "all numbers are
dreaming", and a real sharable physical reality emerges from gluing
properties of those dreams/computations.
> To define a bacterium as a life form
> Earth scientists and alien scientists both have to start from
> assumptions and make similar inferences. Based on different
> assumptions some might say a virus is alive others may not, this
> mean that viruses don't exist. In your postings you seem to
> given there could be disagreement on what starting assumptions to
> reality of mathematical objects should be called into question,
> would be like questioning whether viruses exist because biologists
> agree on whether or not they are alive. The numbers, their
> relations are objectively studiable, as much as planets and
viruses are. If
> math is invented, then you should invent a prime number with a
> digits and claim the $250,000 prize ( http://www.eff.org/awards/
coop ). If
> you cannot invent such a number, then perhaps mathematics truly is
> to be explored, much like the vacuum that surrounds our planet.
Instead, maybe I should just write a fantasy book about a boy wizard
to goes to a magical school - and then people who find such things
interesting would give me millions and millions of dollars!
Oh wait...maybe I can’t invent such a book, because I’m not a very
good writer, and people don’t find the structure of my fantasies
compelling or believable or interesting or useful. Rats.
My point was that mathematics has its own rules, it is not something
where anyone can add their own arbitrary axioms as they see fit.
For example, if you generated a 1 followed by 999,999,999 zeros and
declared it an axiom that the number is prime, you would not be
awarded the prize. (This would be inventing math, rather than
searching for and finding such a prime).
Well, according to you I shouldn’t feel bad. My failure was entailed
by the computational structure of Platonia. My efforts to achieve
Who determines what song you choose to listen to on the radio (or
music player), you or the atoms bouncing around in your brain? As
thinking beings we have a will which we can exercise. Don't let
deterministic or non-deterministic theories of the universe tell you
I agree. Rex is confusing levels of description.
<snip: I have nothing to comment>
> If by representation you mean the representation of consciousness,
> is the functionalist/computationalist philosophy in a nutshell.
Computationalism says that representation *is* something you are.
I say the opposite. Representation is something you do, which is so
natural to you and so useful to you that you’ve mistaken it as the
explanation for everything.
You should read this
Functionalism is the idea that it is what the parts do, not what
they are that is important in a mind.
Computatalism is a more specific form of functionalism (it assumes
the functions are Turing emulable)
I disagree with this. Putnam' functionalism is at the start a fuzzy
form of computationalism (the wiki is rather bad on those subjects).
It is fuzzy because it is not aware that IF we are machine, then we
cannot know which machine we are. That is why it is a theology, you
need an act of faith beyond just trusting the 'doctor'. In a sense
functionalism is a specific form of computationalism because
functionalist assumes by default some high level of comp. They are
just fuzzy on the term "function", and seems unaware of the tremendous
progress made on this by logicians and theoretical computer scientists.
Note also that comp makes *1-you* different from any representation,
from you first person perspective. So, the owner of the soul is the
(immaterial) person, not the body. A body is already a representation
of you, relatively to some universal numbers.
In a sense we can sum up comp's consequence by: If 3-I is a machine,
then 1-I is not. The soul is not a machine *from its point of view".
He has to bet on its own G* to say 'yes' to the doctor. Of course,
once we accept comp, we can retrospectively imagine that "nature" has
already bet on it, given that the genome is digital relatively to
chemistry, and given the evidences for evolution, and our very deep
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