On 07 Jun 2011, at 04:00, Jason Resch wrote:

On Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 3:42 PM, Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com> wrote: On Sun, Jun 5, 2011 at 8:34 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote: > On Sun, Jun 5, 2011 at 11:58 AM, Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com> wrote: >> On Sat, Jun 4, 2011 at 4:14 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote: >>> 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?
> It makes the universe much smaller, less varied, less fascinating, etc. to > believe my current thought is all there is. It also makes answering any > questions futile (why does this thought exist?, can I change it? Am I a > static thought or an evolving thought? What determines or controls the > content of this thought?) How can any of those questions be approached if
> 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 entailed.

Why 9/11, Auschwitz, AIDS, famine, bigotry, hate, suffering?  They are
computationally entailed.

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 no better.

>>> 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.
> The physical universe may be computational or it may be a mathematical > structure, but what enforces its consistency and constancy of its laws? If > it were a mathematical structure, or a computation then the consistency
> 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) consistent extensions.

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 averaging out.

>>> 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.
> 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 similar > assumptions and make similar inferences. Based on different starting > assumptions some might say a virus is alive others may not, this doesn't > mean that viruses don't exist. In your postings you seem to suggest that > given there could be disagreement on what starting assumptions to use the > reality of mathematical objects should be called into question, but this > would be like questioning whether viruses exist because biologists can't > agree on whether or not they are alive. The numbers, their properties and > relations are objectively studiable, as much as planets and viruses are. If > math is invented, then you should invent a prime number with a billion > 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 a space
> 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).

Good argument.

Well, according to you I shouldn’t feel bad.  My failure was entailed
by the computational structure of Platonia.  My efforts to achieve
success were...futile.

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 otherwise.

I agree. Rex is confusing levels of description.

<snip: I have nothing to comment>

> If by representation you mean the representation of consciousness, then this
> 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 history.



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