On 10 Jun 2011, at 00:50, Russell Standish wrote:

On Thu, Jun 09, 2011 at 10:17:46PM +0200, Bruno Marchal wrote:

I do have a precise
theory, (not in my thesis, though) and free-will begins with
Löbianity. From this I infer that very plausibly, worms and ants
(and perhaps communists) have no free-will, but that spiders,
octopus, mice, dogs and humans have it. I thought only homeotermic
animals were self-conscious free animals. They can dream and can
have empathy, but since recently I accumulate evidence that
Löbianity occurs already with many invertebrates. Notably the


This is an interesting variation from you earlier claims, where you
were claiming that consciousness was very primitive.

I realize I have been clear on this in some FOR list post, perhaps not here. I don't think I have varied on this. To be conscious, you need only to be universal. To be self-conscious, and have free-will, you need to be Löbian. I have no doubts that planaria and other worms are conscious, but they have no notion of self and of others (or very crude one). Löbianity is more sophisticated. They can infer proposition on themselves and on others. They can attribute consciousness on others.

In the arithmetical term, consciousness appears with Robinson Arithmetic (= Peano Arithmetic without the induction axioms), and Löbianity (and self-consciousness) appears with Peano Arithmetic. Löbian entity have the same rich theology (captured *completely* by G and G* at the propositional level).

So to be conscious, all you need is a brain, or a computer. All animals with a centralized nervous system are probably conscious. To be self-conscious, you need not *much* more, just one more reflexive loop making possible to build an "inductive"self-image. It leads to genuine empathy, awareness of death, etc.

Löbianity makes an animal as conscious as you and me.
It might be considered as the earlier delusion, and enlightenment might be a passage from PA to RA, but I am, of course not sure about this.

Are cells and amoebas conscious? That is quite plausible, in this setting, because those are genuinely universal. The genome of Escherichia Coli (bacterium) is Turing universal, making even bacteria conscious, but they lack Löbianity, and they might lack any sense of self-consciousness. In fact we can equate the consciousness of those lower creature with the consciousness of RA, or of any universal numbers (sigma_1 complete theories). So consciousness, as opposed to Löbianity, remains rather primitive.

Assuming you're
identifying free will (or Loebianity) with consciousness, then only
selectively granting species might get around the anthropic ant

My critics of that argument was more about the use of a form of Absolute Self-sampling assumption. It makes no sense for me to ask what is the probability of being a bacterium, or a human, or an alien. The only probability is the probability to have some conscious state starting from having some conscious state (cf. RSSA versus ASSA).

Mind you, there are an awful lot of spiders - on my suburban block, I
would estimate a population of several thousand individuals, making up
perhaps 30-50 species, living on an area of land containing 4 humans
(and not many more mammals, I might add). You might need to limit it
to just some spider species - after all, I would expect a great
variation in spider intelligence.

Yes. My point was about jumping spiders. But here too, there are many sorts, in fact more than 6000 species.

One thing I would like to ask is how you would objectively infer
Loebianity in a non-communicative species? That would indeed be a step
forward if we could do this arthropods.

That is why it is typically something you will infer by yourself when you have developed special relationship with the animal. I have some friend who have (giant tropical) spiders as pets and I was a bit skeptical when they told me that such relations were empathic, and thus communicative at some level.

Having looked at many videos on jumping spiders, I have come to the conclusion that, after all, they might be right (with a high degree of plausibility).

It is amazing, but it looks like we can develop a bond with some spider! I suspected this a little bit. I *do* suffer from some arachnophobia, and it might have been partially related with a quasi- unconscious feeling that, when we chase a spider, the animal *knows* that you exist and are there, and has an idea of what you try to do. Now, I don't think that ants have Löbianity. They are conscious, but never seems to attribute consciousness or personality to you (unlike cats, dogs and now spiders (and octopus)). Spiders have free will :)



Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au


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