On 23 Jun 2011, at 19:29, Rex Allen wrote:
On Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 1:44 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net>
On 6/21/2011 8:17 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
But comp denies that "we can prove that a machine can think". Of
can prove that some machine has this or that competence. But for
intelligence/consciousness, this is not possible. (Unless we are not
machine. Some non-machine can prove that some machine are
this is purely academical until we find something which is both a
But of course we can prove that a machine can think to the same
can prove other people think. That we cannot prove it from some
self-evident set of axioms is completely unsurprising. This
my idea that with the development of AI the "question of
come to be seen as a archaic, like "What is life?".
Actually, I think you may have a point. The question of "what is
life" is really not a scientific question. Yet, nevertheless, I am
In the same way, the question of "what is consciousness" is not a
scientific question either. And yet, I am conscious. Consciousness
Science is just not applicable to these questions, because these
questions have nothing to do with the core purposes of science:
"Instrumentalism is the view that a scientific theory is a useful
instrument in understanding the world. A concept or theory should be
evaluated by how effectively it explains and predicts phenomena, as
opposed to how accurately it describes objective reality."
So science is about formulating frameworks for understanding
observations in a way that allows for accurate prediction. To ascribe
"metaphysical truth" to any of these frameworks is to take a leap of
faith *beyond* science.
Taking the view of "instrumentalism with a pinch of common sense",
there is no reason to believe that every question that can be asked
can be answered scientifically. Is there?
Unless and until consciousness can be made useful for prediction, it
will remain invisible and irrelevant to science.
Public communicable science = third person description. With comp +
the classical theory of knowledge, modeling belief by machine
provability, you can develop a third person publicly communicable
discourses on things that you cannot seen, detect, experience, or
There is no reason to forbid the scientific approach on "what escape
the scientific discourse", once we make a theory about those things,
precisely. That would be a confusion of level. We cannot use our
private experience as argument in a scientific paper, but, if we put
our theories on the table, we can reason and learn on any subject,
including first person (conscious) experiences.
In particular if we believe that consciousness in a local (relative)
invariant for some local universal system (like "the laws of physics")
then it makes the quanta and the qualia theory derivable from
arithmetical self-reference, and this in a way which lead to precise
predictions. Comp, even if false, provides, thanks COMPuter sciences,
a tool for measuring our non-computability with respect to what we
observe. If your instrumentalism forbids third person discourse *on*
the first person discourse (in some theory) then your instrumentalism
will degenerate into metaphysical positivism, which is self-
contradictory, if only terribly infertile.
Comp just translated the mind-body problem into a problem in math and
in physics. It also illustrates that "science" (= honest scientists)
have not yet solved the problem, and that with comp there is indeed a
Up to now, thanks to the quantum, and Gödel, nature confirms comp and
the classical theory of knowledge (= does not refute its explanation
of quanta, and of course qualia).
But you are right, somehow, consciousness has to remain invisible by
science, for reason similar that self-consistency is unprovable by a
machine, and "self-truth" is not even definable by the machine. But
assuming comp and the classical theory of knowledge, we can explain
why something like consciousness has to exist and remains invisible.
And given that the theory explains the quanta, we can compare it to
nature and test it. This shows that we can indirectly falsify a theory
of consciousness, making it scientific in the common sense of Popper.
It is, I think, non scientific to exclude anything from the attempt to
formulate more precise public question in any field, including fields
approaching the incommunicable, the infinite, the unbounded, and other
in-#. We can glimpse things which can have tremendous applications,
notably in survival matters, quality of life, dignity and many things
In comp, it is the gap between G and G* which makes this conceptually
possible. The truth we infer is always larger than the proofs we get
at. All machines does that naturally, except when they are taught
"shut up and calculate".
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