On 9/15/2011 11:51 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
On 14 Sep 2011, at 07:27, meekerdb wrote:
On 9/13/2011 10:01 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
On Sep 13, 9:38 pm, meekerdb<meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
On 9/13/2011 4:07 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
The rules are at bottom the laws of physics.
That doesn't mean anything. The laws of physics are the rules. That's
why I say it's circular reasoning. I ask you what is a rule, and you
say it's at the bottom of laws, but laws are just another word for
rule. There is no bottom, because there's nothing there. It's an
Of course it's an intellectual construct, but it has predictive power.
I agree. Deferent and epicycle have predictive power too. It doesn't
mean they can't be understood in a greater context with more
explanatory if not predictive power.
And that's what Bruno is trying to do - provide explanations in terms of arithmetic;
which he takes as basic. But explanation is cheaper than prediction.
But comp predicts, given that it predicts the predictable observable. To get more
quantitative results asks for a lot of work and time. But comp predicts all what is
predictible, at different levels or modalities, and it predict in principle much more
given that it gives a glimpse on the complexity of death and all first person possible
experiences. It shows also the abyssal complexity of numbers' epistemologies, and it
frees the universal machine from all normative theories (the usual velleity of "other"
local universal machines).
It is not for practical quantitative prediction, at least not before we get the physical
laws from numbers' theology, but we are interested in fundamental question, aren't we?
Of course I don't expect you to be able explain why there are three generations of leptons
or tell me what dark matter is. But we need some definite predictions to test a theory.
To just 'predict' linearity or complexity is not very impressive. Physics is a very well
developed field, so it's going to be hard to get from arithmetic to a new result. But
theories of cogitation and consciousness are not well developed; so it is there I would
hope for some real predictions. Here's some interesting observations from a friend. I
wonder if your ideas might explain them.
I'll just quickly caveat how far we can extend existing findings, of which there are a
few in the last 4-5 years (see: www.wjh.harvard.edu/~dsweb/pdfs/06_01_EFC_DLS_ERG_RAS.pdf
-- this was done in Dan Schacter's lab at Harvard; Schacter is a renowned memory
researcher; and www.jneurosci.org/content/27/45/12190.full.pdf -- this was featured in
Nature Reviews in 2007). In terms of memory and confidence, or how memory changes,
Elizabeth Phelps at NYU has done some ground breaking work.
These findings focused on what is happening in the brain during an explicit statement of
confidence in one's answer about some or other semantic statement. The caveat is I am not
sure how far we can extend this to issues or questions for which an answer is unclear and
unavailable, or very difficult to ascertain because veracity may depend on some type of
understanding of conceptual material for which the respondent has limited knowledge. It
is one thing to have confidence that the solution to the integral of cos x is sin x + C,
but another to have confidence that there is a god, or that capitalism will fail. It
seems in the latter two instances the reward system is more important in neural
processing. But in all cases we are looking at the confidence in the belief that the
memory being retrieved is accurate.
During feelings of confidence in which the respondent is correct (high-confidence and
correct), medial and lateral parietal regions are active indicating a role for these areas
in post-retrieval memory monitoring, but, note that limbic regions are also active for
confidence in a recognition decision. In other words, confidence arises as a result of
processing in regions associated with familiarity, on the one hand (and this is where
errors occur), and/or regions that are more closely or directly linked with the problem at
hand - information that is used to solve the problem without so much digging into our vast
The second paper goes further and shows the difference between older and younger adults
with respect to high confidence errors, among other things. The interesting findings, in
my opinion, include the fact that the same brain regions (notably though is the DLPFC
which is becoming ever more important as a region of interest in cognitive neuroscience-
in this case it is thought to monitor or modulating decision processes across cognitive
functions) are active during low confidence irrespective of whether or not a condition of
true or false recognition was the case. But during high confidence different brain
regions are active (posterior cingulate in this case) across true recognition and false
The conclusion which can be drawn after reading the second paper is that the MTL (medial
temporal lobe, but includes the hippocampus and parahippocampus among other structures) is
involved in high confidence feelings when the respondent is actually correct (and in the
low confidence and incorrect condition), and that frontoparietal activity is dominant in
cases where the respondent is highly confident but incorrect (but also active in cases of
low confidence but correct recognition). There are other differences which can
distinguish the results in parens, but the details are probably not interesting most
here. It is interesting to note however that the activation of the MTL and frontoparietal
regions are virtual mirror images across the high vs low confidence conditions for true
and false recognition - almost like a see saw. We are dealing with on the one hand direct
recollection in correct cases and familiarity in incorrect cases.
What is amazing here is that the brain processes high-confidence true and false
recognition very differently, yet the feeling of confidence appears indistinguishable. It
might be interesting to probe this.
The reward system was not a main region of interest in these studies, however, feelings of
confidence are correlated with dopamine release, which necessarily involves the reward
pathways and hence the basal ganglia. The more often one feels correct about something,
especially in the absence of challenge, the more it becomes part of a belief system - and
the more likely a statement fits into a belief system the more likely one is to be
confident in that statement. The confirmation of one's belief system creates a rewarding
feeling associated with these pathways.
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